Archive for June, 2013

Survey on “A library is…” and “Give us a dollar…”

Posted in Books and publishing on June 12th, 2013

As noted in yesterday’s post, I’m doing a little survey before continuing work on the little book of public library mottoes/slogans or working on crowdsourcing for a future “Give Us a Dollar…”

The survey should take no more than a couple of minutes to complete.

Here’s the address in the clear: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/3SQ332D

I’ll let the survey run for at least a week.

If you’re at all interested in this–or if you think the little book of library mottoes is a terrible idea–please respond. The survey’s anonymous, of course.

A library is…: Clearly feasible. Worth doing?

Posted in Books and publishing, Libraries on June 11th, 2013

A few days ago, I discussed the possible future of Give Us a Dollar and We’ll Give You Back Four (2012-13)–and one possible premium for an IndieGoGo or KickStarter campaign to fund the project.

Here’s what I said at the time:

I’ve done about 1/6th of the work toward what could be a great premium for such a campaign, if the campaign makes sense at all–an idea I’d mentioned earlier (in conjunction with a now-abandoned plan for future external measures of library social network activity), to wit:

A Library Is… (working title, subject to change), a collection of the slogans actually used by (some) public libraries. (So far, I’m finding that about 20% of the libraries checked have such slogans, once you exclude “Serving X since [date]” and “Welcome to your library” and the like. That percentage may go down–I’m starting out by checking the easy ones, libraries with web addresses in the IMLS 2010 report. I’ve checked about 1,650 libraries so far, yielding a little over 300 slogans/mottoes. I’ll probably check 3,000 or so before deciding whether to do the book.)

The book would be entirely derivative and serve only for inspiration and perhaps amusement. It would be an exclusive edition (probably PDF and paperback), available only as a premium, and not offered for sale separately. Premium levels could include PDF, paperback, signed paperback, and possibly–if I include library pictures–color paperback, signed color paperback, or even signed hardcover.

A Quarter Through…

I’ve now finished checking libraries with web addresses in the IMLS database (and rechecking about 10%-20% of them, where the web address is obsolete or doesn’t work)–around 2,400 in all, I think.

Going back and deleting closed libraries and libraries in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, I have 6,755 left to do, so I’m a little more than a quarter done, somewhat less than a third.

I’m going to pause for a few days–to write the first chapter of that up-in-the-air book, to finish a C&I essay, to collect some survey responses about this (I’ll post a link to the survey probably tomorrow).

Clearly Feasible

Here’s what I’ve found so far:

  • Omitting signed epigraphs and mottoes/slogans such as “Welcome to the library,” “Serving [location or counties],” “Serving [location] for [years],” “Serving [location] since [date],” “Your library available anytime anywhere” and similar mottoes, with a very few exceptions where the nature of the modified motto makes it unusually interesting (e.g., a claim to be the oldest publicly funded library, a library that serves more than one state, a library with what feels like a clever downplayed claim), I come up with 441 mottoes/slogans (and very brief mission statements highlighted on the website) so far.
  • Are there repetitions? Yes–but probably not as many as you’d think. A casual runthrough finds about 16 libraries using slogans that some other library also uses. That’s about 4%: Not bad!
  • The range is interesting, as are quite a few of the mottoes or slogans.

I wouldn’t project that the rest of the scan would yield 1,240 mottoes or slogans–not even close. For one thing, I’d guess around 10%-15% won’t have websites or Facebook pages.

The total could easily be more than 1,000 slogans and mottoes, including–say–800 unique cases (that is, a LOT more repetition than I’ve found so far).

I’m still not sure how I’d organize the book (which would consist of a very brief introduction and a whole bunch of slogans/mottoes identified by library, city, state and 2010 LSA, set as hopefully-attractive separated paragraphs, not just continuous text).

I think the results would be interesting to some. Or not.

Worth doing?

If I finish the scan (done as an intermittent process when taking breaks from something else, which is how I’ve done it so far: 100 libraries a day is pretty easy, as that’s less than an hour’s total work) and prepare the book–which might or might not include little pictures for included libraries–here’s how it would be used:

  1. It would not be available for sale separately. At least I don’t think so.
  2. It would be a premium, in PDF form and possibly in paperback or hardback (or paperback or hardback with color pictures, a much more expensive proposition to do), for one or more fundraising campaigns.
  3. It could be a thank-you, in PDF form, for those contributing at least $35 to Cites & Insights.

So far, I haven’t thought of other possibilities.

I guess the question is: Is this an amusing and interesting idea–a little book of library mottoes–or is it just plain stupid?

(Little book: I figure 7 mottoes per page in a reasonably attractive well-spaced arrangement.)

As noted, I plan to prepare a little survey on the interest in funding a future Give Us a Dollar… and, slightly separately, the interest in (or dislike for!) this little book. Meanwhile, comments are open.

Fair use

By the way, I do not plan to ask any of the libraries for permission to use their mottoes and slogans (or, if I use them, the pictures from their websites). I regard that as eminently fair use–a nominal portion of a website that’s free in any case, with no negative impact on a library’s ability to raise money from its motto, and somewhat transformative by the context of hundreds of other mottoes.

If some copyright-oriented librarian thinks I’m wrong…well, the comments are open and my email continues to be waltcrawford@gmail.com

 

 

IUUI 4 followup

Posted in Books and publishing, C&I Books on June 10th, 2013

So what about Mostly Just Numbers: Coping with Everyday Statistics, discussed in this post?

Since that post, there’s been only one additional email or comment–and it’s a comment on the post from someone whose opinion I respect. I’ll quote it here in full:

I was pretty down with this until I got to the page count. Also, I expect “Excel” will drive off a lot of people. But 200 pages about statistics is a hard sell.

The “Excel” part, which only appears in chapter titles in the Librarian’s Extension portion, is more-or-less essential–that whole section is about how to use the tools you’re most likely to be familiar with to derive useful information from the very large datasets on public and academic libraries produced by IMLS and NCES. Those datasets aren’t in Excel form: They’re Access databases (or flat files that I find impenetrable).

I’m assuming that a lot more library folk are comfortable with Excel than are comfortable with Access. I’m guessing (I haven’t tested) that a lot of what I suggest doing would be much more cumbersome in Access. (I don’t have Access: I’d have to see whether LibreOffice Database could handle it.) The only real option here is to use LibreOffice/OpenOffice, and I’d guess–perhaps incorrectly–that librarian familiarity with Excel exceeds familiarity with the LibreOffice spreadsheet by a quite substantial factor.

It’s the first and third sentence that gave me pause–because I’m pretty sure Laura’s not alone there. Let me put on my Gramps on the Rocking Chair persona for a moment here:

Back in the day–when I wrote my first 10 published books, basically 1984 to 1992–the typical professional library book, as I understood it, was around 100,000 words, which translated to 300+ pages at 6″ x 9″. That’s a length I was reasonably comfortable with–as were, presumably, those reading or at least buying the books.

I don’t think that’s the case any more for nonfiction books that aren’t Big Scholarly Tomes. More recent books have generally included length limits in the contracts, ranging from 75,000-80,000 words down to 30,000 words. If I’m writing a book now, I’m likely to aim for around 50,000-60,000 words (or word-equivalents for heavily tabular or graphic books). Times change–but I still think of books much shorter than around 200 pages as being not quite books. That’s my problem.

OK, gramps, off the lawn. Back to my aging-but-not-quite-over-the-hill persona.

What I read into that comment is that I should aim for around 150 pages for the combined book, less than that for either portion. (What I actually said was “<200 pages” for the combined book, “<150 pages for general part, <100 pages for librarian supplement” if I split them out.)

Doing the whole thing in 150 pages would be difficult–not just because I’m a wordy bastard. The book seems to me to require a fair number of examples–graphs and screenshots. Specifically, calling out problems with statistics and graphs is really hard to do without showing some typical problems (or simulations of those problems). Each graph is at least 1/3 and probably 1/2 of a 6×9 page to be effective at all. The second part will need tables and partial screenshots to work at all, I think.

Can I do that in, say, 100 pages of actual text? Probably so–for the first part. For the whole thing? I’m not sure. If it’s too terse, it won’t be usable. If it’s too verbose, it won’t be used. If it’s either one, it won’t be as interesting as it could be.

Where things stand now

There’s another key element in the second paragraph above:

Since that post, there’s been only one additional email or comment

So I can project potential sales of seven. Or seventy. “Or 700″–but projecting 100 times as many sales as there have been expressions of interest is, shall we say, way out of line with my experience on recent self-pub books. At best, 15:1 or 20:1 seems plausible.

Much as I think this book/these books could be useful to others, they’re not exploring new ground for me (unlike Give Us a Dollar… and The Big Deal… and, in fact, most of the self-pub books I’ve done). That is, I won’t know a lot more at the end of the project than I will at the beginning.

Given that, potential sales of 70 copies makes no sense at all. Potential sales of 105 copies (15:1) isn’t much better. Potential sales of 140 copies? (20:1) Marginal in terms of effort and impact, at best.

My sensible side says there’s just not enough interest to make this worth doing.

My other side keeps wondering whether I could do a good enough job that it would get the word-of-mouth marketing that self-pub books really require (unless you’re ready to spend serious dough).

I think where things stand is that I might try writing the first two chapters and see whether they point to something I’d be proud of and believed would both be short enough to appeal to people and useful enough to satisfy them and me.

In other words, this one’s still way up in the air.

50 Movie Gunslinger Classics Disc 3

Posted in Movies and TV on June 9th, 2013

Yuma, 1971, color (TV movie). Ted Post (dir.), Clint Walker, Barry Sullivan, Kathryn Hays, Edgar Buchanan, Morgan Woodward, Peter Mark Richman, John Kerr, Bing Russewll, Bruce Glover. 1:14

Given a perfect print and the Aaron Spelling Production credit—and the fades to black at convenient plot points roughly once every fifteen minutes—it was fairly obvious this was a TV movie before looking it up. But it’s a good’un, with Clint Walker as a U.S. Marshal sent to Yuma after the last three law enforcement types have either died or left within a week of arriving. Even before he can check into a hotel or visit his office, he must deal with an out-of-control stage coach driven by two out-of-control cowboys, who start shooting in the air, go into a saloon to get even more drunk and keep on shooting. In the process (it’s clear that they hijacked a stage coach just for drunken laughs), he winds up shooting one of the King brothers—admittedly after the brother shot at him three times.

Just the start of a moderately complex plot that is as much mystery as western. I won’t bother recounting more of the plot, which involves corruption, the army, bidding procedures, a local tribe that’s being cheated and more. It actually hangs together fairly well. It’s particularly interesting that after you believe you know who the villains are, there’s more to it…and none of it’s trickery. Most of the performances are pretty good, and the whole thing was thoroughly enjoyable. (One little problem: The credits say the film was partly made in “Old Tuscon,” and I strongly suspect that was really Old Tucson.) A flick I may watch again. $1.50.

The Belle Starr Story (orig. Il mio corpo per un poker), 1968, color. Piero Cristofani and Lina Wertmüller (dirs..), Elsa Martinelli, Robert Woods, George Eastman, Francesca Righini. 1:43 [1:40]

This story is roughly half flashbacks, half contemporary—as Belle Starr, that pants-wearing fast-shooting poker-playing outlaw, falls suddenly in lust with Larry Blackie, a local criminal, and tells him her background. The contemporary part: He wants to hire her for an audacious robbery; she refuses and sets out to do it herself (with a hired gang). Things do not go well.

This version of Belle Starr is young, beautiful, heavily freckled and a fool for lust (I keep writing “love” but…), with a back story having almost nothing in common with the actual Belle Starr. The print’s fairly good (the credits are widescreen, but, sigh, the rest of the flick is pan-and-scan), and other than an extended torture scene (involving Starr’s lustmate), it’s not too bad on the violence part. It’s a Eurowestern, but an unusual one—one of few with a woman in the primary role (and nearly every frame) and almost certainly the only Eurowestern directed by Lina Wertmüller. A little baroque but not bad. (If you’re one who watches spaghetti westerns for lots of violence and gunplay, you’ll be disappointed.) $1.50.

Joshua, 1976, color. Larry G. Spangler (dir.), Fred Williamson, Cal Bartlett, Brenda Venus, Isela Vega, Bud Stout.

Or “oshu” according to the on-screen credits, I think. I almost gave up on this one because, while the print is OK as far as it goes, it doesn’t go very far: not so much pan-and-scan as stare-and-discard, the center portion of what appears to be a very wide-screen movie, such that you get people half off screen, none of the credits are readable, and the sense of scenic grandeur that might have made this sad enterprise more tolerable isn’t there. (IMDB says it was very wide-screen: 2.35:1, so I was saying the center 57% of the picture.

It’s a Fred Williamson movie all the way: He wrote the story and screenplay and he’s in almost every scene, as the son returning from the Civil War to the Old West and a cabin where his widowed mother’s cooking for a farmer, there with his much younger mail-order bride. But before he gets there, five riders appear at the house, say they need water and food, get invited in for supper…and, to show their gratitude, run off with the bride, shoot the guy when he protests (but don’t actually kill him), and shoot the cook because she reaches for her late husband’s rifle.

Enter the son, Joshua. He hears about the situation (from the bandaged farmer), sees a group of lawmen arrive saying they lost the five in the hills, hears the note that there are five of them, says he killed twice that many in the war…and he’s off.

The rest of the movie is riding. Lots of riding. More riding. Some stalking. Some really poor music, repeated endlessly. More riding. And, once in a while, Joshua offing one of the five men—or anybody else who happens to be in the way or is a nuisance of any sort. I lost count, but I think he avenges his mother’s death by killing at least 20 people—including the kidnapped bride. (Who, after being raped a few times, somehow turns willing cohort of the kidnappers—Stockholm syndrome, I suppose.) He arranges several of the deaths in various nasty ways. Oh, and even though he apparently took after these outlaws with just a saddlebag (holding supplies enough for several days), the saddlebag apparently includes the bundle of dynamite sticks that I assume were standard issue for Civil War veterans. (Oh yes: And there’s one big fistfight where each punch sounds like a kettledrum. I never knew flesh was that resonant.)

Pretty bad. For Fred Williamson fans and lovers of scenery, maybe, charitably, $0.75.

Any Gun Can Play, 1967, color. Enzo G. Castellari (dir.), Edd Byrnes, George Hilton, Gilbert Roland, Stefania Careddu, Jose Torres. 1:45 [1:37]

This is more like it. The flick was filmed very wide screen…and that’s how it appears here (once you use zoom setting). It’s a good enough digitization that zooming in doesn’t make the image unwatchable or less than VHS-quality. And the flick itself plays with Western tropes while being a pretty good (and moderately complex) spaghetti-style Western—part parody, part tribute, sometimes straightforward, with some nice touches along the way (e.g., spilling wine on the table to serve as a crude mirror for what’s happening behind you).

The opening is classic Western: three men riding slowly into the deserted streets of a town, sometimes filmed through a swinging wooden gate, with shots of townsfolk peering fearfully out their windows and the whole shebang. The Good, the Bad and the..well, no, these three gunmen aren’t important to the picture, as we quicky learn from a plot twist involving three coffins and the role of The Stranger, a bounty hunter (George Hilton). Then we move to a short train carrying $300,000 to a bank and occupied by armed troops to protect the shipment, a bank employee (Edd Byrns), and—oddly—one other passenger (guess who!). There’s an unusual robbery, and the plot’s in motion. I can’t even begin to describe all of the plot; it’s fair to say that the somewhat-happy ending isn’t at all what I expected. Some extended fistfights (with exaggerated sound effects), some gymnastics (really), lots of deaths but nearly all in the standard Spaghetti Western style (the person’s shot, makes one sound, jumps up and keels over—with maybe a bit of ketchup on his or her shirt). Some humor, some playing with clichés, and generally just enjoyable. Great scenery. (The IMDB synopsis is dead wrong, by the way.) Not quite a classic, but certainly worth $1.75.

 

Ad hominem or learning from experience?

Posted in Language, open access on June 8th, 2013

One of many, many so-called logical fallacies is ad hominem–“to the person,” short for argumentum ad hominem.

That link is to a Wikipedia article, and in this case (as in many others, although not always), it’s a pretty good discussion. If you read it, read the whole thing–including the Talk page (which I always recommend reading if you’re using Wikipedia for anything more than quick lookup).

I find it interesting that some academics and philosophers argue that ad hominem isn’t a fallacy at all.

I won’t go quite that far. I will say that some things that can be faulted as ad hominem are really something else: Learning from experience.

Viewed through the prism of long experience and various arw–sorry, awkward–attempts, it’s not unreasonable to be deeply suspicious of new initiatives from old antagonists emerging to a chorus of selective praise from the usual suspects.

That’s not ad hominem; it’s learning from experience. It’s learning that, based on oodles of previous cases, you should view proposals from certain parties with extreme skepticism, even reasonably beginning with a stance of “demonstrate that this isn’t another trick” rather than “sure, sounds like a good idea, let’s investigate further.”

Technically, it’s true that just because an agency or group or person has been wrong 100 times doesn’t mean that they couldn’t be right the 101st time. But saying “well, you can’t judge the future by the past, so you have to give them the benefit of the doubt” is just silly–and calling an inclination to judge the future by the past argumentum ad hominem is equally silly.

I won’t claim that I won’t get fooled again–that would be as absurd as hoping that I would die before I get old. (A bit late for that by now!) I will claim that I’ll apply substantially more critical analysis, looking for loopholes, questioning underlying motives, assuming the worst…all those nasty things…to proposals coming from parties and groups with long histories of suspicious proposals.

If doing so is a logical fallacy, so be it.

IUUI 3: Followup

Posted in Books and publishing, C&I Books on June 7th, 2013

Another in a series of followup posts, this time on “Important, useful, used, interesting: Part 3,” which discussed Give Us a Dollar and We’ll Give You Back Four (2012-13) and its possible future.

There’s no followup for IUUI 2, because the post was self-contained. To wit, C&I will continue to have Media sections containing what used to be “Offtopic Perspectives,” namely brief reviews of old movies in multidisc sets, and “The Back,” sometimes-snarky items.

And it behooves me to repeat that, today through Friday, June 7, 2013, you can buy the hardbound copy of Give Us a Dollar… for around $23.19, or the paperback for around $15.99, or the PDF ebook for around $8–or any or all other C&I books for 20% off–by using the coupon code GLOW, all capital letters, at checkout.

As of today, Give Us a Dollar... is stuck at 81 total sales. That includes five in May 2013 (one Kindle ebook, four various Lulu editions) and eight others in January-April 2013. I can only depend on other people for ongoing recommendations for the book’s usefulness; perhaps the lack of such apparent publicity or feedback indicates that it’s not particularly useful.

Where Things Stand

If there is a next edition–which couldn’t happen until mid-Fall, given IMLS timing–it would probably have two parts:

  • A book combining tables, graphs and discussion that focuses on public libraries overall and by borrower population size, using somewhat fewer size increments than the current edition and probably somewhat fewer levels for each measure, adding consideration of changes from 2010 to 2011, including some front matter about metrics as the bones of a library’s story that need to be fleshed out with the real stories of how it improves its community, and designed to be both a useful tool for public libraries and a useful picture of public libraries in the U.S.
  • A secondary book using similar measures but doing state-by-state views. (The second book might not happen.)

I’m still toying with the idea of a Kickstarter or Indiegogo campaign to assure funding for this project–and, at a certain level, make the PDF edition(s) free. (I should note that the special Oregon/Washington version, still free as a PDF and possibly worthwhile as an example of what I could do for other states/regions, has been picked up 16 times to date. There were a lot more than 16 people at the session I did; that might also say something about the worth of the project. But still…)

I’ve done about 1/6th of the work toward what could be a great premium for such a campaign, if the campaign makes sense at all–an idea I’d mentioned earlier (in conjunction with a now-abandoned plan for future external measures of library social network activity), to wit:

A Library Is… (working title, subject to change), a collection of the slogans actually used by (some) public libraries. (So far, I’m finding that about 20% of the libraries checked have such slogans, once you exclude “Serving X since [date]” and “Welcome to your library” and the like. That percentage may go down–I’m starting out by checking the easy ones, libraries with web addresses in the IMLS 2010 report. I’ve checked about 1,650 libraries so far, yielding a little over 300 slogans/mottoes. I’ll probably check 3,000 or so before deciding whether to do the book.)

The book would be entirely derivative and serve only for inspiration and perhaps amusement. It would be an exclusive edition (probably PDF and paperback), available only as a premium, and not offered for sale separately. Premium levels could include PDF, paperback, signed paperback, and possibly–if I include library pictures–color paperback, signed color paperback, or even signed hardcover.

Other premiums would include the predictable–free PDF of the new edition, autographed paperback of the new edition (one or both volumes), and some of the high-dollar premiums I toyed with earlier.

Will I do the campaign? Not certain. The dropoff of interest in the book this year and the lack of any evidence of word-of-mouth marketing (or of its having any effect) is a little discouraging. My inability to reach the people who I believe this could be most useful for–heads of small libraries, Friends groups in general–is an ongoing factor. My uncertainty as to whether this really is a useful tool for librarians/Friends, and whether it’s really an innovative way of looking at public libraries, doesn’t help.

THWI continues to be a reasonable decision (“To h… with it”–or, as Sarah G. noted on Friendfeed recently,”Sometimes victory lies in deciding the battle is not worth being fought.”)

Feedback (and sales!) continue to be welcome.

 

Delayed recognition

Posted in Movies and TV on June 6th, 2013

Just a fun little post.

Last weekend, we finally watched Topsy-Turvy, since we’re now seeing every Lamplighters production of Gilbert & Sullivan that shows up at the Bankhead Theater in Livermore and so begin to qualify as G&S fans.

It was excellent, if long (2 hours and 40 minutes!).

When the opening credits–all the stars–went by, the only one either of us recognized was Jim Broadbent (and neither of us recognized him in the film itself). That was fine: The movie wasn’t an all-star extravaganza, especially not for us heathen Americans.

But there was one actor who we thought we recognized–and then we were sure, although only when he wasn’t in his character for The Mikado.

“That’s Dr. Hunt!” (Dr. Owen Hunt, Grey’s Anatomy).

His name sure didn’t appear in the opening credits. But, between the first half and the second half (we split the flick across two nights), we’d both checked IMDB, and sure enough: Kevin McKidd was in both the movie and the TV series.

The reason we didn’t see his name in the opening credits? Simple enough: The movie was made in 1999, and McKidd (who was only 26 at the time, but looked a lot older) wasn’t a major star at the time. (His most prominent role before that was probably Trainspotting, and he wasn’t one of the primary stars in that 1996 film–which we have not seen–either.)

No deeper significance. Oh, and if you like G&S at all, I do recommend Topsy-Turvy–but then, you’ve probably already seen it.

The Big Deal and the Damage Done Campus License: Clarification

Posted in C&I Books on June 5th, 2013

I should probably clarify my intentions with regard to The Big Deal and the Damage Done Campus License Edition ($32 through Friday, June 7, then back to $40).

My intention is that the single $40 (or $40 discounted by Lulu) price should enable a campus to make the book available to anybody considered part of the campus community (including remote students who have some form of campus authentication–even if it’s course-level). I’ve revised the description to try to clarify that.

In other words: It doesn’t need to be a campus or library ebook server. If it’s a server of any sort–reserve materials, course materials, most anything else–that can handle PDFs and does some nominal check to make sure the world doesn’t use the resources, that’s fine with me. Does that mean that students don’t ever need to “return” the PDF? I never assumed they would. It can be treated like any other PDF.

And since I hold the copyright (and there is not and never will be DRM on any Cites & Insights book), my intentions should be considered all the permission you need.

I should note once again Lulu’s guts and good practice in not even allowing DRM on ebooks created through Lulu. Previously, Lulu discouraged DRM and charged an extra quarter per copy–above the nominal $0.99 fee–if you wanted it. Now, they don’t allow it–retroactively, for that matter.

A GLOWing good deal

Posted in Books and publishing, C&I Books on June 4th, 2013

Want to save 20% on some Cites & Insights books–or get The Librarian’s Guide to Micropublishing in hardcover for less than $50?

You can get 20% off one Lulu purchase (any number of books) between now and June 7, 2013: just use the coupon code

GLOW

[Yes, coupon codes are case-sensitive.]

The 20% comes out of Lulu’s share, so I’d be delighted.

Easiest course: Go to lulu.com, search for Walt Crawford or the title of the book(s) you want.

Or you can drop down to the bottom of the page and go to specific books or the C&I Books store.

It’s obvious–once you know how

Posted in Technology and software on June 3rd, 2013

I see in this morning’s social streams a Mac-using librarian sneering at Windows and Microsoft–this time because shutting down a Windows 8 computer isn’t obvious.

I can sympathize. Sort of.

Several years ago, when my wife & I were visiting my father (now deceased: this was a while back), he was having trouble with his iMac (which I paid for one-third of: we three siblings agreed to buy him a Mac because my brother, a two-platform user who prefers Macs, would be doing most of the support). He wanted to shut it down entirely to see if a fresh power-up would solve the problem.

I looked for the proper shut-down button. Whoops. I looked for a Start menu. Whoops.

Eventually, I stumbled upon what I assumed to be a decorative element over in one corner, the Apple icon. Clicking on it brought up a menu, including shutdown.

Obvious, once you know how.

I’m not saying Windows 8 (which I don’t have) is better. And Windows 7, to be sure, has it under the little Windows logo–but there’s so much under that logo that if you don’t recognize it you’d be sorely hampered. (And I do remember how many people objected to the fact that Office 2010 and, I think, 2007 “hid” the file and print commands under…yep, that’s right, the Office logo. I understand that Office 2013 has changed that, but I haven’t moved.)

What I think I’m really saying is that “intuitive” and “obvious” are both tricky things to say about most any aspect of a PC or tablet interface. (Oh, c’mon, you tell me that swipe-to-unlock is intuitive or obvious: and that’s on a device, the Kindle Fire HD 8.9, I rather like–as I guess it is on many other tablets.)

Oh, yes, I almost forgot the shutdown method for OS X that I found when doing a web search: you bring up a terminal window and use a “sudo” command. What could be more obvious? (There’s also a four-keystroke intuitive command…)


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