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from swerve of shore to bend of bay

links for 2010-07-27

  • World Bank publishes an annual index (here) that ranks countries by how easy it is to do business (Singapore was #1 in case you were wondering). The index incorporates factors like the number of procedures, costs, and time needed to comply across different aspects of the red-tape businesses must navigate (employing workers, filing taxes, getting construction permits, etc). Unfortunately, the burden of this red-tape falls more heavily on small businesses than large. According to the SBA (in this report) it costs 45 percent more per employee for small firms to comply than larger firms. Which means (unsurprisingly), red-tape hinders one crucial engine of most economies — small business growth.
  • A Good Company was selected as the winner of Sunlight Labs' Design For America contest in the Redesign of a .Gov Website category. The designers tackled the Internal Revenue Service site. Take a look at the current IRS.gov site and compare it to the redesigned site created by the two designers, Micah and Caroline. Pretty amazing transformation!
  • This weekend the twitterverse erupted with opinions about Google sponsoring female students to attend JSConf. As a woman who is often the only-woman-in-the-room, I want people to know it isn’t always easy. I was a bit shocked by the blatant failure to empathize. Google is correcting for women being less likely to stand up and say “me, me, me!”, not for their technical skills or development prowess. Thinking that I got where I am because I’m a woman and got special treatment (rather than on my own merit) is a painful and insidious form of discrimination. You have to be thick skinned to make it in a field where this kind of thing happens frequently. YES. It happens frequently. What I’m trying to say is that women face a special challenge in tech because their male counterparts, when feeling jealous, will tend to pin female geek’s success on their gender. We face another problem, when we begin to wonder ourselves, and doubt our own abilities. This is the last refuge of the bigot indeed.
  • Soundflower is a MacOS system extension that allows applications to pass audio to other applications. Soundflower is easy to use, it simply presents itself as an audio device, allowing any audio application to send and receive audio with no other support needed.
  • is list is an early draft of top competencies needed to become a social media-literate librarian. Murphy & Moulaison (2009) have written a fine document on this topic, and related the framework back to the ACRL information literacy competencies.
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