Archive for March, 2012

Digital Potter…

For those that haven’t heard yet, it seems that the digital editions for the Harry Potter series have gone live… I popped over to Barnes & Noble a little while ago and saw the availability blurb – but you have to actually purchase the books through the Pottermore service (which, the shop is open for the digital editions – text & audio), but the catch is you can only download your purchase from the Pottermore site up to eight times per, but most devices seem to be represented.

The fine print also indicates that”

The Pottermore Shop personalises eBooks with a combination of watermarking techniques that relate to the book, to the purchaser and the purchase time.

This allows us to track and respond to possible copyright misuse.

So, there you go… you can now carry Harry with you in a much more convenient way.

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Playing With Cell Phones…

One of the bestest, most usefulest additions to cell phones was the inclusion of a camera. With the progress of technology, many of the better phones are rocking a camera that is almost as good as a full, stand alone camera. That fact alone makes it easier to take random snapshots without much planning – most people are hardly without their phones, but only take a full camera for special events or planned photos.

Case in point, the current iPhones and many Droids are running with 8mp cameras, with 5mp cameras being the average. My Droid 2 (at almost two years old) has a 5mp camera, while my Nikon camera sports a 12mp.trying to

But the benefit in having the cameras only works when there is a way to easily get the pictures off of the device. I’m playing with my previous phone (the one I had before the Droid), and it at least has a memory card slot so I can port images off… Unfortunately, the generation phone (a Samsung Alias, 1st generation, circa 2007) does not have a standard cable connection to just plug it into a computer, which makes trying to save over 500 pictures that had been saved in the phone’s memory heavy on the tedious side, since each picture has to be manually moved from phone memory to card memory (no “select all” option).

Why go through the hassle at all? Because I like many of the pictures taken with the phone, which include some early pics with MC, or the only photographic evidence of the Mini before the striped were added. And, as I am planning on changing to an iPhone when my term with the Droid expires – whether 4S or 5 remains to be seen, based on when the 5 comes out – I am thinking about recycling the Alias (which has been serving as the alarm clock since the last upgrade).

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A Dragon Tale

Okay, so here’s part of the story, something that I had been keeping quiet here for very paranoid reasons – wanting to make sure we didn’t have any problems (back story here: MC worked with someone that lost a baby somewhere around 8 months)… so, yes, the hints that have been dropped over the past couple of weeks lead to this: MC and I now have an expansion pack, a baby boy.

Now here’s the rest of the story, so he can know some of it in the future.

Back in July, I came into the bedroom while MC was in the bathroom with the door closed. I started folding the basket of laundry that I was carrying, when all of a sudden she shouted, “Oh my God.” there was a pause, then she repeated it another half dozen times. I burst into the bathroom, where she was standing by the window. I saw her expression on her face and she was staring back at the counter. Lying there on the counter was the positive test. By the time she went to the OB office the next week, she had a total of eight positives.

Not long after that incident, I was in Greensboro for the Orson Scott Card writing workshop, and we were given 15 minutes to do a quick scene free-write. The first thing that came to mind was the above moment.

We were given an expected delivery date of 17 April. Soon after we got back from Boston last month, MC went to the OB office and was taken out of work for elevated blood pressure issues. “We want to keep you pregnant as long as possible,” to OB said. “We want you to get to at least 34 weeks, and ideally at least 37 weeks.”  Two weeks later, her water broke. The next morning, on the day that marked 34 weeks, he came into the world.

Six. Weeks. Early.

He was taken to the NICU (Neonatal ICU), and was placed on a CPAP. By that afternoon, he was off of it. After initially being told that he could bend up staying in the hospital “until what should have been his due date.” A week later, he was moved to the Convalescent Nursery. A few days after that, he came home.

So earlier today (20 March), he turned two weeks old.

Life has gotten a lot more interesting, as anyone with kids can attest to, but it’s a good kind of interesting. It’s the start of a wonderful journey, and something that I am likely to post about in the future.

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The Monkees on MVM

It was announced a couple of weeks ago that Davy Jones has died, and in that time, unless you’ve been living under a rock, you have probably heard that he was part of the Monkees. While technically before my time (their original run was the later 60’s), I discovered them during the 80’s when MTV had picked up the series through syndication. At the time, I was maybe all of ten or eleven, and dug the antics of the show, but I can see why MTV picked it up: the music video segments from each show, including full staged videos, usually at the end of the episode.

Mickey and Davy were often featured as the main singers (at least, on the more “commercial” tracks), but over the years it’s been more of Mike’s tracks that have resonated with me (and watching the episodes, I thought it was a treat when one of Mike’s was the featured video).

So, for this week, a triple feature: a tribute to Davy, and two others where Mike is on vocals.

RIP, Davy…

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Something I’ve Been Meaning to Promote

Kickstarter is an interesting place, but for those interested in anything artistic, is quickly becoming a way to go to do things outside the “traditional” process. There’s more of an indie feel, if you will, and a closer connection between the artist and the patrons or end users/enjoyers of that art.

I’ve come close to backing a couple of other projects before, by other writers, but for reasons related to work (and not remembering to get back to the site until after the backing period closed), I missed a couple of boats. But here is one that I have been actively remembering, and would encourage you to support.

(And, as much as I would like to include the video overview of the project, the Embed feature from Kickstarter isn’t cooperating very well…)

It’s a non-fiction book, titled An Author’s Grimoire, and the short description is:

An Author’s Grimoire will be a how-to book for fantasy writers: a nitty gritty guide to telling the story of your heart, and what to do with it once you’ve written it.  This book will include discussions of elements of fiction like pacing, characters and point of view, but with the fantasy writer in mind. Culture-creation, fantasy creatures, uses of magic, and more!

I was at the announcement launch party in Boston (at Boskone) last month, drawn mainly by Elaine herself. Here’s why…

I have seen Elaine Isaak on panels at several conferences over the last couple of years, and at each one she has impressed me with her candor and  intelligence on a variety of topics.

Understand, that in my opinion, one of the best things that can be done at a conference/convention is to impress people that may not have heard of you before and win them to your side. That’s something I’ve kept track of for the last year, when I’ve gone to Cons, if a panelist has won me over by the way they handled themselves, upon my return home I have sought out their works to add to my “to read” stack.

So, if you are interested in writing, specifically writing fantasy, or supporting the work of authors in general, I would encourage you to check out the project, watch the video, and back as you are able.

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Speaking of iPads…

Charlie Stross recently mentioned some of his thoughts on the new shiny… Something that he mentioned near the bottom of his post piqued my interest:

And there are some forthcoming apps that I’m rather eager to see: Scrivener for iOS, for example. (Scrivener is a really nice book-oriented authoring tool for OSX, and now Windows and Linux; having an iOS version with Dropbox support would make my day because at that point the iPad will turn into a full-fledged author’s tool, lighter and more portable and with better battery life than any laptop I’ve met.)

Which, of course, prompted me to follow the link, and read the announcement from December announcing that an iOS version is, in fact, in development. That snippet of news made me happy – for much the same reason that Charlie mentioned above. When I first got the iPad, that was part of what I was hoping to do, use it for writing or writing related sorts of things (when not using it for media consumption or gaming), but found that my initial forays into that realm proved awkward at best, and cumbersome due to navigational issues (some of us DO like using the cursor keys to get around). I have gone the Bluetooth keyboard route, but have not really taken them together anywhere that I haven’t also been taking a laptop (yet), so the laptop has still been winning out – especially since I’ve been migrating over to Scrivener.

Scrivener coming to iPad, combined with Quickoffice, should take care of my writing needs quite nicely. Definitely something I will be watching for in the app store.

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The New iPad…

I realize the announcement was about two weeks ago, and they started hitting store shelves this past week… this is part of my catch-up series…

Initial reaction: second verse same as the first. Which is to say, I really wouldn’t mind playing with one, and with this being the new baseline I would definitely not object to an upgrade at some point in the future, but not yet.

Actually, what I am more excited and intrigued about is iPhoto coming to the iPad (& iPhone). I’ve enjoyed using iPhoto for the past couple of years, and have also gotten Aperture to play with some features that weren’t easily found/usable from iPhoto for image manipulation, but the mobile version really looks like it might be a breeze to use, especially while on the go. I also like the sharable “Photo Journal” feature, and hope that becomes a feature that is cross-ported back to the platform version.

Honestly, I feel more inclined to upgrade just to be able to use iPhoto for iOS – but since it is also iPhone compatible, I am doing my best to hold off until the summer when I plan to finally switch to an iPhone… the question then will be if I get a 4S or a 5 (depending on if/when it is announced).

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