Thursday, April 30, 2009

Facebook etiquette

Some things never change...thanks to Giovanni for this one!!!


Hyperword is very useful;  install the Firefox addon, and when you highlight a word in your browser it brings up a menu of useful options.
Thanks Oli!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Public data on Google

Drawing on data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the U.S. Census Bureau's Population Division, Google has launched a new search feature that makes it easy to find and compare public data. The following video explains it all. Evidently, the voice of the guy at Common Craft is contagious. 

Spot-on comment about comments

Via the New Atlantis I found this interesting comment on comments by Virginia Heffernan, and discovered The Medium - looks like a blog very much worth following.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Not everybody can be a nobody

Here I'm speaking of nobodies, not knowbodies, and of dear, dear Charles Pooter in particular. Don't know how I could have missed the obvious connection between one of my favorite books - read long before I started throwing away my life on the internet - and the current web2.0 and Twitter-enabled craze for "status updating."  But, yes, of course, Diary of a Nobody is available as a daily weblog, how could it not be? These days, as of April 25, Pooter is experimenting with the new Pinkford's enamel paint - don't miss it! And of course Pooter is also on Twitter, these media were made for him. Yet despite the millions all over the world trying to emulate him round the clock, Pooter remains unique; not everybody can be a nobody!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Civic coders for better government

(thanks Catherine M)
Sunlight labs announces the winners of the Apps for America contest, an annual call to "civic coders" to develop applications that make the U.S. government more transparent and accountable. Winners were rated according to the following criteria:

  1. Usefulness to constituents for watching over and communicating with their members of Congress
  2. Potential impact of ethical standards on Congress
  3. Originality of the application
  4. Potential usability of the application
  5. Code quality of application 
What a laudable project from Sunlight Labs! Also, read all about, coming soon!!!

Sunday, April 26, 2009


Andrew Sullivan dishes out righteous indignation on this issue that is hard to resist. And Foreign Policy provides a useful timeline.

New espresso machine publishes and sells books

Coffee machines and bookshops are both places where people congregate, it's strange no one thought of this until now.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Another use for Twitter

Yet another use for Twitter, and I thought it was useless!  I was deliberating whether to shell out $65 (plus shoes, shirt, hat, etc,) to see Raphael Saadiq in Oslo tomorrow...and wanted to know how things went yesterday in Bergen. No reviews, but then I searched for Raphael Saadiq Bergen at and got

Kahuun: Raphael Saadiq was fantastic in Bergen last night!
about 9 hours ago from twitterrific · Reply · View Tweet
hsvela: Raphael Saadiq var on fire i Bergen! Sennepsgul dress, supertight band og klassiske Motown-moves. #raphael
mortenhoff: Raphael Saadiq concert in Bergen was super tight! Double encore, now that's value for money!
I'm sold!  

Also, added the Greasemonkey Twitter search results on Google for Firefox that adds the 5 most recent Tweets for my search query to the Google results like this:

The last of these results introduced me to the Twitter version of a Facebook group...called a Twibe, naturally. Elma Fudd wools!!!

Johnson on reading e-books

Steven Johnson, author of  (among other books) Everything Bad Is Good for You: How Today's Popular Culture Is Actually Making Us Smarter, writes in the Wall Streed Journal about "How the E-book Will Change the Way we Read and Write. More books, but also more distractions, and reading - like everything else - will become a social activity.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The new curriculum: Writing for non-readers

Thanks Bill - for those of us who have been out of date since birth and missed out on the benefits of the new curriculum,  professor Lanham's ENG371WR offers hope. The prerequisites are daunting, though.


I signed up for a beta of TextFlow months ago but forgot all about it until this month's review in Technology Review. TextFlow bills itself as the "first parallel word processor"; it uses Adobe Air software and merges multiple versions of the same document into a single version with suggested changes arranged side by side. I tried it out on two different versions of a translation, and found it very cool and very easy to use - and far less confusing than working through a document that has been marked up with "track changes" comments. If you're interested, the 2 minute video explains the essentials.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


Phlook adds a hover-over menu to images on your website that provides at least one useful feature; it allows you to zoom in on the photo to view it in its original size. Those who would like to cast a vote for the image, tag it with a comment, or email it so someone else, can do that also. To accomplish this, you need to upload your photo to, which then generates a snippet of code that you include in your blog/website.


Blogrunner is a news aggregator that collects headlines from established media sources as well as blogs, conveying  "News at Blog Speed" and a strong sense of what is being buzzed about on the web. The site is organized around 12 main topics, but by selecting "All topics" you get a complete subject index, including countries -  I selected Norway, and found much that was of interest to  me up here. is owned by the New York Times, and offers an "annotated version" of the newspaper of record.

Google News Timeline

This is neat and useful from Google - a display format that organizes search results chronologically and allows users to view news and other data sources on a browsable, graphical timeline. Available data sources include recent and historical news, scanned newspapers and magazines, blog posts, sports scores, and information about various types of media, like music albums and movies. (see the faq for details) The default display shows Wikipedia Events and Time Magazine but components can be added/deleted with the "Add more queries" option. Here I've done a search for "Russia and missile defense" and displayed the results month by month. An excellent tool for seeing how the newspicture unfolds, but (unfortunately) also irresistible for whiling away the hours...

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Local news

In the February 2009 issue of Internet Law Researcher (not online), Ken Kozlowski compiles and reviews some useful local news sources, including
Online Newspapers
News and Newspapers Online
News Voyager
Internet Public Library
The Paperboy
U.S. Newspaper List
Hometown News (Koslowski omits this one..)
Newseum Front Pages
(map view is cool!)
Press Display
C-Span's links to political newspaper pages and independent political websites in 50 states.
Google News (enter zipcode in "local news" window)
For locating newsreaders, see Feed Readers and NewsOnFeeds
For newsfeeds in particular, see Yahoo Syndic8, and Moreover.

Embed it!

Sometimes embedding a document or webpage in your blog or webpage is more compelling than linking to it. To embed a static document, from your computer or from the web, you can use - for example, instead of linking to Caleb Crain's 2007 New Yorker article Twilight of the Books, I could embed it in a scrollable window right here in this post, as I've done below. Use the full-screen option for an easy to read format, and use the slide to adjust the size of the text to your needs. works with documents (doc, docx, xls, xlsx, ppt, pptx, pdf, wpd, odt, ods, odp) images (png, jpg, gif, tiff, bmp, eps, ai) and text (txt, rtf, csv) You can also embed a webpage, but what you get is a static copy of the page as it appeared when you captured it; sometimes that might be what you need, but if you want to embed a webpage real-time, use an RSS widget instead.

Before Oprah

I was there before Oprah, were you?

Friday, April 17, 2009

Facebook survival guide for awkward adults

I'd not previously thought of MSNBC as a font of snarky hilarity, but Daniel Harrison makes it so. His "Facebook survival guide for awkward adults" made me laugh out loud, which I guess proves that I'm not an awkward adult.  I also enjoyed his "10 gadgets that make you look like a jerk"

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Writing about reading and annoyed librarians

I'm interested in the discussion about the fate of thinking, culture, books, reading, attention spans etc. in the digital age, and have posted about it here from time to time. But only recently did I discover Walt Crawford's excellent summary of the debate in Writing about Reading 2...which led me back to Writing about Reading 1. Required reading if you're interested in these issues. A thing that puzzles me however is the rancor with which many in the library community dismiss the claims of prophets of doom who go on about the erosion of our reading and reasoning abilities by new technologies. They are after all defending librarianly values, and a more appropriate response - if one disagrees, and I don't always - with people like Michael Gorman, Sven Birkerts, the NEH and Dana Gioia, Susan Jacoby, Nick Carr, Lee Siegel, Andrew Keen, etc. etc. would be a friendly and reassuring "Oh come come, things aren't so bad as all that. Remember [pat on back] there's nothing new under the sun, you haven't forgotten what Socrates said about writing, have you? But thanks for being concerned and sticking up for those things libraries are all about." You sure don't hear much of that last bit though; instead, many librarians get completely bent out of shape by such well-intentioned admonition, and contempt is showered on these valiant knights. I don't get it...

Happy 1000th anniversary Knowbodies

This blog rounded post nr.1000 yesterday; our forebears were mining gold here as early as "November 23, 2003". Please join me in a moment of silence and quiet reflection.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Migrant Integration Policy Index

MIPEX is a useful resource for measuring the relative success of EU+3 nations in integrating migrants.

MIPEX measures policies to integrate migrants in 25 EU Member States and three non-EU countries. It uses over 140 policy indicators to create a rich, multi-dimensional picture of migrants' opportunities to participate in European societies.

(from the website...)
MIPEX uses the term ‘migrants' to refers to Third Country Nationals legally residing in an EU Member State. Unless stated, it does not refer to refugees or asylum seekers, irregular migrants, EU citizens exercising their free movement rights or EU citizens with immigrant origins.

MIPEX covers six policy areas which shape a migrant's journey to full citizenship:

- Labour market access
- Family reunion
- Long-term residence
- Political participation
- Access to nationality
- Anti-discrimination

Best practice for each policy indicator is set at the highest European standard, drawn from Council of Europe Conventions or European Community Directives. Where these are only minimum standards, European-wide policy recommendations are used. Since policies are measured against the same standards across all Member States, MIPEX is a ‘benchmarking' tool to compare performance.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Twitterers are cold, unfeeling birds...

This Science Daily article discusses a forthcoming article that "raises questions about the emotional cost—particularly for the developing brain—of heavy reliance on a rapid stream of news snippets obtained through television, online feeds or social networks such as Twitter."(citation: "Neural correlates of admiration and compassion." By Mary Helen Immordino-Yang, Andrea McColl, Hanna Damasio, and Antonio Damasio. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Vol. 106, No. 16, April 20, 2009)  I was alerted to it through Clay Shirky's Twitter feed

Friday, April 3, 2009

Vacation time

This blog goes on vacation until April 14. In the meantime, for the information that you look for at Knowbodies first, please try our competitors - LibTech Metagator (actually a subsidiary...) and