Thursday, February 28, 2008

Not quite the same

In response to my pitiful plea about RSS feeds from OPSI, Scott pointed out that they could be found here: http://www.opsi.gov.uk/legislation/whatsnew.htm

So, I signed myself up for the 'All Legislation' feed, assuming it'd come in in the same format as on the Daily List, eg:

47
The Advice and Assistance (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2008. - 2p.: 30 cm. - Enabling power: Legal Aid (Scotland) Act 1986, s. 12 (3). - Issued: 26.02.2008. Made: 20.02.2008. Laid before the Scottish Parliament: 21.02.2008. Coming into force: 07.04.2008. Effect: S.I. 1996/2447 amended. Territorial extent and classification: S. General. - £3.00 - 9780110815145. Order here




Instead, they come in like this:

The Advice and Assistance (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2008: Web Version

By KENNY MACASKILL

These Regulations amend the Advice and Assistance (Scotland) Regulations 1996 to provide that a solicitor’s right to prior payment of fees and outlays out of any property recovered or preserved for a client in respect of advice and assistance shall not apply to the first £5,009 (increased from £4,821) recovered or preserved by virtue of certain family proceedings.




It's a direct link to the legislation, which is good (if it works - at the moment it's varying between taking me to a blank Bloglines page, or opening a duplicate of the Bloglines page I'm on, I know not why). And it's nice that it's giving the text of the Explanatory Note (not something usually included in a Daily List listing). But what's not so good is that it's stripped out all of the essential information I need to use - the legislation it's been made under, its into force date, it's effect...

Basically what's being sent out then, is the title and Explanatory Note part of new legislation.

So, I've removed that subscription, and I'm back to trawling the Daily List, daily.
Acht well, it was a nice dream!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The Naked Rambler strikes again!

The Naked Ramber, Stephen Gough, has been found guilty of another breach of the peace for refusing to put clothes on, and faces another 4 months in jail, in addition to the 20 months he's already spent in jail.

Quite a conundrum - the jails are crowded, he's not physically hurt anyone with his crime (although their eyes and mind might be traumatised by the sight of him!)...but he has committed a crime, and seems happy to continue to do so, until others agree that his habit of not wearing clothes is acceptable, which is highly unlikely to happen.

When is he ever likely to be released? It's a battle of wills between the courts, and the Rambler...I wonder what the chances of him being released just over the Border, and everyone then turning their backs so they don't witness his 'crime' are? *wink*

Monday, February 25, 2008

So unfair!

I absolutely love this video by ImprovEverywhere, where people spontaneously (ish) freeze in place at the exact same moment, and stay that way for 5 mins, before all unfreezing at the same moment and walking off as if nothing has happened.

And on Sunday, there was a Big Freeze in Edinburgh...and I missed it!
Gah.

Friday, February 22, 2008

RSS feeds from TSO - a sweet dream

In keeping with discussions on law.librarians of legal publisher RSS feeds, I have decided I want The Stationery Office to be nice to me and do an RSS feed of the Daily List.

I already pick up the press releases of Government departments such as Defra, DCLG, DBERR, HM Treasury, the Scottish Government etc...it would be lovely to be able to have a feed of the Daily List in alongside them, to save my daily website visit for legislation.

It would be even nicer if it was a feed for JUST legislation...I don't really need to know about Command Papers, House of Commons and House of Lords papers, the Parliamentary debates. We get that info from other sources if it's needed, but it's me that selects the legislation that's relevant to our core business, and uploads that material to our Current Awareness service.

So if there were a feed for Bills / Acts, UK SIs, SSI, and SRs, I would be such a happy bunny!

Random thing I have learned today

It's illegal to melt down 1 cent / penny and 5 cent / nickel coins in America. And no leaving the country with more than $5 worth of them in your pocket!
So, next time you're wandering about America, wondering what sort of things you can destroy with a kiln or a blow torch...step away from the coinage!!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Teaching technology

The Scottish Government has announced plans to teach children about blogging and podcasting, as part of the Curriculum for Excellence. I'm particularly impressed they'll be teaching when text speak is appropriate, and when it isn't - it's hard to project yourself as educated or professional when it appears someone's been stealing half your vowels. But you'll only know that if someone teaches you!

The whole plan sounds pretty good to me - I seem to be one of the 'assumed' generation. It was assumed when I arrived at that Uni I'd know how to touch / speed type (I don't, I fumble with a few fingers, while staring fixedly at the keyboard. I'm awaiting the development of RSI.), and word process (I didn't do secretarial studies at school, so that passed me by)...then it was assumed I'd know how to use email...and the internet...assess the relevancy and accuracy of the sites I found on the internet....then finding and using blogs, RSS feeds, wikis...

Everything I know, I've taught myself, by hearing about it somehow, then digging for more information, trying things out, and making lots of mistakes along the way. It's been assumed all along that I would just know things, when the reality is, I've had to fight to get that knowledge. And now, I have to teach others, based on my (admittedly) imperfect skills.

Just think of the time these kids can save by having someone real, in front of them, to ask all sorts of questions that they'd otherwise have to accept not knowing the answer to, or would have to waste precious time looking for the answers. And then assessing the trustworthiness of where they got that answer.

Staircase library


From Boing Boing, a library built into a staircase into a loft conversion.

More pictures here

WANT!!!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The Kindle in commercial settings

The Tinfoil + Raccoon blog owner Rochelle recently blogged about her experiences of testing the Kindle, specifically in relation to use in public libraries. She comes to the conclusion that it's not an efficient use of resources, and there's some interestingly vague user terms from Amazon which could prevent a library form lending a Kindle with any content loaded onto it, thereby pretty much defeating its entire purpose.

Although they're not exactly the same, public and commercial libraries (such as my own) are likely to encounter similar problems with eReaders like this. I considered what effect it would be likely to have in law firm libraries back in September, with our very specific needs for authority (hey, if we have trouble getting judges to accept electronic versions of cases, just think of the fun we'll have with electronic, editable / underlineable versions!) and multiple copy licensing.

Add to that the fact that, as we'd dispense these eReaders, we would therefore automatically become the IT support for them, cos if we give them out, we must know how to fix them, right? And as the Hedgehog Librarian pointed out in conversation with me, when a member of staff does the inevitable, and loses a fully loaded eReader, you then have the cost of not only replacing the reader, but every textbook loaded onto it! *whimper*

Throw in the joy that the Kindle is set up to allow you to download anything you want, without further authorisation needed (as it's assumed that , if you have it, you're the owner and therefore entitled to download materials), then you can just imagine the solicitors joy, as they see they can add anything and everything they want to the eReader, and it's apparently free! They wouldn't see the library budget draining away, download by download...The only way to stop it is to unregister the Kindle, which then makes it pretty much useless, as you wouldn't be able to add new content (I think,can be hard to tell from the vague info), or download updates to that content.

Plus, for the Scottish market, we're tiny compared to our neighbours and therefore would be last on the list for getting our core texts converted to eReader use, if ever. It's hard to make a commercial case for it if you know you're only likely to sell a few thousand copies. And if you can make that case, then the cost is likely to be so high to make it viable that every Scottish law / academic library's budget will be wincing painfully.

So...with all those potential problems with the eReader in a non-personal use setting....I wonder if there are plans for an 'academic' version, with blocks on unauthorised downloading? Or if, in a commercial setting, they'd only ever be useful for reference texts - the type of thing you need to have available, but nobody's ever going to fight to get their hands on it. Freeing up those shelves full of dictionaries, expert witness registers, "Who's Who in the Law", "Chambers UK", the White Book etc., and replacing them with one, handheld unit, to be checked in and out with the librarian. Now THAT I can see working...if the publishers ever did it!

All kinda moot points at the moment, as we can't even get a Kindle here yet (and no sign of even a possible release date either - a search on Amazon brings up 3 chargers for the Kindle, but no machine), but where America leads, we tend to follow. And if the Kindle sells well, it may be the beginning of an eReader boom. Remember those strange wee devices from that quirky firm Apple? Seemed to play music without you having to carry CDs or cassettes around...wonder if it ever caught on?

Mary Queen of Scots…

…got her head chopped OFF!

But the warrant (well, a copy of it) that Elizabeth I signed for her execution won't be leaving the UK, thanks to the library of the Archbishop of Canterbury at Lambeth Palace, and the help of heritage bodies donations.


It's nice when a bit of history can be retained. It would be nice if they could find the funding to make an online version viewable too!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Law librarians unleashed! Well, ish...

What do you get when you mix a blog, and lots of law librarians from around the world?

This!

Come on in, the water's lovely! :D

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

So, trial bias...

..as I was waffling about back in December, Luke Mitchell's appeal case is based on the belief that coverage of the case, and various reports relating to him, meant it was impossible for him to get a fair trial.

I have to agree - I've never seen hysteria at the courts like it, and I think they'd be hard pushed to claim that they could have got an impartial jury!

Friday, February 01, 2008

Google and Firefox - saving the world, one phishing site at a time

So, I logged out of my internet banking service, and got a 'stop' icon on the right hand side of my toolbar, and a pop up box telling me that the site was a suspected web forgery. I was given the options of reading more, leaving the page - "Get me out of here!", "Ignore this warning", and "This isn't a web forgery". Since I'd just logged out of the secure area, I was pretty sure that it wasn't a phishing site, so decided to use the final option. This allowed me to submit a report anonymously, detailing why I didn't think it was a phishing page.

So I did.
And this is the report I got back:



Google

Google Safe Browsing for Firefox BETA


Report Sent

Thanks for sending a report to Google. Now that you've done your good deed for the day, feel free to:

1. Take a second to rejoice merrily for doing your part in making the web a safer place.

2. Call/email/write to a neighbor/friend/relative and tell them what phishing is and how they can protect themselves.

3. Check out other extensions for Firefox from Google.

4. Spread the love by joining the Spread Firefox community.



I'm going to go for option 1. Feel my merry rejoicing!! :-)

I think this will probably be a good thing - after all, I would have no idea who to report a phishing site to if I found one, and this way, I should be protected if I stumble across one, with a clear process for getting a wrongly identified site removed from the list.
I also like the fact that it's not forcing you to leave a site - it allows you the option of continuing with what you were doing, instead of treating you like a child and enforcing its guidance...
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