Saturday, March 19, 2005

Mr. Golightly takes another look...

Having finished Instances of the Number 3, reading Mr. Golightly's Holiday is another step in the process of peeling back layers of Salley Vickers' vision of life as a stream which flows out of the panorama of existence, and which we call reality. Apparently we dip in and out with the flow of time and space. Crime, cruelty and outright meanness are hereby flatly rejected, but ways of loving and living which people work out for themselves without harm to others seem to be just variants on the human story. There is really no way to describe Vickers' writing, and her insights aren't those of youth. The only predictable thing about whatever she writes next is that it will be different. And I will read it.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Pre-Schooler installs Mac OS X...

Yesterday a friend of mine who has an original iMac (blue), and who had been happy with OS 9, told me that last weekend, her little son (about 4) was amusing himself pressing a key on the family iMac while his Mom was doing some laundry. To her surprise, she heard a noise. The machine turned itself on, booted up and installed Mac OS X. Imagine the SHOCK!

Once the deed was done it did seem like a good idea, since they had just acquired an iPod. Her husband called Apple and ordered the latest version of OS X. What were the odds that the key the little guy picked to pluck would be the "X" key?

;) Once again, Mac OS X *is* the easiest OS to install, as shown by its installation by a four year old!

Monday, March 07, 2005

Dangerous Net News?

This morning on the way to work the radio news informed me that in the last 5 years there has been a slow and steady move to getting our news on the web. I assume this shift in the demographic is FROM television, since radio news had been losing out to television for years. After telling us of this gradual increase in the numbers of us getting our news from the web, the commentator offered up this advice: "The danger inherent in getting your news from the web is that you don't always know what you're getting."

So - does this mean that when I go to the New York Times, the BBC, the CBC, NBC, CBS and ABC, Reuters, AP and the usual sources ON THE WEB, I am getting less valuable news? No. It means that for some reason, the fear is that I might lose my powers of discernment as soon as I turn on the Mac, and get my news from Joe's News and Propaganda(fictitious) or the like. I think not. Perhaps there are people whose choices are as bad on the net as they are on their radios and TVs, so if they get unreliable news what else would you expect?

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Troy ploy or Boy Toy?

Brad Pitt did a fine job in Troy but the script was lacking. Please spare us the touchie-feelie nowness of the Paris character. Paris was nothing like that if I remember my Iliad, and if he had been he would never have gotten Helen. So, if you have read even half of the Iliad, you may not want to see Troy. However, the making of the movie was fine. The cinematography, the sets, the ability to digitally enhance and create settings larger than life, as well as the investment of large sums in creating large REAL settings in Baja, Mexico and in Malta, have all given Troy a touch of greatness. The music and the visuals are enough to make this Oscar material, and the acting was superb. Brad Pitt as Achilles, and Eric Bana as Hector were supported by fine performances from Orlando Bloom (Paris), Sean Bean (Odysseus), and many more.

The dialogue was not great. The plotting and the writing needed fine tuning which was not evident. Some of the lines had us groaning. Achilles seemed to go back and forth between a ruthless Greek warrior and an angst-ridden sensitive man of the 21st century. That wasn't pretty. But the scenes with Achilles running ahead of his black helmeted Myrmidons in full attack mode were breathtaking. Well done.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Instances of the Number 3

Salley Vickers strikes gold again. After Miss Garnet's Angel, I decided to read whatever else Salley Vickers had written. I am now reading Instances Of the Number 3. Instances...is as Intriguing and originally plotted as Miss Garnet...Peter has died, and we find his widow and his mistress beginning to know each other due to some cause neither really can identify. Upon the scene comes a lovely boy, dark with brilliant blue eyes, a "friend" of Peter's whom Bridget, his wife, soon lets move into her home when she finds out that he, Zahin, has no where to live at present. The threads of relationships seem unfathomable, yet as things happen day to day the supernatural which surrounds us slowly reveals itself in bits to our protagonists. Bridget is really the main character around whom the novel moves, and I look forward to the next chapter.

Books for home book cataloging

In a sudden moment of shareware craving, I decided to get a few of the home book cataloging shareware proggies and give them a try. Bookpedia is overkill and nothing I need, though nice. Books is perfect. Small, works well, and will import some information from Amazon if the ISBN is entered. But the ISBN is the only web search field, and the information resulting is not as complete as I would like. I also found that a nifty addition to Books is to scan your own dust jackets because most of us with many books have books whose editions are not those readily available on Amazon, or if they are listed, no jacket is available. One more reason to scan your older books - it is fun! I am watching the size of this program and the speed of saves to see if as books are added there is a point of slowdown.

Did I mention that Books is FREE? A nice feature. There is a newer version for Mac OS X 10.3, and the looks are even better. Very nice UI, quite intuitive if you know your book data. The format is XML, which is exportable of course. As a library cataloger, I could wish that the book date were a bit more complete, the edition statements are not as LC would have them. In fact I wish the LC editions, genre, and subjects were used. Would it be too much to ask for a mini MARC record? That would be a great standard. But for home use, this program is the best. I am not motivated to put all my books in the database, but selected items will go in there over time.