Productively non-productive

Thanks to all my friends for sending their condolences in various venues. I am uplifted by your care. I’m a right proper heathen but if your views run differently and you can spare a thought for my aunt’s family right now that’d be awesome.

She was a rock for that family. For a very long time.

[I apologize for any odd paragraph formatting below as WordPress is screwing with me relentlessly on this.]

I think or, at least, I hope that I was productively non-productive yesterday. I didn’t do anything directly related to my bibliography, although, perhaps, that could be argued.

I read lots of my own stuff (and comments) from this blog over the past year. While I did, I did lots of electronic annotations in Zotero, copied and pasted anything useful written about articles or books by Hjørland or Harris (or related) into my draft bib, noted blog posts that will be useful when I come to write my bib essay and the CAS paper as a whole in my wiki, and other minor related tasks. This morphed out of the books read in 2007 delaying tactic I was on primarily Saturday.

Late in the evening, I took the content of my 2 posts on Hjørland’s “Semantics and Knowledge Organization” ARIST chapter [part 1, part 2]and got them re-formated into a Word doc with any redundancies removed and internal and external citation lists merged for both at the end. Printed out it’s 11 pages solid. Now I’ve got to put that work—and an awful lot of unanswered questions, some very big—to even more work. Still. This is mostly CAS paper stuff primarily; although, this is the paper with the one Harris reference. Hmmm. Definitely bib material.

I’ve been varyingly unhappy, perhaps unsatisfied is better, with my blog for quite a while. Can’t quite put my finger on what exactly about it that bugs me. But I do know that it’s various, and varying.

Part of it is not being able to cover everything I’d like as deeply and/or as broadly as I’d like. But that’s just life. I do wish that my “Some things read this week…” posts were better. Better in the sense of more fleshed out entries for far more of the things read. Some wrap-up thoughts, etc. “Progress” is important but this is a prime area where I could employ some goals towards Slow Reading. [Please ignore that “progress.” I wrapped way too much up in that term.]

Speaking of John Miedema, there was an interesting post and comments at a recent post, “Have you set an end-date for your blog?” [BTW, there are frequently interesting things to read at Slow Reading.]

Have you set an end-date for your blog? Interesting question, and idea. For the right reasons, it is a grand idea.

In a comment, John writes:

Hi Peter, I’ve put one blog to “sleep” so far ( It was my first public blog, had the usual first blog characteristics — wandering mission, odd mix of personal and professional — and was a real learning experience.

Well, I guess—nope, didn’t put it to sleep but gave it a new manifestation and expression, and name—that is fairly similar to me. It explains my 1st blog pretty well, and it explains this one, too.

wandering mission, odd mix of personal and professional — and was a real learning experience

Well, my mission wanders no more than I do so not really applicable, although all output probably evidences differently as far as appearance to others. But an intentional “odd mix of personal and professional,” certainly. And it remains forever—hopefully—a learning experience.

I know John wasn’t implying that these “usual first blog characteristics” are anathema to every blog. Perhaps just those he’d prefer to write. 😉

Hell, I’d love to be able to write a highly focused topical blog or two. And that’s also a part of my non-satisfaction with this blog. But writing those blogs is not me. Or, at least, not me right now.

And based on what I read yesterday, it has been highly focused for a while now. It’s just highly spotty, and not really intended to be so focused.

End date? Sure. It’ll definitely have one. I’m just in no position to set one right now, unsatisfied as I may be. Let’s hope I don’t just disappear it, though. 🙂

Some things read this week, 25 November – 1 December 2007

NOTE: CommentPress version of LC Working Group Draft Final Report needed

Please see last entry. We really need a CommentPress install of the LC Working Group’s Draft Final Report. Can anyone do this service quickly?

Sunday – Tuesday, 25 – 27 Nov

Winograd, Terry and Fernando Flores. Understanding Computers and Cognition: A New Foundation for Design. Reading, Mass: Addison-Wesley, 1987.

  • Ch. 5: Language, listening, and commitment
  • Ch. 6: Towards a new orientation
  • Ch. 7: Computers and representation
  • Ch. 8: Computation and intelligence (Mon)
  • Ch. 9: Understanding language (Mon)
  • Ch. 10: Current directions in artificial intelligence (Tue)
  • Ch. 11: Management and conversation (Tue)
  • Ch. 12: Using computers: A direction for design

A very interesting book that is frequently recommended by Hjørland in his writings.

This is at least the 24th book I have read so far this year. I have also re-read 3 of these 24 for a 2nd time this year, too, i.e., read 3 of them 2x this year. I have (at least) 5 more that are in various states of being finished. This is a lot more books than last year, which I am happy about, but it also means that I have read fewer articles. Trade-offs are plentiful in life.

Sunday – Wednesday, 25 – 28 Nov

Borgmann, Albert. Crossing the Postmodern Divide. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1992.

  • Ch. 4: Hypermodernism (Sun)
  • Ch. 5: Postmodern Realism (Wed)

This book has done a lot to change my views on postmodernism. I still do not like the word at all, but this book contains some good ideas on how to overcome the postmodern condition, how to move forward positively as a society as we recover from the failures of the modern project.

Sunday, 25 Nov

Hjørland, Birger. Read half a dozen or so book reviews, encyclopedia articles and letters to the editor.

Tuesday, 27 Nov

Harel, David. Computers Ltd.: What They Really Can’t Do. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000. [for LIS452]

  • Ch. 2: Sometimes we can’t do it

Hjørland, Birger. “Documents, Memory Institutions and Information Science.” Journal of Documentation 56.1 (2000): 27-41. 14 September 2007.

Stewart, Todd. “Topical Epistemologies.” Metaphilosophy 38(1), January 2007: 23-43.

This was mentioned in the list of faculty publications in the ISU Philosophy Dept. Alumni Newsletter Fall 2007 that I received today. I thought perhaps it might have something to add to the epistemological work that Hjørland recommends so highly for our field; which I agree with. I’m not sure though. Todd is focusing on something different than most of the epistemological work we need to do as librarians; although, it might well apply to the work we need to do within our own field.

…when we engage in the study of a topical epistemology what is called for is the application of our best analyses of epistemic concepts to specific subjects or, alternatively, the development of a substantive rather than a conceptual account of whether and why it is that beliefs about a specific topic are justified or unjustified. What is called for is an explanation of whether and why it is that beliefs about a particular topic are actually or possibly justified or unjustified (24-25).

An interesting issue, which I cannot address here, is that the development of a topical epistemology may be rather fruitless prior to some sort of an agreement about the correct semantic or ontological analysis of concepts or objects as they apply to a topic… (26). [Amen!!]

If you believe in the epistemological project of librarianship as much as Hjørland, myself and, hopefully, others you may find this an interesting read. Again, I see it as more applicable applied to the topics within our own field where we are allowed to, and should, pass judgement on the epistemological status of our beliefs.

Metaphilosophy was available online via the UIUC ORR. While perusing the 2007 issues of Metaphilosophy online I also found a few more interesting looking articles, including one on “intelligent collegiate depression” (ICD) that I will definitely be reading and reporting on.

Wednesday, 28 Nov

Harris, Roy. “The Semiology of Textualization.” In Harris, Roy, and George Wolf, eds. Integrational Linguistics: A First Reader. 1st ed, Kidlington, Oxford, UK: Pergamon, 1998: 227-240.

(Re-)Read another article for the 3rd time. Walrod one from MDRT.

Thursday, 29 Nov

Double, Richard. “Value and Intelligent Collegiate Depression.” Metaphilosophy 38(1), January 2007: 111-121.

American universities can be unhappy, alienating places for many students who are brighter, more sensitive, or less conformist than most of their peers (opening sentence, 111).

This one is pretty good, although I was hoping for a bit more somehow. I do think the author has a pretty good grasp of the depressive mind. I think his reply to “The Immensity of the Cosmos Objection” is pretty faulty, though. Luckily I don’t use that one myself.

If you are interested in what might well be termed “rational” responses to depression—or more generally—then please do check out this article. Do not let the journal title put you off at all; it is actually quite accessible.

Bibliographic Ontology Specification – found via this post on CSL at darcusblog. Hmmm. Interesting. I was looking at some of this stuff back in Spring 2006. I really need to learn more about RDF and be more serious about this kind of thing.

Friday – Saturday, 30 Nov – 1 Dec

LC Working Group on the Future of Bibliographic Control Draft Final Report.

Since I was moving so slowly (and late) Friday morning I was able to go by GSLIS and print this nicely and double-sided automatically. Started reading it at my late lunch. Read the Letter from the Working Group on the bus ride in around noon.

Read more tonight.

I have a few comments and questions, but I am liking much of what I’m reading. About halfway through it.

What we really need is a CommentPress installation of this. I really wish I could do this now, but no way possible.

I’m thinking the report must be in the public domain. LC produced. No markings on report page or report itself. If my assumption is correct then it should be allowable to do so.

I see from a comment on the Installation page by Ben Vershbow that one still needs to have a WP 2.2 install, not 2.3 yet. A comment by on paragraph 2 on 6 Nov says so.

It would so rock if someone could get the report (rapidly) into a CommentPress install. Comments are due on/before 15 December. Two weeks. Not much time.

But think of the value and it could be—should be—archived.

Anyone willing? And can. I’m willing but cannot possibly in the time before comments are due. 🙁

I really need to work with Blake (cause he rocks) and get myself a CommentPress install, but as a 2nd “blog.” There’s a couple of things that can (and should) be done. I may not be the proper one but someone must get things started. That’s for the future, though, whenever that arrives.

Comment Timeout installed

Following Walt’s lead following Jessamyn’s (and others), I finally installed James McKay’s Comment Timeout for WordPress.

For the last couple months, and more so the last couple weeks, spam has really been ratcheting up. In the last 24 hours it has been completely over the top (for me)—more than 10-25 x average.

I am hoping this plugin may help reduce some of this. One reason is that I have generally always scanned through the list of Akismet captured spam as once in a great while a legitimate comment gets caught. In fact, if I comment on my own blog from my PC (logged in from my Mac usually) any comments I make get caught as spam about 50% of the time. But with this much spam I simply cannot look through it all and even if I did I might well miss the legitimate comment in all the noise.

If you have made a comment in the last few days and it did not show up, I sincerely apologize.

I really hope this helps!

I, too, have set the closing time at 180 days.

[Update]: Having lived with this for around 48 hours I can say that it is either a really odd coincidence (as Walt suggested as a possibility) or I can call this a resounding success.

I went from somewhere around 60 spam an hour to a total of perhaps 20 in the last 48. That is 20 total.

Another WP upgrade

Now that I have my PowerBook back and somewhat restored I have upgraded my WordPress install.

I have also added a few new things on the sidebar for your (or perhaps my) convenience, including recent comments and a category drop down box. I also added a text box to put various quotes (“Words of Wisdom”) in as I feel like it, but I don’t like the “styling.” In fact, there is no styling since it is completely ignoring line breaks/paragraphs. Anyone had any luck styling the text box?

As usual, please let me know if you find anything wonky.

WordPress help request; commenting issues

I am of the last week having issues commenting on some of my own posts. This is the message I receive:


You don’t have permission to access /blog/wp-comments-post.php on this server.

One of these was from February (just now), but the other was from last week. I am not trying to put in any fancy code, one URL in the recent one (although that failed without it, also), and nothing but pure ASCII characters. I simply have no idea.

This is the post which concerns me the most as it is active, and is a serious conversation that I am trying to have. The weirdest part is that I am able to comment some. I put in a couple “test” comments, which I removed. You can see that I made a couple others, although not the full one I was trying to make.

Does anyone have any ideas? I am down to one computer at the moment since my Mac laptop is completely trashed and has to be sent off to Apple for repairs; new trackpad and hard drive.

I’m already stressed enough about the PowerBook and a million others things that I don’t need this issue. The bad part is I’m not sure I can even get into my WP instance until I get the Mac back; at least not without finding a program for the PC and tracking down passwords….

Anyway, any and all suggestions are welcome! Here’s hoping that whoever has the answer can comment, or perhaps use the contact page. I have received a couple emails from folks who were unable to comment on the LC Working Group posts last week, but I have no idea if it is the same issue. No one told me what the problem was for them. I have to wonder how many others couldn’t comment and didn’t contact me.

Update: “Talked” to Blake and it seems I’m running up against some mod_security antispam rules. I know the exact word which caused a problem on the Chief post, and while it is understandable I am not happy about it.

As for my comment on the 1st David Bade post I have sent Blake the text of the comment I was trying to make and also let him know which part took and at which point it failed. I have tried my damnedest to figure out what word there could possibly be “offensive.” The problem with spam filtering is the word does not even have to be offensive; it only has to accompany such words. Of course, offensive is overly broad here. If I was depressive and wanted to discuss medication in my comments I’d be screwed.

I really try very hard not to hate anyone, be they nationalities, religions, groups of any sort, even single individuals. Hating isn’t good.

But. I. Fucking. Hate. Spammers.

Anyone who causes it so that I cannot have a conversation on my own blog about my own discipline is to be utterly despised. The world would be a far better place if all spammers’ heads were to simultaneously explode. Anyone remember Scanners?

I appreciate Blake doing a good job to help us all. Can’t be mad at him in any way. But when I can’t use ordinary words in my own language to have a conversation then there is serious issue.

Fucking spammers are the scum of the earth!

Another upgrade…

I just completed the upgrade to WordPress 2.1.2, so please let me know if you notice anything wonky.

In case you haven’t heard, if you upgraded to WordPress 2.1.1 in the last week or so—or at all for safety sake—you should immediately upgrade. It seems the downloadable file was hacked. See “WordPress 2.1.1 Dangerous, Upgrade” at the WordPress site.

My previous upgrade was earlier than their suspected hacking period, but I would’ve done it even sooner if I could’ve gotten the stupid backup to work before this evening.