fighting the lack of good ideas

libraries should be print-on-demand centers – especially for old/unusual works

Want to reinvigorate old texts and library patronage? Turn libraries into print-on-demand book “publishers” for works in the public domain and/or which aren’t under copyright in the current country and/or some kind of library version of CCLI churches use for music!

This idea came to me after reading this blog post from the Internet Archive (famous for the Wayback Machine).

Libraries have always bought publisher’s products but have traditionally offered alternative access modes to these materials, and can again. As an example let’s take newspapers. Published with scoops and urgency, yesterday is “old news,” the paper it was printed on is then only useful the next day as “fish wrap”– the paper piles up and we felt guilty about the trash. That is the framing of the publisher: old is useless, new is valuable.

…the library is in danger in our digital world. In print, one could keep what one had read. In digital that is harder technically, and publishers are specifically making it harder.

So why not enable a [modest] money-making function for your local library? With resources from places like the Internet Archive, the Gutenberg Project, Kindle free books, blog posts, and on and on – there’s a veritable cornucopia of formerly-available (or only digitally-available) material that has value, but whose availability is sadly lacking: especially for those who don’t have reliable internet access, eReaders, etc. (Or folks like me who don’t especially like reading most books (especially fiction) on a device.)

I’d wager Creative Commons could gin-up some great licenses for this!

Who’s with me‽

tesla’s cybertruck [almost] does two things i’ve said for a long time

“Telsa will add solar power to the Cybertruck to generate 15 miles per day. Fold-out solar wings for the Cybertruck would generate 30 to 40 miles per day. The average daily commute in the US averages 30 miles per day.” (

Or remember my comments on SolarCity 3 years ago?

Offering a solar option (or standard) tonneau cover for the bed is an absolute no-brainer. When you own the solar production plant, why wouldn’t you include it?

But more than this, the multi-motor options are a real-world implementation of something I’ve been saying for 20+ years: it makes far more sense to put a motor at (or very near) each wheel or at least axel in an electric vehicle than it does to have one that’s distributing its work everywhere.

Sure, running the cabling to each wheel/axel is a little complicated – but it’s a lot less complicated than drivetrains.

google apps: the missing manual by nancy conner

Google Apps: The Missing Manual by Nancy Conner was a great book. In 2008.

Today? Not nearly so much. So much has changed in the Google landscape in the last few years (or even months) that, sadly, much of the content is now quaint, or just out-and-out wrong.

It’s too bad – because the book is very well written. It’s accessible to a variety of audiences, and one I would love to recommend to anyone interested in, or currently using, Google products.

However, with the passing of Gears and the free edition of Apps, this text is not nearly so helpful anymore – at least to me.

And with the constant stream of updates to the online apps coming from Google, it’s not going to be much better than a primer for anyone else.

Maybe Ms Conner will do an update – I hope so, because I bet it’d be a great resource [again]. But if Google continues to change direction and policy as they have so far, it would likely again be out-of-date too quickly.

Printed books about technology are fantastic – when they cover something static like Microsoft Office 2010 or compiler design or data structures and algorithms. For web sites and apps? Not so much.