Thursday, December 20, 2007

The Death of a Baseball

According to a story on Sports Illustrated's web site, the ball used for the final out of the 2007 World Series went missing. But, the mystery has been solved. Pitcher Jonathan Papelbon's dog ate the ball. This sounds like one of those stories which ends a few days later with a follow up story saying it was all a joke. But, I hope it is true. A dog eating the world series baseball would be awesome!

Near the end of the movie Patton, Patton says "There's only one proper way for a professional soldier to die: the last bullet of the last battle of the last war." Well, to my way of thinking, there are only three proper ways for a baseball to die. First, the family dog eating it (I spent much of my youth shaking dog drool off baseballs). Second, beaten apart until it gets too dark to play ball. Third, lost in the field of weeds next to the ball field.

Note that none of those proper ways includes the terms "glass case," "shelf," or "Hall of Fame display."

So, hooray for Jonathan Papelbon's dog and for an honorable death of a baseball.

And have a good day.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Buying products made in the U.S.A.

People often wonder how buy products made in the U.S.A. when we're bombarded with products made elsewhere and often in less than desirable conditions. Jim Hightower provided some web sites selling made in the U.S.A. in one of his commentaries:

I didn't verify that all of the products on the web sites are made in the USA, but I'll give them the benefit of the doubt. Happy shopping!

And have a nice day.

Facebook Update

According to the BBC, Facebook backed off of its policy of reporting member purchases on other sites. Supposedly, Facebook wrote an apology letter to its members, but I never saw it. I'll need to evaluate Facebook's response on the BBC account. The story quotes Facebook saying in the phantom letter "We are really trying to provide you with new meaningful ways, like Beacon, to help you connect and share information with your friends."

Gosh, it would have been nice if Facebook had been honest: "We found a new way to make money but the backlash was more than we expected so now we're not making money that way."

But, at least they will stop reporting what your friend bought you for Christmas.

And have a nice day.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007 takes on Facebook has started a petition against Facebook. Facebook has allegedly started displaying what members have purchased from other sites. calls it a privacy issue.

As you may recall, we had another privacy issue with Facebook earlier this year, where Facebook planned to let search engines search member information. It looks like if you want information privacy you should stay away from facebook.

Looks like it's time to sign a petition and close my facebook account. (or, at least, remove myself from certain groups ... like Minnesotans for Favre in '08)

And have a good day.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Kindle-ing Books

As many already know, Amazon announced the release of its portable reading device called Kindle. I think it is a great idea.

I know. I know. I'm usually more of a conservative or purist on these sorts of things. However, we're talking about reading books here. They're too cumbersome. Anyone who says otherwise isn't curling up with "Patton" or any of my college texts. And it seems like you either have time to read or to go to the gym; not both. My arms get tired. No, I'm glad that an improvement for books may be available.

The one concern I had about PRDs is readability. A computer screen is not a very readable surface. However, Kindle seems to have this covered and, they claim, it is more readable than paper.

It's pretty expensive, but the price will go down. The price of books has already gone down with most Kindle-ready books under $10.00. Compare that to my college texts? Give me Kindle. In fact, even as a part-time student, the product may very well pay for itself within a year (assuming my texts are already available on Kindle).

On the lighter side, there is one big hurdle for Kindle: the bookmark lobby. With PRDs, people would no longer need physical bookmarks. There's no way the bookmark lobby is going to like that and you can't do anything in Washington without approval from Big Bookmark. I see legislation getting in the way of Kindle right soon.

And have a good day.

Monday, November 19, 2007

New Album from Izzy Stradlin: Fire.

According to, an acoustic album from Izzy Stradlin called "Fire" has been released. Unfortunately, it is only available on iTunes.

I haven't yet heard it or even downloaded it, but the reviews have been good so far. Of course, the reviews have been from Izzy fans, so they are not unbiased. (registration required)

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Groupthink and Diversity

Claudia Plaisted Fernandez had an article published recently in the Journal of Public Health Management Practice. The title is "Creating Thought Diversity: The Antidote to Group Think."

Again, diversity is promoted to prevent groupthink--this time through thought diversity. Fernandez gives us seven steps to thought diversity and, as rare as this has been so far, gives us a brief how-to for each step and even breaks one step down into 4 sub-steps. Previously, we had seen mostly lists of bumper sticker slogans but Fernandez goes a little detail. The article's only two pages long, so it's not very deep, but there is still depth to it.

It's a good 5-minute introduction to groupthink and thought diversity.

And have a good day.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Baseball Rethinks Instant Replay

The general managers have decided it's okay for the powers the run the league to implement instant replay.

The GMs suggested it be limited to three scenarios: checking if home runs are fair or foul, making sure the ball didn't bounce over the fence for a home run, and fan interference.

My stance, as always, is no replay. While it is difficult to argue with the viewpoint of "if you're going to do it, you might as well do it right," my thought is why is it okay for players to make mistakes but the umpires can't? It's a game of humans for humans; let them be human. If nothing else, it's a reminder that it really is only a game.

What caught my eye, though, was Chicago White Sox general manager Ken Williams' quote: "It will be a lot easier and less to get that right than some of these arguments that ensue when a call is disputed." They're not taking the errors out of the game; they're taking the arguments with managers out of the game. No more managers kicking dirt on umpires for missing calls (well, some calls).

My stance on that? If the umpires are going to go higher tech, the managers should follow suit. That's why I'm working on a Facebook application that will allow people to "kick dirt" on other people. If an umpire misses a replay call, I'd suggest they stay away from their Facebook account for a few days.


And have a nice day.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Groupthink Awareness in the Credit Union

I was glad to see, coming through one of my RSS feeds, a brief in Credit Union Magazine about avoiding groupthink. It's the 20-second tour of the problem, but it looks like it's giving some good information for prevention. It's actually a note telling about a report in Board Member, but I don't have access to Board Member to read the whole report.

Another good thing about the brief is that it mentions diversity as one of the ways to prevent groupthink. Groupthink is not only something you worry about when you've got your team but something you worry about when you're setting up your team.

Good work, Credit Union Magazine.

And have a good day.

Avoiding Groupthink is a Good Thing. Credit Union Magazine. 2007 Oct; 73(10):16.

No Autographs, Please

As of yesterday, I have reached a milestone on this blog.

Yes, according to Google Analytics, I have ten (10) official viewers of this blog.

I'd like to thank the little people. And the larger people, also. It's been a pleasure.

I promise, even with my new found celebrity, I won't change. Even if, someday, I reach as many as 12 people, I won't let my ego get the best of me.

Now, somebody fetch my slippers.

And have a good day.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Dunkin' Donuts Dangeresque

As a doughnut connoisseur, I feel it is my obligation to report the bad news about doughnuts as well as the good news. Well, here it is. Dunkin' Donuts [sic] has recalled 1 million glow sticks. The reason for this is the toys present a choking and/or strangulation hazard.

Other than fire flies, I've never considered glowing things to be safe or natural. Maybe it's because I grew up in the nuclear age. So, what struck me about the recall was when I found out the recall was because of something other than the glowing nature of the product. But, this is what happens when you import your doughnut products (and spelling) from China.

Next time you're in a doughnut shop, and the salesperson asks you if you'd like glowing or non-glowing, go for the non-glowing doughnuts.

And have a good day.

Colbert's run for President

Steven Colbert announced he is going to run for United States President ... of South Carolina. (Okay, that's a stretch. He's going to campaign only in South Carolina.)

He cannot be successful as President. Here's why. If you've seen his show, you know that he puts little blurbs on the side of the screen to emphasize and explain his talking points. If you've read his book, you know he adds blurbs in side margins and footnotes in the foot margin. How is he going to do that with his Saturday radio addresses? He can't; ergo, he can't succeed as President.

Which brings us to point 2. The conspiracy surrounding his book. He claims he didn't write it, but, instead, spoke into a tape recorder and someone else transcribed it into book form. But how did he get the side notes and footnotes? How do you dictate that? It's the moon landing of literature. He'll never get past that untruthiness of a skeleton in his closet to become President.

However, if I'm wrong and he becomes President, he will be unique. No, not the fact that he'd be a rare, as he stated, "white, male, middle-aged, Jesus-trumpeting alternative." No. While he'd be the 44th United States President, he'd be the very first United States Presiden (silent t). So he's got that going for him.

And have a good day.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

If you eat only one meal today ...

I found out about a new item at Hardee's restaurants: the country breakfast burrito. It has half the suggested daily caloric intake and all of the fat. If you can't have your usual tub of lard for breakfast, head on over to Hardee's.

Here's what I like about this news item. I suddenly don't feel so guilty about my weakness for doughnuts.

So you have your burrito and I'll have my doughnut and we'll all be happy.

See you at the gym.

And have a good day.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

The Best Time for Collective Efficacy

My feed for groupthink brought me an interesting article on collective efficacy (CE)--"When confidence comes too soon: collective efficacy, conflict and group performance over time" by Jack A. Goncalo and Evan G. Polman. (Published in the Academy of Management Proceedings; 8/1/2007).

Goncalo and Polman define collective efficacy as "a group's shared belief that they can execute a task successfully." Collective efficacy is important, if it comes at the right time. (Hint: not at the beginning of the project.) If CE arrives too early, project success rates go down. If a group pays its dues and then achieves CE, the projects tend to be more successful.

At least, that's how I interpreted the article.

So, learn about your team's strengths and weaknesses, then build on that learning to know your project will succeed. And your project will be more likely to succeed. And read the article for yourself to get more than just a summary of the summary.

And have a good day.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Moderate Modulation

Remember high school band? We had to learn a bunch of music terms and their definitions. Let's see if I can make Mr. Anderson proud:

Acoustics: the science of sound
Staccato: light and separated
Marcato: heavy and separated
embouchure: position of the mouth on the mouthpiece
syncopation: rhythm with the accent on the weak beat
modulation: to change key

Speaking of modulation, this blog is changing keys. I'm done with the library 2.0 bit and am now able to use this blog to speak my mind no matter what the 2.overlords think about it. In other words, if you have this blog in your RSS feed because of a 2.0 assignment, now might be a good time to unsubscribe. I call this fair warning.

Okay, if you have the stomach, read on.

Because of 2.0, I had subscribed to a search feed. The search in question: (groupthink or "group think"). One of the articles which came up was quite enlightening. It's Andrew McIntyre's review of the book What's Left? by Nick Cohen. McIntyre is from a think tank called the Institute of Public Affairs, which claims to be independent. By their thinking, I'm a moderate. I don't think any conservative would claim me as one of their own. So we can rule that out. However, this book review states the following characteristics about liberals:

  • uncompromising hatred of America
  • self-loathing
  • attracted to Lenin, Stalin, Pol Pot, Mao Tse-tung
  • sympathize with Kim Jung Il, Saddam Hussein
  • chronically dishonest
Chronically dishonest? That's an ironic criticism. And there's nothing like being lectured on American patriotism by an Australian political think tank. But that's beside the point. I love America. I'm not self-loathing. I'm not attracted to that one group and I don't sympathize with the other. Honest. Therefore, I am not liberal (by McIntyre's criteria). If I am not liberal and I am not conservative, what does that make me? Moderate, by my estimation. This is good because everyone these days seems to claim to be moderate, but no one has had the evidence to back it up. Until now. So, allow me to proclaim myself to be the very first bona fide moderate. [applause]

I still haven't figured out how group-think found its way into the article's sub-title. McIntyre never explains it, defines it, or mentions it. I'm glad it's there, though. For, because of it, I was able to find myself without having to backpack across Europe, as so many do. That's always nice.

So, if you ever need a moderate's opinion and/or viewpoint just ask. I'll be glad to share with you ... in limited portions.

And have a good day.

Works cited:

McIntyre, A. WHAT'S Left? How Liberals Lost Their Way by Nick Cohen [book review]. Institute of Public Affairs Review. 2007 Jul; 59(2):53.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Procrasti Nation


Since I started this blog about 11 weeks ago, I've been trying to find focus or an area for expertise in which to take this 2.0 utility and make a name for myself. Now, with our 2.0 learning experience nearing an end (at least, with directed learning), it's time to bring this blog to a focus-finding finale as well.

I've looked at doughnuts, creatiminating words, doughnuts, stealing my wife's blog idea, beefs, groupthink, sports announcer bloopers, WeSearch, doughnuts, Things What Go to Eleven, television demands, and Kumbaya. I've even looked at Ronnie Belliard, a baseball player. Oh, and doughnuts.

Clearly, after 11 weeks of delaying a decision, the choice is obvious. It can only be one thing. My area of expertise should be procrastination! It's not really a matter of becoming an expert. It appears as if I already am an expert in procrastination. I mean, for criminy's sakes, 11 weeks? So, join me as I explore the wonders and advances of procrastination. If you get around to it.


Oh, I was just looking into that. I'll let you know when I have something


Check with me next week. I may have some information at that time.

Thank you for letting me share with you my purpose-finding mission. It's been as enjoyable as doughnuts on this side. I hope it's been likewise on yours.

And have a good day!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007


We've all been invited to events. Sometimes, we may seem nervous about attending. The inviter notices this and says, "Don't worry. It's not big deal. We're not going to sing 'Kumbaya' or anything."

What gives? What did "Kumbaya" ever do to you? Just sitting there being a song about togetherness, prayer, community, and peace. Suddenly, you make it out to be some sort of evil practice--eager to take an otherwise fun event and making it into Cap'n Creepy's House O' Yeesh!

As I continue to find a focus for this blog, I discover that I can take the "Kumbaya" phenomenon and share other examples with the reading audience. I will find instances where someone or something somewhere was doing nothin' to nobody and was suddenly caught in the middle of something and sullied because of it.

Like human growth hormone. There it sits pleasantly making folks who do not meet the "you must be this high" cardboard-hand criteria high enough so as to meet the ride requirements. Suddenly, some folks start taking large amounts of HGH so more baseballs--which "must fly this far" to be a home run--are now flying far enough to be home runs. It's not HGH's fault people are abusing it; yet the term "HGH" alone can cause shaking fists among the most peaceful sports enthusiasts. Let it be known that HGH has been kumbayaed.

HGH, my Lord, kumbaya


I get the claim-to-fame of making Kumbaya a verb

Fighting for slightly more justice


Not another verbized non-verb! It's too much!

(Uh oh -- looks like "verb" has been kumbayaed!)

Yet more work

And have a good day.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Libraries 2.0: Week 12: pictorial portfolio

Melodrama what ain't quite right

Here are all my pictures if you'd like to see them.

It was difficult to find pictures to add since I don't take pictures very often. But I found a few.

The benefit to something like Flickr is the ability to tag. Otherwise, I don't see much difference than putting pictures on a web page or in a gallery. Of course, that's assuming the pictures would be posted privately or semi-privately. Do you really want the world to see pictures of you at work? (I suppose you would if you're a supermodel or celebrity, I guess.)

We had a set of rules we were to follow before we uploaded pictures to Flickr (and to the best of your knowledge, I did follow those rules). One of the rules was to not post someone else's pictures without permission. However, one of the things we've discussed earlier was adding pictures of book covers to the library catalog. Does that mean we'll need to ask permission for each image we add to the catalog? If that's the case, I'm not certain it would be worth the effort to add them.

I've done a lot of negative in this post. Here's a positive: I hope the library does post pictures of me at work. That way, I can prove to my father that I really do have a job.

And have a good day.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Libraries 2.0: week 12: Totally YouTube-ular!

I chose the first video because I was looking for a Demetri Martin bit on people in glass houses throwing stones. I couldn't find it, but I saw this bit he did on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart about social networking. It seemed vaguely relevant. Watch at your own risk.

Like so many other 2.0 "things," a big positive with youtube is the ability to tag items. That would be great for the library. Link it up to online AV and the patrons can find the material they want with user-friendly searches (as opposed to, say, "Medical Grand Rounds Feb 14, 2007"). They'd be happier; we'd be happier. Everyone would gather in happier workplace.

One thing I didn't like was my search on Jonkunoo (again, as a non-librarian, I have non-librarian interests which I use to help me understand these things). My favorite album cover has what I thought were Jonkunoo images. Unfortunately, the videos I saw of Junkunoo dancers didn't quite look like the same thing. It would almost appear as if I'm wrong. So, if anyone knows what the costumes are on this album cover, I'd be glad to learn about it.

As long as I'm here on these subjects, I'd like to add a video I tried to add earlier, but didn't know how to go about it. Again, watch at your own risk:

And have a good day.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

TV Guidance

I noticed that, as I've tried to find a focus for this blog, that I've concerned myself only with me. Maybe I should give helping others a try.

We've all seen it. You walk into a business and notice a television on. Or you're at the gym and there is a television on. Or you're sitting in your family room and there is a television on. In each case, you may wonder, "Why is it on this channel?" You ask the employees/family members. Typically, the answer is something to the effect of "we didn't know what channel to put it on and didn't want to spend time surfing," or "Mark, you know your son likes watching the Wiggles!"

So, it occurred to me to use the blog as a helpful resource to solve the problem of what channel to watch when no one is watching any channels. Fortunately, this involves two of my favorite pastimes : the internet and watching television. (Of course, my favorite pastime is working, but they only let me do that so many hours each day. Take THAT, you employers, 83% of whom use the internet to check on job applicants and the 45% of those who cowardly reject an applicant based on those findings!) I also enjoy fact checking.

It's pretty simple. I put the choices I've made for tomorrow's television viewing on the blog. You check the blog and put all of your televisions on said programs. I suppose if someone were to ask for a specific channel other than the one I've chosen, you could change it to the requested channel. But make sure you sigh, roll your eyes, look at your watch, and, after changing the channel, say, "THERE! Are you happy now?"

On a tangent (of, if you like music, on a coda), those of you who know me probably know that I find it fascinating that they show radio programs on television--past and present examples include Howard Stern, Don Imus, and "Mike & Mike in the Morning". Isn't that what radios are for? When I'm on a treadmill in the morning, I watch television but don't listen to it as I fear what earphones will do to my hearing. So, if the channel has a radio program, like Mike & Mike, I am watching (and only watching) a radio program on TV. This morning, I was noticed that the treadmill I was using AND the treadmill in front of it had Mike & Mike on. So, I was was watching (and only watching) a radio program on TV in stereo!

See below for the first day's schedule.




Helps solve a problem

Always something good on the TV when I'm walking through a room with a television


So far, no one seems overly concerned about my thoughts on what should be on TV

The problem isn't big enough to necessitate the time spent

If I had any authority, this would be autocratic

Might be easier just to point people to a TV listing web site

Hopefully, my unselfish efforts will make publicly-placed televisions more enjoyable for everyone.

And have a good day.


Let's start with September 19th.

0000: The Daily Show with Jon Stewart (COM)

0030: The Colbert Report (COM)

0100: NOVA (TPT2)

0200: In Living Color (BET)

0230: In Living Color (BET)

0300: Babe Winkleman's Outdoors Secretss

0330: Happy Days (WGN)

0400: Happy Days (WGN)

0430: Are You Being Served (TPT2)

0500: Brief History of Disbelief (TPT2)

0600: The Wiggles (DIS) [Liam! Get away from the keyboard!]

0630: M*A*S*H (TVLand)

0700: Cheers (TVLand)

0730: Beverly Hillbillies (WGN) (it was either that or paid programming)

0800: Spin City (FX)

0830: All in the Family (TVLand)

0900: Ellen DeGeneres (WCCO)

1000: Scrubs (COM)

1030: Scrubs (COM)

1100: I Love Lucy (TVLand)

1130: Married ... With Children (FX)

1200: Twins baseball (FSN)

1500: NFL Live (ESPN)

1530: Cosby Show (WGN)

1600: M*A*S*H (Hall)

1630: Pardon the Interuption (ESPN)

1700: O Brother Where Art Thou (CMT)

1930: M*A*S*H (TVLand)

2000: Mythbusters (DISCOVERY)

2100: M*A*S*H (TVLand)

2130: M*A*S*H (TVLand)

2200: The Daily Show with Jon Stewart (COM)

2230: The Colbert Report (COM)

2300: Cribs (MTV2)

2330: Cribs (MTV2)

Monday, September 17, 2007

Libraries 2.0: Week 11: Mash ups

I'm having a little trouble with mash-ups. I get the general concept of taking information from two or more sources and combining them together: a map and a band's tour information, a book record and an image of the cover, a YouTube video and a cease-and-desist order. I suppose the part I'm not taking into consideration is the automated part. Any web page can have parts from other web pages. This feature automatically combines parts from other sources working together to create an original part on a new page--kind of like online baking. You take one part Google map and 4 parts news feeds, mix them, and soon you have a map indicating where politicians have promised great things to the locals. That opposed to a regular web page which might have a map, the names of politicians, and what the politicians have promised. However, those are more like a salad than a baked good because the items, though in close proximity, are not working together.

So, how would this help in a library?
  • Updating information pages. Rather than saying "We have 100,000 plus volumes," the web page could tell the reader in real time exactly how many volumes the library owns--or how many people work there (with names and pictures), how many items are currently checked out, and how long it has been since a patron asked "you got any books?"
  • Finding books. Put an RFID in each item, throw in some GPS and a map of the library. The web page could tell the patron exactly where to find the item, even if it is at the circulation desk, by a copier, or in the trunk of someone's car. ("I can't find the book you say I have overdue." "Did you check in the car parked at 825 3rd Ave NW?") This could also work to help find books what "walked out" of the library.
  • Trans-site book information. Searching our library's OPAC could bring up the book, the location, availability, a picture of the cover, and comments from online bookseller sites, and book reviews from published periodicals.

Those are some thoughts on mash-ups. If any of it is incorrect, I hope someone tells me because, as I said, I'm not sure I fully understand mash ups.

On the bright side, after all this time, I've finally added "blog" to my Outlook dictionary. Yeah, I'm totally into this 2.0 stuff.

And have a good day.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Libraries 2.0: Week 10: Vodcasts and Podcasts

There's a saying popularized by self-improvement folk: "Any tool can be the right tool."

Not so in podcasts.

The first podcast I heard started with a guy reading the table of contents to a journal. WRONG TOOL! (but he did have a Boston accent)

Another one I heard had a monotone bored person giving an interview. RIGHT TOOL! (but the wrong cast--making it the WRONG TOOL)

Another one had folks sharing their family stories on how they ended up in Sunnyvale. RIGHT TOOL! (and the right cast)

My point that podcasting is a tool which needs to be done just right or it doesn't work. I think the reason for this is that you cannot skim podcasts. You can skim blogs. You can skim RSS feeds. You can skim wikis. But you can't skim podcasts. And if you're expecting to get something from the podcast and, after listening to a slow talker for 45 minutes, the information doesn't present itself ... someone becomes quite cranky.

Generally, I'd prefer just to get the transcript of the podcast. You can miss inflections and such, but you still get the information. However, sometimes you need to hear the voices--like the Sunnyvale storytellers. Or maybe a podcast on heart murmurs. Or a comedy routine. Or if you're vision impaired. Exceptions are there, but, in general, podcasts are too tricky to warrant their use.

Much like hair pieces, there are times for podcasts--but those times do not occur as often as too many people seem to believe.

And have a good day.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Understanding more of the World 2.0

For several weeks now, we've been learning about web 2.0 as it pertains to libraries. Libraries 2.0 it is called.

Well, all week, this week, one of the characters in the comic strip Doonesbury has been updating her facebook profile. In Sunday's paper, a committee meeting turns into a discussion of web 2.0. Also in Sunday's paper, a Doonesbury character describes the progress he's made due to his efforts on Second Life. (I'm not sure if our course will cover Second Life; it's a 2.0 site I happened to learn about just before our 2.0 course started.)

In short, if I take nothing else from Libraries 2.0, at least the funny pages are more funny. Thanks, Libraries 2.0.

And have a good day.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

The Physics of Web Surfing

It dawned on me this morning that I have not yet posted anything about Star Trek. I believe every web site is required by Internet Protocol version 4 (IPv4) to share something about Star Trek. (That may change in IPv6 what with commoners having more access to the internet, but I don't know yet.)

So allow me share this with you. Why is it that so many space vehicles, like the Starship Enterprise, are aerodynamic? There is no atmosphere in outer space. Aerodynamics are useless. (I would have said "pointless," but since so many aerodynamic objects physically come to a point ...) That was one of two great things about the Borg. First, it/they is/are called The Borg which, at least at that time, was funny. The second is that the Borg ship is a big cube. No travel physics whatsoever--just a big crate putzing through space.

There is one thing missing on fictional spaceships, however: cowcatchers. If you're traveling at mach 7 (or whatever), you never know when you might happen upon a space object (like stars, asteroids, John Glenn, etc.). At mach speed, you won't have time to change course. You need apparatus to knock away any objects which might cause damage. A cowcatcher is perfect for that.

So there you have it. I've solved another of life's problems.

And have a good day.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Things What Go to Eleven

More fun as I try to find a theme for this blog.

Unless you haven't, you've seen the clip. Nigel Tufnel and Martin DiBergi looking at the control panel of an amplifier. All of the dials go from 1 to 11 instead of the usual 1 to 10. Nigel explains how it works.

NIGEL: ...all the way up. You’re on ten on your guitar...where can you go from where? Where?
MARTY: I don’t know....
NIGEL: Nowhere. Exactly. What we do is if we need that extra... push over the know what we do?
MARTY: Put it up to eleven.
NIGEL: Eleven. Exactly. One louder.
MARTY: Why don’t you just make ten louder and make ten be the top... number... and make that a little louder?
NIGEL: These go to eleven.
[Transcribed from the movie, This Is Spinal Tap]

Pure hilarity. Perhaps I could have a blog dedicated to things that have that extra push over the cliff. Things which are one louder. Things that go to eleven.

For example, Izzy Stradlin's album, "117 Degrees". Like all of Stradlin's albums, 117 Degrees rocks. That would be a great place to start on a blog going to eleven. (I know, I could have started with This is Spinal Tap, but that would have been too obvious.)

I know what you're thinking. "Mark, you're basically stealing from Tap." But you're wrong. I'm actually stealing from Jump The Shark. I borrowed from Tap to steal from Shark.

Okay, I'm stealing from both. I could make it a hat trick by stealing from Izzy and calling it "Things What Go to 117." I'll keep that idea in mind.


Get to share things over a cliff, things going to 11, and things going to 117
Free advertising for folks who contribute to society


That whole stealing thing.
I run the risk of over popularizing things, which makes them totally not go to 11
It may further dilute the cleverness of the original joke.

And have a good day.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Libraries 2.0 week 8: Social OPACs

This week's adventures take us to a world called Folksonomy.

I checked 3 OPACs: LibraryThing, LibraryThing for Libraries (Danbury Library), and Endeca (North Carolina State University).

We'll just skip right over Endeca because I had trouble seeing how it was a Social OPAC. I couldn't find tags anywhere.

Danbury Library was a bit better. It appeared to me that you could only search with tags by going to a record with tags and clicking on one from there. But this gave me a good example of a flaw of folksonomy. The book Patton had tags, but no one thought to include the tag "Patton," thus any tag search for Patton would have missed the book Patton. And, of course, that's only including the books people have thought to tag. Unpopular books would become even more unpopular as they would be ignored by a search engine (I hope I'm using that term correctly.) But Danbury Library demonstrated a good mix of traditional cataloging and folksonomy, as both are valuable.

LibraryThing was a hoot. It's a little too personalized. People would placing "Read in 2006," "Read in 2007," "read," "unread," etc. as tags, but no traditional cataloging (unless you count the library-types in who sneaked in and used library terms as tags). I'd be too worried to miss something using this. At least with Danbury Library, I could start on tags and run to a librarian as a backup plan. (I strongly encourage going to a librarian near the beginning of the process, for best results.)

Of the three, I like Danbury Library's the best. It gave the best of both worlds and gave me the options to use as I see fit.

And have a good day.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007


The continuing saga of trying to find focus for this blog.

We've all seen the articles about the recent research. You know, the 5- and 10-year studies on the effects of walking into a bar with a priest, a Packer fan, and/or a Clinton. Unfortunately, by the time we read it, it is old news. There's no drama, no personal investment, no daily updates on the Today Show. It's like finding out the score to a baseball game before you watch it. It's just no fun.

I could try something different. Near real-time research information posted on the blog called Weblog research or "WeSearch." As all the data come in, I would post the results on the blog. Readers could keep score at home or try to solve or predict the results. Readers could comment on why a certain data set differed so much from other data sets. And it's always good to have a second (third, fourth, etc.) pair of eyes checking the math. Las Vegas could get involved--placing odds on results--but we'd need to make sure gamblers didn't fix any results. The final publication would be like the highlight video in the sports world--nostalgic as well as informative.


New interest in science and the scientific method

Millions of eyes checking for errors before publication of study begins

I get royalties when the term WeSearch is used

Researchers (me) may start receiving insane celebrity salaries


Internet publicity could bring influenced results

Anyone could write the published paper and steal my credit

Sensitive information published on the web could be labelled inappropriate

With many readers commenting, author lists could be a nightmare

And have a good day.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Libraries 2.0 week 7: social bookmarking

For this week's assignment, we toured around (Sorry, I forgot to check for a background on the name peculiarities.)

I would like to pass a word of advice on to anyone planning to create a account: do it BEFORE you start exploring I explored first and then created an account. While exploring I found a few links to add to my account. Since my account didn't exist, the links are lost for the ages. Anyway, food for thought.

During week 6, I had a conversation with a fellow blogger on his blog about privacy issues. He and I were concerned about privacy and security issues with having personal information accumulated online. This takes it one step further. I'm actually broadcasting information to any and all who chose to listen. I have to admit, there was a bookmark of mine that I chose not add for fear it would come back to haunt me in my quest for the presidency. (A shiny new doughnut to the first person to guess the link!) There were other links I didn't add, but this was the only one I didn't add out of fear.

A benefit of this is that you can access your bookmarks from anywhere. Another benefit is, as opposed to search engines, the sites you find on others' accounts have been at least mildly endorsed. You don't have that bonus on search engines.

For the average person, social bookmarking looks like a few more steps to find your favorite web sites.

For the non-average person (read: researcher), it looks like a great way to build up an online resource list. And searching that list is easier and faster because you have the tags you can click and have it search for you.

And have a good day.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Sports Announcers Bloopers

This week's attempt to find focus in a blog with none.

I don't know if you all turned on the television this weekend. If you did, you may have seen that they are showing football games again. Those of you who regularly follow football know that the broadcast booths are populated with people less interested in announcing football games than auditioning for cinematic buddy comedies. There is only one way to make listening to that tolerable: listening for stupid quotes. For example, one from last year had Joe Buck befuddled by the thought that people actually know which cleat length is longer: 3/8", 1/2", or 5/8".

Maybe I could do a blog about the stupid quotes each week.

There are plenty stupid quotes from which to choose
The quotes can be quite humorous
Others could collaborate and share quotes they've heard via comments

It's unfair to base the perception of a person's performance on one or two quotes given in 3 hours of talking.
I don't have the time or resources study all of the games to find THE stupidest quote.
It would entail listening intently to these guys: some of whom hurt my brain
One school of thought is to use blogs to share intelligence.

So, we have another idea to throw in the hat. Or throw in the towel.

And have a good day.

This entry was added via Zoho

This week's assignment is on the subject of 2.0 collaboration tools--specifically, Zoho and Google Docs. There are two things wrong with Zoho and Google Docs.


First, I don't see task list or GANNT chart options.


Second, I found out about this AFTER my Project Manager course. This would have been great for writing up Scope Statements, Team Contracts, Business Cases, etc. since my project mates and I didn't have a share drive we could use. At least we were all local for that. A previous "job" I had entailed working with people from all over the U.S., from Canada, and one person in Japan. It would have been a lot easier with these collaboration tools.


Another great tool for 2.0.


If I am successful with this, it will be posted on my blog

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Advocating Devil's Advocates

In this, the latest installment of ideas for a focus/expertise for this blog, we look at a longtime interest of mine: group think. While definitions vary, I think of group think as the refrain from mentioning a plan's obvious flaw(s) in order to not disturb the feel-good social dynamics in a group. In other words, to keep a country-club atmosphere, don't say anything negative.

So here's how this will work:
1) I become an expert in group think by writing about it a lot
2) I win a Nobel prize for my expertise in group think
3) We have a party to celebrate my Nobel prize.

So we'd better start planning the party. We'll need refreshments. A band, maybe several; as it will probably demand a several day celebration. We'd best invite the President of the United States, or he'll be put off. Let him bring Cheney, too. We'll need a committee to organize the satellite celebrations in London, Moscow, Sydney, Rio de Janeiro, Mexico City, and Berlin. Better plan it for June, 2008. We want good weather, but we can't have the celebration too long after I win the prize.

Well, that's a good start. Just in time for lunch, too. Any thoughts?

Great plan
We'll get started right away
I love it!
That's why you're the boss
Aces, chief

I can't think of any
If there are flaws, it'd take Sherlock Holmes to find them

So we're off (to lunch)

And have a good day!

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Week 5: part II

As instructed, I edited a wiki. I had never done that before and found it to be easy.

But not easy enough. There was some coding to be done. I think I tagged my name to print in boldface. I didn't see where there was a list of common tags for the wiki. Yes, I know that a few tags here and there will be enough, but it's a small hurdle for those who are not comfortable with computers. I just need to learn the tags--if that is what they are even called--and share that info with the people using any wiki I create.

But, as we've learned, there is another simple solution in wiki world for the problem of tags: don't use 'em. Someone else will, hopefully, stop by and clean up the coding for the page. I'm not certain how that jibes with wiki etiquette, but it is one solution. But it gets the job done.

And have a good day!

Monday, August 6, 2007

Mama Told Me (Not to Come)

This week (week 5.0, for those keeping score at home) in Libraries 2.0, we are learning about wikis. I am interested in wikis as I think it would be cool to set one up for my family to create a family history. Hopefully, by the end of this, I will have learned how.

I had looked at wikis before. We were also given a list of wikis to browse as examples. A few things struck me.
First, were format changes. Most of the wikis I've seen look that same; only the names are different. However, a couple of the wikis on the browse list actually looked not like Wikipedia. That's always good. Good except that you can't necessarily tell at a glance that the web site you're on is a wiki. We'll learn.
Second, I can't imagine trying to look at all of the pages, even in a smaller one. It's not organized in an orderly enough fashion. It seems, and I'm no ... um ... expert in this, to be a mini-web inside the web--just as difficult to search and just as important to bookmark favorites.
Third, I noticed one had an RSS feed icon. Can you imagine that? Imagine the feeds from Wikipedia with how often it is added to and edited.

By the way, the blog post's title comes from a link in one of the wikis. For a bit of fun, they gave a link to a web site where you could see the song which was number 1 on the charts the day you were born. Unfortunately, I was born under a Three Dog Night song called "Mama Told Me (Not to Come)". It explains a lot, but I can't be held responsible for it, can I?

And have a good day.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Libraries 2.0: Exercise 4

3. Write a blog post telling the group what your experience with this week's exercise was like. For example, how do you think RSS features might impact the Libraries' current awareness and tables of contents services in the future?

Both the PubMed feed and the journal feed seem useful. (Disclaimer: as always, please consult your local expert searcher for more efficient results on PubMed. Results may vary.) Unfortunately, I didn't see an RSS feed for the EBSCO business journals. I can, and did, test it with other journals, but I like to have these exercises apply directly to me. That way, my opinions are based less in the hypothetical. But, if I were someone who had an professional-level interest in a specific medical subject for a PubMed search or medical journal, this would be slick for me.

Larry, in his blog, mentioned using building something like this for the library. What could be great with that would be the ability to check off and automatically request scans of articles. Of course, that's only if the patron and library didn't own a subscription to the online.

And have a good day.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Dollars to Doughnuts

David Rothman, in his lecture to us, noted that we can use the blogs as a way of becoming experts and displaying our expertise. Maybe I should go that route, as opposed to just sharing information and opinions on my interests. But the discussion then focuses on areas of expertise: in what area would I like to become an expert. Of course, the two ideas are not mutually exclusive. In fact, it would probably be best to have my expertise in an area in which I have interest.

Here's an option: doughnuts. I could become an expert in doughnuts. I could scour all the latest information in doughnuts through RSS. After a bit of learning, I could be an expert in the whys and wherefores of doughnutry. (I could start demonstrating my expertise by not using made-up words like "doughnutry.") I could share the latest information on new ingredients and baking methods which make doughnuts taste better or make doughnuts less unhealthy.

Let's give it a try:

Caffeinated doughnuts: by the end of the year, a scientist should have doughnuts with caffeine ready for public consumption. There's no word on, with the limited space in bakeries for doughnuts, how this will affect the availability of regular doughnuts. (Okay, not much for expertise, but I'm not there yet. I've just started.)

Area of interest

How much progress can be made in the doughnut industry?
Any discussion on the subject would probably include coffee. (Yeech!)
Might want to focus on healthful foods

And have a good day.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

My Beef With . . .

I continue my niche exploration today with beefs.

Okay, this isn't so much a niche thing as it is putting my thoughts out for anyone to see even though there hasn't been much call for information on those with whom I am currently in dispute. However, misery does love company; so people might enjoy someone else shares having a beef with certain people.

Now, if I could focus my beef with people on people needing to be brought out of the shadows, there might be some use for it. Researching malfeasance could start reform and end up making the world a better place.

Venting for the author

Not really a niche
Low interest in it

There's my first beef. I have a beef with niche evaluations. They are so demoralizing.

And have a good day.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

What He Said

Yes, I'm still trying to find a focus for this blog. However, I learned today, from David Rothman, that I'm not looking for a focus; I'm looking for a niche. So, please join me as I continue my search for a niche.

Here's a possibility. My son says some pretty humorous things. They other day, we were outside having lunch. Stephanie and I were commenting on how great the weather was that afternoon. Liam, still too young to understand measurements like this, looked up and said, "What's the temperature?"

Liam's great
Liam's funny
Liam's adored by all
People hang on every word Liam utters

Someone beat me to a blog about Liam's quotes.

And have a good day.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Word O' The Day

(continuing my exploration of possible focus points for the blog)

From where do words come? Someone makes one up and uses it long enough that others follow and use the word. Soon, it's used by many and news reports inform us about it being added to the dictionary. So, here's an option: a word-a-day blog where all of words are newly invented. Some may stick and some may fail, but they can all be traced back to here. Like "deort." Deort is that point when the dream becomes the reality. I wish to have a doughnut. While I'm walking to the bakery, I have a dream about eating a doughnut. I'm at the bakery and the moment I touch the doughnut is the deort moment.

I would be able say I invented words
We'd have new words to overuse to the point where they become meaningless
Job security for folks who add words to dictionaries and for those who report on such events

It'd never succeed
It's twice as much work as it would seem: I would need to invent words AND definitions
It'd be really embarrassing to misspell words I created

With that, we've come to the deort for those dreaming that this blog entry would end.

And have a good day.

Official First Post

Whoops. I forgot that the first post had directions to it. Even for a non-sequitur blog, this is going to be non-sequitur. Bear with me as I answer the question of my thoughts regarding Web 2.0 and Libraries 2.0.

I think there is a lot of anxiety over where technology is leading us. From other sources, I've heard about having our minds programmed into other objects, having chips implanted in our brains to read thoughts and transmit them to other humans instead of actually talking, and Second Life. I think Libraries 2.0 is showing us the information exchange of the future without too much scary stuff. (Okay, Second Life isn't so much scary as it is annoying.) Libraries 2.0 looks good. It's already becoming difficult to remember life before the web. Soon, all we'll have to do is wonder what life was like before the web, and a video will be beamed directly to our communication devices to show us.

And have a good day.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Ronnie Belliblog

One day, I drafted a fantasy baseball team fantasy baseball team and ended up with
Ronnie Belliard for no reason I could figure out. So, I thought I could either replace him with a player I actually wanted or I could become a fan of his. I did neither. I kept him on my roster for a while, but never actually created a blog to pretend I was a fan of his. Now is my chance.

I have the opportunity.
He's as good a subject as any other relatively older player who could use a fan who doesn't really care much about him

I don't really care much about him.
It's really only one joke. Two if you count the humor of calling it Ronnie Belliblog.
I'd actually have to keep up with his games. And his games are like every day. Who has time for that?
Ronnie Belliblog isn't really all that funny.
He's no longer on my fantasy baseball roster.

So, that's the long and the short of the Ronnie Belliard focus. Think about it. Give feedback if you'd like.

And have a good day.

An Introduction to My Blog


I'm Mark.

For an assignment, I am to create a blog. I could just point to my real blog, but that has comments which may not follow company policy. This, I need to create a new blog. Ah, but on what should I focus. The list of choices is endless. Time is not. But I have made my decision.

My focus will be my focus. I will use this blog space to decide upon this space's purpose.

Join me as I explore the options of this space.

And have a good day.