Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Library book lookup from your browser

Have you ever seen a book on Amazon or another website and wondered whether your local library had a copy of it?

I have to admit as much as I like my library, Indianapolis Marion County Public Library. I do not care for the web interface with it’s URL session ids and timeouts and JavaScript linking! So I try to stay out of the website until I want the book. I saw LibraryLookup on 43 Folders. I tried LibraryLookup, but was annoyed with the ISBN interface. BookBurro looked promising but it only worked on 20-some library. I’m not a member of any of those libraries.

I decided to roll my own Firefox Search Plugin–which is very simple to do. You just have to know the query keywords for your library (such as isbn, keyword, title). The IMCPL is an IPAC system and uses “UTL” for its title keyword. Just drop the finished file in your Firefox/Profile/searchPlugins folder with a “.src” extension, and restart Firefox. That’s all there is to it.
Here is the code for the Indianapolis Marion County Public Library for title searching:


<input name=”term” user>
<input name=”index” value=”UTL”>
<input name=”spp” value=”50″>

-Stephen M. James

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Tuesday, July 24, 2007

DVD Studio Pro stops DVD burn / format

Over fifty-percent of the DVDs I burn in DVD Studio Pro 4 (DSP) fail and become coasters, and every fifth or sixth DVD I burn forces me to restart my Dual G5 Mac Pro! The problem is that I have to Force Quit DVD Studio Pro when it is burns or formats the DVD. I wait about five minutes after the status bar has stopped moving. I then force quit DVD Studio Pro with the DVD unable to eject without restarting OS-X. There are ways of ejecting the DVD through holes with paper clips, but I might as well restart my computer than do that. I hate it when Apple thinks they know best by not allowing for an eject button that is on the front of the computer and not software supported via the keyboard. I have the same drive (Pioneer DVR-109) on my PC at home, and do not have this many problems!

To burn video DVDs, I’ve switched to the open source burning software, Burn. I’m sure many other programs will work that support the video DVD file system.

Since I have switched, I have a 20% coaster rate, and this program verifies the data, too (which as far as I know DSP doesn’t do). Most importantly, I have not had to restart my computer yet! I must mention that I am burning at 4x. I going to guess that the DSP default (and only setting) is to burn at the maximum rate of the drive which is 8X.

As a side note, we buy hub-printable white Taiyo-Yuden 8x DVD-Rs from AllMediaOutlet for all our DVD burning. We also buy silver non-hub-printable Ritek CD-Rs for out CD burning. As far as I know, no one makes hub-printable silver CD-R or DVDs.

Are there better consumer DVD-Rs out there?

-Stephen M. James

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