The New York Review of Books contains reviews written at great length by people who wish they had written the book in question and are slightly bitter about it.
Spring birds are yelling from snowy trees this morning. It’s spring, despite wind, snow, roaring wood stove, and other evidence to the contrary. I’m taking today off of work. I’ve got nine stitches. I can do whatever I want.
I finished re-reading Microserfs by Douglas Copeland yesterday. This book was important to me at a formulative time. It helped convince me it was cool to be a nerd. It introduced other tech-inclined women to my humanities-girdled world. It drew a model of unashamed geekery, separate and outside of a traditionally-female need for perfection and image. It was pretty liberating.
Susan is 26 and works in Mac Applications. If Susan were a Jeopardy! contestant, her dream board would be:
* 680X0 assembly language
* Early ’80s haircut bands
* “My secret affair with Rob in the Excel Group”
* License plate slogans of America
* Plot lines from The Monkees
* The death of IBM
Susan’s an IBM brat and hates that company with a passion. She credits it with ruining her youth by transferring her family eight times before she graduated from high school – and the punch line is that the company gave her father the boot last year during a wave of restructuring. So nothing too evil can happen to IBM in her eyes.
Susan’s a real coding machine. But her abilities are totally wasted reworking old code for something like the Norwegian Macintosh version of Word 5.8.
Thanks for your kind comments last night during my Dark Night of the Beer. Friendly words were unexpected and wonderful. I often forget that there are people out there. Hello imaginary people. It’s as though my fictional heroes (Elizabeth Bennet! Harriet The Spy! Meg from Wrinkle in Time!) suddenly started interacting.
Off to haul wood one-armed and scour Craigslist for cars. What would your Dream Jeopardy! categories be?
I tried out Cornell Library’s book-delivery service this week. A nice stack of David Foster Wallace books quickly appeared at my workplace yesterday afternoon, and I got a friendly call when they arrived.
If you are a Cornell student or staff, you can have library books delivered to any library-location of your choice for free. For me, this means walking upstairs to our sunny little ornithology library overlooking the pond, and sitting by the fireplace for a bit.
I’m an irredeemable Amazon.com addict, so I view as a right the ability to learn about a book, click a few links, and have said book delivered to me. Imagine my pleasure at being able to do this without paying for it.
Unfortunately, you pretty much have to be told about the service to find out about it, unless you are the type of user who clicks links labeled “requests” on library websites and enjoy library jargon. Like many public services in the country, the crucial step of communicating to humans was overlooked.*
*Many nonprofits seem to say to their clients: “Look, we provide a valuable and benevolent service. You could at least be arsed enough to jump through a few design hurdles in order to discover our valuable service that you don’t know exists because of our design hurdles.”
I’m not sure, but I think the Cornell Library Patron narrative is supposed to go like this:
- A student or staff member goes into the library catalog and searches for some interesting books, thinking “Hey, I’ll go pick these up at the five separate library locations where they are housed”
- The patron adds each book to her “bookbag” (navigating a series of hurdles involving ID numbers, multiple passwords unique to the library system, and cute-not-descriptive service names) to create a list of books she wants to get.
- A MIRACLE OCCURS HERE
- The patron mysteriously knows that she can have her books delivered.
- The patron clicks into the catalog page for each book (students love catalog pages!) and separately clicks “requests” at the bottom of the page, knowing instinctively that book delivery is a “request”.
- The patron chooses “Book Delivery Services (9996 available)” from a dropdown list conveniently located below the fold.
- Assuming the patron does not receive the helpful error message “Your Patron Initiated Call Slip Request failed. This item is not available for Call Slip requests.” like I just did (Patrons Love Call Slip Requests!), she enters her ID number again.
- The patron is familiar with the names and locations of the dozens of small on-campus libraries and selects her nearest branch.
- The patron knows that, unlike use of the weight rooms, climbing wall, or campus cinema, the library book delivery service is free.
- The patron clicks “submit request”, then repeats the process for each item she wants delivered.
- The patron celebrates her triumph with a fine malt beverage.
Still, mad useful if you know about it.
The financial advice site Get Rich Slowly suggests using the library as a frugal way to save money on books. I agree, and am going to endure more bad OPAC design in the interest of financial progress. Stay tuned.
Cornell librarians: Please do not kill me. I’m glad to have your services. Bad online user experiences are common in the library world. I’m sure you are busy right now improving the OPAC and writing clear non-jargon filled text describing your services. Go Big Red!
I found this list from a year and a half ago. I was half-drunk and coding a webforum for my PHP class. I made a list, oh so long ago. Here it is…
List of things I want to do after graduation:
- Learn Yiddish
- Finish reading Sophie’s World (Done!)
- Make the webforum decent and secure (
- Overhaul Librarian Avengers (Half-assed overhaul complete)
- Start looking into Art schools and Computer Science departments. (maybe in a few years…)
- Re-dye blue streak in front of hair for Librarian Job Interview Shock Value (Done!)
- Start doing 5k runs again (or 3k…3k is good…)
- Write old friends
- Move to warm place
- Develop a drinking habit
- Read!! Read!! Real books! Things I care about!
- Start buying music again
- Start ballroom/swing dancing again (Done!)
- Visit Erin in San Francisco and Jenny in St. Paul (Too broke. Thanks homeownership.)
- Stay with Jessamyn West for awhile and help with chores
- Plan the next Librarian Avengers ALA party. Book Klezmer band.
- Re-pot my plants
- Build a hive for the honeybee and live alone in the bee-loud glade (Done! Thanks Yeats!)
- Romance my boyfriend (ongoing)
- Buy impractical shoes (Done! ow!)
- Think impractical thoughts
- Raise a dog (soon)
- Rescue an old cat (soon)