This evening’s Second Life hack

Here’s another attempt to bring external data into Second Life — this time it’s the latest news via RSS feeds:

The RSS feed items are fetched and displayed by the life preserver that I’m wearing in this picture:
The donkey work is done by an external RSS aggregator that fetches feeds from news sites and my favourite library blogs.  Whenever a new item appears in a feed, it gets queued up to be fetched and displayed by the life preserver.
So, I might look daft wearing it, but I’ll always have the latest news from the outside world at my fingertips!


Over the weekend the hosting company move my site to a different server, so I’m in domain limbo as the new IP address for “” propagates through the DNS servers across the world.
If you are currently unable to read this, then you’ll need to wait a few hours before you’ll be able to read it…
Apologies to anyone who’s been wanting to leave comments — it looks like I managed to accidentally turn them off a few days ago!

in need of L2 inspiration?

Why not leverage the awesome power of the Library 2.0 Idea Generator into your own blog and paradigm shift your way into library nirvana?

If you’d like to include random ideas in your blog, just use the following code:
<script type="text/javascript"

If you want to also add a link back to my blog (you don’t need to if you don’t want to), just link to:
If you’d prefer to bring in a plain text idea (rather than one wrapped in JavaScript), then you can use this URL:
Have fun!

Guide to Hitchcock on DVD – part 1

Welcome to the first part of my guide to Hitchcock on DVD!
I’ve been running the Hitchcock DVD Site for over 3 years and, in that time, I’ve built up a collection of nearly 200 Hitchcock DVDs.  Over the course of the coming weeks and months, I’m going to try and cover Hitchcock’s entire career and, at the same time, discuss which are the best DVDs to buy.
To build up the best collection of Hitchcock on DVD, you need to have a region free DVD player.  You also need to be able to view both PAL and NTSC format DVDs — this requires either a DVD player that can convert from one to the other, or a television set that can display both.  To get the best of Hitchcock on DVD, you’ll be buying DVDs from around the world!
I’m going to split Hitchcock’s career up into decades, so the first article will cover the 1920s and that last will cover his final films from the 1970s.  Out of the 53 major films Hitchcock directed, 50 are now officially available on DVD.
A quick side note — for the film year, I’m using the IMDB entry.
Continue reading “Guide to Hitchcock on DVD – part 1”

Hitchcock update (w/c 4th Dec)

Yikes — it’s 2 months since the last Hitchcock update, so here’s the latest news!
Finally! After years of craptastic “public domain” releases from the likes of Laserlight and Brentwood, fans in the USA should be getting some decent transfers of Hitchcock’s early films.  Lionsgate Home Entertainment will be releasing a 3 disc box set on 06/Feb/2007.
The upcoming UK Optimum Releasing box set (scheduled for the end of January) has been expanded and now includes 4 extra titles (“The Ring”, “Champagne”, “The Farmer’s Wife”, and “Murder!”).  The transfers have been licensed from the likes of Studio Canal and Granada, so should be top notch.  Be warned that Orbit Media might be releasing low quality PD transfers of the same films around about the same time in the UK!
The French release of Bon Voyage / Aventure Malgache proves that there are decent prints of both films available.  Sadly (for non French speakers), this release is French only with no subtitles.  Speaking of which, Alain Kerzoncuf has a new article over at “sense of cinema” — “Hitchcock’s Aventure Malgache (or the True Story of DZ 91)“.
Alfred Hitchcock Presents: Season Two has been out for a while now.  The good news is that Universal has seen sense and released the second series on standard DVD9 discs, rather than the more unreliable DVD18.  I’m still busy adding info to the page in the wiki for this release.  There’s no sign of a non-US release for this set yet.
To be honest, I think Universal in Europe have just given up and will never release any half decent Hitchcock DVDs — they seem happy just to repackage and rebundle the same old transfers.  Germany is the latest victim of Universal’s greed, with a collection of new DVDs that just contain the same old tired transfers… seriously folks, it’s nearly 2007 and the only place in the world where you can buy a widescreen (i.e. non pan&scan) transfer of “The Birds” is in the US & Canada!
I haven’t quite managed a new wallpaper every week, but here are the recent ones (click to download larger versions):

Finally, some sad news — two of the surviving “Topaz” actors have passed away during the last couple of weeks from cancer.  Firstly, Philippe Noiret (23/Nov) and then Claude Jade (01/Dec).

left: Philippe Noiret (1930-2006) and right: Hitchcock and Claude Jade (1948-2006)

export from the OPAC to and LibraryThing

Yesterday, during Brian Kelly‘s opening session on Web 2.0 at the CILIP “Fly in the Web: Power to the User” event at Leeds Met, I started to think about ways of our linking library stuff into…
One of the things I’ve already hacked into the OPAC is the ability for a user to see their lending history — you can see a bit of it at the foot of this screen shot:

So, I decided to play around with the import facility to see if it was possible to export the lending history from the OPAC and then import it.
The first thing I did was to get a version of the lending history in a suitable format (see Netscape Bookmark File Format).  You can see my bookmark file at this URL:…html
(I should point out that my library card gets used for a lot of testing, so I haven’t really borrowed everything on there… honest!)
If you look at the HTML source for the page, you’ll spot that I’ve included the tag “hudunilibrary” and (when available) the ISBN for each item.  Each item also has a description for the last checked date & time (I’m still not sure if I should include that info?).
Once you’ve got the bookmark file, you then need to save it to your hard drive and run the import process in

The only real potential problem is that automatically marks all imported links as “private” — so, if you want to share your lending history, then you need to manually update every link (very tedious!).  Anyway, I’ve shared a few just so you can see the tag in action:
The import facility at LibraryThing is able to pick out the ISBNs in the bookmark file, so it’s also possible to transfer a subset of the lending history into there:
The Dynix/Horizon OPAC also has a “My List” facility, so I might see if it’s possible to hack that to output a suitable bookmark file as well.
I did mean to take a few photos at the CILIP event, but totally forget until Sheila Webber was halfway through her session on blogging — anywhere, you can find a couple of photos here.  I think someone may have taken a shot of me during my workshop session, although I’m not really the most photogenic of people!