Wednesday, 31 July 2013

19 book cover clichés

From Buzzfeed: 19 book cover clichés.

Damn, I check a lot of these in.

See also:
Book Smugglers: Cover matters: On clichéd covers in fantasy
The Times Literary Supplement Blog: Cover versions
Pinterest user MaryMac69's board for Funny as shit book covers

Friday, 26 July 2013

Please remove your link to my post

This morning I had an email in my inbox which sort of puzzled me. It referenced a blog post made on the very first iteration of this blog right here several years ago. Before I started taking classes to earn my Library Tech diploma, even.


I am Ted, and I am writing you on behalf of CollegeInfoWebsiteHere. It has always been our goal to produce and provide the most useful and up to date information on online colleges. We want to help take the stress out of the decision making process. We also provide pages and blog posts with random, weird, and amusing facts for distraction.

It is these pages that have us concerned. We have kept an eye on changes made to linking and webmaster standards, and we fear our blog posts will soon be seen as irrelevant fluff. Therefore, though I am glad you linked to us on FirstIterationofMissScarletHere, I must ask that you remove any links leading to the pages of CollegeInfoWebsiteHere. They can be found on FirstIterationofMissScarletHere/archivepost.

Thank you,
Ted FirstFirstNameIsntReallyTedAnyway

Here is my not-really-a-problem-but-what-I'm-thinking-about-anyway:

  • The post my old post links to still exists. You click the link, their post is still there. 
  • If you search up some keywords you will still find that post on their site. 
    • Does having a link to their site from my site bump where their site comes up in, say, a web search? Signs point to yes, though this version of my site hardly causes internet tube clogs, much less that first version. But it's there and that contributes to search results.
  • I can change the content of my post to not link to their site or even mention their site name. However, I still find the content of their post applicable/interesting and I still have an opinion on it (which is positive, though yes, it is a fluff post). If I ditch the link and the name, I then have uncited content. 'This one website has a post that I found interesting and here are the parts I found interesting, but no, you can't verify that without, say, searching the text from their post or the keywords involved'.
    • I don't like having uncited content. It makes it look like I'm trying to pass off the work of others as my own instead of just finding the work of others and pointing to it/expressing my thoughts/opinions about said content.
  • I am happy with the content of my site.
  • They are not happy with the content of their site.
    • They have not removed the post they do not want linked. 
      • Should they delete their post, I then have a broken link. Would I rather be the person who runs a library-related blog with a broken link or the person who runs a library-related blog with a very vague reference to another blog? Or would I rather be the person who deletes their old blog post entirely?

If I'm happy with my site content and they are not happy with their site content, isn't the onus on them to change their content?

I started making websites and posting things to the internet when I was all of fourteen years old. Back then, I didn't have a concept of how long things would stick around and how things I posted would remain pretty much forever in one form or another. That was the mid-90s, however, and that girl hadn't even told Mark Zuckerburg off. Zuckerburg's voice may not have even changed by that point.

Someone who put up a post a few years ago doesn't so much have that excuse.

I like being polite. I like common courtesy. I will likely take my old post down, and I don't think it will break a bunch of links in the websites of others. I just find the situation interesting. Thoughts?

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Carl Sagan on the power of books

I found this quote yesterday and I love it. Maybe books aren't necessarily 'an assemblage of flat, flexible parts', but the rest of it is still applicable.

A book is made from a tree. It is an assemblage of flat, flexible parts, still called “leaves”, imprinted with dark pigmented squiggles. One glance at it and your hear the voice of another person–perhaps someone dead for thousands of years. Across the millenia, the author is speaking, clearly and silently, inside your head, directly to you. Writing is perhaps the greatest of human inventions, binding together people, citizens of distant epochs, who never knew one another. Books break the shackles of time, proof that humans can work magic.

Some of the earliest authors wrote on clay. Cuneiform writing, the remote ancestor of the Western alphabet, was invented in the Near East about 5,000 years ago. Its purpose was to keep records: the purchase of grain, the sale of land, the triumphs of the king, the statutes of the priests, the positions of the stars, the prayers to the gods. For thousands of years, writing was chiseled into clay and stone, scratched onto wax or bark or leather; painted on bamboo or papyrus or silk–but always one copy at a time and, except for the inscriptions on monuments, always for a tiny readership. Then in China, between the second and sixth centuries, paper, ink and printing with carved wooden blocks were all invented, permitting many copies of a work to be made and distributed. It took a thousands years for the idea to catch on in remote and backward Europe. Then, suddenly, books were being printed all over the world. Just before the invention of movable type, around 1450, there were no more than a few tens of thousands of books in all of Europe, all handwritten; about as many as China in 100 B.C., and a tenth as many as in the Great Library of Alexandria. Fifty years later, around 1500, there were ten million printed books. Learning had become available to anyone who could read. Magic was everywhere.

More recently, books, especially paperbacks, have been printed in massive and inexpensive editions. For the price of a modest meal you can ponder the decline and fall of the Roman Empire, the origin of species, the interpretation of dreams, the nature of things. Books are like seeds. They can lie dormant for centuries and then flower in the most unpromising soil.

The great libraries of the world contain millions of volumes, the equivalent of about [10 to the 14th] bits of information in words, perhaps [10 to the 15th] bits in pictures. This is ten thousand times more information than in our genes, and about ten times more than in our brains. If I finish a book a week, I will read only a few thousand books in my lifetime, about a tenth of a percent of the contents of the greatest libraries of our time. The trick is to know which books to read. The information in books is not preprogrammed at birth but constantly changed, amended by events, adapted to the world. It is now twenty-three centuries since the founding of the Alexandrian Library. If there were no books, no written records, think how prodigious a time twenty-three centuries would be. With four generations per century, twenty-three centuries occupies almost a hundred generations of human beings.

If information could be passed on merely by word of mouth, how little we should know of our past, how slow would be our progress! Everything would depend on what ancient feelings we had accidentally been told about, and how accurate the account was. Past information might be revered, but in successive retellings it would become progressively more muddled and eventually lost. Books permit us to voyage through time, to tap the wisdom of our ancestors. The library connects us with the insights and knowledge, painfully extracted from Nature, of the greatest minds that ever were, with the best teachers, drawn from the entire planet and from all of history, to instruct us without tiring, and to inspire us to make our own contribution to the collective knowledge of the human species.


Friday, 7 June 2013

Preserving digital data

From Computerworld: Cerf sees a problem: Today's digital data could be gone tomorrow.

"What I'm saying is that backward compatibility is very hard to preserve over very long periods of time." [said Cerf, who is Google's vice president and chief Internet evangelist].

The data objects are only meaningful if the application software is available to interpret them, Cerf said. "We won't lose the disk, but we may lose the ability to understand the disk."
I have more than a few A-drive disks in my desk drawer that illustrate this point. Not that there's anything important on them... at least, I don't think. But I don't know, now do I?

A quick search on reveals all hope is not lost - there are old floppy drives for sale, though I imagine they will become more and more rare as time goes on.

Bonus! Got old floppies lying around? Make them into pen holders, planters, or coasters. And probably a bunch of other things, too. Never underestimate the imagination of internet crafty types.


I'm done now, I promise.

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

25 signs you're addicted to books

Some fluff from Buzzfeed: 25 signs you're addicted to books by Summer Anne Burton.

Applicable to me:
#2 - When you’re reading a good book, you forget to eat or sleep.

Well, I remember. I just don't care/put it off.

#3 - Your ups and downs are completely dictated by the book you’re reading.

Usually only for very very sad books bumming me out.

Really, I'm pretty much thinking of The Sparrow by Maria Dora Russell here.

#15 - The stack of books by your bed resembles the beginning of a Jenga game.

Not the nightstand. I use that for more nightstandy things! But I'd be lying if I denied Jenga towers in other places.

#22 - Sure, you work out! You know that even reading itself can be exhausting.

I like the term 'bookache'.

#23 - You often have spats of, uh, “insomnia.”

Not often. But once in a while...

And, just because I thought it was cute:

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Hogwart's textbook covers by Allysah

Because I missed yesterday, have two posts today: Allysah's Hogwart's textbooks covers. They are delightfully retro and someone sixteen years old designed them? Seriously? Props. Hijacked from The Mary Sue via Flavorwire. It's hard to pick a favourite. One of these three!