A Ridiculous but Entertaining Hacker Solution to the Porn Problem.

Eric Riley posted this article to the ALA Think Tank group on Facebook. And, if it works, it could be the solution to all of the library’s privacy on the computers problems. No longer requiring computer filters and all that BS. So I’m sure Sarah Houghton would love it. Basically, the solution works like this;

Remove the LCD’s frame, cutting out its polarized film with a utility knife before removing the screen’s film adhesive with a combination of cleaner and paint thinner and reassembling the monitor. Once complete, grab the glasses, cut out the lenses and combine them with the plastic film removed from the monitor before inserting them back into their frames.

After you do all this, you will be left with a computer screen that will look like a white screen to anyone not wearing the customized glasses. In essence our patrons will be able to have complete and total privacy if wanted.

That being said, of course it’s not a perfect solution for a number of reasons, but right off the top of my head I see these;

  • Anyone wearing the glasses anywhere in the library will be able to see what’s on the screen (kids included)
  • You’ll be stuck with a bunch of folks with sunglasses on indoors (which always looks douchie)
  • You’ll have to supply glasses that have been worn (hardly sanitary)
  • The glasses will get stolen (as does everything else)
  • But anyway, it’s a fairly outside the box and entertaining solution and I’m always down for some creative solutions to problems no matter how radical. I love the thought of it, but maybe not in practice.

    Here’s a video if you want to see it yourself

    Hey Librarians, Forget Books. Content Rules!

    One of the highlights of my whole CLA/CLSA experience was sitting in a bar with Stephen Abram and Sandra Hirsh on Friday night. We had an amazing conversation about where libraries where going, what we should be focusing on as a profession, and of course, the awesome online conference put together by Sandra. Besides peering deep in my soul and giving me one of the most astute and eye-opening psychological evaluations about my role in the profession, one of the things that Stephen said was that libraries should be focusing on programming because that is what is sustainable and that is what will keep libraries relevant. Of course I agreed, because… Well… It’s Stephen Abram! Why would I disagree?

    But then I had a discussion on Twitter with Angie Manfredi and I started thinking more about more about this. The conversation was about focusing on content instead of format. So for example, instead of focusing on ensuring that people are checking out books, we should be ensuring that people are checking out access to the content within the books through the resources provided at the library (whatever those resources might be).

    I really hate using our past practices to justify our future ones but I will say a couple of things. Libraries began because people lacked access to books. But people weren’t coming into the library to get books because they liked paper objects bound in leather and cardboard. Unless they had that kind of a fetish I guess. They were coming into the library to get to the content trapped within the leather and cardboard and the words on the paper. When people get DVDs, they are getting access to the content trapped on the plastic. When people get on our computers, they are getting access to content trapped within servers all over the world. When people learn to read, or use computers, or use our databases, or check-out magazines, they are trying to get another avenue of access to content.

    So how does this relate to programming? Well, when people come to our programs, they are coming to get access to the content of the program! They aren’t coming to see someone just stand there without providing any content. It’s the content of the program that they are looking for and in a format that is meaningful to them. They want to learn, or be inspired or be entertained by the content of the program. That is what we are providing access to. We are providing access to content through the format of a program.

    So, while I agree that programming in libraries is amazing and should be a much larger focus in our organizations than it is, for the future and looking forward I think we should be focusing even more on how we provide access to content in more and more meaningful ways. I understand that he is saying that programming works so well because it’s such a meaningful point of access, but what comes next? As computers and online access become more ubiquitous couldn’t people start watching their meaningful live programming online too? As more and people gain access to the content online and the online content gets more meaningful, won’t we once again be in the same position we are in now discussing our relevance? But if we can focus on making the access to the content of humanity in meaningful way then I don’t think we need to have the discussion of relevance, but continuing this discussion about how we provide access to content. Which, I think, I hope, is the discussion we’ve always been having.

    Ugh… DVDs are the new eBook?

    Ok, this post is NOT about ebooks but somehow I feel like its along similar lines. I just received this email from Midwest Tapes (who is a fantastic vendor) about a recent change in Time Warner’s policies in regards to sales to libraries. They said-

    We have recently learned that Warner Home Video will no longer distribute theatrical releases to libraries or home video rental stores until 28 days after they release the movies for sale at retailers. This Warner Home Video policy applies to all public libraries and video rental outlets such as Redbox, Netflix, and Blockbuster.

    In addition to being released 28 days after the retail version, Warner’s rental version DVDs and Blu-rays will not contain bonus features or extras. However, we understand that there will be a significant price reduction for these products, apparently amounting to an average $4 per DVD title and $8 per Blu-ray title.

    Warner Home Video has announced that it may seek to enforce its new policy by auditing its distribution partners’ sales. Additionally, Warner may require retailers, like Amazon, Best Buy, Walmart, and Target, to limit the number of copies of a new release that may be sold to a single customer.

    Please note that Warner’s new policy will only impact titles that have a theatrical release, perhaps amounting to about 12 titles per year. Non-theatrical Warner releases will not be affected by this policy.

    Below are the first three Warner theatrical titles affected. Note that Warner’s rental versions will feature rental artwork.

    So, once again, major multimedia companies are giving libraries the shaft. I’m kinda tired of getting picked on as if we’re some horrible organization responsible for ruining the capitalism of America. But what can we do about this kind of thing? Its not good for our business, its a disadvantage to our patrons, and it forces libraries to remain subservient to the whims of commercial America. I have to point out, that libraries are NOT a threat to captalism nor are we in competition with any company in the world.

    Ebooks are already a big enough problem, and now we have to deal with basically the same ideal behind this DVD policy too? Anyone have a solution?

    Librarians Unplugged (Mobile Guitar Lending Library) #ala11 #alatt

    Hey! Stop being a “hero” and play a real guitar! This year, the ALA Think Tank folks are all about the power and strength of music to bring folks together. We will be returning from midwinter to Annual with our mobile guitar library. The ALA Think Tank will provide two guitars and various other instruments of construction. If you want to play guitar, maybe learn something from each other, network, or just want to enjoy some good… music played by some of the great talent found in our profession come on by and jam for a while. This is an open session where anyone and everyone can “check-out” an instrument and jam for a bit while meeting other awesome librarians. If you want to find it, you can follow @pcsweeney or the #alatt hashtag on twitter for current locations. See you out there!

    If you want to check out last year’s Mobile Guitar Library you can check out the video –

    (About the Vid)
    At the 2011 American Library Association Midwinter meeting, the crew of the Think Tank infiltrated the conference with a guerrilla guitar lending library just to see what would happen. We invited all kinds of folks to “check-out” a guitar for a few minutes or a few hours. Many librarians and other good folks sat and played. As it turns out, our profession is filled with talented musicians. This video is the mashup of many of the patrons of this guerilla library.

    Starring….
    Librarian JP (JP Porcaro)
    Lisa Carlucci Thomas
    Jaime Corris Hammond
    Josh Hadro
    Peter Bromberg


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    Rebooting Libraries Back to Issue #1

    I was just thinking about DC comics idea to reboot all of their comics back to Issue number one. As part of the news they are also reissuing all of the #52 comics in the reboot in digital format starting with Justice League. Now, I was a HUGE comic book fan when I was kid, and my super hero of choice was Firestorm (also by DC comics), so this whole idea got me thinking about this concept for libraries.

    What you have to remember is that, while they are starting the comics at number 1, they are not republishing the first comics. They are retelling the stories in different ways. There will be new storylines, new ideas, and bigger and better concepts. Or, as DC Comics co-publisher Dan DiDio told USA Today;

    “We really want to inject new life in our characters and line. This was a chance to start, not at the beginning, but at a point where our characters are younger and the stories are being told for today’s audience.”

    So basically, they are not doing away with the core of their product. They are not changing Superman’s powers, or the speed of The Flash, they are just re-examining the story that they are telling.

    What if we could reboot libraries back to issue #1? What would we change about our story now? If we could rewrite our library’s stories for today’s audience and inject new life into our characters what would we say?


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