Saturday, February 23, 2013

This dude been on the Internet so long

The first library I ever remember visiting was the library in Red Bluff, California. I was five at the time, and living with my aunt while my mother was recovering from surgery. I remember the children’s area of the library, and in my recollection of the place today, the rows of books went all the way up to the ceiling. I remember specifically, although not by name, a picture book a pulled down from the rows, about children leaping for the moon. It was explained to me that I could take the book home — and not just that book, but any book I wanted in the entire library. I remember thinking, in a five year old’s vocabulary, how unbelievably perfect. I took home a book about stars, which started a life-long love of astronomy.
The second library I have a strong memory of was the Covina Public Library, in my then hometown of Covina, California. My mother and then-stepfather worked all day and I would walk or bike to the library most afternoons, and read magazines and look through reference and trivia books. I also remember specifically spending a lot of time with a book about dragons.
I remember the library at Ben Lomond Elementary School, also in Covina. It was there I first made the acquaintance of Robert Heinlein, in a library-bound edition of Farmer in the Sky. It was the start of a beautiful relationship.
At the West Covina library, I discovered that one could borrow LPs and listen to them at turntables in the library! I remember sitting in a chair, next to a turntable, headphones on, listening to Bill Cosby LPs and giggling as quietly as I could (it was a library) while simultaneously flipping through a Time-Life book called The Planets, written by one Carl Sagan.
The library in Glendora was where I stayed in the afternoons when my now-divorced mother worked. I would sit in the just outside the kids’ area, eating Jujyfruit candies (you could buy a whole big box for 49 cents at the Ralph’s just down the street), reading what were called “juvies” then and are called “Young Adult” books now. It was the first place I was exposed to a real live computer: A TRS-80 Model III. I remember programming the computer in BASIC to play simple games. It was there I met Mykal Burns, who was (and remains) one of my best friends. I also met — actually met, not just in a book — Ray Bradbury there, which to me wassomething like meeting a wizard.
The library at Sandburg Middle School is where I would be in the early morning before school started, reading science fiction and rushing through my homework. It was also the scene of some of greatest junior high triumphs, as I participated in a school-wide “science bees” staged there, for the Red team (the school divided alphabetically into colors), and would single-handedly utterly slaughter entire opposing teams. All those years of checking out trivia and science books paid off with a vengeance.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The Archdruid is right, one of the first things to go....

The company had been packing a 40-by-60-foot rental space here with racks of computer servers that were needed to store and process information from members’ accounts. The electricity pouring into the computers was overheating Ethernet sockets and other crucial components.

Thinking fast, Mr. Rothschild, the company’s engineering chief, took some employees on an expedition to buy every fan they could find — “We cleaned out all of the Walgreens in the area,” he said — to blast cool air at the equipment and prevent the Web site from going down...