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7 October 2009
There is a film titled "A Mighty Wind". It is a great film in the genre of the mockumentary. Unfortunately this piece is not about that film. Instead we get to talk about mighty winds.
Overnight Tuesday into Wednesday, northeast Ohio was battered with high-velocity winds. Wind gusts were estimated at points around forty-five miles per hour. Rain was scattered. Branches were felled by this mighty wind. This was something that would lead into something worse.
I was already woke up once by the whistling winds outside my bedroom windows. After I caught another two hours of sleep, I woke up to find a lack of power. The first priority, though, was to secure down the facility in light of the winds. This meant running around locking up the barn, checking on the corn crib that doubles as the "cat house" and more. The barn cats were no dummies and seemed to fly inside as soon as a door was opened.
After waiting a while in case the power outage was transient, we departed for somewhere with power. This part of Ohio has two seasons: "snow" and "not snow". It was getting cold and when we called the outage in to First Energy we were not even given an estimated time of restoration.
The outage pointed out some problems. First and foremost, my battery-operated transistor radio worked fine. I could hear WWOW's morning program just fine. The time signal on shortwave from WWV was still audible. Computers in the house were fancy-looking door stops. Laptop batteries have a particular mean time between failure and unfortunately some batteries were miserable failures. Desktops could not be fired up without electricity. The Apple portable media player had a decent battery charge but it was preserved for as long as possible.
While we went driving, we saw what looked to be part of the problem. Kingsville Township Volunteer Fire Department was out responding to a downed electrical line. The line was sparking and the field it was being buffeted around in due to the high winds bore scorch marks from the fires it started. This felt all too reminiscent of the huge outage in 2003 that covered a significant chunk of the northeastern United States as well as the Canadian province of Ontario. In that case a tree that fell started a cascade that wiped out power to many.
For librarians, this presents some interesting points. While the data cloud might be proposed to be a great tool, it would have been a miserable failure in the face of a power outage. If a Kindle were possessed on the farm it would have been useless for downloading as Sprint has no coverage at the farm. Although news was just released that AT&T will be eventually providing data coverage for Kindles, that would still not help here. Power had to be shepherded in battery operated devices as there was no way to know when service would be restored. That would wipe out any hope of mobile broadband or similar backstops for accessing the cloud. Thankfully the backup power supplies at the cell towers were intact long enough to call in outage reports but I would not have pushed my luck in seeking data through those means.
This was a case where books won out. Candlelight or the light from a hurricane lamp would be sufficient provided I could find my glasses. Analog tools like that did not need power to operate and would have carried through.
Fortunately the outage only lasted a few hours and service was restored for us by the early evening. Not everybody in northeast Ohio affected by this have seen service restored yet. This does leave an issue for librarians to ponder. While issues like irregular power are normally thought of as things happening to the poor abroad, what happens when the homeland does not seem as impervious to such problems? How do you plan effective information access over digital means in light of such?
An Ill Wind Blows by Stephen Michael Kellat is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
The big networks have contingency plans with alternate studios. When ABC cannot produce evening news in New York, a back up is available in London. When our eastern US operating site isn't able to act, our western US site can sometimes take action. Through a great degree of improvisation this week's podcast was presented by our western engineer, Mike Kellat.
First up we go through the zeitgeist review. Secondly we talk about the post-tsunami situation in American Samoa while mentioning one local religious group that is taking action. So far no needs have been heard from the territory's two lending libraries although one was within the immediate target area of a wave. The two elders who oversee Tafuna Church of Christ are respectively the territory's Chief Forester and a former head of the local bar association. Their mailing address mentioned in the episode is:
Tafuna Church of Christ
P.O. Box 326
Pago Pago, AS 96799-0326
Their contact telephone number is +1 684 699 8763. Their contact e-mail is Dwillis_samoa@yahoo.com. Be forewarned that even though the territory is a US jurisdiction calls to it are often billed on par with international calling. For cell phone users in the United States, expect the cost per minute for calling to range in dollars per minute. Skype is preferable for making contact.
After that we take a look at the report of the Knight Commission on the Information Needs of Communities in a Democracy. The report was released on Friday on a day normally known for bad news being buried.
The episode wraps up with a miscellany of nuggets.
Profile America Script
Knight Commission on the Information Needs of Communities in a Democracy
Knight Commission's Report
Referenced post by Henry Jenkins
Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter #162
Reuters on talks between Comcast and NBC Universal
CNET on talks between Comcast and NBC Universal
Adrian Kingsley-Hughes on Amazon deletion policy
David Bigwood on web services reliability
Larry Dignan on Earthlink's plan to speed up dial-up
Hyperlinked History is back with a new episode in the continuing online documentary series!
Join Daniel Messer, The Faceless Historian, and go on a journey from the depths of space right into your own computer. Along the way you'll play a game, read a mystery, and get a little bit mystical. It's a circus of history and you're invited!
Update: I just confirmed that the video issue on iPods is fixed, so you can now sync the video to your iPod, iPod Touch, Nano, or whatever else works through iTunes. If you'd like to go that route, feel free!
This week's episode brings a discussion of the digital divide. The discussion is meant to start discussion about the issue while pointing out links to further non-LIS discourse in the matter. Some thoughts are thrown out at ways to bridge the digital divide that might involve materials reformatting.
ALA Banned Books Week DJ-read scripts
Profile America script
FCC Broadband Penetration Report
Ubuntu NGO Team blog
Ubuntu NGO Team wiki page
Ubuntu NGO Team activities page
Turning the Postal System into a Generic Digital Communication Mechanism
Delay-Tolerant Networking Research Group
NASA's Delay-Tolerant Networking experiment
DTN Architecture Note
Message Ferrying project
WWWOFFLE -- An off-line caching proxy
Technology & Infrastructure for Emerging Regions project at UC-Berkeley
Papers collected by the Technology & Infrastructure for Emerging Regions project at UC-Berkeley -- Read More
Welcome to a LISTen special! First up we hear from Brenda Chawner of the School of Information Management at VUW about Software Freedom Day in Wellington. After that we discuss some pending legislation relative to newspapers in the United States.
Profile America's script
Bio page on Brenda Chawner
IRS 501(c)(3) compliance guide
WKSU reporting on remarks by Dennis Kucinich
Journal Register News Service piece on Newspaper Revitalization Bill
Software Freedom Day in New Zealand
The news stories this week are not that major. This happens when the national debate on health care reform sucks the oxygen out of the arena. The podcast brings a headlines service this week of things you might have missed.
Later this week there is planned to be a special episode in the aftermath of Software Freedom Day.
Script of the Profile America piece
Blog post by Room of Infinite Diligence on TANSTAAFL
Professor Adler on USA Patriot Act Renewal
Reuters on FCC & Net Neutrality
Royal College of Psychiatrists against "thinspiration" sites
The Register on Botnet Clean Up
Zack Whittaker on whether or not Internet filtering does more harm than good
Dent on Identi.ca by Fabian about gPodder
News post at gPodder on the new version
Daily Telegraph on atheists having more success in online dating
I rarely, if ever, get to write about government documents. This is one of those times.
I intended to have a reading of the President's proclamation for Patriot Day (that is to say, 9-11) for release via the podcast feed. In the past the White House of Bush The Younger had such proclamations released in the Federal Register before the day of the holiday with the exception of 2004-2006. The press office did release the 2004 text before the holiday, though, as can be seen here. For President Obama's first Patriot Day proclamation, I can only find such this morning in the Federal Register although the website was found to have such after one heckuva non-obvious route searching.
Even though the Federal Register is in fact the official source for proclamations, sometimes the White House web site is a useful unofficial source. Unfortunately that is not the case in this instance. There is a page for proclamations and executive orders but as I write it has not been updated since June 23, 2009.
The Office of the Federal Register is helpful in providing time stamps for when documents are filed. Typically in the text-only view online such is found at the end of the file. The past few years of proclamations, for your reading enjoyment, include:
If a proclamation is signed but nobody knows about it, does it really matter?
This week we've got news briefs and talk about the joys of public agency finance. Do you know what a carry-over balance is? Do you know why it matters whether or not your agency has one? Free Library of Philadelphia seems to be a textbook case come to life. We briefly touch upon why in this episode.
Profile America transcript
Software Freedom Day
Dan Lynch talking about Software Freedom Day in Manchester
Music CD Image Prepared By Dan Lynch
Release announcement for Linux Mint 7 Xfce
BBC on Facebook Lite
Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter on Ubuntu Screencasting
Episode 1 of 3 in the Ubuntu Screencasting series by Alan Pope
Reuters on the call by Rick Boucher to loosen broadband grant rules
"Dear Internet Guy" -- J. Philip Murphy
USAToday & ProPublica on stabilization funds
Suicide Awareness Voices of Education
Erie Looking Productions
This week's podcast is brief in recognition of the Labor Day holiday in the United States and an unanticipated document dump. Some discussion of telecommunications issues that could adversely impact libraries was presented in addition to relaying a notable item from the Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter.
8:46 minutes (8 MB)
LISTen: An LISNews.org Podcast -- Episode #85 by Stephen Michael Kellat is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at wiki.ubuntu.com.