mishalak: Mishalak with long hair and modified so as to look faded. (Faded Photo)
To be a turncoat is to leave a side for strategic reasons of not wanting to die. It first appeared in the written English language midway though the 16th century. The story (probably apocryphal) told for the exact origins was of a nameless Duke of Saxony located in the unfortunate position of being near the boarder of the waring Saxons and French. (This must have been centuries before the phrase entered into English because France did not have a boarder with the Electorate of Saxony in the 16th Century) He had the innovative idea of having a coat made up with one side in Saxon white and the other in French blue so that he could quickly change his display of allegiance when the siltation called for it. This was enormously innovative since reversible coats as a commonly available garment did not appear until the beginning of the 18th century and if he'd just been able to avoid the politics and warfare this duke could have had a future in high fashion.

So in what way am I turning my coat? Back in the day I was a loud proponent of the lower cost PC running whatever software was best rather than the OS/Computer with no user serviceable parts. At that time there were actually options besides Microsoft and I happened to use one of them as an interface over MS-DOS. And even after windows came along I still liked the PC better because I could do things getting inside the guts of the OS to make things work exactly how I wanted them to. Maybe I'm just old but I am no longer as happy about that. Or maybe I've been seduced by the shiny Mac and PC ads with that wonderful phrase that "Macs just work".

Now I am realistic. Most products don't actually work as advertised. But I am looking for an improvement over what I do right now. Which is to be semi-constantly worried about my PC being infected with only Plato knows what. And I don't like feeling like a hapless tech support guy from IT who cannot ever seem to actually fix problems without creating more. Plus in looking at the costs of Macs they don't seem that bad anymore. So sometime in August I'll probably buy a Mac Mini or a iMac. Then you'll get the treat of me complaining all the new things I have to learn for a month or two after that. Hopefully in an entertaining way.
mishalak: Mishalak reading a colorful book. (Reading Now)
I now have a more complete review having uploaded 50 books into the Library Thing website (my catalog). I've gotten better at knowing how to pull information for weird editions of books, even from the Library of Congress. Part of the secret is to use what is unusual about it, like if it has an introduction by another author. The information still is not as complete as would like, but it simplifies the process. Of all the providers I still think I like Library of Congress information the best. It tends to be the most consistent so far. The ISBN thing works very well except where the publisher has done something strange like put two numbers in because it is part of a multi-volume work. I also wish the site had some sort of "condition" field for people like me who care about such things.

It still isn't a totally thrilling process. I suppose that if I started going for my full 4000 (or whatever) books I should buy a scanner. Yes, among other things I discovered that it will export the information to excel and that if you have a barcode scanner that hooks up to your computer by the USB port you can just scan books rather than typing in numbers. I'm pretty good at ten key though so I am reluctant to buy something.

I am still looking to see if there is some sort of way for collectors to share information about books so that we could, say, enter the Hill House information once and not have to do as much information entry. The collection of cover scans is remarkably complete. So far I've had just a few very rare books that were not scanned in by a previous user.

So I'm happier with the experience now. Don't know that I'd recommend it yet, but it is becoming more useful as I go on.
mishalak: Mishalak reading a colorful book. (Reading Now)
I've tried it out using the first 24 of the books in my collection. So far I am less than thrilled. For those who do not know Library Thing is a website that allows you to catalog your personal library. It is free for your first 250 and then it costs if you want to do more. If I was just a reader, a person who accumulates books, this thing would be great. But for someone who tries to pay attention to things like edition and so on it has been less than thrilling. It is hard to get the particular edition information right. Particularly for books that are sold outside the usual channels like items from Easton Press, The Folio Society, and Hill House.

So is it useful to me? Probably not much more than using a database program would be. And I've discovered that one of my books has been quietly disintegrating in the dry air. Old leather bindings don't like Colorado's climate much. Good thing it isn't a terribly valuable one. Just a copy of The Prince from 1954. And terribly frustrating to try and enter in. No ISBN number on such a book.

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mishalak: A fantasy version of myself drawn by Sue Mason (Default)
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