Archive for April, 2007

Badges? We ain’t got no badges. We don’t need no badges. I don’t have to show you any stinking badges.

Posted in Movies and TV, Writing and blogging on April 12th, 2007

One odd outcome of the (very confusing) situation with Creating Passionate Users and a couple of deliberate snark sites (remember when I left one post at the top of the blog for a week?) was a proposal from Tim O’Reilly for a blogging Code of Conduct.

With badges, no less.

I’m not linking to specific blogs or posts here because there are too many to consider, and I sure don’t want to encourage people to get all excited about O’Reilly’s proposal.

I do plan to write a Cites & Insights essay (or part of a Net Media perspective) on this whole mess, and am accumulating appropriate posts toward that end. I don’t want to spout off on the whole situation here.

Except, I suppose, to offer my own bottom line, which you may be able to infer from the title of this post (which I believe to be the correct quotation from The Treasure of the Sierra Madre; if the title’s cut off, the quote is Badges? We ain’t got no badges. We don’t need no badges. I don’t have to show you any stinking badges.).

To wit:

  • I think a formal Code of Conduct is a particularly bad idea (wait for the essay for my own take on why that’s so)
  • I might or might not do a post about changes in my own standard for comments here, but those changes would be what I consider appropriate here, not “Here’s what y’all should do.”
  • I do not intend to take part in any voluntary labeling to show that this blog is either a Good Guy or a Bad Guy.

In other news (oh, why not?):

  • That essay will not be in the May 2007 Cites & Insights, because I’m putting the finishing touches on that issue already. Expect it this weekend. Seven essays, some of the varied stuff that’s been missing lately, and a brand new section devoted to current library issues, “Making it Work.”
  • If posts over the next few weeks or months seem even more peculiar than usual, there’s a reason having to do with certain disruptions in my everyday life. You may not notice. If so, you bettah off. If the disruptions aren’t taken care of reasonably soon (at the very latest, by the time I turn 62), their nature will become more public.

50 Movie Pack Classic Musicals, Disc 7

Posted in Movies and TV on April 11th, 2007

Rock, Rock, Rock. 1956, b&w, Will Price (dir.), Alan Freed, Tuesday Weld, Teddy Randazzo, The Moonglows, Chuck Berry, The Flamingos, Jimmy Cavallo and the House Rockers, the Johnny Burnette Trio, La Vern Baker, Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers, Cirino and the Bowties. 1:25.

There’s a plot of sorts—Tuesday Weld (age 13, in her first role) needs a prom dress and gets involved in some really bad arithmetic (“one percent of $1 is $1”) to get it, but it all works out. Meanwhile, she and a girlfriend, and her square pipe-smoking dad, watch Alan Freed’s TV show on which her boyfriend shows up as a singer. He manages to get Freed (remember Alan “Payola” Freed?) to bring the whole shebang to the prom. There’s a little more, but it’s mostly an excuse for music and lots of it. The disc sleeve’s a little off: It claims this is in color, but it was filmed in black and white (with no budget, apparently), and it lists Chuck Berry as the star. He does one really great number, but that’s it.

The good: Lots of great music of the times, and to Alan Freed’s credit he didn’t hold with racial boundaries. Chuck Berry’s song is “You Can’t Catch Me,” one of his great car songs. The Moonglows and the Flamingos are wonderful (and do two numbers each, as do most others). Johnny Burnette’s rockabilly trio is interesting. Frankie Lymon is a tiny first-rate pro—even if his second number (“I’m Not a Juvenile Delinquent”) is, well, strange. Tuesday Weld is charming as a beautiful, innocent, well-meaning but slightly dumb teenager (even if “her” two songs are dubbed by Connie Francis). The square father’s strangely amusing.

The not-so-good: One awful female child singer. A few musical acts that could have been replaced with more Berry, Moonglows, Flamingos and Lymon. Mostly, though, the pain of watching Freed clap hands at apparently random intervals (or, in one case, add odd vocal chops to a sax-heavy instrumental) and other cases where the kids (some of whom appear to be in their 30s) clap hands simultaneously—but at intervals that bear no relation to the beat. Strangest case: One where band members are clapping to keep time, but one claps on the downbeat while one claps whenever he feels like it. A cheapie, but with some great music if you can get past Freed and some of the others. As to the IMDB reviews: Most are on the money, but one negative one’s just absurd—and one other negative one manages to place Chubby Checker in this movie, which is simply wrong. $1.25.

King Kelly of the USA, 1934, b&w, Leonard Fields (dir.), Guy Robertson, Edgar Kennedy, Irene Ware, Ferdinand Gottschalk, Franklin Pangborn. 1:06.

As a musical, it’s sort of a flop, although one piece does get used a lot. The print’s dark and damaged, dark enough to be annoying. On the other hand, it’s a pretty good comedy, poking fun at “Ruritania”-style monarchies, show biz and efficiency experts. If it weren’t for the print, I’d give it more than $1.00.

Rock ‘n’ Roll Revue, 1955, b&w, Joseph Kohn (dir.), Nat ‘King’ Cole, Delta Rhythm Boys, Ruth Brown, Willie Bryant, Duke Ellington, Lionel Hampton, Dinah Washington, Joe Turner, the Clovers. 0:37.

The two movies on side B—the two “Revues”—are pretty much the same thing, which in these cases is high praise. These appear to be three episodes of a (TV?) show set in the same Harlem theater, with the same host (Willie Bryant) and an incredible variety of music with some dance and comedy thrown in. Both cast lists here are incomplete (Bryant really pushes the acts through one after another). Don’t expect “Rock ‘n’ Roll” but it’s quite a revue nonetheless. The sleeve reverses the timing for this and the next one. The print isn’t great and, unfortunately, the sound is occasionally distorted—but it’s still worth $1, even for what’s basically a half-hour short subject. $1.

Rhythm and Blues Revue, 1955, b&w, Joseph Kohn and Leonard Reed (dir.), Lionel Hampton, The Larks, Sarah Vaughan, Bill Bailey, Count Basie, Joe Turner, Delta Rhythm Boys, Cab Calloway, Nat ‘King’ Cole, Nipsey Russell, Mantan Moreland, Amos Milburn. 1:11

Same setting, same host, but this is two episodes put together (there’s an obvious cut and Bryant welcomes us again halfway through). More music, including Joe Turner’s version of Shake, Rattle and Roll and Cab Calloway’s astonishing Minnie the Moocher. Great stuff throughout, marred only by serious visual damage to much of the print—but the soundtrack’s OK, and that’s what matters. $1.75.

Five blogger heroes (sort of)

Posted in Libraries, Writing and blogging on April 6th, 2007

Dorothea Salo started it. Don’t let her tell you otherwise. I may have mused idly about a notion, without much form or structure, but I do a lot of that (not always in cyberprint, to be sure). Ms. Salo actually did something. There are blatherers and there are actors…

So here’s the thing. I wrote another version of this post last night. I believe I would have been second. But I’m taking the “meme” in a whole different direction, more in line what what I originally mused about, and it’s not a direction I particularly wish on anyone else. Making this, I suppose, a non-meme meme (and I’m partly in agreement with Lorcan Dempsey’s note: the meme meme is getting a little old. Even if my musings did accidentally kick one off).

As I went to save the post to see what oddities WordPress had done with paragraphs and the like, WordPress did something to me it’s done once or twice before at home, but never in quite such an awkward position: Instead of saving the post and offering me a preview, it went to the logon screen–and when this happens, it’s a “permaloop logon,” just requesting the username and password over and over again until I restart my computer. And it hadn’t autosaved the draft. The whole thing was lost.

Meanwhile, Joshua Neff and Steve Lawson picked up on the theme (let’s call this one a theme rather than a meme, shall we? don’t all snore at once).

I’m not going to follow their lead. I’m going to go with a variant on my original idea; the original original idea turns out to be wholly infeasible. There are too many bloggers who’ve affected what I do, for better and worse, including some that really don’t need any “link love” from the likes of me. And any list I provided would either be way too long or grossly incomplete.

So (geez, Walt, you really do want “But I digress…” on your tombstone, don’t you?) I’m going with a variant of what I originally had in mind. Don’t try this at home, kids–unless you want to.

I came up with five libloggers who are not necessarily superstars in the liblog galaxy (I use the crude measure of having fewer than 300 Bloglines subscribers in the feed I subscribe to) and who I find particularly affecting–people who “speak to me” and influence what I think about things. Doesn’t mean we agree on everything (or anything, necessarily): These are also all people I’ve had sharp disagreements with, but always (I believe) cordial disagreements with. They’re people who make me think and can convince me to rethink a situation.

And I came up with another list of five relatively recent (less than two years blogging, I think), relatively “unsung” (another crude measure: Fewer than 150 Bloglines subscribers in the feed I use), “up and coming” bloggers who similarly affect me. Again, these are people I sometimes/frequently disagree with, who rarely either descend into ad hominem or cause me to descend into ad hominem as part of such disagreements, and who make me think and rethink.

Both lists are wildly incomplete. In many of the cases, the situation is complicated because I converse with these people via email as well as blogs–sometimes even (don’t read this part) Google Chat on the rare occasions I have it running.

Caveats again. Incomplete list. Tends toward slightly lesser-known folks, with one or two obvious exceptions. And, just to make it stranger, I’m blending the two lists and offering them up in “idiot alphabetic” order (that is, sorted by first name), with no additional comments on each one.

Should you choose to take on this absurd assignment, Jim, bend the theme any way that suits you… (this post won’t self-destruct in five seconds, unless WordPress surprises me again, and no, I haven’t seen any of the Cruise missiles, just the old TV show many many many years ago, with its highly polished wooden actors and all).

Here’s the list, and there’s half an hour of my half-day vacation shot…

That’s the wildly incomplete, extremely erratic list. Do with it what you will.

Foxit Reader: Cleaning up loose ends

Posted in Technology and software on April 4th, 2007

A long time ago, I wrote about Foxit Reader as an alternative to Acrobat Reader (at the time–now Adobe Reader). It was/is free. It was/is small. It was/is fast. But it was, when I first tested it, not successful at rendering Cites & Insights accurately. I said so in the post.

Some time later, Foxit released an update. I tested it and it seemed to be close enough–but by that time, Adobe Reader had solved its startup speed problems. I noted both in a comment on the post. But maybe I should have highlighted the fix in a post (I’ve had mail from Foxit sitting in my Gmail inbox for a long time, and I don’t leave things in the inbox…).

So: If you’re looking for an alternative to Adobe Reader, you might give Foxit a try. With Reader 7, I’m no longer looking for such an alternative, so I haven’t been using Foxit–but this is to verify (a mere six months later) in a main post that the upgraded version did render C&I acceptably well.

Now to archive that mail…

The things I didn’t say

Posted in Writing and blogging on April 3rd, 2007

Last week’s “keep it at the top” posting break meant omitting a couple of things I might otherwise have posted. On the whole, you didn’t miss anything except perhaps too-prompt responses that deserved being thought out better or abandoned.

Or, of course, turned into Cites & Insights essays.

Briefly, here’s what didn’t get posted (that I can even remember) and what might or might not happen to it:

  • A post about toxicity in the blogging environment that I’d been thinking about long before the incident that sparked a one-week break. I don’t believe anything will happen with that one. Fact is, I’ve unsubbed from one (obscure) liblog because the poster was consistently negative in a dispiriting manner–but that’s my business. I don’t suggest anyone else follow my lead. The other major aspect of toxicity (“Jekyll and Hyde” bloggers, who reflect one face when writing in their own blogs and another, much more difficult, face when comment elsewhere) probably isn’t worth pursuing, particularly since lots of us do that at some point. In any case, I now understand (even more than I did before) that libloggers are a relatively polite bunch as compared to the wolves out there in the blogworld at large.
  • A brief post on why my print copy of the April Wired–the last in my freebie subscription–lacks a cover (which found its two-part way to the trash). Yes, that has to do with the previous bullet, to some extent and indirectly. If you’ve seen the cover, you might consider what percentage of CEOs of either Fortune 500 or Wired Whatever companies are women, the likelihood that Wired would have a naked man (presumably an actor/model hunk) to make their cute point about corporate transparency, and what this sort of casual misogyny says…ah, the hell with it. I’d just get downgraded for being PC or a wuss or whatever the term is these days.
  • A post about being wrong. That one might turn into an essay. Or it might not. It can wait…
  • A post about the CLIR report E-Journal Archiving Metes and Bounds: A Survey of the Landscape–because I’ve finally (belatedly) read this interesting and important report and because it’s not likely to get covered in Library Stuff within Cites & Insights [see next bullet]. I do plan to write that post/mini-review. Real Soon Now.
  • A post about my personal heroes among libloggers–well, that wasn’t going to get written last week anyway, because I’m not sure what to do about it. Maybe in the future. Someone suggested “five unsung liblogging heroes” as a meme, but I wasn’t thinking in terms of five, and “unsung” wasn’t necessarily one of my criteria. (Which loops back to the Being Wrong post…)
  • A post about “citizens and consumers,” recognizing one peculiarity of my household that probably warps my perceptions on some issues. Maybe later.
  • Comments on the new set of “speaking” posts. I’d printed off a couple of them and thought about doing a Followup (on my “Little List” essay) in the next C&I. But there’s too much and it’s too interesting and the conversation’s still lively, so I’ll wait…

Whew. That’s two or three weeks’ worth of posts, but some of them really should be essays and others should be noisily abandoned (too late for quiet abandonment).

My goal for this blog was an average of two posts a week. I was way over that average for the first year. For the second year, if you take out bursts of energy and things like the 16 Balanced Libraries stub posts, I’m not all that far off–maybe 3.5 a week and certainly fewer than 4 a week.

Meanwhile, here’s another metablog. The blogging mirror is ever so shiny!

Balanced Libraries: Links to reviews and comments

Posted in C&I Books on April 2nd, 2007

I’m delighted to see the first comment (that I’ve encountered) from someone who’s actually received Balanced Libraries: Thoughts and on Continuity and Change: Jennifer Macaulay at Life as I Know It.

Here’s what she has to say.

Before encountering this, I was just about to state my policy on comments and reviews of this book that I encounter. It’s simple:

  1. I’ll link to them, by editing this post or creating another one. That’s true whether they’re positive, negative or mixed
  2. I will not comment on the comments and negative reviews unless there’s a factual error, and probably not even then. I learned a long time ago that it’s bad practice for an author to respond to book reviews (of whatever nature) except to say “Thanks for reading and commenting.” Update: I will feel free to thank people for positive reviews! What I learned was not to quarrel with negative and mixed reviews. Which I won’t.

So…Jennifer, thanks for reading and commenting!

First full review, 4/20/07: This one from Pete Smith at library too. Thanks for reading and commenting. (Pete also posted the review on the Balanced Libraries book page at Lulu.com. Thanks!) Added note: Smith’s review is thoughtful–and also positive, for which I’m grateful.

Another review, 4/26/07: Jennifer Macaulay at Life as I know it writes a thoughtful and positive review. Again, I’m grateful.

The first non-English review, 5/29/07: Wow! Wouter over het Web has a lengthy review in Dutch. Wouter assures me it’s a positive review, and from Babelfish’s output, it does appear that way–although the translation leaves something to be desired. Thanks!

And a long, thoughtful review from Mark Lindner, 5/31/07: right here. I can only say Thanks and Wow!

6/7/07: Another long, thoughtful review, this time from John Dupuis. Once again, I can only say Thanks and Wow!

9/18/07: Another long, thoughtful review, this one from John Miedema. I’m posting a belated separate item on this one–and again, “Thanks and Wow!”
4/4/07: Not a review, but Sarah Houghton-Jan offers a nice writeup.

4/5/07: You’d think the author would know the subtitle of the book… Thanks, Alane! And now this: Worldcat.org’s record. I’ve made the big time!

4/9/07: Also not a review, but Mary Beth Sancomb-Moran has a nice early comment at Impromptu Librarian

6/13/08: I only spotted this mini-review by doing a little egoogling (ego-Googling). It’s on Goodreads and from “Jack”, and appears here in its entirety and without added comment:

Generally just classic Crawford: long-winded, rambling, reactionary rhetoric.

Two years (and one day)

Posted in Writing and blogging on April 2nd, 2007

Walt at Random began on April 1, 2005, a day chosen with some care (OK, so the initial post was written a day earlier and postdated…)

That makes it two years old as of yesterday. Since I did two posts about the first year of the blog, it’s only reasonable to do another post about the second year. This post is a day late for reasons explained in the previous post: I said that post would stay at the top of the page for a full week, and so it did.

Not including this post, the blog has a total of 519 posts and 1,747 comments. I admit to particular pride in that ratio, more than three comments per post–high for liblogs, although nothing compared with true Big Deal bloggers in general.The second year shows fewer posts than the first, but slightly more comments: Since April 1, 2006, 247 posts and 936 comments.

Category usage hasn’t changed at the top, but has further down. That’s open data (the number after each category). For the two years as a whole, writing & blogging has the most posts (big surprise there!), followed by libraries, net media, posts related to Cites & Insights, “stuff,” and books and publishing. C&I has moved up; books and publishing have moved past movies & TV.

I’m not going to highlight particular posts. Are there any I’m sorry I posted? Not really…

The most comments for any post: 42 on “Are you reading this?”, a post that specifically requested comments (about aggregators and getting through).

Then there’s readership. Last year, one number I used was just wrong: I counted domains to represent “visitors,” where I should have used IP addresses (a much larger number, that can both overcount and undercount actual visitors). By March 2006, the blog was up to 1,064 sessions/day and 2,337 pageviews/day.

Representative months for the last year:

May 2006: 1,254 sessions/day, 3,001 pageviews/day, 6,930 IP addresses
July 2006: 1,215 sessions/day, 2,549 pageviews/day, 6,223 IP addresses
September 2006: 1,219 sessions/day, 2,393 pageviews/day, 6,303 IP addresses
November 2006: 1,389 sessions/day, 2,433 pageviews/day, 6,639 IP addresses
January 2007: 1,445 sessions/day, 3,328 pageviews/day, 7,173 IP addresses
March 2007: 1,628 sessions/day, 3,298 pageviews/day, 8,823 IP addresses

Over the past year, some 56,460 different IP addresses from 125 countries have visited this blog for a total of some 470,000 sessions. That strikes me as both impressive and really strange. The IP count is almost three times that for Cites & Insights in the nine months since it moved to citesandinsights.info.

I was “stuck at around 140 Bloglines subscribers” for the first few months of 2006. That’s changed; the current count is 445. 53% of Feedburner subscriptions are from Bloglines; I might project that this means I have about 840 total readers via aggregators, but I’m not sure that’s sound logic.

In any case, there are more readers (real or machine) than I’d expect. Which was true last year as well.

Oh, one final number: look at the Spam Karma 2 count at the bottom of the page. It’s probably over 21,000 by the time you read this. Well, Blake only installed Spam Karma 2 for me on April 11, 2006. Make of that what you will. I count an average of 58 spam attempts a day. Which could be a whole lot worse, to be sure.

Anyone who goes back to last year’s anniversary post (the first one) may note that I talked about maybe doing those CD-ROM mini-reviews here instead of in C&I. Time still hasn’t allowed…the CD-ROMs are still sitting there, my 3.5-year-old computer is now 4.5 years old, and so it goes.


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