Monthly Archives: April 2002

2002 'warmest for 1,000 years'

2002 'warmest for 1,000 years'.

“The first three months of this year were the warmest globally since records began in 1860 and probably for 1,000 years, scientists said yesterday.

Dr Geoff Jenkins, director of the Meteorological Office's Hadley Centre, said the record on land and sea was consistent with computer predictions of the effects of man-made global warming.

The three months were about 0.71C warmer than the average for 1961 to 1990, itself the warmest period for 1,000 years according to ice-core analysis, he added. The record warm period was the more remarkable because there was no sign of the cyclical El Nino in the tropics, which has attended the succession of record warmest years in the past decade.

The global record comes in the wake of observed changes in the British climate since 1900: a lengthening of the growing season for plants by one month in central England, a temperature increase of 1C, and a 10cm sea level rise.

Margaret Beckett, the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Secretary, said: 'In recent years more and more people have accepted that climate change is happening and will affect the lives of our children and grandchildren. I fear we need to start worrying about ourselves as well.' ” [, via Daypop Top 40]  [The Shifted Librarian]


Jenny continues the conversation on next gen devices and PCs.  I stretched my mind a little more on this topic.  The fight is clearly between three hardware platforms:  PCs, phones, and TVs.  Everything else is peripheral.  Only PCs are getting the full benefit of doubling rates in processor power and storage capacity.   Here is how I think the battle will evolve in the next five to ten years:

1)  A home server.   This PC is always on and lives in a closet.  It serves multiple users that connect to it using mobile wireless screens and keyboards.  Everyone in the house has a profile.   It controls all the devices in the home (consumer electronics to standard household items).  It is the point of aggregation for content subscriptions and serves as a hub for mobile devices operated by household members that connect to it from outside the home.  This server will slowly suck in the functionality of TVs, TiVos, and most consumer electronics. 

2) An extremely mobile PC ala OQO.  This PC will be attached to a single individual.  It will have almost as much capacity as a standard PC (it won't be dumbed down).  This mobile PC will have terabytes of storage and 10 GHz processors.  It will have extensive battery life (20 plus hours).  It can and will connect with services provided by the home server (personal data and content — also webservice enabled syncrhonization).  It can be plugged into keyboards, display devices, and laptop shells.  A simple touchscreen will allow access to data will disconnected from richer input/output devices (output will be enhanced by video enabled glasses — which are rapidly dropping price)  It will connect to wireless networks.  This device will slowly begin to suck in the functionality of cameras (both still and video), phones, and GPS devices.  Over time, this device will act as a means of interacting with “smart” environments that include embedded information (it will bridge the APIs for these environments and personalize the delivery of the embedded information). [John Robb's Radio Weblog]

At Home on the Edge of a Profession

At Home on the Edge of a Profession.

“This gigantic room full of books was indispensable to our civilization, and this one person was indispensable to this particular room of books. To me, that seemed like a lot of responsibility without a lot of fanfare. As I spent the rest of the weekend listening to the jargon-addled ramblings of “important” academics and the slippery slick poses of high-paid confidence men, that seemed like just the tonic. I began the application process to library school within a week.

What I never expected was the camaraderie. I knew that being a law librarian would provide an environment where I could grow intellectually, where I could be a part of something more important than a single person and, I was soon to discover, a profession where I'd probably never want for work opportunities. I just never expected to like so many of the people I work with. And that started as soon as I was introduced to the field….

Spending the bulk of my time at the reference desk has enhanced my education by at least a factor of 10. While my classes are certainly valuable, they are only intermittently — and sometimes, accidentally — so. But every time I'm on the reference desk I'm learning something that will come up again. Whether it's explaining to first-year law students the value of West's Digest or carefully navigating the Sargasso Sea of the patent process with a pro se patron without actually giving legal advice, it is all worth my time. After the excitement I felt having just completed an attenuated session of tracking down an obscure Australian treaty, I told a colleague that working the reference desk is like a never-ending Mensa tryout but without all the people in turtleneck sweaters.

I suspect there will come a time when I'm not so sanguine about the idea of spending so much time on the reference desk … and I bet it will have something to do with legislative histories. But I'm not there yet. Right now I feel very fortunate to get paid to spend my days in a library trying to figure out legal problems without actually having to figure out legal problems. If someone had told me at the beginning of law school that there was a job where I could work on legal matters, where I would be encouraged to research and publish, but where I wouldn't spend my evenings wondering if I'd done enough with my days, I wouldn't have believed them.” [, via Virtual Acquisition Shelf & News Desk]

Ernie will appreciate this one.  [The Shifted Librarian]

“Google is now a clearinghouse for reference questions. Curious about the accuracy, cost and timeliness of the new service, I ask both Google

“Google is now a clearinghouse for reference questions. Curious about the accuracy, cost and timeliness of the new service, I ask both Google and NYPL's Ask Librarians Online the same question, “What is the origin of the term 'shoestring' as it is used to refer to a small budget?”

Each site has a requirement; Google wants money, and NYPL wants your library card number. I told Google that I would pay up to four US dollars for an answer, and have not heard back. NYPL, happy enough to know that I had a card, answered in about 22 hours.

You don't have to have an NYPL card to receive a timely, accurate and detailed answer from a librarian. Tons of libraries are doing it; some require cards and other do not.” [The Rogue Librarian]

Check out the NYPL's detailed and authoritative answer, including the sources (a print title and a fee-based database). Not only that, the answer is already indexed in Google! As Drew Barrymore said in Charlie's Angels, “And that's kicking your @ss!”  [The Shifted Librarian]

Setting Priorities by Janice Fraser

Setting Priorities by Janice Fraser.

Quote: “A consultant I was working with at the time gave me a TQM-style process for prioritizing initiatives. I've refined and simplified it over the years, and have ended up with a tidy little process that's easy to use. Here's how it goes”

Comment: I have used such a process myself, on a needs-analysis project.

This is an elegant method to set priorities, and also to gain concensus from the stakeholders on the results — since their scoring is used to determine the priorities. Leaves less room for bickering. 😉

This article also has a link to a sample Excel spreadsheet to track scores and create the chart. Nifty.  [Serious Instructional Technology]

Window Pains.

Gates testified

Window Pains.

Gates testified monolithic OS design is a necessity today.

He lied. He knows that he lied. Nothing new.

Here are my predictions:

  • Windows is already being componentized and fractured.
  • Windows will soon become a commodity.
  • The tradition of building monolithic systems is already dead.

Finally: The notion of the government being invloved in this process in any way is absurd.  [Craig Burton: logs, links, life, and lexicon]