Archive for the ‘Bufo’s Life’ Category

Spot check #1: five books from my shelves

November 9, 2014

Spot check #1: five books from my shelves

The USA Kindle store is likely to hit three million titles by the end of this month or so.

I’ve been noticing more of the books on the “backlist” (not new titles, but ones which might still be purchased) showing up in the store.

In particular, I was struck by seeing some that I own.

Thinking of that, I got curious.

What would happen if I just picked five random books out of our floor to ceiling home library, and checked them in the Kindle store? Would they be there? How many would be in

Kindle Unlimited (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

? What would they cost?

I decided to do the experiment. :)

The choices weren’t truly random, but I didn’t know at all which specific books I would select. That was important: I could, for example, take five Shakespeare books, and they’d all be in the store.

What I did was come up with a number. It had to be large enough so I couldn’t easily predict where it would end up (I do know my library pretty well), but small enough to be a manageable search item.

I went with thirty-four. I figured I wouldn’t do this again this year, so I added twenty to fourteen (for 2014).

Then I closed my eyes, touched a book on a shelf, and started counting until I reached the thirty-fourth book.

I started on different shelves. I could easily have gotten just science fiction and fantasy books, I didn’t want to do that.

I was a little trepidatious going into…I’ll admit, some of the books on which I landed might change your perceptions of me. ;)

Here’s what I got:

Sky Pirates of Callisto
by Lin Carter
Printing date: January 1973
Dell mass market paperback
Original price: $0.95
Not available

While I didn’t find the Callisto books, a

search for Lin Carter in the USA Kindle store (at AmazonSmile*)

did turn up quite a few titles, including Thongor, some Cthulhu, and some Conan. A few of the books were available through KU.

This is space opera, along the lines of the Edgar Rice Burroughs Barsoom series. Lin Carter wrote quite a bit of this type of material…not, by the way, making fun of it, but there is perhaps a tinge of meta.

When Do Fish Sleep? and other imponderables of everyday life
by David Feldman
Printing date: 1990
HarperPerennial trade paperback
Original price: $10.00
not in KU
available through Kindle Matchbook for $2.99

When Do Fish Sleep? (Imponderables Books) (at Amazon Smile*)
Price at time of writing: $8.00
published by Harper

These are fun books…the basic premise is that they are about things you can’t figure out just by thinking about them. You can’t “ponder” your way to the answer.

THE UFONAUTS
by Hans Holzer
Printing date: 1976
Fawcett Gold Medal mass market paperback
Original price: $1.75
not available

When you do a

search for Hans Holzer in the USA Kindle store (at AmazonSmile*)

there are about ten real results (searches often find things that mention that for which you are searching, but aren’t really matches)…and a number of those are in Kindle Unlimited. This one intrigued me: Holzer really popularized “ghost hunting”, and this was the author’s take on UFOs. It’s not unreasonable to speculate on whether the two things might be related…

Drama: Principles & Plays
edited by Theodore W. Hatlen
Copyright date: 1967
Meredith trade paperback (textbook?)
Original price: unknown (none printed on the cover)
not available

No Hatlen books in the USA Kindle store (but you can buy some of the books in paper…you’ll pay a lot). I bought this used…there is a twenty-five cent price penciled inside, so that’s probably what I paid for it. ;)

Tragic Prelude: Bleeding Kansas
by Karen Zeinert
Copyright 2001
Linnet Book hardback
Original price: unknown
not available

You can buy it a used library bound book for a penny. I don’t think I ever actually read this one. It’s a non-fiction account of the formation of the Kansas Territory in 1854.

While only one of the five books was actually available in the Kindle store, I like that there were books by three out of the five authors. Finding Lin Carter in KU was nice: I’ll add some to my KU wish list at Amazon (which makes it easier for me to pick more KU books to add when the time comes.

This was fun, and I might try it again! Let me know if you found it interesting by commenting on this post…

Join hundreds of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) By the way, it’s been interesting lately to see Amazon remind me to “start at AmazonSmile” if I check a link on the original Amazon site. I do buy from AmazonSmile, but I have a lot of stored links I use to check for things.

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

Literary city: San Francisco, books, and baseball

October 25, 2014

Literary city: San Francisco, books, and baseball

I’m going to the World Series game today!

I’m also a lover of books.

I wanted to tie those two together…and since I’m going as a San Francisco fan (we live in the area, but not actually in the City), I thought I’d do a post pointing out some of the San Francisco Bay Area’s literary highlights…and other little cultural nuggets.

First, though, let me say a bit about baseball. I certainly can’t claim to be the Giants’ biggest fan. I don’t watch every game throughout the year, but I do keep casual track of it and tune in when we get to the post-season. Now, some people would say that’s not unlike the Giants themselves, but that wouldn’t be fair. ;)

I’ll be wearing a cap from the 2000 season, celebrating Pac Bell Park (now AT&T). Somewhere around the house, I have a “Croix de Candlestick”, the “medal” we got for surviving a game in that  park. :) We did go to see Matt Cain pitch in one of our recent World Series (yes, that’s right…we have multiple recent World Series. Somewhat like Star Trek movies, even years/numbers have been good for us). ;)

We didn’t buy the tickets to the games, though ($500 apiece is about what you would expect when they first go on sale). My parents generously buy tickets for the family to go…there will probably be twelve of us there today (including them).

My Significant Other’s father was offered a pitching contract with the Seals (who were in San Francisco before the Giants). It was at the same time he became a plumber, though, and the money was the same (this was some time ago). The family blames my SO’s older sibling, who was in the womb at the time…and that was the deciding factor. :)

So, yes, I’m a Giants fan…but if you think that they are a bigger part of your life than they are of mine, you are probably right.

As to San Francisco and books…I should say why I’m including the whole Bay Area (and even here, we debate about what “the Bay Area” includes). Out here, we are inclusive. San Francisco spills down the peninsula like an overflowing soy latte, but the community pride also goes South  to San Jose (and beyond), East to Oakland (and beyond), and North to Marin (and beyond). Some people (especially those outside the Bay Area) hated the baseball caps which are split down the middle…half for the Giants, and half for the Oakland A’s. They yell at us: “Pick a side! You can’t have two teams!”

In the Bay Area, you can…we don’t judge your lifestyle. ;)

Now, of course, if you are from L.A. and are a Dodgers fan, that’s different. ;) Even with that, we might say we hate the Dodgers…but for the most part, S.F. fans will welcome Dodgers fans to the game. In a meeting at work yesterday, there was a lot of Giants  paraphernalia…but when one of our team members shouted, “Go, Royals!” it wasn’t a dicey moment. We laughed…and knew that person came here from that area.

A native San Franciscan is a rare thing (my SO is one), and that’s a virtuous circle: we both welcome outsiders and are influenced by them.

Here, then, are some literary San Francisco facts (and I use the  term “facts” loosely) as well as some other cultural factoids to help you enjoy the games:

  • We usually call it San Francisco, but it is also commonly called just “The City”, even though San Jose (about 45 minutes South) has a bigger population. Some people are adamant that it not be called “Frisco”, but others defend the name. The late columnist Herb Caen even wrote a book called Don’t Call it Frisco (not available for Kindle)
  • Bay Area authors (they don’t have to have been born here…but they may have, or may have moved here, or just written about here) include: Scott Adams (Dilbert); Isabelle Allende; Peter Beagle; Michael Chabon; Dave Eggers; Allen Ginsberg; Dashiell Hammett; Daniel Handler (Lemony Snicket); Khaled Hosseini (The Kite Runner); Shirley Jackson (The Lottery); Jack Kerouac; Maxine Hong Kingston; Fritz Leiber; Jack London; Armistead Maupin; Charles M. Schulz (Peanuts); Amy Tan; Walter Tevis; Mark Twain; Alice Walker; and Laurence Yep
  • One way we can tell if a TV series, movie, or book which is set in San Francisco actually has its origins in Los Angeles (or somewhere else) is that we don’t say the word “the” before the numbers of our freeways (although again, we aren’t completely dogmatic about it). For example, we wouldn’t say, “I took the 4, then headed South on the 680″. We would just say, “I took 4, then headed South on 680″. I’m not entirely sure why…that “the” doesn’t seem unreasonable. I wonder if all of the Russian influence we have around here has something to do with it…they stereotypically find using English articles a challenge
  • One big literary convention in the area is LitQuake…we consider earthquakes part of our heritage, and don’t hide the fact that they happen. The vast majority of earthquakes don’t cause any (or much) damage…those can be kind of fun. The biggest ones can be tragic disasters, but those are rare. A lot more people are killed and a lot more damage is done on the East Coast each year by the cold than earthquakes do out here
  • Speaking of which, we like to say that we do have four seasons here…we just have them all in one day ;)
  • There used to be a three-story tall used bookstore in the City, called Albatross Books. That was a destination for me…even though it was in the Tenderloin, a dangerous part of town. The Bay Area has many famous bookstores…and not just in San Francisco proper (although “San Francisco proper” seems like an oxymoron). ;) Berkeley has several (Moe’s, Dark Carnival, Pegasus), but I couldn’t mention bookstores in the area without mentioning Kepler’s in Menlo Park. I used to go there quite often. We respect bookstores here: we even have a plaque honoring the opening of the first one in San Francisco (in 1849). In fact, we are good at honoring books and authors generally…after all, one of the big tourist attractions in Oakland (right across the bay) is Jack London Square
  • I’m pretty sure that AT&T Park must have been one of the few places in the world where you could get both edamame (soybeans…a popular snack in Japanese ballparks) and Krispy Kreme donuts ;)
  • There are so many books set in San Francisco, that a search for “books set in San Francisco” on Google results in more than 100 million hits. I like the Buzzfeed list, but there are also lists from Goodreads (now owned by Amazon) and Wikipedia
  • We call our (partly) underground train system BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit). Again, we don’t say “the BART”…just BART. “I took BART to the game”, not “I took the BART”. Strangely, though, we don’t say, “I took bus to the game”, but “I took the bus to the game.” Isn’t English fun? ;)

Well, there you go! That’s just a small taste of both San Francisco and literary San Francisco! You never know what is going to happen a San Francisco game…and we are really looking forward to it.

Update: SPOILER ALERT (if, somehow, you are interested in the World Series and haven’t heard about or watched last night’s game yet, you might want to skip this until you have). It was a great game! Actually, the spoiler alert may be  unnecessary, because I won’t say too much about what actually happened. It was, though, typical Giants. ;) I just wanted to say that the crowd bore out what I said. We were in the bleachers, and of course, the vast majority of people around us were Giants fans. There were, though, Royals fans, all dressed up to support their team. Sure, people sometimes turned around when they cheered…but never with animosity.

Update: Oh, I wanted to mention…I am loud out there in the stands. ;) When they say “Make Noise”, I do. :) One “call” I haven’t ever gotten to catch on, but I keep hoping it will. It’s when Posey is at bat. One person would call out, “Who ya gonna call?” and the crowd response is, “Go, Buster!” Feel free during the next three games…and hopefully, for some time after that.

 Join hundreds of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

Google takes action on infringement?

October 16, 2014

Google takes action on infringement?

I’ve run into situations before where someone has infringed on my copyright.

About three years ago, after an alert and kind reader let me know about running into some of my work in a book purchased in the Kindle store (not one of my books), I let Amazon know and the book was removed:

Infringement, plagiarism, and Amazon to the rescue

As I said then, “…I’m not a big person for punishment, public shame, or revenge.  I usually just want the situation fixed.  :)”

I mentioned recently that my posts (in their entirety…and every one of them in sequence, at least the latest ones) were appearing on a site without my authorization.

I named the site then, because I couldn’t see any way to contact them…and I figured, hey, if they are publishing my material, they are probably reading it. :)

I gave them a couple of days to remedy the situation (and a way to contact me privately, if they wanted to arrange permission…I have allowed some things before, even without compensation).

That didn’t happen.

I saw that they had ads (making this a commercial enterprise), powered by Google’s AdSense.

I clicked the link for AdSense, and they nicely had a specific way for me to report the infringement…it even automatically linked back to the website. I stated I was the copyright holder: I am…I obviously don’t register the copyright before I publish these posts, but copyright in the USA is automatic. You don’t need to register it to have protection, although registering it gives you more options. I have registered some copyrights in the past.

Google said, in part in this short excerpt: “We will promptly review this website to ensure that it complies with our policies and, if necessary, take the appropriate action.”

Well, I’m pleased to report that while the infringement is still happening at this point, the ads are gone from the site.

Hopefully, this will get them to remove my material, or contact me for permission. Since they aren’t profiting from it via the Google ads any more, and they’ve been informed of the infringement (I think the vast majority of infringers are simply ignorant of the relevant law), I’m hoping  the situation is fixed soon.

I’d really rather not take additional action…that’s no fun for anybody.

I see at least one post from someone else I (virtually) know on there…I’ll alert that person, although, of course I’m only assuming that they didn’t get permission.

I’m quite confident that Google removed the ads…thanks, Google!

Join hundreds of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

A Day in the Life of a Kindleer 2014

July 21, 2014

A Day in the Life of a Kindleer 2014

This is one in a series of posts which I write about once a year. I do this primarily to give my readers some ideas they might use to get more out of their devices. I also think it’s interesting to go back and look at the previous ones, to see how much things have changed…and it’s always a lot.

I usually wake up between about 3:00 and 3:30 AM. That’s hours before I need to go to work, but I get a lot of things done (including writing) during that time.

I know what time it is because I have my

Kindle Fire HDX (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

set up next to the bed as a clock. I use the built-in clock app, set in nightstand mode. There is no problem at all in reading that in the dark, although it would be quite dim (it’s lit in red) in a normally lit room…there are other clock options for other situations. The battery will have gone down about 40% since I went to bed.

It’s in the

Origami case (at AmazonSmile)

from Amazon, in a configuration that makes it stand up. I did think that case was expensive (it’s $39.99 right now…$10 less than I paid for it in October of last year), but I have to say, it’s held up very well and I do use its features.

I pick it up facing me, so it won’t bother my Significant Other (it wouldn’t anyway, but I’m just being cautious) and head for the bathroom.

The two dogs we have now (both new since last year) don’t get up when I do that: they can be incredibly active for an hour or so at a time…but they also sleep better than most humans. ;)

I have a Cloud Collection with my morning apps. I’ll prop the Fire on the towel bar, and start with the

ABC7 News San Francisco (at AmazonSmile)

That’s the free app from my local station. I check that first in case there is anything that’s going to mess up traffic, but it is quite well designed. For one thing, I can flip articles from there into my

free Flipboard magazines

and e-mail articles easily to people if I want.

Oh, I should mention: before I start using the apps, I turn the wireless back on (I leave it off at night), increase the brightness from the lowest possible setting to about 25%, and turn off the orientation lock (I don’t like the clock flipping around while I’m carrying the Fire to the bathroom). I do all that by swiping down from the top.

After that, and while I’m doing some other morning tasks, it’s on to the

CNN Breaking US & World News (at AmazonSmile)

app. Again, I can flip and e-mail from there. I typically read the following sections:

  • Home
  • Featured
  • World
  • Entertainment
  • Tech
  • Health

I won’t finish all that before I head for the kitchen, dogs thumping on to the floor and “shaking it out” (I hear the dog tags jingle) to follow me. Well, we don’t go to the kitchen first: we all go outside for a bit. I start my morning exercise there. I do about 45 minutes, twice a day…as the baseline. I track that with the free

Review: MyFitnessPal

app. Over the course of more than a year, I’ve lost more than forty pounds. I’ve been a vegetarian for a long time, and eating wasn’t really the issue for me: it was doing regular exercise. This app has kept me on track with that, entering my food and my activity.

We come back in and I feed the dogs. I eat a small bag of almonds myself (Trader Joe’s sells these “handful” size bags), then back to finish the exercise. I set the Fire up on the entertainment unit and keep reading while I work out. That’s not always convenient: I can only really change the pages between reps or sets (I’m doing my own brand of calisthenics, really…I walk with a cane, so I need to come up with things that will work and still burn the calories).

I’ll run out of CNN before I run out of exercise, usually, so it’s on to my morning

Flipboard (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

read. Again, this is a free app. I highly recommend it: you can customize what you see, and it very much fills the void of having a morning newspaper. I flip articles from into my magazines also.

Somewhere in here, I finish the exercise, and make and eat breakfast…still reading Flipboard usually.

I also have CNN on the TV…with the sound muted during some of this. There are exercises where I just can’t read my Fire…so at least I can read a news crawl. ;)

After Flipboard, it’s on to the

WordPress (at AmazonSmile)

app. That’s where I’m going to approve your comments.

I honestly like to have seen the news myself first, before I get comments on it. That gives me a better perspective, and often makes it easy for me to make a valuable reply. I love it when a reader gives me a heads-up for something which I haven’t seen yet!

I’m not quite writing replies, yet, unless something urgent arises. If that happens, or if big enough news was revealed in the free apps, I’ll go to…a desktop. Yep, an actual desktop computer. While the built-in dictation app on the Fire works remarkably well (easily translating my spoken words into text), it’s faster for me to type on a full-sized keyboard.

Next is the Maxthon browser. I’m pretty sure I got that from Amazon originally, but it isn’t currently available for the KFHDX. It is my favorite browser, and the one I also usually use on the desktop (I’m using it right now). I believe you can get it at 1Mobile for the Fire. I like the privacy mode, and I like how it syncs my favorites easily between devices. I also have Chrome, Dolphin, and Silk available to me on my Fire, but don’t use them much.

I hit some favorites in Maxthon:

  • I go Amazon and get the free app of the day (almost every time)
  • I check the Kindle Daily Deals
  • I check BoxOfficeMojo
  • I check my Flipboard magazines reader counts (I now have thousands of readers for them)
  • I may check IMDb.com news, but one negative for that is that I can’t flip from there into my magazines…for that reason, I may wait until I’m on Chrome on the desktop…and that’s the main reason I use Chrome, is for the Flipboard extension

One more morning stop: the built-in e-mail app on my Fire, where I check my incoming e-mail. Again, I won’t tend to respond there, but it’s a great place to read the mail.

Now, let me point out: I’ve been reading the Fire for over an hour at this point…and it’s all been free items.

Then, it’s usually on to the desktop to write. I may have the Fire open alongside that, but usually not. At this point, it’s charging. It doesn’t take it very long to charge to 100%…I don’t think it’s an hour. I use the

Pwr+® 6.5 Ft AC Adapter 2.1A Rapid Charger (at AmazonSmile)

I like it a lot! I broke one (not the device’s fault…the Fire slipped off the arm of the couch and slid between the arm and the cushion: that, not unreasonably, bent the jack) and replaced it.

If I have more time to read before I leave, it may be sight-reading a book (some times borrowed from the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library, or now, from Kindle Unlimited). I may also read Fortean Times using the Zinio app, which you get from the Zinio site. I pay for that, and I may have paid for the book I’m reading (or I’m reading it because of Prime or Kindle Unlimited…that’s no additional cost, but there has been a cost). I also do read books I’ve gotten for free. Oh, and I also read

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY Magazine (at AmazonSmile)

I’m not averse to paying for content…it is nice that a lot what I like is available for free to me. :)

Heading off to work (and my commute varies, since I go to different places…it can be an hour), it’s text-to-speech in the car, so more book time. :) My adult kid did get me an Audible subscription recently…I used my first credit to get a Pimsleur beginning Japanese course. I’ve listened to that in the car (using the Audible app), but it’s much more likely to be TTS.

I have my Fire with me all the time at work. I can sometimes get by with that rather than with my laptop: I work in cramped spaces sometimes, and it’s a relief.

I use

OfficeSuite Professional 7 (at AmazonSmile)

sometimes (which I got as a Free App of the Day) to do viewing and light-editing of Microsoft Office files), and I use

ColorNote Notepad Notes (at AmazonSmile)

(yet another free app) to make quick notes, often using the dictation feature again (speech-to-text).

I have Evernote, but I’ve never gotten into it, for some reason.

Mainly, though, I’m reading at breaks and at lunch. :) I am not normally connected to wireless, so I use my phone to approve comments and check things. Starting later this week, that should be my

Amazon Fire Phone (at AmazonSmile)

I’m excited for that!

When I get home, I turn airplane mode back off, and it’s back to e-mail, checking the web, and reading.

It’s probably worth noting that I use the

Safeway (at AmazonSmile)

We do seem to save a lot of money with it (it’s free)…and it lets us know what savings it has on things we have bought before. That’s very convenient!

As a nightly thing, I switch to the

Kindle Paperwhite (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

for actually reading in bed before going to sleep. I’m usually asleep by 9:00…I get about six hours sleep a night. Just two years ago, I regularly got eight hours (9:00 PM to 5:00 AM), but I don’t know if it’s the lost weight or just getting older, but I don’t need that much any more. I wake up naturally…no alarm.

One more thing which I use a lot more on the weekend than I do during the week:

Amazon Fire TV (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

I do use it some during the week. In one of our rooms, we do not have cable access at all: we just use the Fire TV. I watch Amazon Prime video on it. For one thing, I’m working my way back through

Red Dwarf (at AmazonSmile)

Some of it is quite ahead of its time! I just got to enjoy some SmartWatch jokes…with the AI (Artificial Intelligence) in the watch not enjoying what it sees when, for example, the wearer puts hands in pockets. ;)

I also use Netflix, and a couple of apps which didn’t come with it:

AOL On (at AmazonSmile)

Once again, it’s free…and it’s a good source of news stories (I like keeping up with the news). I can start a category of news story, and it will play them like a playlist…not that different from watching a news channel. There are some ads, but it’s not like the amount of commercials on a cable channel. The only annoying thing is that you may see the same short commercial over and over again. One tip: if it, or any app on your Fire TV locks up, you can go to Settings – Applications, and similar to on a Kindle Fire, clear the cache and/or force stop it.

YouTube (at AmazonSmile)

It’s a decent interface (although I wish it had voice search), and it’s good for something short. I usually check was trending, and I may search for something, although it is often obscure (I recently watched Frank Gorshin doing impressions on the Dean Martin show, for example).

Let’s see what else I use on the Fire:

Oh, I use

AccuWeather (at AmazonSmile)

every day…consider that part of the morning routine. I didn’t think of it at first, because I don’t invoke it: it’s in my notifications. I find it to be pretty accurate…and again, it’s free. I have it set in centigrade: I decided to convert to that a while back. I have trouble thinking of the temperatures in Fahrenheit now, so it’s nice that it has the option. Centigrade is just simpler: zero is literally freezing, ten is cold, twenty is fine for most people, thirty is hot. That’s rule of thumb, but works pretty well.

I tend to use the calendar on my phone, rather than on my KFHDX, but I will check an app which is no longer available. It shows my Google calendar: I could do that in the built-in calendar app, but this one had a nicer format.

I also suggest you use

Clean Master (at AmazonSmile)

I use it more than once a week to clean up junk files on my Fire, and it seems to work very well. Guess how much it costs? ;) Nothing…

I also use

Fandango Movies – Times & Tickets (at AmazonSmile)

on the weekend (not to purchase tickets, just to get times), and without thinking about it I use

Battery Doctor (at AmazonSmile)

The only reason I even notice it is it places a little tone when the Fire is 100% charged: nice to be able to hear it when I’m working on the desktop.

There, I think that’s about it! I do some shopping from Amazon it, but I think that gives you a sense of a day in the life of this Kindleer…2014, and pre-Fire Phone. :)

New! Join hundreds of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

Keepers

July 8, 2014

Keepers

Yesterday, I mentioned the book

 Alas, Babylon (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

Hopefully, some of you bought it then…you could have saved $7 over today’s price. :)

One of my regular readers and commenters, Lady Galaxy, mentioned that a former student still had the copy they had used in Lady Galaxy’s classroom…close to forty years ago.

That got me thinking…

I have some p-books (paperbooks) where I have held on to the specific copies for years.

Of course, as I’ve mentioned, I’ve held on to all of my p-books (unless I bought them to give them away), but still…these are different. :)

For example, I have one copy of Tarzan of the Apes which I’ve had for longer than Lady Galaxy’s student has had Alas, Babylon.

I have lots of other copies, but this one is special to me (even though it is falling apart).

Clearly, it’s intended to be a copy for kids…and I got it when it was age appropriate for me.

It does have something special in it.

It has an English-Mangani dictionary.

The Mangani are the “apes” that raised Tarzan. I put “apes” in quotation marks, because, if you read the books, they clearly aren’t any of the ape species that we know…and are most likely to be a different species of human (than Homo sapiens…that’s us).

There were rumors of “hairy bipeds” in Africa (as there are in the USA with Bigfoot or Indonesia with the Orang Pendek), and I’d be surprised if Burroughs didn’t intend them to be genus Homo rather than being pongids.

For one thing, they have a language.

Fortunately for us, as far as I can tell, the syntax is pretty much like English. ;)

There are quite a few words in the books…enough so that I’ve been able to translate things into Mangani.

I’ve also in the past made up new compound words. For example, I used “unk-dan-sopu” for a car. “Unk” is Mangani for “go”, and “dan-sopu” is a nut (from “dan” for “rock” and “sopu” for “fruit”). A car reminds me of a nut with a shell (and many cars do have a nut in them…at least, based on the way they are driven). ;) and it goes, so…

So, even though you can find interesting Mangani-English dictionaries on line:

English-Mangani/Mangani-English Dictionary by Peter Coogan

from

Philip Jose Farmer’s Wold Newton site

I still want to hang on to that particular copy.

Yes, despite having several other editions of Tarzan of the Apes.

Part of me feels like that is wrong. That book might have the same impact on a child today that it had on me…am I denying the book to someone else because of my sentimentality?

However, there are two mitigating factors for me.

One is that the book is not in good shape…it would likely fall apart if read enthusiastically while hanging upside down from a tree limb…or while skateboarding through a concrete jungle. ;)

The other is that Tarzan is readily available free as an e-book…legally.

So, I feel like my copy wouldn’t be worth that much to a child, and that the book is widely accessible. You can get e-books free online and through public libraries.

I did give away a Kindle earlier this year

Give a Kid a Kindle

and I may do that again (maybe in the last quarter of the year). There didn’t seem to be much interest in it, though…I didn’t do it just to engage an audience, it felt good to do. However, if the opportunity to get the Kindle isn’t reaching very many kids, it reduces the chances that a kid who could change the world because of having had that vast free library gets it.

I don’t have a lot of copies like that…in most cases, if I could replace the books with e-books, I would. I might even (breathe! breathe! Inhale…exhale…inhale…exhale) donate my books if I could do that.

I’m not quite there, yet, emotionally.

Looking at that, though, it’s interesting that I’m okay with only owning e-book versions of the new books I get. Why shouldn’t it be that once I have an e-book of a p-book I own, I’m okay with getting rid of the p-book?

Maybe some day. :)

What about you?

Are there particular copies of books that you want to keep forever (or pass down to  descendants)? If so, what is it about them that makes them keepers? Is it who owned them, or gave them to you? Is it your specific memories of where you read them? What’s the longest that you’ve owned a specific copy of a book? Do you have any that you “inherited”? Feel free to tell me and my readers by commenting on this post.

Join hundreds of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) By the way, it’s been interesting lately to see Amazon remind me to “start at AmazonSmile” if I check a link on the original Amazon site. I do buy from AmazonSmile, but I have a lot of stored links I use to check for things.

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

Judge a book by its jury

June 18, 2014

Judge a book by its jury

I’ve been on three juries in the past ten years.

That’s right…not just being called to jury duty, but actually serving on juries.

My most recent trial just finished today. That’s why I mentioned to a couple of you that I had an open-ended commitment that was taking up a lot of my time (and concentration). You don’t know how long they’ll go: I showed up for jury duty on this one on May 28th.

Being on a jury isn’t easy. In my case, my day job has good benefits, and I get my normal pay (that’s not true of everybody on every jury). It’s not about that for me.

On the previous trial (in 2010), my Significant Other said it was like I had PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). I had nightmares, and didn’t sleep well. It was a really bad case.

You listen to sometimes horrifying testimony. In that case, the perpetrator (there was a conviction) was also really glaring at us throughout the trial.

The hardest part about it is that you can’t talk to anybody about it. That’s not to say that talking to someone is more important than the work of the trial, but that’s a really big coping mechanism taken away from you. I’m used to talking to my SO about everything…so you have to picture being in this really stressful situation, and not being able to discuss it.

All three of my cases have involved serious, serious crimes…and the last two have had child victims.

I was surprised, though, when my adult child said, “You hate jury duty.”

I don’t.

I actually am trying to get on the jury.

Most people are trying to get excused…why do I want to serve?

I think it’s the most important thing someone in my position can do for the community…and I think I’m good at it.

Don’t get me wrong…lots of other people are good at it, too. Not everybody, though…and that includes people who actually serve.

I was part of a terrific jury this time. We had very different backgrounds, and even different approaches. However, we all took it very seriously, listened to each other, went over the evidence, asked the judge questions, and eventually, unanimously decided on all counts (we deliberated on multiple days).

I think a good jury knows that each of them have individual prejudices…and is able to decide based on the law as instructed. At its heart, a jury stands between the accused and the state (at least in the USA). A defendant comes into the trial “presumed innocent”…they don’t have to do anything at all. Hypothetically, the defense could choose to call no witnesses…they don’t need to present a case. The state has the “burden of proof”…if  you are on a jury and you believe that the person committed the crimes as charged, but the District Attorney (or other prosecuting attorney) didn’t prove it, you have to find the defendant not guilty (which should read “not proven guilty” in my opinion).

However, if you believe that the state did prove its case “beyond a reasonable doubt” (that’s the burden in criminal cases…and it’s not beyond all possible doubt, just reasonable doubt), then you must find the accused guilty. Regardless of what you think of the law or the punishment, that’s what your responsibility is.

I had a good illustration of “reasonable doubt” today. When I got up this morning, my work iPhone was on the couch. It was in a place where the dog puts things (yes, we let the dogs on the couch) quite often. Now, it is possible that someone snuck in the house and moved my iPhone (it was on a part of the couch where I don’t sit)…that is possible, but it wouldn’t really be reasonable in this case. It’s basically not reasonable if when someone presented the explanation, you would raise eyebrows, tilt your head, and say, “Dude” in a disbelieving manner. ;)

While the jury selection process is not very dramatic, and listening to all the testimony can be lengthy, the whole trial makes for a good basis for literature (and that includes non-fiction).

While I “decompress” a bit from my service, I thought I’d mention a few books where juries play an important part.

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

by Lewis Carroll

While it certainly isn’t the most positive portrayal of a jury, I think it’s a way that a lot of people first encounter the concept in any meaningful way. Without spoiling much, Alice is a witness in a trial which has a lot of the structure of a real world trial, with evidence presented…but it all goes a bit wrong.

Twelve Angry Men (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)
by Reginald Rose

This one was originally a teleplay, and in 1957, became a great movie with Henry Fonda (there were many stars, but I thought Jack Klugman particularly stood out here). It really does show what the dynamics in a jury room can be like.

To Kill a Mockingbird (at AmazonSmile)
by Harper Lee

Finally coming out as a legal e-book on July 8th (it can be pre-ordered for $4.72 at time of writing), the jury here is represented as less a set of individuals and more as a symbol.

Those are three that spring to mind, although there are thousands of novels featuring juries (including some by John Grisham, of course.

If you are interested in non-fiction, there is actually a separate category for that in the USA Kindle store:

Kindle Store : Kindle eBooks : Professional & Technical : Law : Procedures & Litigation : Jury (at AmazonSmile)

There are actually people who are consultants on picking a jury, and certainly, lawyers are usually very careful about the choice. That’s why it can take so long. I’ve been told that one of the reasons I’ve been on three juries in ten years is that my first one reached a decision (actually, all three have). Having a hung jury isn’t good for either side, so that makes you desirable. I have a sibling who is quite math oriented (a physicist and an astronomer), and pointed out that there is so much chance before you even get to that point that my experience was still unusual. You have to be called in, then there is a lot of randomization before you get to  “voir dire”, where the attorneys question people looking for juries. I’m thinking that I tend to pass that part…but there probably isn’t a ten percent chance that I’ll get to it.

Do you have any favorite books with juries in them? Feel free to tell me and my readers by commenting on this post.

Join hundreds of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

My new free Flipboard magazine, The Weird Old Days features vintage articles on ghosts, sea serpents, psychic phenomena, and more http://flip.it/ZtmYw

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

Round up #252: new Star Wars novels, losing out on magazine access?

May 4, 2014

Round up #252: new Star Wars novels, losing out on magazine access?

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

Amazon.com editor, Jeopardy champ…bookstore owner

When I managed a brick-and-mortar bookstore, I had a publisher’s rep who would come into the store who was a five-time (that’s as far as you could go back then) Jeopardy champ.

We’d have some fun with trivia…I could certainly hold my own.

When I was watching an episode recently, I missed one question…the entire game. :)

People often ask why I don’t go on Jeopardy myself. Well, I know enough to know that a lot of us has to do with the buzzer. There are many times when all three people appear to know the answer…but one person rules the buzzer and wins the game.

There’s not good way to judge your buzzer skill before spending your own money to do the audition process (which might entail multiple trips, at a cost of thousands of dollars).

Do I think I’d be good on the buzzer? Well, I’m a former conga drummer, and I’ve been tested at typing in the 90s (words per minute), so my guess is I’d be pretty good.

However, I also always say you could run into somebody who is a Jeopardy playing mutant (like Ken Jennings). Clearly, I’m joking, but the suggestion is that you might have an opponent who is exceptionally good at Jeopardy…and perhaps flawed at others of life’s  endeavors. ;)

One thing I would guess is true of all substantial Jeopardy champions, though.

I would bet they are all readers.

That’s why it’s not too much of a surprise to me that this

MyNorthwest.com article by Zak Burns

reports that Tom Nissley is buying a bookstore, partially with Jeopardy winnings.

Running and/or owning a bookstore isn’t easy. Many years ago, someone we knew asked me to speak with their adult kid who was planning to open a bookstore…you know, share my sage advice. :)

By the time I’d gotten done explain the realities of the business, including the ten percent “shrinkage” (damage/employee theft/shoplifting) factor, my listener decided not to do it.

I think that might have surprised the parents…they just expected some sort of pep talk, I think, and a few tips.

I never felt like I “crushed the dream”…I just told about the reality. Dreams and realities can co-exist…as long as they both realize they are living in the same house. ;)

Did the name “Tom Nissley” sound familiar? Another interesting part of this is that Tom Nissley was a books editor at Amazon for ten years, and started their Omnivoracious books blog.

Add up the add-ons

Marge Holz, one of my readers, pointed something out to me about add-on items and Amazon.

According to Marge, and confirmed by this

Amazon help page (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

you can do an order entirely of add-on items. A lot of people haven’t liked add-ons, because it seemed odd that you couldn’t just buy it if you wanted to do that.

According to the page:

“Include the Add-on Item in an order that includes $25 or more of items shipped by Amazon.com (including items sold by other sellers and shipped by Amazon). This order can include a mix of Add-on Items and other items shipped by Amazon, or be entirely made up of Add-on Items.

That does make it a lot easier to get them.

While I’m not seeing a place at Amazon that has only add-on items, I did try this search through Google:

===

site:www.amazon.com “This item is available because of the Add-on program”

===

That seemed to work pretty well…you could add a more specific name to the search, like “battery”, and find them that way. I’m sure there are tons of  false positive (search results that really don’t match up), but it still might be helpful.

Thanks, Marge!

Managing your Amazon Instant Video lists centrally

One thing I really like about my

Amazon Fire TV (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

is that you can remove items from “Recently Watched”, similar to removing them from the Carousel on a Kindle Fire, like my

Kindle Fire HDX (at AmazonSmile*)

Well, after I had removed some things from the Fire, I was a bit surprised to see them still on the Recent list on our Roku!

I’m noticing some of that: you manage the Fire on the Fire, again a bit similar to managing a Kindle…it doesn’t necessarily affect the central storage.

So, I chatted with Amazon support…and got a great answer!

You can go to this page:

What’s on Your Lists (at AmazonSmile)

and remove things from history!

Who knew?

You can also see a list of “what’s up next”…those appear to be the next episodes/season of TV series you’ve watched, and movies you haven’t finished. I assume that’s what informs the Fire’s ASAP (Advanced Streaming and Prediction) feature. That’s what lets a video start with no buffering.

You can also remove things from there, if you want.

I don’t think you can remove from the recently watched on Netflix.

This, by the way, is an example to me of one of those great features Amazon has…but they don’t promote it or let you know about it very well. I see the same questions over and over again in the Amazon Kindle forums, in part because Amazon just doesn’t communicate to consumers as well as they could (in my opinion).

Access to Kindle edition of some magazines ending on KF1s?

There are understandably some upset Amazon customers in this

Amazon Kindle forum thread (at AmazonSmile)

What’s being reported (and my intuition is that this is accurate) is that people who were getting a Kindle edition of a magazine to which they had a print subscription are no longer able to access it…on Kindle Fire 1st generations.

That would certainly feel like a takeaway!

I had a subscription like that on my KF1. We subscribed to the paper edition of Entertainment Weekly. We were then able to get the Kindle edition for free. We eventually got them to stop sending the paper edition.

Not too long ago, on March 21st, I wrote about how the magazine app had been converted to a newsstand subscription…and how that was better.

However, it appears that the newsstand edition we’re receiving may not be compatible with first gen Kindle Fires (I read it on a Kindle Fire HDX).

I don’t quite get that, though. I checked, and I’m not finding the EW app in the Amazon Appstore any more.

However, the subscription is available…and it says it is compatible with:

  • Kindle Fire Tablets
  • Kindle Fire HDX 8.9″
  • Kindle Fire HDX
  • Kindle Fire HD(2nd Generation)
  • Kindle Fire HD(1st Generation)
  • Kindle Fire(2nd Generation)
  • Kindle Fire(1st Generation)

If they simply eliminated the app, why can’t people get the newsstand subscription on the KF1s, if it actually is compatible?

There was debate on the thread about whose fault is was…Amazon’s or the publisher’s.

It seems to me that what may have happened is that a publisher which was giving a free Kindle edition (through an app) now requires you to pay for both the paper edition and the digital if you want both. We’ve only been paying for digital, which would be why we were converted. If you’d been paying for paper and getting the digital as a perk, that may have stopped.

Hopefully, we’ll get something more official than my speculation above.

New Star Wars novels coming

Today is Star Wars Day (“May the Fourth be with you.”). I wrote a piece about it in another blog of mine, The Measured Circle:

Happy Star Wars Day: the original trilogy is less than 10% of Star Wars

Since Disney bought the property, some things have been up in the air. One issue was Star Wars novels, which tend to get on the New York Times bestseller lists…and having sold 100 million of them would not be an unreasonable guess.

It’s just been announced, as reported in this

Publishers Weekly article

that Disney and Del Rey are doing a new series of adult Star Wars novels. The first of them can be pre-ordered now, for delivery on September 2, 2014:

A New Dawn: Star Wars (at AmazonSmile)

It’s by John Jackson Miller (who has written in the Star Wars universe before). Text-to-speech is not blocked…but I have to say, at $13.99, it’s on the expensive side…

What do you think? Would you buy and open a bookstore in this day and age? Are you affected by the magazine thing…if so, what (if anything) are you going to do about it? Do you buy add-ons? Do you agree with me that Amazon should do a better job of helping customers understand what benefits are available to them through Amazon? Feel free to let me and my readers know what you think by commenting on this post.

New! Try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

Round up #246: Amazon AFD, $5 extra at AmazonSmile

March 27, 2014

Round up #246: Amazon AFD, $5 extra at AmazonSmile

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

Extra $5 donation from AmazonSmile if you buy by 3/31

Wow!

This is a lot extra!

Normally, when you buy any eligible item at AmazonSmile, your chosen non-profit gets half of one percent of the purchase price.

Spend $100, and they get fifty cents.

With this bonus, it’s the equivalent of you spending $1000!

Here are the details:

  • One donation per customer.
  • Limited time offer. You must complete a purchase at smile.amazon.com including one or more items eligible for an AmazonSmile donation between 12:00 a.m. (PT) March 24, 2014 and 11:59 p.m. (PT) March 31, 2014. In addition, this promotion will expire after aggregate donations have reached $1 million.
  • The $5 donation will be made through the AmazonSmile program at smile.amazon.com under the same terms and at the same time as other donations made through the program, and will be in addition to the 0.5% donation made on the purchase price of your eligible item(s).
  • Offer valid for customers located and with billing addresses in the United States.
  • Offer may not be combined with other offers.
  • Amazon reserves the right to modify or cancel the offer at any time.
  • Offer is non-transferable and may not be resold.
  • If any of the products related to this promotion are returned, the donation will not be made.
  • If you violate any of the Terms and Conditions, the promotion will be invalid.
  • Void where prohibited.

Note that they will stop when they hit $1,000,000…so you’d better get shopping! :)

I already bought something, so my chosen non-profit has benefited.

For more information on AmazonSmile (including how to get your qualified non-profit into the program), see:

Smile.Amazon: support your favorite charity by shopping

Don’t Give Them Your Money Back

I suggested that some indies might want to promote using your overcharges from tradpubs (traditional publishers) settlement money to buy indie books…so you aren’t giving the money right back to the people who took too much in the first place. :)

Well, I did write about it here:

E-book settlements are here: “Don’t give them your money back”

and based on the comments, it seems to be getting some traction…Facebook, Twitter, that kind of thing. :)

You might be asking yourself, how can I find indie books to buy, if I want to do this?

Well, Amazon does have a storefront for

Kindle indie books (at AmazonSmile)

You can probably find something…they have gotten better at discovery on that page. They have top-rated, bestselling, new, and featured books, for one thing.

If you’d rather go with a well-known book, but still want to avoid the publishers that overcharged, you could get books published by Amazon. Amazon wasn’t (and wouldn’t have been) part of raising those prices.

For example, there are the

Thomas & Mercer (at AmazonSmile)

Those are mystery and suspense and include the original James Bond books by Ian Fleming and the 87th Precinct books by Ed McBain.

Books traditionally published by Amazon like that are often relatively inexpensive, and typically have the special features from Amazon (text-to-speech, lending, and so on).

I can tell you: the publishers who agreed to settle after being charged with overcharging (basically) would not be happy if you spent that money with Amazon! ;)

The next holiday is the Fourth of July…April Fool!

My first retail job (I eventually managed a brick-and-mortar bookstore, among other things) was in a “joke shop” called The House of Humor.

I was really there as a make-up expert at Halloween. I did special effects type make-up in the theatre, so I could serve as an advisor to people (and a retail clerk).

Things would get crazy when I worked there at Halloween! We literally might have a line of 300 people waiting to get into the store.

They would come in ten at a time…and get five minutes to shop!

During that time, I would help them pick latex masks, costumes, and make-up…and we’d get them rung up and out right afterwards (they got five minutes, but they were in the store longer than that).

What fun that was!

One interesting thing that most people didn’t realize is that we had to order the “good” Halloween masks…in March. It takes a very long time for them to create the Don Post quality masks.

That’s why we’d always be out of something hot…

A few examples:

  • Darth Vader (almost nobody thought Star Wars was going to be a big success before it was released)
  • Miss Piggy
  • Coneheads

On the last one, it was actually possible to make something, if you were crafty enough, with liquid latex and a plastic football.

We were also happy that Howard the Duck (at AmazonSmile) could be sold as, you know, a duck. ;) That one did look good on paper in March, having George Lucas, Lea Thompson (hot from back to the future), and Thomas Dolby involved (and based on a Marvel comic…although that wasn’t as big a selling point back then as it is now).

I also remember one “oh oh” for somebody. This poor businessperson came into the store, with an “only slightly” faded red clown nose (drawn on with greasepaint), red cheeks, and red lips. You see, the person had taken greasepaint and drawn directly on their skin…not a good idea with red, especially (red stains the most). That person had a big presentation to do…and all I could really suggest was cover-up at that point.

We also sold all sorts of gags, including things like spaghetti forks (with a crank) (at AmazonSmile) and X-ray Spex (at AmazonSmile).

Well, if you want to get those sorts of things (or books about practical jokes), this year you can go to

Amazon’s April Fool’s Day store (at AmazonSmile)

It’s an interesting collection, including things like we sold, but also clothing, books, and gift cards for comedy clubs.

What do you think? Are you doing anything special with the money you got from the settlement? One of my readers got almost $100 back…how did you do? Do you have a great makeup/mask/costume story? Are you part of an organization that’s been helped by AmazonSmile? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.

===

Nominate a child to be given a free Kindle at Give a Kid a Kindle.

===

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

I’m using goodreads

March 16, 2014

I’m using goodreads

When Amazon bought goodreads (and that’s how it is capitalized on the site), I was one of those people who wasn’t really using it, but was using Amazon extensively.

Honestly, it was a question of not wanting to divide my attention even more. I already have a family, a full time (and then some) job, write at least an average of 1,000 words a day in this blog, have two other blogs (neither of which takes a lot of time), spend large amounts of time helping out in the Kindle forums as a Kindle Forum Pro, and, oh yeah, write a book every once in a while. ;)

Something has to show real value for me to spend time and energy on it.

As Amazon has integrated goodreads more into the Kindleverse, I’ve gotten into using it a bit.

I’m still no expert, certainly.

I just decided today to make some things more public. I’ve allowed people to follow my reviews, for example. When I’ve polled my readers here about features, reviews have not come out high on the list. Still, I enjoy writing them (and haven’t completely abandoned them here), and I figure somebody might like to see them. :)

My understanding is that my reviews have already been showing up on the Goodreads’ page for that book…I don’t think you can stop that. Now, though, someone can elect to “follow” them, and they’ll be notified when I write a new one.

I think you can do that (and ask to become my friend?) by going here:

https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/3037617-bufo-calvin

I know some of you readers are well-versed in Goodreads. I’d appreciate some advice: will this somehow mean that I have a lot of things to which to attend? Am I going to be approving Friends frequently, for example?

Well, I thought you would want to know. ;)

Here’s how I’m using it:

I do add books to it as I get them, and at some point, I’ll add a lot more of the books I own in paper. That’s not as easy as it seems: I know you can scan barcodes on them, but many of the books I have seem to predate any useful scannable marks. :)

I wish there was some other categorization than “want to read”, “read”, and “currently reading” when you add a book. Maybe I can add a shelf of some kind and do that?

When I finish a book, I am marking it as finished and adding a rating and a review.

For me, that’s the sort of addictive part at this point. :) It’s not the writing of the review so much: it’s my natural tendency to be honest and accurate. If I said I was currently reading it, and then I finished it, I want to change it.

Some of the books which say “currently reading” may be ones that I haven’t read in weeks…but which I am still in the process of reading. I have some books into which I just dip from time to time…maybe with text-to-speech during a car ride.

I plan to eventually finish them. As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t abandon a book.

No doubt, the “currently reading” status on some of my books will outlast me: gee, do they have a setting for “was reading it, but no longer alive”? ;)

I find the interface, even at the site, to be a bit glitchy (or perhaps it works mechanically and is just not intuitive). For example, there is a listing on the homescreen (on the website) of books I’m reading. Every time I try and update one from there to “read”, I get a red “Error” message. I appear to have to go to my Books first, and do it there.

In terms of the integration with our Kindles, I don’t find I use that very much. I suppose that might change, now. I just accepted my first “Friend” request, and that person’s reading is showing up. That might be interesting.

The “Add Your Amazon Books” only seems to go back so far. If it would add all my books from Amazon (we have over 3,000 Kindle books), that  would  be great…but it doesn’t. It’s a decent help for adding new purchases.

Well, I think what I’ll do at this point is open it up to you. What’s the best thing about Goodreads for you? Do you find it effective on your Kindle? Are there any settings or activities you’d recommend for me? Any warnings? ;) Feel free to let me know by commenting on this post.

Update: here’s another example of the difficulties I encounter using goodreads..

I recently bought a book, and wanted to add it to my goodreads books. There was a book there with the same ISBN and a similar title…but the entry was very incomplete. The author’s name was incomplete, and the publisher was different.

I first had tried entering it as a new book. It wouldn’t allow that, because the ISBN was different. That’s reasonable: cuts down on duplicate books.

I tried entering it as another edition of the first book, which is probably the case. It had a link for that, but wouldn’t let me do it. It wouldn’t accept it with the same ISBN, of course, but I had clicked “add a new edition”.

I tried editing the details of the first listing: I didn’t have the authority.

I ended up entering it as a book without an ISBN…so now, there are two listings for the book. I left in the note in the decription explaining the situation…hopefully, someone else can fix it.

Bonus deal:

Amazon does “Kindle Countdown Deals”. Those are limited time offers on Kindle books…you can actually see when they will no longer be on sale.

I checked it out quite a bit when it first started happening, but I was having trouble with discovery…I couldn’t find books I wanted.

Well, I’ve done something that seems to help:

Kindle Countdown Deals by average customer review (at AmazonSmile)

This sort will show you the highest rated books first. That can make it easier to find something that you’ll enjoy (and often for ninety-nine cents).

Amazon’s “average customer review” isn’t a simple averaging…there are a lot of books with a single review which is five-stars, but they don’t show up at the top here.

When I look at reviews on Amazon, I do take into account the number of stars…but I also consider the number of reviews. I would have more confidence in a book with a 4.8 rating and a 1,000 reviews than a book with a 5.0 rating (a perfect score) and ten reviews.

That’s not to say that my tastes and the tastes of the majority always match. It’s just that it is easier to manipulate the ratings when there are fewer people involved.

You also have to consider who tends to review books. More recent books are likely to have a lot more reviews than older books. I doubt very many people go back to their favorite books which they read years ago and add a review. I think that’s why you’ll see more reviews on something like The Hunger Games than on, oh, Tom Sawyer.

One other thing (and it’s a big one) about this sort: it’s a great way to find books you can borrow from the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library! You’ll see that you can borrow them here, and even choose categories. Remember that you’ll have to actually borrow them from your hardware Kindle, but this at least is a way to find them on your computer. Enjoy!

===

Nominate a child to be given a free Kindle at Give a Kid a Kindle.

===

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

I bought a paperbook

March 12, 2014

I bought a paperbook

It arrived today.

“It” came because I did something I haven’t done in more than four years.

I bought a paperbook…for myself.

It felt odd, honestly, and I felt a bit…yes, guilty about it.

You see, what happened was that I had put a watch at

Alibris.com

years ago for a book called simply “Monsters” by George Eberhart.

Eberhart, a librarian, wrote one of my prized possessions:

A Geo-Bibliography of Anomalies: Primary Access to Observations of UFOs, Ghosts, and Other Mysterious Phenomena (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

It’s an amazing work of scholarship, listing primarily newspaper articles from all across the United States about all kinds of weird stuff.

That might not sound like much to you, but I treasure it.

Cryptozoology is a special interest of mine. I love animals, and I love people’s perceptions of the world. I’ve written before about

A book that changed my life: The Maybe Monsters

I could never find out much about this book, oddly enough. Searching the internet, I would find references to it, but I couldn’t even really see much of how it was organized.

So, I listed it on a “watch list”.

Now, many years later, I was told that they had a copy…and relatively inexpensively at $78.

I am about to get a bit of extra money in…so I bought it.

The copy I got is a retired library copy, a bit worn…but I’m pleased with it.

Why would I feel guilty about buying a paperbook?

My understanding is that most people who read e-books also read p-books…and I do sometimes pull a p-book off my floor-to-ceiling library to check something (I think we have about 10,000 p-books on shelves).

I don’t like the ecological impact of p-books…that’s one of the main points.

There are harsh chemicals typically used in their manufacture, and there is a lot used to truck them from “factory” to warehouse to store.

However, in this case, the book had already served a useful life. It’s been out of print for decades, I think…no one was going to make another copy because I bought this one.

The guilt thing is irrational, I know…I don’t hold it against anybody who buys p-books.

E-books (the storage of them and the readers) affect the environment too, although in different ways.

I need to put on glasses to read this: I’d rather have had it as an e-book, with nice links to the references…but I judged that was quite unlikely to happen.

Even though Amazon has stated a goal to have every book ever published, it might not be until some of them fall into the public domain…and of course, a goal is not a promise.

There it is.

I bought a p-book.

Not for somebody else…we still buy

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom (at AmazonSmile)

in hardback for new parents.

I bought it for me…and I’ll read it, and add it to my shelves.

Years from now, if it comes out in e-book form, will I buy it again?

Possibly.

For now, I’ll just have to accept that I can’t tell people I’ve stopped buying p-books for myself. :)

What do you think? Do you buy both e-books and p-books for yourself? Feel free to tell me I’m being silly about the ecological concerns…I feel like that myself, and am not feeling a bit hypocritical. Do I tell myself that to feel better about not being able to read p-books as well as I used to be able to read them? Maybe…you can tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.

Nominate a child to be given a free Kindle at Give a Kid a Kindle. You can also now recommend a child to be the recipient.

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) By the way, it’s been interesting lately to see Amazon remind me to “start at AmazonSmile” if I check a link on the original Amazon site. I do buy from AmazonSmile, but I have a lot of stored links I use to check for things.

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,323 other followers

%d bloggers like this: