May 26, 2010

Printed books from Wikipedia, hands on

Two weeks ago I discovered that Wikipedia added a book-printing feature based on articles of your choosing. I selected and arranged several dozen articles discussing Russian composers of the early 1800s through the mid-to-late 1900s. One week later, flaws and all, they're now valued additions to my home library. Based on the quick delivery, quality of the finished product, and the giddy power of printing your own books, I plan on ordering more in the future. Some links:

Continue reading "Printed books from Wikipedia, hands on"
posted by sstrader at 11:35 PM in Language & Literature | tagged ebooks, pediapress | permalink

Searches for Russian composers on RadioWave

I've started into part 2 of my Wikipedia books on Russian composers. I'm frequently searching for what works of theirs are playing on RadioWave, so here are some searches to bookmark:

  1. The Five
  2. The Romantics
  3. The Moderns

Consider this a listening guide to accompany the books.

posted by sstrader at 4:41 PM in Music | tagged prokofiev | permalink

May 25, 2010

Tokyo Shock

Over the past several months, I've watch several genre films which I call Tokyo Shock, based on the fact that most come from the Tokyo Shock DVD label. They're generally categorized under gore or horror, or more specifically "Asian horror," but I like the Tokyo Shock moniker to group them together for the unique combination of styles that they contain.

Continue reading "Tokyo Shock"
posted by sstrader at 8:32 PM in Cinema | tagged asian cinema | permalink

May 24, 2010

Stabbing in Midtown

In the words of Bart Simpson: "Way to cheat death, man!" Our receipt from Midcity Cafe at 11:10 PM Saturday night:


And the news report of a stabbing that happened 20 minutes later, two blocks away on 8th at the same time that we're walking home up 7th.

posted by sstrader at 11:05 PM in Where was I? | permalink


Our intrepid Phoenix lander is officially gone. NASA reports:

Apparent changes in the shadows cast by the lander are consistent with predictions of how Phoenix could be damaged by harsh winter conditions. It was anticipated that the weight of a carbon-dioxide ice buildup could bend or break the lander's solar panels. [Team member Michael] Mellon calculated hundreds of pounds of ice probably coated the lander in mid-winter.
posted by sstrader at 4:43 PM in Space | permalink

May 20, 2010

The Chaos Scenario; Bob Garfield

This just won an Independent Publisher Book Award gold medal for current events. If you listen to On the Media (and you should), you'll notice that this book reads exactly like BG speaks. Very casual, idiomatic, fragment-heavy. Not a criticism, just a comment.

Continue reading "The Chaos Scenario; Bob Garfield"
posted by sstrader at 11:46 AM in Current Interests , Language & Literature | permalink

May 13, 2010

Russian Composers, printed books from Wikipedia

This week I discovered that Wikipedia recently added a feature that allows you to collect and arrange articles and have them printed and bound. The interface is basic so it's feature-poor but easy to use. An excellent start! After my attempt at a short test book on Indo-European languages grew to 400+ pages, I abandoned it and created one on Russian composers. That quickly grew to an unmanageable test size too, so I split it up into three shorter books and ordered them all. No, that does not make any sense.

  1. Russian Composers, Part 1: The Five
  2. Russian Composers, Part 2: The Romantics
  3. Russian Composers, Part 3: The Moderns
  4. Russian Composers, Addendum
Russian Composers, Part 1: The Five Russian Composers, Part 2: The Romantics Russian Composers, Part 3: The Moderns Russian Composers, Addendum

~250 pages each for ~$15 each. Once created, you can select a cover image from those scraped out of the contained Wikipedia articles and choose from a fixed set of color schemes. Even with a simple list of composers, I labored over the article selection and finally committed. I'm sure I'm going to get them (in a few days!) and realize I've missed someone important. Ah well, then's when I print up an appendix! And unless they look like total carp, I'm already planning a part 4 for contemporary composers. I just hope none of the articles were grabbed for printing right after they were vandalized. As entertaining as it was to learn that Vincent Persichetti was a werewolf slayer, I wouldn't want that in print.

[ updated 18 Jun 2010 ]

Finished the books and finally put together the Addendum!

posted by sstrader at 5:06 PM in Language & Literature | tagged pediapress | permalink

May 10, 2010

Facebook future

Recent articles on the hopes of an open/open source Facebook alternative:

Linked from comments in the articles, several alternatives are mentioned (alpha-ordered):

  • - Appears to be more of an initiative promising use of open protocols
  • Appleseed - Open, decentralized
  • BuddyPress - WordPress plugin
  • Diaspora - Decentralized (no single company serving up content), aggregated (combines your existing accounts in a similar manner as FriendFeed), granular control of content visibility (your boss won't see your party pics)
  • Get6d - Open, decentralized
  • OneSocialWeb - Open, decentralized
  • Peerscape - FireFox extension
  • Tonido - Access personal information via p2p with no central server, cf. Opera Unite
  • - Discussion groups with some social networking aspects
  • Unite - The Opera browser acts as a web server allowing you to share private file with specific people
  • Xobni - Bridge Outlook contacts with other systems

The building blocks have been available for a while in the form of email+blog+IM+NNTP with more elaborate image and video sharing achievable using Flickr and YouTube (or similar). I always felt that news sites and blogs should have used NNTP/Usenet servers to manage their comment systems. They use email to send messages. Why reinvent? Over the past five or so years, open protocols have flourished: activitystreams (and other microformats), OAuth and OpenID, FOAF, XMPP, RSS, PubSubHubbub, etc. These could provide the plumbing to create a more seamless social environment than patching together email and a blog and whatever. FriendFeed is an attempt to stitch the disparate sites together, but the result still feels like islands.

I'm not a fan of FB and since the privacy changes I have become less of one (less than "not"?). There's no way I'd allow them to host my personal content, and will never contribute to them. Still, most don't have my choices and most want a more passively connected, pre-populated environment as opposed to islands. Despite Facebook's momentum and user base--and as others have pointed out--MySpace was once considered unbeatable.

[ upated 12 May 2010 ]

Leo Laporte has joined the Diaspora bandwagon [ via RWW ]. Many of the RWW comments remind me of the responses to iPad criticism. It's an odd attitude that you should never talk about the flaws you see in something. Still, interesting to see so many competitors popping up in the same comments to hawk their wares.

[ upated 18 May 2010 ]

Added Appleseed and Xobni. Appleseed is already deep in development and has the same goals as Diaspora.

[ upated 27 Sep 2010 ]

Added BuddyPress, Peerscape, and

posted by sstrader at 11:33 PM in Internet | tagged social network | permalink

May 1, 2010

Lisa's photos from walking across the Brooklyn Bridge

She and Theresa are in NYC for the weekend. This morning's task was to walk the BB and she just sent me a couple of the pics:


posted by sstrader at 11:56 AM in Personal | tagged nyc | permalink