Archive for March, 2008

Public library blogs: Posting frequency

Posted in C&I Books, Libraries, Writing and blogging on March 12th, 2008

Doing the quintiles, part 1: Posting frequency

As noted in Public Library Blogs: 252 Examples, the 252 blogs studied had a total of 5,976 posts during the study period (March 1, 2007 through May 31, 2007: 92 days). That’s an average (mean) of 23.7 posts per blog, or about one every 3.9 days–which I called “a bit less than two posts per week.” The median was considerably lower: 12 posts, or a little less than one per week.

Here are the quintile figures. I needed to account for the two extra blogs (5 into 252 leaves a remainder of 2), and as it happens there were 52 blogs with fewer than 16 and more than 9 posts, so I included the extras in the middle quintile.

  • Q1: Most posts: From 33 posts (one every 2.8 days) to 400 (4.3 per day).
    Average: 73.9 (four posts every five days)
    Median: 58 (one post every 1.6 days).
    This quintile accounts for 61.8% of all posts.
  • Q2: More posts: From 16 posts (roughly one every six days) to 32 (one every 2.9 days).
    Average: 22.5 (roughly one post every four days)
    Median: 22 (same)
    This quintile accounts for 18.84% of all posts.
  • Q3: Average frequency: From ten posts (one every nine days) to 15 (one every six days)
    Average: 12.2 (just under one per week)
    Median: 12 (same)
    This quintile accounts for 10.61% of all posts.
  • Q4: Fewer posts: From five posts (one every 18 days) to nine (one every ten days).
    Average: 7.06 (one every thirteen days).
    Median: 7 (same).
    This quintile accounts for 5.91% of all posts.
  • Q5: Fewest posts: From two posts (one every 46 days) to five (one every 18 days)–noting that 15 blogs had five posts each, making it impossible to break quintiles at a number break.
    Average: 3.38 posts (just over one per month)
    Median: 3 (one per month).
    This quintile accounts for 2.83% of all posts.
    It’s worth noting that Q5 hits the lower limit of the study: Blogs with one post were excluded.

In an extreme case, if you took a sample of 50 public library blogs and happened to get all blogs from Q1, and then took another sample and happened to get all blogs from Q5, you’d have a truly ridiculous situation: One group would show more than twenty times as many posts as the other group!

With a distribution like this, it’s interesting to see how closely it approaches the Pareto assumption. The answer: Not very. To get 80% of the posts, you need to include 38% of the blogs.

Blogging libraries: Doing the quintiles

Posted in C&I Books, Libraries, Writing and blogging on March 11th, 2008

This isn’t going to be another lament about lack of sales and attention for Public Library Blogs: 252 Examples and Academic Library Blogs: 231 Examples. I did finally encounter a one-paragraph review of the first book which suggests that I failed completely as a writer and marketer–that, at least in that reader’s eyes, there’s simply no value-add in the book. (Also, although neither book is setting the world on fire, sales haven’t stopped completely. Close, but not quite…)

In my snarkier moods, I have a reason why the blogging gurus haven’t mentioned either book. The books represent the only large-scale objective surveys of library blogs, as far as I know–and maybe objectivity isn’t desirable in this case. Maybe there’s a clear desire not to know how library blogs are doing in the real world, other than a few cherry-picked examples. I’d like to think that’s not the case. It would be unprofessional to tell people about how wonderful library blogs are, and encourage them to create such blogs, without giving them honest and broad-ranging information on what’s actually happening with such blogs.

In fact, I biased the studies in both cases to make them more favorable to library blogging. Namely, I completely omitted blogs that were defunct or essentially moribund, along with blogs less than three months old. I did summarize the situation early in each book, but only very briefly.

  • Of 325 public library blogs that were in English and had been around since 12/07 or earlier, 116 (roughly 36%) were omitted but could have been included as “failed examples”: 68 reachable but defunct, 19 unreachable, 29 moribund (with no posts in two of the three months tested). (If you get 209 rather than 252, that’s right: The other 43 were additional blogs from libraries with blogs in the study.)
  • I didn’t provide as much information on academic library blogs, but there were 54 reachable and defunct, 22 moribund, and another 40 “problematic” (many of them unreachable). I’d guess the “failed examples” total about one-third of what might have been included.

I mentioned those numbers but only in passing, focusing on blogs with some evidence of success.

Perhaps I should have spent more time on metrics and less on offering useful examples, so that the books are more clearly surveys with analysis, not just a bunch of stuff pulled from blogs.

What I’d love to do, along survey and analysis lines, is a longitudinal survey: Look at the same blogs one or two years later, adding readily-available information on newly-formed blogs. In such a case, I’d probably skip the sample posts altogether and focus entirely on metrics. On the other hand, I wonder whether that would garner enough support to make it worth even $1/hour for the time it would require…and, let’s face it, I don’t have institutional support for any of this.


Anyway, I’m not trying to convince you or your library to buy either book, either as a $20 PDF or $29.50 paperback. That’s a lot of money if the books don’t add value. What I am going to do is some additional commentary on the metrics–commentary that perhaps should have been in the books.Namely, I’m going to “do the quintiles.”Quintiles?

A reasonably natural way to subdivide a universe along one dimension–into five groups, each making up 20% of the universe. There are even natural adjectives for each quintile. So, for example, for number of posts during the three-month period, the first quintile is “most frequent posting,” second quintile is “more frequent posting,” third quintile is “average frequency,” fourth quintile is “less frequent posting,” and fifth quintile is “least frequent posting.”

I’m going to do a series of posts over the next several days (or weeks–I’m fitting this in with more mainstream writing work) providing information on the quintiles for each metric within each book. I might interleave the two books or I might do all of PLB first, then all of ALB.

I trust a few of you will find this informative. If I did do a longitudinal study (probably combining both sets of blogs), I’d probably report the quintiles for each blog, but I’m not going to do that here.

Watch this space.

Unanswered questions: A natural for a new library wiki?

Posted in Movies and TV, Technology and software on March 10th, 2008

Wayne Bivens-Tatum posted “On verifying the nonexistence of nonabsurd reference objects” today (March 10, 2008, that is) at Academic Librarian. He describes two reference interviews that left him unsatisfied: He couldn’t find an answer to the question, but he also couldn’t be satisfied that no such answer exists.

He says:

I think what we reference librarians need is a reference source that lists all of the questions for which we know there is no answer. Then I could go to this source, look up the obscure German artist, and say, “See, it says here that no biographical information exists on this person, and this is the authoritative reference source on the nonexistence of nonabsurd reference objects. Do you have any other questions?” A source like this would let me rest easier after a fruitless search. It could be, though, that this reference source already exists, and I just can’t find it. If only I could know for sure.

A reference source listing all questions for which we know there is no answer is a tall order, as unanswered questions sometimes get answered. (Do we know with reasonable certainty who the model was for the Mona Lisa? We do now, apparently.)

What’s needed here, I believe, is something different. (Remember, what you’re about to read is coming from one of those nasty aging Luddite anti-L2 people; I even precede the boomers!)

I think there should be an Unanswered Questions Wiki. Librarians with legitimate reference questions they haven’t been able to answer could post them here. If someone else comes up with a resource answering the question, they add the resource. If the original poster, or someone else, agrees that this is a legitimate answer, they change the item’s category from Unanswered to Answered.

You would, of course, need some combination of logon and oversight to avoid the spam problems that seem to plague almost all wide-open wikis these days (and wide-open blogs, and wide-open whatever…)

Yes, there was STUMPERS-L and is now Project Wombat–but wouldn’t this make more sense as a wiki, incorporating the open questions from PW?

As I said in my comment on the original post, this seems like a natural project for RUSA, but it doesn’t need to be that formal. No, I’m not volunteering: I may “run” a MediaWiki wiki but I didn’t set it up and I’m not at liberty to host another one. (Yes, I think MediaWiki is the right software, bless its ugly-syntax heart: It’s used by several widely-used multilibrary wikis already–LISWiki, Library Success, PLN–and, to be sure, the whale of all wikis, Wikipedia.)

Let me say this again: Whoever does this needs to have provisions to minimize spam.

The 12-hour entrepreneurial book!

Posted in Books and publishing, Language, Writing and blogging on March 7th, 2008

I get press releases sometimes–presumably because I write a column for EContent, maybe because I’ve started writing a column for ONLINE again. Most of them I simply delete. Those that plead with me to call for an interview with Mr. X, I respond to, noting that “disContent”–my EContent column–is based on my being an outsider, a “citizen,” thus having inside contacts would weaken my role.

And then there are others. What appears below in indented paragraphs is a press release I received yesterday. Names will be neutralized, for reasons that may be obvious…

Author A Discovers Cure For Information Overload With Help Of Proven Authoring And Business Development System

B, author and infopreneur guru, demonstrates to fast write a money-making book in less than 12 hours and build a business focused on multiple streams of income.

That’s an italicized small-type sentence under the large-type title. We’re talking about writing and reading a supposedly professional press release, so editorial nitpicking may be in order. Let’s see: no “how” between “demonstrates” and “to.” “fast write a money-making book in less than 12 hours“–well, this isn’t editorial, but I cringe instantly at the thought of a book written in less than 12 hours.

Not too long ago, when someone wanted information, she would have to drive to the library, use the card catalog, and search the stacks of books and magazine to find it. Then the Information Age arrived. Computers and the internet have brought information home to the average person. There is now too much of a good thing because of this fact.

Yep. There were no sources of information other than libraries before the information age–no newspapers, no telephones, no friends to call for advice, no experts. Never mind. It gets better.

Many people believe we are still in the Information Age. What they do not realize is that people are drowning in too much information to the point where they are easily overwhelmed. Anyone who wants to test this can look up almost any search term on Google to experience the feeling of information overload.

Isn’t that what happens with you every day? You look up something on Google and say, “Oh no! I’m overwhelmed! I can’t cope!” And, of course, being smart, you never use Google again. Information overload claims another victim!

Technoradi Inc. estimates that over 75 thousand new blogs are created each day. A recent University of Iowa study calculated the size of the worldwide web at more than 11.5 billion pages. Having too much information to sort through is counter productive.

I wonder how many blogs Technorati thinks are being built? I’ve never heard of this other outfit. And, of course, thinking the number of entities in a universe has anything to do with what you need to sort with is not so much counterproductive (one word) as it is, well, stupid. There are more than one hundred million books; somehow, that doesn’t prevent me from finding the ones I want in Worldcat.org or my local library.

What people are really looking for is not the information, but what results the information will give them. Someone who buys a drill is really buying the holes that the drill will make. One who buys a mattress is in search of a good night’s sleep. Information is a means to an end.

This paragraph’s OK.

Now people are looking for more than information. With too much of a good thing ready at hand, what they want is a trusted guide to go beyond facts and figures to provide a recommendation. They want advice, easy answers, and a shortcut to the answers they seek.

So when there was less information, people were satisfied to get the information? When (he asks) has there been a time that people were more interested in information than they were in results? And when has there been a time when people didn’t seek shortcuts. Like, for example, shortcuts to writing “books” so that they take less than 12 hours, instead of the several hundred hours that sloths like me require.

Society has moved from the Information Age to the Recommendation Age. The savvy author and entrepreneur who understands the Recommendation Age can become the industry leader in his or her area of expertise and build a business around a book even before the manuscript is complete.

Now we’re getting to the crux of the matter–and it’s clearly not about crafting superior books. “Recommendation Age” leaves me cold, but that’s personal.

A, author of C D, of C.com, currently offers the book as an electronic book or e-book. He is building a business around his system for E and getting feedback from readers as he prepares to publish the book in print. Jensen worked with B and his team at E.com to create the book and build a well-developed business model around it.

If you’re wondering C and D are both multiword phrases, one the title and the other the subtitle of the book; C is in italics, D isn’t. There’s no colon between them.

The ebook is available through Lulu.com. While Lulu won’t show me somebody else’s sales, it does show anybody what the sales rank for an item is. So how is A doing on feedback from readers of the ebook? Well…let’s just say that the item ranks somewhere below 60,000. The print version of Cites & Insights 2007 ranks somewhere around 31,000. It would be inappropriate of me to say what the actual sales are, I suppose–particularly since sales rank may not mean the same thing for ebooks as it does for print books. (I will say that C&I 2006 has sold fewer than one-half as many copies on Lulu than Academic Library Blogs, which is doing better on Amazon–and that book, in turn, has sold roughly 5% as many copies as Balanced Libraries at Lulu. I’ll also say that BL is nowhere near my previously announced “Success point.” Draw your own conclusions.)

B’s F Program teaches clients to write a money-making book in 12 hours of actual writing time. Clients who complete the program discover how to write a book that is “entrepreneurially sound.”

I went to E.com. Yep, it’s there in big type: “Write A 100 Page Money-Making Book In Less Than 12 Hours Of Actual Writing Time And Gain Instant Access To A New York Publisher.” Note That Every Word Is Capitalized, including articles and conjunctions. Yes, the string from the space before “12” through “Publisher” is also underlined (interestingly, the underlined space is on the line before the rest: this page doesn’t for any of that new-age flowing text crap), but of course it’s not a link. There is a link a little further down. If you click on that one, you get the same text–but this time it’s all underlined. Further down, there’s the eloquent “Here you will see for yourself Why our program works and what sets us apart from others who make similar claims”–a random capital letter being one of the marks of successful book writing.

Here’s a warning for you: “WARNING: If You Are Not A Knowledge Broker In The Recommendation Age, You Are A Nobody!” All in big red type. (Look, B is a Former Vice Principal, so you better not doubt his word–you’ll get detention.)

Taking B’s program, A has discovered how to turn his expertise into a step-by-step system through which people that have X can achieve better physical and mental health. His consulting and speaking business is growing steadily. The feedback he is receiving as a result of working with individuals and speaking to groups allows him to develop his business to match the wants and needs of his target audience.

I wouldn’t be surprised if A actually had worthwhile expertise. I would be very surprised if A wrote that ebook (>250 pages) in less than 12 hours–and unless there are other editions hiding somewhere, A sure isn’t getting a big business based on ebook sales.

B has dozens of video testimonials of successful clients like A on his website and blog. He offers his case study driven H e-class, a $700 value, at no cost on his website F.com. B, a former Vice Principal with Two Post-Graduate Degrees, replaced his income and his wife’s income with a proven, breakthrough system he created. He now teaches his clients how to replicate his proprietary program. B is founder and President of G. B also provides keynotes, seminars, workshops, teleseminars, and [another trademarked term], as well as being known as an international speaker. In addition helping entrepreneurs with business authoring, he also teaches entrepreneurs and business owners how to successfully create a digital product and then build an online business that produces consistent, multiple streams of income. For additional media information about F or B please visit F.com.

Ah, more random capital letters–and a “$700 value” course offered “at no cost.” Would I be cynical if I suggested that there are costs, and big ones, somewhere down the road? Including, for example, the cost of thinking you’ve written a hot stuff book in less than 12 hours and that you’ll gain wealth and fame from the New York publisher you’ll be introduced to and the multistream income system that accompanies it.

B even throws in $300 worth of books or ebooks as part of the offer, speaking of setting sales records. Yes, B does have one book on Amazon; yes, it’s within the top 50,000 in sales. (Worldcat.org shows three copies in libraries.) People who buy it buy lots of other get-rich-quick books, particularly ones having to do with the fabulous wealth that can be yours from writing, even if you’re nearly illiterate.


I know. This is sour grapes. If I’d taken this free course, I’d be rolling in dough from multiple income streams from the book(s) I’d have written–each in less than 12 hours time!–and whatever it is I got from that New York Publisher. After all, it’s a proven, breakthrough system.Or maybe I could do PR for outfits like this. Given the attention to checking firm names and grammar and to normal (dull) English rules of capitalization, that press release sure as heck took less than 12 hours to write–maybe less than 12 minutes.Sigh. Back to my plodding old slow writing. If only I could learn Authoring instead.

Cites & Insights: The Centenary Issue is still available

Posted in Cites & Insights on March 7th, 2008

It’s possible that a few of you may have gone to the Cites & Insights home page and found it presenting the February 2008 issue as current.

I’m not sure what happened (whether I did something stupid–quite possible–or whether some other glitch was to blame), but the “current” home page wasn’t there this morning, replaced with a pre-February 15 version.

I’ve re-uploaded the current home page. Other statistics indicate that this couldn’t have affected very many people. Anyway, it’s fixed. Issue #100 is the current issue (and will be for at least a while longer).

Now, as to why there continue to be so many downloads of a two-year-old issue…


I notice that one fairly high-profile blogger, who also writes the occasional book, now inserts an ad for that book after every post. I’m tempted, but would hate to lose readers because of the annoyance factor. Still, Cites & Insights books has some worthwhile books–Balanced Libraries, Public Library Blogs, Academic Library Blogs and paperback versions of the two most recent C&I volumes–at reasonable prices ($29.50 each). For those who prefer e-reading, the first rhree even available as $20 PDF downloads. End of ad, and I promise I won’t do this on every post.

Cleaning up after yourselves: A suggestion for LIS faculty

Posted in Writing and blogging on March 5th, 2008

Here’s a quick suggestion for LIS faculty teaching social software courses–or for some other reason encouraging or requiring your students to create blogs.

Nothing wrong with doing that. And I see that more of them are creating subtitles instead of accepting the default (e.g., “Just another WordPress blog” for WordPress blogs).

Also nothing wrong with asking or telling them to take the next step: Add the blog to the LISWiki blog list. Gives them a little experience in wiki editing and makes the blog more visible. As with other important multilibrary wikis, LISWiki uses MediaWiki, with that wacky MediaWiki markup notation…which I’ve grown to know, but will probably never grow to love.

Here’s the suggestion:
Tell the people who decide to abandon the blog after the course that they should clean up after themselves: That is, remove the blog from the LISWiki blog list…or at least mark it “no longer being updated.”

Some of them will delete the blogs entirely. If they were purely experimental or created because they had no choice, that may be reasonable–but in that case they should particularly remove the LISWiki listing.

Right now, the LISWiki list of individual weblogs is the closest thing we have to a (reasonably) comprehensive live liblog list. (I think the LISZEN list is longer, but it’s really cluttered up with dead blogs.) It’s nice to keep it that way.

Two weeks in: Not cursing, more productive

Posted in Technology and software on March 4th, 2008

Two weeks ago tomorrow, I decided to try using my new notebook PC as my only PC–using it as a mini-desktop, with my Sony 19″ LCD as a secondary display and my wireless Microsoft Natural keyboard and mouse as primary typing and pointing tools. (The keyboard on the Gateway notebook is actually just fine–but I’m really used to the Natural, and with the way I have my desk set up, the notebook’s keyboard is too far away to use. As for the touchpad…well, I could adjust the “tap” sensitivity, but I’m so used to a good optical mouse…). I wrote about it here and here and here.

So how’s it going? Am I cursing at the notoriously “broken” Windows Vista, desperately trying to downgrade to XP, and swearing at all the ways that Office 2007 disrupts all my learning from Office 2000? Finding that apps won’t load properly, that things behave mysteriously? Have I realized that notebooks really aren’t made for everyday use?

Nope. Frankly, I’m beginning to wonder about all those claims that Vista is broken. Other than my wife’s occasional glitch with Wifi shutting down under battery power (a known problem that doesn’t affect me, both because I’m usually on AC and because, since the notebook’s two feet from the DSL modem/router/wifi box, I’ve got it plugged in via Ethernet).

Here’s what I’m finding, in no particular order:

  • I was having one odd and extremely minor issue at startup, but couldn’t tell whether it was Vista or the Intel graphics driver: The monitor would always come up as an extension to the right of the notebook (primary display), and my desk layout really necessitates having it on the left. No big deal: One mouse click, a drag-and-drop, another mouse click, and it was fixed. But: after a week or so–I’m not sure how long–the problem went away. Vista consistently comes up now with the dual display exactly the way I want it: The 1280×800 notebook primary display on the right (and displaying the desktop shortcuts and the taskbar), the 1280×1024 monitor secondary display on the left, wide open except for the desktop picture.
  • The notebook comes up a lot faster than my 5.5-year-old XP desktop did: something under a minute (maybe 45 seconds for full startup?) instead of 2-4 minutes Timed: 90 seconds as compared to 4-5 minutes). Shuts down faster, too. Applications start at about the same speed, but file opening is significantly faster, probably because the virus scan isn’t loading a single CPU.
  • Last time the weekly virus/spyware scan started up, I didn’t even notice–there was no slowdown in applications. I’m generally finding that applications always run at full speed; that second CPU really does make a difference.
  • Technically, if Hz is all that counts, the notebook’s a step back from my old PC: 1.67GHz rather than the 2.2GHz of my old desktop. But that’s nonsense: The old desktop was a Pentium (4?), the new one’s a Core 2 Duo, and each of those two CPUs does a lot more per cycle than the old one. Technically, the new hard disk is slower too (5400RPM rather than 7200RPM), but there’s nothing I do where that seems to matter–and, of course, with 3GB RAM (I used to have 756MB), I’m not doing much of any paging to disk. I’m also using Intel integrated graphics where I used to have a graphics card (but, of course, a 2002-vintage graphics card)–but since I’m not a gamer, I don’t see a problem. I let Vista decide how much eye candy to use; I’m happy with the results. When I’ve tried doing a little graphics work, it’s certainly faster than it used to be.
  • Compatibility hasn’t been a problem, except for the Acrobat 7 situation discussed last time around–and that was an Acrobat 7 incompatibility with Word 2007 more than a Vista problem. Otherwise, I’ve been astonished at how well very old software has installed and run. As for Vista and the builtin utilities, so far everything seems to be better than for XP.
  • One very pleasant surprise: I was led to believe that Vista Home Premium doesn’t include Windows Backup–but maybe Gateway made special arrangements. It’s there, right in the Tools tab for the hard disk, and it works just fine: Differently than XP Backup, but equally well. (I’m backing up all text files to a flash drive; very fast, very easy.)
  • I always used to use PowerDesk instead of Windows Explorer. While there’s a PowerDesk 6 that runs just fine under Vista, I find I’m usually using Windows Explorer instead–and when I found it a nuisance to get to the directory structure where I store everything, I found that dragging the highest-level directory up to Favorites took care of the problem immediately. (It’s a long story, but all of my data directories are under a “d\” directory…I’ve never used My Whatever except for MP3s.)
  • I rarely take time to play it, but the new Solitaire is much more sophisticated than the XP version…
  • Then there’s Word 2007 and Excel 2007. (I rarely use PowerPoint, and I’m using Access 2003–and, if I ever want it, Publisher 2003.) I already knew from looking over my wife’s shoulder that I wanted Word 2007, and I’m quite happy with it. OK, so the “quick style set from template” doesn’t work quite as thoroughly as I’d like, but there’s a trivial workaround for that, and it’s something that wouldn’t affect less template-oriented users. It’s clear that the ribbon exposes functions more thoroughly and logically; once I realized how easy it was to minimize the ribbon (when multiple on-screen applications make space difficult), I was completely sold. (Want to minimize the ribbon? Just right-click on the menu line, check “Minimize the ribbon”–I know, that’s pretty arcane, but…–and you’re left with the menu line, the quick access toolbar above it, and nothing else. To restore the ribbon, just click on any of the menus (Home, Insert, etc.) I find Word working more smoothly than it was before. The new live-preview features are nice ways to stay out of trouble… OK, I haven’t tried save-as-HTML yet, to see how it compares with Word 2000, but so far I’m really quite pleased. As for Excel: It worked before, it works now, I think it’s more logical, but I’m not a power user in any case.
  • And the productivity gains from a two-screen setup with easy drag-and-drop to place things where I want them! When I’m working on the PALINET Leadership Network (have you signed up yet? give it a try!), it’s much faster to be able to devote a big chunk of screen space to a source document while I’m editing it in the wiki than it was to either use smaller windows or tab back and forth. But that’s nothing compared to what I was doing this afternoon: A project that required a good-size Firefox window, plus an Excel spreadsheet, plus a tall (but slender) Firefox window sitting on one site, plus a third wide (but not necessarily too high) Firefox window sitting on another site–and, ideally, with all the windows fully visible simultaneously. I just couldn’t make that work on my old PC, but with the dual display it’s a snap.

Do I assume everything will be perfect? No. This is a computer and I’m using a variety of software; I assume there will be some glitches. But so far, you can color me happy and productive.

Oh, as for the notebook itself…well, I only use it 3 or 4 hours at a time, typically, and I’ve found that even after four straight hours, the hottest part of the case isn’t much above room temperature and the noise varies from totally silent to a whisper-quiet fan. Except, of course, when I’m running something from the DVD burner; that’s a noisy beast at times (although not always–actually playing a DVD isn’t particularly noisy, but installing software can get a pretty good buzzsaw going). If I do want to listen to music, the earphone jack’s right on the front of the notebook and, as it should, cuts out the little speakers automatically.

Fact is, except for installing software and the clatter of the keyboard (I’m a heavy-handed typist, apparently), the office is quieter now with the notebook on than it was with the desktop PC off–because the old speaker system that I used with the desktop had a subwoofer that was always on and had a low, soft hum (masked by the PC’s fan when it was on). Since I really wasn’t listening to the speakers any more, since it’s now really convenient to plug in headphones, and since two screens do take up more desk space–well, the Altec-Lansing surround speakers gave me great service for 8+ years, and now they’re in the garage. Time changes.

I’m probably using a little less power now when not running the PC, and not much more (and maybe less) when I am using it. When I’m not, I’ve got the printer and the notebook’s AC adapter/charger on a power strip and I just turn off the power strip, so there’s no standby power at all. I turn off the LCD monitor, and I don’t believe it has any standby power with the switch off. And, presumably, the notebook has lower-power components than the old desktop–at least if the fan noise is any indication, it’s putting out a lot less heat! (And, to be sure, my office now has four 16-watt CFLs instead of four 60-watt incandescent bulbs…)


One of these days, I might yet start up the silly project I’d planned to do ever since I got the XP system: Trying some of the 40 or 50 old title CD-ROMs (all of them from the mid to late 1990s) to see whether they’d run at all and how they “feel” on a newer system. These are all CDs designed for Windows 95/98; jumping to XP means the CDs couldn’t access hardware directly–and Vista is even more virtualized than XP. Will I ever get around to that? If I do, you’ll read about it.

Does anybody (still) use Windows Me?

Posted in Technology and software on March 1st, 2008

That’s the gist of this post:

Do you–or someone you know–use Windows Me (Millennium Edition)? (“Did you ever use Windows Me” might be a reasonable question, but…)

If so, why?

I’m curious. A recent PC Magazine back-page humor piece has “personality profiles” for users of various OSes, and it includes one for Windows Me. That startled me a bit, because I assumed that this turkey had long since disappeared.

Am I wrong? Is there any plausible reason not to migrate to XP? (Not asking on my own behalf. I was using XP/SP2, and am now happily using Vista Home Premium… I never had Me on my PC, fortunately.)


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