“They are a generation abandoning print and paper”

Interesting article in The Guardian today: “Internet generation leave parents behind“…

  • children are spending increasing amounts of their lives in front of televisions, computers and games consoles, cramming in nearly six hours of screen time a day
  • from the age of seven, children are building multimedia hubs in their rooms, with games consoles, internet access and MP3 players
  • reading books is falling out of favour – 84% said they read for pleasure in 2006, 80% in 2007 and 74% this year
  • one in three said the computer is the single thing they couldn’t live without
  • pupils are using the internet less while at school, frustrated by the low-tech access and the restrictions put in place to stop them from accessing inappropriate material
  • they are a generation abandoning print and paper, and the whole integration of technology and the way they glide from one to the other is seamless

HotStuff 2.0

After killing off Hot Stuff due to a server upgrade, I find that I’m kinda missing it!
So, I’ve decided to have a second stab at the problem and this time the code is much cleaner and faster. In particular, I’m using Bloglines to handle fetching all of the feeds and then grabbing the new posts via the Bloglines API.
It’s too early for the code to start spotting new keywords and topics yet, so it’ll be early in the new year before it launches fully. In the meantime, feel free to check that your favourite library/librarian blogs are included in the list of sites I’m pulling content from: http://www.bloglines.com/public/liblogs.
Please post a comment with the URL of any blogs you’d like including!
I’m hoping the make the new code a little more visual, so expect to see things like these…
final6_50_1 final_015
[edit] HotStuff 2.0 is gradually appearing here: http://www.daveyp.com/hotstuff/

Dewey friend wheel

I’ve been meaning to have a stab at creating something similar to a friend wheel, but using library data, for a while now. Here’s a prototype which uses our “people who borrowed this, also borrowed…” data to try find strong borrowing relationships…
Dewey friends
I picked three random Dewey numbers and hacked together a quick PerlMagick script to draw the wheel:

  • 169 – Logic -> Analogy (orange)
  • 822 – English & Old English literatures -> Drama (purple)
  • 941 – General history of Europe -> British Isles (light blue)

The thickness and brightness of the line indicates the strength of the relationship between the two classifications. For example, for people who borrowed items from 941, we also see heavy borrowing in the 260’s (Christian social theology), 270’s (Christian church history), and the 320’s (Political science).
The next step will be to churn through all of the thousand Dewey numbers and draw a relationship wheel for our entire book stock. I’ve left my work PC on to crunch through the raw data overnight, so hopefully I’ll be able to post the image tomorrow.


…they’d made “The Terminator” 33 years earlier, I’m guessing the Cyberdyne Systems Model 101 might have looked like this:
capvid01 capvid02 capvid03 capvid04
One of the things I love about the web is that it delivers all sorts of weird straight to your desktop! In this case, it’s the 15 part serial “Captain Video: Master of the Stratosphere“, from 1951, which appears to have had a budget of less than $1 per episode 🙂
The Internet Archive has an episode of the earlier “Captain Video” TV series, which seems to have been made on an even smaller budget 😀

Psycho collage

Following on from the book covers arranged by hue/lightness, I’ve been playing around with the 1000 Frames of Hitchcock thumbnails.
Here’s the result of 15 minutes of coding and 2 hours of rendering using a single frame from the famous shower scene in Psycho…
To see the individual frames, you really need to view the full sized image (9526 x 5475 pixels).
The code works by sampling a pixel and then randomly selecting a frame that has a similar hue and lightness value. As before, a little bit of randomess (position, rotation and size) is thrown in to make it visually more interesting.

Our books, arranged by Hue and Lightness

Sunday afternoons were made for doing this kind of thing…
Book drop
(click here for the biggest version)
Several thousand of our books, arranged vertically by hue and horizontally by lightness. The value was calculated by finding the average colour of the book cover and then converting that to the relevant HSL value. There’s a little bit of randomness thrown in too, in terms of rotation and position. The image was created using Perl and ImageMagick.
If nothing else, it shows that we have more red and blue books than green or pink ones!

Bloomin’ global warming

Just in case anyone was in any doubt about the reality of global warming, the BBC Ceefax service is currently reporting (on page 402) that we’ll have a peak temperature of 54°C (129°F) tomorrow…
So, for anyone heading to London for Internet Librarian International 2008, I’d recommend lots of sun cream and a big hat.

“only in America”

I’ve lost count of the number of times this year it’s felt like I’ve woken up in a parallel universe — it’s happened again this morning when I read about the US Lingerie Football League on the BBC News web site, which features “teams of models playing an American football game while dressed in lingerie”.
Now, I’ll be the first to admit I don’t know very much about American Football, but I’m pretty sure when men play it, they seem to wear full body armour and the kind of shoulder pads that would make a 1980’s Joan Collins green with envy. Can a couple of millimetres of silk and lace really provide the same level of protection? Where can you buy babydoll negligees with reinforced shoulder pads?
This opens up all sorts of interesting possibilities for alternative versions of popular sports whilst wearing totally inappropriate clothing. How about…

  • long jump for people wearing lead weighted deep sea diver boots
  • 100m freestyle swimming for people wearing oversized chunky Aran sweaters
  • pole vault for people wearing Carmen Miranda style tropical fruit hats (points are deducted for dislodged fruit)
  • 110m hurdles for women wearing pencil skirts

So, it’s Friday and we’re all winding down for the weekend — what’s the best combination you can think of?

Slow news day at the BBC?

No disrespect to the family of Damilola Taylor, but I’m not sure why the BBC have deemed this (“Porn posted on Damilola web forum“) to be a newsworthy headline story? The forum in question only appears to have ever had 1 legitimate thread since it was set up and only a couple of non-spambot members.
The news item was posted on the BBC site 2 hours ago and the hard-core links are still there. In fact, porn links from several days ago are still there. So…

  1. How long should it take an “administrator” to delete half a dozen inappropriate forum posts?
  2. Why are they running a version of vBulletin that has known security holes and is over a year out of date? (in fact, it looks to be been nearly 10 months out of date when it was installed)
  3. Why did they choose to set the forum up so that spambots could register and post articles straight away?
  4. Why not just take the forum offline until you can clear up the offending articles?
  5. There are thousands of message boards and forums out there with porn spam links on them posted by automated bots — what makes this one newsworthy?

Please, BBC, stick to reporting real news.
answers to the above questions:
1) a couple of minutes at the most
2, 3, & 4) because the person administering the forum is clueless
5) because the BBC News Editor on duty this afternoon is clueless