Archive for May, 2012

Round up #86: Closed captioning, Aztec Mummies, Japan

May 31, 2012

Round up #86: Closed captioning, Aztec Mummies, Japan

The ILMK Round ups are short pieces which may or may not be expanded later.

Note; a power outage slowed me down a bit today. :) Power’s back on now, but yes, that was a bit disconcerting. My Kindle Fire  had about a 40% charge, but without power, no wi-fi in my house. My Samsung Captivate also usually doesn’t connect in my home without wi-fi…so I was web-blind! ;)

Santo and eReaderIQ

I’ve written about

http://www.ereaderiq.com

many times, and I consider it one of the best Kindle resources anywhere.

Well, they really came through for me yesterday!

On August 22 of 2010 (!) I listed some books with their free “tell me when it is Kindleized” service.

As promised, they sent me a free e-mail when

Mexploitation Cinema

was finally available! That book isn’t going to appeal to everybody, but if you’ve watched a movie with Santo or some other lucha libre wrestler fighting a vampire, you know what we are discussing. :) This is a fairly serious look…and I’m always fascinated by what non-art factors affect the creation of any kind of art (even cheap exploitation movies). In this case, I’ve already learned some things. One issue: the government had banned professional wrestling on television, so making these movies was a way for these very popular entertainers to keep doing their jobs.

The book was also much less expensive than the hardback had been (that was $35). I paid $14.99 for this…I know some people never want to pay more than $9.99, but this isn’t a novel, it’s something I would expect to be more expensive.

Bottom line: eReaderIQ made me very happy, at no cost to me. :) I highly recommend them.

Closed captioning coming on July 15

This may not affect you personally, but I think you’ll still be excited about it.

Currently, Amazon Instant video does not have closed captioning available.

What is closed captioning?

Some people use the terms differently, but my understanding of it is that “closed captioning” is text that shows you the dialogue (and some other sounds) that are happening in a movie or TV show…but only appear when requested. That’s why they are called “closed”…you have to choose to open them.

You may also see the term “subtitles” used for this, but again, my understanding is that subtitles are always visible (like when you are watching a movie in a foreign language with subtitles) and closed captioning is not.

Essentially, what happened was that the studios thought it was too expensive or complicated to include closed captioning on streaming video, and it wasn’t illegal not to include it, so they didn’t.

Back in 2010 (there’s that year again), a law was passed that would change that.

Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010 (CVAA)

Studios have been given time to implement it, and July 15th marks when it begins to have an impact.

At that point, video which has been previously broadcast (TV shows, movies that have been on TV) starts including closed captioning when it is streamed.

That’s a huge improvement for the deaf and hard of hearing*!

There’s more to come, and this doesn’t cover movies that have never been broadcast or video that is strictly web video, but it’s a big plus.

The Act has a lot of provisions, but as regular readers know, I’m interested in equal access for the disabled, so this is nice to see.

speedmatters.org article

Konnichiwa, Kindle?

There have been a lot of rumors about Amazon selling the Kindle in Japan, and my sense is that we are getting closer. It may happen at the same time that the release new hardware models, but that’s not necessarily the case.

Japan is, not surprisingly, an interesting market for electronics. In this case, it’s the home turf for Sony…which preceded the Kindle into the EBR (E-Book Reader) market, and continues to be active in it today. They didn’t exactly set the world on Fire (so to speak)…it took the Kindle to that in the US.

It will be really fascinating to see how the Kindle does in Japan, if it does launch there soon. Is it just another kid on the block? Do they undersell Sony? How will they handle the language in the menus? Will this mean more books in Japanese for the USA Kindle store? I’ll be watching…

Electronista article

Reuters article

Atari on the Fire

This is a little dangerous, but yes, it’s fun. :)

I’ve been playing

Atari’s Greatest Hits (Missile Command Free)

As you can see, you get the original Missile Command (ported to the Fire). However, what was cool was that you could pay $9.99 and get a whole bunch of games. Sure, there are adjustments when you don’t have a physical trackball (these are the arcade games, by the way, not the 2600 games). I’ve been playing Asteroids, although it is taking some doing to get used to the controls. I’ve also played Centipede, and one at which I used to be really good…Tempest.

The interface isn’t the most intuitive to get into the games or to purchase them, but outside of that, I thought it was well worth the money. As an ambidexter, I did appreciate that you could choose different configurations…button on the left, button on the right, and so on. You wouldn’t think that wouldn’t matter to me, but I do like the variety of being able to switch which hand does what in games.

Oh, and there is something charmingly retro about playing Pong on a Kindle Fire. ;)

* I had originally used a different term for this group who don’t perceive audible input in the way that most people do. One of my readers, Joseph, pointed out that the term I used might be culturally insensitive, and I think Joseph for alerting me to that

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.

Now how much would you pay? The cost of new features

May 28, 2012

Now how much would you pay? The cost of new features

I’ve been suggesting for a while that Amazon is going to introduce at least one new RSK (Reflective Screen Kindle) and at least two new tablets. My guess is that this will happen before the end of the summer, and my intuition is now that it might be in June. However, if they waited for the holiday season for at least part of it, I could understand that.

One of things I’ve suggested is a version of the Kindle Fire with more features (and probably more expensive), as well as a larger screen version (perhaps both in entry level and more-featured versions).

So, I was thinking…

How much more would you be willing to pay for additional features (presuming you were going to get the new model)?

In the words of the quintain*, here come the polls! ;)

Now, I know I haven’t listed all of the possibilities. :) In the case of Skype, I know that might or might not mean dual cameras…go with your gut. :)

Feel free to make other suggestions…I didn’t include a physical volume button, for example, but I know some of you want that.

* Update: I forgot to include the definition of quintain, for those who don’t know it. It’s basically a jousting dummy, so there would be lots of poles (lances) coming at it…just a silly pun. :)

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.

Independent Publishers Group books returning to the Kindle store

May 28, 2012

Independent Publishers Group books returning to the Kindle store

Back in February, I reported about thousands of e-books distributed by IPG (Independent Publishers Group) being pulled from the Kindle store in a dispute over terms.

Now, it’s being reported that those books are coming back.

Publishers Weekly article

It’s a very interesting development.

My guess here is that Amazon wanted to change the terms, IPG didn’t agree, and Amazon said, “Bye bye”.

Again, still guessing, they argued it about it for months…with IPG finally agreeing. I don’t know that’s how it happened…it’s possible Amazon compromised, of course.

Still, the fact that the books could go away and then return is reassuring to me…it doesn’t meant that gone is gone forever.

IPG is reportedly going to give more money to the publishers from June 1st through August 31st to help make up for the loss income during the dispute.

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.

Kindle Daily Deal: the Inspector Sejer mysteries, $1.99 each

May 27, 2012

Kindle Daily Deal: the Inspector Sejer mysteries, $1.99 each

This is the second time recently when the Kindle Daily Deal was on multiple books…and was also one of the Gold Box Deals (where Amazon typically does other sorts of items, like an Ab Glider today).

Today’s deal is seven books in the Inspector Sejer mystery series, by the “Norwegian Queen of Crime”, Karin Fossum.

The series has been popular, and has been translated into 25 languages. Oddly, I don’t think the first book is in English yet, but this seems to be the order for the ones that have been:

This deal is just for today, and may not be available outside the USA…hm, I wonder if it is available in Norway?

If you’ve read the books and have a general opinion, feel free to comment on this post and let me and my readers know what you think.

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.

June 2012 Kindle book releases

May 27, 2012

June 2012 Kindle book releases

While I don’t generally pre-order Kindle store books myself, I know many of you do.

I understand the fun of just having the book show up, but I figure I’ll order when I want it…since I could have it within a minute, usually. Unlike with paperbooks, your pre-order prices for the six biggest US trade publishers aren’t guaranteed by Amazon…they can’t be. Under what’s called the Agency Model, Amazon can’t set the prices for those e-books: hypothetically, if the publisher raised the price between the time you pre-ordered it and the time it was released Amazon couldn’t do anything about it.

I don’t think that tends to happen, though. Publishers don’t tend to raise the price between the pre-order and the release, and I’ve also heard of Amazon canceling pre-orders. I don’t think there is any significant risk that you’ll pay a different price than the one at which you pre-ordered…unless the pre-order is canceled and you decide to re-order it.

I’m looking at the list sorted by popularity:

June 2012 Kindle store pre-orders

but I’m not just going to list the most popular out of the 2,426. I’ll hit some of the big names that I think might interest you, but if something else catches my eye, I’ll list that, too. :) If the book blocks text-to-speech access, I won’t list it.

Robert Ludlum’s (TM) The Bourne Imperative
by Eric Van Lustbader
pre-order for June 5

Van Lustbader is a bestselling author, here continuing Ludlum’s Bourne series.

Pretty Little Liars #11: Stunning
by Sara Shepard
pre-order for June 5

From the popular young adult series (and basis of the TV show).

Redshirts: A Novel with Three Codas
by John Scalzi
pre-order for June 5

Yes, Star Trek fans, the title is a reference to the traditionally doomed members of a landing party…it may aspire to be the Rosencrantz and Guildenstern of Trek novels. Might be a good gift for the geek on your list.

Mortal (The Books of Mortals)
by Ted Dekker, Tosca Lee
pre-order for June 5

Dekker writes Christian thrillers…I haven’t read one, but I’ve head them recommended to me.

The Seven Wonders: A Novel of the Ancient World (Novels of Ancient Rome)
by Steven Saylor
pre-order for June 5

A Gordianus the Finder novel, set in 92 B.C.

Kiss the Dead
by Laurell K. Hamilton
pre-order for June 5

An Anita Blake, vampire hunter novel.

We Are Anonymous: Inside the Hacker World of LulzSec, Anonymous, and the Global Cyber Insurgency
by Parmy Olson
pre-order for June 5

Non-fiction

Mission to Paris: A Novel
by Alan Furst
pre-order for June 12

A spy story by a popular writer in the genre, set in 1938.

The Third Gate: A Novel
by Lincoln Child
pre-order for June 12

Historical horror fantasy from the popular author.

Wicked Business: A Lizzy and Diesel Novel
by Janet Evanovitch
pre-order for June 19

Evanovitch is, of course, best known for the Stephanie Plum series, but this is a separate fantasy series.

Wicked Nights (Angels of the Dark)
by Gena Showalter
pre-order for June 26

Romance

Tuesday’s Child
by Fern Michaels
pre-order for June 26

From the New York Times bestselling fiction author…

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.

Big British blow for B&N: Waterstones goes with Kindle

May 26, 2012

Big British blow for B&N: Waterstones goes with Kindle

The EBR (E-Book Reader) market is a lot more complicated than it might seem. It’s a war for global domination. :)

While Barnes & Noble has undoubtedly taken some of the market share for e-books in the US from Amazon and the Kindle (it was reportedly about 30% in April), the same isn’t true outside America.

You know what the percentage of e-book sales to British citizens that Barnes & Noble has?

Zero.

If you don’t have a US credit card and a US address, you can’t buy NOOK books.

I wanted to confirm that, so I chatted with a Barnes & Noble rep. That is a nice feature they have, by the way. It’s pretty easy to chat with somebody there. You can chat with Kindle Customer Service, but it doesn’t seem as readily available.

Here’s the transcript of our chat:

===

19:10:57 : Bufo Calvin: Initial Question/Comment: Can you purchase books for a NOOK from Barnes & Noble when outside the USA?

19:11:02 : System: Welcome to the Barnes & Noble Chatroom.

19:11:02 : System: Rian has joined this session!

19:11:02 : System: Connected with Rian. Your Reference Number for this chat is 905756.

19:11:03 : System: Thanks for joining us.

19:11:07 : Rian: Thank you for joining Barnes and Noble Digital Chat. This is Rian and I’m happy to assist you today.

19:11:13 : Rian: Hi, Bufo.

19:11:40 : Bufo Calvin: Hi!

19:11:47 : Rian: Just to clarify, you’re asking if you can purchase eBooks for the NOOK if you are outside U.S. Is that correct?

19:12:00 : Bufo Calvin: Yes, that’s correct.

19:12:07 : Rian: Thank you.

19:12:57 : Rian: Please be advised that you can download titles from bn.com for the NOOK if you have a valid U.S. credit card and billing address saved on your B&N account even if you are outside the United States.

19:13:49 : Bufo Calvin: Okay. What if you aren’t a US customer? Could a British citizen with British credentials purchase e-books for a NOOK?

19:14:58 : Rian: As long as the above information are met, there will be no problem, Bufo.

19:15:27 : Bufo Calvin: So, if someone did not have a US credit card and a US billing address, they could not purchase NOOK books?

19:15:48 : Rian: Yes, you are correct.

19:16:12 : Bufo Calvin: That’s what I wanted to know…thanks for your help!

19:16:33 : Rian: You’re welcome.

19:16:33 : Rian: Should you need further assistance in the future, please don’t hesitate to chat with us.

19:16:43 : Rian: Thanks once again for joining the Barnes & Noble Chat.

19:16:48 : Rian: Have a great night!

19:16:53 : Bufo Calvin: You, too!

===

Back in January, it was being reported that Barnes & Noble might be partnering with Waterstones (formerly Waterstone’s…they dropped the apostrophe to make it easier to work with the name online, as I understand it).

GOOD E READER article

That would have been a good move for Barnes & Noble.

Waterstones, founded in 1982, has literally hundreds of stores. If B&N had gotten the NOOK into those stores, it would have been a major step into the international market.

Unfortunately for them, not only did they not get it…Waterstones went with the Kindle:

Waterstones press release

To use the vernacular: “Hard cheese, Barnes & Noble.” :)

Not only that, Waterstones made it clear what they thought:

===

“The best digital readers, the Kindle family, will be married to the singular pleasures of browsing a curated bookshop. With the combination of our talents we can offer the exceptional customer proposition to which we both aspire.”
Jeff Bezos, Amazon.com Founder and CEO, said: “Waterstones is the premier high street bookseller and is passionate about books and readers – a dedication that we share deeply. We could never hope for a better partner to bring together digital reading and the physical bookstore.”

===

Ouch!

You might be thinking, “Hey, doesn’t Amazon already sell Kindles and Kindle books in the UK?”

Yep.

That makes this doubly bad for B&N. They might have made it a fight, but Amazon decided to enter the ring from both corners. ;)

Waterstones faces challenges with their brick-and-mortar stores, of course, and I don’t know that this partnership will be enough…they were having a tough time, but did get a big influx of cash when a billionaire bought them.

In fact, last year, it was reported that Waterstones might be developing its own EBR:

Digital Spy article

I even put that prediction in the

ILMK E-Books Timeline

I’ll have to update that. :)

The coverage on this hasn’t all been exactly positive, especially in the UK:

Yes, I did deliberately chose negative headlines…but they weren’t hard to find. ;)

Honestly, I do think this is a major missed opportunity for B&N.

I’m curious as to what you think, especially if you are British. One angle for me: what do you think about Waterstones? Do you think of them as champions of paperbooks, or as crushers of small bookstores (or both, I suppose)? Are they the first ones you think of for a bookstore? When was the last time you were in one?

For everybody, does B&N need Britain? Could they make it there without a bookstore brick-and-mortar partner? If they don’t make it in Britain, how does taht affect their sales in the USA?

Feel free to let me know…

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.

Review: The Mongoliad: Book One

May 25, 2012

Review: The Mongoliad: Book One

The Mongoliad: Book One (The Foreworld Saga)
by Greg Bear, Neal Stephenson, Mark Teppo, Erik Bear, Joseph Brassey, Cooper Moo, E.D. deBirmingham
published by 47North (an imprint of Amazon)
original publication: 2012
size: 675KB (444 pages)
categories: fiction; fantasy; epic
lending: enabled
simultaneous device licenses: 6
part of the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library: yes
text-to-speech: yes

“Warriors fight, Gansukh; that is their purpose in life. But eventually, there is no one left to fight, and they must learn how to think.”
–Chucai
The Mongoliad: Book One
written by (see above)  ;)

This is an interesting novel, made more so by its pedigree.

It’s not just the variety of authors, including Neal Stephenson (Cryptonomicon) and Greg Bear (The Forge of God).

It’s also because the book is actually published by Amazon. Not through its KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) program, but selected by Amazon through its traditional publishing arm.

So, before I talk about the book itself, let me just evaluate how Amazon did.

Big plus: the book has all the special features that are part of the Kindle store. It has text-to-speech available, it’s friend-to-friend enabled, Real Page Numbers, and it’s part of the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library. The last one is how I got it…so it didn’t cost me  anything over our Prime membership.

Second plus: it’s well proof-read. I found two minor errors, and that’s very good indeed.

Yes, it has an active table of contents.

The price? $4.99.

In other words, Amazon did just fine. :)

Now, what about the story?

Perhaps I should say, “stories”.

While they are connected, we really follow different sets of characters. That suits my style of reading: I’m often jumping between several books at the same time. The fact that we’d move from one group and story line to another and then back again kept my interest. I suspect some people might find it distracting, though.

One thing that wouldn’t have happened with a single author, I think, is that the two strong female characters have somewhat similar names…four letters with two in common (and in the same place).

However, it was nice to have two strong female characters. This is a book that thrives on combat…lots of different kinds of combat. Although the book is categorized as a fantasy, there really isn’t much in it that pushes it there. If you don’t like dragons and elves, not to worry…nary an orc in sight. :) On the other hand, if you’ve ever been to an SCA (Society of Creative Anachronism) event and watched armored warriors go at it, you’ll appreciate the detail. It would have been easy for the female characters to be marginalized or stereotyped, and that’s not the case.

It’s not all fighting. One of the threads has a warrior needing to learn how to succeed in court. I appreciated that neither way of life is shown as the default better one…both courtly social interactions and battlefield tactics are given their due.

I don’t want to spoil anything, but the basic set up is interesting. It has to do with European knights interacting with Mongols…which is historically accurate. I do have to say that the balance I’ve mentioned above is not evident in the way the two sides are portrayed. That’s not to say that might not be accurate, but it might have been more intriguing if the good guys/bad guys dynamic wasn’t so one-sided (not that the “good guys” don’t have some bad actors).

I could have more whole-heartedly recommended it if it had been a whole. Instead, it ends very abruptly: like you were watching a movie on TV and the power went out abruptly. ;)

As one of my parents would say, that quite “brupted” me. If I was giving it a letter grade like in school, that by itself would drop it a full grade. I think it may bother you less, since I’ve warned you about it.

Overall, I’d say it’s a worthwhile read, and is “borrow worthy”. :)

If you’ve read the book, feel free to comment on this post (no spoilers, please) and let me know what you think.

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.

Round up #85: Judge on the class action suit, KOLL-apse continues

May 24, 2012

Round up #85: Judge on the class action suit, KOLL-apse continues

The ILMK Round ups are short pieces which may or may not be expanded later.

KOLL-apse continues

Last month, I wrote about a downward trend in the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library. Well, the figures are out, and that trend is continuing.  Well, the April figures are out, and there were fewer borrows, fewer borrows per day, and fewer borrows per title.

Month Pool Pool Pay Borrows Per Day Count BPT % Drop
11-Dec  $  500,000  $     1.70    294,118    12,788
12-Jan  $  700,000  $     1.60    437,500    14,113      69,850 6.26
12-Feb  $  600,000  $     2.01    298,507    10,293      95,020 3.14 50%
12-Mar  $  600,000  $     2.18    275,229      8,878    117,652 2.34 25%
12-Apr $ 600,000 $ 2.48       241,935          8,065 131,110           1.85 21%

Let me explain those columns:

The month is the month. :)

The pool is the amount that was divided among the participating publishers.

The pool pay is how much those publishers got for each “borrow”.

The borrows are the number of times that books were borrowed from the KOLL. Note that those aren’t all different titles. It’s possible that The Hunger Games was borrowed a lot more often than Love Your Kindle Fire…in fact, I’d bet on it. :)

Per day is the number of borrows per day. I did adjust for the program not starting until December 8th.

The count is the number of books I recorded for the KOLL on the first of that month. I considered counting, say, March 1st as being the February number, but I decided not to do that.

BPT is the number of Borrows Per Title. I divided the number of borrows by the   count.

% Drop is the percentage drop in the borrows per title from one month to the next.

Now, fewer borrows with the same amount of pool pay does mean that there is more money per each borrow, so there is some advantage there…for the publishers who are actually getting the borrows.

June will be fascinating to see, since the Harry Potter books will “apparate” into the KOLL on June 19th. Jo Rowling doesn’t get any of the pool pay. In order to get that, you have to be in the KDP Select program…which requires giving Amazon exclusivity, and Jo and Pottermore won’t do that.

However, I suspect HP will suck up a lot of the borrows that month…potentially lowering the KDP Select borrows even more. You see, a Prime member only has up to one borrow a month…not one for KDP Select books and one that isn’t. Everybody who borrows an HP book in June won’t be able to borrow a KDP Select title in June.

That could have a negative impact on publishers which agreed to the KDP Select exclusivity before we found out about Harry coming to the KOLL…we’ll see, though. In the long run, it may be good for indies as it accustoms people to borrowing…but we’ll see.

Judge rules on Agency Model class action suit

Thanks to Andrys Basten of the excellent A Kindle World blog for what I would say has been the best ongoing coverage of the legal issues around the Agency Model.

In this

A Kindle World post

Andrys reports on Justice Cote’s ruling on the request by Apple, Macmillan, Penguin, and Simon & Schuster to dismiss a class action suit against them.

The request was denied: the case goes on.

I’ve read through the 56 page ruling (Andrys provided a link):

http://bit.ly/56-page-ruling-cote

There are some fascinating things in there. Basically, the publishers which asked for the dismissal argue that the allegations are not supported.

The judge says that they are supported enough to allow the case to go forward.

I’m going to give you a few quotations from the ruling:

===

“After adoption of the agency model, the price of new
bestselling eBooks increased by forty percent on average, even
though there had been no corresponding increase in costs. eBook
prices are now identical at the four major eBook distributors,
Amazon, Sony, Apple, and Barnes & Noble.”

===

“The Complaint
describes specific conversations from which it is fair to infer
that the Publisher Defendants had agreed among themselves to
adopt a joint strategy to force an increase in the price of
eBooks.”

===

“The defendants are incorrect.”

===

“Finally, Jobs’ prescient prediction
at the iPad launch that the prices consumers would be paying for
eBooks would all “be the same” and the other quotations from
Jobs, Murdoch and Sargent, combine to provide ample evidence
that the Publisher Defendants had agreed with each other to
undertake collective action to raise eBooks’ prices and that
Apple intentionally and knowingly joined that conspiracy.”

===

“…it is fair to infer that Macmillan’s conversation with
Amazon would not have occurred unless it had agreed with other
publishers to coerce adoption of the agency model and remove
price competition at the retail level. The “option” of no
access to any Macmillan eBooks for seven months can only
reasonably be viewed as an unpalatable one.”

===

We need to be very clear that this doesn’t mean that Judge Cote thinks that the publishers and Apple will eventually lose the suit. However, the judge did have the option to make it stop right here, and didn’t.

You may want to read the ruling. Yes, there are some dry parts, but it also has a nice summary of the whole situation.

Back from the graduation

We’re back from watching my “kid” graduate! The ceremony was great…one nice thing about seeing your kid graduate in New Orleans (in the Superdome, no less): good jazz music. ;) My Significant Other compared one clarinet-playing professor to Benny Goodman…no small compliment.

Thanks for all the kind words about the accomplishment! I really appreciated that people continued to comment while I was gone. I was able to post a couple of times, in addition to the less time sensitive posts I had written ahead.

I did some of that from my Fire, although I also used the business center in the hotel.

We traveled without a keyboarded computer: no laptop or netbook. That does have its challenges, and my Fire isn’t up the usefulness of a computer with a keyboard at this point. I’m hoping that one of the tablets I expect Amazon to release before the end of the summer serves that purpose better…perhaps through speech-to-text.

I wanted to give you some feedback on using the Fire on this trip.

I wasn’t on a flight with wi-fi (although Southwest indicated strongly that was coming to more flights in the future), so I wasn’t able to test that.

I did watch Battle Royale on the plane (you can read my take on it and how it compares to The Hunger Games here), which I had rented from Amazon to test watching that on the plane. I purchased several days before the trip, and made the point to download it the day before (I had a 48 hour period to watch it). I had no problem watching it on the plane…except that it first stopped me by telling me I didn’t have a web connection (which I didn’t need).

I had that happen with the Fire a couple of times on this trip…the Fire would tell me it was not going to be able to do something, and then I would make the exact same request and it would work just fine.

One particularly disconcerting one was when it told me I couldn’t open a book because of DRM (Digital Rights Management) restrictions, and that I should delete and download it again from Amazon. I happened to notice that my Fire wasn’t showing its proper name in my top left corner of the screen. It switched to the proper name (“Coventy”) very quickly, and then the book opened properly.

That suggests to me that it forgot who it was for a minute…so the coding of the downloaded file didn’t recognize the Fire as the device for which it was keyed.

Outside of that, it worked well. I read The Mongoliad: Book One (The Foreworld Saga) start to finish. I also read quite a bit of Doc Savage: The Desert Demons (The Wild Adventures of Doc Savage). I’ll write reviews of both of those.

I read some magazines.

I did listen to some Old Time Radio…including trying the TuneIn Radio Pro app, recommended to my by my reader, Gwen.

I played Dabble. :)

I also used the Maxthon Mobile Web Browser extensively. I do like it in a lot of ways…there was only one site it didn’t seem to render well. One reason why I was using it instead of Silk is that it has a private mode. That means it doesn’t remember where I’ve been. While people might do that to hide certain types of sites, my main concern is protecting my information if somebody got hold of my Kindle Fire. I’ve used the Parental Controls to block the Silk browser, and I do have that remember some passwords. Maxthon let me visit websites without fear of leaving a trail that someone unwanted could retrace easily.

No question, I used the Docs tab…it had my travel information. :) I also add little notes to the document, with things like our parking space and room number. I’ve also parental controlled that tab.

In fact, I think the only tab I didn’t use at all was Music…I’ve certainly used it before, but I think the OTR really took that over this time.

What about you? What was the best thing for which you used your Kindle or Kindle app in the past seven days? Feel free to let me know…or to comment on the stories in this post.

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.

Have a special offers Kindle? Check for Mindle deal

May 22, 2012

I am writing this on my phone so I’ll keep it short.

If you have a Special Offers Kindle sync with Amazon to check for a deal ($49?) on (refurbished?) Mindle (the $79/$109 Kindle.

If you can comment with more details that would be great!

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.

The Pirate steals songs, Batman rights wrongs – part 2

May 22, 2012

Batman rights wrongs

This is part two of a parody of the 1960s Batman TV series. 

Voiceover:

“We have already seen…

A charity premiere

But the movie’s not here!

The mayor’s been taken

All dogs love bacon!

The pirate plays a game

The batcomputer’s aflame!

Our heroes brave and bold…

Rickrolled!

Can Batman and Robin escape the certain doom of being crushed by a giant log? It looks hopeless…but have you seen this show?”

Batman and Robin are straining against the log, but it’s still rolling unstoppably, while Rick Astley cowers against the wall. They step away dramatically.

Robin: “Holy Sisyphus, Batman!”

Batman: “Don’t give up hope, old chum. Fortunately, I have something that might just do the trick!”

Batman pulls a tube out of his utility belt. It’s labeled “Bat-Termite”.

Batman: “Mastotermes darwiniensis, or rather, my own genetically-modified mutant strain…Mastotermes darwiniensis chiroptera…the Bat-Termite!”

Rick Astley; “A termite? Seriously?”

Batman: “I am always serious when lives are at stake! Chew, little termite, chew!”

Batman shakes the termite on to the log. Sawdust begins to fly, as the log rolls forward. When the log rolls far enough and the bat-termite reaches the floor, though, we see the termite chew through the floor and disappear through  a hole it has made.

Robin: “Holy Hogan’s Heroes! It escaped through a tunnel!”

Batman: “Holy hole indeed, Robin!”

Robin: “Actually, I said ‘Holy Hogan’s Heroes’.”

Batman. “Really? I just assumed–“

Rick Astley: “Don’t you have a bat-chainsaw or a bat-axe or something?”

Batman: “They would spoil the line of my utility belt.”

Robin: “Fashion is a powerful weapon against the criminal mind!”

Batman: “If only there was some way we could remotely contact Alfred! Some device that could transmit our voices across a distance without the use of wires!”

Rick Astley: “I have a cellphone.”

Batman: “Is it a bat-cellphone?”

Rick Astley: “Um…no.”

Robin: “Holy rotten luck!”

Batman: “The Boy Wonder is right! I appreciate your offer of assistance, citizen, but it would go against everything in which I believe to use a non-bat-item to save us. It’s unfortunate that you will also come to an untimely demise, bones snapping and being ground into dust, excrutiatingly squashed into unrecognizable jelly, but better to die than to live an unbranded life.”

Robin: “Gosh, that was deep!”

Batman: “Perhaps if I recalibrate my batarang, I can turn it into a bat-tuning fork! There’s one chance in a billion that I can hit the right frequency, which should dissolve the molecular bonds in the Pirate’s lethal log!”

Rick Astley: “Or you could just tell me the number, and I could dial it! That way, you wouldn’t be the one to use the device…and I wouldn’t die!”

Robin: “What do you think, Batman?”

Batman: “I still like the tuning fork idea.”

Robin: “A billion to one is pretty long odds.”

Batman: “You see, Robin! Math does serve a useful purpose. Your use of a statistical argument has convinced me.”

Robin: “Gosh yes, Batman. I’ll hit those math books twice as hard when we get home.”

Rick Astley: “What’s the number?!”

Batman: “Gotham City 5-5555.”

Rick Astley dials the number. We hear Alfred: “Batcave: Alfred speaking.” There is a bit of awkwardness as Rick Astley tries to hand the phone to Batman, who won’t take it. Rick Astley ends up holding the phone up to Batman’s cowl.

Batman: “Alfred, this is Batman, the caped crusader.”

Alfred: “Yes, sir. I’m sorry it took me so long to answer the phone. I was regrouting the bat-hot tub. How may I be of service?”

Batman: “Is the laser-equipped Earth-circling Batellite still in geosynchronous position over Gotham City?’

Alfred: “I believe so, sir.”

Batman: “I need you to program it to project a Robin-shaped beam precisely 375 centimeters from my current position, adjusting for a downward rotational rate of three degrees per second.”

Alfred: “Very good, sir.”

Alfred walks over to a machine labeled “Laser-equipped Bat-satellite”, and pushes a single, large red button shaped like a bat.

We see a red beam cut a Robin-shaped hole in the log. Robin dashes through.

Robin: “Holy square peg! What now, Batman?”

Batman: “Look for some way to halt the progress of this fiendish mechanism!”

Robin finds a handle labeled: “Stop the fiendish mechanism.” The boy wonder throws the lever! The log stops, and begins reversing.

Alfred: “Will there be anything else, sir?”

Batman: “That should be sufficient for now…you may return to your grouting.”

Alfred: “Thank you, sir. I consider it a privilege.”

Rick Astley: “We’re saved! Thank you, Batman!”

Batman: “I was simply doing what any citizen with a geosynchronous laser-equipped satellite would have done.”

Rick Astley: “Um, right. By the way, I meant to say…I’m actually not a citizen, I’m from England.”

Batman: “We are all citizens of the world.”

The log has retracted. We can see Robin, and a stairway with a sign that says, “Exit from Deathtrap”.

Batman: “You may return to playing your music, Britizen. Let’s go, Robin…we have a pirate to pursue!”

Batman and Robin run up the stairs.

We bat-cut to Commissioner Gordon’s office. Mayor Judi Rooleeani is there, with Commissioner Gordon and Chief O’Hara.

Commission Gordon: “Your Honor, it is fortunate indeed to see you back in command of this fair city. Chief O’Hara, I commend you and your men for your valiant action.”

Mayor Rooleeanee: “Actually, the Pirate dropped me off outside. The officers just rode up with me in the elevator.”

Chief O’Hara: “If only me and me boys had been there when the blackhearted scoundrel was here! I’d have shuddered his rudder.”

Commissioner Gordon: “I share your sentiment, Chief, but there will be no rudder shuddering without a court order…or a positive assessment of probable cause.”

Chief O’Hara: “I’d cause his probable!”

Mayor Rooleeani: “Listen, you two. Neither of you were there or were a part of this, so that doesn’t matter. In fact, I can’t think of the last time either of you were involved in anything more than a parking ticket! What do I pay you for?”

Commissioner Gordon: “It’s a mystery…and one I’m sure I can’t solve. However, there is one person who can…do you concur, Chief O’Hara?”

Commissioner Gordon reaches for the bat-phone…

Mayor Rooleeani: “Stop that!”

We bat-cut to the street outside a swanky restaurant named “The Crow’s Nest”. The Batmobile roars up (trailing bat-shaped bubbles). Batman and Robin unfasten their seatbelts and leap out. A uniformed parking attendant (Jay Leno) approaches them.

Attendant: “Valet parking?”

Batman: “No thank you, citizen. We are here to capture a major offender against the city’s civil code. It shouldn’t take long; we’ll just park at the meter. Besides, the Batmobile isn’t your average vehicle: not just anyone can drive it.”

Attendant: “I have some experience with exotic cars.”

Robin: “Holy in-joke!”

Batman: “Be that as it may, it won’t be necessary.”

Batman leaps to the meter, and we see a closeup of the utility belt as he pumps a little lever and it drops out quarters one at a time. We see a “bike rack” with the surfboards parked in it. There is a sign: “Amphibian surfboard parking only”.

Robin: “This looks like the right place, Batman! Gosh, it was smart of you to put bat-tracking devices on the Pirate’s surfboards! How did you know which ones to do?”

Batman: “Simple, Robin..I put bat-tracking devices on every surfboard in Gotham City.”

Robin: “Holy Big Bat-Brother!”

Batman: “It was a small matter to calculate the tracks of the surfboards which left the water, and led us here…to the Crow’s Nest.”

Robin: “Holy appropos!”

Batman: “I think it’s safe to assume that the Pirate and his high seas henchmen are using this newly established eatery as a front. To the batropes!”

Batman whirls a batarang and releases it! It sails up…and up…two stories…five stories…ten stories…twenty stories…now we’re getting bored! It wraps around a railing. Batman jerks it so it tightens. We cut to Batman and Robin doing a 

b

a

t

c

l

b

.

Robin: “Gosh, Batman, why do we always use the batropes? Why don’t we ever go up the elevator?”

Batman: “For the element of surprise, old chum!”

Robin: “But if we always do it the same way, why is it a surprise? Why aren’t the criminals just waiting for us at the window?”

A window pops open in the wall they are climbing. Lady Gaga leans out.

Lady Gaga: “Hello, Batman and Robin.”

Batman: “Good evening, citizen. What brings you to our city?”

Lady Gaga: “I’m doing a show at Gotham Square Garden.”

Robin: “Holy Little Monsters!”

Batman: “I hope your preparations are going well.”

Lady Gaga: “We’re all set. Although, say, I like the way you are climbing up the walls…maybe I could use that as my entrance.”

Robin: “Bat climbing isn’t for amateurs, miss. It takes years of practice.”

Lady Gaga: “Oh, I thought maybe you were born that way.”

Lady Gaga shrugs and closes the window. Batman and Robin continue their climb.

Voiceover: “Meanwhile…inside the Crow’s Nest restaurant…”

Hacker: “I’m still confused, Captain Boss. Why did we kidnap the Mayor, and then return her to police headquarters?”

The Pirate: “It be all part of a clever plan, you seagoing simpleton! While we had  the Mayor at the abandoned Pirate Bay attraction, I scanned her.”

Malware: “What for, Captain Boss?”

The Pirate: “So I can feed her statistics into this, what be me greatest invention…The Infringer! Then, we’ll be able to make all the unauthorized copies we want…hahr hahr hahr!”

We see Batman and Robin have arrived on a ledge outside the window.

Robin: “Let’s get ‘em, Batman!”

Batman: “Ready when you are, old chum! Those batclimbs are a good warm-up before a strenuous bout of batfighting!”

They are about to dash through the window when Batman pauses.

Batman: “Great Scott! Look who is being led to a table!”

We see Aunt Harriet and Alfred following a waitress in a pirate outfit.

Aunt Harriet: “Thank you for driving me, Alfred! I’ve heard that this restaurant has the most amazing seafood.”

Alfred: “I live to serve, madam.”

Batman is waving his hands wildly at the window. Alfred sees him. Batman points to Aunt Harriet, and makes a little walking motion with his fingers, to show Alfred he wants Aunt Harriet taken out of harm’s way. Alfred nods.

Alfred: “Madam, shall we go?”

Aunt Harriet: “Whatever for?”

Alfred: “Well, since we’ve finished dinner…”

Aunt Harriet: “Finished? But we haven’t started yet.”

Alfred: “Oh, but we have, madam. Don’t you remember? You said the mahi-mahi was delicious.”

Aunt Harriet: “Did I? I don’t recall.”

Alfred: “Yes, madam.”

Aunt Harriet; “Well, we must come here again some time, when I’m not quite so forgetful.”

Alfred: “As you wish, madam.”

Alfred winks at Batman, and ushers Aunt Harriet out of the restaurant. Batman and Robin bound into the dining room.

Batman: “Hold it right there, Pirate! Your sinister sailing days are through!”

Robin: “Yeah, you’ll be landlocked all right…landlocked in a jail cell!”

The Pirate: “Sink em, boys!”

The batfight breaks out…WOOT! LOL! BRB!

Batman and Robin are leaping off tables and smashing them over Hacker, Malware, and Trojan. Each of the henchmen goes down. Batman and Robin shake hands, and look from side to side for the Pirate. They spot him…next to the window! There is a plank sticking out of it, and on the plank is Katy Perry, in a leg-revealing leotard covered in feathers.

The Pirate: “I demand safe passage, Batman, or I’ll make her walk the plank!”

Robin: “Holy hostage!”

Batman: “Who are you, young lady?”

Katy: “I’m Katy Parrot. The Pirate hired me to replace his mechanical macaw.”

Batman: “Pirate, you fiend! Why did you do that?”

The Pirate: “I figured more people would pay attention to me this way.”

Robin: “Holy Yvonne Craig ratings desperation!”

Batman: “Now, Robin, don’t be sexist. Women can do anything that men can do…they just can’t be paid the same for it.”

Robin: “Gosh, Batman, you’re right…how insensitive of me.”

We hear a commotion, and Aunt Harriet enters quickly, followed by Alfred, who is trying to dissuade her.”

Aunt Harriet: “I’m sure I must have left my purse here in the restaurant, Alfred. Perhaps it’s in this cloakroom…”

Aunt Harriet enters The Infringer through a door. Lights begin to flash and we hear the sounds of a modem!  A progress bar quickly moves to 100%, and “Item Scanned” flashes in neon lights on the side.

The Pirate: “Hahr, hahr, hahr! It works!”

The Pirate dances a jig, moving away from Katy Parrot. Batman hits him with a decorative treasure chest, and he sinks to the floor.

Batman: “Alfred, help Miss Parrot! Robin, to The Infringer!”

Batman and Robin leap towards The Infringer. They open the door, and Aunt Harriet stumbles out…and then another Aunt Harriet…and another…

Robin: “Holy duplication!”

Batman: “The Pirate’s sinister server has created a herd of Harriets!”

Robin: “Holy stripped DRM!”

Alfred: “Sir, I’ve  noticed that there is another door labeled ‘Delete’. If you were to entice the copies to enter it, I should think that would dispose of them.”

Batman: “Good work, Alfred!”

Robin: “But how do we know which one is the real Aunt Harriet?”

Batman: “Simple, chum. Alfred, the fire alarm!”

Alfred: “Very good, sir.”

The alarm goes off and the overhead sprinklers engage. Everyone is getting wet, and on one Aunt Harriet, we can see the words “Harriet Cooper” appearing on her arm.

Robin: “Holy watermark!”

Batman: “Precisely, Robin. Some time ago, I took the precaution of marking everyone I know with a special invisible bat-tattoo. The chemicals in the ink interact with the hydrogen and oxygen in the water, becoming briefly visible, thus enabling me to verify their identities!”

Robin: “Why didn’t The Infringer duplicate the tattoo?”

Batman: “A scanner can’t scan what a scanner can’t see.”

Robin: “Holy tongue twister!”

Alfred has been feeding the duplicated Aunt Harriets into the delete door, and they’ve been disappearing. As the last one goes in, The Pirate recovers consciousness.

The Pirate: “What…what happened? Where are all the duplicates?”

Alfred: “What duplicates, sir?”

The Pirate: “You mean…you mean it didn’t work? I don’t understand…the programming was perfect.”

Batman: “No programming is perfect, Pirate…not even television.”

Robin: “Holy mixed metaphors!”

The Pirate: “Ahhhhrrr-choo! Ahhhhhhrrr-choo!”

Batman: “Caught a cold, Pirate?”

The Pirate: “I think I’m allergic to her feathers.”

Robin: “Well, there’ll be plenty more feathers where you are going…from the jailbirds!”

Commissioner Gordon, Police Chief O’Hara, and some uniformed officers enter the dining room.

Robin: “Holy obsolescence!”

Chief O’Hara: “Take ‘em away, boys!”

The uniforms and O’hara drag out The Pirate, Malware, Hacker, and Trojan.

Commissioner Gordon: “What about her, Batman? Evil moll or innocent bystander?”

Batman: “She’s not one of the boys, Commissioner.”

Katy Parrot: “That’s right. This whole thing has just been a bad teenage dream. Thank you for rescuing me, Batman!”

Batman: “No thanks are necessary, citizen. Alfred, will you see that Miss Cooper,  the aunt of Bruce Wayne’s ward, Dick Grayson, gets home safely to stately Wayne Manor?”

Alfred: “Certainly, sir. Miss Parrot, may we offer you a ride?”

Katy Parrot: “No, I’d better start looking for a job, now that I’ve lost this one.”

Robin: “Say, Batman, do you think that nice singer we passed on the way up here could use her?”

Batman: “No way to know for certain, Robin, but you can tell her Batman sent you, Miss Parrot. My friend, millionaire Bruce Wayne, owns a talent agency. I’ll have him send someone over to look after your interests.”

Katy Parrot: “That’s swell! Would he do that for me?”

Robin: “He’s a philanthropist, Miss Parrot. Just another rich guy helping out society.”

Batman: “Let’s go, Robin!”

Batman and Robin dash to the window.

Doodleedoodleedoodleedoodleedoo!

The final scene, in the sitting room at stately Wayne Manor.

Aunt Harriet: “Well, that was quite an evening!”

Alfred: “Indeed it was, Miss Cooper. I’ve taken the liberty of drawing you a warm bath upstairs.”

Aunt Harriet: “I still don’t understand what happened. At one point, I think I was seeing double!”

Bruce Wayne: “Fatigue can do that, Aunt Harriet. You’ll feel better in the morning.”

Alfred leads Aunt Harriet upstairs.

Dick Grayson: “Bruce, look!”

Another Aunt Harriet enters from the library.

Dick: “Holy viral video! I thought we got rid of all the duplicates!”

Bruce; “Unfortunately, Dick, once an illegal copy has been made, there is no way to eradicate it completely. I’m afraid these counterfeit Coopers will continue to pop up from time to time.”

Dick: “Isn’t there anything we can do?”

Bruce: “Not us this time, old chum. It’s up to the public, the good people of Gotham City. As long as they keep downloading unauthorized songs, videos, and e-books, the demand will exist. Until they stop, these criminals will keep infringing on the rights of law-abiding corporations and artists.”

Dick: “Holy futility!”

Bruce: “Never give up hope, Robin…never give up hope.”

THE END

(~^v^~)

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.


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