Bibliofuture's blog

Cool hard drive

I was with a friend and he is using his laptop. He then pulls out this little box that is half to a fourth the size of a paperback book and he hooks it to his computer with a USB cable. I ask him what it is. He says that it is a 250gb hard drive. In addition to the small size the cool feature was that it did not need to be plugged into anything but the USB drive for power. I also have a 250gb external hard drive but it is the size of a hardback book and requires a power adapter as well as a USB connection. The drive my friend had was almost small enough to slip into a pocket. After I saw the drive he had I was thinking why carry around a 2,4, or 8gb thumb drive when you can have 250gb at your disposal.

Here is a picture of the drive beside some car keys to show scale.

250gb version
320gb version
160gb version

The $131.09 Perlstein Paperback

The book "Before the Storm" that is a 2001 book on Barry Goldwater and the rise of the conservative movement is commanding prices around $130 on Read additional details here.

Should've been a librarian

Captain Kirk wishes he had decided to become a librarian in the TAS episode "Bem". Spock, as always, responds by speaking the truth.


Billboards That Look Back

New technology has made it possible, using tiny cameras, to gather details about people looking at billboard ads, such as their age or gender.

Article here.

Implications of ‘Daily Show’ Webcasting

Some cable systems are starting to complain that too many of the programs they pay for are being given away on the Web for free.

Story in the NYT:

What Is the Value of a Human Life?

NPR has a series called "This I Believe". Hear Kenneth Feinberg discuss what he believes.

Go Green -- Buy a Used Car. It's Better Than a Hybrid

Article in

Ditching your gas guzzler is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint, but if you really want to do something about global warming, get a used car. You'll be putting less carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

As Matt Power notes in this month's issue of Wired, hybrids get great gas mileage but it takes 113 million BTUs of energy to make a Toyota Prius. Because there are about 113,000 BTUs of energy in a gallon of gasoline, the Prius has consumed the equivalent of 1,000 gallons of gasoline before it reaches the showroom. Think of it as a carbon debt -- one you won't pay off until the Prius has turned over 46,000 miles or so.

There's an easy way to avoid that debt -- buy a used car. The debt has already been paid. But not just any used car will do.

Apple-Amazon e-book slugout ahead? Some possibilities

“…A slightly larger iPod Touch linked to eBooks distributed via the iTunes store would match and raise the game with Amazon. At that point, Amazon would be competing with the iTunes distribution channel, but with Amazon hardware that looks and feels like it was designed in Soviet-era Russia.”

More at Teleread:

Lehrer Says ‘News Hour’ Money Woes Are Worst Ever

It has been a rough few weeks for “The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer” on PBS.

Jim Lehrer said he expects to return to his nightly newscast toward the end of June after aortic valve replacement surgery.

In late April, Mr. Lehrer, who turns 74 on Monday, had aortic valve replacement surgery. He said he was recovering nicely and expects to be back on the air toward the end of June. But the nightly newscast’s funding situation could take longer to heal.

In its 25 years on the air, “NewsHour” has had fallow budget periods, but none that equal the current one, Mr. Lehrer acknowledged. The financial squeeze was precipitated last summer when Archer Daniels Midland ended its 14-year sponsorship of the program. That sponsorship provided nearly $4 million (and some years as much as $7 million) of the program’s yearly budget, which varies from $26 million to $28 million.

Full story here:

Times Are Tough, Except in the Repo Business

So many people have so many things they can no longer afford. This is an excellent time to be a repo man.

When a boat owner defaults on his loan, the bank hires Jeff Henderson to seize its property. The former Army detective tracks the boat down in a backyard or a marina or a garage and hauls it to his storage facility and later auctions it off. After nearly 20 years in the repossession business, Mr. Henderson has never been busier.

“I used to take the weak ones,” he said. “Now I’m taking the whole herd.”

Boating was traditionally the pastime of the well-off, but the long housing boom and its gusher of easy credit changed that. People refinanced their homes and used the cash for down payments on a cruiser, miniyacht or sailboat. From 2000 to 2006, retail sales for the recreational boating industry rose by more than 40 percent, to $39.5 billion, while the average loan amount more than tripled to $141,000.

Full article here:


Book Review in the NYT of:

When Bill Clinton was in the twilight months of his presidency, he made a compelling case that by integrating China into the world economy we would gradually undercut the viability of its authoritarian government. It was only a matter of time, he told an audience of American and Chinese students in March 2000, before a Net-savvy, rising middle class would begin to demand its rights, because “when individuals have the power not just to dream, but to realize their dreams, they will demand a greater say.”

Full review here:

COMMON WEALTH: Economics for a Crowded Planet.

Book Review in the New York Times:

COMMON WEALTH: Economics for a Crowded Planet.

The timing for Jeffrey D. Sachs’s new book on how to avert global economic catastrophe couldn’t be better, with food riots in Haiti, oil topping $120 a barrel and a gnawing sense that there’s just less of everything — rice, fossil fuels, credit — to go around. Of course, we’ve been here before. In the 19th century, Thomas Malthus teased out the implications of humans reproducing more rapidly than the supply of food could grow. In 1972, the Club of Rome published, to much hoopla, a book entitled “Limits to Growth.” The thesis: There are too many people and too few natural resources to go around. In 1978, Mr. Smith, my sixth-grade science teacher, proclaimed that there was sufficient petroleum to last 25 to 30 years. Well, as Yogi Berra once may have said, “It’s hard to make predictions, especially about the future.”

Full review here:

'The Age of Reagan'

Book review of: THE AGE OF REAGAN A History, 1974-2008.

In the New York Times:

Strange to think that Sean Wilentz, a professor of history at Princeton University, would embrace Ronald Reagan as the historic alpha dog of postmodern American politics. For starters, Wilentz was trained as a Jacksonian-era scholar; the 20th and 21st centuries aren’t his bailiwicks. Then, back in 1998, Wilentz testified before the House Judiciary Committee that the impeachment of Bill Clinton was an abomination. He also endorsed Al Gore in 2000 and Hillary Rodham Clinton in 2008. Considered by some the heir apparent to Arthur Schlesinger Jr., Wilentz is perceived more as an erudite spokesman for the Democratic Party than as a judicious analyst of the Republican agenda. Yet in “The Age of Reagan” — a smart and accessible overview of the long shadow cast by our 40th president — Wilentz largely abandons partisanship in favor of professionalism. Thus, the supposedly inflexible Reagan emerges here as the pragmatic statesman who greatly reduced the world’s nuclear stockpiles.

Full review here:

Large Print Up Close

Technology's tight embrace gives us ample opportunity to read the fine print. In fact, we often have no choice, squinting into laptops in badly lit offices, in living rooms, on trains and even in cars; staring down at a BlackBerry or a Palm device as we wait for the first course; or trying to read the news crawl across the bottom of the TV screen. We do an awful lot of work with our reading, not to mention reading at our work. When it's time to read for pleasure, chances are that people, with eyesight already strained, might be on the lookout for a bigger picture.

Full story at Publisher's Weekly:

First-Time Novelists Make a Splash on the Web

After Marisha Pessl finished her first novel, Special Topics in Calamity Physics, she got to work on a side project: The Web site is a companion piece to the book, designed as a window into the life — and dorm room — of the young protagonist, Blue van Meer.

Visitors can pick up objects, zoom in on pictures and newspaper clippings, visit Blue's MySpace page or unfold a map of the Great Smoky Mountains, where the story takes place. A distracting June bug buzzes around a bright blue desk lamp.

Full story at NPR:

Remembering Fleming, Ian Fleming

Any writer who has struggled to “do the words” would take heart from the self-effacing assessment written for himself by Ian Fleming, the raffish Englishman born 100 years ago this month who became one of the most successful authors of his time through the creation of the world’s best-loved spy, James Bond.

Full article in the New York Times:

Who killed the electric car?

Seems like no one:

Entitled to What?


Virtually unnoticed during the primary season, the baby boom generation turned 62 this year and began to draw Social Security benefits. This heralded a milestone in America’s aging, and depending on which of the candidates you ask, it spells a budgetary straitjacket or possibly a looming social crisis. Over the next generation, the population of seniors will practically double, to 72 million. With more people retiring and a smaller share of people working, the strains on Social Security and especially Medicare will become evident. Over the very long term, the two programs combined are projected to consume virtually the entire federal budget. A portion of Medicare (the part that pays hospital bills) faces insolvency much sooner than that — in 2019. “The entitlement problem is here and now,” says Eugene Steuerle, a senior fellow of the Urban Institute. “It is so big and overwhelming, none of the candidates feel they can tackle it.”

Read full essay at the NYT.

Books in the Media (Week of April 23rd)


Make every digital camera that uses SD card wireless

There is a new product out called: Eye-Fi Card, Wireless 2 GB SD Memory Card. This SD card has wireless built into it. You put the card in your camera and the card sends your pictures to your wireless network. I knew that digital cameras would come out that would have wireless but it is brilliant to build it into the wireless card because now you can change your existing digital camera into a wireless camera.

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