For Christmas this year I bought myself The Complete New Yorker, which is an 8 DVD collection of all 4,109 issues published between February 1925 and January 2005. It's got a nice interface, is reasonably searchable, and the scans are good enough to read them on screen without strain. Printouts of the pages don't look as nice as the original magazine (or quite as nice as on screen, oddly enough), but it's perfectly acceptable.
Because I run Linux and the proprietary software only runs on Windows and Mac OS/X, I run the software through VMware, which allows me to run a virtual computer with Windows installed.
I spent a few evenings trying to get the DVD's backed up to a hard drive so I wouldn't have to continually swap the physical media to access all the content. I was finally successful using Alcohol 102% to back up the data. Then, using Daemon Tools, I can mount the DVD images as though they were physical media and the New Yorker viewer works.
There's still something not quite right about this, though. Even though Daemon Tools allows you to have as many "drives" connected as you want, the New Yorker viewer will only recognize one of them. That means you can't just connect them all and have the viewer grab whatever content you're looking for. I'm not sure if this was intentional or not, but it's unfortunate. Instead, when you choose content that's on one of the other disks, you have to click the Daemon Tools icon and choose the proper image.
The other quirk is that the order of operations appears to matter. To make it all work, you need to mount one of the DVD images with Daemon Tools, start up the New Yorker viewer, and then choose content that's on a different disk than the one that's mounted. If you try to access content on the currently mounted disk, the reader never opens, and if you try to mount a DVD after you've started the program, it doesn't work either.
One other note -- VMware has the ability to connect disk images to what Windows interprets as physical drives, but this doesn't work with the New Yorker DVD's. It's not completely clear why, since Daemon Tools is basically doing the same thing from within Windows, but I think it's either that VMware isn't completely emulating a DVD drive when using an image (the drive looks more like a CD-ROM drive in Windows), or that the copy protection on the original DVD's isn't emulated.
I just finished Chappell and Bringhurst's A Short History of the Printed Word (Second edition). It's a good review of book publishing from pre-Gutenberg up to the present, and has lots of great photos of old books and typefaces. Near the end, Bringhurst discusses the decline in the quality of books:
The degradation of the book goes hand in hand with the destruction of the forests, the pollution of the water, the pollution of the air. It is one more way of reaping profits now and leaving nothing to the people of the future. (page 296)
I'm one of the moderators (ListMom) of an OldTools email list. This year, a bunch of the galoots on the list got together and had planemaker Wayne Anderson build me and the other ListMom a chariot plane. The plane is absolutely gorgeous, with brass sides perfectly dovetailed into the steel bottom, and some sort of tropical hardwood that holds the iron perfectly. It's a bevel-up plane, and in my initial, ahem, testing, it handles the toughest grain I had to throw at it.
Click on the images for a larger view. In the side shot you can see Wayne's signature, as well as the microscopically tight mouth on the plane.
And if that wasn't enough, the left over money went into a Lee Valley gift certificate. I've already got a shoulder plane and a couple books on the way. Thanks to everyone on the list for their generosity.
It's a great list, with great folk. If you're at all interested in working wood by hand, or in collecting old hand tools, check it out.
On this week's America's Test Kitchen the gadget guy demonstrated a device that cores, peels, and slices pineapples. The Cooks Illustrated review says that using a knife and carving the pineapple manually does yield more fruit (31 vs. 24 ounces of a 64 ounce pineapple), but this gadget makes it incredibly simple. The whole process took less than five minutes, required virtually no skill, and I got a whole bunch of pineapple slices to eat for lunch. According to my nutrition software, a single slice or raw pineapple contains 79% of your daily value of vitamin C, 34% for Manganese, and 5% of your daily fiber. All for less than 2% of your daily calories!
Here in Fairbanks, pineapple isn't exactly cheap (I think it was around $1.90 / pound, which means it's almost $4.00 for a pound of usable fruit), but I think that eating real, fresh food, is worth the money, and adding an occasional pineapple to my diet is a good thing.
I guess I was wrong about the flying squirrel being disturbed by the boreal owl we had last week. The squirrel has been visiting our feeders regularly since, and we've even seen a pair of them on occasion. His eyes are actually black, but they're so large that when the flash hits them, they turn completely red. The photo has been edited so they're white instead.
My wife took the photo. You can see some more of her pictures at her Flickr page.