Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Windows Downloads Will Require Verification

Beginning today, if you download additional Windows software, you will be asked to verify that you have a genuine copy of the operating system. This check will be mandatory for all software except security updates. [from CNET.com]

Wireless Sunglasses

Motorola and Oakley will be introducing wireless sunglasses to be used with Bluetooth cell phones and devices. A picture is available. These sunglasses should be available in August and, according to Motorola's press release, should cost $294.99. [from CNET.com]

Monday, July 25, 2005

Tracking Documents via Printers/Copiers

Apparently, many color laser printers and copiers encode information like the serial number and manufacturing code on each page that is printed. The dots used to encode this information are very small, all of them covering less than one-thousandths of a page, and yellow. You may be able to see these dots if you shine a blue LED light on a page and use a magnifier. According to Peter Crean of Xerox, there is no way to turn this off. [from PC World]

Open WorldCat Pilot Projects

OCLC will be piloting additional projects within the Open WorldCat service. Currently book and monograph holdings within WorldCat can be searched within web sites like Google and Yahoo! Pilot projects coming soon:
  • eSerials -- Electronic journal collections and their holdings will be incorporated into WorldCat. Using OpenURL, web users can be authenticated for access to the articles. This pilot will last 4 months.
  • Reference Service -- Within the results of a "Find a Library" search within Open WorldCat, some of the resulting libraries will have question marks next to them. This icon means that that library has a virtual reference service that can be used. This pilot will last 6 months.
  • Book Sales -- After titles are identified within Open WorldCat, web users will have the opportunity to purchase it, initially through Baker & Taylor. If you identify your library as part of the transaction, a portion of the proceeds will appear as credits to your OCLC FirstSearch Open WorldCat charge. No information on the length of the pilot for this one.
Watch for the evaluation of these services. Hopefully, we'll see a write-up. [from Library Stories] FYI: I work for Amigos Library Services, a non-profit organization that markets, sells, and support OCLC services in the Southwest.

OCLC OpenURL 1.0 Released

OCLC Reseach has released an open source version of OpenURL 1.0. [from Resource Shelf]

Padlocked Hard Drive

Imation's Micro Hard Drive looks like a padlock -- highly secure. This flash drive uses USB 2.0 and is available in both 2gb and 4gb sizes. $159 for the 2gb version. [from New York Times]

LITA Top Tech Trends - July 2005

If you follow the Top Tech Trends, sponsored by LITA at each ALA conference, the newest have been posted on the LITA Blog: The first link has all of the trends, but the second helps explain them (putting them in terms you and I can understand).

Continuous Partial Attention

Thanks to Linda Stone, a former executive at Microsoft and Apple, I have a name for the state I live in -- continuous partial attention. As she defines it:
Continuous partial attention is that state most of us enter when we're in front of a computer screen, or trying to check out at the grocery store with a cellphone pressed to an ear -- or blogging the proceedings of a conference while it's underway. We're aware of several things at once, shifting our attention to whatever's most urgent -- perhaps the chime of incoming e-mail, or the beep that indicates the cellphone is low on juice. It's not a reflective state.
No wonder I have to log off of everything except what I'm working on in order to think. My guess is that I have lots of company! ;-) [from Library Stuff]

GPO Access Feed for News

GPO is providing an RSS feed for the News & Updates section of the Federal Depository Library Program. [from Library Stuff]

Intel's Most Unwired Cities

For the third year, Intel has ranked the top 100 US cities on the basis of wireless Internet accessibility. Texas made the list five times:
  • #3: Austin-San Marcos
  • #23: Dallas-Ft. Worth-Arlington
  • #28: Houston
  • #41: San Antonio
  • #75: El Paso

Google Moon

Similar to Google Earth, Google has mapped the moon (well, at least part of it), courtesy of NASA imagery. Find where the Apollo missions landed and what the moon is really made of!

100mb/s Cable Access

By next year, Teleste is expecting to be able to provide up to 100mb/s over cable via a product called Ethernet to the Home. Teleste, a Finnish company, hopes to bring this technology to the US market by early next year. [from ExtremeTech]

Adobe Reader Updates

In June, Adobe provided 2 updates for its Reader. These updates fix problems that are rated "medium" risk. This means that the software could be exploited both locally and remotely. You can check your software by opening Reader and clicking on Help | Check for updates now . . . [from CNET.com]

Saturday, July 23, 2005

MS Longhorn Renamed Vista

Microsoft has given Longhorn, which is a Windows code name, a real name. It is now Vista. From the web site:
It enables a new level of confidence in your PC and in your ability to get the most out of it. It introduces clear ways to organize and use information the way you want to use it. It seamlessly connects you to information, people, and devices that help you get the most out of life.
The first beta of Windows Vista should be available by August 3, 2005.

Texas Digital Library

Texas A&M University, the Texas Tech University System, the University of Houston system, the University of Texas System, and Rice University are collaborating on a digital library to be called the "Texas Digital Library." The goal of this project is to provide online access to teaching aids, dissertations, and practical information to the residents of Texas. Details are currently being decided. A preliminary estimate of public availability of the site is late 2005. [from Chronicle of Higher Education]

New Domain for Mobile Devices

ICANN has approved a new domain -- .mobi -- for web sites whose content is optimized for mobile devices. By supporting the creation of web sites specifically for mobile devices, these manufacturers and vendors are hoping to increase sales. If I'm reading this correctly, this will encourage webmasters to create two sites -- one with their current domain, and one optimized for mobile devices with the .mobi domain. Doesn't this defeat the purpose of standardization? Cascading style sheets allows the use of multiple stylesheets -- one specifically for handheld devices. Using the CSS standard, you could still have a single web site, but style it differently depending on the user's device. [from CNN.com] [ICANN application]

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Supreme Court and Peer-to-Peer

In late June, the Supreme Court ruled on Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. v. Grokster, Ltd. Basically, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled that Grokster, and other similar peer-to-peer file-sharing services were legal because they were "capable of commercially significant noninfringing uses." [based on Sony Corp. v. Universal City Studios] MGM and other companies, of course, see significant copyright violations for commercial products being shared over these networks. The Ninth Circuit's ruling was appealed to the Supreme Court. The Court overturned the decision by a unanimous decision, stating:

The question is under what circumstances the distributor of a product capable of both lawful and unlawful use is liable for acts of copyright infringement by third parties using the product. We hold that one who distributes a device with the object of promoting its use to infringe copyright, as shown by clear expression or other affirmative steps taken to foster infringement, is liable for the resulting acts of infringement by third parties.

So, this court case goes back to the Ninth Circuit to be retried, taking into consideration the information provided by the Supreme Court. This decision has solidified a tenet that we, as librarians, have always known. Copyright infringement, in whatever guise, is illegal. Grokster and StreamCast (another peer-to-peer file-sharing company) tried to use an earlier decision that dealt with technicalities (Sony) as a defense, but it was their intent (copyright infringement) that was crucial. Although this decision is interesting in itself, what I found more interesting were the headlines in the media. They all seem to think that peer-to-peer is dead. Development of new technologies will be slowed, current technologies may be illegal (iPods, instant messaging, Internet). The sky is falling! However, if you read the actual decision, you see that it is the intent behind the technology that is important. iPods, instant messaging and the Internet are not "marketed" for illegal use. Can they be used that way? Yes. However, this is not what the text of the decision says. Moral? Read the Supreme Court decisions yourselves! ;-) [from beSpecific]