Sign in or Join FriendFeed
FriendFeed is the easiest way to share online. Learn more »
Walt Crawford

Walt Crawford

Mostly retired library person/researcher/writer/speaker. All original FF contributions CC0 (public domain).
Gotta love this town. Livermore Public Library will celebrate "Livermorium Day" next Friday, with a two-hour Twitter-facilitated conversation involving various Lawrence scientists and others. I think that's two weeks before the Livermore Rodeo, the "World's Fastest Rodeo."
As for the World's Fastest Rodeo (in Robertson Park, maybe 3/4 mile from the library):! - Walt Crawford
Odd letter in this week's (Livermore) Independent, following up somebody else complaining about "hydrolyzed aluminum hydrates" being sprayed over watersheds. This writer took up the danger of Dihydrogen Monoxide (DHMO) at some length, noting that our water agency is injecting huge quantities of it into the ground.
I'm guessing the scientists among you have already figured out DHMO, that colorless, unregulated product that's a major component of acid rain; also known as Dihydrogen Oxide, Hydrogen Hydroxide, Hydronium Hydroxide or Hydric acid. No, the letter -writer never *quite* spelled it out. - Walt Crawford
I suppose this could all have something to do with Livermore being home to Lawrence Livermore and Sandia, thus thousands of current and retired chemists, physicists, other -ists... (Still don't quite know what "hydrolized aluminum hydrates" are, though.) - Walt Crawford
OK, so I hadn't seen the website before... The chemical really *is* insidious. It's 100% soluble in water; even after you've washed it out of a container and rinsed the container, traces will remain; it boils at 100C and freezes at 0C... - Walt Crawford
OMIGOD, I've been reading up on this stuff. So dangerous. Have you seen how far it expands at a little over 373 Kelvin? The thrust from the expansion of a small amount of this stuff can keep a man aloft for minutes at a time. This should be a controlled substance. - Slippy: Rebooting
Yep. (My brother tells me that hydrolized aluminum hydrates are used as flocculents in purifying water, which might explain why they're sprayed over water...) - Walt Crawford
i wouldn't say it's unregulated though. i mean, there are lots of regulations about it - Christina Pikas
True. It's not a regulated substance as such. - Walt Crawford
Oh, man, Harris rites grate nooz releases:
Livermore Public tweeted about that asking for two typos in the first three paragraphs; there are more. None of which are quite up to the heading of the table itself: "Who is your favorite book of all time?" - Walt Crawford
Although "Cather in the Rye" does have its charms and might make a nice crossover novel... - Walt Crawford
Something I'd never noticed before: At least in late 2012, one J. Beall's many criteria for predatory publishers is that journals include articles by laymen--people without proper academic affiliations. Well, damn: That puts me in my place. If you're not a[n affiliated] Scholar, you can't do Scholarship. Period.
Mystery Collection Disc 42 -
Fun days. After five weeks of headache (partly caused by since-fixed eyestrain since needed new glasses), talked to doctor. Who figures it's probably mostly allergies (as expected), suggested switching from generic Claritin (loratadine, that is) to generic Zyrtec and taking it in evening...and suggested giving up coffee entirely.
I'd gone from one cup a day (for last 20 years) to two because of headaches. Dropped the second cup yesterday afternoon and the remaining cup this morning. I guess in two weeks I'll know, after the withdrawal headaches give way... - Walt Crawford
So if I'm even grumpier than usual (assuming that's possible), I claim an excuse for the next week or two. - Walt Crawford
No coffee for allergies? I'd never heard of that. - Eric
No; she thinks the coffee--or, rather, the fact that its effects wear off--may be adding to evening/night headaches, which are the ones that really bother me. It's worth a try. - Walt Crawford
Whew. Had a DSL hiccup, and Friendfeed seemed to have gone away persistently, but "is it down for everyone?" said otherwise. Just needed to clear my cache.
Idle tech thoughts as preparing for jury duty (shudder) tomorrow morn (at least it's Hayward, not Oakland). Boo: Google Maps wants to shoot your route 30 miles off course if you nudge one intersection (Bing's much better in this regard. Yay: I can "walk" down the street I'm headed for in street view. And all for free.
(The "shudder" is newfound: I've served twice on juries and found it worthwhile. But I was also younger, had better hearing and more patience, and reporting didn't involve driving to hell and gone in morning commute traffic. I'm hoping that an hour to go what's supposed to take 30 minutes, avoiding the most congested area, will work.) - Walt Crawford
Followup for the record: An hour for the 31-minute trip turned out just about right (avoiding 580/238 on my wife's advice, if you know the Hayward area: otherwise it would be much worse). And at 10:30 a.m., they said there were no cases requiring juries, so we're all done for the year. More time on the road than in the jury room--but most of all it's done. - Walt Crawford
New glasses arrived today. How long should I give readjustment to clear up my persistent headache before calling doctor? (My brother says 1.5 weeks; I think 4-5 days. I think it's already starting to improve.)
I'd say 2-3 days. I've never had a headache that intense from a new prescription or pair of glasses. - laura x from iPhone
Well, the headache--rarely intense, just long-lasting--is, we hope, from eyestrain because my left eye had gone from profoundly nearsighted to very nearsighted and was fighting with the glasses all the time. I'm thinking 3 days as a minimum, which effectively means "if it's still a problem next Monday, I'll call." I'm crossing--well, not my eyes, but my fingers. - Walt Crawford
Actually, the new glasses *instantly* felt more "comfortable" than the 6-year-old set, which is interesting, since they're similar frames, same lens options (but different prescriptions). They felt "good" right away. (Although my wife tells me we need to go back and get them adjusted, 'cuz they're a little crooked on my face.) - Walt Crawford
I went two summers--well, two half summers, about a month each--at camp without glasses (one year they fell overboard; the next they got horribly scratched, and then we tried to buff them, which was a mistake). It was always fine until my mom came to get me and I went out into places with street signs and sharp edges and then I'd get a terrible headache and beg for a trip to LensCrafters stat. - laura x from iPhone
Yeah, moving from nature to text will kill ya' in some cases. - Walt Crawford
I find that putting new glasses on the next morning works better. Just get up and let your eyes adjust. If they're crooked, though, that can move the focal point and make you dizzy. - m9m, Crone of FriendFeed
They're not all that crooked, and as progressives, there's not so much a single focal point. - Walt Crawford
Academic library circulation always down -
Not ready and other notes -
Real-world economics: Went to order new eyeglasses today (after finding out yesterday that one eye has changed quite a bit in the past 5.5 years). Basically wanted same lenses & treatments as back then:Varilux high-density lenses so they're not too thick/heavy, Transitions photochromics, Crizal anti-reflective/UV coating.
Got the total (including new frames very similar to old ones). Just under twice the $$ of the previous pair. But, the optician said, you can go with a very similar lens & photochromics & coating that are pretty close to as good...and you'd save almost $200. - Walt Crawford
Amazingly, given that my wife is savings-inclined, it didn't take us more than two minutes to say, "That's OK. We'll go with what we *know* works." (After my usual clumsiness, these 5.5-yr-old glasses are still wholly scratch-free.) By far the most we've ever spent on a pair of specs. - Walt Crawford
And I guess two weeks before I return to finish The Project, as it's increasingly likely that its visual requirements are causing me eyestrain leading to this headache. The new glasses should help a lot. - Walt Crawford
So: Question: What have you spent/would you spend on a primary pair of eyeglasses, esp. if you have Coke-bottle-lens eyes like mine (or at least like the left one *used* to be--9 diopters)? - Walt Crawford
Mine are like -7 and they're backups to contacts but I about had a fit when they came to 275. Guessing yours were >600? - Christina Pikas from iPhone
Oh yeah. Before the 20% discount for the vision plan, they were four figures. - Walt Crawford
Also worth noting: These are progressive lenses (like "bifocals" but better). It all adds up. At least I don't have astigmatism, but I don't think that makes much difference in the price. (These are not "designer" frames, to be sure.) - Walt Crawford
I spend whatever I have to to get glasses I can see with in frames I like. I'm glad to have discovered Warby Parker shortly after Peter destroyed two pairs of glasses in a matter of weeks. - laura x from iPhone
holy cow. 4 figures? I am out of date! - Christina Pikas
We just spent abt 400 for mr 14's single vision with transition and new frames. But, they act as his sunglasses, too. We probably could have gotten them from another cheaper place for 300, but they had poor service. - Joe
And, my wife needs either progressive or bifocals, and those lenses can be expensive. - Joe
I've spent $500 on trifocals with the fancy lightweight lens in the right eye only, with anti-glare coating. That's why I never have a backup pair. - m9m, Crone of FriendFeed
Note that these glasses are my "sunglasses too"--Transitions greyscale works so well I'm never aware they change, but they provide all the needed protection. Mostly, the apparent list for the same lens/treatment combo roughly doubled in six years (the frames--very similar--went up about 80%). But these have been *great* glasses, so sticking with winners makes sense. - Walt Crawford
I bought my inexpensive backup pair online. - Julian
When I got my "regular" glasses earlier this month, I, too, had a bit of sticker shock. - Julian
I'm like Laura X. I spend what it takes, for both my husband and me. Now that we both do Transitions, he no longer get 2 pr, so that helps. - ~Courtney F
I bought earlier this year and spent ~$450, I think? but like Laurax and Courtney, I spend what it takes. Flex spending accounts helped me get to that mindset, though. Before that, my glasses would be 5+years behind my contact script. - ellbeecee
when I got new lenses a year ago, they approached 4 figures. Just lenses. I may never get new frames again! - RudĩϐЯaЯïan
I need to look at the details more closely soon, but it appears that Lulu has significantly lowered its pricing for most (at least 6x9) books, while formalizing the difference between standard, "value" (50lb. rather than 60lb. paper) and deluxe books.
If my initial reading is right, they're basically including the first 100 pages (b&w, 40 pages color) as part of the base production price--and, in some cases, lowering that base production price. This could be a very good thing for libraries helping patrons with self-pub, and for micropublishing in general. Some day I'll blog or write about it. - Walt Crawford
I wonder if they're losing business to CreateSpace? It's a hell of a lot easier to buy through Amazon than through Lulu (at least, if you already buy through Amazon), and the prices are often cheaper, even without shipping. - laura x
Lulu's been adjusting its practices to compete with CreateSpace for a while, I think (including free distribution to other vendors, free ISBN, etc.), and yes, I think this does bring prices in line. - Walt Crawford
I see Jeremy Rifkin has another sure-fire 100% prediction, "The end of capitalism," to bookend his "The end of work." Since we've now enjoyed a post-labor society for 19 years, I can hardly wait...
Much as I've tended to admire Scalzi's ongoing series on privilege, the latest one tends to leave me with a "oh well, then, screw it" feeling--I'm sure not intended, but:
Looking at more comments, I see why it bothers me: given that everybody's "Xist," whatever X is, the term(s) lose(s) all meaning. - Walt Crawford
TIL: Word makes a remarkably effective waystation to move from overloaded HTML tables (e.g., journal pictures, names/links, ISSNs, etc.) to Excel. It sounds clunky, but I've saved hours using this two-step technique.
Today's education in intelligent pricing: My 3.5-year-old Lexmark Pro205 multifunction printer told me there was a printhead error (on this model, the printer cartridges are just ink: the printhead holds the four cartridges), and after trying the suggested remedies, said "replace the printhead." (cont...)
So...I went to the Lexmark site, where I have an account (they have a good cartridge recycling program if you buy direct), and looked up the printhead. Note that I paid about $130 for the printer 3.5 years ago, although that was after a $40 Lexmark promotion, so call it $170. Guess how much the printhead costs? - Walt Crawford
$313. That's right: More than twice the price of the whole printer, for one chunk of plastic with circuitry. I'm sure it's a very high-tech part, but... Let's just say that I plan to go printer shopping later this week. Probably not for a Lexmark: pretty good as a printer, pretty poor as a scanner. - Walt Crawford
And, of course, replacement parts pricing that boggles my mind. - Walt Crawford
Sounds insane but correct. They don't have a support process for consumer printers much past a year. Replacement parts are likely held mostly for business accounts. Everyone else gets to buy a new printer. - Eric
The funny thing is, the damn thing supposedly comes with a five-year warranty. I have let them know I think the whole thing is nuts. - Walt Crawford
50 Movie Gunslinger Classics, Disc 8 -
It's been a while, but...another astonishing Bing photo of the day: Under the Intracoastal Waterway Bridge in Florida.
holy cow that's beautiful - ellbeecee
^^^ - Betsy
Trying to decide at what point I admit that I'm now too old and shallow to cope with John Barth, or specifically with "Once Upon a Time." I'm about 1/3 of the way in, and while part of me admires the lapidary prose (but wishes he wouldn't be so obvious about the endless polishing), another part wants to scream "FOR GAIA'S SAKE GET ON WITH IT!"
Having now glanced at Goodreads and Amazon reader reviews, it's clear that if I can no longer cope with Barth, it's my problem, not his. (I've recognized the same about some other, what, post-modernist? writers I used to admire greatly.) - Walt Crawford
I have a Goodreads shelf labeled "it's me not the book" for these types of situations. :) - Katy S
Katy: If I ever actually start using Goodreads, I might do the same thing. (For people like Thomas Pynchon, specifically Lewis & Clark: It's the book, not me. For Barth this time around, still not *quite* sure.) - Walt Crawford
I figure Barth is one of those guys I'll read after I die. - laura x from iPhone
Laura: I was hoping you'd respond. And I *love* your response. - Walt Crawford
Walt - I also have a shelf titled "Took one For The Team." It includes things like Rush Limbaugh's children's books. - Katy S
I stole it from a discussion on Fiction_L years ago. I think it may have originated with a typo, but it took on a life of its own. - laura x from iPhone
Katy, that may be my favorite folksonomy term ever. - laura x from iPhone
laura - Did you give that one to me or someone else when I was discussing my need for a shelf for those books and others like it? It is definitely coming in handy since I seem to like torturing myself by reading these books so that I feel like I can legitimately complain about them. ETA: Search is working and I see it was Holly. Holly gets all credit for that great shelf name. - Katy S
Followup: While I persisted right up to the halfway point, a TEN-PAGE discussion of Jack & Jill (the nursery rhyme) finally did me in. It's a library book, so I refrained from throwing it across the room or setting it afire. The next book will be a Robert Parker "Spenser" book; it's been a while. I'm 99.999% certain I'll enjoy it a whole lot more, even if it's not an English "Making sure college students hate literature" Professor's prose. - Walt Crawford
An odd ars technica item. It strikes me that, in a neighborhood with casual crime (snatching smartphones) problems, a clown grabbing Google Glasses off your face might *not* be a hate crime...but decide for yourself:
Just read more of the comments. I failed to notice that ars tech got the item from Business Insider, where there sometimes does seem to be a "if it bleeds, it leads; if it doesn't bleed, cut it" sometimes seems to prevail. - Walt Crawford
Just what I needed on Friday evening of a, well, tricky week: Peter Suber praised my Bohannon/sting essay on Google+. My week's just gotten much, much better.
No, I don't know how to link to it, or I would. He was commenting on an OATP note on the essay. Google+ has become something of a focal point for OA folk, much like FF for a few hundred library types. - Walt Crawford - Actually similar to Friendfeed. The link is in the "time since post" text. This link works for me anyway. - Cameron Neylon
Cameron: Thanks. For some reason, I wasn't getting a link when I did hover-overs anywhere. Maybe just wasn't paying attention. (Admittedly, if it wasn't for OA/Suber, I might not use G+ at all, and as it is it's infrequent.) - Walt Crawford
Neat thing on yesterday's hike (on a road because of heavy rain making most trails muddy, but the road has spectacular views and one-truck-per-three-hours traffic): A hummingbird flew up to me, sat in front of my face (maybe a foot away) for 2-3 seconds seeing whether I might be a flower, then flew away.
Also tiny amounts of snow on the foothills just south of Livermore...snow the way I like it, nearby but not actually in town. (Probably more on Mt. Diablo, but it was too cloud-shrouded to tell.) - Walt Crawford
Good news for my public library: They apparently found a new operator for the coffee shop at the library (the old one shut down a couple of months ago). Also a name I bet nobody's ever used before: The Daily Grind.
OK, so not real original, but it's a great space and was always actively used, but apparently not profitable enough under the old more-or-less-a-full-deli model. Maybe this time. Notably, it will open at 7 a.m. on weekdays, hours before the library does. - Walt Crawford
We gave up on HIMYM at the start of the 2012-13 season; it just got to be too...well, anyway. We'll probably catch those two seasons on DVD at some point. Meanwhile, watched "Liberal Arts" last Saturday, which is very much a Josh Radnor project.
Which is to say: He wrote it, he directed it, he stars in it, he's one of the producers. And, you know, it's pretty good. We enjoyed it quite a bit. - Walt Crawford
An unusual Bing photo of the day--the Taj Majal framed by colorful rickshaws.
Tiny personal technology triumph today. Forced to switch to VDSL last week (I posted about that earlier), and the shipped equipment is a modem/wifi combo. Since we already have a reasonably secure wifi net set up with our owned router, didn't want the combo to be working as a router. AT&T guy said "just don't connect to it."
But, after three or four days using it, suddenly saw fifth light on: "Wireless." Checked, and there was suddenly a new wifi net with the name provided by AT&T (with a ten-digit password). No obvious way in setup instructions to turn off the wifi. - Walt Crawford
But, navigating the menus of AT&T's Uverse site, finally got to specific instructions to connect to the modem/router; easy process to turn off the wireless portion. Shazam: the light went out. (Not paranoid, but just as soon avoid *any* chance of outsiders using our data allocation.) - Walt Crawford
(I read that as modem/wife combo) - Stephan!e•CogSc!L!brar!an
Oh, I guarantee that the modem/wife combo was a primary reason we were upset when AT&T switched the ADSL to VDSL 12 hours early...if I had gone on my usual hike, my wife would have been *damned* upset about losing a half-day of access! - Walt Crawford
I'm going through the forced migration from DSL to Uverse now. Not a happy customer. - Greg GuitarBuster
Have to admit: the "Uverse" has been working more reliably than DSL was, although since the speed cap--and the fastest available--is still around 2.5mbps, I'm not sure it has much relationship to real U-verse, like my brother has across town. I wonder whether our neighborhood's underground utilities have something to do with it, or objections to the big ugly U-verse distribution boxes...or there just isn't enough local interest? - Walt Crawford
[That is: we *can't* get U-verse TV, and we *can't* sign up for a true high-speed broadband package, e.g., 5 or 10 or 20mbps.] - Walt Crawford
Reading a story in today's San Fran Chronicle about the Glasshole who filmed herself claiming "I'm not filming!" in a nightclub... she's also had restraining orders for phone-camming into a neighbor's window and restraining orders from her mother. She informs us she's a "super-nice person."
What most impressed me: Every single quoted person in the article was either an SEO person, a marketer or something similar. (Oh, and if you don't like Glass, you're a Luddite who will eventually use it, because.) - Walt Crawford
For those who've avoided it: Yes, the article uses Glasshole for Google Glass users who feel the need to be assholes about it. - Walt Crawford
Aha: Here's a link (with video I haven't yet viewed): - Walt Crawford
" She's like the guy in font of the tank at Tiananmen Square." Especially if that guy uses f**k as every fourth word and is actually the one driving the tank. (Watched the video. Not impressed.) - Walt Crawford
A concise example of why Fast Company has become my Wired replacement for technophilic silliness: March 2014, p. 30, "Spring Cleaning--with Tech!" (five apps), the description in full of "Happathon":
"Incentivize happiness with this app that suggests rewarding activities." Has YOUR happiness been incentivized lately? - Walt Crawford
I should note that my browser's spellcheck doesn't like "incentivize." That's OK: Neither do I. - Walt Crawford
You know, it's really not such a bad thing that the world is ending. - laura x
I deal with it by hearing Jimi Hendrix in my mind singing "Have you ever been incentivized?" - Walt Crawford
Other ways to read this feed:Feed readerFacebook