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Walt Crawford

Walt Crawford

Mostly retired library person/researcher/writer/speaker. All original FF contributions CC0 (public domain).
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
Recognizing my trigger points: Reading email promoting some Library Futures thing where the futurist talks about "libraries transitioning from patron to customer" and just closing the mail, sighing slightly.
Also, I'm afraid, Kevin Kelly's "1000 fans" being mentioned as semi-plausible. I'm sure Mita is fantastic. But I found my attention wandering after that... my problem, not hers. - Walt Crawford
It is not that the patron is broken, the customer is broken. Duh. - Joe
New blog post: "Last chance for public libraries*"--and no, I haven't turned doom-cryer. The asterisk is critical: it's about my self-published public-library-related books and admitting I'm wrong.
They say some southern Fox station had an "accidental editing error" that caused 15 seconds of the first Cosmos episode, discussing evolution, to be replaced by an ad. I can only assume that station had an accidental power outage for the entire hour last night.
Nope, it didn't. It was the OKC station, and yes, they "somehow" re-played an ad for their local news just a little bit into one of the later segments of the show last Monday, cutting out the one mention of human evolution. Surprisingly, last night's show aired in its entirety as far as we could tell. - Kirsten
Amazing. Wonder if there were incidents elsewhere--I mean, Tyson didn't especially sugar-coat the science. (The "***here***'s how you get eyes without Intelligent Design" segment was, I thought, especially well done and pointed.) - Walt Crawford
Forgot it was on last night. :-( - Betsy
I think they're reshowing episodes on the following Saturday (and there's on demand, Hulu, Fox, etc.): I thought it was a very good episode, much more focused than the first, not surprisingly. - Walt Crawford
FWIW, Cosmos is on Hulu Plus (which is what allowed me to watch it with Mr. 11 over the weekend). - Stephen Francoeur
Honestly, i kept expecting to get one of those "Please stand by. The station is encountering difficulties" messages! But yes, very well done episode. - Kirsten from Android
And there wasn't even the anticipated (by me) disclaimer at the end, denouncing evolution. (Which, given on what level evolution stopped for some people, would be entirely possible.) - Uli
So there was a 4.4 quake that *everybody* must have felt in LA? Including all the native Californians" The AP report, from eastern US correspondents, includes "Californians are taught and practice the "drop, cover and hold" technique to prevent injury from falling debris." Huh. I never knew we practiced that.
Another neat Bing photo, the Poulnabrone dolmen in Ireland--and this time you need to click on the leftmost hotspot, a whole bunch of dolmen pictures.
I finally came up with the conclusion to my Beall article that had eluded me until now:
Wanna go the Sizzler and get some grub? - Joe
Always interesting to get one of those "we have clients who really want to buy a house in your neighborhood: wanna sell?" letters--this time with specifics about the couple from the next city over. (We don't want to sell, and houses that *have* come up in our neighborhood have sold quickly.) Caused me to look at Zillow for the first time in...
...a year or two. The good news: They say our house is worth about 10% more than we paid for it. The less thrilling news, if we regarded it as an investment: We've been here just under five years, so that's 2% per year, not compounded. But hey, it does mean Livermore's doing fairly well and pulling out of the long slump. (We still both plan to only move out of this house feet first...) - Walt Crawford
Sign that I'm getting behind on science fiction magazine reading: Seeing a novelette nominated for the Nebulas three days after I read it.
Torontonians (or whatever you're called--Fordites?) will appreciate today's Bing photo.
Failing to connect the pieces: Somebody commenting on the new Cosmos and how they were happy that it was also on FX, since they don't like to deal with Fox (of Fox News infamy). Gee, I wonder who owns FX? (Yes, I'm surprised that Fox is running a heavily pro-science series. Too many ads, otherwise very good.)
I always have to remind myself that Fox broadcast and Fox News Channel are managed very separately. Look at all the crap the Simpsons give Fox News. - Eric
I don't watch The Simpsons, but that makes sense--and fortunately, 'cuz otherwise we might feel the need to boycott not only Fox but 20th Century Fox movies. Not ready to give up Bones or a bunch of good movies. (Or Almost Human, if it gets renewed.) - Walt Crawford
Reading in today's paper about the new Stanford CS+X major, computer science plus (English or another humanities dept.). Geez, I wish Berkeley had had that in 1962... it would have been perfect.
Great suggestion my wife made last night: A mini-rebellion against Daylight Savings Time. We'll change the clocks some time mid-afternoon. Terrible to lose an hour's sleep; not so terrible to lose an hour of Sunday afternoon.
We tend to do it on Saturday evening, but we still stayed up last night. - WoH: Professor MOTHRA
I think I like your way better. - WoH: Professor MOTHRA
It worked: We both got a normal night's sleep. At 3 p.m. I'll go around and change the clocks to 4. - Walt Crawford
Apparently Business Insider thinks the Spritz one-word-at-a-time software is great because you could read a whole novel in less than two hours. If your goal in reading novels is to take the least possible time, there's a more effective way: Don't read them.
I mean, with any modern DVD/Blu-ray player, you can get through a movie in half the time by using the single-press fast-forward, which keeps music & speech at normal pitch but goes through everything double-speed. But unless the movie's awfully boring, why would anybody do that? (Most pro-Spritz pieces I've seen say it's for nonfiction: that you should, you know, ENJOY fiction.) - Walt Crawford
One problem with being older than some is that I grew up before Roald Dahl was a thing, so never read James and the Giant Peach (or any of his books) as a kid. Made up for that yesterday. (We'd seen the movie years ago.) The best part of a pretty good Friday.
Since I'm a Randy Newman fan, you won't be surprised that "My Name is James" kept running through my head as I was reading it--alternating between the movie version and the version with Newman's vocals. (Must admit I prefer Newman's vocals to the kid's.) - Walt Crawford
And now I have "Good News" (the upbeat song from the same movie) as an earworm. Could be lots worse, although my wife isn't fond of that particular song... ah well, time for farmers' market & Safeway. Back in a few hours. - Walt Crawford
Seems to me somebody was grumbling about Raley's/Nob Hill and said it was the dominant supermarket chain in the Bay Area (I may be misremembering). That bothered me at the time. From the news reports of the merger about to happen, it's pretty clear that Safeway is the biggest supermarket chain in the Bay Area and California in general.
(It's the second largest in the nation.) Merging with Albertson's: unclear how that will change things, if at all. Full admission: Safeway's our primary supermarket, Lucky secondary. (Well, farmers' markets primary for produce...) - Walt Crawford
Reminded myself why I don't go to YouTube too often: Because I was thinking we needed a song like "We Don't Need Another Journal" for a project I'm toying with, went to remind myself how the original went. (The official Tina Turner video's there.) After hearing it, don't think I'll suggest this to Pete...
But that led to We Are the World (the first suggestion on the right), which I hadn't heard in many years and had never seen. Funny how my first thought at the end was "Harry Belafonte doesn't get a line?" Went to Wikipedia (a REMARKABLY good article)... - Walt Crawford
And found that the whole thing was partly Belafonte's idea, so maybe he was fine with being relegated to the chorus. And that Marcus Greil was just as much of an asshat about the song as I'd expect him to be. It's the Duty of Serious Rock Critics, I think. - Walt Crawford
Any nonsense there is excused because it's Wed. p.m., and after The Hike I'm always a little off, especially a hike where the 900' vertical is seeming all at the very start. (Only 5.2 miles, not a big deal, but I'm old and tire easily.) - Walt Crawford
Or Greil Marcus, as the case may be: I always thought Marcus was his first name. Oh good Gaia, he's three months older than I am and we were almost certainly both at Berkeley at the same time. - Walt Crawford
Well, it is a terrible song, though affecting in specific ways. - laura x from iPhone
Two letters in today's SanFranChronicle, one upset because TV reporters say "you guys" regarding mixed groups--in this case, a female reporter saying "back to you guys" to turn it back to two female anchors. Another upset because an event is the "woman's two-man bobsled." The interesting part: both letters are from men.
New blog post (they don't seem to show up automatically any more), "To go or not to go..."
I don't think I need to link to the original, but I found this statement VERY peculiar, and doubt that doctors, lawyers, architects, engineers, etc. would agree: "the mark of a true professional is one who works toward the day he or she is obsolete."
It did come from an academic librarian and had to do with reference service...but still, what an odd thing to say! (Add computer programmers, artists, physicists...etc... to the list of professionals who would disagree with that.) - Walt Crawford
What the hell: here's the link. In any case, I don't buy it. - Walt Crawford
But you don't have to do anything to become professionally obsolete. Just don't learn anything new. Even amateurs can do that. - Betsy
Betsy: I like your reading, altho' I don't think that's what the author had in mind. (My wife the librarian/former academic library director had a pithy response to the statement, but I won't repeat it here...) - Walt Crawford
If you haven't already, you MUST read the first letter in today's Dear Abby--and, of course, her response. Sitting her with my chosen lifestyle of being male, right-handed and fair-skinned, all lifestyle choices, of course, I wonder why bigots object so much to being treated as bigots:
So can any kind person in an eastern time zone tell me when Davis & White appear in the ice dancing? (Even to the nearest hour...)
They haven't shown it yet, and NBC is pretty lousy about stating when they'll show it. I imagine they're putting it off to keep people watching other sports. Of course, it all was shown earlier live on NBCSN, but that's a premium cable channel I don't have. :/ - Katy S
Katy: You're on the East Coast? That would mean it's not until at least 9:30 p.m.? If so, that's VERY helpful--at least we wouldn't have to keep the TV on from 7-9:30. - Walt Crawford
I seem to remember that in past Olympics they actually gave you an approximate schedule for the evening. I suppose that doesn't force you to watch enough ads to make NBC happy, though... - Walt Crawford
I'm not watching but at 9:30 it appears to be skiing. - m9m, Crone of FriendFeed
I'm in the Eastern time zone portion of Indiana (but not the East coast). They showed some skating earlier after first showing some snow boarding. Then they switched to skiing. Davis and White haven't skated yet, though. - Katy S
Thanks. Eastern time zone tells me what I need to know. Not that we don't want to see most of the ice dancing, but D&W are the big draw. So, thanks again! - Walt Crawford
I've taken to keeping the tv on, but muted, while I read and wait for the sports I want to see. - Katy S
Looks like it's going to be in the last hour. I have one hour of coverage left in the Central time zone and haven't seen them yet. - lris
Central and Eastern get the feed simultaneously, so I figure it will happen soon since the Men's Super G coverage is ending soon. - Katy S
Skating is next, after the commercial. It is currently 9:53 here. - Katy S
So, you're aiming for 20 minutes before the end of the broadcast. I'm now in the last commercial break before they skate (they're the last skaters in the lineup). - lris
Followup: We just turned on the TV at 7, managed to see the two or three dances from earlier groups (the two other U.S. teams, since NBC's coverage is Homer personified), basically ignored it from 8:30 to 9:30, but didn't try to watch Downton Abbey, so saw all of the remaining performances. (We'll pick up Downton on Tuesday; even our cheap cable will give us that on demand for a week or three.) So, thanks again. (Didn't read remaining emails; don't have PC on after dinner, normally.) - Walt Crawford
Huh. Seems odd to ask us a question we couldn't answer till after dinner, then. - lris
No, I got more than enough of an answer--I knew that we could ignore it until 9:30 or so if we chose. That was VERY helpful. (And I realized after I asked it that I couldn't expect a precise answer that early. "Fairly late in the evening" was mostly what I needed to know, and I got that.) - Walt Crawford
I promise I won't make a habit of linking to comics, but today's Bizarro is simply brilliant:
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