The Real Paul Jones

Accept no substitutes

Baudelaire de Carrboro

Paul, · Categories: Alumni and other friends, Amusements, General

Dan Coleman’s column from the Chapel Hill Herald about Carrboro poet laureate Patrick Herron is up on Orange Politics now.

2004 of ibiblio

Paul, · Categories: Alumni and other friends, General, Information Commons, Virtual Communities

A few selected highlights from the past year of ibiblio.org

Grants and contracts: We received contracts for streaming video in support of the NASA education site. We also received an IMLS (Institute for Museum and Library Services) grant in support of digitizing films for the Folkstreams project. We’re up for a much needed server refresh via an IBM SUR Grant which will be reported in January.

Radio on the net: We celebrated the 10th anniversary of Internet radio with WXYC with music, panels and interviews as well as a free CD for download (from ibiblio of course). We now stream 6 stations and will likely add two more early in 2005. We also participated in the first IPv6 continuous streaming of radio on Internet2 with WXYC and WCPE.

Speakers and visitors: ibiblio visitors and speakers for 2004 included Cory Doctorow, Doc Searls, John Hood (of John Locke Foundation), NC Senator Eric Reeves, bloggers Eric Muller and Corey Dauber, and others. Many ibiblio speakings are available for watching online including the WXYC panel.

Press. We’ve collected our press information including recent articles on ibiblio as well as technical information in an online press kit. One important new item there is Jessamyn West’s article from OCLC Systems and Services: International Digital Library Perspectives. Vol. 20. Number 2 (2004) “Free as in Tibet: ibiblio’s cultural cultivation and community creation”

We have two maturing free software projects. Lyceum is an open source blogsphere and Osprey is a peer-to-peer enabled content distribution system using Bittorrent. An very early version of Osprey is already in use for the WXYC CD downloads and a few other selected offerings.

Bandwidth: We still have to shape our bandwidth use and have with very good results. Even so we regularly use 300 – 400 Mbs. That’s a 100% increase from last year. We’re looking forward to an increase in 2005.

Storage: We’ve just added a NetApp filer which will provide highspeed file access that we desperately need, This is an additional 5+ terabyes of storage.

Management: We have a new CIO for UNC, Dan Reed, who comes to us from UIUC and NCSA. He’s very supportive of ibiblio and I expect we’ll have some opportunities arising from his RENCI projects soon.
We also have a new Dean of Information and Library Science, Jose-Maria Grifiths.
The search for a new Dean of Journalism and Mass Communication is underway as I type with campus visits by the finalists scheduled for very early 2005.

Staff: John Reuning and Fred Stutzman are our two full time employees, sysdamins and project leaders. Nancy Wilson, Josh Myer, Sean Slovney, Max Gustashaw, Patrick Herron, TJ Ward, Bret Dougherty and Adi Unnithan are with us as student employees. Sean and Max have just graduated. Nancy is expecting her first child in January.

Conferences: John and Nancy presented at the Libre Software conference in Bordeaux in the spring. Paul and Fred were among the select invitees to Tim O’Reilly’s FOO Camp. Fred was a presenter at the American Library Association’s Information Commons Summit. Paul was among the invitees to the Wired/Creative Commons’ benefit concert by Gilberto Gil and David Byrne. Paul and Dr. Helen Tibbo presented at the Imaging Science and Technology conference. Paul was a speaker at IBM University Day and among the 3 UNC faculty invited to meet with selected members of the IBM Academy. Fred was a panelist on the Future of Music in the Triangle. Paul spoke to visiting Jordanian journalists.

Other honors and milestones: Contributor Jessamyn West of Librarian.net was an offical blogger for the Democratic National Convention and was featured in many news stories.
Contributor Pamela Jones (and company) at Groklaw won the Linux Journal’s Editors’ Choice Award for Best Non-Technical or Community site.

Collections: we continue to add important collections of all kinds from video tutorials to health care to poetry festivals to software to Tibetan culture. No slowing down there.

CHampion Library

Paul, · Categories: General, Information Commons

That is Chapel Hill Public Library is a champion having received (again) the very top rating of any public library or library system in North Carolina. In the recent HAPLR ratings for NC libraries — HAPLR stands for Hennen’s American Public Library Ratings — the Chapel Hill Public Library scored 783 or 93% in the adjusted percentiles. Congratulations to Librarian Katherine Thompson and her staff and to the Town for funding the Library well and especially to the voters who on November 4, 2003 approved the issuance of $16.23 million of library bonds.

The Library was the only library to score over 90% in North Carolina, but the goal should be to crack the National Top Ten for our population which would require a score above 860. The building expansion and other improvements funded by the Bonds should take us in that direction.


Here’s how the ratings were reported to the Chapel Hill Town Council in November.

Full disclosure: I am a member of the Chapel Hill Public Library Board of Trustees.

Gladwell’s Diamond

Paul, · Categories: General

Malcolm Gladwell is concerned about how things change. So is Jared Diamond. Diamond is best know for his Pulitzer prize winning “Guns, Germs and Steel” in which he describes the factors that he believes have made certain civilizations triumph over others. Gladwell is perhaps most well known for his “Tipping Point: How Little Things Make a Difference” best seller in which he, without complete attribution, brings together a variety of theories and stories about the mysterious tendency of humans to begin to act more like lemmings for better (as in less crime if there are less broken windows) or worse (as in tatooing going mainstream).
The week in the New Yorker, long Gladwell’s homebase, Gladwell reviews Diamond’s latest book, “Collapse: how societies choose to fail or succeed.
I don’t have the Diamond book as yet so I’m relying on Gladwell to tell you that the civilizations that “choose” to fail usually fail by failing in their relationship to the earth. Easter Islanders completely deforest their island and it’s bye bye civilization from then on. The Norse settlers of Greenland deforest, over graze, remove sod so as to build their homes, refuse to eat fish (as near as anyone can tell), won’t learn from the locals and so all starve to death in one very bad winter. These civilizations and others (Mayas, Rwandans, etc) through their unattentative relationship with the earth create first an environmental crisis that they don’t understand that then precipitates a social crisis and collapse.
The collapse is obviously a tipping point or perhaps even a blink — to borrow from Gladwell’s newest book, “Blink: the power of thinking without thinking.” To be fair to Gladwell, “Blink” is about intuition which it seems that the civilizations in “Collapse” seem to have chosen to ignore or just do without.
I know that we’re all responsible etc, but really do societies that have no idea of crop rotation or of how to prevent erosion really “choose to fail” or are they selected out of the gene pool like the winners of the Darwin Awards. Does death of a civilization constitute a collapse, a tipping point, or a paradigm shift? Or are all of these approaches far too simplistic to be instructive, to prevent our own collapse?
I do plan to read both “Collapse” and “Blink” in the next few months and will report back. Feel free of course to comment here in the meantime.

Libraries on the Tracks and on the Ropes

Paul, · Categories: General, Information Commons

Pre-opening pic of the Children's Librarian's desks
Just back from visiting my folks who are now just west of Charlotte in Matthews. As a sort of busman’s holiday, we also stopped by the new Matthews Branch Library which is the bottom floor of the Matthews Town Hall. The impressive, but almost cornily designed, building has a cupola and large letters that read “Town Hall – Library.” Now that’s a good balance.
Matthews has built a little off road Main Street of shops, the old Train Station, a caboose and a grand circle with Town Hall – Library at the end of it. One side is bordered by a still very much in use railroad track. In the library, the Children’s Section is on the track side with windows always unshaded so that the patrons in that section might wave at the trainsmen — and also because those patrons actually delight in the noise of a passing train. The more relaxed adult sections have stuffed chairs and a fireplace (not working while we were there despite the cold) set as far as possible from the tracks. The layout of the stacks and sections is such that you can have a readaloud in the Children’s and still not be disturbed in the Adult areas.
While there is Internet access throughout the building, the special Internet room with support and monitoring is set apart from the books and other activity areas. I did not see any signs about wireless access. (Wireless access is available less than a block away at the Dilworth Coffee Company — which is not in Dilworth). There are not that many computers there that I saw but I think more than are listed at the Library’s website which was put together before the place opened. Many 30 or so all told.
The train motif is carried off throughout the Children’s Section with the Children’s librarian desks set up like a large steam-powered locomotive (owner’s of the Thomas trademark should not look too closely at this) and a very very large set of crossing lights hanging from the ceiling.
The stacks are wide and welcoming with several faceout displays at the end of various section rows. Most noted ‘favorites’ or ‘staff favorites.’ Note of interest: not many of the staff favorites were recent publications although the selections were quite eclectic.
Over all the library was warm and light, well-stocked (although I did not do any kind of content review), and an excellent example of a branch library.

In less happy, but related, news, Salinas California is closing its three public libraries. The Friends of the Salinas Public Library have kept up with the latest events and news stories for us.

Duke Law Video contest

Paul, · Categories: Amusements, General, Information Commons

Sitting at home with a new computer, high speed network, wireless and/or time to think about intellectual property and to be entertained? Check out Duke Law‘s Center for the Study of the Public Domain Moving Image Contest Finalists. The Contest will end with an announcement of the winners on January 15. So watch. Vote. And enjoy.

The expert judges want to see if you agree with their choices.

A Fool for Christmas

Paul, · Categories: Amusements, General

Hillsborough-er and old friend Allan Gurganus wrote a special story for Christmas eve that aired on All Things Considered that night whilst we were at church, but we (and you) can hear it now on the ATC site. In “A Fool For Christmas,” Vernon a pet store owner offers part-time work to a pregnant teenage runaway who has been hanging out at the mall.

Triangle Bloggers Conference – Feb 12 – update

Paul, · Categories: General, Information Commons, Virtual Communities

Anton writes to say that this is the better address for the wiki being used to set up the Triangle Bloggers Conference planned for February 12.

Dogs, kids, flix

Paul, · Categories: Amusements, General

Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
Sometimes you buy a present for someone that you really end up enjoying yourself. This Christmas, the surprise shared gift was a copy of Mark Haddon‘s “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time”. I picked it up for Sally without having kept up with why it was supposed to be good, but every fiction writer on my Warren Wilson College writers alum list had picked the book as one of their favs so I added it to the gift bag on a whim. Haddon has had a career as a children’s writer, but this book in the voice of a boy with Asperger’s syndrome who discovers a murdered poodle and sets out Holmes-like to solve the crime. Like Roddy Doyle’s wonderful “Paddy Clarke Ha Ha,” the voice is convincing and unique and compelling. In fact, I found myself making comparisons to Doyle’s writing as I read “Dog.” Not that the boys who narrated the novels had that much in common. Doyle’s Paddy is a common tough 10 year old from Barrytown; Haddon’s Christopher is a unique traveller in an unsual (to him) world. Doyle is clearly the better writer — less artifice, more direct to the heart action –, but Haddon has the line on the world in which Christopher lives right down to the difficult math that gives him strength to go on. I don’t mean to go into a full book review, but I can say that Sally picked up the book and didn’t stop reading til she finished several hours later. I took the book and read past midnight before I finished it.
I was inspired to google for “Sherlock Holmes autism” which showed me that more people than I had a feeling that Holmes himself may have been modeled on someone with Asperger’s and not just some one hooked on the famous 7% solution of cocaine.

Blender with peas
Tucker and I took a break from extracting the DNA out of dried peas to go see “Limony Snicket’s Series of Unfortunate Events”. It was not completely an unfortunate event, but if you have read and loved the books as we have you will not be impressed. The movie is a Jim Carrey fest and for that it is a fine film including an uncredited cameo by Dustin Hoffman. But it in no way measures up to the intricate slyly revealing multi-layered plots of the books. The books are puzzle pieces of their own; the film both shows too little and too much. What is funny, campy yet gloomy in the books becomes merely depressing in the movie despite the beautiful design throughout. Take your movie money and buy some dried peas, dish soap, 91% alcohol, and meat tenderizer and extract some DNA instead. Take what money you have left and buy the books.
Extra: Roger Ebert uses Wikipedia as a trusted source in his review of this movie.

G’boro bloggers get more attention

Paul, · Categories: General, Information Commons, Virtual Communities

Jay Rosen’s PressThink site has a nice longer article on the Greensboro News and Record‘s blogsphere vision and a bit about the Piedmont Bloggers Conference, Ed Cone, Lex Alexander, David Hoggard and others. Rosen praises G’boro’s paper for being on the leading edge of citizen and journalistic blogging. It’s no surprise to me that the News and Record is on the forefront; the paper is owned by Landmark Communications whose Virginia Pilot had the first live blogging reporter at the John Malvo trial.
He also makes mention of Anton Zuiker’s organizing the Triangle Bloggers Conference for February 12 — in case you weren’t paying attention ;->

Triangle Bloggers Conference – Feb 12

Paul, · Categories: General

Anton Zuiker has it undercontrol (mostly). The Triangle Bloggers Conference is set for February 12 in Chapel Hill. Anton has set up a Wiki so that you may propose sessions, topics, give directions, recommend restaurants, introduce yourself and the like.
Sign up. Add stuff. Make friends.

Cracker to the Cooler

Paul, · Categories: General

Those who cracked an unprotected wireless connection in a Lowe’s store in Michigan will soon be doing time. Brian Salcedo, 21, of Whitmore Lake, Mich is looking at 9 years — greater than the 5 1/2 years given to Kevin Mitnick. Salcedo was facing 12 – 15 years, but the sentence was reduced by Judge Lacy Thornburg (AP misspells Thornburg as Thornburgh) because Salcedo cooperated with Lowe’s.
This is not Salcedo’s first brush with the law over cracking; he has the honor of being the first person arrested in Michigan for cracking when at 17, he broke into Arbornet and cracked the University of Maryland system.

The Evil that is out there (computer version)

Paul, · Categories: General, Information Commons, Virtual Communities

No Comment: First, we get comment-spammed to death on every variety of blog on ibiblio. I set up authimage and all is happy (except you guys quit commenting) for me. The Moveable Type comment-spam drove the load on our servers through the roof. Fred and John were on top of that and we are undercontrol there.

Santy: Yesterday and last night, we, like every place that has anyone running phpBB, were attacked by the NeverEverNoSanity worm (aka Santy). Only a few sites were hit, but it was not pretty. John spent the evening before his travels patching all 30 or so of the not updated phpBB sites that we could find on ibiblio. Like many ISPs and universities, we’re still finding defaced sites and instances of the worm.
UPDATE We had more hits and defacings than we first realized, but Fred, Josh and John are far along on the clean-up. The final toll may be as much as 30 sites at least partially defaced. Luckily, the restoration of those sites has mostly gone quickly.

Background Reading: I’m at the same time reviewing a chapter for an upcoming computer security book on spam. One line sticks in my mind: research shows that there are only about 200 active spammers in the world at one time, but they generate more spam than three times the population of the earth every 24 hours.

Blog Conference here? Mark your calendars

Paul, · Categories: General, Information Commons, Virtual Communities

Anton Zuiker writes proposing a conference follow up to the Piedmont Bloggers Conference that was held in Greensboro earlier this year. Assuming we can secure a room and a date, we’ll be convening in mid-February on a Saturday. The best date candidate is now February 12.

Pucked! Coffee that heats itself

Paul, · Categories: Amusements, General

Puck's self-heating coffee

Exotic pizza chef, Wolfgang Puck, has added his name and brand to single-serving self-heating canned coffee. Puck already has a branded milk-jar shaped coffee drink. The new drink will use calcium oxide (aka quicklime) to heat the coffee/latte as hot as 145 F. No, the CaO will not be in the drink directly although that might be a boon to those with osteoporosis. It will be in a patented recyclable container surrounding the Puck formulated drink. The quicklime will be pressed into a tablet or a “puck.”
The technology, which was known to the Romans, is a patented product from On Tech who will be deploying the technology for hot teas and soups as well as other products.

Ice Palace

Paul, · Categories: Amusements, General

Last night the temperature dropped to 13 F and the wind blew down from Canada before the power went off in our house. I was sitting in bed wondering when I’d have to load up my family, our lizard and Sally’s mother and head off to a Day’s Inn. As the first hour passed, I thought of the wonderful F. Scott Fitzgerald story, “The Ice Palace.”
The story, as I remembered it, contrasts the life and reactions to weather, practice and environment between south Georgia and some where that might be Minnesota. Fitzgerald is most interested in the young woman of the South, called “Sally Carrol,” who is obviously a stand-in for Zelda.
I mentioned the story at lunch today as the temperature crawled up to 23 F. No one among my collegues at the table seemed to have heard of it — or to have read much Fitzgerald. The entire story — it is short — is on-line thanks to the folks at the University of South Carolina, a state not mentioned in the story. NC is mentioned in an important way.

“Ever been North before?”

“Spent two Julys in Asheville, North Carolina.”

The irony over time is that Zelda eventually died in a fire in Asheville, NC while a patient at Highland Hospital many years (1948) after the story was published.

There is also an image of how the story looked in the Saturday Evening Post of May 22, 1920.


Ice Palace

See also Linda Wagner-Martin’s Top Ten Jazz Age books in the Guardian UK.

Elvis and Nixon: the pix

Paul, · Categories: General

Elvis with gifts meets Nixon
I had forgotten that our mole in the National Archives had shared these pictures of the famous Elvis Presley and Dick Nixon meeting. One is the famous handshake; the others are leading up to and following the photo-op. At least one of the people in this series of pictures is on medication. And why are there no books on the bookselves?

Thanks to Jason Moore for keeping these available.

FireFox in NYTimes (twice again)

Paul, · Categories: General, Information Commons

FireFox on the Tree
The ad has been published and the meme remains strong. Not only is there a Business Section piece on FireFox, but FireFox appears as a stylist model on a Haute Christmas Tree in the Magazine Style section (see the slide show).

Night of Hawks

Paul, · Categories: Amusements, General

Channeling Sonny Boy Williamson via J. Geils Band with a bit of rock and rolling the Temptations on occassion to a biker bar audience at the Blue Bayou Club in Hillsborough, the Nighthawks were the perfect band for the crowd. The average Harley Davidson owner is between 35 and 54 (white male as you might expect) with an income of $78K/yr. I can find no source for the average age of a blues harmonica player and less about their average incomes. I can tell you that the show started at 9:30 as opposed to shows at the Cat’s Cradle which start close to 11 or midnight. The band, the Nighthawks, are very tight and very aware of each other, having played together for 30 years you might expect that. They were very casual as if they walked out of the same 50+(age) biker crowd to play with their tattoos, black t’s, old school lace up sneakers or heavy boots. Songs were mostly about women. Women, who dispite the bands superpowers, could not be gotten next to (“Can’t get next to you”) or couldn’t be called “Sugar” (“cause sugar ain’t that sweet”) or who shouldn’t judge a book by its cover (that is to say the band is past their glammor boy days) or were the sweetest thing in town, but had let them down. The band and the audience has put on a few pounds, but that stopped neither for dancing and getting down. It’s been a while since I was in a smokey club — the Blue Bayou which as a private club allows smoking as well as drinking and dancing is certainly smokey. I had forgotten how it gets in your hair and clothes even if you stand by the slightly open door with the draft blowing the cold night air in toward the bar.
It wasn’t the breeze that caused the band and the audience to get on their best guitar faces in reactions to some basic blues beats and some old school audio circuitry; it was the whining harp and smokey air burning our ears and eyes as should be true in such a successful venue.

Happy anniversary to the Blue Bayou.

Anton Zuiker and Vanuatu

Paul, · Categories: Alumni and other friends, General, Virtual Communities

Anton Zuiker returned to school after some time in the Peace Corps spent on a tropical Pacific island in Vanuatu. Luckily for me, he came to UNC’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication to study Medical Journalismand to get evangelize for blogging.
Anton was in my first Virtual Communities class where he presented the work he had done on his family blog/website the Zuiker Chronicles.

All of that is a lead-in to saying that Anton has a nice article on paper in this week’s Independent in the Front Porch feature about Survivor and Surviving in Vanuatu.