Friday, October 31, 2008

Get a favicon now...

If you've been putting off getting a favicon because you don't know how or where to get one, or because you have no server to put it on,  tary no longer: Icon J not only generates a favicon from the graphic you give it, it also offers to store the favicon on its server - gratis!

Bizarre bank ad

Under the broad rubric of media and mind, this is the most bizarre ad for a bank ad I've seen in a while...and some interesting thoughts on what its all about.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Google Book Search Settlement Agreement

Read all about the Google Book Search Settlement's the intro:
Three years ago, the Authors Guild, the Association of American Publishers and a handful of authors and publishers filed a class action lawsuit against Google Book Search.
Today we're delighted to announce that we've settled that lawsuit and will be working closely with these industry partners to bring even more of the world's books online. Together we'll accomplish far more than any of us could have individually, to the enduring benefit of authors, publishers, researchers and readers alike.
It will take some time for this agreement to be approved and finalized by the Court. For now, here's a peek at the changes we hope you'll soon see.


I've previously posted about Awesomehighlighter and Cite-bite two tools that enable you to refer readers directly to a specific segment or passage in a web page (and I'm happy to add that CiteBite's Firefox extension seems to work just dandy in Firefox 3) Another neat tool for creating referrals that is more "in your face" than a mere url is Kwout. Essentially, it's a handy way to take a snapshot of a part(or all) of a webpage and share it with others via email or posting to a web or blog. A Firefox extension makes it available at the click of a right mouse button. Below are two examples, a segment from an interesting newspaper article (Public Diplomacy News) and a swath of - note that the links in the latter are live.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Google maps for the election

Elections 08 map gallery - assorted maps: electoral votes, Representatives, Senators, primary results, funding, biographies of the candidates (e.g.annotated map presentation of "Obama's journey") and lots of other useful election information presented in maps.

Election trends - see what people are searching on in connection with the election

Monday, October 27, 2008

Get out and vote!

(click on the image to view the video)

Here's U.S. ingenuity at its greatest - a compelling and hilarious "get out and vote" (for Obama) ploy from

Friday, October 24, 2008

Early Word

Early Word seeks to "to bring together the best thinking on the art of selecting books for public libraries. By giving readers what they want, when they want it, we believe libraries can increase their circulation and their support."

I don't think giving patrons what they want when they want it should be the overriding objective of a public library or any other public institution, but when that is the task at hand Early Bird is a very helpful resource.

The market is a formidable force, and Early Bird feels libraries should cultivate it more actively (the site's slogan is "The Publisher/Librarian Connection"):
We are also working to forge a more direct connection between publishers and librarians. Libraries represent approximately 10% of the overall book market, but, since libraries buy through wholesalers, no sales force calls on them. As a result, libraries miss valuable information on how publishers position titles and publishers do not get a sense of what libraries want.

My peevish reservations aside, this site has lots of news and information about books and the publishing industry that will be of interest to librarians and booklovers.

Library as local history

Here's a fine example of a public library using a blog to generate interest - local and international - in its local history resources.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Mirror effect

Mirror Effect is a neat plaything that adds a mirror effect to your pictures, so that motifs look like they're reflected in a lake. Just upload your image and Mirror Effect does the rest. See for example my handsome shot from the Apennines, which Mirror Effect has transformed into an ethereal scene of verdant hills reflected in a placid mountain lake.

Navarsete og frekkhetens nådegave

Jeg er enig med Sandberg, å bruke et ord som "tåpelig" fra Stortingets talerstole går bare ikke an. Og Navarsete var attpåtil klinkende edru!

p.s.- veldig gøy å høre på "Listen Now" mannen gi seg ikast med norsken

Monday, October 20, 2008

Enough patriotism to make you sick

Most Norwegians, no matter how fond of the U.S., still look down in embarrassment when a U.S. president or politician refers to his/her nation as "the greatest country on earth" - that's just not done here...yet. (some of us still blush when we recall Gro Harlem Brundtlands "typisk norsk å være god.") This, however, is way, way beyond the pale. Peace on earth!

Red lending scare

Steve Colbert makes a good point - when you get something for nothing, as you do at many public libraries, the vigilant citizen should know that something is amiss, as in c-o-m-m-i-e. Fortunately, you can fight back; by incurring overdue fines, you can help lead libraries and librarians down the straight and narrow to capitalism. The red menace is backsky!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Monday, October 13, 2008

Campus Explorer

Campus Explorer provides information about more than 6000 U.S. colleges and universities through filters that cover just about everything you might want to ask about, from tuition to average temperature. A useful interactive feature processes personal and academic information to calculate chances of admission.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Public television to give Americans more news about furners

The European Journalism Centre reports that a new nightly public television newscast seeks to redress what its producer says is a regrettable lack of foreign news on television in the United States. Here is how World Focus describes itself:

"Worldfocus responds to the mainstream media’s diminished coverage of international news. All the major networks have closed foreign bureaus and cut resources for international news coverage, which amounted to just 8 percent of all American news coverage last year.

By partnering with international news organizations, Worldfocus fills the void in international news coverage and informs American viewers about the relevance of international events. The nightly news program and Web site report on events from around the world and cover the stories that don’t always make the headlines.

We approach news in a way that combines the editorial integrity of public television and traditional media with the diverse perspectives of journalists, bloggers and local citizens. Extending our reach beyond that of the traditional newsroom, Worldfocus compiles a broad range of voices from around the world — from the European economics professor to the El Salvadoran shopkeeper blogging about his daily business.

Our goal at Worldfocus is to localize international events for an American audience — making foreign news less foreign."

Monday, October 6, 2008

Are you sure you want to send that mail?

I can't tell if this is a joke, but it will not amuse those who are already annoyed by double prompts (e.g. "are you sure that you want to permanently delete this item?") Gmail's "Goggles" goes further, and not only asks you to confirm your intentions, but to perform some simple arithmetic to prove that the message you're about to send issues from a sound mind. So much for spontaneity...

Saturday, October 4, 2008

State by State

Here's a wonderful new book: State by State: a Panoramic Portrait of America, edited by Matt Weiland and Sean Wilsey. The book was inspired, in part, by the Federal Writers Project, the program established by FDR in 1935 that produced the American Guide Series of extremely detailed guides to the 48 states and selected cities and regions. The FWP was conceived as an employment program in response to the estimated 26,000 artists who were put out of work by the Great Depression, and had 6600 individuals on its payroll. Weiland and Wilsey's is a more modest undertaking, with personal 10-20 page portraits of each of the 50 states written by 50 writers. It is not a guide book per se, but seeks to convey some of the distinct flavor of each of the states; there's also a page of basic reference facts for each state (demographics, geography, origin of name, etc.), 30 tables of comparative statistics to describe "The 50 states in numbers", and 50 photos, each writer having selecting a single image to convey something essential about his/her state. The roster of writers is impressive; George Packer, William Vollmann, Benjamin Kunkel, Rick Moody, Joshua Ferris, Ha Jin, Dave Eggers, Sarah Vowell, Jonathan Franzen, Louise Erdrich, Jumpha Lahiri, and Jayne Anne Phillips, among others. The book has an unabashedly patriotic look, red, white and blue and sprinkled with stars and stripes; an eagle holds a banner in its beak that reads "Take Pride in Your Country." But don't let that put you off! This is not the cloying jingoism of presidential speeches (called "spreadagleism" in the 19th century), but the warm and glowing love of/pride in country, landscape and people expressed in songs like America the Beautiful or This Land is Your Land. This book is a perfect gift for people whose parochial, insular, small-minded perspective prevents them from grasping the vast cosmopolitanism of the U.S. - people like Horace Engdahl of the Swedish Academy. (see post below)

Thursday, October 2, 2008

U.S. writers not up to Nobel snuff

Horace Engdahl,  secretary of the Swedish Academy that awards the Nobel prizes, says to AP that ''Of course there is powerful literature in all big cultures, but you can't get away from the fact that Europe still is the center of the literary world ... not the United States." He adds that "The U.S. is too isolated, too insular. They don't translate enough and don't really participate in the big dialogue of literature."  Normally I don't dignify that kind of silliness from the Swedish Academy with mention on Knowbodies, but Engdahl is an interesting departure from the norm;  European intellectuals generally acknowledge the preeminent  position of U.S.arts and letters and intellectual life, and reserve their disdain for American tourists, foreign policy, and crass consumerism. But for a Swede to dismiss the vast, multicultural literature of the U.S. as "insular," that is droll. The Nobel prize for literature will be announced next Thursday.

Duck and cover! (Public

"An atomic bomb could knock you down, hard", says the narrator of the film "Duck and cover," a social guidance film produced in 1951 by the United States federal government's Civil Defense branch shortly after the Soviet Union began nuclear testing. The film is brought to us by FedFlix, a collaborative effort by and NTIS: "FedFlix is a joint venture with the National Technical Information Service (NTIS). Each month they send us [] government videotapes. We upload them to the Internet Archive and YouTube, then send the government back their videotapes and a digital copy for their files. No cost to them, more data for all of us." Thanks to Librarian in Black for alerting us to, which she describes as a non-profit company created by Carl Malamud that purchases expensive government reports or codes and publishes them for free on the open web. I was unable to find any concise "about this site" info at, but judging by this post at Justia,  Malamud is well known in the legal research community for his history of making public information freely available on the internet when providers of data sought to restrict access to the commercial market. Read all about him at OnTheCommons

Google in quotes feature

With Google's  in quotes feature you can read what a selection of notables have said on a particular topic;  either enter a search term of your own (e.g. "knowbodies"), or choose from the predefined "popular issues". Although the selection of notables is currently quite limited, it does include the two presidential candidates; a quick and dirty way to compare their recent statements on assorted topics.

from the "about" information:

The "In Quotes" feature allows you to find quotes from stories linked to from Google News. These quotations are a valuable resource for understanding where people in the news stand on various issues. Much of the published reporting about people is based on the interpretation of a journalist. Direct quotes, on the other hand, are concrete units of information that describe how newsmakers represent themselves. Google News compiles these quotations from online news stories and sorts them into browsable groups based on who is being quoted. Similar to article selection and placement on Google News, quotes and their speakers are determined automatically by a computer program and we don't guarantee the completeness or accuracy of the information you may see. The dates you see represent when the article in which the quote appears was added to Google News. The views expressed in the quotes do not necessarily reflect the views of Google Inc. or its employees.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Google voter info

Google and League of Women Voters have collaborated to provide this nice civic service: enter your address, and it returns voter info like this...including a link to help you determine whether you're registered to vote.

Registration Info
State: Wisconsin
Days left to register by mail: 14
Registration must be postmarked by:
Wednesday, October 15
Days left to register in person: 33
In person registration allowed through:
Monday, November 3
Wisconsin residents may register to vote at their polling place on Election Day.
Get information about voting in your state:

Wisconsin voter hotline: 1-866-VOTE-WIS
All voting location information will be available by mid-October. Until then, please check with your state or local election officials to verify your voting location.