and now for something completely different . . .

October 6, 2007

I just bumped into a service that will be very handy for writing those densely-worded infoscience papers. It generates utterly meaningless but impressive-sounding high tech gibberish. With a push of the “make bullshit” button you can create phrases like

  • enhance innovative niches
  • streamline world-class technologies
  • architect granular platforms
  • disintermediate cutting-edge portals
  • evolve intuitive paradigms

I feel as if I just reeled out of the exhibits hall of a library conference. Via Sivacracy.

if a picture’s worth . . .

October 4, 2007

. . . a thousand words, how much is a song worth? $9,250, if you’re convicted of downloading it illegally. A jury in Duluth has just found a woman accused by the RIAA of illegally downloading music guilty in the first file-sharing case to go to jury trial. Though this case sets legal precedent that will encourage the RIAA’s efforts to punish file sharers, the number of people sharing files has tripled since the music industry started aggressively targeting the practice

Stay tuned to Threat Level for further updates.

New: analysis from the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which suggests there’s a better way to go about this:

In the Duluth, MN court where the case was heard, some interesting facts have emerged, among them Sony-BMG’s head of litigation Jennifer Pariser suggestion under questioning that the lawsuits are losing money for the RIAA. Whether she’s right or not — we’ve long suspected that these lawsuits are at least breaking even, and the RIAA refuses to say — millions of dollars have been spent on these suits, and millions have been paid to the RIAA, with no sign that a penny of that money has gone into the pockets of artists.

Radiohead has some interesting thoughts on artists and pockets. Meanwhile, lots of discussion over at Metafilter . . .

the blog blotter

September 22, 2007

Happy birthday to Detectives Beyond Borders! The blog that makes it easier for us to discover authors from other parts of the world celebrates by telling us how David Peace’s narrative technique takes us to Tokyo and by making lemonade out of Bitter Lemons.

Brian Skupin flings Fredrick Brown and Christopher Fowler together in a locked room. Cornelia Read is In For Questioning. (What I wanna know is how she did that?) And Paper Cuts is messing with my head by telling me that the Coen brothers are making the film version of No Country for Old Men (or, as I retitled it, Nihilists of the Purple Sage). Looks purty, but a mite more serious than Fargo.

Oline is not going to Alaska. Donna is, and has already lost her luggage. But she did get to enjoy a bit of Americana by visiting a state fair.

Speaking of carnivals, we may be up and running with a crime fiction carnival soon. I mean if there can be one for bad history or critters or – oh, dear lord! – the infosciences, surely there should be one for us criminal types. Stay tuned. And let me know if you come across a crime fiction blog posting that shouldn’t be missed.

searching developments

September 18, 2007

Check out oScope, a neat visual search engine that pulls together images from Amazon, Flickr, and other places in a really nifty way. It’s a bit slow – a victim of its own success – but oh so cool.

And thanks to a hot tip from a fellow RAMmer – the Times has finally confirmed the rumor first reported in the New York Post. No more Times Select! Apparently they’ll make more money if they don’t restrict access to subscribers. (Duh!)

Finally, if you’re in the mood for a spy thriller, check out the new briefing book at the National Security Archive on the Pentagon’s counterintelligence activities and the TALON database they built. That’s right, the one that a few weeks ago they dropped so they can build a better one.

movie posters remixed

May 4, 2007

This is just too good to pass up. The clever people at somethingawful have made classic movie posters in “grindhouse” style. Found via boingboing.

movie poster

What We Couldn’t Know

April 12, 2007

Before the last USA PATRIOT Act extension, we couldn’t hear this testimony from a librarian served with one of tens of thousands of National Security Letters issued to US citizens without court oversight and with an automatic and indefinite gag order built in. After all, maybe we would have told our congressional representatives not to vote for it. Information that’s useful for decision-making? Can’t have that.

Not unless we work for the NYPD or the FBI – as Jenna Freedman has pointed out.

Route 66

April 5, 2007


Google just announced “my maps,” a way to create mashups more easily. I haven’t tried it yet but have often enjoyed other people’s mashups. At “my maps” Google provides an example that caught my eye – a map of Route 66 with photos and oral histories. I think I want to take a trip on Route 66.

Oh, wait a minute! I just did – by reading Carol O’Connell’s Find Me. Mallory is roaring down the last remaining remnants of the legendary “mother road” in a souped up VW beetle, acting as a border collie for a caravan of families whose children are missing, also searching for her own missing father. Riker, a few paces behind, would like to talk to her about the dead woman she left behind in her New York apartment. Fresh adult bodies posed with the bones of missing children are showing up along the old highway – the work of a serial killer who wants his criminal map discovered at last? As Mallory races into her own past, her toughness is beginning to fray. As always, O’Connell creates her own rich and strange world, here studded with some of the strange sites found along America’s famous but vanishing highway. It’s a hell of a ride.

kudos to . . .

April 1, 2007

Senor Codo who took the picture on this page. I borrowed it from the Creative Commons pool over at flickr.