At the Ref Desk (1/17/15): 1st research consultation for 2015. [more...]
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Neutrality Rulz!

Submitted by Leo Klein on Thu, 2/26/15 (1:27pm)

Happy days are here again! At least for a while.

When people first started hooking up to the Internet, it was a two step -- or two layer -- process: You had your phone line which was owned by the local Bell carrier, and then you had an internet service provider or 'ISP' -- of which there were many.

Then the phone companies developed a slightly faster system (DSL) which, surprise, surprise, the ISPs had no access to. Within a short time, the ISPs simply disappeared. The phone companies, ATT & Verizon, after being broken up for a couple of years, zoomed back to national dominance -- this despite the fact that since DSL, they really haven't done much innovation.

And that precisely is the point where the Internet started to resemble a traditional communication network -- with mediocre service and a handful of players. All I can say is, 'bout time!

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Eat Cake!

Submitted by Leo Klein on Thu, 2/12/15 (8:14pm)

"Eat Cake!" -- happy greetings that welcomed me on the way to the Reference Desk this evening.

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Current Cites for Jan 2015

Submitted by Leo Klein on Fri, 1/30/15 (8:53am)

go to Current Cites
Current Cites for January 2015 is out! You can find the issue here...

Although my focus is usually tech, I went this month with a set of articles from Library Trends that looked at the state of libraries in countries from the former "eastern block". How libraries fared in what used to be known affectionately as "communist dictatorships" makes for interesting reading -- as well as what they've done since.

Daddy in Wartime London with the ABSIE Team

Submitted by Leo Klein on Sat, 1/24/15 (1:43am)

Amazing picture of daddy along with what looks like the rest of the 'American Broadcasting Station in Europe' (i.e. 'ABSIE') team in London in 1943 (see larger image). I just came upon it after going through a box of old pictures. Note, daddy is in the back with the headphones next to the guy in a sweater.

New York Times from Sept. 30, 1943.
The picture above is a close-up (flipped) of the New York Times that the fellow on the right has on his desk. It dates from Sept. 30, 1943 and has the headline: "Naples' Fall Near as Allies Break Line and Pursue Fleeing Germans on Plain; Russians in Kremenchug, Aim for Baltic".

Here's a write-up I once put together on his tour of duty: "Daddy Was a DJ to the Germans in WWII" (6/9/07)

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First Day at the Reference Desk for 2015!

Submitted by Leo Klein on Sat, 1/3/15 (3:22pm)

Not asked once -- not once: "Would you have my textbook up in the stacks?" Devastating.

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Steve Jobs and the Role of the Humanities in a World of Tech

Submitted by Leo Klein on Mon, 12/15/14 (9:47pm)

I always thought the best preparation for any computer-based activity, such as web development, was a thorough knowledge of English poetry. Who knew that Steve Jobs agreed with me?

When asked if he was a "computer nerd", he replied: "I wasn’t completely in any one world for too long. There was so much else going on. Between my sophomore and junior years, I got stoned for the first time; I discovered Shakespeare, Dylan Thomas and all that classic stuff." (Playboy Interview with Steve Jobs, 1985)

Frosty Takes a Dive

Submitted by Leo Klein on Sat, 12/13/14 (5:58pm)
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Happy Blue Beanie Day!

Submitted by Leo Klein on Sun, 11/30/14 (7:25pm)


Happy Blue Beanie Day! As Ethan Marcotte says, "...[C]ould you imagine anything like responsive web design without web standards?". #bbd14

What with all the talk of the 25th Anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall, I recalled an episode that happened to me a bit earlier while visiting East Berlin.

The way it worked is you got to spend a day there but had to be back by midnight or they'd make you pay a fine. Normally we'd go there, visit the sites (such as they were), head to a couple of bars to spend the practically worthless East-German marks, and then head back to Checkpoint Charlie.

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At the Reference Desk: A Humble Request

Submitted by Leo Klein on Thu, 10/23/14 (6:47pm)

People, could you please refrain from sticking pencils in dictionaries!

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