Coolest. Bookmark. Ever.

When we moved down to Mountain View recently, we managed to score a sweet address: right across from the city library! Yeah, yeah, I’m a geek. Sunday in my house was the day you went to church and then you went to the library – it’s a happy memory. And though I’ve spent more time reading blogs than books in the past six months methinks that will change in the near future. Why?

Because of this absolutely sensational LibraryLookup bookmarklet tool.

Basically, this little web application allows you to create a “bookmarklet” – a simple javascript-based bookmark utility you can add to your web browser’s toolbar. The particular bookmarklet that the LibraryLookup site allows you to create is pure shortcut genius: it allows you, while visiting, to automically lookup the item on the current page at your local library via your library’s online catalog. One click and you’re at the library checking out if you can save cash by checking the book out of your local library rather than buying it! The web application used to create the bookmarklet appears to know how to interface with most of the popular web-based libary catalog software, so you should have little problems getting it to work for your local library.

Time to crawl through my Amazon Wishlist and request some books – cha-ching! That spells savings!

And for those of you in Mountain View, use the Base URL and set the Vendor to “Innovative”. Presto! Shortcut magic!

Pissing On Customers

It seems these days more companies are making a deliberate, calculated, and focused effort to piss off their customers. Or piss on their customers. I haven’t decided which it is, but neither one is particularly desirable when you’re on the receiving end. Somewhere along the line, someone gave companies the idea that providing less service for the same price would be acceptable to customers – allow me to correct their misconceptions.

Your average Hollywood movie studio executive appears to be operating under the mistaken belief that when I bother to pry open my wallet to buy a DVD, I’m actually overjoyed to be forced to sit through additional “free” content. Like the overly verbose FBI warning. In English and French. And an ad for a soft drink. And the coming attractions – despite the fact that the DVD I’m watching is over a year old, the movies being advertised have already been released, I already know they suck, and this is the fourth time I’ve been forced to watch the ads. In situations like this, I start to feel like Alexander in Clockwork Orange – strapped into place, restricted by technology from averting my gaze.

The term is captive market – and I wish cosmic rays would fry the synapses out of every corporate droid brain that thinks it’s a good idea.

Nobody’s limiting themselves to restricting outside food so they can overcharge for popcorn anymore. Nope, they’re working hard to make sure we watch what they want us to watch, when they want us to watch it. Forget listening to your favorite XM radio program any time you want. Forget taking your camera-phone to concerts. Forget moving files freely to and from your USB keychain drive or your iPod. Forget recording and storing programs indefinitely on your TiVo. Forget about not being berated for actually paying to go to the movie theatre.

In short: forget about having uninterrupted control over any of the cultural products and experiences that form the basis of just about every memory you have. The movie from your first date. The songs that form the soundtrack of your life’s most important moments. The concert you went to with your best friends. All of the color surrounding your memories – memories so important to you that they’re engraved in the brainflesh somewhere between your ears – those colors are probably patented by some jackass at Pantone and they’re drafting a cease-and-desist letter as I type this.

I know I’ve said this before, but I’ll say it again: I will not pay for content only to be told when and where I may watch or listen to it. I will not feed your ill-conceived plans to cram my every waking moment with mentally deficient cross-marketing plans. I will not allow myself to be extorted for access to my culture, and my memories. In case the industry hasn’t noticed, there is a lifetime’s worth of unrestricted content out there, free for the taking. There are tools that make it easier to route around your dain bramage should I decide to access restricted content.

Beware! For I am the consumer. I am King. And you will be first against the wall.