Round up #168: an ad with Jeff, two authors to follow

Round up #168: an ad with Jeff, two authors to follow

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

Rough week…

I tweeted about this, but I haven’t addressed it here.

There’s a good reason for that…

I’ve been as sick as I’ve been in years this week. I very rarely take a sick day…and not because I soldier through, but because (knock wood) I don’t get sick very often. I work in a healthcare organization, and I’m really careful…I’ve had doctors compliment me on my hygiene. 🙂 I clean my hands a lot, I don’t touch elevator buttons (I use my cane’s handle, usually)…that sort of thing. I did get a flu shot: I would get one even if it wasn’t legally required for me (well, you have the option to wear a mask if you decline the shot).

None of that makes you totally virus-proof, though, although it does help.

I was sick on Monday at work…and didn’t get back there the whole rest of the week! I did see my doctor. It turned out I had a secondary infection as well as a virus, and the second one is treatable with antibiotics.

I’m not a clinician, but news reports suggest that those secondary infections have been a real problem this year…people don’t realize that they get something which is treatable after they determine that they had something which wasn’t (at least, not with a medication except for symptoms).

I would love to have gotten a lot more writing done, but I’ve been quite out of it. Our dogs have been my role models: I’ve been sleeping (or at least in bed) most of the day. 🙂 I haven’t even been reading a whole lot, but I have been some. It works for me to leave on the TV, and just sort of drift in and out of consciousness. 🙂

I have, though, been able to write a bit…so the Bookish Birthdays have gotten out, and so have the tweets on “On This Date in Geeky History”. I’m feeling better but not well today…this was the first day since Monday that I did my normal morning routine: ate my usual breakfast, did my usual exercise. The dogs were happy…dogs love ritual.

My poor Significant Other has started coughing,  but we are hoping it doesn’t develop into something like this. Once you retire, you can’t take a sick day. 😉

I’m hoping I’m up long enough this time to include some interesting stories!

Thanks to people who have tweeted good wishes! I really, really want to be back at work on Monday…I do like my job!

Two very different authors to follow on Twitter

It’s interesting. I see a lot of tweets, although a lot of my random exposure (as opposed to having subscribed) comes in my morning

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

read.

By the way, Flipboard…what a brilliant app! There are many ways to get news (loosely defined), and I am a data junkie. I watch 24 hour and non-24 news, I read, and so on. Interior (only) to my family, we have a quite intense discussion on politics, and I do stay on top of all of that. I’ve tried different things, but Flipboard works the best for me…and reading is my preferred input method.

Some authors have good tweet feeds, but there are two (who are quite different) I want to mention here.

David Brin @DavidBrin at TMCGTT

is a well-established science fiction author, a Hugo and Nebula winner.

Brin is also a futurist…I’m surprised that more news shows aren’t interviewing David Brin about privacy issues, including voice assistants. Even though it was written a long time ago, The Transparent Society

Review: The Transparent Society

is still one of the best books on the topic.

I like Brin’s feed because it so often contains exactly what I want science to be: that “oh, wow!” moment of wonder at the world. Now, I have to also say…it does include politics. I try not to do politics here at all (if I report a story that has to do with something the government is doing, it’s because of how it affects the topics relevant to this blog), so I thought I’d give you the heads up.

The most recent post at the time I write this is (without being uncritically convinced) is about a report that raptors (birds, not “dinosaurs”…I call them that myself, and it sometimes confuses people) perhaps deliberately using fire to flush prey. Within ten posts, there is one specifically about books: SFF pairings for Black Mirror episodes.

I’ve been pleased to see the recent rise of anthology TV series again, hearkening back to the classic days of The Twilight Zone and Outer Limits. I may write a post about that in my

The Measured Circle blog

although there are several possible blog topics in my hopper already.

David Brin: iconic, science-focused, and with a multi-faceted feed.

The other author I’ve been really noticing is

Mike Wells @MikeWellsAuthor

I haven’t actually read any of Mike’s many books yet, although following the author, you can often get one free. In fact, at time of writing, you can get an omnibus of books 1,2,3 in the

Lust, Money & Murder series for free. Note: I am not “taking responsibility” for this link, which means feel free to download it. 🙂 Amazon has this weird thing that if too high a percentage of the books people get through your links are free, they don’t pay you “advertising fees” on the others. Not a problem if I just give you a straight up link.

I did download that one, and I will get to it when my head is clear again.

Why do I suggest an author I haven’t read?

I did read this

blog post from 2011

and I thought it was brilliant!

It’s called, “Does Bruce Willis Have a Dog?” and shows why authors should use Significant Others as early readers of their work. 😉 Seriously, I thought it was well-written and insightful, and echoed Mark Twain’s advice in some ways.

I think every tweet I’ve seen has been book-related…mostly about Wells’ own books, but not exclusively.

Wells strikes me as very much a contemporary author, with a good sense of social media.

If you do read Twitter, I’d suggest trying following these two…and hey, you might want to try the books, too. 😉

Alexa is getting a lot more conversational

I wasn’t able to talk a whole lot this week, and that was a problem: much of our home is run by Alexa, and I couldn’t get out a communication very well. However, Alexa does understand a whisper, which helped. I’ve said it before, but I do with Alexa could be set to respond by whispering when I whisper. Our dogs understand not to bark if I’m being quiet…you know, unless somebody walks by the house. 🙂

I’ve noticed this as a rising trend.

For example, on one birthday listing, Alexa commented on how cool the birthday celebs were…not just a “seed catalog” listing, but a coherent paragraph.

News is also being broken down by topics in a different way, although the names strike me as a bit off. The entertainment news is called “The Skinny”…which is what CBS news calls theirs. Maybe they are connected, I haven’t checked. The business news is “The Flywheel”…and I can’t see that without thinking of Groucho Marx (Flywheel, Shyster and Flywheel”).

Amazon’s advertising has usually been pretty social-media driven, but they have bought big ad play before. There is a teaser ad out there for their Superbowl ad:

Did Alexa Lose Her Voice? (YouTube video)

It actually features Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s CEO (Chief Executive Officer)…acting! I like commercials (I know, I know…what doesn’t Bufo like?). My SO and I have gone to the Clio awards several times in years past.

I’ll be looking forward to the full ad, which I’m guessing may be a series of them.

Competition is good

I’m never upset when another company brings a new competitive challenge to Amazon. Competition breeds innovation.

Google is now going to compete with Amazon on audiobooks. The Amazon-owned Audible is giant in that area…may lead to some interesting new features.

I think this another news story probably came as a surprise to many people who think that e-books have maxed out their marketshare:

Sam Rutherford post on Gizmodo

Walmart is partnering with Kobo’s parent, Rakuten.

If this only meant that they were going to sell Kobo EBRs (E-Book Readers) in the stores, no big deal…but they are also going to sell e-books and audiobooks!

That is potentially a big market increase for e-books. It wouldn’t surprise me if Walmart hasn’t liked running out of some super-mega-bestsellers recently, and saw that people could still buy them as e-books.

That fits Walmart’s book-selling habits: having the biggest sellers available, and then gift books. At least, I think that’s the case…haven’t been in a Walmart in years. I think they also used to do genre titles, and that fits e-books as well.

Be interesting to see how this impacts Amazon. There are people who like Kobos better than Kindles, although I’ve always felt that the Amazon services outweighed any possible hardware advantage.

Oh, and Barnes & Noble has revamped its independent publishing platform…it’s no longer called NOOK Press, but will be “Barnes & Noble Press”.

press release at Business Wire

They are offering a 65% royalty rate on e-books over $10. Amazon has used a 70% rate, but only books that align with Amazon’s vision…that allow certain features, and fit a certain price range.

Apple also revamped theirs, and dropped the “i” from “iBooks”, reportedly.

Well, that’s it…I’m about out of steam for now. I’m doing better today, but I’m going to lay down for a while…

Do you have thoughts on any of these stories? Feel free to let me and my readers know by commenting on this post.


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* 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.

10 Responses to “Round up #168: an ad with Jeff, two authors to follow”

  1. Harold Delk Says:

    So sorry to hear you are sick. Sending our best wishes for a speedy recovery and that your SO fights it off quickly. My wife is recovering from a broken arm suffered in a biking accident and we are also doing everything possible to not catch the flu. We are big hand washers anyway, but still need to grocery shop, etc. Never know what is lurking out there. One tip from a nurse is that upon returning home to swish your mouth with Listerine for 30 or more seconds while washing your hands. Get thee well … tonight I’m going to try an animated book on my Fire tablet … had never seen one before so have no idea if I will care for the concept.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Harold!

      Tell your wife that breaking an arm cycling is way cooler than getting a virus. 😉 I used to joke about things you would lie about if they were the cause of death of a relative. For example, there is at least one species of “seashell”…pick it up, and it could kill you (the geography cone). I always figured if someone was one of the rare cases where that was what happened, this might be the exchange: “What happened to your uncle?” “He was killed by lions.” 😉

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Oh, and I meant to say…the animated Kindle book is kind of cool…the Ripper book is one of those. It didn’t really improve the book, but it was just interesting that it happened.

  2. Phink Says:

    Get well soon Bufo. Being sick sucks to put it mildly. I too rarely get sick. When everyone else seems to be getting sick I get what I call almost sick. I feel like I’m not really sick yet but am darn close to it and am gonna be sick any minute now if that makes any sense. I feel like that for a 1/2 day or day and slowly feel better.

    I never get a flu shot but my wife works in the medical field and I know all about her having a choice of the shot or a mask anytime she goes into certain areas of the hospital even though she’s never around patients it does not matter. She works in the administrative office.

    My grandson calls me a Germafreak. Sometimes people engage in friendly banter with me over me trying to avoid germs. I have a buffet glove I keep with me so when we go to the Chinese buffet place or the catfish place. I look like Michael Jackson going through the line with my one glove on. I’d almost guarantee you that somebody has touched those tongues that has not washed their hands in a few hours, maybe all day.

    Off subject but you poor thing living in California. No catfish buffet for you. How do you get by? No sweet tea and no catfish. At least I hear it’s hard to get catfish outside the south, perhaps that’s not the entire truth. Speaking of tea here in the south we put a little bit of tea in our sugar pitcher and call it sweet tea….I’m teasing but barely.

    Anyway, I’ve been teased and told I go too far and that we need germs to build up our immune system. I agree with that but where is the perfect balance? I have no idea. I mean it’s true….or I figure it’s true that if you put a new born baby in a perfectly germ free sanitized room and it stayed there 5 years when it came out into the real world it’d probably be doomed but again, I don’t know where the perfect balance is between germs actually being good for us but only to what degree?

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Phink!

      Let them tease you. 🙂 I’ll say again that I’m not a clinician, but I don’t believe adults who are normally interacting in society can possibly make themselves so germ free that it would harm their mature immune systems.

      People who actually have compromised immune systems have to go to extraordinary, life-changing methods to try to reduce exposure. If someone is in the hospital with that situation, we have to have special ventilation systems for the room…”negative pressure” rooms. Remember that it isn’t just touch that can infect you…breathing can do it, too. It’s different for a baby with a developing immune system, though.

      As to the restaurants…as a vegetarian who doesn’t eat foods with added sugar, I can get by. 😉 For people who do eat fish, though, they could get catfish…in my area. That’s one thing about California, we have such ecological variety and so many people from other states and countries who have moved here, that you can get pretty much anything.

      That’s one reason why California is again considering seceding…that comes up in our ballots periodically. Oh, less often than the issue of splitting the state, but it happens. 😉 We really are very diverse: ecologically, culturally, and so on. As a separate country, we would be one of the most prominent in the world. 🙂 We aren’t the only state where that is true, of course…but there is a lot of room here for a lot of transfer of culture. I jokingly observed that the San Francisco Giants’ stadium was probably the only place where you could get edamame (soy beans…popular snack at Japanese baseball games) and Krispy Kreme donuts right next to each other. 😉

      • Phink Says:

        I’ve always wanted to visit San Francisco. Speaking of seceding from the union though I read something the other day where most of the non coastal area of California is wanting to secede from the coastal area. Well, let me say, a group of California residents want that to happen. I have no idea if it really has much support from the citizens living in what they want to call New California.

        It’ll never happen but it is interesting because most people have no idea that has actually happened once already. In 1861 when Virginia seceded from the Union the northwestern counties pretty much said “OK fine, we don’t want to do this so we’ll just secede from Virginia.” And West Virginia was born.

      • Bufo Calvin Says:

        Thanks for writing, Phink!

        California is ecologically and culturally diverse: we have wild mountainous forests, deserts, farms, ocean side, skyscrapered cities…I’ve seen suggestions for, I think, as high as seven states in a split. While we are very diverse, we are also somewhat interdependent: splits always have to look at how Southern California uses Northern California water, for example. Just because this is likely to veer into political territory, I’m going to stop commenting on this (at least for now), but I really appreciate your thoughts!

      • Phink Says:

        And one reason I love this blog. You make a conscious decision to stay away from politics. It’s so hard to escape politics these days. I am very much politically active but I also love political free zones which are very difficult to find these days. Just yesterday a small group tried their best at work to engage me politically. I listen to them and had my own thoughts but kept them to myself. I try not to discuss such things at work, family get togethers, or on the ILMK blog.

        I thought the same thing you did when I posted my last comment. I thought ‘this could lead to political comments and do I want to do that?’ I took the risk but kind of regretting posting it after I did so for that reason.

      • Bufo Calvin Says:

        Thanks for writing, Phink!

        Thanks! You are right: I do want this to be a PFZ (Politics Free Zone), although it’s impossible to avoid any reference to political things, since some of them directly impact what happens with publishing and related topics. I try to make sure that I would make that reference regardless of the people behind the potential move. I discuss politics a lot with a small subset of my family, but just in a private e-mail thread.

        The idea of California seceding or splitting (or both) didn’t seem at first to me to be inherently political, but on reflection, it just seemed like agreeing or disagreeing with it, or identifying movements who did or didn’t agree with it, was going to head in that direction. I tried to stick to the ecological diversity of the state, but the cultural differences are also part of California. It didn’t seem to me to be evolving in a direction relevant to the readers of the blog, so while I enjoyed it, it just seemed like going no further was the right thing to do. 🙂

      • Phink Says:

        I agree 100%.

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