and in this envelope…

Hmmm…new blog, interesting ideas [shifted]. What if Google became the ultimate publisher, purveyor of all things digital, books, journals, you name it. Buy a publisher or two, a few aggregators, mash them together, and all of a sudden you have a new content stream, funded by advertising rather than folk in the street parting with moolah. There’s signs of this sort of thing beginning to happen, eg google scanning lots of books, not to mention some publishers eg my own company, Gale, opening their database content to google to index. The advertising model seems to work, and generates enough cash to keep these sorts of projects going. It’s only a matter of time before someone the size of google steps in and throws a bit of weight around.

a book fair and a sack

The annual Frankfurt Book Fair is over for another year, while waiting for the Man Booker prize to be announced I went looking to see if any interesting books attracted attention. While reading The Guardian’s take, I happened upon mention of an intriguing work from Georgia,

 “And then she shows me a copy of Morchiladze’s Santa Esperanza and it’s a wonderfully inventive thing – a tiny explorer’s sack containing 36 booklets and a map of a fantasy island in the Black Sea ‘which is populated by Georgians, Turks, Italians and British’.”

Upon searching further, I found an interview with the author, and a place selling the German translation. German however, is the only language into which it has been translated. It looks lovely and I daresay would sit well on my shelves, though I am unsure as to how many books I want that I can’t read :)

yet another book

Reading the SMH today, I found an article on a book due out in a few weeks on the trials of the Knights Templar, around 700 years ago:

“Only 799 numbered copies of the epic have been made. Each comes in a soft leather case that includes a large-format book including scholarly commentary, reproductions of original parchments in Latin, and replicas of the wax seals used by 14th-century inquisitors.”

Interesting that only 799 copies will be available, having googled about, it looks like 1 copy is going to the Pope, however I’m not clear whether it’s the first copy, or the 800th. Alas, as the price tag is 5,900 euros, I suspect it’s unlikely I’ll be grabbing a copy. The Vatican Secret Archives does have a website (eng) and there is a page on the Chinon Parchment.

a new book

My dictionary has arrived! Lots of packaging: a sort of large plastic, hessian like bag, the sort of bag they use in the office for collecting papers for recycling. Inside was a larger box and cushioned packaging. Inside of which was the slipcase containing the two leather bound volumes, A-M & N-Z. The slipcase was wrapped in shrinkwrap. I wish I had a camera with me to document the debris. I’ve already looked at several words, read the preface, and lovingly caressed the volumes. It should be noted that all drooling was at a distance in order not to mark the book. Yes, I looked up drool and followed a reference to drivel.

another birthday

Oct 6 represents another anniversary for my blog. Bugger, at some point during the week I became convinced that Oct 6 was the correct date, now realise that it is of course Oct 4. I’ve rearranged things and my girlfriend has been very supportive as I’ve tried to squeeze in a little blogging time for the occasion. Except now I realise, late on the 6th, that I missed it by a couple of days.

That aside, I’m happy to say that there still seems to be a bit of life and my blogging has picked up at last. It sort of teetered and came close to toppling the last couple of years but the move to proper blogging software has been sufficient to breathe new life into it. Once more the focus has returned to why I started blogging originally, that is to write. It was one of several things I started in order to create outlets and sandpits to play with my writing and hopefully write actually words and sentences. It remains my primary writing outlet and the only thing still going. Been pondering a little just when to celebrate the anniversary (the above mixup not withstanding), given the recent change from handcoding to wordpress. Plus I’ve done some hunting on the wayback machine and found one of the earlier versions of my blog. That particular version started on Jan 31, 2001 and died later that year; the odd posting or two suggest an even earlier version. However my current blog, started on Oct 4, 2002 seems to be when I hit my stride and managed to create something that kept on going, it shall be the one I continue to remember and honour.

more socialising

Against my better judgment, though my judgment is often in question, I have finally joined Facebook, and figured I might as well throw in Dopplr while I’m at it. I’ve had a few friends encourage me to join the former but been putting it off. Now I’m sort of interested as it might be useful for a work project I’m involved in, though most of my usual online gangs seem to be there too. Mostly not doing anything in ning other than monitoring feeds and contributing if something interesting pops up. I received an invite for Dopplr from a mate who visited recently and it looks like a social site for folk who travel regularly. Will reserve judgment for now and see how they pan out.

the devil is in the detail

After some hunting about, I’ve come across references to what is regarded as the largest medieval manuscript in the world, the Codex Gigas. It’s owned by Sweden, who plundered it from Prague in 1648 and have recently allowed its return to Prague for an exhibition. Now that it’s been digitised I am curious as to whether there are plans to re-publish it. Though I suspect the delivery costs would be painful, the original weighs around 75kg, I would love a copy of my own.

I found out about this as a result of the sort of hyperactive jumping around I so love about the web. I’d initially read Michael Stephen’s post about visiting Oz in my aggregator, I was a bit behind until a friend mentioned it at a meeting last night. I then jumped to the post itself to see who had commented, and checked the blog of one of the commenters, who in turn had mentioned the Gigas in a piece about banned books. Upon searching for more information on the Gigas, I found, via the Wikipedia article, that it was moved back to Prague last week.