Friday, April 28, 2006

random reflection brought on by malfunctioning technology

Wednesday the wireless went wacky in the apartment. B came home to try to help, but I was prepping food and the house to have people over for dinner, so we never did get it working that day. We did figure out that it was some sort of communication error between lappy and the Airport Express, because everything else worked, including hardwiring the laptop to an ethernet. This was more than awkward, so I decided I could just use B's big bad g5 with dual monitors for the light stuff I'd be doing that day - checking email, aggregator, class discussions - not doing any actual homework.

Getting closer to the point: I have a hella lotta passwords and user ids. I actually had no idea just how many of these things I have going on, because I let the computer remember most of them. I don't let the computer remember anything about my online banking, but that's about it. In the daily course of checking email, aggregator, and grad school class space, there's a lot of *other* stuff I end up doing - blogging, commenting on a lot of blogs, looking at pictures, adding to wikis, writing more emails, looking at a lot of links, looking up books at the library and so on. And a lot of these things require the user ids and passwords I created and save on lappy.

I have probably about 3 core variations on the user id, which also means I'm spawning multiple identities across the net. There's my real name, there's my libraryish screen name, there's my foodie screen name. Then there's the issue of if my screen name isn't available and I need to choose a variation. Sometimes my standard variation of that particular screen name isn't available, so then I have to make up a new variation. So I might have up to 10 different actual user ids.

And then there's passwords. Let's just say my passwords are probably only secure from me. I can't remember which one I've used where, and more often than I like have to go through the process of resetting said password.

I suppose why I found this so interesting (really frustrating as well as I kept getting stopped in my tracks) is that I generally avoid creating accounts whenever possible. I use in my rabid avoidance of creating accounts for news organizations. But I think its a very telling sign of the interactivity, the 2.0-i-ness, of the web, that someone who generally won't comment on a blog or read an article if I have to create an account has ended up with this long list.

In no particular order, some of the many places I visit and have to login for:

  • bank
  • home email
  • work email
  • grad school email
  • project email
  • flickr
  • blogger
  • grad school class space
  • grad school library
  • grad school grades
  • grad school money stuff
  • yahoo groups
  • typepad
  • public library opac
  • library elf
  • blog aggregator
  • amazon (which i don't purchase from anymore because they donate a lot of money to the republican party)
  • powells
  • zingermanns
  • delicious
  • eat local wiki
  • wikipedia
  • meredith's library wiki
  • paypal
  • livejournal
  • grad school ftp web stuff

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Yet another reason to love Canadians

As if we needed any more . . .

Canadian Music Creators Speak Out Against File Sharing Lawsuits

To quote extensively (hell, I'd love to paste the whole thing here, make sure you check it out - there's only a couple paragraphs more):

Major international music artists based in Canada have banded together to form a group aimed, among other things, at protesting the recording industry's practice of targeting fans with lawsuits.

With Barenaked Ladies, Avril Lavigne and Sarah McLachlan as members, the Canadian Music Creators Coalition stated in a White Paper Wednesday:

  1. Suing Our Fans is Destructive and Hypocritical: Artists do not want to sue music fans. The labels have been suing our fans against our will, and laws enabling these suits cannot be justified in our names. We oppose any copyright reforms that would make it easier for record companies to do this. The government should repeal provisions of the Copyright Act that allow labels to unfairly punish fans who share music for non-commercial purposes with statutory damages of US$500 to $20,000 per song.
  2. Digital Locks are Risky and Counterproductive: Artists do not support using digital locks to increase the labels' control over the distribution, use and enjoyment of music or laws that prohibit circumvention of such technological measures. The government should not blindly implement decade-old treaties designed to give control to major labels and take choices away from artists and consumers. Laws should protect artists and consumers, not restrictive technologies Consumers should be able to transfer the music they buy to other formats under a right of fair use, without having to pay twice.
  3. Cultural Policy Should Support Actual Canadian Artists: The vast majority of new Canadian music is not promoted by major labels, which focus mostly on foreign artists. The government should use other policy tools to support actual Canadian artists and a thriving musical and cultural scene. The government should make a long-term commitment to grow support mechanisms like the Canada Music Fund and FACTOR, invest in music training and education, create limited tax shelters for copyright royalties, protect artists from inequalities in bargaining power and make collecting societies more transparent."
here's another version of the same story, this one with comments/discussion.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Patrons are people, too

Aaron of Walking Paper points out that patrons might like to interact with their library website in cool ways just like they interact with other social software sites - creating content and making it amusing for themselves and others - and in terms of privacy, adults can make their own decisions about such things if given half a chance.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

circulating art

What I like so much about this initiative from the Portland (Maine) public library is not just that they are recycling things into art, but that then they go ahead and circulate the art. And that they accept that things like stolen, lost, and damaged items happen, and treat those situations like any other circulating item. Art is meant to be appreciated, but not treated as too precious to be appreciated by people in their own homes. I *heart* circulating art. Story, from the New York Times, here.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Powells and New Orleans Libraries

Here's an easy way to directly help New Orleans libraries through Powells. One book cost $8.95, you can recommend a book if you want. Powells and the Katrina Project make sure the libraries get what they need. More info on the Katrina Project, including some intense pictures of what floods do to libraries, here.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

more on schools and wikipedia editing

Apparently, our school isn't the only one being blocked on the basis of IP address from editing Wikipedia, and mine aren't the only students taling back and asking that the Wikipedia blockers give schools special dispensation. In this case, Andy Carvin asks the question, what are schools doing to make sure students are editing responsibly? ummmm . . . . nothing. But different in our case, our students do add constructive, though mostly very minor, edits. Probably not enough to balance out the vandalism. But enough to know there are some really cool kids who get it.