I’m a librarian by ethnicity, if not profession these days, and there’s nothing I like better than free information. Free as in beer and free as in speech. Which is why I like Freebase.
Freebase is a free database. Of data. On everything.
Everything in Freebase is publicly available, including the relationships between topics. The information is culled from a variety of open sources, and includes things like, say US zip codes and Walmart Store locations.Â Every week their community manager (who happens to be my flatmate and a fellow Victorian Housekeeping Aficionado) picks a topic for a “data mob”, and the community adds information to Freebase on that topic.
This week it’s libraries. So, Librarian Avengers, I encourage you to go in and add stuff. I suspect you know a bit on the subject.
Who knows? Maybe one of you will make a video showing the correlation between library locations and Something Really Good…
*Edit* You gotta have an account first. Just so you know.
If you are feeling early-adopter-y, you can hop over to mozilla.org and download the new Firefox 3 Beta build. It’s faster, slicker, and has OMG HOT new UI tools that should make your day better.
Five Things I love about Firefox 3:
- Because this is a beta version, most of my extensions and themes don’t work in F3…and I don’t miss ’em. I’ve been using it all day and haven’t had a single withdrawal symptom.
- Fast. Hella fast. Hecka fast. So damn fast. The memory management of Firefox 3 is slick. It caches less, stores image data more efficiently, and plugs memory leaks from extensions before they happen. This all comes from of the kind of nerdy nerdy attention to detail that was a feature of pre-Moore’s law programming, when bits were carefully placed like bricks in an arch. Hooray for OCD programming!
- Oh Bookmarks! Ye annoy me less! You are now a one-click thing on the navigation bar, with a cute star icon instead of a time-eating top menu monster.
- Full Page Zoom. If you don’t like squinting, download this browser. Hitting Ctrl + makes EVERYTHING get bigger, including images. This feature eliminates the “Big Text Stomps Nice Layout” problem we saw in earlier versions.
- Tab quickmenu. Stop worrying about all those tabs stacking up in your window. You can get at them from a dropdown in the corner. No fuss. There’s more room for page titles too, so you don’t have to find the tab you want using only the first ten characters.
With the recent news of Yahoo’s potential acquisition by vile Microsoft and its prior layoff of 1000 hardworking geeks, there was a bit of an air of piracy in the office last week.
Linden Lab is going into another round of recruitment, focusing on web developers, QA folk, and other nerdy types. If any web developers out there (you, yes, YOU Joy!) want to work in a more stable, hilarious, and weird environment, you might want to fill out an application to work at Second Life. Free beer, the Love Machine, and a frightening amount of RockBand can all be yours!
Linden seems to be where the socially-developed nerds go to work. There’s a much larger % of women, extroverts, parents, and charmers working at Linden than is considered industry standard. Which means you tend to not find yourself in conversations with dudes who can’t make eye contact with a girl, or folks who get REALLY EMOTIONAL about their code.
It’s good to be a god, too, even if it’s only in-world. You can read more about our wickedcool office culture in the Tao of Linden.
The nerd social event of the season:
Let us compare the implementation of QA in my new job, to that of my old job:
- Internet startup (new job):
A team of dedicated professionals
- Academic library (old job):
The screams of our users
I have an iPod shuffle that I use for running, trains, dull waits, and creep avoidance.
I misplaced the charger a few weeks ago and missed it terribly. The solution? This thing. It plugs into your shuffle on one end, and into a USB port on the other.
I like it better than the original charger because it takes up zero room and since it was $5, I don’t feel bad about just tossing it in my bag. It’s an older USB standard, so it’s slower, fyi. Still. Five bucks. Come on.
NYC game developers Large Animal Games have created a downloadable PC video game based on bird sounds and expertise provided by the Macaulay Library at Cornell’s Lab of Ornithology.
Which is where I work.
The game is called Snapshot Adventures. It was recently was acquired by Yahoo! games, which is a great for both the Lab and for environmental education, since part of the money it earns will directly fund our ecology work.
You can play it for free here.