August 17th, 2005

krazy koati

And hit me with technology

I got two e-mails notifying me of overdue books. I'm used to e-mails about overdue books -- I hoard them -- but these books had holds on them, so I couldn't just use the library web site to renew them. Since there were two books, they were sent as two letters, two hours apart. I can't guess why.

But I knew this was coming -- I saw the holds last time I renewed a bunch of books online -- and took them to the library. I explained to the clerk that I'd gotten e-mail and there were holds on the books, but that didn't much matter, because the system was down and they couldn't record returned books. Nor could they check out books. Nor could you check out or return Reading Room material. Nor did the automated checkout counters work; nor did the library catalogue computers work.

Every one of these computers, in various forms, had covering the monitor a laminated cardboard sheet reporting the system as Not In Service, and This Problem has been Reported. All, that is, except one lonely computer, at which a student kept hitting ``Reload'' on the web browser, and kept getting 404 errors.

Am I wrong in wanting to take a baseball bat to the current ``Minesweeper'' storyline in Funky Winkerbean?

Trivia: Between 1875 and 1890 sugar exports to the United States became 99 percent of all Hawaiian exports. Source: A New History of the United States, William Miller.

Currently Reading: Codebreakers: The Inside Story of Bletchley Park, F H Hinsley, Alan Stripp, Editors. It's personal recollections of life at Bletchley Park during World War II; generally fascinating reading of the odd little bits that people remember after nearly 50 years trying not to think about it. There's something compelling reading of nightmares about having been unable ages ago to decode messages of never-known content, or value.