December 22, 2007

Some Fun for the Holiday

From my Dad: I Do Dog Tricks. Type in as many commands as you can think of, leaving “kiss” for last.

Happy Holidays, everyone!

10:43 am Comments (6)

December 19, 2007

Visit Pullman Online

My wonder twin buddy Andy has an article in the inaugural issue of The Code4Lib Journal, a publication that arose out of the Code4Lib conference and community. Andy does a lot of work to digitize and make information about the historic Pullman district in Chicago available online, almost entirely as a labor of love and with no real financial or administrative support. To me, he is an unsung hero of the digital world, and I am proud to call him my friend.

Connecting the Real to the Representational: Historical Demographic Data in the Town of Pullman, 1880-1940

“The Pullman House History Project is a part of the Pullman State Historic Site’s virtual museum and web site ( which links together census, city directory, and telephone directory information to describe the people who lived in the town of Pullman, Illinois between 1881 and 1940. This demographic data is linked through a database/XML record system to online maps and Perl programs that allow the data to be represented in various useful combinations. This article describes the structure of the database and XML records, as well as the methods and code used to link the parts together and display the data.”

10:28 pm Comments (1)

December 18, 2007

Road Band

The Joy of Tech covers Guitar Hero. [Thanks, James!]

9:24 pm Comments (2)

December 17, 2007

Play a Game to Feed Some People

Please go play FreeRice right now. It’s a great example of using gaming for some serious good.

  • Click on the answer that best defines the word.
  • If you get it right, you get a harder word. If wrong, you get an easier word.
  • For each word you get right, we donate 20 grains of rice to the United Nations World Food Program.

“FreeRice has a custom database containing thousands of words at varying degrees of difficulty. There are words appropriate for people just learning English and words that will challenge the most scholarly professors. In between are thousands of words for students, business people, homemakers, doctors, truck drivers, retired people… everyone!

FreeRice automatically adjusts to your level of vocabulary. It starts by giving you words at different levels of difficulty and then, based on how you do, assigns you an approximate starting level. You then determine a more exact level for yourself as you play. When you get a word wrong, you go to an easier level. When you get three words in a row right, you go to a harder level. This one-to-three ratio is best for keeping you at the ‘outer fringe’ of your vocabulary, where learning can take place.

There are 50 levels in all, but it is rare for people to get above level 48.”

6:47 am Comments (7)

December 12, 2007

Help Form an ALA Games and Gaming Member Interest Group

From Scott Nicholson, comes the call:

“Attention ALA Members!

We are hoping to go to ALA Midwinter with 100 signatures of ALA members to start a Member Interest Group on Games and Gaming. There are several initiatives across the ALA organization to look at gaming and our hope is to create a group to provide a place to talk about gaming across demographics and library types.

The charge of the interest group is:
To engage those interested in games and gaming activities in libraries and to collaborate with ALA units to support gaming initiatives and programs across the Association. Games, as defined in their broadest sense to include traditional and modern board, card, video, mobile, computer, live-action, roleplaying and miniature games, and gaming activities, including planning and running gaming programs, providing games for informal play, developing a game collection, creating games, development of information and other literacies through games and partnering with other community organizations to support gaming, will be topics for professional exploration. This group is open to all members.

If you are willing to help start this group, print out the petition below and collect signatures and member numbers of ALA members in your organization, and send it to the address on the form in the next few weeks.

The form is at”

10:14 pm Comments (7)

December 7, 2007

Fill Out LIS Student’s Gaming Survey

Judi is a student in Dominican University’s GSLIS program who is graduating in January (yay, Judi!). She’s writing her final research paper on gaming in public libraries, and she’s asking library staff offering said programs to fill out a brief survey. If you can help her, please do.

6:59 am Comments Off on Fill Out LIS Student’s Gaming Survey

December 6, 2007

Power to the People

Dear O’Hare Airport,

One of the nicest and most useful things you could do for those of us who pass through your airport (especially regularly) is add more power outlets. Everywhere. Blanket the gates in outlets, and make sure they’re working. Please. Even your own security guards could use them.

Thanks so much,

cc: all airports, all libraries

segways need power, too

8:26 am Comments (7)

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