Saturday, September 29, 2007

Keeping Up with the Joneses

When researching libraries, computers, the Internet, and Information Science, we find that they have always been connected, if even at first just in the minds of visionaries. "A network of such, connected to one another by wide-band communication lines," said J.C.R. Licklider in 1960, "[would function as] present-day libraries together with anticipated advances in information storage and retrieval and symbiotic functions."

What you see above is a photo of all my iPods and related gadgetry. To be quite blunt, I love this crap! In fact, it's not crap. From the purchase of my first iPod a few years ago (a first generation iPod Shuffle of the "white pack of gum" variety) to my latest acquisition, an iPhone, I've been criticized for giving in, breaking down, and showing off. Just last night I was talking to my mom on the phone and she decided to tell me, as she does every now and then, that it's too bad I've wasted so much money on these Apple products (I'm typing this on my MacBook, btw) because they're going out of business! Wow, hadn't heard about that (because it's of course untrue). Come to find out, she had just been reading about Apple's discontinuation of the 4GB model of the iPhone and their decision to drop the price of the 8GB version, leaving some consumers enraged, so to her this someone translated that the company was in terrible trouble and going out of business.

My whole life I have been an information junkie as well as "tech geek." I taught myself BASIC programming on an Atari 5200 when I was ten years old. I used this same computer maintain a list (on a big ol' floppy disk) of all my friends and neighbors, for whom I printed-up library cards, giving them access to my private collection of paperback horror novels and Fangoria magazines, all organized and labeled in accordance with Dewey Decimal Classification.

So, establishing myself as one who has inherently kept up-to-date for as long as I can remember, and as one who has always enjoyed the sharing of information, I have a motto I must repeat every time I buy a new computer, the latest iPod, or even a book, CD, or some other electronic techno-gadget: Don't look back! By this I mean, the minute you invest any time and/or money into something new these days, something bigger and better (usually smaller and cheaper with a few new features) will be released. Even in the world of books and music and home entertainment there will always be a first edition, then a new edition with updated introduction, or just paperback versus hardback, the latest CD or DVD as it evolves from its original release, to the one with extra tracks and bonus features, or the deluxe-digital-download version for $5 less than what you just bought at the store.

Then there is my mother who is there to remind me that all these creature comforts are just toys on which we are growing more seemingly dependent, just setting ourselves up for the ultimate let-down. With all this technology you also have the potential for total darkness in the face an ultimate "big shutdown." Yes, the world's energey sources could all be wiped out in some magnetic polar shift of the Earth or some other insane disaster, and as a result all our gadgets could be put to rest. We could lay around and cry about how much we miss the Internet and how much money we wasted, while people like my mother can sit with a candle and a magazine and say, "Told ya so."

Despite the opinions of many (even some coworkers and friends directing these opinions at me) I don't buy electronic stuff because I've fallen pray to some "new and improved" marketing ploy or to show off that I have the latest and greatest wind-up toy. Besides being a techno-information geek, I've also always been a lover of music my entire life. It took me years to build up enough trust in the technology to finally buy an iPod or a laptop computer. I buy this stuff because I love it. It supplies me with music, information, communication, and entertainment. I have no kids, I am not married, therefor I can afford these toys.

However, I don't consider these things true necessities and, not unlike my mother, I carry with me the perpetual sense of impending doom when dealing with anything that requires a power-supply. Just last week I had my first hardline installed in over five years! For the first time in my life I have caller ID and call waiting, but as you see here, I can't even "do that" right. In this photo you see my ten-year-old cordeless phone and answering machine with my most recent purchase a caller ID display-unit. Maybe one day I will consolidate these items into one big answering phone with multi-functional display panel, but until then I'll keep this little phone table of mine piled up with equipment. Maybe some day I will have voicemail! Scary.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The Night the Internet Died

Wow! My Internet connection was just down for about 20 hours, maybe less, and I have been in a slowly building panic this entire time. Now, that's sad isn't it? As I sat here, entering and re-entering WEP codes and fiddling with wireless settings and airport stuff, I started thinking about the way it was...

What would I have been doing ten years ago right now? 1997, Boston? No, Columbus :-( Yes, CompuServe, Columbus, it's all coming back to me... OK, bad time frame, sorry.

Let's say, twenty years ago... No, too far! The point is, I'm just thinking back to a particular feeling of not being bored or stressed out or chronic this, or that syndrome, or the latest synthetic pre-packaged happiness... I remember the Siouxsie lyric from Switch,
Curing their ailments
With drastic side-effects oh
I digress, I am bitter, and I am... bored. There I said it.

That is a terrible thing for someone to come out and say, "I am bored." Awfully rude, wouldn't you think? But now days I think it's fine. I watch MTV from time to time and society's rudeness meter is way off, so I'm safe. My Internet connection is back. It's great to be alive, but... I'm bored.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Library-Family: Diamond-Ortiz Expanding!

Congratulations to Anastashia and Emilio!

A new library baby has arrived.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Davidek Dayafter

"Me" sitting on a blue cube, in Second Life. It reminds me of Mulholland Drive, the blue cube. The blue keys. the singer with the blue hair. (Note to self: watch that movie again soon).

"In the future, we will all have special names."
-- Dr. Brian O'Blivion, 1983 (Videodrome)

Davidek Dayafter, that's my "special name" I suppose. It is the nom du plume of mon avatar in Second Life. That's just one thing too many. Not buddhist at all, but I'm not a Buddhist, so here we go... I'm in the Cleveland Public Library space. Hey, it's Friday night, 10:47 p.m. I'm all alone at the library gallery. Hey, those are my photos!

It has always creeped me out to have an avatar. I had an avatar circa 1996 in project Wow! from CompuServe, and I've had avatar's in that roll playing networking online games like Black-n-White or Black & White, it was just all right. But I have always thought of that quote, from David Cronenberg's Videodrome, from Doctor Brian Oblivion, above. That was 1983. The future is now.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Take A Poll

I'm not sure yet what the question is, for the poll that might already be posted by now, just to the right there somewhere... But I will be posting a poll after writing this, and I'm not sure yet what the question will be.

Me... me... me... That's how I feel writing a blog; guilty. I'm this I'm that.

I'm awaiting nervously for October 1st to get here: my first printed review for Library Journal. It is a review of the new Steve Almond novel (Not that You Asked): Rants, Exploits, and Obsessions. I think it's funny that "(Not that You Asked)" is the beginning of the title, I wonder if anyone will actually think I'm saying... "side note, 'not that you asked,'?" I doubt it somehow.

So, I review, I also have a review to be released in an undetermined future issue of Library Journal, a review of a book called Sedaris, by Keven Kopelson. Both can be found in my library.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007


Is a blog just an attempt at self-fulfillment through self-deprecation? Maybe that has been a misconception on my part, in fear that is what I would have to offer if I took myself seriously.

Collecting information is the easy part. Dispensing it is difficult at times, with new challenges. Communication is the missing link. Usually it's the only link. Good communication is either being killed by the Internet, or creating a brand new form of interaction in the absence of any good face-to-face encounters. In regards to Second Life... It's interesting.

WOW! from CompuServe, was a project I worked on, in Columbus, Ohio, circa 1996-1997, and we had an entire land of avatars and "rooms" and merchants and the whole 9-yards. Even though you could "buy" a house or condo or rudimentary box to "live" in, and build up property, and interact with others from around the world, there was always this sense the thing would just shut down. And it did. AOL bought CompuServe and I sold my stocks and moved to NYC for a few years.

So, the whole time I'm in Second Life I'm wondering to myself, "How far does this go? How far does this take me... Before it shuts down?" I'm not sure I can answer yet, but doesn't everything have to "shut down" eventually? I have not spent enough time in Second Life to fully judge, I mean, the telephone was an idea that isn't going anywhere. So is Second Life as good as the telephone? Anyway, I digress, I'm glad good ideas don't die.

The more authoritative resources found in Second Life give the project some serious "pull" to say the least. Islands of big-name organizations abound, and its membership is growing at an exponential rate. Major library systems, professional associations, and universities make up SL, to name only a few aspects to this virtual world of information exchange.

Just Another Blog

Photoshop's "red-eye removal" makes me look evil... It just blots the red out with black.