Archive for the ‘Stuff’ Category

Final two issues of C&I delayed, future uncertain

Friday, November 29th, 2019

I had planned to release the December issue of C&I around now–and the final issue near the end of December 2019.

An eleven-night stay in the hospital (sepsis/staph, to be followed by six weeks of daily antibiotic injections and some period of draining) changed all that.

Based on energy and more important matters, the final issues will probably get done. Eventually. The spirit is good, but needing to keep legs elevated a third of thetime, and still not-quite-back-to-normal energy, and being homebound…isn’t helping.

Beyond that, I now learn that my web host is shutting down in a few months, and have to figure out, how, where, or whether to move this blog (tricky because the sitename is based on a domain that’s presumably going away), (where I feel obliged to retain some pages/pointers related to the GOA project for a few years), and C&I (which I’d planned to retain for three years).

Anyway: I’m not dead yet. We shall see what happens.

GOAJ4: Starting the Deep Dive

Friday, January 4th, 2019

Just a quick note that I’ve completed downloading, crosschecking, and normalization for GOAJ4: Gold Open Access Journals 2013-2018 and have begun the months-long process of gathering data.

The Good News

The starting count is 12,415 journals. That will certainly not be the final count of fully-analyzed journals, given duplicates and other issues. (Will there be more than 12,000 fully analyzable? Based on last year’s records, it may be close…)

The data is in better shape than ever before at this point in the process.

I’ve done the first 350 journals (sorted by publisher, as that allows the most efficiency).

The Bad News

Malware is still a problem, especially (so far) in Indonesia. Efforts to reach out to the mostly-academic publishers to convince them to clean up their software don’t seem to be wholly effective. (Of 11 Indonesian titles scanned so far, five had malware sufficient to block analysis.)

I will probably post a spreadsheet of some sort listing journals with malware, once I’m at least a quarter or half way through. As usual, malware-infected sites will get two more chances, one no earlier than late April 2017.

[A special one-finger salute to WordPress’s new “friendly” editor–if there are no tags on this post, it’s because I can find no way to select them, or to allow comments, once I’ve started adding comments. Bring back the “unfriendly” WYSIWYG editor–oh, and along with it, the ability to edit HTML directly. This is a TERRIBLE “upgrade.”]

Cites & Insights 19:1 available

Wednesday, December 19th, 2018

Cites & Insights for January 2019 (19:1) is now available for downloading at

The 42-page issue–out early, before I dive deep into Gold Open Access Journals 4–consists of a single essay/roundup:

Intersections: Open Access Stuff (pp. 1-42)

Catching up on OA-related stuff that doesn’t fit neatly into one of the areas I’ve dealt with recently–that is, stuff that’s not about big deals, creative commons licenses, the colors of OA, economics, libraries, peer review, “predatory,” or overarching OA issues. Oh, and also not about PlanS. 

Can I also note here how much I am NOT in love with the newest iteration of WordPress’ oh-so-friendly WYSIWYG interface? It’s the first one in a while that’s so user-friendly it actively gets in my way. But never mind…

I’ve written way too much on OA…

Sunday, December 9th, 2018

For those who care about what I have to say about open access, including the original research I’ve done (in addition to the SPARC-sponsored GOAJ series), I’ve prepared and will try to maintain a page listing all of the Cites & Insights essays on OA-related topics since 2012, with an order link for the paperback collection of earlier essays.

The page is available at

An update: Why I’m still less engaged, and likely to be

Monday, July 9th, 2018

A few folks may have read this May 2018 post explaining why I wouldn’t be around much in late June/early July–to wit, prostate cancer and a robotic-assisted laparoscopic radical prostatectomy (just call it RALRP)–and why that might delay pieces of this year’s GOAJ project.

The latter didn’t happen: thanks to increasing comfort with what I’ll call “template spreadsheets”–workbooks with multiple sheets, using pivot tables in a manner that means replacing the rows on the first sheet means a whole new set of graphs and tables with essentially no additional work–the country view and subject supplements were both done well before June 26, date of the surgery.

The surgery itself went very well (my wife thinks it took about five hours; I was, of course, Not There during that time–my first experience with general anesthesia, and thanks to anti-nausea drugs nausea was never a problem). The ten days following, stage one of the long recovery process, were annoying because of catheter-related stuff and lack of energy, but my wife helped see to it that I didn’t veg out entirely, was off opioids within four days, was walking inside every day and outside three days later, and was up to mile-plus outside walks by July 6, Removal Day.

Now I’m engaged in in stage two, which will last weeks, months, possibly years to some extent. Energy is still a mild problem, but I’m getting back to normal by stages. July 7 brought exceedingly good news: the pathology report, showing negative results for adjacent matter and (removed) lymph nodes. This makes the long-term prognosis MUCH more positive, according to Dr. Thong, and is a much better outcome than expected.

A note that may be irrelevant if you’re not in Stanford HealthCare’s service area or are female: Dr. Alan Eih Chih Thong. MD, gets a 5* rating in my book. He *listened* to not only our concerns but to my family history, and indeed changed his recommended course of treatment based on my family history and health. Since he also did the surgery, and apparently did a great job, I have nothing but good things to say about Thong and his teem, including Jessica Rose Kee, PA-C, and others.

I should note that Dr. Hilary Petersmeyer Bagshaw, MD, did a fine job of explaining the initially-preferred course, radiation + hormone therapy, which would have been under her supervision. I’m sure she would have done a fine job, but if you have a likelihood of 20 more years’ survival, that course is best kept as Plan B if surgery doesn’t eliminate the problem. As I told her at the time, I hope not to need her services, even as I’m sure they’d be first-rate.

Other than energy and doing lots of Kegels in the hope that they’ll eventually help matters, what will slow done some writing stuff is focus and motivation. I don’t want to write about OA or at least another month; I’m not sure most other topics offer enough focus; and, frankly, sitting sipping coffee while the country is in self-inflicted flames isn’t just fine.

But I’ll be back: I’m not really going anywhere. Even if, as I read Twitter and Facebook, there are more and more occasions when I wish I could resign as a Straight White Man. But that’s another story…

Cites & Insights 18:3 (June 2018) available

Friday, June 1st, 2018

Cites & Insights 18:3 (June 2018) is now available for downloading at

The 76-page issue is basically a shorter version of GOAJ3: Gold Open Access Journals 2012-2017 for those who aren’t ready to read the whole thing (links here):

GOAJ3: Gold Open Access Journals 2012-2017, chapters 1-7    pp. 2-76

The first seven chapters of the 19-chapter book, providing the key findings. (The full book is a free PDF download or a $5 trade paperback.)

If I’m more absent than usual in late June/early July…

Thursday, May 24th, 2018

…you can thank PSA 18, Gleason 8, RALP 1. For a few of you, that may be all you need to know.

Oh, and for the RALP: I can reasonably claim to be a 60-year-old in terms of probable life expectancy. That’s important.

The longer story:

I have prostate cancer, as confirmed through an MRI and an MRI-guided ultrasound-based biopsy (an interesting procedure involving overlays for precision targeting, which I was watching as it took place), and with no apparent metastasis or leakage (as confirmed through a full-body bone scan).

The 60-year-old part involves the discussion leading up to final choice of action (which was not the original recommendation, based on my chronological age). After that discussion, involving some reading, my family’s record, and my own health record, we’ve decided on a RALP–Robotic-Assisted Laparoscopic Prostastectomy. I say “we” advisedly: my wife, the smart one in the household (and a retired librarian/library director as well as top-notch systems analyst), was definitely involved, and the urologist/oncologist was definitely listening carefully as we discussed things.

[The cancer is at a level with a substantial risk of recurrence some years down the road; this option means Plan B–radiation and hormone deprivation–is a followup if needed, while the reverse is not true.]

That will take place in late June, with one more day of pre-surgery stuff earlier in June.

Also between now and then, I expect to be helping with landscaping what was our back lawn (with some pleasure, I freecycled our electric mower and trimmer this week, as neither will be needed in the future), doing heavy lifting and moving stuff around and helping to select river rocks, given that I may not be in a position to do much lifting for a few weeks afterwards…

What this may mean for things anyone else would care about:

  • GOAJ3: Gold Open Access Journals 2012-2017 will not be delayed. It should be out in the first half of June. (Basically, it’s done, and set aside for a week before doing final proofreading and prepping for publication.)
  • Gold Open Access by Country 2012-2017–which is not a direct new edition of The Countries of OAWorld 2011-2016–could possibly be delayed until July, but probably not: I’d expect it to be out some time in June.
  • The subject supplement issue of C&I probably will be delayed until July or even August. OK, things went well–and thanks to lower back pain, I couldn’t help my wife as much as I’d hoped. It’s out now,
  • I will be even less good about catching up on social networks, quite probably completely losing 2-4 days in late June and possibly more. I’m already giving up on tweets or timeline items more than 2-4 hours old so I can spend more time on the project and on health/household matters.

Otherwise? We shall see how it goes. I’m generally very healthy (I’m still not on any prescription medicines, which I suspect is rare for my age), and see no reason this will make me less so after a recovery period. Unless I decide to just sit around watching old movies and daytime TV, which may be just right for 2-3 days but seems implausible longer-term.

Belief, sex and all that

Monday, November 20th, 2017

These comments are probably badly worded and reflect only my own experiences and beliefs. Note that I was “raised wrong” (for my time, apparently, given some of the excuses going on these days): my parents  brought me up to believe that women were people first, women second, and I’ve never been able to see women as belongings or objects. Most of my best bosses have been women; most of my best friends have been women; the smartest and best person in this household is a woman [who kept her own name, but then I never suggested otherwise]; most of my most valuable colleagues at work were women; most of the jackasses I’ve encountered have been men.

Lying and belief

I am inclined to take most people at face value until I learn otherwise.

I am especially inclined to believe most people when what they’re saying can hurt them and has no likelihood of helping them.

I am acutely aware that women have a harder time being listened to, being paid attention to (not always the same thing), and being believed than men do.

So, all things considered, I am inclined to believe most women who speak up about bad things that happened to them, even after many years and especially when they’re standing up to somebody more powerful.

[Admittedly, if someone asserting low-level sexual assault turns out to be a frequent “just playing around” sexual assaulter herself or himself, that reduces credibility a whole lot: that speaks to “until I learn otherwise.”]

Oh, and there’s this: while I suspect there may be a few women somewhere who have never been sexually harassed or sexually assaulted, that number seems likely to be shockingly small: I don’t have handy examples to point out.

So, yeah, for all those reasons and more–specifically including the believability of the women I’ve worked with and for, dated, or married–I’m inclined to believe the accusers.

I’ve heard enough about casting couches to assume they’re real; I’ve overheard enough bragging to assume there’s a lot of “seduction” going on that’s not the courtship of equals; in the past, I’ve even been known to shut down one or two “I’d do that…” discussions–although, to my eternal shame, not every time and perhaps not loudly enough. I know that too many men are dogs and proud of it.


As for sexual assault: I’m essentially certain that I never have. Certainly not kissing, hugging or anything more intimate, and I’m pretty certain not any unwanted touching.

Not the way I was raised. Not my understanding of how people should behave with other people.

Then there’s sexual harassment, and here, at 72 years of age and with a badly imperfect memory, all I can say is: I hope not, and I’d like to think not, and certainly not in the last few decades, but never? I can’t say. (If I ever did, it would never have been more than an unwanted compliment or asking someone out twice before taking “No” for an answer, and I can’t be sure neither of those or some equivalent never happened.) If I did, my belated apologies.

As for the “not all men…” idea, I’m not going to go for that particular line of bullshit, and I am aware of the societal dynamic. In effect, it might as well be all men. [How would I feel about men just not running for political office for, say, 50 years? Sounds good to me, and I haven’t voted for a male Senate candidate in quite a few years…]

I’m no saint, and I’ve certainly been an asshole now and then. I suspect that grown-up men are just fine, but I always wonder when I’ll actually grow up and how many men ever do…

Why this post?

I’ve tended to avoid some hot issues because I don’t have much to say. This may be one of them, but I think it’s worth saying something anyway.


Priorities: Why C&I may not appear in December

Sunday, November 19th, 2017

See, here’s the thing…

My wife had surgery for degenerative arthritis on her left thumb joint about 10 days ago–much-needed surgery that involves replacing a bone with an extra tendon (did you know you have extra tendons in your arms?).

For a few weeks, that means her left hand’s essentially useless; for some time after that, it may be less useful. So, after she’s taken care of me for just shy of 40 years, I’m stepping up. (We’ve always done our own laundry, shared the household laundry, and done our own weekday meals & cleanup–but while most of my meals are quick & easy, hers are more healthful and involve more peeling and cutting and trimming and cleanup. Now, I’m doing as much of the prep work as requires two hands and all of the dishes, and providing help elsewhere when two hands are needed.)

I’m not complaining. If anything, it’s rewarding to know my work is directly benefiting one person I know & love rather than hoping it’s of some use to friends and strangers. But it does take up two or three hours a day, sometimes less, sometimes more.

Which reduces available writing time and energy to very little if any.

So…I have an essay with the source documents tagged for sections and the first 11 or 12 (out of 87, but that number always comes down during the process) handled. Including zero in the last four days. With additional doctor’s appointments and, oh yes, hosting Thanksgiving for the family (but at a restaurant), I don’t see the situation improving soon.

I haven’t made a final decision, but if my higher-priority stuff and the fun/reading I need to have continue to crowd out the essay, I’ll choose a point in December, massage the index for issues 1-10, publish the annual volume (the thickest ever, but that’s because it’s the first 6″ x 9″) and continue working on the essay for a January issue.

Of course, come January, a renewed project will take up much of my attention–GOAJ3 2012-2017, for those familiar with this. So C&I may continue to be even more erratic than usual (a comment that could apply to its editor/publisher/writer as well!). Not abandoned, not yet, but occasional.

Audio/music (an OFP)

Monday, October 2nd, 2017

The first OFP has a brief comment on OFPs.

This could also be titled “Hearing/listening,” but I’ll stick with the first title. It’s about a surprising set of recent personal discoveries, and although I’m not flacking for FLAC, it could look that way.


In the old days–let’s say before 1978–I had a big record collection and put together a sound system that was better than I could really afford. I also took extremely good care of the records and the stylus.

(How big? Around 1,300 LPs, most of them baroque or 20th century classical, along with a few hundred folk, country, rock, etc. Specialized in JS Bach–I was buying all the Das Alte Werke cantatas with conductor’s scores included, for example–and Stravinsky: I owned every Stravinsky-or-Craft-conducts-Stravinsky piece except The Flood, which was apparently in print for a day or two. Also lots of 20th century American composers and Russians.)

The final system had at its heart ESS Translinear speaker systems ca. 1973, magnificent tower speakers that were discontinued when ESS introduced the Heil Air Motion Transformer tweeter. I don’t remember the final receiver, but it was a good one.

I never much cared for background music, but at the time I played a lot of “foreground music.” (Can you actually use Bach cantatas or Stravinsky as background?) Then what mattered to me started to change, as did how I spent my time..;

We’ll skip over changes that eventually resulted in getting rid of the too-large stereo system, the too-bulky and too-delicate LPs (and I wasn’t listening to classical that much any more), and switching to CDs–and, eventually, a really good Denon CD/receiver/music system.

Mixtapes, CD-Rs, MP3 and “You Can’t Hear the Difference Anyway.”

For the times when semi-background music was desirable–driving, weekend dinners–I’d prepared a couple dozen cassette mixtapes from the 200-odd non-classical LPs. At some point, I wanted to do the same thing but using CD-Rs instead of increasingly obsolescent cassettes.

Creating a mix CD-R from cuts on 22 different CDs would be really difficult, if even possible.

Fortunately, at some point, PC storage capacity became large enough that it was plausible to rip the growing collection of CDs to MP3 files, at some resolution, then create mix CD-Rs from those files. After some listening, I concluded that even my not-so-great hearing was good enough to distinguish between 196K MP3 and 320K, the maximum MP3 rate–and that I wasn’t sure I heard the difference between 320K MP3 and the original CDs, at least for non-classical music other than solo piano. Or at least that the difference wasn’t important for music played in the background or in a car.

Was I deluding myself? Possibly. On the other hand, it was a worthwhile delusion: the mix CDs worked, and I didn’t have disk space enough for .WAV rips (probably around 100 gigabytes for our 200-odd-CD collection).

We like a quiet household. When I wanted to listen more closely to music (or to use it while weeding), I purchased a 2GB Sansa Express (still available!)–probably in 2005 or 2006–and Sennheiser portable headphones, and prepared a ruthlessly small playlist of 200 or so songs. Later, probably around 2008 or 2009,I got a Sansa Fuze (yes, I like SanDisk products) with 8GB storage; I was able to save my 800 or so favorite cuts. For weekend dinners and driving, I’d prepared a fair number of mix CD-Rs.

[If you’re wondering: the Express–about the size and shape of a thick thumb drive–gave up the ghost in 2016. The Fuze is still going strong. But see below…]

Or Maybe You Can Hear the Difference?

Several things happened in 2015 and beyond, coming to a head this summer:

  • Some of the CD-Rs developed whooshing sounds in later tracks. When I went to rerecord them, I was stupidly still using the last CD-R blanks fro a 50-pack I probably opened six years ago, maybe more. So the new CD-Rs weren’t lasting all that well… (I’ve seen advice that blanks should be recorded within 2-3 years of opening a pack. I should have remembered the advice.)
  • My wife was noting that solo piano didn’t sound quite right on the CD-Rs, and when she had me play the original CDs, she was sure she was right–and I thought I could tell the difference as well. (My ears haven’t gotten any better–indeed, my high-frequency hearing is very much typical of men my age with that ski slope above 1500-2000Hz.. I’m in the process of getting hearing aids now, and probably should have done so years ago.)
  • A year ago, I upgraded from the $50 Sennheisers to Grado SR80e headphones, far more revealing and a great bargain. (I also use and highly recommend Howard Leight Sync hearing protectors/headphones when vacuuming or using a lawnmower or trimmer: they’re inexpensive, do a reasonable job of muffling the damaging power-tool sounds, and the headphones are surprisingly decent for what are basically hearing-protection devices.) I began to notice “edges” in songs that I hadn’t noticed before–and was pretty sure those edges weren’t in the originals.

Oh, along the way, the clever vertical-mounted CD drive in the Denon became useless (the drive-door solenoid stopped working, and would be absurdly expensive to fix), so I picked up a cheap Sony DVD player to use as a CD drive. What the heck, the CD-Rs were only expanded from 320K MP3s anyway…

Summer Solutions

I began to suspect that the only way to assure CD-quality sound on the mix CD-Rs was to store the music in a lossless format; some research suggested that lossless FLAC was my best bet. (Since Windows Media Player is no longer the easy way to rip, organize and burn, I’ve moved to MusicBee; it supports FLAC nicely, and verifies rips.) And my current notebook has enough disk space that I figured I could spare the 50GB to 100GB that might be needed (FLAC compresses when it can do so losslessly; it seems to average about 50% compression.)

I reripped everything–a surprisingly fast process carried out as a secondary task while doing other computer work. But it was clear I couldn’t keep using the Sansa Fuze for my main close-listening device: it didn’t have enough space. Wound up with 58GB of music and overhead, covering 2,770-odd tracks. Of those, I’d identified about 670 that were good candidates for dinner music.

Opening a new 50-pack of CD-Rs (actually not new, but unopened), I made new versions of a couple of the “Dinner CD-Rs,” and we were both satisfied that they did indeed sound as good as the original tracks–and yes, I could tell the difference. But my wife also noted, correctly, that with only a dozen or so dinner mixes, they could be predictable…

Separately, I concluded that a new personal music player with better audio specifications and more storage space was in order–and decided on a Cowon Plenue D (36GB and 50-hour battery life playing FLACs, with remarkably good audio specs), plus a 64GB SDHC card, since it made sense to just copy the whole music library to the player (or, actually, “drive G,” the SDHC card). Amazon had/has it at an excellent price: $188 (and $24 for the SDHC card).

The Cowon doesn’t have a separate line-level audio output, but the headphone output peaks at roughly CD-player output levels. I suspected that it could do as a server of sorts…

Yes, indeed. Bumping the volume up to 95 or so (as compared to 30-35 for the Grados) and connecting the Denon via a headphone-to-RCA adapter resulted in excellent sound, making the Cowon a very small, very inexpensive music server. Took me about 2-3 hours to build a favorites set of all 670-odd items that appear to be good dinner candidates. Plug in the Cowon, flip to Shuffle on the favorites list, and…

The first time we tried this, we were both happy: my wife was hearing songs that I seemed not to have included on mix CD-Rs and we both felt that the sound was at least as good* as the original CDs. I’ve stopped rerecording dinner CDs for now (but will still do some car CDs, since our 12-year-old new car doesn’t have an audio input jack).

Weeknights, I’m slowly working my way through the whole 2,770-song library with the Grados, in alphabetic order. It sounds great: quieter and more “liquid” than the MP3s, and I’m hearing stuff I forgot we had. The convincer: I would never listen to more than five or so songs an evening, tiring of it after that. Now, I listen to 10-15 or more, as time permits: a song might be tiring, but the sound never is. It should take about a year for the scan.

Weekends, the Cowon becomes a server for the smaller set of pieces, served up randomly. (If we hit a piece we agree shouldn’t be in the dinner list, it takes 5 seconds or so to remove it from the Favorites list but not the player. Skipping a piece, of course, takes no time to speak of. Adding more pieces to the Favorites list takes 2-4 seconds per piece…)

Conclusion: I believe the difference between high-resolution MP3 and lossless digital audio is audible, even on pop/folk/country/rock, even for half-deaf oldsters like me, or at least some of us, although largely at a nearly subliminal level. (With solo piano and orchestral pieces, it’s more audible.) Would I be able to tell the difference in a blind A/B test? Quite possibly not–I grumble about high-end reviewers a lot, but they’re correct in saying that blind A/B tests are artificial and can obscure as much as they reveal. My wife has excellent hearing, and she knows what she’s hearing: I’m 100% certain she’s right.

Oh, and a music server doesn’t have to be big or expensive…the Cowon measures about 2″ x 3″ x 0.5″ and certainly wasn’t expensive.

No, I’m not going back to vinyl; I still suspect elements of euphonic distortion in claims that vinyl actually offers better sound, although anybody who finds it more musical or more enjoyable is probably right, at least for them.

(More accurate and more musical aren’t necessarily the same thing. We could talk about Bose… Incidentally, for those who know Cowon, no, I’m not using Jet Effects or equalization, at least not for this pass or for dinner music, at least not yet.)

*”at least as good”: There are two semi-plausible scientifically-arguable reasons that the music from the Cowon could sound better than CDs from the Sony, even though the Cowon files were ripped from those CDs:

  1. Jitter and error correction, theoretically problems for mass-produced CDs and CD players, shouldn’t be issues for solid-state players with high-quality digital/analog converters.
  2. Signal-to-noise ratio: the Cowon has extremely good audio specifications; the Sony doesn’t even mention signal-to-noise ratio, but it’s a cheap player mostly intended to play DVDs. So, yes, the Cowon is probably quieter, although that shouldn’t be audible at dinner-music levels. Or should it?

What I know is that my wife immediately felt the music–all music–sounded better, “fuller,” and that the close-listening headphone sound is clearly better to me on most pieces, even if my high-frequency hearing is fairly crappy.

And so endeth this absurdly discursive OFP. I’m gonna listen to some music…