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Thoughts on Twitter

Sep 4, 2013
Ted Underwood made the following comment on Scott Weingart’s post about a recent controversy with the Journal of Digital Humanities: I can also imagine framing the issue, for instance, as a question about the way power tends to be exercised in a one-to-many social medium. I don’t know many academic fields that rely on Twitter as heavily as DH does. It certainly has as much power in the field as JDH (which, frankly, is not a high-profile journal).

LibraryThing Ownership Relative to Total Sales

Oct 11, 2012
The Guardian recently posted some sales data of the Booker Prize winners. I thought it would be interesting to compare those figures with LibraryThing ownership to see how reliable that latter figure might be in determining a book’s total sales. The median was 2.77%, mean 3.88%. The table is below, not very well-formatted I’m afraid. 1969 PH Newby Something To Answer For Faber & Faber 421 64 15.20% 1970 Bernice Rubens The Elected Member Eyre & Spottiswoode 3,901 133 3.

Google Blacklist

Oct 8, 2011
How does it happen? I don’t know, but for some mysterious reason, my cv has not only disappeared from google’s index, googlebot will not—under any circumstances I can create—follow a link to it. This blog was the victim of a php-injection scandal a year or two ago, but I did manage to clear it out, and every single other page or post I’ve made here is still in the index. I created a new cv page to test my hypothesis that the url was blacklisted, and, sure enough googlebot merrily retrieved it.

Tracer Cookie

Aug 6, 2010
In a discussion of Wallace’s “Mister Squishy,” I believe, a member of the wallace-l discussion list made a comment about how he didn’t seem to understand computer jargon very well, despite his penchant for deep research. I don’t know if I thought that was entirely fair at the time, but I would like to offer the following passage from Thomas Harris (an often deep researcher himself) for comparison: “The FBI has a closed system and some of it’s encrypted.

A LibraryThing Oddity

Mar 15, 2010
Like, I suppose many users of LibraryThing, I am curious about statistics the site provides about its users. While I understand why Harry Potter, Twilight, Douglas Adams, and a series of high school and college staples would be among the most popular books owned, I don’t quite see why Jeffrey Eugenides’ Middlesex would be the sixtieth most-owned item, with an astounding 14,000 copies listed. (Oh. Wikipedia just told me that it was in Oprah’s book club.


Mar 10, 2010
I am a late adopter of LibraryThing, but I have slowly entered most of my books into it over the last few weeks. A goodly number have incorrect editions, and I was too impatient to fix them. The “members with your books” feature also seems to update sporadically, which is mildly annoying. I also am not sure I understand the weighting algorithm, though I hope it’s based on books shared by you and the fewest number of other folks.

On Being Hacked

Sep 12, 2009
If you visited here two days ago, you may have noticed that I had decided to start linking to several thousand sites selling cheap pharmaceuticals. Rather than a bold business decision, this was the result of an SQL-injection bug, which Wordpress, even the latest version (if you don’t take certain precautions and probably even then) is vulnerable to. To the best of my knowledge, it’s all cleared up, though google is not indexing my site, and I ended up nuking several old course blogs even though I don’t think they were necessarily infected.

Some More Complaints about JSTOR; The NWE

Apr 8, 2008
The new interface is too busy, and the page images are too small on the screen. I also don’t appreciate having to click through a pop-up each time I want to download a PDF. I looked briefly to see if there was a way of using the superior older interface, and it doesn’t seem like it. The “see first match” option also seems to be broken. In other news, I’ve heard that the Networked Writing Environment at UF, where I taught many classes as a TA, has been dismantled.

Some Complaints about JSTOR

Mar 19, 2008
The scanning of the Burlington needs to be enlarged or redone, possibly. I have trouble reading the footnotes especially, which, if you want to find out the story about the transfer of Goya’s Black Paintings to canvas, for example, is really where the action is. Another item is if you are doing a multiple keyword search, say “Goya (saturn or saturno)“. You will see a list at the top of the page which tells you that ONE or more of the items from your search appears on so-and-so page; but, when one of these items is much more common than another, as in this case, that tells you very little useful information.

It Starts with the Loss of a Semicolon

Dec 10, 2005
The most famous paragraph in “bad writing discussions”: Theodor Haecker was rightfully alarmed by the fact that the semicolon is dying out; this told him that no one can write a period, a sentence containing several balanced clauses, any more. Part of this incapacity is the fear of page-long paragraphs, a fear created by the marketplace–by the consumer who does not want to tax himself and to whom first editors and then writers accommodated for the sake of their incomes, until finally they invented ideologies for their own accommodation, like lucidity, objectivity, and concise precision.

Jottings on Manovich

Nov 16, 2005
Manovich, Lev. The Language of New Media. MIT, 2001. “In this respect the computer fulfills the promise of cinema as a visual Esperanto” (xv, 78). I wonder here, and in the later comments about the universality of the interface, about the distinction between a recovered universal language and an artificial one. Esperanto invokes questions of “ease,” which I believe my friend Bradley discusses in his dissertation. Is the simplest language the most perfect?

Complaint about Social Bookmarking; Interesting Book; Why I Am Waiting on Something Available for a Macintosh, Does This Not Subvert the Natural Order?

Aug 13, 2005
Neither del.icio.us nor del.irio.us have allowed me to register for their services. I don’t expect I’m missing something. I just never get to where I’m able to add the bookmarklet. None dare call it treason. Via Grand Text Auto, I found Florian Cramer’s Word Made Flesh, a book that seems to touch upon several of my more obscure research interests at the moment. Perhaps I’ll have a chance to post more about it later.

Codex Sinaiticus Digitization Initiative

Mar 29, 2005
From The Economist. I found this to be curious: According to Scot McKendrick, curator for classical, Byzantine and biblical manuscripts at the British Library, only four researchers in the past 20 years have been allowed access to those parts of the original that are in London.

JSTOR Search Flaw

Mar 10, 2005
Let’s say that, for obvious reasons, you do a search for “Silenus entropy.” You get your five or three results, depending, but from there, you can not select pages based on which word they match. If the article is about entropy and mentions it on every page, you’ll have to do another search or look in vain for the odd mention of Silenus. Anyone else had this problem?

A Blog Is Being Obscured

Feb 15, 2005
I can’t tell you how happy this makes me. Blogs have been making google nearly useless for a long, long time. My quotation of an AP story was the number one hit for “Carisa Ashe” for at least a day, for example. That’s not what you want out of life. And this will also help eliminate the motivation for comment and trackback spam. Thanks to Clancy for passing along the news.

Kevin Drum Overreacts to Google Initiative Criticism

Dec 17, 2004
The former Calpundit has some harsh things to say about this L.A. Times piece by Michael Gorman, the president-elect of the ALA. Drum’s main criticism is that there is no rational grounds for Gorman to object to an initiative that will make it easier for scholars to do what they already do in physical libraries. Gorman argues that the process of digitization will encourage the improper use of scholarly knowledge, turning instead into mere decontextualized information.