Currently doing the rounds of email inboxes at our library is this little gem…
To paraphrase a conversation that occurred in the LSW chatroom last week…
I like the way the poor patron is still trying to read his book!
Fans of Chris Anderson might want to check out this article which appeared in today's Guardian newspaper in the UK: "The big giveaway"…
International flights that don't cost a thing? Books or music you don't have to pay for? Even companies handing out cars? Traditional business is based on the certainty that everything has a price. But now US writer Chris Anderson believes we are at the dawn of a new consumerist era, governed by what he dubs 'freeconomics'.
I'm sure many SirsiDynix customers remember the terms "Scrum" and "Agile" being bandied around a few years ago during the development of Horizon 8.0. What I don't remember being as widely reported at the time was that half of the developers were based in Russia (the other half were based in Provo, USA).
Anyway, the Google Blogsearch RSS feed for SirsiDynix threw up an interesting blog post last week: "Managing Offshore Software Projects".
This project distributed Scrum teams so that half of each team was in the United States at SirsiDynix and the other half of each team was at Exigen Services in St. Petersburg, Russia. It showed how to set up distributed/outsourced teams to achieve both linear scalability of teams on a large project and distributed velocity of each team the same as the velocity of a small colocated team.
This project is still generating controversy in the Agile community by showing that you can run distributed high performance Scrums. There were quality problems on this project that caused some in the Agile community to discount the remarkable results and argue that it could not be repeated successfully.
I guess whatever your thoughts about Jack Blount and Horizon 8 are (or were), it certainly seems he knew what he has doing!
Whilst I'm thinking about Jack, I'd like to offer my sincere condolences to the Blount family for their recent loss.
It's not often that I'd consider adding pure "eye candy" to the OPAC, but I couldn't decide what would be the best way of making this tag cloud functional. So, I made an executive decision and decided it shouldn't be functional
If you run a keyword search on our OPAC, at the foot of the page you should see a keyword cloud (it might take a few seconds to appear). The cloud is generated from previous keyword searches used on our OPAC. Here's the one for "library"…
For multi-keyword searches, an electronic coin is tossed and you either get a cloud of the union or the intersection of your keywords. The former uses previous searches that contain any of the keywords, and the later is only those that contain all of them (if that makes sense!)
As it's not functional, the cloud is just a decorative window into the hive mind of our users.
I'm interested to hear what you think — should the cloud be functional, or does it work as just "eye candy"?
Very sad to see that Edward Lorenz, one of the founding fathers of Chaos Theory, has died.
There can't be many people who aren't familiar with the concept expressed in the title of his 1972 paper "Predictability: Does the Flap of a Butterfly's Wings in Brazil Set Off a Tornado in Texas?"
Lorenz was awarded the Kyoto Prize in 1991 for his work on determinsitic chaos — "a principle which has profoundly influenced a wide range of basic sciences and brought about one of the most dramatic changes in mankind's view of nature since Sir Isaac Newton."
I have a confession to make — I grew bored of Twitter after a couple of days.
However, I felt obliged to keep on Twittering something… anything… so I hooked our OPAC into the feed instead. Every 5 minutes, a bit of code checks to see what the most popular keyword(s) used on our OPAC has been recently and, if it's different to the last run, it fires it off to Twitter. I was so lazy, I didn't even bother filtering out stopwords.
The result is an eclectic mix of words that encapsulate our student's usage of the library catalogue — little snapshots of what was important to a bunch of students (or perhaps one particular determined student). Topics meander semi-randomly, occasionally repeating at unusual intervals.
Sometimes, there's not a single popular keyword, but several. Sometimes the multiple words make sense, other times they create weird phrases…
- british genetics music
- angina attachment theatre
- education picasso sex
- rape skills study
Anyway, a few days ago I spotted Tweet Clouds and decided to see what it made of my feed…
…and here's a cloud I made back in December 2006…
I must admit, I feel kinda guilty that I ate up 23 minutes of CPU time on the Tweet Cloud site :-S
Wow — looks like another flagship SirsiDynix product has been shelved. According to reports from attendees at the SuperConference, the company is dropping Stephen Abram's beloved EPS Rooms product. Never mind, "shift happens".
At the conference, the company also announced their version of Primo/Encore (branded "Enterprise"). Curiously, this will be a SaaS only offering. RSS feeds, tagging, user reviews, and ratings are earmarked for version 3 of the product (due around 2010). All I can say is that I'm glad we took the decision to implement these features ourselves, rather than waiting for our vendor to do it for us :-S
Edit — looks like some customers have come away from SuperConference without the foggiest idea of what the product road map is, so I'm happy to wait for clarification from SirsiDynix of their new products, and rumours of EPS's death have been greatly exaggerated (by me).
Edit #2 — Sorry Stephen, as far as I can tell, it looks like the customer reports were indeed correct. There's no "end of life" for EPS (in the same way that there's no "end of life" for Horizon or Dynix Classic) and apologies if the original post implied that there was, but future product development will see the Rooms concept moving into the new Enterprise product.
Okay — I have a reference question that might just need the awesome combined power of the biblioblogosphere to answer!
A few minutes into the 1960 film "Psycho", we get to see the following painting hung on the wall of George Lowery's office…
(click to view larger version)
Firstly, is it a Picasso? If not, is it by a known artist? Can you put a name to the painting?
Other paintings in the film appear to have been chosen for their symbolism, so perhaps this one was too.
If you can answer any of the those questions, please put Joel or myself out of our misery!!!