Happy Birthday to Martin King!

April 5th, 2007 by Editor

by Ruth Hoffman

In honor of Martin’s birthday, everyone in the office brought cans of coffee and sweets to the office to donate to the Downtown Foodbank at Pike Place Market. The foodbank serves from 700 to 1,100 clients each week.

Due to the downtown location of the food bank, they serve more individuals than families. Many of their clients live in the nearby low-income housing. Many live on $300 per month.
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Real warnings

April 3rd, 2007 by Editor

by Hilary Franz

These days it is difficult to open a newspaper without finding some discussion about climate change. It appears that Congress is also finally waking up and taking notice. Right now there are a number of bills in Congress on the issue. Read the rest of this entry »

Axe EXBIBLIOSO, or give it some love

March 26th, 2007 by Editor

by Jeff Bowman

Over the past two weeks I have been trying to get my arms around our brand strategy and trademarks. Several aspects of our current approach concern me. First of these is the name and word treatment of the company name: Exbiblio. What the name implies is “formerly a library of books,” or “out of the book.” This is clever enough. Exbiblio, however, is a tongue twisting four syllables so it only works as a company name; not as a product or services brand name to be featured in our communications with consumers. More troubling are the font, color palette and logo as outlined in our style guide. THEY ALL SCREAM GOTHIC . In fact, our font choice is even called Gothic. Our tagline (The Paper Renaissance) doesn’t make any connection with the digital world. Amusingly, it is even more of a disconnect when you consider that the Renaissance included the decline of Gothic architecture.

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March 16th, 2007 by Editor

by Lauren Summers

As some readers know, just before Thanksgiving, Exbiblio was forced to take a step back and re-assess the project and plan for the company. To avoid crashing and burning financially, a number of great employees had to be let go and it was a hard time both for those leaving and the few staying. Uncertainty permeated the office, but there remained a belief in the product and hopefulness for its success.

Since the project was able to continue, a few key hires have joined Exbiblio.

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Saving for Live

March 8th, 2007 by Editor

by Claes-Fredrik Mannby

Life LibraryA topic that has started migrating from research communities to widespread adoption is the notion of a Life Library.

In 1945, Vannevar Bush proposed a computer system he called the memex (“memory extender”). It involved electronically linking frames of microfilm. Ever since, and probably since long before then, people have had the notion of treating the world around them, in a sense, as an extended memory system.

When you collect souvenirs from the places you visit, and put them on your shelves or in your drawers, you stash away potent memory-evoking devices that you know you will run into, bringing back memories when you encounter them.

When you read books and add them to your library, you extend an index in your mind, and accrue wisdom. The books themselves, whether you keep them at home, or rely on other libraries, become reference material that you can use to elaborate on the memories as needed.

Digital media, as exemplified by movies, audio recordings, hypertext, photos and chat logs, open up a similar world of extended human mind.

Exbiblio sees incredible value in uniting the physical and digital worlds into a single extension for your mind, in this sense. By capturing video and audio recordings of physical parts of your “library,” we can connect them directly to the digital realm, which usually has counterparts to the physical library, and add value in various ways by helping you navigate both realms, continually learning from your individual usage and from aggregate usage.

It’s a very topical and interesting question, then, what aspects of such “Life Libraries” that have been proposed or exist, which have failed and which have been successful, and which will become commonplace, if any.

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A Warm Thanks to Hugh

March 8th, 2007 by Editor

by Claes-Fredrik Mannby

In starting up our external blogging activity again, I think it’s fitting to give a big, warm thanks to Hugh for finding such interesting related developments in the world to write about, and especially for the courage to implement Naked Conversations here at Exbiblio.

Our ambition is to be a truly open company in many ways, upholding truth, honesty, and transparency in every aspect of our business, be it corporate communications, reporting, software code or hardware layouts.

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Next Chapter

March 1st, 2007 by Editor

by Mike Piraino, CEO

When I was first introduced to Exbiblio, I was somewhat awestruck by the breadth of the vision. I’ve found that this is not an uncommon response when people learn about what we’re doing and how we propose to do it. The creative genius behind the concept is undeniable and there are clear paths to revenue—not your usual great idea desperately searching for a business model. On top of that, the company (read Martin) was savvy enough to create an explicit, detailed, long-term view of just how this vision would be implemented and monetized over time and build an extensive patent portfolio to protect the world of opportunity this vision opened up.

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Arrival: Mark Sanvitale

December 11th, 2006 by Team Member

by Lauren Summers

Mark SanvitaleMark Sanvitale remembers vividly the Christmas he came downstairs to gifts splayed out near the fireplace in the living room. It appeared that Santa had dropped the presents when he tumbled from the chimney of Mark’s childhood home in Portland, Oregon. One of the boxes held a new Atari 400, and from that moment on, Mark knew exactly what he wanted to do when he grew up: work with computers.

When the time came for Mark to go to college, he hoped to enter the University of Washington’s Computer Science program, but at the time the program was too small to accept the large number of applicants. He wasn’t accepted, so instead of taking UW’s alternate mathematics route, he chose the University of Southern California.

After graduation, Mark regularly applied for positions at the same three companies: Apple, Pixar and LucasFilm’s Industrial Light & Magic. He would occasionally also stalk the Apple campus in hopes of meeting and making contacts, and his efforts paid off in August of 1999 when he was hired for testing, even though he wanted to be in development. So, he set a goal: “If I can’t get into development by the end of 2000, I’m looking for another job.” Three months before his deadline, Mark had landed the job he wanted as a developer on the Finder team, where he led the development of many cool features, including “smart folders” and the sidebar. He enjoyed working with the extremely smart and passionate people at Apple, and also acknowledged and appreciated co-workers who weren’t “Apple zealots” because they gave an added dimension to the company. Mark’s biggest peeve was with managers who made changes on a project at the very end, although he humbly admits it usually made the product better.

In 2005, Mark decided to leave the Bay area for Eugene, Oregon to take a break and lead a less expensive life. Many times in his life he has lived without a car, and he seems to like it that way. Mark proudly said that while taking time off he “did a lot of nothing, like hanging out and basketball, and I loved it.” He used some of his free time to travel around Ireland for a month and check out the beaches of Hawaii.

Mark found Exbiblio through Craigslist, which he usually uses to find apartments and to buy and sell furniture and household appliances. He was surprised by Exbiblio’s listing, impressed by the website, and applied for the Software Engineer position. He laughed when he recalled Claes-Fredrik Mannby’s phone call inviting him for an interview: “I realized too late that my outgoing message was one a friend had recorded as a joke. I tried to catch the call before the machine picked up, but I heard the machine scream, “MARKUS BARKUS,” so I quietly hung up and crawled back into bed.” Claes-Fredrik emailed Mark later that day and Exbiblio eventually offered him a job.

Between the time Mark accepted the job offer and his start date, Exbiblio went through the radical restructuring. When Ed Mahlum called with the news, Mark thought that Exbiblio was not in business anymore. Fortunately, the plan to rebound and continue the development of the scanner and its software included Mark’s expertise.

The Future of books…

December 8th, 2006 by Hugh

Here’s a small anecdote from the world of book publishing that I hope wll give encouragement to Exbiblio.

Earlier this week, I attended an event in London held by Puffin, the children’s book publisher, owned by Penguin. I was chatting to one of their senior managers who told me that when her seven-year-old son finished reading a book, he always went straight to his computer to see if there was any web-related material. She admitted that publishing companies were not always the first to embrace new technology, but in the case of children’s books, they had to be at the forefront, because that was what the audience expected. Exbiblio currently sees college students as a key market for its technology to link the paper world to digital… perhaps that even that group is too old? Anyway, I take this as a sign that the world is changing, and it’s changing in the right direction for Exbiblio.

Giving Away eBooks

December 7th, 2006 by Hugh

One of the big problems for Exbiblio is that book publishers don’t want to give their content away on the web. This makes it hard to link an in-copyright paper text to its digital equivalent. Now here’s some encouraging news (discovered via Scoble). Joe Wikert of Wily books says that giving away content on the net helps build an audience. In fact, it does no harm to sales, and probably helps them.