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Librarian Blog

Won't be reading it

I won't be reading this summer's hottest release, Harper Lee's "Go Set a Watchman."

I was all prepared to read it; I even re-read "To Kill a Mockingbird" last spring just to be up on the subject.

Now, though, I understand that the book just released today undermines the premise of Harper Lee's "Mockingbird" and leaves us with an Atticus Finch who is a racist, thus undoing 40 years of stiff-backed uprightness on his part.

I'm not reading "Watchman" because I'm disappointed. I'm not reading it because I'm not convinced that Lee wanted the book to be published. Had she wanted it to be in print, she would have turned it over to an editor and publisher long, long ago.

I'm just not in favor of taking writers' unpublished works and getting them into print so someone down the line can get rich.

That's why I never read the novel found after Hemingway died. I figured if he'd wanted it to see the light of day, he'd have given it to his publisher while he was still alive.


You could see it coming

Another disruptive technology bites old-school communications solutions in the you-know-what. The area is in photography.

You could see this coming for a mile.

Today, Apple is stating the obvious in a new campaign: You don't need a bulky traditional camera any more; you just need your iPhone.

It's so true. (Last Christmas I gave my son a small, demure Nikon. I don't think it's ever been out of the box. He uses his iPhone for everything. Now, he and his wife have a new baby, and the iPhone is conspicuously omnipresent.)

Bloomberg reports that Nikon sales were down 15 percent last year, and Canon sales wer edown 7 percent. I'm surprised the drop wasn't more radical.

Most people just don't need a "good" camera.

There is a notable exception, and that's the action camera. There, GoPro has the market entirely to itself.

For a relatively small amount of money, you can strap a GoPro unit on your helmet and jump off the cliff.

Which is probably what Nikon and Canon CEOs are contemplating right about now.

More info needed

One ad running regularly on network TV these days sends a message that seems to this old white guy to be counter-intuitive while sending no message at all about what it's selling.

See, I can remember the plot, but I can't remember the product.

What happens is this: A girl with a boy in hand goes into a home office and there sits her dad, who greets the young man as Steven.

The girl, obviously looking for privacy, rolls her eyes and heads for another room where the two find Mom, who greets the boiy as Steve.

Exit girl and beau to the living room where little sis is watching TV. Sis leaves, scene shifts to show boy and girl PLAYING A VIDEO GAME.

So, that right there is the counter-intuitive part: A girl has a boy over to play a video game.

I mean, video games are boy stuff, right?

Well, that's what I have long been thinking. Obviously, the maker of this ad know something I don't.

And that is now confirmed by research done by Charlie Kuhn, Ashley Brunch and Rosalind Wiseman, reported today at the Time Tech blog online.

The three surveyed junior high kids, boys and girls, and found that both genders don't care much for rank sexism in video games, both genders couldn't care less about the gender of heroes.

This is a 1,400-kid sample, maybe not enough to spot a good trend. But, you can bet that an advertising outfit doesn't spend good money on a commercial if it doesn't believe it can capture and keep an audience. OK, forget for a minute that I can't remember what they're trying to sell me.

A voice for flood survivors

It appears likely that the library will join hands with others in the community to help give survivors of the May 23 a voice in print.

Some of us met this morning, and we generally agreed we will solicit survivor stories from throughout the community, transcribe them and publish them, along with some photos, in a softback book.

All profits will go to flood victm funds already established.

More on this later.

Meanwhile, we will not publish Wimberley Voices.

Is it Greek to investors?

How will the U.S. stock market react today to yesterday's vote by Greeks to reject an austerity plan put forward by wealthy Europeans and their banks?

My guess, put into play here on Monday morning, is that the market will take a dive.

What I don't know is why that should be the case. I only know that in the past few weeks as Greece has shown resistance to the new European financing plan the market seems to be following the Greek reaction very closely. Thus my prediction.

Let me say that again: I don't know why U.S. market should tumble because of what happens in Greece.

The market didn't go into the tank when the Chinese marketplace had a hiccup recently. Greece is not nearly as significant as China.

I have long thought this: The U.S. stock market is no longer rational, no longer based on logic or reason. It's computerized to the max; trades happen in nanoseconds; humans are marginalized.

Worse, most Americans, including economists, don't have good enough information about what's going on in the world to be able to make rational decisions even if they could.

This was confirmed in the Sunday New York Times Magazine in an article written by Adam Davidson, a contributing writer. Davidson points out how antiquated oiur economic references, terms and statistical inputs are.

Davidson wants an upgrade using modern computer equipment so we have better information.

Would better information help the Greeks out of their mess?

I don't think so.

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