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Car Boot Sale #2

The weirdest thing about my local car boot sale today was that second-hand robots now outnumber record players that can cope with 78rpm disks.

No Roombas, though — they didn't go on sale in the UK until relatively recently and they cost an arm and a leg. It's the fashion-accessory robots that are showing up, in other words.

(In case you were wondering, I picked up a nice pair of speaker stands for the library. That is all.)



We have (somewhere) the raptor equivalent.

A very silly item indeed, and nothing like as useful as the Roomba.

(And a lot more scary to the cats, who really, really, didn't like the Roboraptor at all.)


The cat-scaring angle is very interesting indeed.

Especially considering that cats seem to be the post-Cretaceous inheritors of the velociraptor's ecological niche.)


The Roomba, they didn't like. But they weren't particularly scared of it (not even the tom, who would run and hide on hearing a camera shutter).

This lurching, vaguely animal form thing? Oh no, not nice at all.

Perhaps it's time to break out a new battery pack once the kittens arrive in a fortnight and see if they take to it. They'll still be at the intense curiosity phase, and they currently have to cope with three largish dogs and one toddler, so one smaller plastic thing should be more OK.


I wish I had a house with a library. That would be awesome.


I'd be careful about those robotic cleaners. Look what happened to this poor chap.!/petterihiisila/status/5205145862


It's surprising they didn't outnumber record players, full stop - back in 2001 or so I took a language class with my daughter, then around six or seven, and one of the hobbies mentioned in the dialog was record collecting. Since the dialog prompts were (cartoon) pictures, not words, she had absolutely no idea what the picture was supposed to be. And that was ten years ago!


It's not a house, it's a tenement flat. And the library is what folks who believe in throwing dinner parties call a "dining room": remove dining table and chairs, install bookcases on all available walls.


I'm wondering whether, and how, to get rid of my collection of SF books I've picked up over the past 30 years. There must be about 1500 of them, mostly quite good. Thing is, I will never read them again.


Contrariwise, we are currently working on Library Annex #2.

Spare bedrooms are so wasted otherwise.

(The library per se is actually downstairs, and could otherwise be an office of some form, but is a tad too small to be a dining room. Annex #1 is entirely shelf lined, but does have a double bed-sofa)


My library is bedroom #3. I've only got 1200 books so I also put in what all good libraries need; a computer :-) It's an EeeBox PC which spends 99.9% of its time on standby (<1W draw) but can wake up under 10 seconds.


I had a Roomba but found it useless so gave it to a friend. His cat was scared of it originally, but finally worked out how to turn it on (hits the top of it until it turns on). My friend sometimes comes home from work and finds the Roomba in the middle of the floor with a flat battery 'cos the cat had been playing with it :-)


Our Roomba has turned out to be very useful -- it's on a schedule, and redocks itself when done. The only problem is cleaning the brushes. The cats are ... fascinated, I guess I'd say, by it. Not scared, and they don't chase it. But it makes lots of noise, and moves by itself, so it's gotta be worth looking at.

It only lives in the bedroom, and does a great job of sweeping under the bed. Lots of cat fur under there, it turns out.


We have a house with a library - and as soon as I fix the big rotted hole in the floor and build some bookcases, we can take all the books out of their boxes...

My library is bedroom #3. I've only got 1200 books so I also put in what all good libraries need; a computer :-) It's an EeeBox PC which spends 99.9% of its time on standby (

I've got 30+ years of book-buying and storing them away in Xerox-sized boxes. And there is no way I'll ever part with them even if they were all instantaneously perfectly digitized and put on some platonic Tablet with a color e-paper setting that refreshes in milliseconds.

But here's a related question: How come there haven't been any significant advances in bookshelf technology for us diehards? Something like those Japanese parking garages maybe?


They're called rolling stacks, and they've existed for a long time. The problem for most private individuals (as opposed to commercial, public, or institutional libraries) is that they're fiendishly expensive and rather on the heavy side. So you need (a) lots of money and (b) reinforced foundations in order to install them.


How many robosapien units were for sale? I need to score some more, for... er... experimental purposes. (Perhaps next time I should look for them at yard sales in the UK rather than on ebay)


A couple of Robosapiens, a couple of Roboraptors. At least, by the time we got there (around 11am at a large car boot sale that ran from 8am-1pm). As I said, a surprising number.


Actually, here's my ideal for efficient space use:

I want a library/office like this. I even got my wife to agree...when we get the money, of course.


donate em to thew librar / charity shop. I only keep books that ill definitely rerad again < probably when case nightmare green occurs >


That's very cool, but I imagine it must demand a systematic approach to filing and cleaning. A clutter-bunny like me would go mad within a week of moving into such a dwelling.

(I note with interest that his entire apartment is almost exactly the same size and shape as my library room.)

Picking nits, though, there's no way I could do that conversion. Never mind the planning laws hereabouts, there isn't a 90 degree angle in the room! The door is a trapezium, and if you drop a ball on the floor it'll roll towards a spot that isn't in the exact middle. So much for movable partitions on rails ... it's just one of the perils of living in a world heritage site where the average home is upwards of 200 years old.


wow , this keyboard really needs replacing


Love how they have subtitles when his English is perfectible understandable and is probably better then the majority of the viewers Chinese


See "The book on the bookshelf" by Henry Petroski for a history of the methods of book storage over the last few millenia, including up to and beyond rolling stacks.

The problem with rolling stacks in a domestic setting is that they take away the ambience and convenience of having book lined walls. Instead, you have to label up the ends of the bookcases, and remember where everything is with fewer visual clues.
On the other hand my floors are (mostly) flat concrete, so could probably take the weight. But at just under 4,000 books I don't need them just yet.


The one I would love to have is the large one that a kid can sit on, that moves its head etc. Trouble is it costs £400 or so new (and I think is discontinued) and would take up way more space than I can afford, and my grand-nephews don't visit me very often so it wouldn't see much use.


Weirdly enough, 33 RPM vinyl and cassettes are making huge comebacks amongst the self-proclaimed "underground" music scene.

From what I can gather it's a test of dedication--only true underground music fans are willing to:

1) put out the time and effort to find and maintain appropriate reproduction equipment

2) dub cassettes yourself or find the few vinyl/ manufacturers left, and

3) make sure your fragile analog recordings survive weather and wear.

Frankly, as a long time fan of weird, noisy, and avant-styled musicks I find this attitude absurd. at this point, the durability and ease of ripping makes CDs far superior to their analog counterparts. If being hip means buying into obsolete technology, I am not amused.


I think the subtitles are because the segment was originally shot by the Canadians, who added the subtitles to show to an American audience, who can't understand English if the speaker isn't white or American (yes, that's snark--I understood what he said perfectly well).

On a slightly less snarky basis, I would point out that the majority of the audience for these programs (World's Greenest Homes was shown at odd hours, midday or early morning) is older, so assuming that they burned their hearing out at an AC/DC concert in 1980 is not quite as silly as it seems. There's probably even an industry standard somewhere that addresses this point.


You are So hard to please! How about this design then ? ...

"Today we have a special furniture treat for those of you with a passion for reading and for…cats. The Cat Library was designed by Corentin Dombrecht and is a practical asset to have around for both humans and felines. The design is modular, so more than one shelving combination is possible. Moreover, the product comes with a few fun features especially added for the playful nature of the small pets. We have to say we find the attached stair system quite ingenious, as it allows the cats to walk or run up and down the furniture piece without any damage being done to the books or magazines stored within. The Cat Library is easy to integrate in a large variety of modern and even traditional interiors. Have a look at the video below for a glimpse of how this bookcase can be “animated”.feline-friendly-modular-bookcase/ "

Mind you I can't make the bloody video work but you may have better luck.


Don't forget all the people who swear that laserdisc quality is better than DVD.


Yes, my "dining room" is the computer/office/music room. And I face the sliding glass door (the sidewalk and parking lot are very close) when I'm on the computer. It's always interesting watching people watch me when they come by in the evening. I usually go put the shades down then.

My books are on two walls of my bedroom because there's nowhere else to put them. I've got about 3K I've read and 1K left to read.


Depends on quality, publisher, and state. In general, used books don't get much money. It has to be something rare and in excellent condition.


A year or so ago while at my book club meeting we were talking (surprise) about books. My friend was comment about how she really shouldn't be buying any new books at the moment because,

"I have run out of space on my... oh what's the word? Flat thing you store books on?"


My point? if you have run out of space to store you book collection then you are not trying hard enough :)


@ 7, 8, 9, etc .... NUMBER OF BOOKS! Don't! We had a "clear-out" last year. I've still got a wall of SF, and we have effectively two more walls,at least, of other books, plus (and not counting as "books") the complete sets of both the current, 1:50 000, and the old 1:63 360-scale OS-maps, and lots of 1:25 000 ones. We THINK we're back over the 6000-book number again ....

Erm - CATS & "Roombas" Try Here and Here as well ... As usual, the felines are ahead of the humans ....


You could give them to me! Not sure DearWife (TM) would be very pleased at the influx of paper, but hey...



,i>My point? if you have run out of space to store you book collection then you are not trying hard enough :)

Contrarywise - If you've not run out of places to store your book collection then you've not bought enough books yet!


Speaking of Robots.

From a mailing list I'm a member of:

"I have a VERY low hours (ie demos only) Comau 6 axis robot, I think its a 50kg one, 2m reach, mounted on a steel frame, complete with all cables, control cab, software maybe the manuals. Was working when I packet it away .. needs 3 phase, but low current, so I'm sure could be run off some motor/generator if needed. Shiny red, never even had a tool mounted on the head.

"These things were 24K new .. looking for £800 before it goes on ebay.

You have no idea of how tempted I was by this. Not that I've got any conceivable use for it but that's not really the point is it :-)


Pretty sure I could convince my uni to buy that, for... something I'd think of later.

And I've never really thought of this: Cats, basically new-model Velociraptors.


" Shades " did you say? But what of ... here I insert a pause Redolent with Portentous and Luminous Horror .... Lampshades ?

There are worse things to be found in car boot sales, and similar such events, than Strange Books .. that are doubtless filled with Arcane Lore of a Cuthulian kind. See this ..

" The lampshade that drives its owners mad: Strange truth behind 20th century's most disturbing object ..Looted from an abandoned house, sold as junk for $35 – and finally mailed to the American author Mark Jacobson by a man who couldn't wait to get rid of it. It is the lampshade that drives its owners mad – but what is its macabre secret? "


Re books and space:

That problem's been around for awhile.

At the last Queensday (Dutch national sidewalk sale), I found three portable victrolas, one of which actually worked. Now I'm checking out those 78s for 1 or 2 euros, and some of them are even playable. I even found a murder ballad, "Hannah Lee (High Are the Gallows)" by Guy Mitchell, arranged by Mitch Miller.

To save your ears, here's a non-scratchy version:

@Archaeopteryx 37:

Erk. Just as Edinburgh has a lot of houses attractive to the Many-Angles Ones, the flea markets of continental Europe (not to mention US gun shows) often yield Nazi crap, if you know to look for it, and it's just as easy to meet people whose family trees were, um, severely pruned some 70 years ago.

Things like that lampshade carry such a moral and maybe spiritual stink they might as well be haunted, for rational values of haunted. It's not surprising they're bad to have around.


I know about the legendary lampshade.

My take on it is that if you gave it to someone who didn't know what it was (and they didn't chuck it away) it would be harmless. Knowledge of its history is, however, guaranteed to disturb anyone who isn't a sociopath.



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This page contains a single entry by Charlie Stross published on May 15, 2011 12:31 PM.

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