At the Ref Desk (4/25/17): Someone calls but when I pick up the phone all I get is background noise -- people talking, etc. Did he or she just sit on their smartphone and dial out accidentally? Interesting jumping off point for a work of fiction... [more...]
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Cliché de Jour

'Join the Conversation' Makes It to This Year's Banished Word List

Submitted by Leo Klein on Mon, 1/4/16 (12:08am)

I've lived to see the day! "Join the conversation" has made it to this year's LSSU Banished Word List!

University Releases 2016 Banned Words List (WGN)

SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. – A university in Michigan has come out with its annual list of banished words.

Each year Lake Superior State University bans words or phrases it deems overused, misused, or in poor taste. Top contenders for 2016 include “vape,” “break the Internet” and “conversation.”

Now if only "disruptive" and "iconic" could make it to next year's list! Puh-leeeeeeezzzzeee!

Institution: 

Goodbye Cruel World

Submitted by Leo Klein on Thu, 12/16/10 (11:51pm)

I think I’m going to jump off a cliff -- the lords of platitude have won: http://tinyurl.com/3yndb62

ListServ is a ListServ is a ListServ

Submitted by Leo Klein on Sun, 8/8/10 (3:03pm)

ChicagoReader Logo I'm not sure why Michael Miner, who writes for the ChicagoReader on the local press scene, decided to dredge up the brouhaha over the recently closed-down listServ JournoList. I mean, it's been all over teh Internets™ for weeks now and doesn't really seem to have much to do with Chicago.

Location: 

The Ugly Truth about Cloud Computing

Submitted by Leo Klein on Thu, 10/22/09 (12:54am)

We used to just call it 'online'.

Cloud Computing : The Un-Definition

Submitted by Leo Klein on Wed, 9/23/09 (11:52am)

CIL_0909.gifI was out on the prowl for articles for this month's CurrentCites, when I came across an interesting article called "Libraries in the Cloud: Making a Case for Google and Amazon" in this month's 'Computers in Libraries'.

Maybe I'm being too picky but I don't think the author gets off to the best start with this definition of the subject:

"Many definitions exist for cloud computing, and a uniform definition is hard to find. In its most basic form, cloud computing is the availability of IT-type needs offered as services, often through a third-party vendor."

I 'spose that's right but frankly you could say the same thing about the guy who comes in and fixes our HP printers when they're on the fritz.

The missing ingredient of course which admittedly the author gets to a sentence or two further down, is 'hosted through the web'. I think I'd have put that in a bit earlier.

In any case, besides that, the article is a good introduction to the subject from a library point of view.

UPDATE: While I'm at it, CiL also has an interesting article on an almost DIY approach to archiving websites called, "Web Archiving for the Rest of Us". They look at "donation-ware" SiteSucker for harvesting and then Apple's Time Machine and FileMerge for version control. Quite resourceful!

Annals in the Mis-use of the Word 'Conversation'

Submitted by Leo Klein on Wed, 3/11/09 (2:32pm)

What he said:

"I did have a conversation with an airline employee, but it was certainly not like this silly gossip column made it out to be."

What really happened,

"[Sen. David Vitter] ... joined what we've dubbed the 'Mile-Low Club' by going ballistic on an airline worker after missing a flight from Washington’s Dulles airport to New Orleans."

MLA Issues New Handbook, Still Insists 'Website' is Two Words

Submitted by Leo Klein on Tue, 3/10/09 (5:00pm)

mla_handbook.jpgThe seventh edition of the MLA Handbook has just come out. The Chronicle of Higher Education points to the considerable effort the publishers have made to give this "bible of the undergraduate paper-writing process" a substantial web component. They have a password-protected website that contains the full text of the manual along with a whole ton of support material.

Good for them! It's great they're making such an effort. But what I want to know is why they still refuse to acknowledge that 'website' consists of only one word. Doing so would be a sign of true progress.

'Conversation' Fails Hillary

Submitted by Leo Klein on Sat, 6/7/08 (10:07am)

Conversation Snooze Not to be too political here (I really try not to be) but I was reminded by a segment on NPR's Weekend Edition, that the original opening line of Hillary Clinton's campaign was the almost unbearable cliche:

"Let the Conversation Begin"

It's interesting to read in most analyses of her loss to Sen. Obama (here's one), that it was specifically a lack of imagination, flexibility, and attention to detail that proved her undoing.

Perhaps the two are related...

Let the Conversation about the Word 'Conversation' Begin

Submitted by Leo Klein on Mon, 7/30/07 (8:32am)

First, Hillary Clinton begins her campaign for the presidency with the incredibly vapid statement:

Let the Conversation Begin

Then, the Washington Post counters in defense of a completely silly column on her anatomy:

Let the Cleavage Conversation Begin

Now Sam Boyd from Tapped has had enough. He writes:

Can We Not Let the Cleavage Conversation Begin

My suggestion is, maybe we can stop the Conversation long enough to actually say something. I mean, is there anyone who can still use this word with a straight face?

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