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Archive for August, 2007

Resources for Cyberchondriacs

Although Microsoft Word still underlines it in red, googling the word cyberchondriac provides 46,800 hits, and the term cyberchondria has had its own Wikipedia entry since June, 2005. It seems that the practice of self-diagnosing medical conditions with the assistance of Dr. Google continues to grow in popularity.

Although health professionals have plenty of online resources at their disposal, specialized search engines are popping up to cater to the demands of laypeople in pursuit of an ailment, a cure, or merely a second opinion. For instance, Healia allows a searcher to filter their results for articles at a basic (or . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

The Future of Reading

There is a thoughtful short article in the September issue of The Walrus by Jon Evans, “Apocalypse Soon”. The focus of the article is on the future of online texts, or ebooks, and ebook readers. Although the author makes a number of overgeneralizations, there is a good point about why e-books have so far only captured a small percentage of the market – 0.2% according to Evans. Evans partially explains this by reference to “contrast”, which print has an electronic text doesn’t, and goes on to praise the virtues of the Sony Reader.

We actually purchased a Sony reader . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Heat Maps and Confetti

Ever wanted to know which links users are drawn to on your website?

For the past week, I’ve been testing out, which will track site visitors and clicks with a tiny snippet of code in your website template. The free subscription for this site offers up to 6000 page impressions, and creates a series of visual maps to represent the most dominant linking patterns on your site.

The results can be displayed as a ‘heat map’:

Or as ‘confetti’:

Want to try yourself? Please feel free to use my temporary login for the VLLB test (user:; pw: . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Twitter, Mr. Speaker

Karen Sawatzky, Librarian at Pitblado LLP in Winnipeg, points us to a post on Law Librarian Blog about Twittering in the U.S. House of Representatives. Posts to the Clerk of the House’s Current House Floor Proceedings Page are pumped out via Twitter ever five minutes or so when the House is sitting. This is the sort of thing that could really excite politics junkies.

Twitter is a “microblogging” application that we’ve talked a bit about before here on Slaw:

  • Some Folks Are A- Twitter
  • Jaiku Your Feeds
  • I don’t think Hansard is built moment by moment throughout a sitting day, . . . [more]

    Posted in: Miscellaneous

    Looking Inside With XRAY

    Unless you’re someone who builds or modifies web pages, you can unfurrow that brow and relax into a “what will they think of next” state of mild wonder. And until they think of that next thing, XRAY is worth a look. It’s a patch of JavaScript, acting as a bookmarklet, that takes the source code and css of the page you’re on in your browser, sends it back to the home planet from where a small window is sent to overlie your browser window: click on any area in your browser and that area’s bone structure, so to speak, is . . . [more]

    Posted in: Miscellaneous

    Zoho Writer Offline

    The latest lovechild of the Zoho-Google cuddlefest is an offline capacity for Zoho Writer. After installing Google Gears (see my post on Understanding RIA), you’ll see that there’s an offline button that appears in your Zoho Writer toolbar. According to an information video, this currently lets you download 15 documents to be read — but not edited — offline. A full editing, document creation function is to be added in about a month’s time.

    All of which is cool for two groups of people, I guess: the advantaged (or driven), who fly a lot and are, thus, . . . [more]

    Posted in: Miscellaneous

    American Law Reports Being Removed From Lexis

    According to a post today on Information Today’s Newsbreaks page, Thomson West will be making the American Law Reports exclusive to Westlaw as of January 2008. In the post, Carol Ebbinghouse, director of the California Second District Court of Appeal Library, writes about the origin and history of the ALRs. She also says:

    As a legal research educator and a librarian who has worked with law students and attorneys as well as judges, I can tell you that there are users who won’t know a product like ALR is gone from an online service until they really need it.

    . . . [more]
    Posted in: Miscellaneous

    Carl Malmud Publishes Cases

    Today’s New York Times has reports that “activist… internet gadfly… self-styled Robin Hood” Carl Malmud has begun a direct challenge to the big online publishers by copying and placing online 1000 pages of court decisions from the 1880’s that he acknowledges getting from a Thomson microfiche. He says he aims to make freely available up to ten million pages of caselaw.

    The judgments Malmud has published are available on his site, At the moment there is a hyper-compressed tiff file of all of the thousand pages — nearly 4G in size, itself a formidable barrier to access I . . . [more]

    Posted in: Miscellaneous

    Ridiculous Rules

    According to a list of laughable laws, fit for the summer silly season, it’s treasonable in Britain to place a postage stamp bearing the image of the monarch upside down. And in England, all men over the age of 14 must carry out two hours of longbow practice a day. And… there are 25 of these odd survivors for you to enjoy on the Times Online. There are also over a hundred comments to enjoy, most, however, being aimed at the poor American lawyer who didn’t read carefully enough and thought the item about York was about New York. . . . [more]

    Posted in: Miscellaneous

    The Friday Fillip

    More music today — because there’s less music available lately. At least online. The internet radio folks have been having their problems with the DRM and copyright people in the U.S. And the differences between U.S. copyright laws and those of other jurisdictions has led to a number of streaming music sites being unable to reach outside the republic’s borders. About a year ago I mentioned Pandora in the course of a Friday Fillip on Etta Baker; this was the website I used to listen to popular music, blues, jazz and other non-classical ditties. But no more.

    So it was . . . [more]

    Posted in: Miscellaneous