Log in

No account? Create an account

Previous Entry | Next Entry

Books Are Fun

I've been playing with my books a lot lately. Not necessarily reading them, though I am in the middle of The Shape of the Journey: New and Collected Poems by Jim Harrison (specifically, the section that's his book Letters to Yesenin). As of today, I have all the books in the living room catalogued in LibraryThing. That's 523 titles, including a couple on a shelf here in the office. The process has been for me to sit in front of a shelf, pull the books off one by one, and copy the ISBN from the back cover or copyright page on a sheet of paper, then come to the computer and key the ISBNs in to match up with something in Amazon or the Library of Congress.

Which, to digress a little, is quite the Luddite way of doing things, given that this is a house with both a wireless router and one if not two laptops. But neither laptop deigns to speak with the router, so the possibility of sitting down in front of the bookshelf and entering the ISBN directly into LibraryThing on a laptop is just a dream. Mind, Dave's laptop gets along famously with my router. It leads me to think that the problem is, one of my laptops is too old and the other is too Mac. It could be fixed, but I have to wash my hair. Be that as it may....

I've had a look at 523 books, some for the first time since they went on the shelf. Actually, more than that; I have a stack of about a dozen more that I'm sure aren't in a catalog, as they have no ISBNs and I bought them from places like small historical museums or people I have met. (I'm sure I can catalog these the old fashioned way. If not, I might know a librarian or two.) Looking at them all has been a nice exercise in reminiscence. Some of these books I've had since I was a child, and quite a few were college textbooks. The longest-held book is Roald Dahl's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, which owing to its being owned by a 9-year-old once has impromptu illustrations and no antiquarian value. The oldest is a set of Compton's Pictured Encyclopedia published in 1929, which I've had since the mid-1970s. There are books I've read with one or both of my parents, there are books I've taken on hiking or camping trips, and there is even a book that inspired a song I wrote.

There are reprints of books from the early part of the 20th century, courtesy my long tenure with my employer, where I've also acquired some reference works that ordinarily only appear in libraries, which makes my LibraryThing catalog look a little strange. Plus small collections from hobbies and interests, such as camping and backpacking, music, fitness, photography, and alternative spirituality.

There's fiction too, but... see, there's a problem. I don't actually read a lot. This is something that makes me feel a bit sheepish. I have some very interesting books from authors I admire greatly, and I'd like to get more. But to take the time to actually use them for what they were meant ... I mean, books aren't just decorative items, y'know? You'd think I would have two books in progress at all times, but I rarely have one that I'm reading. This is something I beat myself up over sometimes, especially when I think about all the people who apparently don't read, either, like students and politicians. Who wants to be like them?

Dave has asked me "So... what's the point of this LibraryThing thing you're on?" I'm not really sure. The data entry part is fun, and seeing the computer screen show pictures of my books is cool. But I've noticed, lately, a bit more of an urge to read something instead of, well, not-reading. Maybe that's the purpose of LibraryThing, to rekindle my interest in using these pretty little works of art sitting around my living room.

Now, if only they'd turn off this Internet so I wasn't distracted all the time.

No—wait—my LibraryThing—!



( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 20th, 2009 02:26 am (UTC)
That's quite the project - I salute your patience!

When I clicked on the link for LibraryThing here, I didn't notice any impediment to its use with a Mac - after all, it did appear to be a web-based thing. Is there a downloadable app that's PC-only? Granted, I didn't create an account or try to enter information, so you may have come across Mac-phobic behavior in the web version.

I looked for information on the entity/company that created LibraryThing to see if they made something similar for other media - say, CDs or DVDs. (Three guesses why I might be interested in such a product.. ahem.) So far, no luck. I have database software here, but I like LibraryThing's approach ..

Lastly, have you considered a barcode scanner? You mentioned having more books to catalog, and a scanner might come in handy for those books with a barcode. LibraryThing mentions a particular brand that sells for around 35 bucks, but I would imagine there are other models out there that would work. Might be a little easier on your fingers in the long run (especially for guitarist-types)...

Edited at 2009-09-20 02:27 am (UTC)
Sep. 21st, 2009 11:10 pm (UTC)
Thanks! Sometimes I actually like what's basically a tedious task, like typing in ISBNs from books into search engines. LibraryThing actually sells a barcode scanner — I didn't learn that till I was about 250 books into the project. That would be a pretty geeky thing to buy, really. :)

LibraryThing has a web interface; I don't think they have any apps outside of that, but I haven't looked for them. So theoretically it should work no matter the operating system or browser. I haven't tried inputting via the Mac, but I have successfully accessed my profile and library from it.

The main problem I have is very general. I can't get either laptop to work with the wireless router to do anything. The laptop will find the network and try to connect, but just fails. From there I run into one of two issues, depending on which laptop. If I'm using my old Dell, it could be that it's just too old (it runs Windows 2000, and a first generation wireless card). With the Mac, there might be some adjustments that could be made, if I was the admin of the machine, but I'mm not. You know, but others may not, that it's owned by work, so they get to decide these things. The Mac sysadmin here has offered to help make it work. I just haven't taken him up on it yet.

Curiously, the Mac does work on Trixie's wi-fi network. That might indicate that the necessary adjustment is on my router's end, now that I think of it. And, as I mentioned above, Dave's PC laptop works well on my router. So it's not completely worthless.

In the end, wireless networking has been something that I haven't wrapped my head around yet. I've poked around at it, but not made much headway, and it hasn't been that important yet.

Edited at 2009-09-21 11:11 pm (UTC)
Sep. 21st, 2009 02:09 am (UTC)
"one of my laptops is too old and the other is too Mac."

What kind of network adapters do they have? If the old one has a wireless card that uses one of the outside slots (like my dad's old laptop), you could try finding a card that's the same brand as the router.

Otherwise, I'd say either Google or mess around with the network settings until you find something that works.
Sep. 21st, 2009 11:18 pm (UTC)
A lot of the detail is in my reply to jjfmi. I don't remember the brand of the adaptor on the Dell; the adaptor might be rated for B and G, but the computer may not be able to handle G, and it's so old it has many other issues that keep me from caring much about the wifi adaptor. The Mac has the Airport adaptor (or whatever it's called on a Mac; it's built-in). The router is LinkSys, if I remember right. I've changed settings on the router a few times, but not to where it made anything easier for the Dell and Mac. I'm in over my head with it; there are too many weird settings and too much jargon, and it makes me walk away and turn the TV on.

It seems like one of those things that should work, but it's not terribly vital to me since I do all of my home computing off the desktop in the office. Maybe someday, I'll work on the issue again.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

Latest Month

December 2017


Powered by LiveJournal.com
Designed by Lilia Ahner