Wednesday, January 23, 2008

I love the library

Okay, making things better isn't always about making the world better. Sometimes it's about making life easier or more fun. I've recently been reading a decent amount about productivity, which I think appeals to the poor, suppressed organized person that lives inside of me. A couple of favorites include LifeHacker(geek to live=great slogan), which led me to David Allen's Getting Things Done.

Anyway (puts self back on original tangent), I found out today about the LibraryLookup project. For other people who love the library (or who read more books than their current income should really support), you know that when you're browsing Amazon, and you find a great book, you want to see if your local library (or, if you're lucky enough, the higher education institution with which you are affiliated's library...more about how sad I will be to lose such an affiliation later) has the book that is setting off your imagination. Back in the day, you would write down the name of the book on some running list, and look the next time you were at the library. Online card catalogues made it that much you open another tab, copy and paste the name of the book or the ISBN into your local library catalog's search feature and out pops the availability. even easier way! Go to LibraryLookup. Figure out what cataloging system your library uses. Make a "bookmarklet" and drag it up to your bookmarks toolbar. Now, anytime you're on a website that uses the ISBN of a book in its URL (the handiest example being Amazon), you can click the bookmarklet and badda-bing, badda-boom, up will pop a window with all of the information on your library's holdings. No copy/paste required.

Apparently, there's more (the geeky among you should read an update from the creator of LibraryLookup), but I'm not going to look now.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

A wrinkly day

I know I said the previous post was enough for one day. And it probably is. But I don't want to be one of the many single-entry blog stumps all over the internet.

I was going to write about my post-Christmas travel day yesterday (which was a little bit...not so hot). But now I don't think I'm going to do that. I'll just say here that A and I now have a list of things to take care of while he's in beginning-of-the-semester ease.

Plans were changed by an email from a friend asking for prayers for the situation in Kenya. She was there not long ago, and taken by the people and the place. Apparently racial tensions were exacerbated by elections last week, and it has turned violent. And since it is known for being one of the most politically stable countries in Africa, that's saying something.

I don't know what to do (that's often the case for me...that's why I'm aspiring), other than pray, and spread knowledge. This has made me realize that one of my resolutions for this year again needs to be following the news more. It's easy for me to say that I'll read the news online, saving myself a newspaper subscription fee. But I don't often do it. So maybe it's time to invest in the physical media, and rely on the internet for more information.

What does that mean?

I decided I would like a forum for my stories and thoughts. "Ameliorant" is a noun form of ameliorate, and while I am not always good at following through, I would like to think that one of my callings is to make things better--improve life, improve the world.

Part of that is thinking about ways to improve processes whether it be working out a recipe or a pattern, but I want to remember that part of that is also thinking about how to serve the least of these.

And the last four letters, which led me to settle on the word, may be more or less important. I do hope, however, that my rants will be more or less constructive.

All right, that's self-reflective enough for this New Year's Day.