Hawk's Nest

Sunday, November 27, 2005

A Library for The New World

You may have heard about Google's donation to this cause but hear the vision as outlined in the above article from the librarian of Congress, James Billington. Building a legitimate world library in the virtual world may become like the glories of the Alexandrian Library of old (though its collections methodology is suspect).

TipMonkies : The Ultimate Guide to Google Services

The Thanksgiving weekend is over and it's time to get in a little more work before the next holiday stretch. Here's a nice page that summarizes the services Google offers. It may be just the place to start as you get back into the groove.

Friday, November 11, 2005

NPR : Pizza Goes Back to Its Roots

Here's a yummy story about my favorite food. There has never been more variety or unique offerings in pizza. And that's a good thing for a pizza lover. This NPR spot reflects similar ideas found in this article on the rise of artisan pizza. If only we had a brick oven at home.

I'll settle for my favorites now when I go out. They include the Mellow Mushroom (Gourmet White pizza), Carrabba's Italian Grill (Italian Chicken Pizza) and Uno Chicago Grill (any deep dish).

If only we had a Giordano's here, my all-time favorite Chicago-style pizza, my pizza wishes would be complete.

What's your favorite pizza/pizza place? Leave comments below.

ZDNet: PCs plagued by bad capacitors

Lest you think I'm beating this story to death, it's actually nice to read an article that covers the entire issue. The most important fact to point out to computer users is that this isn't just a Dell problem. These bad capacitors exist in Hewlett-Packard PC's, Apple computers and any PC's using Intel motherboards. Dell has been the most forthcoming about the hit they're taking but let's face it, it's a big problem. Thanks to ZDNet for covering the whole story!

Google Print, Part 3

Let's put this one to rest for now with one last post. I've let the previous two postings give the main arguments for the validity of what Google is doing. Here are some follow-ups worth reading:

1-Google's indexing the web is a direct parallel to Google Print. Read this analysis at Search Engine Watch and see how strong a case Google Print really has.

2-Only 4% of Titles Are Being Commercially Exploited - Read about the "twilight zone" of books whose content would never be found if a project like Google Print wasn't moving forward.

3-Google Print hurts kids?? This is quite the stretch for the anti-Google Print forces. Feel those tugs on your heart strings??

4-Alternate revenue streams now available--selling pages and chapters at a time.

5-Find and read the full text of Google Print books in the public domain by using special search parameters.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Google Print Part 2

My friend shares an experience which boosts support for Google Print...
I have explored Google Print several times in the last 48 hours, and I stumbled across something remarkable. While searching the collection in Google's virtual library for instances of my family surname, Robichau, I found something remarkable. A book by James W. Baker titled Plymouth Labor and Leisure (Images of America) contained an instance of the word "Robichau," and clicking through the link brought me to a photo of my great uncle, Earl Robichau, from 1914. I could tell who the Robichau in the photograph was before looking at the list of names - the family resemblance is remarkable.

Never before could I have found such an obscure and wonderful gem. But, thanks to this new technology, I am able to research any topic with a degree of rigor never before possible. Until now, I could go to the library and search the index of a book that might or might not contain references to my topic of research (or, I could search the internet and hope to find a valid online source of information). Now, I have entire libraries of material that have been scanned and indexed - searchable to the letter.

The publishing world claims that Google print is their enemy. Tonight, Google Print prompted me to buy two "hardcopies" of books that I never would have purchased, or even known about, otherwise; I think that is good thing for the publishing world.

You can see my Great Uncle Earl in a photo of the Plymouth Cordage Company's company baseball team for the 1914 season.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Reining in Google -- The Washington Times

What a terrible Op-Ed! I don't need to rant and rave about this one because so many already have. Just see Forbes and Classical Values. But I do have the special privilege of printing a response sent to Mr. Barr and Ms. Schroeder by one of my good friends, Bernie...and he got a response. Here is the exchange, unedited:
Dear Mrs. Shroeder and Mr. Barr,

I appreciate the fervor with which you write, but I must take issue with your Chicken Little approach to this issue. It seems that your fear of technology drives you to preach an unwarranted apocalyptic message to the people and politicians in America. The publishing industry is, indeed, not in danger of falling.

Google Print provides a real and lasting benefit to society, and Google makes some money in the process. This "internet behemoth" (to use your words), Google, saw a way to make information that has always been available, freely, through libraries, more accessible. If you have ever used Google Print, you would know that copyrighted materials only display a few pages, sometimes less, before the content on the preceding and following pages is blocked – therefore, the public is only receiving excerpts of copyrighted material free of charge.

Now, I could go to my local library and get the same content for free. If my library doesn't have the book, I can surely request a copy via inter-library loan, and within a week or two, I will have the book. In the case of the local library, I get the entire content without paying.

Google simplifies a process that was once cumbersome – but with materials available from Google Print, since copyrighted materials are only available as excerpts, I get less than I would from the local library.

I find it hard to imagine that Benjamin Franklin or Thomas Jefferson, both authors, would have decried the introduction of inter-library loan or even the prevalence of modern public libraries that extend to the community outside of academia. Both of these "modern concepts" are only available due to technological innovation (rapid transit / efficient postal systems and modern, inexpensive printing techniques).

I will gladly purchase a hard-copy of any book that will prove to be a valuable resource and addition to my library. But, some concerning books that contain a paragraph or a chapter that I find relevant and/or interesting, I will not purchase physical copies of them. I will either find it in a library or use an available copy online. I think that most users of electronic media will agree.

Regarding your assertion that authors are somehow not smart enough to utilize an "opt-out" service provided by Google, then you are insulting the intelligence of the authors you claim to represent. If Google manages to make the opt-out tool too cumbersome to use, and therefore useless, then you might have a firm legal case against Google. But, I trust that Google is not "out to get" the poor little authors out there.

It is sad to see that the publishing industry, instead of thinking outside the box and looking at new paradigms for revenue generation, is following the path of Hollywood and the music industry. Trying to fight the emergence of electronic media with reactionary legislation is not a sustainable approach. Follow, rather, the lead of Apple who has proven that people will, and do, pay for electronic media if it is comparable to what they get in the stores. I will gladly pay for the three songs I like on an album if I am allowed to download them individually (Apple's model), but I will no longer pay for an entire album that is full of music for which I don't care. The world is changing, and it is time to change with the world instead of burying our heads in the sand.

And, for what it is worth, people who avidly read books are, at present, unwilling to resort to electronic books because they are 1) more cumbersome to read, 2) difficult to mark, 3) hard to loan to friends of like mind and 4) simply not as enjoyable to read by the fireplace. If the publishing industry will find a way to address these concerns, then the world will widely and willingly adopt a fee-based electronic book model. If these obstacles are insurmountable, then the paper book will always be around. Some lackluster authors might need to find alternative employment, but the paper book is likely here to stay (my belief).

Finally, your reactionary posture might have caused you to miss an opportunity for collaboration. Google currently links to Amazon.com and other online booksellers (with a direct link to the work in question) on left side of every visible scanned page on Google Print. I'm sure that this has increased sales of worthy books. If the publishing industry would focus on the production of quality literature, the online sales will likely soar because of Google Print, not in spite of it. Might authors who write non-fiction, for instance, find Google Print to be a valuable resource - making the quality of the books they produce superior to those produced in the past (with outdated research techniques). Did you ever think of the fact that Google might be willing to provide a premium and paid version of Google print that might provide an additional source of revenue (through profit sharing) for struggling authors who "opt-in?" Have you considered the fact that Google might be a potential ally to the publishing industry?

In the end, I appreciate the publishing industry for what it does simply because I love the written word – it is a powerful medium. Please, before using all of your political connections and lobbying powers to ruin the potential for enormous good, think outside of the box with your heads out of the sand.

The sky is not falling.



---------------E-mail Response From Ms. Schroeder---------

We love the idea of the internet and publishers are there with websites and digital copies. What Google forgets is no one would use their search engine if there wasn't interestiing content to search. SO, taking the content away from the creators without permission, is a sure way to dry up future content. Yahoo, Microsoft and others are doing it correctly and even Google is overseas.

Our forefathers thought allot about intellectual property because they were publishers, authors and inventors and put protection of it in the MAIN body of the Constitution, Art. 1, sec. 8. Publishers get permissions everyday to publish books and so do many other companies. One of the most profitable in the world should play by the rules also.

Pat Schroeder

I have a couple of additonal arguments to make but I think I start in the next post.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Bulging capacitors haunt Dell | Tech News on ZDNet

I covered this two months ago here. And now it's finally hitting the mainstream press as it continues to be a problem. It's costing Dell money as they announce their revenue miss and take a $300 million hit for this problem. Wow!!

Interestingly enough, a change in weather seems to have slowed the failure rate as the ambient temperature stays lower as whole. But without intervention, next summer the problem will be back with a vengence. Everyone with one to two year warranties, take note.