Honors and reflections

I didn’t do a reflective “looking back 10 years” post (at least not yet), and I really don’t do Resolutions, but maybe a couple of notes are in order.

Honored

I’m delighted to be part of LISNews’ “10 Librarian Blogs To Read in 2010“–particularly since I demurred from self-nomination because (a) I’m technically not a librarian (“geez, Walt, that’s getting old”), (b) the blog really is random–and, I think, much less useful to the profession than Cites & Insights [see below], (c) although I’m always delighted to have more readers, the blog metrics don’t suggest that I’m shouting into an empty hall by any means.

Which makes it all the more improbable and delightful that I’m part of the list–along with four or five blogs I’m already using as sources for Library Leadership Network essays, and one I honesty hadn’t heard of and now subscribe to.

Cites & Insights

There will be a “Midwinter issue,” but it will be another all-repeat, only-there-for-two-weeks special. This time, the name is “Cites ON a Plane 2010,” and the orthography might give you a clue as to the contents. This time also, I’m hoping people will read the thing on “ereaders” (by which, in this case, I mean any device capable of reading and possibly reflowing a PDF–and yes, this one does have PDF bookmarks and will reflow), because it’s, well, not short (50 print pages, just over 39,500 words). There won’t be a set of HTML versions–but the post announcing it will provide links to the HTML originals for the various essays, and there are only six new paragraphs, one of them meaningful.

The dates of availability: January 6-19, 2010, after which it’s gone forever (unless I decide to incorporate it into the trade-paperback version of v. 10, and that’s unlikely given the sheer length). It may turn up sometime tomorrow afternoon…

And, of course, I’m still soliciting donations for C&I, either directly (via PayPal) or indirectly (via C&I books purchases, although I lowered the price of the annual volumes). Thanks to those who already donated. Thanks to all the others who read C&I!

Reflections

I read one 2000-2010 comparison of the technology a particular person was using. Since the person did not even suggest that his usage was typical or likely to become universal, I took the post for what it was: An interesting personal commentary.

That person is, I think, a technology enthusiast and an early adopter. I’m enthusiastic about following technology–but maybe not so much of an early adopter. And I don’t keep records good enough to know exactly how things have changed, technologically or otherwise, over the past decade.

But I do have a couple of notions and semi-faulty remembrances.

Technology

  • In January 2000, I was definitely using a Gateway desktop (mid-tower or full tower) PC, almost certainly running Windows 98, probably a Pentium-III at around 200MHz, probably with a 20GB hard disk and 64MB RAM, probably with a 15″ display. I’m not really sure, but it’s likely it was somewhere in that neighborhood. (It probably had a V.90 modem.) I’m sure I had an HP LaserJet, and I’m sure the computer cost upwards of $2,000 and the printer cost as much or more.
  • In January 2010, I’m using a Gateway notebook (that really never moves, so it’s basically a silent desktop), running Vista (for now), with a Core 2 duo CPU (two CPUs, each–I think–1.6GHz, but doing a lot more with each cycle than the Pentium-III ever did), with 3GB RAM and a 250GB hard disk–and with a 15″ display on the notebook, but my “primary display” is the 19″ Sony LCD I purchased halfway through the decade. It doesn’t have a modem; I do use broadband. (It has WiFi pre-N class, but since it’s only a few feet from the WiFi router, it’s hardwired Ethernet.) No LaserJet; instead, a Canon Pixma all-in-one inkjet scanner/copier/printer. The computer, now almost two years old, cost around $650; the printer, around $150. The combo is much quieter, probably uses a quarter as much power, and is many times as fast.
  • I don’t think my wife was using a computer at home much at all in 2000; now, she’s using a Toshiba that’s roughly comparable to my Gateway (but with 2GB RAM), attaching via Wi-Fi. Also Core 2 Duo 1.6GHz, also Vista. She’s more of a power user than I am in some ways–she does photo-editing and heavy-duty genealogical research.
  • Cameras? She’s the photographer, and in 2000 she was using a compact 35mm. camera. She finally moved to digital last year (a Nikon L18). When she upgrades (she’ll eventually need 10x zoom for some specific work), I’ll probably start playing with the little Nikon. Her percentage rate of great photos during travel was so high that the costs of film photography weren’t bad–but she’s learning to love the freedom of digital photography.
  • Portable electronics? You’ve come to the wrong place. In 2000, I might have had a portable CD player but didn’t use it very often; we probably had a nice Motorola flip phone, used only for emergencies, but paying AT&T way too much each month for minutes we never used. Now, we have a Samsung flip phone on Virgin Mobile, paying $90 a year to have an emergency phone (and I don’t think I’ll ever use up the minutes at $0.18 each)–and yes, we still have a landline. The portable CD player’s disappeared, replaced by a 2GB (4GB with flash card) Sansa Express MP3 player. At 1″x3″x0.5″ deep (0.6″ at the deepest point), it’s thicker than today’s little media players, but it’s done just fine for a couple of years, for $40 (well, plus another $40 for fabulous Sennheiser folding headphones). That’s about it. If I traveled more for work, I’d buy a netbook. For now, I continue to be offline when traveling.
  • TV? We’re watching the same 32″ Sony XBR that we were watching in 2000, but we’re paying less for cable (’cause we have true “basic basic,” 30 channels total). Just as I may upgrade the MP3 player shortly (probably to a Sansa Zune), we’ll replace the XBR one of these days (with a good LED-backlit LCD HDTV, probably). When we get around to it. Oh, and we’re still using an S-VHS recorder, although that too will be replaced with a DVR. Eventually.
  • I don’t remember whether we already had a DVD player in 2000. I think not, but maybe we did–probably a Sony 5-disc changer that was a mistake and eventually died. Right now, we’re using a freebie CyberHome that Safeway gave us as part of a store-remodeling celebration (they handed out dozens of these), something like two years ago…but, when we upgrade the TV, we’ll certainly buy a Blu-ray player. (Actually, I’m going out tomorrow to get a “fancier” DVD player, but that’s because of a situation involving our very nice integrated CD stereo system and its busted too-fancy CD handling; it turns out to be a lot cheaper to just add an external CD player than to get it fixed, and the easiest way to buy an appropriate inexpensive CD player is to buy a DVD player. The player may never be attached to a TV.)

Otherwise

  • Personally: I was married to a wonderful woman (and professional librarian) and had been for 22 years, with plans for many more. Now? Same woman, 32 years, same plans.
  • Professionally: In early 2000, I’d been a LITA Top Tech Trends “Trendspotter” for a year and was on the ITAL editorial board (and that year’s LITA nominations committee). I was writing articles for American Libraries (my column, only running three years, didn’t start until 2002), columns in EContent and Online (CD reviews in EContent, PC Monitor in Online), “Crawford’s Corner” in Library Hi Tech News and the occasional book–and I was speaking six to eight times a year. Now? No official LITA duties, my EContent column (“disContent”–which began in 2001) ended with December 2009, my Online column (a new one) is going fine–and “Crawford’s Corner” morphed into Cites & Insights. Speaking seems to be stuck at around one speech per year. I still write the occasional book. This blog didn’t exist in 2000. Neither did my FriendFeed account (or FriendFeed, for that matter).
  • Oh yes: And I worked full-time for RLG as a systems analyst and designer, with my wife also working full-time there, and we’d moved to Mountain View (where RLG was located) a couple of years previously. Now, she’s “retired” (and working on genealogy), I’m semi-retired (and believe I’m doing worthwhile work on the Library Leadership Network), and we’ve moved to Livermore (not all that big a move).

Hmm. Those aren’t really reflections, are they? I don’t see much momentous there. So I guess I’ll keep on keeping on, a practice I can heartily recommend.

3 Responses to “Honors and reflections”

  1. Blake Says:

    I’ve always thought of it as “Blogs For Librarians” rather than “Blogs Written By Librarians” anyways.

  2. walt Says:

    Sounds good to me…

  3. Jeff Scott Says:

    Walt,

    I was just finishing graduate school and was working at an archive in 2000. Most of my earliest professional reading came from your writing in its various places (and of course, much of my reading still comes from your work). Just wanted to send a thank you for that.


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