Haven’t bought a 40″ Sony Bravia LCD TV?  No plans for a home-theatre system? Here’s a story from Yahoo! News on what you can do now to prepare your older, non-digital television for 2009 when stations will stop broadcasting analog signals:  How to convert to digital TV.  In short, you’ll need a converter box to receive a picture, and if you apply now, you can receive two $40 coupons to offset the cost of the $50 to $70 box.  The program is administered by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration.  Here’s the site to apply for the coupon http://www.dtv2009.gov.

For more on the topic, check out this article from Scientific American, U.S. Lacks Plan for Digital TV Switch: Study.


Traffic increases from search engines has led The New York Times to stop charging for online access to TimeSelect and other portions of the site, according to a NYT article published September 18, Times to Stop Charging for Parts of Its Web Site.  TimesSelect includes “the work of its columnists and to the newspaper’s archives.” Other portions to be made available September 18 at midnight include “its archives from 1987 to the present […] as well as those from 1851 to 1922.  Some materials from 1923 to 1986 will still be subject to charge.

The change, according to The Times, was that “many more readers started coming to the site from search engines and links on other sites instead of coming directly to NYTimes.com.  These indirect readers, unable to get access to articles behind the pay wall and less likely to pay subscription fees than the more loyal direct users, were seen as opportunities for more page views and increased advertising revenue.”

“What wasn’t anticipated was the explosion in how much of our traffic would be generated by Google, by Yahoo and some others,” said Vivian L. Schiller, senior vice president and general manager of the site, NYTimes.com.

So, Lexis or Westlaw may be perfect for searching across the archives of a number of newspapers at once, but if you are looking specifically for a New York Times article, check the NYTimes.com first.  You may just find it for free.

There are a few resources you can check for information about state court judges in New Jersey.  The first place to start if you know the year in which the judge was appointed  is the web site of the New Jersey Judiciary.  Biographical information can often be found in the press release issued by the court

Another source to check is the New Jersey Court Guides at the web site of the New Jersey Law Journal.

Although these guides are not updated past the date of publication, they are based on interviews with the judges and include reviews of significant cases presided over by them.  A subscription to the New Jersey Law Journal is required for access.

Guide to the New Jersey Supreme Court, February 16, 2004

Guide to the Superior Court Appellate Division, March 15, 2002.

And don’t forget, information about their temperament and judicial philosphy can often be gleaned from the opinions they’ve written.   To find opinions written by a particular judge, select the appropriate court database in Lexis or Westlaw and use the following fields in your search:

Lexis:         writtenby(smith)

Westlaw:   op(smith)

For some helpful tips on searching the library’s online catalog and then deciphering those call numbers, take a look at Betsy McKenzie’s post from Out of the Jungle entitled Finding helpful stuff in the Library — Part I.  There’s a very nice description on the structure of a call number which can help a library patron understand why books wind up where they do on the shelves. 

Here’s an excellent article by Jenkins Law Library’s Internet Librarian, Dan Giancaterino, about the online resources available from your local library. The article, Better Than Google: Libraries Offer Online Databases With Quality Information — For Free, was published in the Spring 2007 issue of The Philadelphia Lawyer, p.56, and discusses how you might find information on 14 million companies from ReferenceUSA, the schematic for your car’s electrical system from the Auto Repair Reference Center and the full text of articles from the New York Times, all for free.

If you have a membership cards for your local library, such as the Free Library of Philadelphia, you can access databases and services covering news, biographies, science, and more, from home or work. From the Free Library’s site, you may even download audiobooks and music to your pc and transfer to your MP3 player.  Click here for a list of databases available at the Free Library.  You are eligible for a membership card if you “live, work, pays taxes, or go to school in the City of Philadelphia.”  Click here to apply for a card, or check out your local libray today!

A new website, OpenCongress.org, consolidates information about congress, legislation, and the news and blogs that cover them.  The web site is the topic of the radio broadcast this week, Good Day Sunshine, on On the Media from NPR, in which the origins and functionalities of the web site are discussed by host Bob Garfield and the Sunlight Foundation’s technology advisor, Micah Sifry.  Here’s an excerpt:

If you’re wondering what your Congressperson has been up to lately, you can spend hours poring over hard-to-find government databases. Or you can visit a brand new website, where it’s all in one place…

They discuss Thomas, the government’s source for congressional information, and how OpenCongress.org, differs from it, including the addition of an RSS feed to track changes to a bill.  Another excellent story from NPR, and worth a look or listen.

Converting VHS to DVD

March 8, 2007

Looking for a way to convert your videotapes to DVD?  David Pogue of the New York Times reviews the Sony DVDirect in his article, A New Box From Sony Turns Videotapes Into Shiny DVDs.  A little videoclip shows you how it works.