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In the next few years, library patrons may be able to walk right past the check-out desk with their borrowed materials, with books and CDs checking themselves out as the patron walks through an electronic gate.
That’s the vision for a new radio frequency identification program underway at the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library System, which received a vote of approval from the Erie County Fiscal Stability Authority Feb. 4 in the form of a $1.7 million efficiency grant.
Story in the Buffalo BusinessFirst
Opinion piece in the Washington Post
Book mentioned in opinion piece: Steady Gains and Stalled Progress: Inequality and the Black-White Test Score Gap
Story at Teleread
The Teleread story is a link to a LISNEWS story but the comments at Teleread I find interesting.
Many people have high hopes that President-elect Obama will be able to fix our nation's biggest problems. Bob Moon speaks with behavioral economist Dan Ariely about how to manage those expectations.
Seeing Beyond Sight: Photographs by Blind Teenagers is the book selection for January 9 at The Book Calendar http://www.thebookcalendar.com
Netflix has a section called "Watch Instantly" where you can watch movies on your laptop or PC. The movies are a real mixed bag. There are numerous dregs but there are some real gems in there. I will sit on the couch and watch a movie on my laptop from the "Watch Instantly" selection. Over the past week I have noticed that the display quality of the movies has really gone down. I thought something was wrong with my eyes for a little while because some of the scenes seemed blurry. But I was noticing that movies were loading much quicker so I had a suspicion that Netflix was removing quality to make the files smaller so that they would transfer quicker.
Today my suspicion was confirmed. They sent me a survey email that asked:
Survey: How Was the Picture and Audio Quality?
You recently watched The Bridge at Remagen. To help us ensure a great experience for all members, would you take a moment to tell us about the picture and audio quality?
The quality was very good
The quality was acceptable
The quality was unacceptable
Thanks for your help!
-Your friends at Netflix
This email confirmed for me that they are playing with the quality. I responded to the survey by saying that quality was unacceptable. Just wanted to point this out in case anyone else was experiencing the same thing.
MGM put the entire movie Koyaanisqatsi on YouTube. Because it is an official upload the quality is good.
Story on NPR:
Hundreds of Los Angeles' 11,000 billboards are going digital — lighting up neighborhoods with flashing LED ads selling Coke, sitcoms and designer clothing. Some are, however, complaining about light pollution. Now the City Council is considering the billboards' environmental impact. Listen to full piece here.
Some articles to consider when debating the banning of billboards:
Menthe, D. Writing on the Wall: The Impending Demise of Modern Sign Regulation Under the First Amendment and State Constitutions. George Mason University Civil Rights Law Journal v. 18 no. 1 (Fall 2007) p. 1-50
Burnett, D., student author Judging the Aesthetics of Billboards. The Journal of Law & Politics v. 23 no. 2 (Spring 2007) p. 171-231
Calo, M. R., Scylla or Charybdis: Navigating the Jurisprudence of Visual Clutter. Michigan Law Review v. 103 no. 7 (June 2005) p. 1877-98
On Nov.11 the book Promised Land: Thirteen Books That Changed America is being released. More information here:
Opinion piece on NPR:
Barack Obama's smashing triumph is a victory for the idea that Not Being a Republican is a grand and glorious thing.
That's not to take anything away from the magnitude of his win or the excellence of his campaign, with its distinctly Reaganesque panache. I mean, I am a Republican, and I've had it with my side, who got the thumping we deserve. And all credit to the president-elect for magnanimously reaching out to us bruised and battered conservatives in his victory address, quoting Abraham Lincoln's hauntingly beautiful line, "We are not enemies, but friends." Yep, he's my president too. And I'm fine with that.
Additional excerpt from piece: Think about it: the most left-wing presidential candidate since George McGovern ran on tax cuts! Yes, he was against the war, but he did not campaign on taking U.S. foreign policy in a dramatic new direction
Yes we can!!! I have heard this somewhere before but I can't remember where.
It was not Oprah that convinced me to get a Kindle
but the $50 off I got by using her discount code didn't hurt. (Use OPRAHWINFREY code at checkout for $50 off, good until Nov 1) My Kindle arrived in the mail today. I have used it for a couple hours and here are my initial impressions.
The e-ink screen is easy to read. Equal to reading a page out of a book in my opinion. There is the added plus that any book can be made into a large print book by changing the font size. With ebooks I also select a larger size font. I figure that since I can make things even easier on my eyes why not do it.
The Kindle has the ability to go on the Internet. I checked out LISNEWS and was able to read the site fine. You can follow the links out to other sites but not every site works great on the Kindle. Just like looking at the web on a PDA there are certain limitations to how well things display on a smaller screen. Sites that are formatted for PDAs display well on the Kindle. In fact they are better than on a PDA because the Kindle screen is significantly bigger than a PDA screen. -- Read More
The Death Star plans are not in the main computer.
The author of The American Way of War: Guided Missiles, Misguided Men, and a Republic in Peril was on the Daily Show today.
The book Making Jack Falcone: An Undercover FBI Agent Takes Down a Mafia Family (Touchstone Books) is being released October 13.
60 Minutes did a piece
on the book.
Gov. Sarah Palin abused the powers of her office by pressuring subordinates to try to get her former brother-in-law, a state trooper, fired, an investigation by the Alaska Legislature has concluded. The inquiry found, however, that she was within her right to dismiss her public safety commissioner, Walt Monegan, who was the trooper’s boss.
Full article in the NYT.
Debt could ultimately unseat the United States as the world’s superpower.
One group of researchers thinks headline-grabbing scientific reports are the most likely to turn out to be wrong
Book review in the Washington Post:
Excerpt: "Manual labor is for the birds," Warren Buffett decided somewhere around the 8th grade. At this precocious age the Nebraska native had also already discovered his extraordinary facility with facts and figures, the very attribute that would transform a socially awkward misfit into "the Oracle of Omaha," the most successful investor of modern times, the world's richest man and most generous philanthropist. This quintessentially American tale about the ultimate self-made man -- and in some ways the least changed -- unfolds for the first time with Buffett's full cooperation in Alice Schroeder's gargantuan authorized biography, The Snowball. -- Read More
Palin is in Omaha giving a speech as I write this. I did not attend the speech but I did go over to see the circus outside the civic center. There were several thousand people in line to see the speech. Across the street there were around a dozen Obama supporters with signs. I thought they would have a more robust showing but in the big picture there was not much point to being there at all. Anybody in line at a Palin event is unlikely to be swayed by someone across the street with a sign. One sign read "Welcome to Obamaha". Another read "I wear lipstick but I will never vote for you". I was hoping someone was going to have a "Golly gee I am not voting for you" or "Gosh darn I a voting for Obama" sign.
Here are some of the pictures:
People in line
Obama supporter close-up
Other side of building. The line went around the building.
I was hoping that McCain would pick Ms. South Carolina as his running mate.