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Walt Crawford

Walt Crawford

Mostly retired library person/researcher/writer/speaker. All original FF contributions CC0 (public domain).
Cites & Insights July 2014 (14:7) available -
Anybody else had luck seeing ISIS (the International Space Station)? We finally managed one night last week (my wife's been spending time with the website that shows real-time camera views from ISIS, and also shows where it will be at different times).
Oddly, we couldn't spot it on the "likely" previous night, when it was southerly--with relatively little ambient light. We spotted it when it was northerly, where for us there's a lot more ambient light. Unmistakable: single unblinking light traveling fairly fast, and when it was gone, the timing was *exactly* right. - Walt Crawford
No, we didn't spot astronauts waving (today's odd NASA picture of the day). - Walt Crawford
I have a patron who shares his regular sightings. He sleeps at a different time of day than I, apparently. - Rochelle *boom* Hartman
I saw it last week. It was so easy to see I thought it was "too easy". But it tracked exactly where and when it was scheduled. I waved at the MD astronaut. - m9m, Crone of FriendFeed
Rochelle: ours was around 9:10 p.m.; not a big enough thrill to get up at odd hours. m9m: "too easy" sounds about right--my wife had binoculars, but I didn't use them (and they didn't make much difference). - Walt Crawford
Walt: at the time it occurred to me that it must feel different to my kid's generation, who never knew life without a space program. I remember the first walk on the Moon, and thinking that I could imagine we'd do it someday, but not that we'd be able to see it on TV. - m9m, Crone of FriendFeed
I only saw it on accident. It was awesome though. - Meg VMeg
I saw it accidentally, back when I lived in Tucson. I've never tried to purposely see it though. - ellbeecee
Admission: We loved Cosmos [ads] almost all 12 [more ads] episodes...until the last 15 minutes, when Carl Sagan took over the commentary. We were both sound asleep by the end of the finale. Too bad.
Spent yesterday afternoon at a birthday celebration for my wife's sister-in-law's mother. The big one: 100 years old (three days earlier). Still sees well enough, hears well enough, can walk reasonably well, sharp as a tack and demolishes other people in Scrabble. Amazing.
On the way home, my wife noted: "If either of us reaches 100, there won't be anybody to come to a party." Probably true; this woman has been much more socially integrated locally than we ever have been. - Walt Crawford
Whaaaaat? We will all come to your 100th birthday party. - Meg VMeg
Now that would be one hell of a reason for an LSW meetup. - Kirsten from Android
It assumes that LSW is still around 31.3 years from now, among other things. - Walt Crawford
A friend's grandmother once said that she deliberately made friends with all the newcomers to her elder apartments/nursing home, many of whom were considerably younger than she, so that she would always have friends. Indeed, her funeral was well attended! It's never too late to make friends. - Rebecca Hedreen
I should perhaps note that my wife didn't say that in sadness, just as a likely fact. Nor did I view it as sad--just likely. - Walt Crawford
Now confirmed that (a) our AC is still working (b) our attic fan is still working. Funny how hitting 101+F will do that.
I'd wondered whether the Netflix original series would be available to those of us who only get discs. At least for House of Cards and Orange is the New Black, the answer's easy: Yes, and in Blu-ray for House of Cards (at least the first 26 episodes).
Lazyweb question for somebody familiar with the languages of India: How would "silent feathers" or "our silent feathers" come to be a plausible translation of something like "key advantages" or "our strong points" or something like that? (Note: NOT referring to Native American uses of this term.)
A phrase search for the full "Our silent feathers" appears to yield just the publisher's site that causes me to ask the question. Without the "Our," mixed in amongst all the Native American and poetic uses are that site and three or four other cases where "silent feathers" seems to be used for something like "key advantages." Any help? - Walt Crawford
So I actually went to Slate (bad idea, I know) and read that "real grownups don't read YA" thing. "Fellow grown-ups, at the risk of sounding snobbish and joyless and old, we are better than this." Well, the writer got it in one: she sounds snobbish, joyless and old. And heaven forbid books (or movies or TV shows) have satisfying endings!
I'm always impressed when Experts tell us what we shouldn't read, especially when it's whole categories. Makes me want to go, I dunno, read something. Maybe a romance. Maybe YA. Maybe SF (which no educated reader would touch, I've heard over the years). Maybe kidlit. - Walt Crawford
But not, if I'm keeping my act together, Slate. Once upon a time it was a promising webzine. That was a long, long time ago. (ditto Salon.) - Walt Crawford
Was thinking of sending some snark their way, but I figure all the libns are going to hammer them anyway. - Joe
Well. I do actually worry slightly about people who only read YA books, though no more than I worry about people who never read it. And a lot of YA does not end well. - laura x from iPhone
I really can't take people seriously when they use the term "deflowering" in earnest. Then there are all the other reasons I can't take that article seriously, but I won't go into those. - Katy S from iPhone
Reluctantly, need to log off, have dinner (that part's OK), and fill out the damn ballot to drop off tomorrow (we're permanent mail, but almost always drop it off). Reluctantly because two big-money mostly-negative campaigns (one state assembly, one Congress) have left me really ill at ease.
(Although in one case, it makes the choice easier: a surprisingly effective freshman Congressman, endorsed by the party, being attacked with loads of money for not being progressive enough. The assembly race is tougher; my wife & I may cancel each other out.) - Walt Crawford
Done. Thanks partly to my wife doing due diligence. She still hasn't decided whether we'll cancel each other out on the assembly race, and I'm not confident enough to try to sway her. Hmm. You could take that last clause as gospel, regardless of the situation. - Walt Crawford
My mom and are going to cancel each other out on the county attorney here, but my guy will lose. I actually have a fair shot at the rest of the races (though everything above the county level is uncontested in the primary). - laura x from iPhone
Well, a fair number of statewide offices are uncontested on the Democratic side, esp. those with incumbents like Jerry Brown & Kamala Harris. Fun to look at the arguments of the many crazed Republicans and further-right-wingers trying to take them on. One says his goal as Atty. General would apparently be to prove that Obama's from Indonesia. - Walt Crawford
Mostly just sad that somewhere between $2.5 million and $3 million was spent on a primary campaign for a not-very-large office (State Assembly), with the likely result that the sole Republican will be one of the two candidates in Nov. (Remember: California now has "top two candidates" primaries--there are going to be some Dem-vs-Dem November fights, and maybe some Rep-vs-Rep fights.) - Walt Crawford
Time for a Bing photo of the day--and an interesting one: The Murinsel in Graz, Austria.
Interesting. I see this: I guess they know where I'm coming from.... - John Dupuis
But that's from Google... - Walt Crawford
Lazyweb question: Anyone know of a way in current Firefox to restore a *one-click* method to show/hide the bookmarks sidebar? The option disappeared with the newest version, and I'd like it back. (Or are we all supposed to ...baa... be on Chrome now?)
yes - it's there by default - it's to the right of the star, looks like maybe a clipboard? - Christina Pikas
or maybe that's a hover + click so is that > 1click? - Christina Pikas
Unfortunately, that's a click plus hover plus click: it's what I'm using, but it's a whole lot less convenient than the simple icon used to be. Firefox has made it easier to show a floating set of bookmarks but harder to switch a sidebar on an off--and along the way made it too damn easy to accidentally bookmark the current screen. - Walt Crawford
Cites & Insights 14:6 (June 2014) available -
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
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 - It's My Thing
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 - It's My Thing
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
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