The Real Paul Jones

Accept no substitutes

Month: June 2006 (page 1 of 4)

The Brain of my car

My lovely wonderful PT Cruiser is now over 5 years old and has experienced over 60,000 miles of travel with no big problems. But just before it’s 60K mile redo — the night before in fact — it stalled out at every stop light and took what seemed like forever to restart (grind grind grind grind).
I took it in the next morning for the 60K and told the mechanic about the sudden onset of the stallouts. He nodded and said that it had been a hot evening and that some gunk in the throttle housing must have gotten more liquid and then stopped up some of the throttle intake. He added that to the list.
For a few days the car and I were fine. Then last Tuesday evening, after very good and very normal performance, the car stalled at a light again and took almost 5 minutes to restart.
On the way home, it stalled regularly at stops.
I got back on the fix it list.
The car worked fine.
Today I took the car in and in a few minutes it was back out. What happened? The mechanic said that there was a tech bulletin that described a similar problem. The fix was to download some new firmware into the onboard computer. So far so good.

Lyceum in Reference Services Review

Fred and Jeff, Stutzman and Pomerantz, have a new article “Collaborative reference work in the blogosphere.” Reference Services Review 34, No. 2 (2006): 200-212.

Abstract: Purpose This paper explores the use of blogs as a platform forproviding reference service, and discusses Lyceum, an open source software project from, for this purpose.

Design/methodology/approach The following topics are explored: the evolution of libraries’ uses of blogs, the advantages of conducting the reference transaction as a collaborative effort, and the use of blogs as an environment that fosters collaboration. The argument is made that blogs may be used to good effect in reference services

Findings It is argued that blogs may be used to good effect in reference services. Lyceum, an open source blogosphere application, is discussed as an environment for blog-based reference service.

Alan Garr and New Hill Echoes at Bynum

Tonight, Alan Garr and the New Hill Echoes will be playing at the Bynum General Store at 7 or 7:30 depending on which info you go by. The band includes Sylvia who occassionally comments here.
I plan to be there. The Bynum Front Porch Series is a lot of fun and is blanket friendly. Caught a great show there by Sarah Lee Guthrie and Johnny Irion there a while back.

New Books on My Shelf

I’ve been reading good literary novels up til lately. Now I’ve picked up the first two “Read Or Die” manga and Vernor Vinge‘s new “Rainbows End.” Any manga that has as its hero, a librarian with special powers over paper is fine by me. And Vinge’s new book, dedicated to Wikipedia, Google and eBay is described, in part, this way on the flap:

As Robert becomes more deeply involved in the conspiracy, he is shocked to learn if a radical change planned for the UCSD Geisel Library; all the books there, and worldwide, would cease to physically exist.

Digital Curation Grant for SILS, ibiblio, UNC Libraries

The Institute of Museum and Library Services announced the recipients of the Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program grants. A UNC team that includes will receive over $500k in support of our project, Preserving Access to Our Digital Future: Building an International Digital Curation Curriculum and the Carolina Digital Curation Fellowship Program.

Members in the project include:

Helen Tibbo, Principle Investigator (PI) (for School of Information and Library Science)
Cal Lee, Co-PI (for School of Information and Library Science)
Charlie Green (for ITS)
Paul Jones (for and School of Information and Library Science)
Sarah Michalak (for UNC Academic Libraries)
Natasha Smith (for UNC Academic Libraries)

Tie vote scuttles Net Neutrality (for now)

The Senate Telecommunications Committee voted 11 – 11 not to include the Net Neutrality provisions recommended by Senators Olympia Snowe and Byron Dorgan. There will be more action on the full Senate voting and much lobbying upcoming. Washington Post reports here. And a good brief summary in USA Today.


UPDATE: Senator Wyden puts hold on Telecom Bill Without Net Neutrality.

More Mini than Mini – the SmartCar

SmartCar at MOMA
When I was in Granada last month, I was amazed by a very little 2 seat car that was all over the city. The SmartCar only takes up about half a parking space and is extremely fuel effecient.

Now AP (via NYTimes) tells us that DaimlerChrysler is bringing the SmartCar to the USA.

Let’s see 60K miles and 5 years on my PT. Hmmmm.

Raleigh Chronicle on Apple Store Opening

Yancy the first customer gets high fives

My story on and pics of the Crabtree Apple Store Opening at up at the Raleigh Chronicle site now.

BarCampRDU chicklet

Kurt Schlatzer of 6th Sense Analytics has whipped up this very cool chicklet for BarCampRDU. (from the BarCampRDU blog).

WRAL’s TechTalk on BarCampRDU

Fred alerts us to Tara’s TechTalk piece on the WRAL blogs explaining BarCampRDU. It’s a very clear and concise piece that gets the BarCamp facts right and lets you know a little about the what, who, where and why of BarCampRDU.

Apple Store Opening – pictures

I was there at Crabtree on Saturday along with about 400 others at the moment of opening. I filed my story with the Raleigh Chronicle on Saturday afternoon. The Chronicle is a Tuesday – Friday paper so’s it won’t be out until tomorrow. In the meantime, here are some of the pictures that I took before and during the opening.

Isolation update in Washington Post

We were alerted by Barry Wellman that Sebastian Mallaby would be publishing an Opinion section of the Washington Post on the Social Isolation story. It’s up now (and likely in print too), but Barry and I are both disappointed. Mallaby misses the findings of Barry’s research even though he mentions them. Twenty minutes on the phone with Barry, the top guy on friendship networks living, and Mallaby can’t tell that 15 is greater than 2 or 3 without changing what that means.

No, no! We are not lonely and we do have broader social networks than ever before according to Wellman.

But that doesn’t satisfy Mallaby; once he’s told that we actually have more extensive networks, he switches his stance to tell us that having a more extensive network means that we don’t have connections that are as deep as in the networks-formerly-known-as-lonely-but-now-known-as-deep.

Mallaby’s suggestion form carpools is clever but only slightly extends your social network, only slightly deepens a couple of relationships.

Here’s a more clever suggestion: People should join bike-to-work groups. People who experience more physical exercise and who experience that exercise together are more social and more physicially healthy too. And they use no gas at all!

Or to borrow from a scandalous talk by James Watson, people are happier when they are overweight and well tanned. We all need to get to the beach and participate in that most isolationist of pleasurable activities — reading an engrossing book!

Isolation? What Isolation?

Barry Wellman gives the inside story on the study that has been widely misquoted in the press about social isolation including this one in the Washington Post Social Isolation Growing in U.S., Study Says The Number of People Who Say They Have No One to Confide In Has Risen by Shankar Vedantam published on Friday, June 23, 2006.

Wellman writes to the Association of Internet Researchers (quoted in full with permission):

Re the Washington Post story below [I have noted and linked that story above – pj] (and a similar USA Today story):

To my mind, it’s an interesting case of media distortion.

The good news: the accounts are based on a high-quality survey (US General Social Survey) by first-class reseachers (Lynn Smith-Lovin & Miller McPherson) + Matthew Brashaers whom I don’t know, in sociology’s leading journal, American Sociological Review. I was a referee on this paper, btw, and revealed myself at appropriate time to the authors.

The study replicates one stimulus Q from the General Social Survey 20 years ago about who do you have to discuss important matters with. It finds a mean of about 2 in 2004, down from 3 in 1984 (or was it 1985)?

Here’s the problem:

Based on this, the 2 newspapers have created a huge social isolation spin on this, when it’s well known that people have lotsa ties, not just 2 or 3. See our data from Pew Internet, Connected Lives study) + lotsa others. Indeed, altho we are not as parallel as the US GSS, comparing Connected Lives (3rd East York study, 2004) with the second East York study (1979 data) shows more active ties now, both intimate and significant ties.

Thus the media spin is a huge inferential leap from a decline in the super-core ties to saying Americans are socially isolated.

If you read further in the Washington Post and USA Today articles, you’ll see me quoted as suggesting that we now have more ties — and more contact with ties — but that relationships are differentiated. In other words, the relative decline in discussion partners shouldn’t be generalized to either absolute isolation or even growing isolation.

Of course, YMMV.

Barry Wellman writes again “FYI, the Wa Post is probably going to run a followup editorial in next day or 2 by Sebastian Mellaby.”

Should be Sebastian Mallaby who writes on Mondays. So keep an eye open for that. pj

How to Kill Creativity

The wonderful Kathy Sierra of “Creating Passionate Users” points us to Slow Leadership’s fine article and graphic on “How to Kill Creativity.” Read and heed.
See also Slow’s “mistrust and trust” article.

Phil Dick Android Still Missing

The NY Times covers the case of the missing Phillip K Dick Android head (again). Sally and I were amazed by the PKDA at NextFest in Chicago last summer. Now I feel like I’m reading about the wandering mystery of an old friend.
His disappearance was first reported back in February.

Apple Store Opening – part 2

Why has the store opening been delayed for 6 months?
Khalil said that he had no knowledge that there had beenany delay despite of what had been reported in the News and Observer.

What are they doing to prepare for flooding?
Khalil pointed out that the Apple Store is on the second floor of Crabtree Valley Mall and is not likely to be flooded.

Is it true that Apple tries to keep their openings secret until the last minute to generate interest via viral publicity?
What secret? says Khalil. This store has been two years in the planning and although the first part of the planning was secret as most deals are. Apple certainly hasn’t hidden any stories about the Crabtree Store. It’s been on the Apple site for a while now. But yes, Apple customers are interested because they feel a strong ownership of the Apple brand.

Apple Store Opening – part 1

Was at the Crabtree Valley Mall Apple Store opening this morning. I was there for Randall Gregg’s Raleigh Chronicle trying to commit journalism of a sort. Randall gets first crack at the pictures and the writing, but I’ll link to whatever he uses and then to the pictures that he doesn’t use later.

There as a big crowd of what I would guess was between 300 and 400 people in line by the time the store opened. All enthusiastic and less white male than one might assume.

More once Randall has his picks.

Lyceum Logo and New Release

On the Lyceum Blog/site, JJB alerts us of a new Lyceum Release candidate to try out. And Fred tells us about this wonderful new Lyceum logo:
Lyceum logo

Words are worth a thousand pictures

JOMC’s Laura Ruel reports that the Nielsen Norman Group reports: “Task-oriented users really don’t pay attention to images on Web pages.”

Laura goes on to report that:

According to NNG, images that do NOT attract attention share these traits:

* Generic/stock art
* Off-putting, cold, fake, too polished or “set up”
* Not related to content
* Look like advertisements
* Low contrast in terms of color — not crisp

Meanwhile, images that DO get attention share these traits:

* Related to page content
* Clearly composed and appropriately cropped
* Contain “approachable” people who are smiling, looking at the camera, not models
* Show areas of personal/private anatomy (Men tended to fixate on these areas more than women — really!)
* Items a user may want to buy.


Texas Monthly Cover

David Menconi covers the cover on the NandO Music blog. It would be funnier if the next elections weren’t so serious — even for the do-nothing job of Governor of Texas.

Still I find the Kinkster very funny, very talented and very crazy in the best ways.

NOTE: the Kinky official site tells us that on June 21 Kinky was officially placed on the official ballot having gotten the most officially valid signature of any independent candidate.

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