Wednesday, April 15, 2009




This is a detail of a much bigger stained glass work.
It is located on the #2 train, near the Bronx Zoo.
(Yes, we've got stained glass artwork in our subway. Mosaics, too. And a big Roy Lichtenstein installation.
What's in your subway?)

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Testing Email Posting

This is a test.

1) FOREIGN LANGUAGE: Which of the following characters are offensive to readers of the Ch'lãktöm language:
; _ • \ % = ° ÷ € £ ¥ ¢ [ ] { } < > « » © ® ™ ~ ^ ø | æ ¤ ¶

2) ASTRONOMY: Define the universe. Give three examples.

3) PHILOSOPHY: Does the Golden Rule apply to people of sado-masochistic tendencies? Extrapolate your assumption to other socio-political and demographic groups.

4) PHYSICS: Can Heisenberg's Uncertainty principle be applied to mathematics? How uncertain is your proof?

5) MATHEMATICS: If a circle can be derived from a cone, what shape can a sphere be derived from?

6) VOCABULARY: Complete the following analogy: "A raven is to a writing desk as Aberdeen, South Dakota, is to [blank]."

7) GRAMMAR: Diagram the following sentence: "Joe wisely Sally's, have went tomorrow giraffes."

8) GEOGRAPHY: Which buildings on campus provide the best sight lines to Sorority Row? Consider rooftop access, building security, open wi-fi networks, and distance.

Das Kommt Mir Spanisch Vor

While adjusting the layout of this here blog, I came across this text:
Lorem ipsum vim ut utroque mandamus intellegebat, ut eam omittam ancillae sadipscing, per et eius soluta veritus.
Being naturally inquisitive (and easily bored), I ran the text through Google, found an answer which wasn't quite what I was searching (used as generic text in page design), but which lead me to an actual site.

"Neque porro quisquam est qui dolorem ipsum quia dolor sit amet, consectetur, adipisci velit..."
"There is no one who loves pain itself, who seeks after it and wants to have it, simply because it is pain..."
Visit the website to discover more about the segment, taken from Cicero.

[Grr... why does Blogger screw up the text format? And yes, it IS ironic that Blogger can't format what is generic text.

Razzafrackin... It screws it up in Google Chrome (more irony!). Internet Explorer 8 doesn't seem to work too well, either, but at least the text wrap is functional. And this Compose window is not WYSIWYG. And the HTML editor would be MUCH MORE useful if the screen text were highlighted so that it stands out from the codes, thus allowing the user to find and decode the HTML.

[And it took me thirty minutes of editing and reloading the journal page to get the layout perfect.]

Amazon Failure, continued

[Q| 4) Support your local libraries. Yes, they are run by the government. However, both the government (via laws) and libraries (laws and procedures) have strict guidelines regarding the selection, distribution, and removal of information. (Google: FOIA)

Librarians are avid bibliophiles, and want every book in the library to be used. If you find a deficiency in the collection, talk to the branch librarian. Recommend titles. Donate books. Include reviews from library and publishing journals. (Most libraries use reviews as their primary selection tool.) Let other demographic communities know that the library now stocks books which appeal to their interest (GLBT, graphic novels, loom weaving).

Librarians track circulation figures, and if they see a specific subject (like graphic novels) circulating, they'll be able to show demand, grab some funding, and add more titles to the collection, thus fulfilling the goals of serving the community.

Yes, the books might be challenged by others. However, most libraries have a writtten procedure, and news media will most likely publicize the challenge. At which point, organizations choose which side to favor, public discussions are held, and decisions are made. This causes a reaction, and proactivity ensues as organizations push for change.

I work for Barnes & Noble. I do not speak for them, as they pay good money to professionals who do. The opinions expressed here are my own, and I alone am responsible for them.

Amazon Failure

[Q| Reading about the recent #amazonfail (so big, you should Google) controversy, I wonder...

1) Technically, it's only "censorship" if the government is involved. What do we call it when it's perpetrated by a corporation such as Amazon or Wal*Mart, or an organization like the Holy Roman Catholic Church?

2. Generally speaking, I work as a cataloger for Barnes & Noble. We get the same bibliographic data Amazon does (ONIX files based in XML) and we add our subject listings using a basic call-number type approach. We also get summaries from the publisher, but I do not know what our website people add to our very basic "card catalog" data.

If this was a hack attack, could something similar happen to B&N? Possibly, if a keyword filter was used, which doesn't seem to be case at Amazon, since some titles appear under keyword searches.

Might B& add tags? I don't know. There are many "invisible" titles on our website, titles which have no available stock, which are not available via our used book network. They can be found be entering an ISBN or UPC or EAN, but keyword won't find them.

3) In the few websites I've browsed regarding this topic, none have mentioned other large bookstore websites, such as B&N, Borders, or BooksAMillion. When I worked at the store level, customers would frequently say that they wouldn't special order a copy, they would go to Amazon instead. NOT to our website. To Amazon.

4) [to be continued... text buffer limit reached ]

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Greetings, Fellow Readers! (Gobble Gobble One Of Us)

[Q | This typo-graphic denotes my typing an entry on my Palm Treo cellphone, via the Blogger website. (Dunno how to differentiate from stuff sent via the Blogger cellphone service. I'll burn that bridge when I get to it.) The graphic is meant to evoke a desktop rotary-dial phone. The Q is used to remind antiquaries of the dial, including the all important finger stop. (I would not be surprised if someone has re-engineered such a phone for texting, but one look and I wonder, why not use the handset on top and type out Morse code? (Not to be confused with Morris Code, used by cat fanciers (Stay away from him, Tommy... He fancies cats!), or Maurice Koad, shortstop for the Ralston Anklebiters, who utilized every scorecard notation then known in one game (four at bats), in what is now known as a "score koad" game.)

Anyways... I have thought it would be cool to take an old wall 1970s phone headset (the kind with the light up number keys), add a small red LED readout, and turn it into a cell phone. OR... get one of those old big brick phone radios used in the Vietnam war and rework that. The battery would probably last a week (and I could probably add a crank charger.)

Well... that should be enough to test. Thanks for reading!