Thursday, September 29, 2005

Random thoughts

You've always wanted to know how to cut a deck of cards with one hand, haven't you?

You know what new hip-hop album rocks? The new Pumpkinhead! I don't know anything about this guy, but Orange Moon Over Brooklyn is hot (though that's just my first impression talking).

Also, check out this op-ed in the *cough* New York Times. You don't even need NYTimes Select to read it! I have to agree with the author that Google Print has the potential to completely change how we look at books:
Google promises an alternative to the obscurity imposed on most books. It makes that great corpus of less-than-bestsellers accessible to all. By pointing to a huge body of print works online, Google will offer a way to promote books that publishers have thrown away, creating an opportunity for readers to track them down and buy them. Even online sellers like Amazon offer only a small fraction of the university libraries' titles. While there are many unanswered questions about how businesses will help consumers buy the books they've found through a search engine for printed materials that is as powerful as Google's current Web search, there's great likelihood that Google Print's Library Project will create new markets for forgotten content. In one bold stroke, Google will give new value to millions of orphaned works.

I'm sorry to see authors buy into the old-school protectionism of the Authors Guild, not realizing they're acting against their own self-interest. Their resistance can come only from a failure to understand the nature of the program. Google Library is intended to help readers discover copyrighted works, not to give copies away. It's a tremendous service to authors that will help them beat the dismal odds of publishing as usual.
I'd actually like Google to take it a step further - maybe a Google/Amazon joint venture? I'd like to make my OWN FREAKING MEMORY searchable!

I don't know about you, but I have a very large bookcase in my room. I prune it from time to time, removing books that I've found are no longer worthwhile to keep around. But I also have to lug hundreds of pounds worth of paper around every time I move. And often, if I'm writing about something for a class, or in the middle of a heated debate, I end up asking myself, "where the hell did I pick up that little fact?"

So basically what I want is to have electronic copies of everything I've ever read (well, maybe just everything I've ever purchased). And I want it indexed in a searchable database. And since I have a personal addiction with reading academic journals by printing articles I want and reading them later, I'm even willing to find some OCR software and add them to my own computerized memory, assuming I'm provided with a nice GUI.

Okay, one crackpot idea per day is enough. Tschus!

EDIT: The Authors' Guild has been up to idiotic things before, such as trying to shut down the sales of used books through in 2002.

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