Tuesday, January 22, 2008

you cannot escape your destiny

Since moving to Canada last year, I've told people that although copyright was a particular research interest of mine back in the States, I've tried to put it on the back burner here 'cos, well, despite everything that's similar this is a different country, with (natch) different copyright laws, and I didn't want to assume something about the Canadian version of copyright and then have it come back to bite me.

But really, I can't push down what's not only a research interest but a philosophical and moral thing for me as well, so I've made tentative steps towards learning about Canadian copyright.

So a couple of weeks ago or thereabouts, I gave a presentation on copyright, fair dealing, and the Creative Commons to the folks here at McMaster, the slides of which I have put up on slideshare.net here.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Can I get a mic check?

Last Friday, Randy Metcalfe of eIFL was kind enough to make the trip from K-W to McMaster to talk to me about Evergreen. In the process, he makes me sound a lot cooler than I actually am. Thanks, Randy!

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Cheboygan, land o' penguins.

So I spent most of my Christmas vacation in the depths of Michigan, in a shack that only relatively recently got their own (e.g, non party line) phone service. So yeah, forget about Internet, forget about any sort of informational fun that isn't either locally produced (spent a lot of time watching the Johnny Carson DVDs my pop got for Christmas) or over-the-air TV (Mitt Romney was hitting the airwaves hard, let me tell you). But my pop had a Windows laptop he had to whip into shape, which means a lot of licensing tomfoolery and Windows Updates and all that delight. Which means network access.

So we head to Cheboygan, their public library and their free wifi. It's a new building, a little small, but pretty well laid out. Has fishing poles for checkout behind the circ desk. We get there, and they've got a room with about 15 machines for public internet use and eventually something hits me:

these machines are all running Kubuntu.

It's a library, so I resisted what would be my natural instinct to jump up and run around yelling like a goon. Instead, I get up and pester the library director. Here's what I found out:

1) The machines have been there for around a year.
2) There's been mostly positive response, but some negative.
3) They used to have a guy who spent one entire day a week cleaning off viruses and other assorted muck back when they were running Windows.
4) Support and install was contracted to a local guy -- they don't seem to have their own IT department.
5) Patrons use their card data for login, so they've got their data either exposed from their Voyager ILS or are extracting it from some other source.

Of course, with all the Evergreen stuff going on in Michigan I had to ask the guy if they were considering it -- not at the moment, they wanted to wait and see how Grand Rapids worked out.

This isn't the first time I've personally witnessed public access Linux machines -- in 1996, I had two machines running Linux in the map library back in Ohio, but they didn't stay too long. But boy howdy was I excited to see this in Cheboygan. Hopefully it will spread elsewhere.
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