Some high school students in Saratoga, California used a keylogger to capture a teacher’s passwords (which were used later to steal English tests). The students are facing explusion, naturally. But, all serious punishing aside, I can’t help but feel a little jolly. The kids used technology in an innovative way…even if it was for the purposes of cheating. Speaking of which, when I taught Freshman English Composition at Washington State University, I caught half a dozen or so of my students plagiarizing (AKA cheating) over the semesters, and despite my efforts to give the students a big fat zero on the projects, the department wouldn’t back me up. Instead, the kids just got to write the papers over again for a new, penalty-free, grade. One kid even, for a short story assignment, copied the description from the back of a Dances with Wolves video, and tried to pass it off as original fiction. Come on kid, at least pick something a little less well-known. Anyway, I always felt it was bad form for an academic institution to have no penalty for cheating. What kind of work-ethic does that teach our new workforce?

My Library’s Blog

January 28, 2004 | Comment (1)

Months ago, I set up a Blogger blog for our Library…a place for patrons to go to stay up to date on what’s happening at the Library, best-selling books, websites, book clubs, blah, blah blah. I had tried several RSS feed-creators, none of which ever worked consistently. But now, Blogger offers free RSS-feeds for all their blogs, even the free ones! And, hold onto your hats ladies and gentlemen, it actually works!

It’s about freaking time.

Oh my gosh…

January 28, 2004 | Comments (0)

Amazon’s actually making money! Amazon announced its first ever net profit for 2003 ($35.3 million). Good for them. After the hundreds of little brown boxes from them that show up at my door, it’s good to know that they’re finally making some money off of me.

Ben Cohen, of Ben & Jerry’s fame, has done a brilliant Flash video for TrueMajority, a political advocacy organization. It discusses the budget situation in terms of Oreo cookie stacks, and presents some very good arguments for shifting just a little money (only a few cookies) from our &$#*% military budget over to education, children’s healthcare, and alternative energy. Good job Ben. And your Cherry Garcia ain’t half bad either ;)

An LA judge ruled that part of the Patriot Act is unconstitutional. She ruled that “a provision in the law banning certain types of support for terrorist groups was so vague that it risked running afoul of the First Amendment.” I also agree with Karen Schneider, who disagrees with Jessamyn West, that this part of the law is applicable to libraries in that it deals with who you can talk to, and about what. More specifically, “expert advice or assistance” given to terrorist organizations is considered a violation of the law. The Humanitarian Law Project folks saw this law as preventing them from providing relief assistance to Kurdish refugees in Turkey. And the judge agreed. It’s a step in the right direction…

Jerry Bruckheimer has bought the movie rights to American McGee’s Oz, a game not even released yet (though highly anticipated by those of us who swooned over American McGee’s Alice). The new news is that Bruckheimer plans to turn the game into a complete trilogy of movies. Could be interesting…very interesting.

MyDoom is making its rounds. Friends & colleagues are getting bombarded with this at work and at home already, despite hefty security. Bad, nasty, oh so nasty….

Microsoft Toolbar

January 27, 2004 | Comments (0)

MSN has a toolbar. Kinda looks like Google’s toolbar. Go figure.

I, Robot

January 27, 2004 | Comments (0)

West Virginia University Library has a fairly content-rich Isaac Asimov site. Look at rare book images, cover art, and read about this pioneer in science fiction literature.