Wired News reports that the Speech Analysis and Interpretation Laboratory at the University of Southern California is developing a new software program designed to detect callers’ frustration when talking to an automated phone system, and transfer them to a human operator. So, the angrier you are the more likely it is that you will be automatically transferred to a real live human. I guess the new rule of thumb is, get really really loud and angry when you’re talking to one of those automated phone trees.

In a recent study, 71% of people aged 25-44 knew the quote “If only you knew the power of the dark side” came from Darth Vader, but only 10% knew that the Shakespeare quote “Now is the winter of our discontent” came from Richard III. I wish I could say I was surprised, but alas, I cannot. I think I’m allowed to ask this, as someone with two (useless) English degrees: is it really so wrong that people are more familiar with current cultural icons than with those that are considered to be classic and high brow? I’ve read everything Shakespeare ever wrote (or, rather, Edward deVere wrote, if you’re on that side of the “who really wrote it” debate), and honestly, a lot of it didn’t stick with me, especially the history plays. But, after seeing the first three Star Wars movies (episodes 4-6) 50+ times each, those well-crafted script lines have stuck. Come on, who doesn’t remember “Luke, I am your father” followed by the hilarious “Noooooooo!” ? But all that icky quote-unquote Modern English from Shakespeare goes in one ear and out the other. Sad, but true. Now, had I read Richard III or Henry IV 50+ times, perhaps those lines would have stayed in my nonabsorbent mind a little better. But, who wants to read those 50+ times? Oh well. My only hope is that Lucas’s recent travesties of film, AKA Episdoes 1 and 2, do not result with the next generation quoting Jar Jar endlessly… That would truly warrant a Luke-worthy “Noooooooo!”

Hold onto your hats folks, the Patriot Act Game is here! Pick up Protest & Justice cards, and learn about the history of the Act. You can order a copy online for $25 (plus $5 for shipping in the US).

Scoble talks about where Microsoft’s search engine technology is headed in this Search Engine Guide article. The most interesting part of it for me was the discussion of hard drive searching which (Scoble admits) currently sucks. He also discusses blog searching and improved photo searching. Good interview, good information.

A BBC News article argues that violent video games do not promote violence in real life. Right on.

Adrian Speaks

February 5, 2004 | Comments (2)

I opened up my Hotmail account today (yes, I still use Hotmail) and found a message from my hacker hero, Adrian Lamo. Apparently, someone is keeping track of which sites mention or support him in his struggle against the Feds. And my post on LibrarianInBlack was one of the ones he chose to read and reply to. Adrian wrote, in part: “News is ephemeral; the thoughts of real people are less so….in summary, thank you.” I think this is one way you know you’re on the side of the good guys: when the person you support actually takes the time to personally say thank you.

Hal W. Hall, MLS-holder and Science Fiction guru, has created an online, searchable index of secondary sources in science fiction and fantasty literature. The Science Fiction and Fantasy Research Databaseindexes 63,160 items, and the search mechanism seems to work pretty darn well. I only wish this was around when I was writing my Asimov papers back in college…

Smart people have a primal need to be managed by other smart people, and fortunately, many are. But, every manager could benefit from reading this article by Scott Berkun on the kinds of management tactics to which smart people respond the best. We’ve all had that manager who doesn’t give us the tools we need to succeed, and then, when we succeed despite all odds, takes complete credit for what we’ve done. That manager needs to read this article.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology has published Care and Handling of CDs and DVDs–A Guide for Librarians and Archivists. It’s a whopping 50 pages long, so check your printer for paper first ;)

Happy Birthday SFPL!

7ads6x98y