Why we like blogging

Over at Librarian’s Place is a post about why Seth (of Seth’s blog) likes self-experimentation. He applies the same logic to blogging:

"Recently, though, the rise of blogging, Wikipedia, and open-source software, showed me the power of a kind of multiplicative force: (pleasure of hobbies) multiplied by (professional skills). Blogging, for example: (people enjoy writing) multiplied by (professional expertise, which gives them something interesting and unusual to say). In other words, expertise and job skills used in a hobby-like way. "

Seth continues:

"But I was still missing something — something obvious to many others. The power of blogging isn’t

(hobby) x (job skills).

That’s just one person. The total power of blogging is

(hobby) x (job skills) x (anyone can do it)

Which is very powerful."

A point of view that I endorse completely. I can’t help feeling that there is an element or two of the equation that is missing, though. I think there are more than these three parameters to blogging. So although Seth has made a great start, I think it is only a start — I’m going to have to ponder and come back to this one. Maybe you have some suggestions, in which case I hope you’ll drop them in the comments.

Thanks to Dave Lull for the link to Seth’s blog.

White Christmas defined

According to the Duluth library: "The climatological term of a “White-Christmas” is defined as having one inch of snow on the ground, or snow depth,  on Christmas Day."

The post (link below) points the reader to some incomplete historical records of snowy Christamasses past in Duluth. Unlike Kingston upon Thames and many other places in the UK, a "brown" Christmas is worthier of note in Duluth than a white one:

"THROUGH THE ENTIRE PERIOD OF RECORD SINCE 1875 DULUTH HAS EXPERIENCED A BOWN CHRISTMAS ON FOUR OCCASIONS…1923…1939…1979 AND NOW 2006. A BROWN CHRISTMAS IS DEFINED AS HAVING ONLY A TRACE OR LESS OF SNOW ON THE GROUND AT THE CHRISTMAS MORNING OBSERVATION.  AT THE TIME OF THE 1923…1939…AND 1979 OBSERVATIONS…A TRACE OF SNOW WAS ON THE GROUND. HOWEVER…AT THE 6 AM OBSERVATION THIS MORNING…NO SNOW WAS REPORTED ON THE GROUND…MAKING THIS THE FIRST TIME THAT HAS HAPPENED AT DULUTH SINCE SNOWFALL RECORDS BEGAN."

Link: Past Christmas weather in Duluth « reference@duluth.

National library’s talking books

Here is the text of an email I received today:

"As an avid reader and lover of and books, you may have enjoyed a “book on tape” (or, these days, a “book on CD”) for a long car ride or vacation.  For some people, however, listening to audiobooks is the only way they can enjoy literature—or the even occasional issue of People or Vogue.  For bibliophiles whose impairments prevent them from reading, the U.S. National Library Service (NLS), Library of Congress offers an invaluable resource: Talking Books. This reading program is commemorating 75 years of dedicated service to the blind and physically handicapped community.

As NLS celebrates its seventy-fifth year of ensuring that all may read, the program looks forward to continuing its tradition of innovation and service. In 2008, NLS plans to launch the first digital talking book and player, harnessing the latest assistive technology to enhance the way patrons stay connected to the written word and the world at large.  This is exciting news, and promises to make the world of literature, as well as recent releases and periodicals, more widely available to the elderly, the blind, and other people who cannot enjoy books any other way.

For 75 years, the NLS has provided Talking Books free of charge to help people of all ages whose low vision, blindness or physical handicap makes reading a standard printed page difficult.  Local cooperating libraries throughout the United States, mail NLS audiobooks, magazines, and audio equipment directly to enrollees at no cost.  This service has enriched the lives of millions of Americans by allowing them to continue to read, learn and enhance the quality of their lives.

I’d love to work with you to share information about the importance and impact of Talking Books and possibly connect you to a patron of the program or an NLS spokesperson if you would like to set up an interview for your blog. Feel free to contact me with any additional information you may need.

Gadi Ben-Yehuda, on behalf of the National Library Service."

I have made Gadi Ben-Yehuda’s name connect to his (?) email address, so if anyone wishes to get in touch directly to arrange an interview or otherwise to become involved, please use the link.

I have known several cases of people who can no longer see to read and who depend on equivalent services in the UK. "Talking books" make a very real difference to those people’s lives.

I’m back, I hope

The person who banned me from blogging or doing anything on my computer over Christmas is currently playing "Sims 2: festive fun stuff" on her laptop, so I think this means I am now allowed back. I’m not daring to ask explicitly, though, and I have to confess a quick and slightly devious trip to the sales this morning in order to purchase said "Sims 2 FFS" as I had a fair idea as to what would happen when I handed it over. I also confess to a "Lord of the Rings" post on Boxing day morning before anyone was up, though I don’t think the "banner" has noticed my fall from grace.

Thank you very much for all the lovely comments on my "quiet" post and picture. It was so lovely to come back to Petrona after my break and see such lovely, uplifting and kind comments — thank you Caroline, Susan, Frank, Dave, Marie, Minx, Clare, Norm/Uriah, Jenny D, Lynne, Steve, Amy for your comments on that post, and to my many other blogging friends I’ve made in 2006 (my personal Year of the Blog). I’ve so much enjoyed meeting and interacting with you all, either here or on your own blogs or via email.

More to follow when I have caught my breath a bit, i.e. checked out my overflowing email inbox and my groaning rss reader.