February, 2006

Feb 06

Eldest, by Christopher Paolini

Total junk. I’m giving up, about 200 pages in. I sort of liked the first book, although it wasn’t my favorite, but it had enough of the set pieces of high fantasy, Tolkien-style, that it held my interest. This one, though, just painful. Not going to finish.

Feb 06

Great posts about Mozilla & Firefox

Two great things to read about Firefox written by folks I work with every day.

First, take a look at Paul’s Mozilla Marketing Manifesto (alliteration!).

Also, take a look at Rafael’s Best 2006 Stories about Firefox.

Both stand well on their own, but of course I’ll add a bit of commentary. At this point, I’d say we’re a chapter or two or three into the book you might call the Story of Firefox. Others with more vision than myself wrote the intro (the Netscape years, the AOL years, the rise of open source & Linux), and then the critical pieces of the Mozilla Suite and Firefox development.

Then, of course, the Firefox release and crazy 2005 sprint to 50,000,000 users and more than 10% of the traffic on the web.

There’s a tendency to think about the “Firefox Success Story” at this point — but I’d say that there’s a lot left to be written. A lot more to happen, a lot more to watch, a lot more to be part of.

Paul’s & Rafael’s posts highlight some of the ways in which the game is changing now — some of these ideas & stories will work, some won’t. But, like the history of Firefox and Mozilla and Open Source generally, that’s sort of the way things go. Some things work. Some don’t. But make it democratic, transparent, accessible, easy — and more often than not the things that do work will work like crazy.

Feb 06

Library stats

Susan Hildreth, the State Librarian of California, is speaking now — talking about what’s happening with libraries. [As an aside, she came from Sacramento for this today, but lots of the attendees here have come in from all over Northern California — pretty amazing commitment. I think I tend to discount the value some because the session is about 2 miles from my house — need to reset my point of view here.]

Some library trivia for you…

$14B in total US library expenditures per year — about the same as the aggregate for pubs & taverns.

  • 5 library cardholders for each Amazon customer (148M to 30M)
  • 4 library circulations to each Amazon purchase daily (5.4M to 1.5M)
  • Library circulations same as FedEx shipments daily (5.4M to 5.3M)
  • 5 library visitors to each sports event spectator annually (1.1B to 204M)

Still in all — libraries are in big trouble, without question. Books are in a bit of trouble. Money & attention are moving elsewhere. Libraries have, I think, been better about adapting to and changing with the times than our school system has — while both institutions still bear a striking resemblance to similar institutions 100 years ago, libraries have been pretty great about articulating the mission of information access as opposed to book lending. But more change still needs to happen.

Feb 06

In the Cupertino Community Hall

I’m at a workshop this morning in Cupertino — it’s a workshop for library board members in the State of California to learn how to be better advocates, evangelists, and board members.

It’s in a brand new complex in Cupertino — their new city center — and it’s so new that it’s not yet on Google maps. (Actually, that means it’s not yet in NavTeq, which is where, ironically, our Sunnyvale Library Board Chair works.)

The appear to have free wi-fi — go Cupertino! But it’s a little slow. 🙁 But it’s free!

Anyway, the meeting lasts for 4 hours, and I’m unsure just now how interesting/useful it will be. I’m way outside the prevailing demographic — I’m the youngest person here by a longhot — median age = 55? — and of 50 or 60 people, looks like I’m one of only about 10 men.

Oh, and I seem to be the only person blogging. 🙂

Anyway, libraries are important; information access is important; being involved in the community is important. So I’m happy to be here to represent the Sunnyvale Library. Will post some in a little bit. Maybe I’ll take a picture with my phone to post.

Feb 06


Posting a lot today cuz I’m stuck in a longish management meeting. Here, I’ll show you something else cool — VideoEgg, one of my favorite new companies (and Kathy’s too!) just did a launch of a cool new web site. I’ll embed a cool video that I just loaded of wacky robots last time I was in Japan, just for grins.

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