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November 30, 2006

And finally, the books

All right, so I took like twelve days to get around to filling out the basic bibliographic information, but finally, the two parliamentary papers (well, books, really) I've just uploaded are the Report of the Chief Librarian, General Assembly Library for the year ended 31 March 1958 (Special Centennial Issue) and the Report of the National Library Service for the Year Ended 31 March 1958; the latter has already been converted into HTML for Project Gutenberg, too. Both were, of course, like most if not all other papers in the AJHRs, Presented to the House of Representatives by Leave.

Thanks to the New Zealand Parliamentary Library for telling me what their birthday was by pointing me to their centennial annual report. I ended up using the two above plus their 1925 annual report as birthday texts (their birthday, that is) on Project Gutenberg's Distributed Proofreaders proofreading site. For the record, the library tells me their birthday (albeit in the predecessor name, the General Assembly Library) is 20 September 1858, when that institution we all know and love (or not love, as the case may be), the Parliament of New Zealand (or, again, at the time, the General Assembly of New Zealand in Parliament assembled) appointed a certain Major Francis Campbell as its first librarian.

Methinks now I'll move back to the morality and juvenile delinquency inquiries and texts I usually scan (or find scans of). Problem is deciding what to do next, and means. Case in point is Contraception, sterilisation and abortion in New Zealand: report of the Royal Commission of Inquiry. I'd like to scan it, but problem is, it's 454-odd pages. That means major spine bending if I do, and I don't exactly want to go damaging a book or report (this one's both, I guess) that isn't mine. Same goes for the Mahon Royal Commission's report (or, the Royal Commission to Inquire into the Crash on Mount Erebus, Antarctica of a DC10 Aircraft Operated by Air New Zealand Limited), though not a sexuality- or morality-related text. That one's shorter at 166-odd pages and may be manageable, but there's the problem of the full bleed (edge-to-edge) photographs. That'd make them become difficult to scan -- they are spectacular though for colour photographs of the time and make a compelling part of the report, so I do need to include them. Plus there appear to be copyright notices on some graphs and diagrams, especially near the end of the report (I'm told these are erroneous claims that wouldn't hold up if challenged, but them notices are still there nonetheless, and methinks that I do need further confirmations on those before I scan them; I could scan them without the graphs but I'm also told those diagrams and graphs are important factual documents I can't exclude for balance reasons). The spine's size I imagine might make it easier to scan, however.

Sigh. But I'll figure something out eventually, I'm sure.

But a lot of it is to do with money for equipment. You can't exactly easily run a scanning project, even as specific as mine, on a shoestring type budget. And to make the spine issue (which many of us have have ever gone scanning or photocopying large books are all too aware of) and those curved lines of text less obvious requires better scanning equipment like the OpticBook. (Either one of these kind of scanners, or a really expensive scanning service like the Heritage Materials Imaging Facility -- but use of their top-of-the-line Cruse non-invasive scanner is rather expensive with a per page price, the VUW NZETC tell me!) Quite likely it'd be prohibitive for an individual person like me.) Maybe a contestable fund like what Russell Brown suggests might help here. Either that or winning the national lottery. As Russell puts it:

Develop a simple, contestable fund to allow individuals and groups to have public archive content digitised on request, thus extending decision-making power to the people who will actually use the content. Make all such content available under a Creative Commons licence, thus developing an on-demand archive in parallel with any archive developed as part of an official strategy.

(This idea of his was written in response to Creating Digital New Zealand: The Draft New Zealand Digital Content Strategy: Discussion Document. If you wanna comment on this very wordily-titled discussion paper, you'd better hurry. You've only got three weeks; the cover says Comments due by Wednesday 20 December 2006.)

As for why I took so long to post this, hopefully I can announce why come Monday next week. Wednesday or Thursday at the latest, maybe. Or I'll forget to anyway... I'll see.

November 18, 2006

New books uploaded

Well, while I get some things sorted over the next few weeks, I'll be a bit snowed over with things to do -- I can't say yet out loud what's happening, alas. Here's a couple of things that have been happening.

For a break from my usual morality inquiry (and related books) scans, I've been scanning books from other subject areas, such as Hinemoa. New stuff today includes some education-related parliamentary annual reports from the late 1950s. There's a couple of these I'll have links for in the next few weeks once I remember where I've put the PDF scans for them and get full title information for them.

Something that's been sitting on my computer's desktop screen for nearly three weeks now since All Saints' Day is an opinion piece on sainthood from the NYT.

Anyone for a real debit card?

For some years, I was aware that Westpac New Zealand were (past tense) offering a Visa-linked debit card, which from what I was able to tell, they called a 'cheque card'. One of those you can actually use online or over the phone, that is. But they weren't offering it to new customers. Now, in the guise of something called Westpac Debitplus Visa, it's present tense again.

(These appear to be the cards with a Visa logo and hologram and the word 'debit' under the logo.)

At $10 per year, linked to a current account or cheque account, it seems quite nice. 2.5% for the foreign currency fee is a bit on the high side, though. If one gets enough mailorder stuff from overseas or actually goes overseas often enough, there probably are cheaper options (taking into account the foreign currency charges) for a bit more in terms of the annual fee.

On the other hand, I don't tend to like credit cards myself, so this is somewhat attractive. I wonder why though the banking system here hasn't tried to popularise it -- maybe the EFTPOS system is too lucrative a revenue stream (in Australia, some banks appear to offer Visa-branded debit cards as a way to avoid EFTPOS charges) to give up, if it is lucrative at all? I've no idea. With the low or no fee transaction accounts already here in NZ, though, that doesn't seem to me to be a reason for not having them already.

No young ones getting the card, though, if one defines younger than 18 as young.

Disclaimer: I'm not being paid for, nor have I been asked to write the above. Heck, I'm not even a customer. I think.

November 16, 2006


I am likely to be doing a semi-mysterious appearance somewhere in Auckland early on the 29th, and disappearing again on the 30th. Apart from a short bout o' school-related things at this stage, I'm mostly free.

Any other hēkeretari/people/bears I know that wanna meet, lemme know!

Hugs, Jonathan.

[Entry cross-posted to LJ.]

November 2, 2006

Offline, finally...

It's probably been the biggest annoyance with Google's Jabber implementation, the lack of offline messages. I only use my Gmail-based accounts occasionally, but I do send messages to a lot of Gmail-based or hosted Jabber addresses via my own server, so hopefully it really does work; at least I tried one message to a friend just now telling her about my Christmas plans and it seemed to not complain anymore about 503, service not available, or something like that.

On a note, it appears from what I can tell that offline isn't available yet for sending messages via the Gmail webmail interface. Hopefully soon.

That is good. If it weren't for my worries about how I'd transfer my Jabber roster over to them and keep subscription information, I'd probably be using hosted Gmail for my e-mail and Jabber service already. It's fun running my own server, but does require quite a bit of work to keep it sane. Worst case, if I can't be bothered running my own server anymore, it should be quite an easy effort to move the roster semi-manually. Just re-requesting subscriptions will be annoying. Sigh.

November 1, 2006

Bedtime reading -- two unrelated stories

I really must have some odd reading tonight. Again, I've included very small fair-use (hopefully) snippets that hopefully summarise each.

  1. Penn State Live: Can school bullying have deadly consequences?

    Studies back up Carney's assertion. A Secret Service report published in 2000 on fatal school shootings since 1974 found that more than 75 percent of all school shooters had experienced ongoing peer bullying. According to the report, the attacker often had felt "persecuted, bullied, threatened, attacked or injured before the incident. Many had experienced longstanding and severe bullying and harassment, which some attackers describe as torment."

    Many experts agree that educators bear some responsibility for the school conditions that set the stage for deadly violence. In her 2001 study, "Adult Recognition of School Bullying Situations," Carney and colleague Richard Hazler tested whether teachers and other school personnel could distinguish between bullying and "other forms of youthful play or fighting."

  2. MSNBC: China says North Korea to rejoin 6-nation nuclear talks.

    Chief envoys to the negotiations from China, North Korea and the United States held an informal meeting in Beijing on Tuesday and agreed to resume the six-nation talks, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said in a statement posted on its Web site.

Yeah, I'd say I have some odd reading tonight. The first one goes within my academic area of research interest, though.