Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Google Does it Again...

Google now lets you download and print entire books (unfortunately only those in the public domain). So for example, want to read your kids Aesop's Fables? Click here. Download. Print.

You're good to go.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006


I'm not sure how I missed this announcement.

"[Jimmy Wales] also announced a new project called Wikiversity. It will serve as an online center for the creation and use of free learning materials and activities. It will create and host a range of free content materials, multilingual learning materials, for all ages in all languages. It’ll host scholarly projects and communities to support these materials, and foster research based in part on existing resources in Wikiversity and other wikimedia projects. Launching in three languages, in a six-month beta, within a month."

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

The Germans Are coming...

Interesting article on an update to the German site that may help cut down on vandalism...

"In the German system, any user will still be allowed to make edits to any article. Those edits won't show up in the live version of the site, though, until a registered user with a certain level of time and experience approves the changes. It's a simple change, but one that could prevent the most juvenile forms of vandalism from ever appearing on the main site, which should do much to remove the appeal of vandalizing articles."

Ruby on Rails

So if this blog wasn't already enough of a pastiche of random information, I'm adding one more topic to the mix. Ruby on Rails. Ruby on Rails is an incredibly powerful something or other, that does this one thing really, really well. I don't know much about it, but I will say that I was immediately drawn to it. Why? Because it's Ruby on RAILS. RAILS! If it had been Ruby on Airwaves, then I wouldn't have much cared for it. But it's rails, baby. It conjures up images of a lovely train ride into the county, where you are never more than 3 feet off the ground.


Anyway, I'll likely be posting a few things for a class I'm taking this fall on Ruby.

Which, by the way, is the name of a horse that my sister-in-law just bought. And the horse is situated not 50 feet from a railroad track. But I have yet to make the obvious joke because a) nobdoy in my family is really into programming languages, and b) the image of her horse on a railroad track wouldn't be very funny to my sister-in-law, and I might get hit.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

An Exploding Coconut Update

For you long time readers of the blog, you will remember a post in which I described a strange event at my house, one that I could only explain away by arguing that coconuts must explode.

Well, last night I found a second such case. Naomi wrote and said that she too had a coconut explode in her house, and she was lucky not to have been around.

I suspect an epidemic. I think somebody somewhere is trying to disrupt our peaceful lives by selling us ticking coconuts.

So be warned, and stick with the flakes.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Project Complete

So, I've finished my second book, Bullies in the Headlights. I also found myself a bit burned out by the end, so I switched audiences, and with the help of a brother and sister-in-law, started and finished a second book. It's a short one, only 6000 words, but I'm excited about it. My own children loved it.

Anyway, I will be spending the next month tweaking, cleaning, and adding a bit of depth to both books, and then will submit them to the publisher to see what they say. This is a painful time for an author. You've just gone through months of labor, delivered a brand new book, and now the cold, hard publishing world is going to examine it in depth, and let you know if your baby is 'worth' to be published.

There will be much weeping, wailing, and curling up in the fetal position before this is all over.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Copyright and Education

Interesting report out of Harvard. The Berkman Center has found that "provisions of copyright law concerning the educational use of copyrighted material, as well as the business and institutional structures shaped by that law, are among the most important obstacles to realizing the potential of digital technology in education."

Education reduces poverty and other social ills. In an age where we can move information almost without cost, nobody should be denied the right to better themselves by becoming educated. The outdated corporate laws, er... copyright laws, need to be fixed.

I've posted this story to digg. If you can help push it to the front page by digging it, that would be just swell...

Behold the power of the BlogMob

Great story on how somebody thought they could pass off other people's work as their own. No, it wasn't the police that caught the guy. It was the 'BlogMob'.

"Soon the thief's possible home address and phone number were made available (pretty scary), as well as the locations around the net of other photos published under his name. His Web site, Flickr account, and MySpace page were all either taken down or locked, all in a matter of hours. And sure enough, someone using the name of the thief eventually posted an apology.

"A lot of people were riled up about this whole thing, but I couldn't help but be anything but fascinated by the immense power of a closely networked community being demonstrated before my eyes. The blogmob has spoken and I will never doubt its power again."

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

I don't get why others don't get it...

Wikipedia has been bashed by just about everybody now. It's been called everything from inacurate to a public toilet. And yet it works so well.

I came across this article that discussed the recent prank attempted by Comedy Central's Stephen Colbert.

From the article:

"In an attempt to prove that Wikipedia's version of truth is flexible, Colbert recently told viewers to alter the Wikipedia page on "elephant" to state that the population of African elephants had tripled in the last decade.

"This is, of course, untrue. But as Colbert stated, if enough people alter the page on Wikipedia, it's fact. It should have been the biggest threat to the institution of Wikipedia to date...

"There was just one problem with the prank: Colbert was ultimately proven wrong."

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

The Long Tail

In celebration of YouTube growing out of control, I'd like to send you over to this little nugget, called The Day of the Long Tail.

I've heard the book is good too...

Got Math?

You no longer need to pay $150 for a math book. You can now get one for the low, low price of free ninety free.

Kudos to the authors.

"As time and resources allow, we will be adding 9 more free textbooks to this site, and the material will always be accessible to even the slowest of Internet connections."