Monday, September 15, 2008

Many Returns from Hurricane Ike

I know that most of us in the geographic region of the country known as Chicagoland have little to complain about compared to those of you in Texas and other parts of the country that bore the brunt of Hurricane Ike's fury. But I did see in a weather map on Saturday evening that Ike had pushed bands of rain across the Midwest and even as far north and east as Buffalo, NY.

When I came into the library Monday morning, I was surprised to find that four boxes of books in my office had been soaked by a leak. I can't even blame this small-scale disaster on that venerable achilles-heel of libraries: our flat roof. Instead, we evidently had a strong enough west wind to push the heavy rain in around a window with cracked glazing. (Though our flat roof and clerestory also leaked as they usually do.) On the positive side, instead of being boxes of new books to be added to our collection, these were books that had been culled from donations to go toward our book sale.

At the moment, we're still drying out in the Chicago suburbs and laying on more sandbags while waiting for some of the area rivers to crest. I pray that other libraries damaged by Ike will recover quickly.

Friday, September 5, 2008

My Thoughts On Google Chrome (FWTW)

Since I have sometimes posted on things Googlish in this blog, I thought I would mention that my first experience with the beta version of Google's Chrome browser was less than ecstatic.

Until I tried Chrome, I had no idea how prevalent Macromedia's Adobe's Shockwave Flash is. Chrome definitely has a bug when it comes to the Flash plugin. I found blog postings where other people claimed that reinstalling Flash solved the problem for them, but that certainly did not work for me. On the positive side, every time Chrome put up an error message in response to the Flash bug saying that it would have to close, it never did close, and I could continue my browsing uninterrupted. I just couldn't see all the pretty, flashing pictures. Maybe that's a good thing.

I also did not experience the blazing speeds that some bloggers were talking about, especially for library-type applications like OPAC searching or pulling up result lists in WorldCat. I did find the option for the default phishing filter and turned it off, which noticeably improved speeds, but my perception was that it was still taking longer than either IE or FireFox to display results pages.

People have already started finding security flaws, and there was the EULA flap over the early version of Google's agreement that stated in section 11.1,

"By submitting, posting or displaying the content you give Google a perpetual, irrevocable, worldwide, royalty-free, and non-exclusive license to reproduce, adapt, modify, translate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute any Content which you submit, post or display on or through, the Services."

The kinder, gentler version of 11.1 now simply reads, "11.1 You retain copyright and any other rights you already hold in Content which you submit, post or display on or through, the Services." (Remember "Don't be evil"?)

I also missed the ability to install my toolbar that lets me lookup words on easily plus a number of other standard browser amenities like decent bookmark management.

In short, I think Google Chrome has a long way to go yet, and I uninstalled it. (Kudos, Google, on the cute uninstall message--"Was it something we said?") I'm sure I'll be coming back for another look, though, once more of the rough edges have been knocked off. I wonder how long until the library vendors start listing Chrome as a supported browser?

And the Winner Is . . .

After having been gone on a lovely vacation in Colorado and after having unburied my desk at work, I am now prepared to declare the winner of the Longest Thesis Title Contest:

Congratulations to Eric Benoy from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary for submitting the winning entry, weighing in at 289 characters (including spaces and punctuation), a Ph.D. thesis title from 1993:

An investigation of the roles of the Baptist Association of Greater New Orleans, the Louisiana Baptist Convention, and the Home Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention in the planting of selected churches and missions in lower socioeconomic neighborhoods of New Orleans, 1950-1991

Look for this contest to reappear next summer when you, too, could have a chance to claim the coveted title, The Person Who Submitted The Longest Thesis Title On That Blog Thing.

(All contestents in this year's program have received honorable mentions and a no-expenses paid trip to Anywhere They Can Afford To Go. All decisions and awards depend on the arbitrary skills of the blogger to paste titles into Microsoft Word and hit <ALT><F> and <I> and are final. This contest is not endorsed by Microsoft® or by Bill Gates, who never wrote a thesis in the first place.)