1. My Community Contribution

    brian on 2004.09.17
    at 02:49 am

    Today I happened upon Jon Udell's LibraryLookup script. Very cool. Imagine you're looking at some page (say an Amazon or B&N page) and want to see if you can get that book at your local public library (peer to peer book networking?). Well with Jon's little bookmarklet (that's a bit of code that resides inside a bookmark in your browser) will scrape the book's serialized number, and search your local library's online catalog. Certainly cool.

    The one down side for me was it didn't work for my public library. It seems since Jon put this together in January (at least that's when his little how it works videos are from) Brookline switched systems. I'm guessing the whole MinuteMan library network (much of Eastern MA) is the same.

    So I fixed it. And as a public service, here it is:

    Search Brookline Public Library

    First, you can't click on this link, you must first save it to your browser. You can Ctrl+click (Mac) or right-click (Windows, others) on the link and choose to save it, preferably to your bookmarks bar. You'll want to rename the link once you save it so that it fits better in your bookmarks bar. Mine says simply BPL

    While I've got your attention, Brookline Public Library people: please address your website (not the search one, just the regular one.) It needs serious help. In 1995 it was OK to use FrontPage to design your website, no one knew any better. But today, letting aside the heinous visual design and usability, it simply can't adhere to accessibility standards (section 508, et al) and it takes much more bandwidth to serve and download than it should. It all starts with standards. The New York Public Library is an excellent example of standards and design in action for a public library website.

    Not one to simply bitch and run, I'd gladly speak with whomever oversees the site on what could be done with it so that it serves the community better.

    Posted in: Books · Web

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  2. Stupid PR People

    brian on 2004.09.16
    at 09:36 pm

    So just a minute ago I read about a press release that says BOSE is releasing a standalone system that you sit your iPod into. I somewhat reminds me of their Wave Radio system. So what do I do as a fan of both Bose and the iPod? I rush immediately to their website to read more about it!

    But, there's nothing on their site about it. Not even a new blurb pointing to the PR release. How weak!!

    If PR is about anything, it's about capturing buzz... capitalizing on momentum and people's short attention spans. BOSE totally dropped the ball on this. I wanted pictures, specs, colors, I wanted to know why I needed this product.

    They should have learned from the people a fellow secretive company who created the iPod... the second there's a product announcement from them, you know there's a pile of info on their website.

    Oh, and by the way BOSE, while I'm on the topic of your website, it's time to axe the other company's logo as your favicon. That's a breakdown in branding. But not as bad as not advertising your own new products.

    Posted in: Technology

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  3. More standards coming soon.

    jake on 2004.09.16
    at 07:43 pm

    I'd say I just thought of it, and feel stupid. But I pretty much have had this in the back of my mind for too long, and feel stupid. Althought this place validates and uses CSS it needs a little something more. It's not structurely sound. So I'll start playing with front end things as opposed to meddling with the underlying stuff as soon as I finish a few things. It is almost this place's 3rd Birthday and we haven't had any major cosmetic changes. Thoughts Bri? Anyone?

    Posted in: Design · Service Announcement

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  4. What the f....

    jake on 2004.09.16
    at 05:45 pm

    I have two things to talk about here that have pissed me off recently.

    You mean it's all the way over there?...

    I have been suffering from a lovely sinus infection and today I forgot my meds. So I drove home (about six miles) around lunch time. On the way back I witnessed a Hummer pull out of a parking lot with a bunch of stores. Drive about twenty feet. And turn right, into a group of office buildings about one hundred yards from the main road.

    Thank you Sir for being so lazy you couldn't walk across the street and instead had to drive your monstrosity of a vehicle and damaging the environment that little bit more that it needed.

    Spam that makes me sick.

    At work one of my crappy daily tasks is to sift through the general email account for the company. It naturally was displayed prominently on the corporate site (before I came along and changed it) and enjoys hundreds of spam messages a day.

    In reading one of these messages I found what appears to be not only a virus laden message but also a phishing scam. Only it's not asking me to go to some random bank web site and enter my account info. No it's asking me to donate money directly to a man in Latvia who's wife was killed and daughter injured in the terrorist takeover in Beslan, Russia. It's one of those messages with embedded things (besides the virus) and tones of junk text to get past spam filters, it's definitely spam.

    Dear Brothers and Sisters.
    My wife Karina was lost in result terror at school of city of Beslan, and 11-years daughter Alina, now to be in the Central Krasnodar hospital, in very heavy condition.

    At her a gunshot wound and strong burns. The daughter constantly calls mum. I do not know that to me to do. I would not want to live. I live only one dream: to see the daughter healthy, happy that she went and it was pleased lifes.

    I live and worked two years in Latvia on earnings and dreamed to return back. As long I was in distances from a house as I regret that have left them and consequently could not save them, I never shall forgive to myself. You see with it it is impossible to live! I am simply compelled to ask about the help of everyone who may help ours grief. As soon as Alina it becomes better we for ever we shall leave from here where all reminds a pain of loss. I shall be glad to any answer and any help. I am sorry for my bad English.

    What followed was allegedly bank information for where you should send your money.

    I got that less than a week after the incident. Who could stoop to such a level and use the victims of a terrible incident as sympathy to try to illegally get money. It just boggles my mind.

    Posted in: Rant · Recent Events

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  5. Get Fired for Supporting Kerry?

    brian on 2004.09.16
    at 12:53 pm

    This isn't the first story I've reported on someone being fired for supporting someone for President that their boss doesn't like. Sad really. I was going to blog it yesterday, but as luck would have it, the story got better today. Here's s a nice summary of the original story. Basically, she got fired for having a Kerry/Edwards bumper sticker, but her boss puts notes his employee's paychecks saying Bush is good for them, and more importantly him, and that his employees better remember that come election day.

    Today, the story gets better...Kerry calls the fired woman. He says "He said, 'you let him know you're working for me as of today.'"

    It seems Kerry is already creating jobs, where Bush is still losing them.

    [apologies for my shodding blogging, just piggybacking on]

    Posted in: Politics

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