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Jan 21, 2006 7:11 am


Things Noted Here and There



Andrew Adam Newman,"How Should a Book Sound? And What About Footnotes?" New York Times 20 January. More on translating forms.

David Montgomery,"The Author Who Got a Big Boost from bin Ladin," Washington Post, 21 January. Forget Oprah. Bin Ladin's the sales booster for this historian.

Megan Twohey,"Former Professor May Be Doomed to Repeat History," Milwaukee Journal-Sentinal, 18 January. Convicted in an American court in 2002 of conspiring to transport documents stolen from the French National Archives, John William Rooney, a former professor of history at Marquette and the University of the South, faces a second trial in France. Some of the documents, that he now admits to having stolen, continue to be missing. Thanks to Margaret Soltan at University Diaries for the tip.

After yesterday's extended discussions, I'm declaring this UCLA Appreciation Day at Cliopatria. Here are a couple of other links in the Andrew Jones/Bruins Alumni Association story: Scott Eric Kaufman's"Save Academic Freedom: Tell UCLAProfs.com to Turn It Up a Notch," 19 January; Hugo Schwyzer's"Brief Reflection on UCLAProfs," 19 January; and"College Daze," LA Times, 20 January. The Times editorial gives Brother Jones a well-earned spanking. And, speaking of spankings, there is also Chris Bray's Surveillance Central, though that one could become not work-safe reading. [If Andrew Jones has ever yelled"Spank me! Spank me!" in a moment of passion, Surveillance Central is offering cold cash for hard evidence.] Thanks to Michael Benson, Hiram Hover and Scott McLemee for the tips.

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Jonathan Dresner - 1/22/2006

Ten years ago? By then it was a pretty well-established technology (IBM is more of a follower than a leader in this field), but they do keep getting better, at least incrementally (the voices haven't changed much in the last decade, but the graphical complexity of the screens have, by a long shot).

You really do get used to them pretty quickly, though.


John H. Lederer - 1/21/2006

Perhaps ten years ago I heard an example of a text-to-speech coverter that took html pages and used different pitched and toned voices to convey html tags like "emphasis" (think Darth Vader) and "quote" ( think of a neutered BBC announcer). It took a small bit to get used to it, but once used to it it was quite expressive and compelling.

If I recall correctly it was part of a IBM computer project for making computers usable by the disabled.


Jonathan Dresner - 1/21/2006

Ah. I'm slow.

Speaking of slow, I finally figured out what really bothered me about the "pay scale" for information. It's not the $100 for full notes and recordings, or $50 for one or the other: that's about a buck an hour or less given the time necessary to produce the materials. Pitiful money for real work (not to mention recording media).

It's the $10 for "tips." In theory, any student can just drop them an e-mail saying "you oughta look into this guy" and get ten bucks. That's the invitation to McCarthyist/Maoist informerism which sets this apart even from Horowitz's own operations.


Ralph E. Luker - 1/21/2006

Thanks, Jon. I posted about that yesterday.


Jonathan Dresner - 1/21/2006

Apparently the UCLAProfs founder doesn't play nice even with his friends.

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