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Leo Klein's blog

Browser War Redux

Submitted by Leo Klein on Tue, 12/12/06 (9:07pm)

I spose I'm showing my age by using 'Redux' instead of '2.0' but, boys and girls, I remember the first round of browser wars as if it were yesterday!

Essentially Internet Explorer booted Netscape off the face of the planet not because of any particular advantage it had over the competition but simply because it was part of the Windows OS and lock-in trumped all.

Well, since then, Microsoft has sat on the thing (so much for 'Freedom to Innovate') while an offshoot of Netscape, Mozilla, refined its own product, the open-source FireFox. Now finally MS has woken up and released IE7.

So it's the IE-Firefox Browser War all over again. But, but, argues Read/WriteWeb, what this really is is a proxy war between Microsoft and (who else?) Google with nothing less than the "multi-billion dollar advertising industry" at stake. How so, you ask? Well, read the rest of the post...

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The Gift to Be Simple

Submitted by Leo Klein on Mon, 12/11/06 (3:20pm)

It had to happen. First there was the period of experimentation on the Web. Websites were meant to be "explored" we were told -- even the more mundane ones. When that didn't seem to work out, the pendulum swung the other way in favor of clean and simple design. The search screen of Google comes to mind.

Now the question is, are we experiencing a backlash to the backlash?

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FireBug : Geek Tool of the Month

Submitted by Leo Klein on Mon, 12/11/06 (2:07pm)

Here's something that just made the life of anyone involved with CSS or Javascript a whole lot easier. FireBug is an "extention" for the Firefox Browser that allows you to see the CSS of a web page and change it in real-time.

ChillingEffects.org

Submitted by Leo Klein on Sun, 12/10/06 (1:51pm)

While googling for pictures of failed technologies for my post on eBooks, I came across a strange note at the bottom of Google's search results. It read:

"In response to a complaint we received under the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act, we have removed 2 result(s) from this page. If you wish, you may read the DMCA complaint that caused the removal(s) at ChillingEffects.org."

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eBooks are from the Department of Bad Ideas

Submitted by Leo Klein on Sun, 12/10/06 (12:36pm)

Sony eBook Reader Someone asked about eBooks on one of the library lists I'm on. They wanted to know what the prospects were. I responded on the list but I thought I'd share my opinion here as well.

I've never really understood the rationale behind these devices. I mean, I already have something that reads "electronic books" -- it's called a laptop. If I wanted something even more mobile, I'd get a smaller laptop -- or maybe use my PDA. The advantages of using my laptop -- besides the fact that I already own it -- is that I can play most formats on it, and not just one.

Hallmark of Failed Techonogy: Sony Memory Stick Walkman (NW-MS7)Furthermore, my laptop can do more than just "read" the thing -- I can cut out parts, re-use it, send it to friends and colleagues. I can link to the file, 'digg it', list it on del.icio.us. In other words, I can do everything I've become accustomed to do on a computer in a networked environment. Why would I want something that could do anything less?

I think if the sole purpose of a device is simply to serve as a platform for a proprietary format, it's doomed. This kind of "lock-in" is not popular with consumers. Just ask Sony how its own version of the iPod is doing.

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Hallmark of Failed Techonogy: Sony Memory Stick Walkman (NW-MS7)

Submitted by Leo Klein on Sun, 12/10/06 (12:31pm)

Sony launched this unit amid much fanfare and expectations on the auspicious occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Walkman. Forget the iPod, which didn't even exist at this point, this player was supposed to be the successor to the fabled Walkman. Unfortunately because it only played Sony's proprietary format and showed more innovation in Digital Rights Management than features, it never got off the ground.

Sony showed it hadn't learned anything when four years later it released the Network Walkman NW-HD1, its 'iPod Killer' that also failed to gain any market acceptance.

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Zillow Has A Wiki

Submitted by Leo Klein on Thu, 12/7/06 (3:19pm)

It's always interesting to see how other organizations apply technology. It can often be a source of ideas. Here's an example of the popular real estate site, Zillow, deploying a Wiki. (h/t TechCrunch)

Current Cites for November 2006

Submitted by Leo Klein on Tue, 12/5/06 (7:16pm)

Current Cites Logo

The belated issue of Current Cites for November 2006 is now available. You can find it here...

Wonderful World of Widgets

Submitted by Leo Klein on Mon, 12/4/06 (12:18am)

Sample Widget from ChipIn.com

Widgets (also called 'badges') are like small windows of information about you and your institution that people can put on their own sites.

The information can be about anything: events, news, hours of operation -- anything that you can pull from a database and list on people's sites so long as they embed the pieces of your code in their HTML.

Is Library Culture an Obstacle to Change?

Submitted by Leo Klein on Sun, 12/3/06 (3:14pm)

Educause Quarterly

When harshly criticized for the huge disconnect between his words and actions, Charles II defended himself by saying that the actions were his ministers's and that only the words were his own.

I was reminded of that quote when reading "Disconnects Between Library Culture and Millennial Generation Values" by Robert H. McDonald and Chuck Thomas" (Educause Quarterly, 23:4). The authors harshly criticize research libraries for not meeting the needs of their users due in part to a rigid adherence to "old values". This in turn leads to "fundamental disconnects" between libraries and their users in the areas of "technology, policy, and unexploited opportunities".

(more after the jump...)

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