Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Emma at ALA - Day 5

Our presentation went well. Michele is a great speaker and has no nerves whatsoever. I get fidgety, but once we start it's just fun. The audience had good questions and some interesting ideas, too. Afterwards I had a chance to go to some very interesting presentations about turning your website into a virtual branch and another one about using drupal. Very, very helpful. I'm ready to get home and get to work!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Emma at ALA - Day 4

Emma and I got to meet some very interesting people today. I'm feeling optimistic about her future. Michele McNeal arrived in time for PLA's President's Awards Ceremony. (That's where I met the interesting people.) I was very glad to accept the Polaris Award on Emma's behalf. Michele, Kris, and I had a quick bite then went back to the hotel to run through our presentation.

Emma at ALA - Day 3

Good, productive meetings today. It's hard not to think of Emma as one of our "real" cats, protective and concerned for her well-being. Someone else can figure out the psychology of all that. It's very hot down here, and the heat is definitely wearing me out. It doesn't help that we're walking everywhere since the buses only run every 45 min. or so, and the only alternative is a cab.

Had another nice, quiet dinner at Wasabi.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Emma at ALA - Day 2

Had some much needed sleep. I feel like I haven't slept or eaten much in the last month. Barb V. keeps mentioning that I'm thinner; just too much stress, no appetite. Went to the opening ceremonies this evening, then wandered around the exhibits. Lots of scanners; digitizing is a big thing. Had a nice talk with OverDrive, Baker & Taylor, and the folk from Naxos. Even snagged a prize - a Baker & Taylor Cat bag. One company had a robot, but it wasn't AI. Cool, none the less.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Emma at ALA - Day 1

Got down here to New Orleans without any problems. Short night; we went to bed around 11:00 pm and got up at 3:00 am. Akron to Atlanta, Atlanta to New Orleans. Got to the hotel around 10:00 am and unpacked, then took a look around the convention hall. Very hot and humid here. Had a nice lunch at Wasabi, which was a 40 min walk from the hotel. Good eel, good udon. Still some work to do on our presentation. It's got to be good!

Friday, June 17, 2011

400% growth in virtual agent market predicted

Maybe this is more of a tweet:

CCM Benchmark predicts 400% growth of virtual agent market in 2014

Should librarians be scared?

Crawdads, crawfish, crayfish, crawdaddies...

Whatever they're called, I'm not eating them. Emma, Michele McNeal, and I are getting ready to present at ALA 2011 next week, and guess where it is? Yep. New Orleans. Now, I have lived outside of Lake County, Ohio - Chicago (seven years), Michigan (three years), Cape Town, South Africa (two very exciting weeks), but I've never been to New Orleans. Why make the trip? I don't drink, I don't like the hot weather, I don't eat crustaceans of any sort. Well, now I have a reason and will try to leave my preconceptions behind. Emma and I have a very clear goal for this trip; that should help. Also, Frommers says that there is one good Japanese restaurant in town, so maybe it won't be all bad.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Emma's favorite pilot

Besides my wife, that is. Emma and I are both great fans of the Polish author Stanislaw Lem, and especially enjoy the stories featuring Pirx.
Why is this character so appealing?
Allow me to be lazy and borrow a bit from Wikipedia:

"Pirx is a fictional character from works of science fiction by Stanisław Lem: the story collections Tales of Pirx the Pilot and More Tales of Pirx the Pilot, and the novel Fiasco. The story of Pirx is that of a spaceship cadet, pilot, and captain. In a way, Pirx is as an ordinary 'working man' who unlike traditional heroic space pilots has little if anything heroic about him. He sometimes finds himself in extreme situations, which he overcomes mostly through ordinary common sense and average luck."

I came across a film adaptation of one of my favorite Pirx stories, The Inquest in SearchOhio. What's the story about? I'm going to be lazy again and quote from Amazon:

"A major corporation produces human-like robots; however, the public opinion, the media and the trade unions oppose it. A decision is made to conduct an experiment. An experienced pilot is to fly a spaceship to Saturn and launch two artificial satellites from there. The crew will be made up of androids, and the commander must evaluate the work of his unusual team. To accomplish the flight, pilot Pirx is chosen, who is known for his honesty and integrity. His ill wishers from the corporation are afraid that Pirx's opinion might upset the profitable production, so they take measures..."

For a 1970's era Soviet SF film, Pilot Pirx's Inquest isn't bad. The story is certainly strong and the special effects are no worse than, say a typical Doctor Who episode from the same period. You can order a copy from SearchOhio. Of course, nothing beats reading the story, even in translation. It's part of More Tales of Pirx the Pilot. You get get a copy of that from SearchOhio, too.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Running around

My apologies to all of you who follow this blog. Emma and I have been running around during the last few weeks and I haven't had much of a chance to blog. Running around where, you ask? Mostly between Akron and Willoughby, with a few days on the West Coast thrown in for good measure. Now we have about 10 days to prepare for ALA in New Orleans. Our presentation is well on its way to completion (thank goodness for Michele McNeal!) but there's still work to do. Here are a few things I've learned in the last 3 weeks:

1. It's not possible to sleep well on a pile of random pillows instead of a mattress.

2. Raccoons pick the strangest places to expire.

3. Good udon noodles can be found at an airport.

4. Driving a minivan with an automatic transmission can be a thrilling, if unsafe, experience for someone used to a small car with a stick.

5. Zorbx will indeed remove almost any odor (not related to #2 above).

Well, our presentation isn't going to write itself. Time to get back to it.