Obama also rhymes with Dalai Llama

Ah, the South.  Home to sweetened tea, fat sheriffs, and bigotry.

With all the attention on Obama’s name, we’ve been blind to the fact that McCain is probably a murderer.  That’s right: McCain rhymes with Cain, the fratricidal maniac who was killing people way before Osama.  Genetic testing can neither confirm, nor deny that McCain is the brother of Cain (or Abel), but the rhyming-name test is evidence enough for me.  Throw the book (in this case, a Bible would be best) at him!

I’ve got Heron my eyes

Hardy 203x300Ubuntu 8.04 is unleashed! Throngs of breathless Ubuntu devotees across the planet are indulging themselves today. Of course, many of them (myself included) have been downloading & testing the beta & release candidate for some time now, but there’s nothing quite like the rapturous final release. Not just any release, but a Long Term Support release! We’ll be using this baby 3 years from now!

It’s turning out to be one helluva a day- the shower is completely tiled, I finally fixed my WordPress problem, appetites were whet and pants were wet over Ubuntu.

Good news everyone!

Goodnews1 150x150The great image-uploading dryspell of WordPress 2.5 is over!  If I were smarter, it would’ve been over alot sooner.  Turns out I didn’t replace all of the old files during the upgrade…

Ah, the vagaries of Command Line Interface….

Let them eat Flickr pie

The time has finally come for the Liberry to make its Flickr debut:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/edwardsvillelibrary

Setup was a breeze, although I quickly realized that the free account is inadequate for most everything.  I uploaded about 100 pictures with F-spot in Ubuntu (which doesn’t like .tiff files, fyi), and the only difficult part was giving the photos meaningful names and tags.

So far it’s mostly historical pictures, punctuated by a few adverts and artworks around the Liberry.  Despite not having tons of photos, the first batch does have a few lookers, particularly the fire pictures.

I think we’ll want to upgrade to the pro account, which really isn’t too expensive ($25/yr). It allows you to have as many photo sets as you like, no upload cap, etc.  The question is, will anybody look at it?

Next up: Liberry meets youtube!!1!!

LibXciting

I’ve rediscovered something I wrote off a long time ago, and it’s name is LibX. It is a free tool that creates a Firefox/IE toolbar to let users search your library’s catalog. A nice feature, but LibX is even craftier- if you’re browsing books on Amazon, it will automagically create a link (next to the title) to that item in your catalog. The setup takes just a few minutes, gives you control over every option, and even has version management. I’d post a picture of the awesomeness, but WordPress 2.5 still doesn’t let me upload pictures. Curses!

Be that as it may, you can still download my toolbar (for firefox)

It’s no understatement to say that every library in the world should use this.

Viva Chambana

What a couple of days.

I’ve been faced with some life-altering decisions lately, which I avoid as a general rule.  Not the least of these was my education.  For those keeping score, I earned my undergrad degrees from SIUE, the Harvard of Madison county.  Unfortunately, it’s well established that a masters degree is the new bachelors, so grad school seemed like a logical step at this particular time in my life.

Last week I had the chance to visit the University of Illinois Champain-Urbana, whose lengthy name must have worn out thousands of keyboards over the years.  Let’s call it UIUC.

My goal was to learn whatever I could about the Linguistics Dept.  Burning questions, such as wtf is phonology? and How many villas can I afford on a linguists salary? were going to be answered.  I arranged some meetings with staff & students, but my visit was mostly improvised.

And I had a good time.  On Thursday,I interrogated several students about their experiences, and what I heard was mostly good.  Shoutout to Karen L., who showed me around and sold me a schweet travel mug.

Then there was an earthquake.  I wouldn’t have noticed at all, were it not for the subsequent pre-dawn phone call from Ape.  I went to a couple of Linguistics classes post-quake, met some faculty, attended a Linguistics Student Organization meeting (perhaps the first of many?), and stopped by the Champaign Public Library, whose new building is impressive but a little to vast & imposing for my taste.  Libraries should be cozy and fun, after all.

On the way home I had lots of time to think.  When my car wasn’t being damn near blown off the road by a strong southern wind, I reflected on what my life would be like if I studied Linguistics.  I know that the education at UIUC would be stimulating, and that I would probably reach intellectual nirvana, if I didn’t wig out from all the work.  That part doesn’t really worry me too much.  Then I thought about my career.  If I studied computational linguistics, I’d spend much of my life programming, perhaps developing better translation software (a goal worth fighting for).  If I studied historical linguistics, I’d become an academic.

There’s something unsettling about the cycle you fall into in academia.  You go to school for years and years to study a science/art, then you spend even more years teaching it to younger people, a number of whom will go on to teach it to even younger people.  This cycle is only punctuated by your research, which may or may not be of use to anyone.

Aside from that, academia is vulnerable to vicious in-fighting, gossip, politics, and yes, even outright bitchiness.  I realize that it’s endemic to all professions, but I’d like to think that highly educated people would be able to rise above at least some of those things.  Politiking seems especially bad among faculty; maybe their education makes it worse.

In any case, I’m not sure it’s what I want to do.  There are different paths I could follow outside of Grad school that would be similarly fulfilling, if I could only decided which one is right for me.

I did have to make one hard decision this week, which was made worse by the fact that it affects more people than just myself.  I don’t know yet if it’s the right one.

Forsooth! Forsythia!

Yes, that harbinger of warm weather has reared its golden head.  The Sun must have woken up one morning and decided it was time to make the Northern Hemisphere hospitable again, which was Earth’s cue to roll out the green carpet and bring some color back to the landscape.

*Note* I’d meant to include a picture of a Forsythia to round this post out, but WordPress 2.5 continues to be a bastard about uploading pictures.