cdave: (Default)
I'm still not reading LJ thoroughly, but I've seen a couple of different takes on the amazon macmillan dust up over ebook pricing last weekend.

I thought I'd describe my current book buying habits )
But what does that imply for ebooks?

Looking at it, most of the top end books, I get tend to be partially just because I want them now, but also because I want an author's signature or to add to a collection. So hardback novels are artefacts as much as story devilry vehicles, I'm unlikely to buy an ebook instead.

The middle ground's potentially interesting. I still feel the lack of artefact means I wouldn't want to pay as much for an ebook as a paperback, but I'd probably be willing to replace most of this purchasing habit with ebooks, if I wind up with a decent reader.

Ebooks are unlikely to replace the cheap's section as there's no second hand market for them. And I enjoy interacting with the aforementioned to-be-read piles to select something to read. Anyway, that's hardly the top end of the market they're trying to capture. Although I can imagine there's lots of free content on the net these days. It's how I've first read most of Cory Doctorow's stuff (of which I know own paper editions).

Or something like escape pod. Yeah, I can see how they'd be great for short stories magazines. I know donation driven short story sites exist online, but I'm not too keen on reading them for some reason. Actually, subscribing to something like Interzone or Analog that way would be pretty neat.


[1]As an aside, I've noticed for a while that I've not seen the shutters up at the Finsbury Park Comic shop. I'd assumed that I'd just not been past it before 6.30, when it shuts, but getting a glimpse through the open door last week, it looks like all the shelves have gone. And so has their website. It's a pity.

The owner said the Marvel/DC price hike hit at the same time as the relative devaluation of the pound. Combined with people cutting costs because of the credit crunch, he lost a fair few customers last year. Well, he lost me but that's not why. I stopped going because every single time I went in there, they hadn't put aside all of my standing order, and I had to rummage through their back issues, to see if I recognised one I was missing. They specialised in superhero comics with alternative covers anyway, so it was rare that I'd find a new serial I was interested in anyway.
cdave: (Default)
I've finally given up on bloglines. They haven't read Livejournal feeds properly for about a year, and Ask.com seem to have abandoned development or anything more than basic support (according to an unofficial twitterer).

Nice and easy to jump RSS readers thanks to the development of a data standard for doing so (OPML).

The first thing I noticed about Google reader is how much is is against their normal policy. Google Chrome, and the Google home page are both famous for their lack of visible cruft. The Google blog has been known to go on about arguments over moving things up or down by pixels. But on an 800 by 400 display (aka corner of the screen mode) no "content" is visible at all.

[livejournal.com profile] despotliz pointed to a nice script to sort that out.Here's another bookmarklet )
cdave: (Default)
Okay, I may have failed to keep updating what I read in 2009, but I still have most of the books on one shelf, so will try and do a catch up post soon.

Meanwhile, I'd better start this year's list while I can still remember them.

1) Matter by Ian M. Banks.

Bought this ages ago, and took on Christmas holiday to France with me. On the basis that it would save me having to take 3 smaller books :)

The main "problem" with the Culture universe is that the Culture are at the top of the pecking order. Creating conflict within this utopia is tricky, so most of the novels are set at the edges. This is book that set largely outside their sphere of influence. This novel is largely centred around characters from a relatively primitive culture who are fully aware that they are several levels down from the movers and shakers of the galaxy.

Personally, this was a downside for me. The bits of this novel I enjoyed the most were the massive scale epic space opera moments. I just wasn't terribly interested as to what was happening to the these people's culture.

2) The Brentford Triangle by Robert Rankin

2nd in the The Brentford Trilogy

Hanging around with [livejournal.com profile] jamesb made me realise I'd been ignoring Rankin's books too long. Having bounced off The Da-da-de-da-da Code, when I won a review copy at the BSFA raffle, I eventually read The Hollow Chocolate Bunnies of The Apocalypse and loved it, so went back to the start (pauseing briefly for Radio 7's broadcast of The Brightonomicon).

I felt this book flowed better than the The Antipope. Massively chaotic and surreal fun. Loved it. Glad I picked up the 4th book in the trilogy (with a Josh Kirby cover) for a song at the Novacon auction.

3) The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood

"Not Science-Fiction" my arse. I preferred cut for very minor structural spoilers. No plot spoiler. )

{ETA: Ooh! "what makes this [edition] unique is that the ending was rewritten for the Corgi edition, so dedicated fans will want to track this one down, to find out what happened in the original ending."}

4) Generation X by Douglas Coupland

I'd describe the protagonists of this as the 90's equivalent of "turn on, tune in, and drop out". The book follows three twenty somethings, who have chosen not to Be All They Can Be, but instead to work low paid, low responsibility jobs, until they've saved enough cash go backing round some far odd part of the world searching for themselves. The book is largely made up of series of stories which the characters tell each other, and serve as vignettes of the attitudes young adults in the late 80s.

I picked this up because I red a couple of his later novels last year. Personally, I preferred them, as they had a less fractured narrative.

The neologisms presented throughout in the footnote meet the "ignoble" test for me. First they make you laugh. Then they make you think.
cdave: (Default)
On the off chance you want to get a list of your friends and what custom groups they are in, I've knocked up a quick and dirty export bookmarklet.

Step 1) Drag Save this link
javascript:(function(){ var fm=document.fg; var gl = fm.list_groups; var j; for (j=0; j<gl.length; j++) { var gn = gl[j].text; var sg = gl[j].value; for (i=0; i<fm.elements.length; i++) { var nm = fm.elements[i].name; var mk = fm.elements[i].value; if (nm.substring(0, 21) == "editfriend_groupmask_") { var u = nm.substring(21, nm.length); var d = u; if (document.getElementById) { d = document.getElementById('nameremap_' + u); if (d) { d = d.value; } else { d = u; } if (1==j) {document.write(d+',<br>');} if (mk & (1 << sg)) {document.write(d+','+gn+'<br>');} } } } }}())

to your bookmarks.
Step 2) Go to the custom group page.
Step 3) Click on the bookmarklet.

(I'm working on consolidating my address book, and making sure people on FB and LJ have the same access level on each)

PSA: PLR

Jan. 7th, 2010 10:17 am
cdave: (books)
Calling all authors. Seen this twice in 24 hours, via comics and SF.

I'd advise any published UK authors reading this who haven't registered for PLR to do so, as at over 6p a loan, that's a pleasant post-Xmas bonus.

Via J.N. Fenn's Garret.

RT Public Lending Rights, meaning you get a payment every time a book with your name on the title page gets loaned from a library
RT All the info you need to sign up is on their website: http://www.plr.uk.com/
RT Incidentally, you can't get away with just going into a library and writing your name on the title pages of all the books in biro.
RT Apparently.

Via @VictorianClam Laura Howell
cdave: (Default)
The start of a new year is usually a time for reflection, and resolutions, so I'll have a quick think out loud about internet based entrainment, and social networks, and how I use them.

Priorities )

With that in mind, my first resolution step is going to be to move all my personal emails into a folder called Inbox2, and try not to do anything else each morning until the Inbox is empty. And had a quick foray back into Inbox2 and make sure everything in there is eventually archived, or dealt with. Then to re-organise my bookmarks to remind me of that order.
cdave: (Default)
Anyone free this evening? I've now got 2 spare tickets to Nine lessons & carols for Godless People tonight at the Bloomsbury (Euston).

Come see if Johnny Ball overruns denying climate change again!
cdave: (Default)
For all you drama llamas, the freinding / defreinding tracker is back online.
cdave: (Default)
It looks like lewis (the capatcha busting Japanese random text/chat log surrealist spammer) is back again.

I've seen two of my f-list comment that they've been hit with Japanese text for the first time. I'm worried that it selects new people via f-lists, and has chosen mine. Although they're both TAFF nominees, so maybe it's political ;).

Posting frequency is way downfrom it's hight, but I still get a few a month. Usually in a cluster.

Any Lewis victims ever stop getting posts, without f-locking everything, or disabling anonymous comments?
cdave: (Default)
Saturday 12:30, Ex-movie military uniform sale North Wembley Station (Not a lot of women's stuff apparently).

Saturday 15:00, Anish Kapoor at the Royal Academey of the Arts. AKA the one with big gun that fires blocks of red wax every 20 mins.

Sunday, day: Frantic last minute sewing.

Sunday evening: The Grand Cosplay Ball.
cdave: (Default)
13 Feb 2010, Saturday - Alternative Press-Fair - 11am - 7pm* - Free* - St Aloysius Social Club, Phoenix Road, London, NW1 1T.

*Presumably. At least it was last year.

Via their blog
cdave: (Default)
[Poll #1487979]

I tweeted a link to this, and someone was creeped out by the headless My Little Pony in the background of the last shot. I can see why dismantling something that holds the potential to be an object which someone feels an emotional connection to could be upsetting. But I must admit I don't really feel it.

{eta: To clarify, it's that model in particular, see also: The 21 Awesomest Superhero Mods for My Little Pony.}
cdave: (Default)
The story begins with a group of villagers who are forced to flee their sleepy fishing village. It has been destroyed by a god of the deep. Not in act of wrath, but by an inadvertent tsunami. They regroup at a inn, just out of range of the the waves. Taking up passage with a travelling circus they slowly make their way across the plains to the mountains. Where they must do battle fire breathing lizards to recover an artefact powerful enough to save the remains of their village.

The 6 word pitch )
cdave: (Default)
[Error: unknown template qotd]
I don't see the point. Future generations are unlikely to be interested in me, and these items would just moulder unwanted.

I know that comes across as quite negative, but it's not meant to be. Why waste energy trying to make something last for the ages, when you could be having fun today?
cdave: (Default)
1) Hypothesis: You should chew your food thirty times before swallowing.
Experiment:
Split a bottle of sink de-clogger between 4 glasses, and cut a steak into bite sized chunks and split between 4 bags.
i) Empty 1 bag into a glass.
ii) Hit 1 bag with a tenderiser 10 times before emptying it into a glass.
iii) Hit 1 bag with a tenderiser 30 times before emptying it into a glass.
vi) Hit 1 bag with a tenderiser 50 times before emptying it into a glass.
After 4 hours sieve and weigh the remaining solids.
Expected Results:
i) Lots left.
ii) Some left.
iii) Little left.
iv) Not too different from iii)

2) Hypothesis: People can't divine for metal.
Experiment:
Stolen from Dawkins.
Experimenter 1 places a metal object under a small fraction of a number of buckets, records this, and leaves.
Experimenter 2, without meeting Experimenter 1 leads the diviner into the room, and lets them test each bucket with divining sticks, and records the result.
The experimenters results are compared.
Expected results:
The number of buckets whose contents are correctly identified is not significantly higher than would be expected if the selection was at random (this number to be determined before the experiment starts).

[Poll #1486717]
cdave: (question)
My most commonly used posting filter for locked posts is People Who Know My Real Name.

I import all the unlocked posts to Facebook, where I occasionally get a comment from a non-LJer. Since I do use my name on Facebook, I'd like these people to be able to see these posts too.

Is there a way to do this?
Generate an RSS feed based on security settings?
A Facebook App with an open ID to pull the posts in?
cdave: (Default)
Listening to the Today programme this morning, I had two unconnected thoughts that I feel like writing down.

Firstly, they were talking about about a refereeing decision on if contact had been made between players. They then brought up the possibility of some kind of automated system to detect if a ball has crossed the goal line. Which wouldn't have helped here. I thought what they needed was one of those systems that stitches together all the photos of landmarks, and makes a 3D computer model. There's enough cameras on a premiership match. Then I thought about printing it out to make it easier to see what's going on. Then about those picture frames you can buy that subscribe to RSS feeds of photos, and wouldn't it be neat for football fans to get a little 3D sculpt of the most interesting points from each weeks matches. I've been reading Makers too much ;)

The other story that caught my ear was the advisory group on human animal hybrids. waffly thoughts on ethics )
cdave: (Default)
I was walking past Oxford Circus, when I saw an unusual busker. There was two guys each with a set of plastic buckets up turned round them in a semi circle, seating on another bucket. One of them was bashing away with a set of drumsticks, using rim shots and different volumes to create different sounds. After a bit his mate picked up the rhythm and the two of them improvised an awesome bucket solo.

On my internet travels I've seen a couple of comments recently on how genre stuff isn't taken seriously by literature geeks.

These two things are more connected than you'd think.

I took GCSE music largely because it meant I got to muck about with computers. I'd never really learned to play music, and scrapped past the performance sections. But for the compositions, I had a access to MIDI keyboards, drum modules and a compute with cubase.

For one of my compositions, I decided to muck about with the drum module, and wrote a whole piece that was nothing but drums. Lots of drums. Starting with a few riffs, and layering them over each other, building up in complexity, matching the tones of the drums to make a sort of melody. Anyway, it was okay.

One day I sat down and someone had swapped the drum module out for a keyboard without me noticing. So instead of the melodic drums, I got atonal staccato piano. Which I intrigued me, so I used that as the kicking off point for my next piece. It was a different piece, but built the same way the drum piece had been, containing just about the same amount of complexity, and "story".

The external examiners gave the staccato piano piece over a grade higher score than the drum piece.
cdave: (Default)
Someone just asked on a forum I frequent if anyone had any old trading cards they didn't want.

I do. I found them ages ago. I was quite into the franchise of which the cards were part of, and had all sorts of related tat. I found an incomplete set in a charity shop, so snapped them up. But I never new anyone else who was into them. And didn't have a display shrine or anything. So they just sit in a bag. Taking up space I don't really have spare.

I quite like owning them. But they serve no real purpose. Unlike a book, I'm not keeping it with the thought I'll re-use them some day. Unlike art, I'm not really going to get pleasure from looking at them, or displaying them.

So I'll give them up to someone else who wants them. But it feels like a scarily grown up decision. I can't be more than 5 years since I saw them and thought "nifty, want".

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