Tag Archives: library

Piracy – Or How To Ruin An Industry

There has been a lot in the news lately about the trial going on regarding popular BitTorrent tracking site, The Pirate Bay.  Currently, the Swedish court system is determining whether it is illegal to provide a service that merely allows users to point other users to [possibly] copyrighted material without the rights-holder’s consent.

Much is to be said about this broad topic, and whether or not The Pirate Bay is simply providing a service, and not discriminating against nefarious use by its users; or whether they are running a business that continues to profit from the undermining of the MPAA and RIAA profits.

If one thing is clear from this trial, it’s that the industries are wasting their money.  Not only has the prosecution had their collective heads up their asses during this whole debacle, they have proven time and again that they not only do not have evidence one way or the other, but also that they refuse to hire legitimate, well-rounded “expert” witnesses who have done their homework.  Way to further dwindle your profit margin there, big industry!

This whole trial is diverting the public from the key point in the “illegal” file sharing mindset: If it is easier to pirate your product than to legitimately purchase, you are doing something wrong.

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Podcast Episode #5 – Apple Updates, The Linux Action Show, Mysterious Universe and More!

The fifth episode of The Worthless Genius Podcast is here!

Today I talk about 3 news items, a couple of Worthless Genius topics, and I ask for the help of the online community.

Here’s some links to what I talk about:

News:

Worthless Genius Stuff:

And also, if anyone out there has some ideas for a library organization system that is:

  • Free
  • Open Source (so that I can monkey around with the internals)
  • Easy to Use

Let me know here in the comments, so that I can go check it out.

Thank you for listening, and feel free to discuss this episode here in the comments. You can also email me suggestions or comments at worthlessgenius [at] gmail.com, or hit me up on Twitter, @stroz. Also, check out my FriendFeed, with username strozykowski.

Or you can download it here: mp3 format

Software Spotlight: RadicalCodex

RadicalCodex 1.0

RadicalCodex 1.0

There has been a lot of controversy lately about the viability of commercial, closed source applications running on Linux as a platform. The purists believe that all closed source applications are inherently evil, and should not be allowed to run on Linux, as it spoils the world of freedom. The other side of the coin are the people thinking about the future of Linux as a viable platform for even our grandparents to use.

I subscribe to the latter point of view. I’d like to point out one amazingly awesome piece of closed source commercial software for Linux.

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How Not To Write A Novel – Or 4 Ways To Drop The Ball

As I’ve mentioned multiple times here in the past, I am working on writing a novel. Truthfully, there is enough material in the universe of this novel for three or four full length novels.

I started with the ideas in late 2002, and have progressively and consistently dropped the ball day after day since then. I have found that there are no less than four things that have played into my failure in finishing the novel(s) that I have been working on over the past few years.

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Stupid Use for Crazy Technology

RFID Tags are all around us. This got me thinking, why not use them around the house for cataloging and keeping track of various items that tend to get lost? I’m sure someone has had the idea before me, but I’d like to give it a shot, and attempt at a practical application for this technology: The Library.

Now, like most adults of my demographic, I own a ton of media. This media comes in all forms, digital, paperback, hardback, DVDs, CDs, CD-ROMs, etc. Keeping the digital information in check is not that hard, mainly because I maintain strict standards on my home Linux-based content server. But what about the other stuff?

Well, if one were to take a quick look around my “office”, one would notice that I’m not doing a very good job of keeping any of this other stuff in check. In fact, if one didn’t know better, I bet one would think that a caveman lived here.

So what does this have to do with RFIDs? Well, if you don’t see the connection here, then you need to be brained let me elaborate.

Past Systems
Let me start with past systems that I’ve attempted to use.

The first is disc notebooks and bookshelves. While these are simple ways to get similar objects in one place, they lack a good bit of finesse, and the hassle it takes to add a new item to the set makes it all the more likely for a system of this sort to fail. Also, when you take a DVD out to watch it, what are the chances that it will be put back into the proper place after use?

This leads us to our second system: the stack. Now, as much as it pains me, I have to admit that I do fall into this strange pattern of stacking CDs and DVDs in unnecessarily disorganized fashions and locations. This can lead to scratching, cracking and even altogether loss of the data that is on these disks. The same goes for books. What’s my problem that I can’t simply return the book to its proper place on the shelf? Well, if you said laziness, you’re probably right.

The third system that I attempted to institute was a web-based application for keeping track of my various pieces of media. While this worked admirably, and it bridged the gap between digital and physical media, it suffered from two main obstacles:

  1. Physical Location Tracking
  2. Time Consumption

How am I supposed to keep track of all these things and where I left them? If they’re in a searchable database, it’s easy enough to discover if I own such an object, but who knows where it’s gone off to? And who wants to sit down and copy ISBN numbers and other identifying characteristics in a system that is inherently flawed?

Solution?
Well, what’s the solution, and how do RFID tags come in handy? Truthfully, there wouldn’t be a system that took care of the time-consuming cataloging efforts that are inherent to any system that isn’t set in motion before a library begins. But at least we can make the first bullet point obsolete.

If we tagged each piece of media, every novel, DVD and CD, we could easily locate their whereabouts using a combination of the RFID technology and an intelligently designed database.

First, we would still have to go through all the trouble of tagging each piece of media and cataloging it in our database system. This could be made easier with programs such as Delicious Library. Delicious Library can use a webcam to scan the barcode of your book, DVD or CD and locate it through online databases and catalog its information accordingly. This would indeed speed up the process over hand-cataloging every piece.

Location was a big deal with the first system, and we would like to eliminate that by adding a “last known whereabouts” field to our database. For the digital information, this would be very simple, as it wouldn’t move much within the already efficient storage solution.

Using the “last known whereabouts” field, we could start our search immediately with the location in this field, and coupled with the RFID locator, we could easily find the material we needed. Beyond the original room, however, this could be an issue. “Last known whereabouts” could be very useful in a lending library-type situation. You could easily just enter the name of the person checking the material out, and you could set up notifications, or discover who has the material on a moment’s notice.

Ok, so this system isn’t perfect, but I just wanted to put it out there for future reference, or hilariously silly comments. Think about it; this would be really awesome in your “house of tomorrow”.