Category Archives: Tech

Library of Congress streaming music

This is like some wonderful dream!  I’m glad that someone in the recording industry has the sense to hand some stuff over for proper digital preservation.  It would be nice if they ALL did it, but this is a good start.  Now I just need to refresh my memory of the extensive Universal music catalog.


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Book Piracy on a Massive Scale!

The Telegraph is saying what many people have already been thinking, that publishers are screwed.  eBooks are extremely easy to find online and there is little deterrent for pirates.  Now, publishers could go the unpopular RIAA route and sue people to ensure their inflated prices can remain, or they could lower eBook prices to reflect the real demand curve.  I hope publishers do the latter.

Remember, the marginal cost of ebooks is 0.  There is only the initial capital invested in the author that should be factored into the ebook price.  People know this.  That’s why we think it’s insane that an ebook should cost the same as a hardcover.  Publishers need to realize this.

[The Telegraph]

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On digitization

Treehugger has a good post today about digitization.  I’ve had to read and write a lot about this topic throughout school but it’s interesting to see the issue from a different perspective.  Treehugger is, obviously, and environmentally centered site so their perspective on digitization is different from the library point of view.

The one new wrinkle that Treehugger has that has never entered my mind is that information hoarding is a time suck.  In the library profession, information hoarding could be seen as part of the job, but it really does cost more time and energy than we may realize.

Of course, the final takeaway from the site is that digitization may not be all that green.  Servers require energy to run.  They require resources to be manufactured and shipped.  It requires energy for us to access servers to read our news or access our articles.  These are important things to note as we try to become more responsible caretakers of our planet.


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Libraries using Netflix

Well isn’t this interesting?  A couple of academic libraries are using Netflix services to deliver movies to their patrons.  While I appreciate the measured response by Netflix, this is clearly a violation of terms of service, and also probably a violation of public performance agreements.  I honestly want to know what these libraries are thinking.  While it is important to deliver materials and services to patrons and Netflix offers a reasonably priced model to accomplish this, you risk so much.  The RIAA could come down hard.  Midwest Tape and other CD/DVD purveyors to libraries could make things harder on other libraries.  Netflix could start feeling the pressure too.  For a short-term gain, you risk difficult long term circumstances.  The next license agreements for libraries to show movies are going to be absolutely awful.


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Dark Patterns

Boing Boing shared this presentation on user interface design ethics. It explores the sneaky things that companies do to make us sign up for crap we don’t need and asks if it is ethical for designers to take advantage of customers like that. Cool stuff

[Boing Boing]

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Music in Libraries

I liked what the Librarian in Black is saying here.  The profession has yet to find an elegant solution to question of music in the library.  Music is now mostly digital (so says iTunes sales), but library solutions are quite terrible.  It’s simply too hard to transfer music from the library website to your personal computer or digital music player.  For every extra step users are forced to endure, the less likely they will to utilize the library.  If it isn’t seamless and easy, then it isn’t worth doing.

Do I have a solution?  Maybe.  How about streaming music?  Many digital players nowadays have internet access (Zune HD, iPod Touch, Archos players, even the Zen X-Fi kinda).  And it’s easier to get rights to stream music than offer to up for download.  If libraries were allowed to host music files for streaming, they could competently build and catalog collections of music that users would use.  Part of this also needs to be an enhanced interface.  The library website needs to be known as a place for music for the music to be used.

[Librarian in Black]

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Let’s try this again, shall we?

Koha, part 2!

I supposedly have it up again.  I haven’t checked it on an external network, but it should work (hopefully).

I just set it up, so there’s nothing in it, but hopefully that will change within the next few days.  I only had enough time to add the links on the front page and that little blurb.

There are a few things different about my installation this time.  First, it’s in a virtualized server.  The last time I tried a Koha installation, it took over my web server and I didn’t really know how to change it.  So this time I installed it on a virtual server.  It’s Ubuntu again.  Ubuntu Lucid Lynx.  Server this time.  So I got a chance to work in an all command line environment.  Virtualization also allows me move this installation around as I wish just by moving the virtual hard drive.

The second thing different is that this is version 3.2.  It’s newer, it’s cooler.  There’s a good tutorial on the Koha community wiki that explains how to install Koha on Ubuntu.  I pretty much followed this verbatim except for one package.  I needed the 64-bit version instead of the 32-bit version in this tutorial.

Apache was something of a tough nut to crack.  I have two domains from, and I wanted one to point to my website and the other one to point to Koha.  Unfortunately, I have only one public IP address, so this doesn’t really work.  Instead, I had to put it on a different port.  It’s inelegant, but it works.  I’ll just have to link it directly from my website.

I’ll update with my progress.


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