Today’s KDD: “Top-rated Kindle best sellers, $1.99 & up”

August 20, 2017

Today’s KDD: “Top-rated Kindle best sellers, $1.99 & up”

Today’s

Kindle Daily Deal (at AmazonSmile…benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

is one of my favorite themes Amazon does. It’s books which are both Kindle best-sellers and top-rated. That doesn’t mean you will have heard of all of them, but I would think most of my readers will have heard of at least one. 🙂

Remember that you can buy these books at the discount and then delay the delivery until the appropriate gift giving occasion, or print them out to give whenever you want…you could even wrap it, then. 🙂

Check the price before you click/tap/eye gaze (the last in virtual reality) that Buy button…the sale may not be happening in your country, and you may go to look after the sale has finished.

Titles include:

  • Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns Goodwin | 4.8 stars out of 5 | 3,065 customer reviews | $2.99 at time of writing
  • Gravity by Tess Gerritsen
  • Too Late to Say Goodbye by Ann Rule
  • Rainwater by Sandra Brown
  • The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories by Ken Liu
  • Kisses from Kate by Katie J. Davis
  • Cruel Intent (Ali Reynolds #4) by J.A. Jance
  • The Distance Between Us by Reyna Grande
  • Rebel Yell by S.C. Gwynne
  • Tangled by Emma Chase
  • A Knight in Shining Armor by Jude Deveraux (when I was the manager of a brick-and-mortar bookstore, I suggested that my employees read a book from every section…and to ask regulars for recommendations. I did that myself, and Jude Deveraux was recommended for romance: I did enjoy it)
  • Whistling Past the Graveyard by Susan Crandall
  • True Evil by Greg Iles
  • This Calder Sky by Janet Dailey
  • The Emerald Mile by Kevin Fedarko
  • Tattoos on the Heart by Gregory Boyle
  • The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom
  • Scrappy Little Nobody by Anna Kendrick
  • Beach House by Mary Alice Monroe
  • Lady Midnight (The Dark Artifices #1) by Cassandra Clare
  • I Am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes
  • Luckiest Man by Jonathan Elg
  • Traveling with Ghosts by Shannon Leone Fowler
  • Once Upon Now by Ali Novak

Enjoy!


Bonus: want to see one of our dogs do something cute and smart? “Treadmill, Elf!” at YouTube

My current Amazon Giveaway:

We Can Do It! giveaway

That’s for a chance to win my sibling’s book:

We Can Do It!: A Problem Solving Graphic Novel Guide for General Physics (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

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

All aboard The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project!

*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 you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. Shop ’til you help! 🙂 

Read the book before you see the…eclipse

August 20, 2017

Read the book before you see the…eclipse

Monday’s (August 21st) solar eclipse is big news in the USA. It’s all over the news, and there are a lot of interesting ideas around it, including the emergence of South Carolina’s Lizard Man (I recently read a book about the Lizard Man, although I was already familiar with the story).

No doubt that a lot of people associate the idea of a solar eclipse with a visitor with superior scientific knowledge intimidating a group of people without that knowledge by “predicting” the extraordinary event, and convincing that group of their magical prowess.

SPOILER ALERT

While that’s been used many times since, it really comes from

A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court by Mark Twain

first published in 1889.

While the ability to predict an eclipse isn’t necessarily technological, science fiction author

Arthur C. Clarke (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

put it this way in 1973 (84 years later):

“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”

I’m not suggesting you skip (safely…use proper equipment or techniques) viewing the eclipse live to read Twain’s book…Vox has a great solar eclipse by ZIP code webpage where you can put in your ZIP code  (ZIP should be in all capitals, by the way…it’s an acronym for Zone Improvement Plan) and see what the eclipse will look like at what times for you (for $1.99, you can also get what sounds like a really cool app that tells you exactly what is happening when www.solareclipsetimer.com: . However, reading that scene beforehand may make you seem particularly erudite when you talk to other’s about the event. 😉

The book is in the public domain (not under copyright protection in the USA), so I’m going to include that scene in this post. If you want to read the whole book (legally free in the USA), I provided a link at the beginning of this post: A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court by Mark Twain.


CHAPTER VI

THE ECLIPSE

In the stillness and the darkness, realization soon began to supplement knowledge.  The mere knowledge of a fact is pale; but when you come to realize your fact, it takes on color. It is all the difference between hearing of a man being stabbed to the heart, and seeing it done.  In the stillness and the darkness, the knowledge that I was in deadly danger took to itself deeper and deeper meaning all the time; a something which was realization crept inch by inch through my veins and turned me cold.

But it is a blessed provision of nature that at times like these, as soon as a man’s mercury has got down to a certain point there comes a revulsion, and he rallies.  Hope springs up, and cheerfulness along with it, and then he is in good shape to do something for himself, if anything can be done.  When my rally came, it came with a bound.  I said to myself that my eclipse would be sure to save me, and make me the greatest man in the kingdom besides; and straightway my mercury went up to the top of the tube, and my solicitudes all vanished.  I was as happy a man as there was in the world. I was even impatient for to-morrow to come, I so wanted to gather in that great triumph and be the center of all the nation’s wonder and reverence.  Besides, in a business way it would be the making of me; I knew that.

Meantime there was one thing which had got pushed into the background of my mind.  That was the half-conviction that when the nature of my proposed calamity should be reported to those superstitious people, it would have such an effect that they would want to compromise.  So, by and by when I heard footsteps coming, that thought was recalled to me, and I said to myself, “As sure as anything, it’s the compromise.  Well, if it is good, all right, I will accept; but if it isn’t, I mean to stand my ground and play my hand for all it is worth.”

The door opened, and some men-at-arms appeared.  The leader said:

“The stake is ready. Come!”

The stake!  The strength went out of me, and I almost fell down. It is hard to get one’s breath at such a time, such lumps come into one’s throat, and such gaspings; but as soon as I could speak, I said:

“But this is a mistake—the execution is to-morrow.”

“Order changed; been set forward a day.  Haste thee!”

I was lost.  There was no help for me.  I was dazed, stupefied; I had no command over myself, I only wandered purposely about, like one out of his mind; so the soldiers took hold of me, and pulled me along with them, out of the cell and along the maze of underground corridors, and finally into the fierce glare of daylight and the upper world.  As we stepped into the vast enclosed court of the castle I got a shock; for the first thing I saw was the stake, standing in the center, and near it the piled fagots and a monk. On all four sides of the court the seated multitudes rose rank above rank, forming sloping terraces that were rich with color. The king and the queen sat in their thrones, the most conspicuous figures there, of course.

To note all this, occupied but a second.  The next second Clarence had slipped from some place of concealment and was pouring news into my ear, his eyes beaming with triumph and gladness.  He said:

“Tis through me the change was wrought!  And main hard have I worked to do it, too.  But when I revealed to them the calamity in store, and saw how mighty was the terror it did engender, then saw I also that this was the time to strike!  Wherefore I diligently pretended, unto this and that and the other one, that your power against the sun could not reach its full until the morrow; and so if any would save the sun and the world, you must be slain to-day, while your enchantments are but in the weaving and lack potency.  Odsbodikins, it was but a dull lie, a most indifferent invention, but you should have seen them seize it and swallow it, in the frenzy of their fright, as it were salvation sent from heaven; and all the while was I laughing in my sleeve the one moment, to see them so cheaply deceived, and glorifying God the next, that He was content to let the meanest of His creatures be His instrument to the saving of thy life.  Ah how happy has the matter sped!  You will not need to do the sun a real hurt—ah, forget not that, on your soul forget it not!  Only make a little darkness—only the littlest little darkness, mind, and cease with that.  It will be sufficient.  They will see that I spoke falsely,—being ignorant, as they will fancy—and with the falling of the first shadow of that darkness you shall see them go mad with fear; and they will set you free and make you great!  Go to thy triumph, now!  But remember—ah, good friend, I implore thee remember my supplication, and do the blessed sun no hurt.  For my sake, thy true friend.”

I choked out some words through my grief and misery; as much as to say I would spare the sun; for which the lad’s eyes paid me back with such deep and loving gratitude that I had not the heart to tell him his good-hearted foolishness had ruined me and sent me to my death.

As the soldiers assisted me across the court the stillness was so profound that if I had been blindfold I should have supposed I was in a solitude instead of walled in by four thousand people. There was not a movement perceptible in those masses of humanity; they were as rigid as stone images, and as pale; and dread sat upon every countenance.  This hush continued while I was being chained to the stake; it still continued while the fagots were carefully and tediously piled about my ankles, my knees, my thighs, my body.  Then there was a pause, and a deeper hush, if possible, and a man knelt down at my feet with a blazing torch; the multitude strained forward, gazing, and parting slightly from their seats without knowing it; the monk raised his hands above my head, and his eyes toward the blue sky, and began some words in Latin; in this attitude he droned on and on, a little while, and then stopped. I waited two or three moments; then looked up; he was standing there petrified.  With a common impulse the multitude rose slowly up and stared into the sky.  I followed their eyes, as sure as guns, there was my eclipse beginning!  The life went boiling through my veins; I was a new man!  The rim of black spread slowly into the sun’s disk, my heart beat higher and higher, and still the assemblage and the priest stared into the sky, motionless.  I knew that this gaze would be turned upon me, next.  When it was, I was ready.  I was in one of the most grand attitudes I ever struck, with my arm stretched up pointing to the sun.  It was a noble effect.  You could see the shudder sweep the mass like a wave. Two shouts rang out, one close upon the heels of the other:

“Apply the torch!”

“I forbid it!”

The one was from Merlin, the other from the king.  Merlin started from his place—to apply the torch himself, I judged.  I said:

“Stay where you are.  If any man moves—even the king—before I give him leave, I will blast him with thunder, I will consume him with lightnings!”

The multitude sank meekly into their seats, and I was just expecting they would.  Merlin hesitated a moment or two, and I was on pins and needles during that little while.  Then he sat down, and I took a good breath; for I knew I was master of the situation now. The king said:

“Be merciful, fair sir, and essay no further in this perilous matter, lest disaster follow.  It was reported to us that your powers could not attain unto their full strength until the morrow; but—”

“Your Majesty thinks the report may have been a lie?  It was a lie.”

That made an immense effect; up went appealing hands everywhere, and the king was assailed with a storm of supplications that I might be bought off at any price, and the calamity stayed. The king was eager to comply. He said:

“Name any terms, reverend sir, even to the halving of my kingdom; but banish this calamity, spare the sun!”

My fortune was made.  I would have taken him up in a minute, but I couldn’t stop an eclipse; the thing was out of the question.  So I asked time to consider.  The king said:

“How long—ah, how long, good sir?  Be merciful; look, it groweth darker, moment by moment.  Prithee how long?”

“Not long.  Half an hour—maybe an hour.”

There were a thousand pathetic protests, but I couldn’t shorten up any, for I couldn’t remember how long a total eclipse lasts.  I was in a puzzled condition, anyway, and wanted to think.  Something was wrong about that eclipse, and the fact was very unsettling. If this wasn’t the one I was after, how was I to tell whether this was the sixth century, or nothing but a dream?  Dear me, if I could only prove it was the latter!  Here was a glad new hope.  If the boy was right about the date, and this was surely the 20th, it wasn’t the sixth century.  I reached for the monk’s sleeve, in considerable excitement, and asked him what day of the month it was.

Hang him, he said it was the twenty-first !  It made me turn cold to hear him.  I begged him not to make any mistake about it; but he was sure; he knew it was the 21st.  So, that feather-headed boy had botched things again!  The time of the day was right for the eclipse; I had seen that for myself, in the beginning, by the dial that was near by.  Yes, I was in King Arthur’s court, and I might as well make the most out of it I could.

The darkness was steadily growing, the people becoming more and more distressed.  I now said:

“I have reflected, Sir King.  For a lesson, I will let this darkness proceed, and spread night in the world; but whether I blot out the sun for good, or restore it, shall rest with you.  These are the terms, to wit:  You shall remain king over all your dominions, and receive all the glories and honors that belong to the kingship; but you shall appoint me your perpetual minister and executive, and give me for my services one per cent of such actual increase of revenue over and above its present amount as I may succeed in creating for the state.  If I can’t live on that, I sha’n’t ask anybody to give me a lift.  Is it satisfactory?”

There was a prodigious roar of applause, and out of the midst of it the king’s voice rose, saying:

“Away with his bonds, and set him free! and do him homage, high and low, rich and poor, for he is become the king’s right hand, is clothed with power and authority, and his seat is upon the highest step of the throne!  Now sweep away this creeping night, and bring the light and cheer again, that all the world may bless thee.”

But I said:

“That a common man should be shamed before the world, is nothing; but it were dishonor to the king if any that saw his minister naked should not also see him delivered from his shame.  If I might ask that my clothes be brought again—”

“They are not meet,” the king broke in.  “Fetch raiment of another sort; clothe him like a prince!”

My idea worked.  I wanted to keep things as they were till the eclipse was total, otherwise they would be trying again to get me to dismiss the darkness, and of course I couldn’t do it.  Sending for the clothes gained some delay, but not enough.  So I had to make another excuse.  I said it would be but natural if the king should change his mind and repent to some extent of what he had done under excitement; therefore I would let the darkness grow a while, and if at the end of a reasonable time the king had kept his mind the same, the darkness should be dismissed.  Neither the king nor anybody else was satisfied with that arrangement, but I had to stick to my point.

It grew darker and darker and blacker and blacker, while I struggled with those awkward sixth-century clothes.  It got to be pitch dark, at last, and the multitude groaned with horror to feel the cold uncanny night breezes fan through the place and see the stars come out and twinkle in the sky.  At last the eclipse was total, and I was very glad of it, but everybody else was in misery; which was quite natural. I said:

“The king, by his silence, still stands to the terms.”  Then I lifted up my hands—stood just so a moment—then I said, with the most awful solemnity:  “Let the enchantment dissolve and pass harmless away!”

There was no response, for a moment, in that deep darkness and that graveyard hush.  But when the silver rim of the sun pushed itself out, a moment or two later, the assemblage broke loose with a vast shout and came pouring down like a deluge to smother me with blessings and gratitude; and Clarence was not the last of the wash, to be sure.


END SPOILER

Should be fascinating tomorrow!


Bonus: want to see one of our dogs do something cute and smart? “Treadmill, Elf!” at YouTube

My current Amazon Giveaway:

We Can Do It! giveaway

That’s for a chance to win my sibling’s book:

We Can Do It!: A Problem Solving Graphic Novel Guide for General Physics (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

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

All aboard The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project!

*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 you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. Shop ’til you help! 🙂 

New Amazon Giveaway! We Can Do It!

August 19, 2017

New Amazon Giveaway! We Can Do It!

I’m doing a giveaway for my sibling Scott’s book,

We Can Do It!: A Problem Solving Graphic Novel Guide for General Physics (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

I’m giving two winners one Kindle version each. At time of writing,  it’s $7 in this edition, 4.8 stars with eight customer reviews.

You can enter the giveaway here:

We Can Do It! giveaway

If you just want to read it (curiosity about physics, which is really about how everything works 😉  , would be a good reason) , it is also available at no additional cost through

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

Since some of my readers are authors, or have other things they want to promote, I like to give you an idea about hw things like this can affect a book. This is what the stats were before I started the giveaway:

Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,069,494 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)

#2849 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Nonfiction > Science > Physics
#15527 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Comics & Graphic Novels > Graphic Novels
#19877 in Books > Science & Math > Physics
@terrance_can followers: 6

Here are the details on the giveaway itself:

  • Winner:Randomly selected after Giveaway has ended, up to 2 winners.
  • Requirements for participation:
  • Resident of the 50 United States or the District of Columbia
  • 18+ years of age (or legal age)
  • Tweet a message (“I’ve got a chance to win a copy of We Can Do It!, which teaches college physics using cartoon dinosaurs!”)
  • Start:Aug 18, 2017 5:41 AM PDT
  • End:Sep 2, 2017 11:59 PM PDT

At time of writing, there are almost 100 entrants already! Good luck!

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

All aboard The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project!

*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 you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. Shop ’til you help! 🙂 

Managing your applications

August 16, 2017

Managing your applications

There’s an old joke about Bill Gates (Microsoft) and Lee Iacocca (Chrysler) sitting next to each other at a charity event.

Gates: “You know, if the car industry was like the computer industry, cars would cost $1000 and get 100 miles to the gallon.”

Iacocca: “Yeah, but who wants a car that crashes three times a day?” ;

Well, our hardware has gotten a lot more reliable…I haven’t seen the infamous BSOD (Blue Screen of Death) in some time, and most of our devices work pretty reliably. I’d say one exception is our Wink hub, which needs to be unplugged maybe once a week so it can reset, and our

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

which resets itself multiple times a week (interestingly, our Fire TV Stick with Voice Remote (at AmazonSmile*) almost never does that).

However, I take action on our applications quite often: I would guess every day.

I recently got a question from a reader about Amazon’s native web browser on Fire tablets, Silk. This person never used Silk, but it was spontaneously showing undesired content. I explained a way to do something which was likely to help, and it looks like it did.

That got me thinking that a post like this probably made sense.

While this definitely applies to my readers who use Fire tablets and Fire TVs, it also applies to people who use the Kindle reading app on other devices.

Exactly how you get into the settings to do this varies a bit by device, but you typically get to your settings (it may be a Settings Gear, which some people think looks like a sun) and then go to Applications.

There are basically four things you can do:

  • Force stop (or more colloquially, “kill” the app)
  • Clear the cache
  • Clear the data
  • Uninstall

Force stop (no, it has nothing to do with Star Wars 😉 ) means to turn it off. This can be effective. When my CNNGO app gets stuck, force stopping it will fix it. It’s like restarting your hardware, or flipping a light switch off and then back on (the latter when you re-open the application).

The risk is quite low on this one. Conceivably, you could be in the middle of something and lose that progress, but that’s about it. On an iPhone, when it is unlocked, double push (push-push) your home button. You’ll see all of your open apps. Find the Kindle app, for example, and swipe it up towards the top of the screen.

Clear the cache means to remove what is being stored in temporary memory. Think of your app as your kitchen table: the cache is what you put on the table…food, or in our case, usually mail and packages. 🙂 This can be an issue for you. If you were halfway through a video on YouTube and clear the cache, it won’t remember you were watching it. Video apps, like Hulu and Netflix, store how far you were into a video in the cloud, so it will usually still remember. However, everything will need to reload, so it may take longer to start watching a show.

Clearing the data is a strong action, and you should use it with caution. If you have set up your account in an app, and you clear the data, you’ll have to set up that account again. The data are the kitchen table itself: clear the data, and you’ll need the build the kitchen table again. My reader didn’t use the Silk app, so clearing the data was fine. For someone who used daily, clearing the data can mean a lot of work. If you clear the data, think of it as if you just downloaded the app for the first time.

Uninstalling the app removes the app from the device. For apps you got from the Amazon Appstore, they will still be in the cloud where you can download them again. It may also say that you are going to remove it from the device. If you don’t want to own it at all any more, you would do that in your cloud typically, not on your device.

That’s about it. 🙂 I have to force stop more than one app a day, I’d say.

Update: I meant to mention that if you have “active content” on a Kindle EBR (E-Book Reader…not a tablet), you don’t have the same kind of controls. You can remove them from the device, which can help, but you don’t have the force stop, clear cache, clear data options. Also, with some things, like browsers, you may have additional granularity: removing “form data” (which autofills things like your address), cookies (little programs installed on your device to let the internet identify you…it’s why sites like Amazon can know who you are without you logging into the site each time), history (a listing of where you’ve been…the cache stores the actual data temporarily, the history just says where the data was found)…those will all be wiped out if you clear the data.

Hope that helps…

Bonus story: Amazon Instant Pickup means you can get your order…in two minutes! In this

press release

Amazon explains the new program, which you can see here:

Amazon Instant Pickup (at AmazonSmile*)

In five cities now (“… fully staffed pickup locations in Los Angeles, Atlanta, Berkeley, Calif., Columbus, Ohio, and College Park, Md.”) with more to come, people can order drinks, snacks, and electronics, including especially some Amazon devices in the Amazon shopping app and pick up the item(s).

You also have to be an

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

member…and especially Prime for students, which is really where the marketing focus is on this.

Barnes & Noble’s college stores may take a further hit from this…

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

All aboard The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project!

*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 you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. Shop ’til you help! 🙂 

Limited time offer: $20 more on Kindle trade-ins

August 15, 2017

Limited time offer: $20 more on Kindle trade-ins

Many of us have older Kindle EBRs (E-Book Readers…not tablets) which we don’t use much, if at all. You might also be interested in one of the newer models, up to and including the Kindle Oasis (the current top of the line).

Amazon has had a trade-in program for some time (not really natively Amazon, but you can get to it through Amazon).

Some people have been disappointed in the amounts, but used electronics just typically don’t have much value. I used to teach QuickBooks, and when I was explaining depreciation, I would jokingly say that a computer depreciated 100% by the time you got it to the parking lot from the store. 😉

Right now, through the end of the year, Amazon has a special deal which gives you an additional $20 on your trade-in!

Kindle Trade-in @ Amazon.com (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

Looks like you can only do it once, but you can do it for up to five devices per account/person.

These are the ones you can get:

Interestingly, they use this to also promote the

Amazon Pop-Up Stores (at AmazonSmile*)

They list that page as “Amazon retail locations” and even though they are “pop-ups”, which suggests existence for a limited time, they certainly make it seem like they have a solid presence. They list five specific stores where you can trade in your Kindle (in five states) and go on to list more than thirty.

I think the trade-in is a nice deal, and that some people will take advantage of it, either in the pop-up stores or online…

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

All aboard The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project!

*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 you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. Shop ’til you help! 🙂 

Today’s KDD: “Select New York Times Bestsellers, $1.99 & up”

August 13, 2017

Today’s KDD: “Select New York Times Bestsellers, $1.99 & up”

The New York Times bestseller list has an amazing cachet, when you think about it. When I managed a brick and mortar bookstore, we had a special section for them, and discounted them. One publication, which uses its own methods of calculating bestsellers (not including some categories, for example), can have a tremendous effect on the success of individual book titles and authors’ lives.

I’m not saying that’s wrong, by the way…just remarkable. 🙂

Certainly, many people consider a book or author having been on the NYT list an imprimatur.

That’s why it’s nice to see that today’s

Kindle Daily Deal (at AmazonSmile…benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

features (former) NYT bestsellers.

As always, check the price before you click/tap/eye gaze that Buy button. The prices may not apply in your country, and you may see this after the sale is over.

Titles include:

  • The Burial Hour by Jeffery Deaver
  • Divergent by Veronica Roth
  • The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin
  • The Identicals by Elin Hilderbrand
  • The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate
  • Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee by Dee Brown
  • Garden of Lamentations by Deborah Crombe
  • The Water is Wide by Pat Conroy
  • Blood Flag (Paul Madriani) Steve Martini
  • The 16th Seduction (Women’s Murder Club) by James Patterson
  • Lyndon Johnson and the American Dream by Doris Kearns Goodwin
  • Mississippi Blood (Penn Cage) by Greg Iles
  • Price of Duty by Dale Brown
  • The Obsidian Chamber (Agent Pendergast) by Douglas Preston
  • The Mothers by Brit Bennett
  • Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman by Lindy West
  • The Unlikely Spy by Daniel Silva
  • This Man by Jodi Ellen Malpas
  • The Fall of Japan by William Craig
  • War Cry (Courtney Family) by Wilbur Smith
  • Eat Dirty by Dr. Josh Axe
  • Scar Tissue by Anthony Kiedis
  • The Hanging Judge (Judge Norcross) by Michael Ponsor
  • Crazy Horse and Custer
  • The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer
  • In the House of Brede by Rumer Godden
  • Lust & Wonder by Augusten Burroughs
  • Return of the King (Lebron James) by Brian Windhorst
  • Adnan’s Story by Rabia Chaurdry
  • Darkness Visible by William Styron
  • Guadalcanal Diary by Richard Tregaskis
  • Small Data by Martin Lindstrom
  • Great Lion of God by Taylor Caldwell

It’s also worth noting that these are generally highly-rated…enjoy!

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

All aboard The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project!

*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 you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. Shop ’til you help! 🙂 

Is this the first of Amazon’s virtual/augmented reality announcements?

August 12, 2017

Is this the first of Amazon’s virtual/augmented reality announcements?

The first prediction I made in

The Year Ahead: 2017

and the one to which I devoted the most space, was Amazon getting into the Virtual/Augmented Reality (what I call VAM: Virtual/Augmented/Mixed-Merged reality), in particular with content.

Well, this

press release

while not stating it explicitly, certainly gives us some strong hints about the future of “Vamazon” (so to speak…VAM Amazon).

The lead is that this is a collaboration between Amazon and Robert Kirkman/Skybound (creator of The Walking Dead). That makes sense: The Walking Dead is a cultural phenomenon and very popular in the key age demographic.

If Kirkman was “just” making a TV series for

Amazon Video (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shoppping*)

that would justify a press release. However…

The press release mentions Skybound’s Virtual Reality series (Gone and Lies Within).

More telling is Amazon’s Sharon Tal Yguado (Head of Event Series) description of what’s to come: “…we plan to explore immersive worlds”. That’s exactly what VR is: an “immersive world”.

Kirkman says they want to “… tell the best stories in the most unique and creative ways in an effort to always break new ground.” Also mentioned is Amazon’s vast resources…you don’t especially need vast resources if you are only making a video series.

I think they may do more than one thing, but I think this would be a real possibility: a phone-based Augmented Reality game, like Pokemon Go…but with zombies.

It might not exactly be a game as you might think of it now. Social Pokemon Go groups are a big thing…it could be some sort of social adventure with zombies in the real world that told a genuine narrative story. There could be a competition, or some sort of prize involved.

I would also expect at least one straight up VR series.

The phone-based game wouldn’t require Amazon to have its own hardware. It’s interesting to me that they seem to really be tying this into Prime Video. I think of VAM as something different than video, but Prime Video is a strong brand…stronger than the Amazon Appstore, for sure.

Could Amazon develop the killer…er, undead app that gets average people to invest their entertainment time in VAM? Could be…and I think this is just the beginning.

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

All aboard The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project!

*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 you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. Shop ’til you help! 🙂 

A Day in the Life of a Kindleer 2017

August 11, 2017

A Day in the Life of a Kindleer 2017

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…last year was more revolutionary, I’d say, because it was the first year with an Amazon Echo (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*). This year, though, the Echo Show (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*) has made a difference. Okay, let’s start a typical weekday in the Life of a Kindleer.

I wake up between about 2:00 and 3:00 AM…sometimes a little earlier, sometimes a little later (but I haven’t slept past 4:00 AM in years). As I explained last year, it’s not from an alarm or anything, it’s just my habit. I’ve had it checked out medically, and it seems to be fine. Asleep at about 9:00 PM, up at about 2:00 AM…that’s between five and six hours usually. When I wake up, I pick up my now discontinued Kindle Fire HDX 7″, which is back to serving as my nightstand clock. I really don’t like how they changed the nightstand clock a while back…the minutes are very small, and the time moves around on the screen. I see really well in the dark (connected, I think, to my color vision deficiency), but I have always awakened a bit slowly…it takes me a while to get processing information. So, making it hard for me to read the clock doesn’t help. 🙂

I also pick up my Galaxy S7, which is also next to the bed…face down. It’s there as a back up. There is an alarm set on it for 5:00 AM, but I never use it…I let it go off, because that’s about when my Significant Other leaves, and on vibrate, it serves as a gentle reminder.

I go in the bathroom and do some wake-up things. On my Fire, I start my morning

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

read. That’s a big part of my morning, not just for myself, but for flipping articles into my free Flipboard magazines, including the  ILMK magazine at Flipboard.

I also use my Galaxy S7 before I come out: I check Twitter (just for notifications, really…I read tweets in Flipboard), I use the amazing Dark Sky weather app (not available through the Amazon Appstore)…remarkably precise and accurate, and worth $2.99 a year, and start checking my local news on the

ABC 7 News San Francisco (at AmazonSmile*)

app. I can also flip from there…many places I go allow me to flip. The ILMK Flipboard magazine has tens of thousands of viewers and is closing in on 50,000 stories. The Measured Circle magazine at Flipboard magazine is closing in on 150,000 stories…it has a broader scope.

Before I come out, I turn on the light in the family room with the Wink app. I do often control it with an Echo device, but I don’t want to talk at that point…my Significant Other is still asleep, for one thing. Also, I talk a lot as a trainer during the day, and I know how to take care of my voice. I hum and do vocal warm-ups before I do much talking.

Next, I head out to the family room…and one of the dogs gets off the bed to come with me (I love hearing the dog do the shimmy, then land on the floor). The other dog is already in the family room, and the light coming on helps that one start getting up.

Our

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

is also in a sort of sleep mode, but still displays the time. I think it senses I’m moving around out there and wakes up. 🙂 When I’m not reading during the first part of my exercise routine (I exercise for about 45 minutes before I go to work), I glance at it. I really like what shows up on the display: the first event on my calendar, the weather, but also headlines.

After I’ve fed the dogs, I’m doing that exercise and reading Flipboard on my Kindle Fire.

I get to a point in the exercise where I can’t read (I can’t stand that close to the entertainment unit, where I stand up the Fire in its Amazon Origami cover). That’s when the

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

first comes into play. I watch live CNN on the CNN Go app with Bluetooth headphones.

I will usually finish my exercise and at least start eating breakfast before my SO is due to get up. I have the headset on, and I’m back to the Kindle Fire. If I finish Flipboard, it’s WordPress, Maxthon browser for the

Kindle Daily Deal (at AmazonSmile…benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

and the IMDb app (IMDb is owned by Amazon).

At some point here, it’s gotten to 3:45 AM, when my SO gets up. It is really cute, though. The more intellectual of the two dogs has a “trick” here. When we hear the alarm go off (and this is my SO’s favorite thing), I say, “Wake up call!” I open the door, and the dog (all 14 pounds) leaps on the bed and vigorously licks my SO in the face!

This dog also learned another cool thing recently. We walk our dogs at a giant leash-free dog park in Richmond on the weekends (Point Isabel)…we’ve seen it ranked as one of the top ten dog parks in the world. The other dog, who is more impulsive, may see a favorite treat giver (you get to know the regulars) and take off running…and it could be 50 yards away (by the way, I’m converting to English measurements…I usually use metric). My SO has to chase…I walk with a cane. It’s hard to catch up: so the more intellectual dog learned a trick. We can way, “Cut her off!” (Yes, I am revealing the gender of the dog here, but that’s the command…we also prefer the term “communication” to command, because they are often more of requests). The more intellectual, faster dog runs full tilt, gets in front of the other dog, and turns sideways and stops! It’s like a highway patrol officer cutting off a speeder on the freeway. That sort of “breaks the spell” so my SO can catch up…and maybe carry the other dog back.

I may be still reading, but I may also have some questions for the Echo Show.

Eventually, I go back to the bedroom (I tell the Echo Show to “Trigger turn off the TV”…that uses our Harmony remote with IFTTT to do it)…I do some exercise there, too, and that’s where I get dressed and such. In that room, we have a

Fire TV Stick with Voice Remote (at AmazonSmile*)

and our

Echo Dot (at AmazonSmile*)

I usually put CNN on in there (using the Fire TV…we don’t even have a cable for that TV). I may ask the Echo Dot for my schedule for the day.

Oh, and at this point, I’m using an Echo device to turn on lights, including in the bedroom, by voice.

I do some more reading while I brush my teeth (which I for about twenty minutes…I’m pretty obsessive on that), but that’s likely to be on a

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

I recently finished We Need New Names by NoViolet Bulawayo (at AmazonSmile*)

and am now reading Red Mars by Kim Harrison.

When I’m ready to go out front…and I say, “Alexa, trigger watch regular TV,” and then “Alexa, turn off everything” (which gets the lights and such).

By the time I get out front, the TV is on…the intellectual recognizes those things I say to Alexa (and others as well).

I may get some writing done before I have to leave. When it’s time for me to go, I say again, “Alexa, trigger turn off the TV”, and both dogs know that I’m about to leave.

In the car, I’m listening to books on my Kindle Fire, using text-to-speech through the car’s sound system. I just started a book I got as a Kindle First book…not liking it too much so far.

At work, I use our

Amazon Tap (at AmazonSmile*)

to listen to music, and sometimes to set alarms.

I could just listen to Prime Music on my computer, but it’s great to be able to tell Alexa to pause…especially because at lunch, I’m exercising while watching video in Virtual Reality. 🙂 I do floor work…about a half an hour. Yes, I exercise quite a bit…it helps with my chronic condition, and keeping the weight off (I lost forty pounds a couple of years ago) is also important for the same reason.

Sometimes at work I use the “drop in” feature in the Alexa app on my Galaxy to look at the dogs. 🙂 They are typically asleep in the same places on the couch.

I may also set timers/alarms there.

Update: I forgot to mention two magazines I read on my Kindle Fire, and that could be on a break at work or at home. One is ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY Magazine (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*), which I’ve read for many years. The only time I don’t read every word is when it may spoil a movie I intend to see and haven’t yet. I rarely go back to the back issue to read those articles after I’ve seen it, but I have done that. The other one is the marvelous Fortean Times, which I read on the Zinio app, which is available for some SmartPhones through the Amazon Appstore, but not for the Fire tablets. I get the app directly from Zinio. I recently gave a subscription to FT to a sibling: it is probably the most information dense magazine I’ve ever read of any kind. There are some ads (or adverts, as they would say), but not like most magazines, and the writing and research are often superb. You don’t have to be a “believer” in Fortean phenomena to enjoy it. My one quibble: sometimes they are directly quoting Americans, and it gets presented in “British English”. I find it unlikely that an American in Arkansas actually said, “I got off the lift and looked into the car park to see a grey-coloured Bigfoot by my caravan.” 😉 That’s not an actual quotation from the magazine, to be clear, and it is hyperbole to illustrate the point. That is just a tiny issue…FT is a great value, with historical and current events perspective in addition to the “weird world” topics.

On the way home, I listen to the book more.

When I get home, I ask Alexa to “Trigger watch Fire TV”, and “Turn on the family room”.

We typically watch Hulu at night.

I also sight read more before heading to bed…but that’s also usually when I do a lot of writing.

I normally start to bed at 8:00: I’m up a bit later tonight finishing this, since it’s a long post. 🙂

Once I’m actually going to sleep, I read on our

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

I’m still re-reading the original fourteen Oz books.

That’s basically the weekday routine.

At some point on the weekend, I may listen to the excellent

The Kindle Chronicles

Next year, I’m guessing one difference might be me doing stuff in Amazon’s Virtual Reality (I’ve predicted that they do something significant with that this year). 😉

Hope that helps! If you have questions or comments, feel free to let me and my readers know by commenting on this post.

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

All aboard The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project!

*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 you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. Shop ’til you help! 🙂 

 

It’s National Book Lovers Day: five ways to share the love (and a giveaway)

August 9, 2017

It’s National Book Lovers Day: five ways to share the love (and a giveaway)

August 9th is National Book Lovers Day!

A bit of research hasn’t told me exactly why, though. 🙂 I didn’t see any special birthdays or anniversaries that would relate right offhand.

I think one of the best things about being a book lover is sharing your love of books (both generally and specifically) with others. I’ve been doing that for a very long time. Back in high school, I was the “librarian” for our science fiction club. We were actually given the use of a very small room for it, and people could check out books. I’ve also been the Education Director for a non-profit, which included digitizing public domain books to give away online. I managed a brick-and-mortar bookstore. I’m coming up on eight (!) years of writing this blog.

I used to buy pretty much every used paperback of the first Doc Savage novel I saw, so I would have copies to give people to get them started with Doc (even though that first one is atypical, it’s part of Doc’s development and important to understanding what one of my fictional heroes becomes).

Amazon gives us several ways to share our love of (Kindle) books with others, and I thought I’d list five.

  1. Give someone the book! Barnes & Noble had gifting of e-books before Amazon, and people talked about that a lot. It was something people definitely wanted to do, and I’ve given many books to people over the years…it’s definitely one of my favorite things to do. Since we got that ability on November 19, 2010 (three years to the day after the Kindle was released), the ability to do it has expanded. There are still (understandably, in my mind) some limitations (geographical, primarily), but it’s really quite easy. You can gift a book from the book’s Amazon product page, but a fairly recent and welcome addition is the ability to do it from the MYCD (Manage Your Content and Devices), formerly MYK (Manage Your Kindle) (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*) page. Yep, find the book there, click/tap/eye gaze (although I haven’t actually tried this specific thing in Virtual Reality, I know I can buy books from Amazon there) the Actions ellipsis (…) and you’ll see a choice to “Gift Now”. You can also now delay the delivery of  gift, or print it out to give whenever you want…that lets you take advantage of the constant sales at Amazon to get something at a discount
  2. Loan someone the book…this is quite limited, and up to the publishers. Not all books can be loaned, and when they are loaned, it is only for fourteen days (and you can only loan any given book once…ever. Not once to two different people)
  3. Review/rate the book: you can do this on the book’s Amazon product page, at the Amazon-owned Goodreads, or even from within the book itself when you are finishing it. This is an extremely powerful way to aid a book’s audience growth. It’s so powerful that people cheat, and they get caught at it. I used to write some reviews in this blog, but after polling my readers, I’ve largely stopped doing that. I do review books at Goodreads, but quite inconsistently. I read several books at once, and I may finish one while I am out. I just don’t find it convenient to review every single book I finish…and honestly, I don’t always think it’s useful for me to do. When I write a review, I want it to be good writing, not just an opinion. I want it to give an insight into the book. It’s not something I just dash off without thinking, and I don’t prioritize writing them very highly, compared to other writing I’m doing. Perhaps I should…
  4. Share that you are reading/have finished/have bought a book: while you can add a comment, that’s more of just a statement of fact. 🙂 It does, though, really encourage other people. When we are eventually shopping in virtual bookstores, it will still have a very big impact on people to see others’ avatars buying a book. One new way Amazon has made that available is through Amazon Spark: Amazon Spark: a new social network (and product discovery) for iOS. It’s sort of like Instagram for Amazon products. I’ve dabbled, but it’s too limited for me to use it much at this point
  5. Amazon Giveaways: this is different from giving a gift to a particular person…it’s more like having a lottery, although there are several ways to structure it: Amazon Giveaways: so fun I’m running four (update: 5!) right now 🙂. I was doing these a lot and enjoying it. Personal circumstances have me not doing it the same way right now, but I highly recommend it if you can and you want to promote (that doesn’t have to mean for financial gain) a book. Just make sure to make the giveaway public, so people can discover it

Even though that’s already five, I’ll also mention Amazon Gift Cards. That lets you share your love of books (as would gifting Kindle Unlimited (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)) in a more general way. 🙂 What I’m going to do next is an example of a way to use gift cards.

I’m going to give a $5 Amazon gift card to someone who comments on this post today (by 11:59 PM Eastern time)…I’d like you to mention the title of a book, but I won’t require that. If you don’t want the gift card, please mention that. I’ll randomly select someone (not including people who say they don’t want it) from commenters on this post during that period. I will use the e-mail address you use to post, which won’t be public to anyone else…don’t include your e-mail address in your comment. 🙂 Just my way of sharing the love of books with book lovers.

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

All aboard The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project!

*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 you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. Shop ’til you help! 🙂 

After Game of Thrones, I would suggest they adapt…

August 8, 2017

After Game of Thrones, I would suggest they adapt…

I have just barely started watching Game of Thrones on HBO. In fact, I’m not even done with the first episode yet.

I actually started watching the first episode a long time ago when HBO was free for some reason for a weekend…it might have been a preview weekend on Comcast.

I didn’t like it that much back then, but I knew I hadn’t given it a real chance.

Well, we recently got HBO for free as part of DirecTV when they upgraded our phone/internet. We don’t subscribe to DirecTV otherwise.

I’m watching it on our Fire TV and Fire TV Stick (two different rooms):

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

First, I have to say…either I haven’t figured it out yet, or the DirecTV app is…um…difficult. I’m not seeing where it will tell me which episodes I have already watched, or what I’ve been watching recently. Every time I go to GoT on it, it starts on the current season. Then I have to switch to the first season…and it always offers me the most recent one first. Oh, and when the app first opens, it shows me something live called “Audience”…which could give me spoilers, one of my least favorite things.

Speaking of spoilers, I haven’t been able to totally avoid them on Game of Thrones (who could?), but I don’t know most of it.

I also started reading

the original books (at AmazonSmile*)

and I’ve gotten farther than I have in the TV series, but still not very far.

The eighth season of GoT will be the final season (although there may be spinoffs), so I was thinking about what other fantasy book series might be good to adapt for an HBO type television series…and the first one that came to mind does seem good to me, even on deeper reflection.

Elric of Melnibone by Michael Moorcock

Unfortunately, that book is not available in the USA Kindle store…but I’m still going to write about it. 🙂

For those of you who don’t know, Elric is a tragic but lethal figure. I’ll put up a SPOILER ALERT, although I suspect most people approaching the series will know this much.

Elric has a sword…or perhaps, the sword has Elric. It’s an immensely powerful sword named Stormbringer, but it must kill to feed itself…and the wielder can not prevent it from killing friends to satisfy its hunger.

That’s a very simplified version, but gives you the sense of it.

I think people would very much relate to Elric: he’s really emo. 😉

It’s also a complex series, with a diverse set of characters. There are different races and exotic lands. There is blood and gore drama and political intrigue. There is a broad mythology and yes, there are dragons.

That’s what I’d recommend.

END SPOILER

I’ll make one more suggestion: the New World series by James Kahn, which starts with World Enough, and Time (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*) This is only a trilogy, which is a limitation, but it is a dystopia, and hey, those are still in, right? 😉 It’s set in the future, and classic creatures of mythology have been genetically engineered. There aren’t a whole lot of humans left, and that’s a lot of conflict between different types of sentient beings. Honestly, though, it’s not as edgy as Elric could be done (and still be true enough to the books).

I could make a lot of other suggestions for things I think could be adapted well (when Amazon had a public lists feature, which they no longer do, I had one just for that), but I think Elric is the best of the ones similar to GoT (in scope, in tone, in characters…and it is known and beloved for geeks, but probably not that well-known to the mainstreamers).

I’d be interested to hear your suggestions. If HBO was looking for a series to fill the hole which will be left behind when GoT ends (and not counting possible spinoffs), what would you recommend? I would suggest a series with complexity (it probably needs to be able to run for fifty episodes), and being HBO, with the potential for violence and nudity/sex.

Feel free to let me and my readers know by commenting on this post.

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

All aboard The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project!

*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 you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. Shop ’til you help! 🙂 


%d bloggers like this: