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Walt Crawford

Walt Crawford

Mostly retired library person/researcher/writer/speaker. All original FF contributions CC0 (public domain).
Full marks for this one: the Forum for Inter-American Research, abbreviated FIAR. The "who we are" page (editorial board, etc.) has the heading "The Ring of FIAR."
Down, down, down in a burning - Christina Pikas from iPhone
Last night, went with wife, brother, sister-in-law to Campo di Bocce (restaurant & bocce ball courts), which my wife & I go to once a month or so, for my birthday dinner...partly because CdB gives people a full four-course dinner, anything on the menu (appetizer, salad, entree, dessert) for free on their birthday. And it's a pretty good restaurant.
Happy Birthday! I think you've caught up with me, now. - m9m, Crone of FriendFeed
The question here: How many restaurants do this? (Yes, I can get a free slice of pie at Shari's; not quite the same as a $28 12oz. New York steak, done beautifully, a great caesar salad, a heart-stopping chocolate torte--I skipped the appetizer, and brought half the steak home. All free, with the waitress encouraging me to order an appetizer as well. Up to $50 in free food.) - Walt Crawford
Is this level of customer good will common elsewhere? Rare? Unheard of? - Walt Crawford
That's a really good deal. But you should get the appetizer and give it to somebody. Like me. - m9m, Crone of FriendFeed
There was a chain restaurant in Michigan that gave you a small free birthday cake on your birthday. I worked two doors down from one, and there were three engineers at my company who shared a birthday and went there every year. They kept looking for a fourth amongst the new employees, but never found one. [EDIT: the restaurant was Bill Knapp's.] - bentley
m9m: Last year, actually, my brother ordered two appetizers as a dinner (which turned out to be too much food)...and when the bill arrived, they'd zeroed out his appetizer. For anyone who lives in the area: The tiramisu is probably a better dessert than the chocolate torte, but once a year, I go for pure evil. And since my wife and brother both got the tiramisu as part of their $23 three-course dinners, I got some of that anyway. - Walt Crawford
[Technically, the three-course dinner includes a "half-size" salad and dessert--but half-size is more than enough in both cases.] - Walt Crawford
Oh, and yes, you're right, m9m: I'm back to being the same age as you are. (At least I think so. Let's say that next year I have to make some 403(b) decisions...) - Walt Crawford
I often order the senior citizen version of a meal - for the lower price and the reduced size - and discover that the kitchen just makes the same size meal anyway. Or my kid orders a small thing I actually want, I order a senior meal, and we swap. - m9m, Crone of FriendFeed
I like that place! And my birthday is hopefully coming up soon. <thinks> - Brian Johns
C&I and The Project: A quick update -
I wouldn't normally link to a media trade publication, but this one's almost too precious. Here's the link, followed by my comments:
Comment 1: The supposed biggest drop, for 18-34 year olds, amounts to five minutes a day--from 4 hours 22 minutes ***A DAY*** of TV viewing down to a mere 4 hours 17 minutes a year ago. (50-60 year olds supposedly average 6 hours 12 minutes ***A DAY*** of TV viewing, down a whopping six minutes.) - Walt Crawford
Comment 1a: This, of course, assumes that Nielsen's methodologies can be considered so accurate for the whole country that a five minute drop out of more than four hours is statistically meaningful or real-world meaningful. My BS detector is pinned at 11 at this point... - Walt Crawford
Comment 2: The article (not Nielsen) makes a thing of double-digit increases in "digital video usage" (never mind that all broadcast and nearly all cable TV is now digital, that just confuses the picture): the coveted 18-34 year olds jumped by 53% to a whopping 35 minutes a day. (I don't doubt that figure, actually, or the 19 minutes for 50-64 year olds.) - Walt Crawford
Comment 3: Note who's not represented at all in this report, presumably because we/they are economically irrelevant: kids under 18 and that handful of people who've lived to 65 and older. - Walt Crawford
Honest question: does GoDaddy just not offer autorenewal of domain registry--and fail to remind people that their domains need renewing? I'm seeing a large handful of Gold OA journals that have turned into parking pages, and they're almost always GoDaddy pages that weren't renewed. That shouldn't happen. Ever.
Admittedly, I'm spoiled: 1&1 charges less (I think), allows autorenewal *and* reminds you twice before the renewal happens, and reminds you in any case. Oh, and has never (AFAIK) run sexist ads on TV. - Walt Crawford
Minor revelation this afternoon when I had a mug of "coffee crystals" instant for the first time in 2 months: I rather like good instant coffee as a warm drink...I just don't think of it as being Coffee, which avoids the letdown.
Another one of those "some of my best friends are..." phrases: "it probably sounds like I oppose open access. I don’t." For some reason, I now hear that as "well, really, I do except as an empty term." Ref:
Doorbell rings. Usually, on weekdays, that's UPS dropping off an item and the truck's gone by the time I get to the door.'s Sunday. And there's a smiling USPS (not UPS!) employee, having just dropped off Gray's Anatomy Season 10, which we ordered with free ("5-8 day shipping") and which shipped on Friday.
I look surprised, she says "Starting today. Only parcels." I knew the Postal Service was starting Sunday deliveries to do the work UPS and FedEx don't do well, and to do Amazon grocery delivery...but this was a USPS parcel, sent at minimum cost. Delivered Sunday. Did I mention delivered Sunday? At no extra cost? - Walt Crawford
I wish to Gaia that Congress would stop trying so hard to put USPS out of business (USPS is actually profitable, except for $5 billion a year in forced long-term retirement costs that NO OTHER AGENCY IS REQUIRED TO PAY), since I regard it as the best delivery service out there. - Walt Crawford
Yep, we've had Sunday delivery maybe a year now. Amazing. ETA: Oh, not even Amazon? Wow! - Meg VMeg from Android
I would also note that Amazon's learned how to "overpack" DVD sets--a plain air-padded envelope, not a lot bigger than the set itself. Nothing else, nothing inside, and I assume they paid $1.81 (media mail, up to 1lb., 5-digit presort) or less. - Walt Crawford
"Air-padded" isn't the right word--it's one of those envelopes lined with bubble-wrap equivalent. Anyway, Amazon and USPS both get full credit. - Walt Crawford
Yeah, Amazon struck a deal with USPS. (I get all the USPS gossip now that toddlerx's dad has a second job as a rural route driver.) - laura x from iPhone
Meg: No, it was Amazon. But it appears that it's for other parcels as well. - Walt Crawford
Classic example of Business Insider at its best: A headline implying that Gartner says PCs are dying (which Stephen A. gladly repeats)...but, of course, if you click through to Gartner it actually says PC growth is slowing. Not *precisely* the same as dying....
Unsurprising side-effect of checking Gold OA journals published by (some) colleges & universities: sidebar ads on various other sites extolling the virtues of attending those colleges & universities, especially the private ones.
Serious question and quandary: Someone hearing about the new OA journal analysis I'm doing says, in essence, "I assume you'll make the spreadsheet available for crowdsourced verification and further analysis." I do not see this as being a good idea, and if pushed on it would be inclined to drop the project ...
I'd hate to do that at this point, since I've already looked at (individually) 7,818 out of around 11,500 journals and "journals" in the project. But I'm using a variety of approximation techniques to make the project less overwhelming, and I can just see, e.g., Beall downloading the spreadsheet, finding that my numbers (which will NEVER be used citing individual journals) are off for two or three journals, and... - Walt Crawford
... proclaiming "See? I said Crawford's stuff was bilge." (He's already used that word.) Whereas, of course, JB simply avoids facts, sticking with "I suspect" and "It seems unlikely" and the like. - Walt Crawford
Anyway, if it's really Improper for me to do this work--which will lead, as in the July '14 C&I, to discussions of patterns, NOT of individual journals--and NOT make the spreadsheets available, then I may very well give it up, blowing seven weeks of effort but saving 4-6 more weeks. - Walt Crawford
So: the question: Am I being unreasonable? If I'm unwilling to make the spreadsheets available, should I just drop the project? Advice very much wanted. (As I go off and do the next 10 journals...) - Walt Crawford
It's a good open data question. I can see a lot of value in the release of the data--if you're clear both a readme file and the final document about how/what you've summarized and approximated. JB's going to be skeptical anyway;he's already decided against you, I would try not to make this decision based on him (which is hard!). In my mind sharing the data gives your work/words more... more... - Hedgehog
You are in no way obliged to. I think it would be interesting and useful to others though. Whether you do or don't, you should be transparent about your approximation techniques. Then if you do make the dataset open and people complain a number is off you can just say "Well duh, see how I talked about approximation techniques? Feel free to make a better dataset if you've got the months/years of time spare." But if you don't want to make the dataset open, that doesn't mean the rest of the project is useless. - Deborah Fitchett
I think my reaction might very well be the same. The spreadsheets weren't "designed" for crowdsourcing, and the whole thing makes me nervous as hell. Of course, I could just blank out all the journal names, but that would make the spreadsheets close to worthless... - Walt Crawford
Deborah: My response was to Hedgehog. Yes, I do plan to discuss the shortcuts/approximations used, as I normally would. Thanks for the additional thoughts. - Walt Crawford
Is there a small representative sample that you could show to explain how you evaluated the data, and to explain how some people might interpret some things differently, and then say that the big spreadsheets are available on request? But then I wonder if JB would bother to ask for the data. Would he do that so he could nitpick? - Joe
Joe: Yes, if I go to the extra work on a sample--although there are two issues, evaluation (is this an A, B, or C?) and actual counting (where I've used shortcuts at times). In either case, then I'd need to (a) prepare a readme in some detail and (b) respond to requests. Grant funding for this project has been notoriously lacking... - Walt Crawford
I guess what I'm saying is "Is it irresponsible to not make the data available?" in which case maybe the best bet is to shut down the project. Deborah's saying it's *not* irresponsible; I appreciate that. - Walt Crawford
bump: I could really use a little more feedback on this, if anybody else is interested. - Walt Crawford
It's much easier saying what you should do with your data than doing it with my data. I totally get what you're saying. My thoughts were: I didn't document enough, my code (or calculations) done in Excel were done the hard way, the data are dirty, maybe someone else will see something in there I missed.... But as not you, I really think you should try to release under a cc-0 license or... more... - Christina Pikas
also, you are looking for sponsorship or more publishing opportunities, I think, and this could bring more attention and respect for your work. More trust from the people you want to attract. - Christina Pikas
oh and it's not irresponsible to not share. but it is generous to share. i doubt beall would take the time and effort to re-do your analysis. I really do. And if he does, so what! - Christina Pikas
Christina: Thanks for that. The odds of sponsorship are so low that I've mostly given up, and I've cut back on publishing opportunities for the moment. I'll have to think about this. - Walt Crawford
So its a bit late now but I always now try to figure out at the beginning of an analysis what can and can't be (easily) shared and bear that in mind as I work on something. I would always err on the side of release, even where its messy because the upsides generally are larger than the downsides. Problem is the upsides are all less noisy than certain downsides. If it were me, under... more... - Cameron Neylon
Turns out the person suggesting release is actually suggesting release of the spreadsheet(s) used in the July article--and alternatively suggests that I recruit a small team of experts who could reanalyze/deepen the analysis. Not likely to happen, honestly. I'm now satisfied that it's not reprehensible/irresponsible to *not* release the spreadsheets. Beyond that...well, I'll keep thinking about it. Thanks all for your help. - Walt Crawford
[Curiously, just reading a long discussion involving "reanalysis" of data, in an entirely different field, and it doesn't encourage me: basically says that the only reason people reanalyze is to attempt to refute] - Walt Crawford
… in related news, this conversation is useful for us as we think about trying to persuade our colleagues to release their data. it nicely illustrates the pros & cons of data sharing in our discipline. And I agree with all the points listed above. :-/ - Stephan!e•CogSc!L!brar!an
Bumping only because I just did a blog post about this... - Walt Crawford
Hmmm...interesting. The clinical trial analogy isn't a bad one. Also makes you realise that if you 'anonymised' the dataset then re-identification wouldn't be hard. I think there is some value in such a dataset (looking at correlations, subsets etc) but given the re-identification risk the work involved in effective anonymisation might be more than its worth. - Cameron Neylon
Thanks, Cameron. Others? (I should probably publicize the blog post on Google+, since OAfolk seem to hang out there. Will do so.) (Have now done so.) - Walt Crawford
I could see value in releasing *just* the names (and maybe URLs if you're feeling generous) of the journals/publishers you looked at, with NO accompanying information -- well, maybe column headers, but no more than that. That way, if we (writ large; it's a tempting crowdsourcing project) want to do the reanalysis, we can gather our own damn data and it's not on you if we do. No obligation, just a thought. - RepoRat
As I noted elsewhere, I'm perfectly willing to do that. (For the Beall and OASPA lists, the URLs "come with"--they're hyperlinked journal and/or publisher names. For the DOAJ list, which is of course just a subset of the downloadable DOAJ dataset as of May 2014, they're a separate column, but leaving 'em in is no more work than taking 'em out. For Beall, some fraction of journal cells would *not* have hyperlinks because of problems in downloading title lists from the publishers.) - Walt Crawford
Open Data, Crowdsourcing, Independent Research and Misgivings -
Perfect sentence in introductory essay for a journal from a semi-accredited (U.S.) university: "Special thanks go to Dr. [redacted] for his tiresome support of the journal." That support certainly can get tiresome...
gotta love this: a new Denny's in NYC with a "Grand Cru Slam"--two Grand Slam breakfasts and a bottle of Dom Perignon--for a mere $300. And I'll bet they sell a few of them.
Just got an email (from a vendor I explicitly allow them from) re a "Huge Distressed Cruise Inventory Sale." I know what they mean, but somehow booking a distressed cruise isn't high on my list...
Apropos of nothing much, it appears that Romania has a very well-developed English-language gold OA journal collection (mostly no-fee), at least in humanities & social sciences.
For anyone who cares (and sees the little pictures next to people): the new one was taken August 20, 2014, in Morgan Territory Regional Preserve--one of the many hiking spots near here. (I wear a floppy gardening hat because I have a fat head, making more elegant sun-protecting hats difficult/expensive.)
Are all these damn phone calls where there's never anybody at the other end of the line a conspiracy by cell-phone companies to make us give up landlines? Or something more nefarious?
If you've already downloaded Cites & Insights 14:9, you may want to do so again--I've changed one paragraph (where I managed to divide British pounds by 1.7 to get U.S. dollars rather than multiplying them). Here's the actual change:
Correction in Cites & Insights 14:9 -
Flashback thanks to PUBLIB (a discussion of receipt printers): I never realized that Star Micronics--makers of the first (dot matrix) printer I had at home--is still in business (albeit not making printers for PCs). They made solid gear, and based on the PUBLIB comment I guess they still do. Fifty years: not bad in tech.
Cites & Insights 14:9 (September 2014) available -
If you haven't already, go read Wayne Bivens-Tatum's latest "Peer to Peer" at Library Journal. Highly recommended!
I had missed the "pure bilge" comment on WBT's column on the first "The Big Deal..." and am now thinking I should use it as a new subtitle for Cites & Insights. (Or maybe not.) It's good to be pure. - Walt Crawford
Old-guy technology grump 1: Forced to use Yahoo!mail (for freecycle), encountering old-style idiot reply defaults (tendency to wind up replying to yourself). Gmail handles this logically (you probably *don't* want to reply to yourself) and I'd forgotten that idiot email systems worked this way.
Old-guy technology grump 2: Yesterday morning, looking at hike pictures from Gmail, Firefox properly opened new tab for the pictures...but wouldn't close the tab. Wound up with six tabs, none of which would close (using any of several techniques). "Solution": Closed Firefox, reopened it, same six tabs but now they'd close. Still wonder what happened. - Walt Crawford
Not surprisingly, the San Francisco Chronicle is running more pieces about Robin Williams, some pointing out that he was an actor and comedian, not a comedian-actor (he trained at Juilliard), and the local movie critic's list of ten best films (headed by Moscow on the Hudson). Too many to link to; just go to
Warning: At least on my aging computer running Firefox, seems to use a boatload of system resources and slows things down something awful--including getting away from it. - Walt Crawford
An hour ago, on the way to lunch, hearing NPR's "Here and Now" interviewing a hero, a doctor (Harvard grad, professor, high-profile) who travels to Mississippi to do abortions. He's deeply religious and grew up anti-abortion, but after a lot of thought concluded that the deeper calling required him to do them.
Here's the thing: The host almost seemed to be grilling him, with an attitude that seemed to imply "How can a Christian POSSIBLY be doing abortions?" Maybe I was overreacting, but it struck me as, well, very non-NPRish. (I do miss Talk of the Nation; Here and Now is a sad alternative.) - Walt Crawford
Esquire did an incredibly good piece on him: - laura x
I think the reporter who wrote that profile was also on, but by the time I reached Canton Village, the NPR person was still doing her seemingly-hostile questioning. - Walt Crawford
I think NPR gets so much flak for being "liberal" that they periodically get into a thing where they think, "Oh, here, we can show what hard-asses we are!" Bleah. I still remember how appalling I found Neal Conan on 9/11. - laura x
The rarity with this doctor is he is a board certified ob/gyn. Most abortionists are not nor have had any true operating room experience other than their few months of rotation. I have my own personal beliefs but applaud this man. - Janet
Laura x: That sounds about right. Janet: It would be interesting to have proof of that "most abortionists..." but that's another issue. - Walt Crawford
Walt, I have first hand knowledge of the abortion trade, I used to do ultrasound demonstrations. The Planned Parenthood doctors are mostly farmed right out of medical school. There are a private physicians of the ob/gyn board certified type. Sadly being legal does not always mean as safe as the public would assume. Kermit Gosnell's clinic is not alone. Steve Brigham is a bad boy Planned Parenthood finally fired. - Janet
I'll assume you're in favor of improved/expanded training for abortion providers (and those interested in providing abortions), so that safety is ensured :) - Meg VMeg
Meg: I certainly am (can't speak for Janet), and would note that PP would probably be a safer place if clinics weren't under attack all the time. (Of course, PP does a lot more than provide abortions, but that's another issue, and yes, we're members.) - Walt Crawford
While undoubtedly there are uncertified and unlicensed health care providers and outright illegal clinics, if you're a legitimate health care provider, doing surgical abortions without training and/or certification and/or proper back-up seem like a great way to get nuked by a malpractice lawsuit and having your carrier drop you hard and getting banned from ever receiving Medicare or... more... - Victor Ganata
Absolutely Meg, there are more regulations on nail salons and restaurants than in the abortion industry. The likes of Gosnell and Brigham would have been shut down before so many women were permanently injured. - Janet
Another meaningless musical post -
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