LJNDawson

Book publishing. And everything else.

Archive for the month “August, 2012”

Bio-Archive

I’m going to come back to this, I know. So I’m putting it out here now: researchers have encoded a textbook in synthesized DNA, and then converted it back to a digital file.

Staggering.

Going in Reverse

The sale of Frommer’s to Google got me thinking.

At Bowker, we’ve noticed several publishers who crank out POD titles that are compendia of Wikipedia articles. Yes, that’s right – these publishers crawl Wikipedia, and pull out articles that are related, and make books out of them.

Thousands of books. MILLIONS of books. All with ISBNs, denoting them as tradeable products in the book supply chain.

This strikes me as a strange phenomenon given the gradual migration of content from product to service.

In the book industry, we are so focused on the book as product. Yet, Google’s purchase (and its purchase of Zagat) tells us that, freed from the strictures of a bound product, content can actually be a service. Wikipedia is a service. Yelp is a service. Epicurious is a service.

The closer we get to disruption, the more we cling to established ways of doing things. So perhaps it’s not surprising that, as an industry, we’re churning out millions and millions of products comprised of content that is intended as a service. Soon we will begin publishing magazines made up of Epicur — oh, wait.

If your content is as good and valuable as you think it is, then think about it as a service people will pay for rather than a series of products that you print out and ship. Going in reverse only kills more trees.

It’s Happening

And any publisher who isn’t paying attention is NOT PAYING ATTENTION.

Google just bought Frommer’s. They already own Zagat.

At which I sputter, “…what Brian O’Leary said.” And, “…what Brian O’Leary said Esther Dyson said.” If Frommer’s is made actionable with Google’s search, Google Travel will probably include not only Zagat, but Google Maps. And will be a force to be reckoned with in terms of local advertising and merchandising.

The Singularity just got one step closer. Maybe several. And travel content just left the container.

Hedgehogs and Linked Data

This came across my desk this morning.

We’re converting one garden into hundreds, and combined with more naturally occurring wildlife corridors, potentially thousands. This is what we’re doing when we link data, the gardens represent our data and datasets and the link we’ve created gives users and machines unrestricted access to navigate from one dataset to another.

Also gives me an excuse to post this:

 

Which…you know. A hedgehog in a toilet paper tube is about the cutest thing God ever invented.

50 Rubber Ducks

Every so often, my work and home worlds collide. Not often. But last night was one of those times.

We have just installed a swimming pool and while the ground around it is all torn up, we are definitely using it. Helps with the hip; breast-stroking a few laps last night gave me the first endorphin rush I’ve had in months.

My stepdaughter is autistic, as I’ve mentioned, and loves to play with textures. I was thinking how great it would be to get 50 rubber ducks and float them in the pool for her, so she’d always have something to grab (and I like a Big Flashy Deal – 50 rubber ducks in a pool would be freaking awesome).

Loving Staten Island as I do, I wanted to buy them locally. But I don’t have a lot of time in my life for poking around shops trying to find 50 rubber ducks.

So, naturally, I complained on Twitter:

 

I started thinking about how great it would be if local independent stores could work together to supply inventory feeds to a local shopping website. I could locate my 50 rubber ducks (even if there were 20 of them here, 10 there, 15 at this other store, etc.) and shop at the stores that I want to support.

Then Brian O’Leary wrote this post. He’s absolutely right that local newspapers have an opportunity to be the gateway for this information, as they once published classifieds:

As data sets become valuable and the tools to analyze them become cheap, even free, local newspapers have an opportunity to extend their relationships and grow product and service offerings.

If the local newspaper website had a basic database of mom-and-pop inventory, that would be freaking amazing. Working with the local branch of the library for IT services and community building would be even more amazing.

To The Guys Snickering About Women Reading 50 Shades

So I have just about had it with the somewhat hysterical male response (particularly from, but not limited to, Men Of A Certain Generation) to the fact that ZOMG 50 Shades of Grey is a bestseller and that means a LOT of women are reading it quite possibly even my sister, wife, mother, grandmother, aunt, daughter, girlfriend, GREAT-grandmother…and that means THEY ARE THINKING ABOUT SEX AND I AM SURROUNDED BY WOMEN THINKING ABOUT SEX!

Calm yourself while I point out certain things:

1. Strip clubs

2. Lap dances

3. Prostitutes

4. Escort services

5. Internet porn

In the spirit of my last post, let me point out the relationships between these things.

Firstly, OVERWHELMING USAGE BY MEN OF THESE THINGS.

Secondly, NONE OF THESE THINGS ARE TEXT-BASED.

And men’s delicate sensibilities are sent a-quiver because women are…reading? Reading erotica at such a rate that the books have launched onto the bestseller lists, pushing off presumably better-quality titles? (Say, for example, anything involving a Sigma Force or a Delta Force, which include their own sex scenes, most of which are so badly written as to bring the storyline to a cringing screeching halt while simultaneously nauseating the reader?)

I just had a Twitter exchange with @bsandusky about my reading habits – which are decidedly arcane these days, ranging from poetry to philosophy to technical manuals. In terms of style, E. L. James’s work would probably be a disappointment when compared to my usual reading. But after spending the better part of an afternoon being mansplained to on a listserv by industry gurus (and while this listserv is pretty equally divided between men and women, it’s primarily the men doing the talking) about how unfortunate it is that 50 Shades is taking up attention span that could be more productively spent reading other things, I am going to do the subversive* – download that shit and read it tonight. So yes, I will be thinking about sex.

*The fact that downloading books that are bestsellers can (even sarcastically) be considered subversive is an indication of how ridiculous this whole situation is.

It’s Here!

It’s really, really here!

 

Our backyard is REALLY traumatized right now.

Canning for the Apocalypse (again)

So we had all these green cherry tomatoes – about 3 quarts of them. I let them soak in water for a little bit.

 

And then drained them.

 

All this was down in the basement – our slop sink is between the washer and dryer, which make good work surfaces when they’re not on “Spin”.

I brined them in a bucket – 8 cups water, 4 cups vinegar (just regular white vinegar), and a cup of coarse sea salt, and let them sit that way for 24 hours.

 

The next day, I ran down to the market and got garlic cloves and dill. Then I set up the patio (what’s left of it) for canning.

 

I filled each pint jar with two cloves of garlic, a sprig or two of dill, and then the brined tomatoes.

 

They were very pretty.

Into the canner they went!

 

And the canner went on the side burner to the grill, so I wouldn’t steam up the house. Also, boiling vinegar <> lovely smell.

 

A lot of sweaty time later…pickles!

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