Monday, June 29, 2009

New Edward II B&B artwork

King Henry the Cat

Sunday, June 28, 2009

VX 067. IAD to SFO

At the gate with plenty of time, but still in the middle seat. Off to find some coffe.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Weasels ripped my atom heart, mother

Random thought after a 90 minute meeting about social media and before the board meeting and after staying toooooooo long on the Blue Line and ending up in Arlington Cemetery.

Weasels Ripped My Flesh ... Atom Heart Mother.

I said they were random thoughts ... for the past nearly 30 years, I've had some strange congruence of Pink Floyd's Atom Heart Mother and Frank Zappa's Weasels Ripped My Flesh in my head. It pops up from now and then. Like the dream about stealing the broken stone from the Parthenon. Just a strange powerful thought: "Weasels Ripped my flesh atom heart mother!"

Apropos of nothing. Signifying? Monkeys? (bonus points to the person who can pinpoint THAT allusion! - without the help of Google!).

I miss Frank. Syd lives.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Artomatic 2009

This year's Artomatic took place near the Navy Yard and new National's Stadium in South East DC. I'd only been in the neighborhood a few times, and it was a lovely day - bit cloudy and humid, but not all that hot.

Artomatic itself is an amazing thing. For a few weeks, hundreds of artists have their work on display. Some is fabulous, some just ok, and some, terrible (as you would expect). But with so much to choose from, there's something for every taste.

As an added bonus this year, the finalists in the Washington Post's Peep Diorama contest were on display. Is it art? You decide.

Here's a slide show of some of the pictures I took.

Self portrait ar Artomatic

Kindle DX: WPost and NYTimes snatch a fail from a potential victory!

So, Amazon comes out with the Kindle DX, a larger format, and maybe, just the thing to read a newspaper ... hmmm ... maybe. Actually no, maybe for some, but well, looks like NYT and WPO were able to pull a #fail out of a potential victory.

So, The New York Times (and it's sad little gutted step-child, the Boston Globe) and Washington Post jump on the bandwagon. This is it, some real action from their gray eminences, Newspaper 2.0. What an interesting idea, offer a Kindle DX to online subscribers to the papers. Start transitioning the deadtree/newsprint portion of your audience who are not tech savvy enough to use another mobile device to the digital future while at the same time, locking them into a subscription to your journalistic expertise. Lock in an audience and a key demographic. Brilliant stroke!

Except, of course, that it's newspaper industry doing this. So what do the brilliant business folk at NYT and WPO give their customers? Well, the deal isn't available to subscribers in the home markets of the papers - the very audience that's bleeding from the subscription rolls like watery ink through newsprint.

Now, of course the Times and Post are nationwide papers, but their hometown readers are, well, generally an influential group. As I noted in an earlier posting, the Washington Metro is increasingly "Kindle-ized". But, WPO is doing nothing to leverage their Kindle investment to take advantage of that.

Here's Rob Pegoraro writing in The Washington Post (here's the link for those of you in the DC area who might be getting the Kindle DX/Post package - 'cause you won't be able to read it on your Kindle!):
With the DX, Amazon is also exploring cheaper ways to bring this device to readers. Three newspapers -- The Washington Post, the New York Times and the Boston Globe -- will offer the DX at a discount to readers who subscribe to their Kindle editions. ... Those deals get around the relatively high cost of a Kindle, but few readers can benefit from them. The newspaper discounts, for example, only cover readers living outside of each paper's circulation area -- an arbitrary restriction that will probably prove to be self-defeating.
The Amazon press release even highlights the WPO and NYT fail feature in it's lead:
The New York Times, The Boston Globe, and The Washington Post to Launch Trials Offering Kindle DX to Subscribers Who Live in Areas Where Home Delivery is Not Available
How much longer will journalism tie itself to a business model that can't see the digital forest for the dead trees?

Friday, June 19, 2009

Quote of the Day: "In spite of all the astronomers say, Ptolemy was perfectly right: ..."

"In spite of all the astronomers say, Ptolemy was perfectly right: the center of the universe is here, not there. Gandhi might be dead; but across the desk in his office ... Bob Briggs was concerned to talk only about himself"

Aldous Huxley. Ape and Essence (1948). Cited from the 1962 edition: Bantam Books, New York, p. 1.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

June 16: Happy Bloomsday!

Happy Bloomsday!

Today, June 16, is the day that Leopold Bloom had his adventures in 1904 Dublin. Here's a wonderful rendering of Ulysses.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Quote of the Day: "But fishing, as we know, in libraries ..."

But fishing, as we know, in libraries or anywhere elsewhere, is a tricky business, with never a certainty of who's going to catch whom.
J.D. Salinger. "Seymour - An Introduction"(1959) in Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters and Seymour - An Introduction. New York: Bantam Books, 1965, p.123.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Thursday, June 11, 2009

"Ambient awareness" ... a fleetiing, Twittering thought

I woke up this morning and checked my Twitter feed ... saw something interesting ... "Ambient awareness" ... hmm I thought. Need to look at that.

Turned out to be a link to a Time Magazine article about Twitter; the relevant quote:

The technology writer Clive Thompson calls this "ambient awareness": by following these quick, abbreviated status reports from members of your extended social network, you get a strangely satisfying glimpse of their daily routines.
Yes! I thought, that's just it. Ambient awareness. I like it. Of course, some might also define it as "shallowness" but ... well ... uh ... I won't. I like the halo, the auro, the buzz, the Kirlian haze, that Twitter lets me have around the people in my world.

But I find Twitter gives me much more. To wit, or would that be "to Twit", conversation communication. In the article there's a discussion of a conference "covered" by Twitter:
Earlier this year I attended a daylong conference in Manhattan devoted to education reform. Called Hacking Education, it was a small, private affair: 40-odd educators, entrepreneurs, scholars, philanthropists and venture capitalists, all engaged in a sprawling six-hour conversation about the future of schools. Twenty years ago, the ideas exchanged in that conversation would have been confined to the minds of the participants. Ten years ago, a transcript might have been published weeks or months later on the Web. Five years ago, a handful of participants might have blogged about their experiences after the fact.

But this event was happening in 2009, so trailing behind the real-time, real-world conversation was an equally real-time conversation on Twitter. At the outset of the conference, our hosts announced that anyone who wanted to post live commentary about the event via Twitter should include the word #hackedu in his 140 characters. In the room, a large display screen showed a running feed of tweets. Then we all started talking, and as we did, a shadow conversation unfolded on the screen: summaries of someone's argument, the occasional joke, suggested links for further reading. At one point, a brief argument flared up between two participants in the room — a tense back-and-forth that transpired silently on the screen as the rest of us conversed in friendly tones.

At first, all these tweets came from inside the room and were created exclusively by conference participants tapping away on their laptops or BlackBerrys. But within half an hour or so, word began to seep out into the Twittersphere that an interesting conversation about the future of schools was happening at #hackedu. A few tweets appeared on the screen from strangers announcing that they were following the #hackedu thread. Then others joined the conversation, adding their observations or proposing topics for further exploration. A few experts grumbled publicly about how they hadn't been invited to the conference. Back in the room, we pulled interesting ideas and questions from the screen and integrated them into our face-to-face conversation.

Yes, that hits it. Earlier this month, I flowed with the Twitter-feed (#ebio09)around e-Biosphere. Would I rather have been in London with the participants? Of course! But by following friends - and new found friends - via Twitter, there was a sense of being there.

At work, I've added Yammer to my communication tools. I've watched the Google Wave rollout video. I like it.

So, again, how did I find the Time article? Thanks to this Tweet:
brewinlibrarianRT @yestoknow: reading & thinking about "ambient awareness"
(or actually reTweet). Thanks to @brewinlibrarian (part of my extended network of news finders!) for an inspiring repost!

Your old National Geographic Magazines ...

Originally uploaded by martin_kalfatovic
Yes, you really can thrown them away. I know it's probably heartening in some ways to keep them, buy those yellow/gold boxes to store them in. Stack them on your shelves ... store them in your attic ... stash them in your garage ... build small habitats for exotic animals ... hide them away for such time as they'll make landfill for your backyard as the rising waters brought on my global warming threaten your iris patch ... someone is taking care of copies of them. Libraries around the world, and, of course, the National Geographic Society itself.

But I digress!

I had a very interesting meeting today with staff from the Imaging Department of the National Geographic Society (note for Washington visitors: please do go to the NGS Museum, always a fabulous and fascinating exhibition space). The state of the art equipment for conversion of analog images is quite impressive.

I also got a peak at some of the 8-10 million photographs the NGS keeps in their photo library. Black and white prints, glass plate negatives, color glass plates, a fantastic archive documenting our planet and peoples since 1888.

The "Geographic" is one of the hidden treasures of Washington and of our cultural heritage establishment.

June damp brings ... mushrooms!

It's been amazingly rainy this spring and early summer here in the Washington area. I don't really recall ever having quite this much rain - with, I might add, some pretty spectacular thunder storms.

Yes, the rainy, damp weather does bring a general musty smell to the area, augmented by the hot/humid weather, but there is one benefit:


I love mushrooms. Of course I delight in eating them. Nothing like some basic white button mushrooms, tossed with a bit of olive oil, pepper, a dash of garlic and paprika grilled or broiled til nice and brown and then tossed with a bit of kosher salt to make a great side dish (or even a meal!)

But I also love the explosion of mushrooms brought about by the rainy weather. The past few weeks have seen some wonder sproutings that I've tried to capture here.

I'm wondering if this little explosion of mushrooms is a sign! Later this summer, in July, I'll be speaking at the "Botany & Mycology 2009" conference in Utah. Might just have to work on a few more mushroom recipes before then!

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Kindle on the Metro: a movement?

"And three people do it, three, can you imagine, three people walking in singin' a bar of Alice's Restaurant and walking out. They may think it's an organization. And can you, can you imagine fifty people a day,I said fifty people a day walking in singin' a bar of Alice's Restaurant and walking out. And friends they may thinks it's a movement."
- Arlo Guthrie, "Alice's Restaurant"
The other day I saw someone using a Kindle on the Washington Metro during the morning commute.

A couple days later, the second person at work showed up with their Kindle. I know now four people with Kindles. Today, I saw two people on the morning commute with Kindles (the Kindle 2.0). Everyone I know with an iPhone or iTouch has the book reader app on it.

Has the mobile e-book finally turned the corner? Who will win the battle of the mobile book? Sony? (Sony saturated the Washington Metro with an ad campaign a while back - including the famous "Sexier than a Librarian" ad - but I haven't seen any on the trains!

I'm not sold on the e-book for general purpose reading (yet). The idea of having an expensive device loaded with (still) expensive books at the beach (not that I go to the beach very often) or left in a plane seatback pocket, or in a Starbucks (all of done with paperback books before) doesn't make me feel comfortable (and do I want the added stress of having to actually THINK about where it is?

And I'll miss used book stores (like I miss the used record store). The secondary retail market was my favorite shopping experience!

So, no Kindle (or Sony) for me now. My netbook is loaded with work related articles (and a few books downloaded from the big scanning projects, but as I type, I have very battered copies of Nine Stories and "Raise High the Roofbeam Carpenters" & "Seymour: An Introduction" tucked in my bag for my daily commute.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Quote of the Day: June 6, 2009: For Esme ....

We are all tremendously excited and overawed about D Day and only hope that it will bring about the swift termination of the war and a method of existence that is ridiculous to say the least. Charles and I are both quite concerned about you; we hope you were not among those who made the first initial assault upon the Cotentin Peninsula.
J.D. Salinger, "For Esme - With Love and Squalor." in Nine Stories. New York: Bantam Books, 1983. p.113.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Monday, June 01, 2009

National Donut Day

Originally uploaded by martin_kalfatovic
Another year and another National Donut Day rolls around.

Here's my favorite spot to stop for donuts when I'm at the Missouri Botanical Garden: Worlds Fair Donuts!

Learn more about National Donut Day.