No more 8apps

Well, I can’t say it’s a surprise, but 8apps has closed down. I was pretty impressed with what I saw when it launched, but every time I checked back, there were still only 4 apps …

Today I visited, only to find a note saying that the site had closed because the creator was not in the mood.

Oh well, I guess we can only have so many successful productivity tools out there.

The Hollywood Librarian’s financial predicament

Via LISNews:

Lynne writes: “Greetings to all librarians. I am Lynne Martin Erickson. I have been the fiscal agent for The Hollywood Librarian documentary film since 2004. I post this in the hope that librarians will respond immediately and repost widely.

As many of you know, this wonderful film is the result of the tireless efforts of one person: Ann Seidl. She single-handedly raised $200,000 to make and distribute this movie, worked on it for over 8 years and she is still working to get it seen by as many members of our public as possible. She is traveling throughout the US and the world to promote the film. Thanks to the librarian network, the film is being seen in dozens of locations by hundreds and even thousands of people.

While Ann has devoted her full-time work to this cause, she has been paid very little. She insists she is not in it for the money. I can guarantee that is the case. She wouldn’t say this to you, but I can assure you that Ann is broke.

During the Banned Book Week release, when tickets sold for $8, we took in about $10,000, but less than $400 was profit. These days, she is asking for a small fee to screen the film but that money is to fund the editing and authoring process for the DVD which she wants to make available this fall. But she must have some financial support to go on working on the film. We can’t let her stop working on the film to take other employment when she is so close to finishing.

If you are a fan of The Hollywood Librarian or of Ann, I am asking you to send her your financial encouragement.

Go here now and click on the Paypal link.”

I never got to see the movie and have been looking for the DVD – I’m happy to hear that it’s in production and hope that we can help this movie make it to the masses!!

New Library Press Site

New from Blake Carver the man behind LISNews & LISHost:

I started a new site, LISWire – The Librarian’s News Wire (, and I’m doing my best to spread the word. You can probably guess what the site is all about from the name, but there’s also 2 mailing lists, and a bunch of RSS feeds. Robin Blum and I are running the show and are looking for press releases and other news items of interest to librarians to get things going. You can sign up for an account and submit things you’d like to announce to the library world. I’ll be cross posting most announcements to LISNews for a little while until we see how much traffic we get at LISWire.

I wonder if this means LISNews won’t have press releases anymore – or if this is going to be in addition to that? Either way – I’m subscribed – are you?

500 million Firefox downloads

Yesterday Mozilla announced that Firefox has been downloaded 500 million times!!

Firefox just reached 500,000,000 downloads. This is an absolutely phenomenal milestone for Firefox. It is sort of hard to imagine what that number means. For some perspective, that’s roughly the audience size of 10,000 Rome Colosseums combined. It would be the weight, in kilograms, of 8,500 Boeing 747 airplanes. In dollars, for $500 million you and 15 of your friends can fly to the International Space Station.

To celebrate they’re asking that we help people in need:

OR, you can affect change and invite 15 of your friends to play a game and feed 25,000 people. With your help we can break another milestone today with –500,000,000 grains of donated rice in one day. Imagine helping to feed the hungry while picking up some new vocabulary too!

This is great news! Now if more libraries would just make Firefox their default browser on patron stations – imagine how many more downloads Mozilla would be able to report??

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New law makes a step to save students money

Found via The Stingy Scholar:

The College Opportunity and Affordability Act (H.R. 4137) includes three critical provisions to help students deal with textbook prices. First, it requires publishers to tell faculty the price of textbooks when professors are choosing books for their classes. Publishers often withhold prices from professors, hoping that cost won’t factor into their decisions – and students end up paying the price. If publishers put price on the table, professors can consider the cost to students when selecting textbooks.

Second, the bill makes publishers sell the parts of bundled textbooks separately. No more shrink wrapped packaging preventing you from just buying the textbook without the CDs, workbooks and online passcodes – or from buying a supplement without a whole new textbook! Eliminating unnecessary bells and whistles will ensure that students can buy what they need, not what they don’t.

Third, the bill encourages colleges to give students course booklists the semester before the class starts so they can shop around and look for better deals. Students can usually track down lower prices and used textbooks online, but they need to know in advance which books to look for. Otherwise, they’re locked into buying from the bookstore.

I’m not sure exactly how much this will help – but it’s a step in the right direction. Learn more at The Stingy Scholar.

Rabbit-Ear Users Don’t Know The End (of Analog TV) Is Near

This from a post on the NY Times Bits blog:

In less than 14 months, any traditional television set still connected to its antenna will receive nothing but static, as the broadcasting industry cuts over completely to its new digital frequencies.

A recent poll by the marketing arm of the cable industry shows that most people still have no clue this is going to happen.

In a telephone survey in November of 1,017 people, only 48 percent said they had heard about the switch to digital television. And only 17 percent correctly identified 2009 as the year that analog television will be cut off. (The survey had a margin of error of 3.1 percentage points.)

Did you know this? I didn’t! Not that it really bothers me – I’m all digital at home (DVR included) – but this may be a shock to people like Dan and others I know who don’t have digital cable.

Ads in all the wrong places

I know that money drives the world – and I know that we need money to pay for our web hosts and our programmers and such – but I’ve been pointed to two terrible examples of advertising in the wrong places. The first is PDFs – yep – now PDFs can have ads!

All Publishers have to do is to upload the PDF files to an Adobe/Yahoo portal where it is “ad-enabled” allowing dynamically generated contextual ads to be displayed whenever the PDF is viewed. The service is currently in beta and it’s free! It is limited now to text, pay-per-click ads, but I am sure it will be expanded to include graphics and rich media.

I know that publisher could put ads on their PDFs before – but this just seems different and yukky – but even worse is this example!

This is pretty appalling: Not content with exposing kids to junk food on television and on every street corner, McDonald’s (NYSE: MCD) has apparently decided that it needs to reach out to kids on their report card envelopes.

An Orlando parent was upset when her 9-year-old daughter brought home her report card. But it wasn’t Ds and “acts obnoxious in class” comments that annoyed this mom: the envelope the child brought home displayed a nice advertisement for McDonald’s — the chain whose food can have such a bad impact on health that it inspired a hit documentary.

Found via Dan who found it on BloggingStocks.

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eXtensible Catalog (XC) gets more funding

This sounds very promising. The eXtensible Catalog project has received more funding. I love seeing open source library apps moving forward:

A $749,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to the University’s River Campus Libraries will be used toward building and deploying the eXtensible Catalog (XC), a set of open-source software applications libraries can use to share their collections. The grant money will also be used to support broad adoption of the software by the library community. The grant and additional funding from the University and partner institutions makes up the $2.8 million needed for the project. The resulting system will allow libraries to simplify user access to all library resources, both digital and non-digital.

Via University of Rochester Press Release.

New Mark Twain Digital Collection

I just got this via a few of my mailing lists and thought I should share with you all.

I'm happy to announce that today the University of California launched the beta version of Mark Twain Project Online, a digital critical edition of the writings of Mark Twain, providing access to more than twenty-three hundred letters written between 1853 and 1880, including nearly 100 facsimiles of originals. The site is driven by metadata captured in METS records, the content was encoded in TEI P4, and the search, browse and display functionality was built using the XTF (the eXtensible Text Framework).

Read the full press release here.

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My Times

How many homepages can one person have? There’s My Yahoo!, My Google, My … fill in the blank here. Anyway, now the NY Times wants to give you a homepage – My Times.

My Times is a free service that lets you create a personalized page with what you like best in The New York Times and your favorite sites and blogs from all over the Web. This personalized service makes it easy to read all that you like, from one central place.

So, take your pick – which homepage best fits your needs?

[found via Sites & Soundbytes]