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Google engineer builds $1,500 page-turning scanner out of sheet metal and a vacuum
For the past eight years, Google has been working on digitizing the world’s 130 million or so unique books. While the pace of new additions to the Google Books initiative has been slowing down, members of the team have come up with a new automated scanner design that could both make the project much more cost efficient and give everyone with $1,500 and a little know-how access to a page-turning scanner of their very own. In the video below, Google Books engineer Dany Qumsiyeh presents the prototype design that he and other teammates created during the "20 percent time" that Google (and now Apple, among others) allocates for personal projects, showing the design challenges he overcame along the way.
[Thanks Sassy Ass Sarah G.]
"The other thrill for me, when I saw the document, was knowing that it has been digitized. Digitized! That actually meant that none of us needed to stand in line. We all could have gone to the web site instead. Yet there is something special about seeing the paper and the ink there in person. The lines of people in every city across New York State were a testament that in our digital world, paper still matters."
“In other words, if you see something wrong, fix it yourself. Don’t just stand around saying somebody should do something. Be someone. Because on a wiki, there is no default value for somebody.”
"If you’re a wiki fanboi like me feel free to leave your suggestions for new wiki users in the comments."
So if librarians are going to learn to program and we don’t want to put our public-facing servers at risk, what kinds of software development tasks could librarians use to cut their teeth? Here are some ideas...
[Fixed that link!]
Principal of Madison Park Primary David Lawton said books would become a "thing of the past".
"The day has arrived - iPads are here ... look out books," Mr Lawton told the News Review Messenger.
"School library budgets are being lowered and our budgets for technology are higher, so it's only a matter of time before technology takes over from the traditional way of teaching.
80 terabytes of archived web crawl data available for research
Internet Archive crawls and saves web pages and makes them available for viewing through the Wayback Machine because we believe in the importance of archiving digital artifacts for future generations to learn from. In the process, of course, we accumulate a lot of data.
We are interested in exploring how others might be able to interact with or learn from this content if we make it available in bulk. To that end, we would like to experiment with offering access to one of our crawls from 2011 with about 80 terabytes of WARC files containing captures of about 2.7 billion URIs. The files contain text content and any media that we were able to capture, including images, flash, videos, etc.
Digging through the clutter of the online world: A Q&A with TED Books author Jim Hornthal
The latest TED Book deals with an issue we all can relate too: the difficulty of finding answers to complex questions on the Internet when a simple search can lead you down a rabbit hole of impersonal data. In A Haystack Full of Needles: Cutting Through the Clutter of the Online World to Find a Place, Partner or President, Jim Hornthal explores groundbreaking new approaches to discovering the useful insights buried deep within our complex and noisy datasphere. Hornthal, a venture capitalist in Silicon Valley, introduces us to innovators who are pushing the edges of data science and data visualization by applying the principles of pattern recognition to isolate relevant signals in the noise. Their efforts will have enormous implications for the way we practice medicine, discover music and movies, and even identify our romantic partners.
Curious to hear more about the ideas he explores in his e-book, the TED Blog asked Hornthal a few questions over email.
The "I Know..." series of blog posts shows relatively simple tricks [malicious] websites can use to coax a browser into revealing information that it probably should not. Firewalls, anti-virus software, anti-phishing scam black lists, and even patching your browser was not going to help.
Fortunately, if you are using one of today’s latest and greatest browsers (Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Safari, etc.), these tricks, these attack techniques, mostly don’t work anymore. The unfortunate part is that they were by no means the only way to accomplish these feats.
I've heard people opine for a Spotify for ebooks. This isn’t as kooky as when they opine for Netflix or Blockbuster for physical books. The thing is… Spotify is pretty good for consumers, but sucks for creators. Well… it’s not all rosy as some people want to believe. (I really don’t get why so many librarians absolutely loathe the publishing industry, but give the music industry a pass.)
RWW has a nice look at How Public Libraries Are Using Social Media... "Like many of you, I'm connected to the Internet virtually every waking hour of my day - via computer, tablet and mobile phone. Yet I still regularly visit my local public library, in order to borrow books, CDs and DVDs. Which made me wonder: are these two worlds disconnected, or is the Social Web being integrated into our public libraries? In this fourth installment in ReadWriteWeb's Social Books series, I aim to find out!"