Archive for the ‘Games’ Category

Happy 80th birthday, Monopoly! The Kindle connection

March 20, 2015

Happy 80th birthday, Monopoly! The Kindle connection

March 19th marks the official eightieth “birthday” of the boardgame Monopoly.

I have found memories of playing it with my siblings and a grandparent (I only ever knew one grandparent).

Like many people, we made up our own version of the rules…although, we do that with a lot of things (and then scrupulously stick by them).

We said that if you landed on Free Parking, you got money…lots of people do that, but it isn’t part of the official rules.

How much money?

We primed it with $2,000, so it could never have less than that.

Then, penalties that you would pay to the bank (like luxury tax) would go into the pot instead.

This would tend to lengthen our games…as all of our rules were designed to do (we might play the same game for weeks).

There was no limit to the number of houses and hotels you could put on a property…if you could afford it, people might have to pay you quintuple rent.

We could also loan each other money…which we would tend to do.

A bit thing for us was including “immunities” in a property deal. For example, let’s say you had two of the green ones, and another player had the third. You each had one of the cheaper purple ones. We might make the deal, giving the player who had the one green card maybe two “immunities”…if they landed on a green property, they didn’t owe anything the first two times it happened. That would be in addition to the purple card…and maybe cash, depending on the cash situation.

Clearly, we weren’t the only people to value Monopoly. :)

After all, it’s still going strong after eighty years…and has come out in an amazing number of specialized editions. In addition to managing a brick and mortar bookstore, I managed a game (not gaming) store…we had a lot of boardgames, chess, yes we had fantasy gaming stuff, darts, go, mahjong, Balderdash, and so on. We had some specialized Monopoly sets, I believe.

The Kindle store has not been immune to the allure. :)

This search

Kindle Store : Kindle eBooks : Humor & Entertainment : Puzzles & Games : Board Games : monopoly (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

has twenty results at the time of writing.

The first result is the game itself…and it’s the active content version (not for Fire tablets, but for non-Fire Kindles).

It’s available for the following devices:

  • Kindle e-Readers
  • Kindle (5th Generation)
  • Kindle Keyboard
  • Kindle DX
  • Kindle (2nd Generation)

It’s interesting to run across that, because Amazon isn’t promoting  Active Content much any more…when the Voyage was released, it didn’t do it at all. I believe that’s still the case, but I probably should check.

I bought that version over four years ago. :)

After that, there are a couple of main categories of books.

One is strategy guides…how to win. Gee, but if somebody wins, isn’t the game over? That doesn’t sound like fun… ;)

Some of those guides are available through

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

Amazon’s $9.99 a month subser (subscription service)…you wouldn’t pay anything additional for them, over your monthly fee.

That sounds like a great use of KU. After you read a book like that once, you probably aren’t going to want to re-read it…you’ll get the tips, take them to heart, and that’s about it.

Of course, you can buy them if you want to make sure you have them in the future (books can go in and out of KU at any time).

Another category is actually one series of books on Monopoly “House Rules”.

I was curious about that, so I got a sample of the “Weird Science” one…they also have Zombie Attack!, Dungeon Adventure, Wild West, and more.

The sample, though, told me very little…which means it’s a very short work! The first page of the introduction was 70% into the book!

What was there didn’t make me especially excited to read it…for one thing, the introduction said the regular game “…seems to go on forever and becomes very boring.” Never got boring for me! I used to say to our now adult kid, “How can you be bored? You’re here.” ;)

Oh well, maybe I’ll try one of these as a KU borrow eventually.

If you are looking for something which is more substantial, perhaps as a gift for a Monopoly enthusiast, there is

The Monopolists: Obsession, Fury, and the Scandal Behind the World’s Favorite Board Game (The Monopolists: Obsession, Fury, and the Scandal Behind the World’s Favorite Board Game) by Mary Pilon
4.2 stars out of 5 | 27 customer reviews
published by Bloomsbury

This is the story of the game…and the perhaps twisted origin story. I’d be interested in that one…if it was in KU, it would go on my wishlist for that. Instead, it will go on the wishlist for me that my family uses on gift giving occasions. I’m in no hurry for it, but would like to read it…just not at $9.99.

Happy birthday, Monopoly!

Do you have any Monopoly memories? Do you read strategy guides for games? Feel free to share with me and my readers by commenting on this post.

Join thousands 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.

Answers to Being Mary Watson’s Spouse

January 15, 2015

Answers to Being Mary Watson’s Spouse

Recently, I posted

Being Mary Watson’s spouse: it’s who you know

in which I talked about how we almost always refer to some characters by their relationships to (typically) better known characters.

I wanted to turn the tables a bit, and give you some descriptions from the point of view of someone who isn’t the protagonist, so you could try to identify them.

After doing it, I thought it would be fairly easy…and it seems to have been.

Here are the characters and the answers…if you want to guess, go to the link above first.

Mary Watson’s spouse

That’s Dr. John Watson…who you are likely to see referred to by a relationship to Sherlock Holmes. That’s another good example…have you ever seen a picture of Holmes alone, captioned, “Dr. Watson’s friend?

One of my readers who guessed, Peter Willard, thought this might be Peter Parker AKA Spider-Man.

The character in question there is Mary Jane Watson, so I have to give credit…and yes, they were married at one point in the comics. It’s funny, because I would never think of this character as “Mary Watson”. Geeks (like me) commonly refer to MJ (or M.J.), or “Mary Jane”, but I don’t think you’ll often find “Mary Watson”. I have to consider it a legitimate answer, though, even if it wasn’t the one I intended.

Kala’s human child

Okay, yes, Tarzan is often a good answer when I do these games. ;)

Kala raises Tarzan…while the common reference is to “Tarzan of the Apes”, it appears much more likely to me that Kala and the rest of the Mangani are some sort of surviving non-Homo sapien human species.

Kala is definitely a hero for the actions taken protecting Tarzan, especially from Kala’s own Significant Other, Tublat, and from Kerchak, leader of the group.

Toronado’s Rider

Toronado is also known as Tornado, which might have helped some people. This is Zorro’s horse…very fast, but perhaps more importantly, very intelligent.

Mrs. Hudson’s best known tenants

I thought having two from the same universe might be tricky for you. ;) Mrs. Hudson has Holmes and Watson as tenants at 221B Baker Street. Never described physically in the original series or given a first name (to my knowledge…I know there is some speculation that a character called, “Martha,” might be Mrs. Hudson), Mrs. Hudson is somewhat of a foil for Holmes.

Scout’s father

I thought this one might be easier than I think it turned out to be. The answer is Atticus Finch from To Kill a Mockingbird (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*). I thought it would spring to mind due to it being an unusual name…and honestly, I think of Scout when I think of TKaM as much as I think of Atticus Finch.

Becky Thatcher’s love interest

Tom Sawyer…and even though they are kids, I’d say this clearly a legitimate description. Becky “has a crush” on Tom.

Wendy Darling’s pretend spouse

Peter Pan…again, it’s clear that Wendy has a romantic interest in Peter, and gets the Neverlander to take on the role of father to The Lost Boys, while Wendy plays mother. It doesn’t appear that Peter understands Wendy’s deeper interpretation of the game…and I have to say, in the recent live version, it even seemed like Wendy was sort of…predatory.

There you go! Did you know them all? Did you recognize more ot eh answer characters than the ones in the question (like knowing Zorro, but not knowing Toronado? Feel free to let me and my readers know by commenting on this post.

Join more than a thousand 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.

Being Mary Watson’s spouse: it’s who you know

January 13, 2015

Being Mary Watson’s spouse: it’s who you know

Regular readers know I make an effort in this blog not to identify genders, unless someone has volunteered it. I don’t identify mine, or my Significant Other’s or our now adult kid’s. I try not to do it with authors and such, either.

Why?

One of the things I love most about the internet is that it’s possible to be judged only by your thoughts…not by your intrinsic characteristics.

If a website requires me to enter my gender before I can post or shop, I simply don’t use that site.

Now, I don’t mind if people choose to disclose, and many do. I don’t feel like I’m hiding who I am, and I’m not ashamed of it. :)

It’s just that I want to set the precedent that you don’t need to identify (and perhaps be judged) by what you are (as opposed to who you are) if you don’t want to do so.

I try not to do any intrinsic characteristics, although it’s sometimes hard to not to suggest at least an age range for me, based on my experiences. I openly tell people I go back to the punch card days…I think you’d be quite hard pressed to find a  Millennial  (born between the early 1980s and the early 2000s, approximately) who had worked with one of those. Vinyl, yes…punch cards, no. :)

There is a tendency to default unknown people as male. For example, there has been a lot of talk in the news lately about a “female fugitive”. I think almost every story I’ve seen has identified that person’s gender. If there had been one fugitive left who was male, I would be very surprised if they consistently referred to the person as a “male fugitive”.

That’s odd, isn’t it, when the majority of people in Europe (and the United States and Canada), where the story originates, are female? Since males are the “exception” (although the numbers tend to be quite close), you would think you point out that someone was male and not point out when they were female.

I’ve also had quite…passionate discussions with people about whether or not “actress” is an acceptable term. I maintain that it is a minimizing term…that it diminishes the person. When you ask how many actors are in a play, that includes males and females (as it should, in my opinion). You have a way to ask how many female actors, but not a way that ask exclusively male actors (without brining in more words). To me, “actress” again suggests the exception, something different.

I think almost no one uses “authoress” any more, although that used to be pretty common, I believe. If you check your dictionary, you may even see it defined as a derogatory or sexist term.

Then there was something that prompted this post.

I write about movies in another (relatively little read, but fun to write) blog,

The Measured Circle

I think a movie called

Suicide Squad

may surprise a lot of people this year with how well it does at the box office.

It features a group of D.C. Comics villains being “recruited” for a mission (I don’t want to say more than that).

The first interesting experience I had with it was when I was in a comic book shop (that’s actually a rare experience for me…I was looking for a gift for an office holiday gift exchange).

I mentioned the movie, and one of the clerks asked which characters were in it.

I mentioned the Enchantress.

The other clerk corrected me, saying that Harley Quinn was in it.

Yes, they are both in it. It’s possible to have two strong female characters in the same movie. ;)

The other thing was then trying to explain to someone else who Harley Quinn is (quite a popular character, although Quinn’s only been around for less than a quarter century).

Look up Harley Quinn, and you’ll immediately see her (identifying the gender is important here) identified as a “girlfriend” (or perhaps accomplice) of The Joker.

That’s true even when Harley is the only person in an image…not 100% of the time, but commonly.

Sure, I get that: people know The Joker, and don’t know Harley…so it gives you a point of reference.

You know what I don’t see?

I never see The Joker identified as “Harley Quinn’s boyfriend”.

Even if they were both together in an image, I doubt you’d see that.

That got me thinking…

I think especially female characters tend to be defined by their relationships to other character…typically male characters.

Again, that’s not universal, and it’s not just female characters. I’m sure we see Dick Grayson (Robin) identified as “Bruce Wayne’s ward” far more than we see Batman identified as “Dick Grayson’s guardian”.

I thought we could have some fun with this.

I’m going to flip it, as I did in the title of this post. Let’s see if you know who the other character is by defining their relationship to someone.

Who is…

  • Mary Watson’s spouse
  • Kala’s human child
  • Toronado’s rider
  • Mrs. Hudson’s best known tenants
  • Scout’s father
  • Becky Thatcher’s love interest
  • Wendy Darling’s pretend spouse

Hm…I think this is easier than I expected, at least for my readers. I would get all of these pretty easily. I do think that if I posed the questions the other way, asking who was so-and-so’s love interest, more people would get it.

I’ll post the answers soon, but I’m guessing someone identifies them in the comments in the next day. That’s fine, by the way…I won’t confirm it for a day at least.

Bonus note: I was finally able to order an Amazon Echo today! You had to have asked for an invitation, and had Amazon approve your request.

My estimated delivery date?

Between May 27th and July 2nd.

Not only is that some time away, it’s quite imprecise. I’ve never seen a more than a month delivery window before!

Still, I’m excited to be getting one!

If you are wondering what the Echo is, here is my category of posts on it:

https://ilmk.wordpress.com/category/amazon-echo/

Join more than a thousand readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

I bought my Echo through 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.

Round up #276: PRH on subsers, Boehner blocks

November 15, 2014

Round up #276: PRH on subsers, Boehner blocks

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

No Active Content for the Voyage?

This question had come up before, but according to this

post in The Digital Reader by Nate Hoffelder

Amazon is not planning to add Active Content for the

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

their flagship model.

Hoffelder reports having been told by Amazon that their “…focus is on building the best purpose-built reading devices.”

I suppose I can understand as a goal, but Active Content is one of those really non-intrusive things. If you don’t want to use it, you don’t. Games have been on the Kindles since the very first one in 2007 (although the games on that one were hidden…I played Minesweeper on mine, though). It’s an interesting decision.

There are over 1,500 customer reviews for

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

in the USA Kindle store, with an average rating of 4.3 stars (out of 5). There have been ten reviews at time of writing in November 2014…and almost all of them were five stars.

It’s currently ranked #2,397 free in the Kindle store…out of 64,497, making it in the top 4% of sellers.

My guess is that this really has more to do with associated expenses (adapting the Amazon published ones for new models, customer service) than it really has to do with what customers say. However, I have had e-mail exchanges with the person listed by Hoffelder, and that person has always seemed nice and knowledgeable to me…so I’m sure there is some evidence for what the rep says.

$80 worth of apps free through Saturday 11/15

While I probably do more reading on my

Kindle Fire HDX (at AmazonSmile*)

than I do anything else (counting text-to-speech as reading…which I do), it certainly isn’t a “purpose-built reading device”.

I’m sure some people would argue that Amazon is turning away from Active Content to encourage people to buy Fires…but I think they’d be happiest if people had both. ;)

For those of you who do use a Fire and want apps, Amazon has a promotion going on through today (Saturday) with $80 worth of apps being given away. They are calling it an

App Toolbox (at AmazonSmile*)

Note that not all of these will work on a Fire tablet (the ones that don’t may work on the Fire Phone, if you are one of the rarities like me who owns one). ;)

Titles include:

  • Office Calculator Pro: 4.4 stars, 172 reviews
  • MathsApp Graphing Calculator: 4.4 stars, 63 reviews
  • EasyTether: 4.3 stars, 861 reviews
  • Open Document Reader: 5.0 stars, 3 reviews
  • Oxford Dictionary of English: 3.5 stars, 8 reviews…normally $24.99

and twelve more.

Amazon and others advocate for Equal Collection Legislation

It’s been a while since I’ve written about this issue, but it’s back in the news.

Congress is considering a bill which would mean that sales tax would be collected on online purchases in a way similar to how it is collected now in brick and mortar stores.

Amazon and Barnes & Noble both support the current legislation, along with many other entities.

The

National Retail Federation

has sent a letter to Speaker of the House John Boehner, urging passage. Unfortunately, every link on their website to that letter is failing for me…they may be overwhelmed because of the coverage.

Why does this matter now?

If the current bill isn’t passed before the new Congress takes over in January of 2015, it’s dead…and they have to start all over (again).

It might surprise you that Amazon and B&N are on the same side on this.

Amazon has argued for it before. They don’t want there to be lots of different rules about how this happens all over the country: they want one clear sales tax collection policy (not rate, policy) at the national level.

This (and previous bills) bill is not about people owing more taxes, but it would certainly mean that many people pay more.

Check the sales tax category (linked at the end of this post) for more information, but essentially, what happens now is that many people are supposed to pay tax on things they buy on the internet…and they don’t. Every year, my family adds more when we pay our State taxes for those uncollected taxes…it would be far easier if they just collected them at the time of purchase.

Can you imagine what it would be like if you had to track your in-store purchases yourself to figure out what sales tax you owed?

Amazon has repeatedly said that when they are in situations where sales tax is collected on their purchases, it doesn’t hurt their market share.

I believe that. Oh, that’s not to say that some people might buy very expensive items from Amazon to avoid having sales tax collected. Of course, they might be quite surprised if they ever get audited…not having paid that will not get you invited to the IRS offices for tea. ;) It might get you invited somewhere else less pleasant, though…

According to this

The Hill article by Bernie Becker

Speaker Boehner is blocking the bill, despite some significant bipartisan support.

It’s worth noting that not every state would collect sales tax on e-books anyway (California doesn’t, when they are delivered electronically…at least, that’s how it was last time I looked), but this still could affect Kindleers.

PRH C.E.O. doesn’t like subsers

Generally, I’ve found Random House to be pretty forward thinking…but this

The Bookseller article by Benedicte Page

makes me question that.

C.E.O. (Chief Executive Officer) Tom Weldon of Penguin Random House makes several statements.

One of them has to do with keeping e-book royalty rates the same, but the headline item is really about not believing in subsers (subscription services), like Amazon’s

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

In this short excerpt, Weldon is quoted as saying:

“We are not convinced it is what readers want. ‘Eat everything you can’ isn’t a reader’s mindset. In music or film you might want 10,000 songs or films, but I don’t think you want 10,000 books.”

Well, as someone with something like 10,000 paperbooks on my shelves, I beg to differ. ;)

Certainly, it usually takes longer to read a book than it does to listen to a song or watch a movie, so you might think you need access to fewer…but you still need to make the choices as to which ones to consume.

While I think there is a lot future in curation (people, and perhaps software, picking books that you are likely to like), having a variety is important now.

Let’s say you like 1% of the books that are published each year. 10,000 gives you one to enjoy every three days. That’s a pretty good pace.

I think subsers are a big part (but not the only part) of the book market in the next few years, and I suspect Random House may come on board with it. Weldon didn’t rule it out, although the CEO thought they were more likely to succeed in emerging markets. If they did there, that might encourage them to join in more developed markets.

I recommend the article: see what Weldon has to say about PRH selling directly to consumers…I think what’s said there is wise.

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.

 

Are there more…? #1

October 7, 2014

Are there more…? #1

This is just a fun little game. It’s based on Amazon’s categories, and I used

eReaderIQ.com

to do the search.

In the USA Kindle store, are there more…

  1. Books about wombats or books about walruses?
  2. Books with the reader age of “teen” or cookbooks?
  3. Five star range books (probably 4.5 and up) that are free, or five star range books which cost at least $25?
  4. Science fiction and fantasy, or romance?
  5. Books in Japanese or books in French?
  6. Books by Stephen King or books by Agatha Christie?
  7. Books published in 2014, or books in the Classics category of Literature & Fiction?
  8. Books published by Harlequin or books with the keyword of “clown”?
  9. Books that are at least 50% off or books under $10?
  10. Books in Kindle Unlimited (I did not use eRIQ for this) or books in Spanish?

Answers tomorrow…

Update: here are the answers!

  1. Books about wombats or books about walruses? Wombats = 77; Walruses = 6
  2. Books with the reader age of “teen” or cookbooks? Teen = 16, 481; Cookbooks = 47,002
  3. Five star range books (probably 4.5 and up) that are free, or five star range books which cost at least $25? Free = 5,226; $25 or more = 27,736
  4. Science fiction and fantasy, or romance? SF&F = 178,327; Romance = 210,896
  5. Books in Japanese or books in French? Japanese = 28,502; French = 60,578
  6. Books by Stephen King or books by Agatha Christie? Stephen King = 242; Agatha Christie = 439
  7. Books published in 2014, or books in the Classics category of Literature & Fiction? 2014 = 708,668; Classics = 42,866
  8. Books published by Harlequin or books with the keyword of “clown”? Harlequin = 21,945; Clown = 835
  9. Books that are at least 50% off or books under $10? 50% = 1,814; Under $10 = 2,455,978
  10. Books in Kindle Unlimited (I did not use eRIQ for this) or books in Spanish? KU = 740,397; Spanish =  107,216

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.

Round up #267: page 45, Neuromancer deal

September 7, 2014

Round up #267: page 45, Neuromancer deal

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

Today’s Kindle Daily Deal

In today’s

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

there are two deals which stand out to me.

Neuromancer by William Gibson came out in 1984, and won the Hugo, the Nebula, and Philip K. Dick award…and profoundly influenced geek thinking. You can get it today for $1.99…either for yourself, or maybe delay delivery for an appropriate gift giving occasion. It’s quite possible that even the way you are reading this was influenced by ideas in this book. 4.0 stars out of 5, 813 customer reviews.

The other deal is on twenty Iris Johansen titles for $2.99 each. There are a bunch of Eve Duncan books in this group, and others.

If you want to buy rather than borrow (through Kindle Unlimited or the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library), these are good deals.

Page 45 status

Humans are great at finding linkages and patterns in things…even if they don’t actually exist. ;)

That has led to all sorts of fortune telling techniques, among other things.

I put together a CD with hundreds of small sound clips from movies and TV, gathered from

http://www.dailywav.com/

which is a great site for that sort of thing. It’s been around since 1995, and is nicely organized. They also comply with rightsholders, and I think that they are within Fair Use with what they do.

I have listened to it many times in the car (before I had text-to-speech…I listen to books, now). I would put it on shuffle, and I called it “The Magic Clip Ball”. One way to “use” it would be to think of a question, and then whatever quotation came up next was the “advice” for you. That was often fun!

My adult kid recently made me aware of a “viral book status”.

To quote:

“Pick up the nearest book to you and turn to page 45. The first sentence describes your love life.”

Now, there are some complications with this for e-book users. All of the books in my Kindle (and I know some of you may have thousands downloaded) are really equidistant from me. If you use a Kindle for this, I’d say the one that is nearest to the front of your Carousel. Of course, you may also not have a page 45…I’d go with location 450 if you don’t.

When I decided to try it just for fun, there was a p-book (paperbook) near me…Monsters by George Eberhart (believe me, if I could have had it as an e-book, I’d prefer it).

The line for me?

“One Man in Canoe Sets Out to Hunt Loch Ness Monster”

;)

I won’t comment on the appropriateness of that for me, but I can see how it might fit some people (making it gender neutral, of course).

Seeking Alpha round-up

I recently created a free account on

Seeking Alpha

and they’ve sent me several interesting articles!

They are well thought-out and researched…I’m impressed!

Why Amazon’s Appstore Could Become As Big As Google Play by “Critical Timing”

This isn’t just pie in the sky, but makes a good argument for the super rapid growth of Amazon’s Appstore. Gee, in three years, will be people be as mad at a phone not having access to the Amazon Appstore as they are now to the Fire Phone and Kindle Fires not having direct access to Google Play? Perhaps, although Amazon seems more likely to me to make the apps available more places…they don’t tend to build walls to keep people from getting their products. Witness all of the Kindle reader apps. Of course, you can’t install a Kindle reader app on a non-tablet NOOK, but that has more to do with apps and that operating system, I believe, than deliberate exclusion. In this case there are apps that will work best with the

Amazon Fire Phone (at AmazonSmile)

dynamic perspective (which I call “dy-per”), but outside of that, I think we’ll see the Amazon Appstore continue to expand.

Oh, one comment on the Fire Phone: I now like it a lot, after using it for a while. The easy access to things I’ve done before (such as addresses I’ve mapped) is one reason. One big gap? The voice assistant can’t do as much as Google Now or Siri or Cortana, but that will likely improve with software updates. I also asked Amazon if it had a name, and they said no…that might be a mistake, in terms of brand loyalty.

Reading And Believing In Barnes & Noble by Kevin Donovan

I’ve been seeing articles recently talking up Barnes & Noble as a company, at least for investors. Again, this has graphs and trends to back up its point…and they do consider what Amazon does a potential threat to continued growth.

Speaking of what Amazon does, I expect we’ll get a new hardware announcement before the end of the month. In terms of my personal satisfaction, I don’t know what they would do hardware wise to get me to want to upgrade. I’m quite satisfied with both my

Kindle Fire HDX (at AmazonSmile*)

and my

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

It’s possible they’ll introduce some services in another model that would make it attractive.

However, if a model has something unprecedented, I might get it anyway, so I can tell you about it. :)

Back to B&N: do I think they can succeed? I think it’s possible, but I don’t see the path yet.

Why Amazon Has No Profits (And Why It Works) by Benedict Evans

This may be the best article I’ve ever read on Amazon.

Thorough analysis explaining how it works, and what it will need to do to keep working.

Highly recommended!

It also helps explain why, according to this

RTT News article and other sources

Bank of America just gave Amazon a two billion (!) dollar credit facility.

This despite CFO (Chief Financial Officer) Thomas Szkutak of Amazon’s announced departure next year.

B of A can see money in Amazon’s future…

A KOLL of lump

Last month was the first month since it’s been available that I did not borrow a book from the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library (KOLL). It wasn’t by choice. Despite contacting Amazon, I could not figure out a way to do it…and I’m pretty good at figuring things out. ;)

You see, I’m both an eligible Prime member and a member of Kindle Unlimited…and even when a book was available in both, it would only let me borrow it as part of the KOLL.

Fortunately, we don’t have Prime just to borrow books, and this is not that big a deal for me (since as noted, I can borrow books through KU instead). It does feel like a bit of a loss, though.

What do you think? Did you get an intriguing “page 45″ result? Do you know of other similar things to do with books and insight? Will B&N survive…and perhaps even thrive? Did you already have an opinion on Neuromancer? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think 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! :) 

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.

Would you miss it?

August 9, 2014

Would you miss it?

I’ll explain more about this in a later post, but these excerpts from public domain books have something in common. I may have reproduced them verbatim, or I may have altered them.

Can you tell what it is?

“William Lucas, and Maria, a good-humoured child, but as empty-headed as the older Lucas, had nothing to say that could be worth hearing, and were listened to with about as much delight as the rattle of the chaise. Elizabeth loved absurdities, but had known William’s too long.”
–Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

“I went down to the front garden and clumb over the stile where you go through the high board fence. There was an inch of new snow on the ground, and I seen somebody’s tracks. They had come up from the quarry and stood around the stile a while, and then went on around the garden fence. It was funny they hadn’t come in, after standing around so. I couldn’t make it out. It was very curious, somehow. I was going to follow around, but I stooped down to look at the tracks first. I didn’t notice anything at first, but next I did. There was a cross in the left boot-heel made with big nails, to keep off the devil.”
–Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

“Yesterday, however, just as I was thinking of leaving the office, my clerk entered to say there was someone waiting who wished to see me upon business. My clerk brought up a card, too, with the name of ‘Colonel Lysander Stark’ engraved upon it. Close behind came the colonel, who was rather over the middle size, but of an exceeding thinness.”
–The Adventure of the Engineer’s Thumb by Arthur Conan Doyle

I have altered two of these (and I won’t claim great artfulness in having done so), and one is verbatim.

What unusual thing do they all have in common?

Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post. I’ll explain it all after people have a chance to guess.

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.

Name the literary decade game

June 15, 2014

Name the literary decade game

I’m terrible with time.

Oh, not in getting things done…I’m actually pretty good at that, and have successfully taught it to other people.

No, it’s in knowing how long ago something happened.

When I remember something, I don’t inherently know if it happened last year or ten years ago.

I can figure it out from internal clues, and I’m not saying I remember everything equally well…but chronology has never been my strong suit.

I think that’s why I love timelines. :)

It’s a bit like enjoying watching an athlete play a sport that you just can’t do very well…it’s an astonishing feat!

I have a timeline for this blog for e-books and related matters:

https://ilmk.wordpress.com/timeline/

It starts in 1455…

I have another much broader (and geekier) one at my The Measured Circle blog:

The Measured Circle Pop Culture Timeline

However, that doesn’t mean I’m bad at dates, necessarily, in a trivia sense…I think I’m just bad at sequencing.

I often do things with no sequence, which surprises people. If you are in a shopping mall, and I ask you where you parked, my understanding is that most people actually visualize the path back to the car. I just know where the car is…often not visualizing it at all, if there is a stall number (3rd floor, stall 342, for example).

Regular readers know that I also don’t typically visualize when I read, which I know is also somewhat unusual.

I always remember when my Significant Other asked where a particular year’s taxes were. I said something like, “In the library, on top of the shelf  on the wall with the window, fourth stack from the right, about a third of the way up, next to something yellow.” :) The stacks weren’t in order: I just knew what was where in them.

So, that brings us to our little game for today. :)

I’m going to give you some books, you tell me the decade when they were first published (we’ll go with first published in the USA, to keep this simple).

There will be eleven different quizzes, for each decade from the 1900s through the 2000s (I wanted to stop before the current decade). A decade will not be the correct answer for two different quizzes.

Oh, and I used

Random.org

to randomize the order of the questions…I find that a very useful site!

Ready? Here we go!

Name the literary decade #1

Name the literary decade #2

Name the literary decade #3

  • Brave New World
  • Of Mice & Men
  • The Good Earth

Name the literary decade #4

  • Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
  • To Kill a Mockingbird
  • In Cold Blood

Name the literary decade #5

  • The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
  • A Room with a View
  • The Tale of Peter Rabbit

Name the literary decade #6

  • Tarzan of the Apes
  • Sons and Lovers
  • The Metamorphosis

Name the literary decade #7

  • Gravity’s Rainbow
  • Interview with the Vampire
  • The Stepford Wives

Name the literary decade #8

  • A Brief History of Time
  • The Unbearable Lightness of Being
  • The Joy Luck Club

Name the literary decade #9

  • The Heart is a Lonely Hunter
  • Zorba the Greek
  • A Streetcar Named Desire

Name the literary decade #10

  • The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
  • Things Fall Apart
  • Lord of the Flies

Name the literary decade #11

  • Winnie-the-Pooh
  • The Prophet
  • The Great Gatsby

I’ll publish the answers in the next few days. Honestly? I think I would have gotten all of them. :) How do you think you did? You can let me and my readers know 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.

 

Answers to “Their other books” #1

June 11, 2014

Answers to “Their other books” #1

A couple of days ago, I posted

Their other books

which was a game based on the

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

page. I listed books by the 100 top authors ranked there…not their most popular books (based on the ranking), but one of them. The game was to see how many authors you could name. If you’d like to try it, please first go to the link above.

These are in order: the #1 author below is the Amazon’s “most popular” author:

  1. Looking for Alaska: John Green (most popular book: The Fault in Our Stars)
  2. Revival: Stephen King (Mr. Mercedes)
  3. Insurgent: Veronica Roth (Allegiant…these are both part of the Divergent series)
  4. A Feast for Crows: George R.R. Martin (part of the “Game of Thrones” series, although the series is really called “A Song of Ice and Fire”)
  5. Middle School: Get Me out of Here!: James Patterson (Unlucky 13)
  6. Dark Witch: Nora Roberts (The Collector)
  7. City of Lost Souls: Cassandra Clare (part of The Mortal Instruments series)
  8. The Space Between: Diana Gabaldon (part of the Outlander series)
  9. Slow Burn:
  10. The Finisher: David Baldacci (The Target)
  11. The Chase: Janet Evanovich (Top Secret Twenty-One)
  12. A Halflings (sic) Rescue: Heather Burch (One Lavender Ribbon)
  13. Obsessed: Deborah Bladon (Pulse)
  14. Letters to My Daughter: Maya Angelou (I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings)
  15. Quarry: Max Allan Collins (Supreme Justice)
  16. Grave Peril: Jim Butcher (The Dresden Files)
  17. Never Go Back: Lee Child (Personal: A Jack Reacher Novel)
  18. Deadline: John Sandford (Field of Prey)
  19. The Little Friend: Donna Tartt (The Goldfinch)
  20. The Mark of Athena: Rick Riordan (The Staff of Serapis)
  21. Three Wishes: Liane Moriarty (The Husband’s Secret)
  22. John Grisham’s The Partner: Jacqueline Kehl (Kehl performs audiobooks…I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings is the most popular)
  23. Sharp Objects: Gillian Flynn (Gone Girl)
  24. 4 fer au feu: Maxine Pietro (Unlucky 13…co-author with James Patterson)
  25. The Racketeer: John Grisham (Sycamore Row)
  26. Hold On My Heart: Tracy Brogan (The Best Medicine)
  27. Happy Birthday to You!: Dr. Seuss (Oh, the Places You’ll Go!)
  28. Ring in the Dead: J.A. Jance (Second Watch)
  29. When We Met: Susan Mallery (Before We Kiss)
  30. The Death Cure: James Dashner (The Maze Runner)
  31. The Quiet Game: Greg Iles (Natchez  Burning)
  32. Where We Belong: Emily Giffin (The One and Only)
  33. The Eye of Heaven: Clive Cussler (Ghost Ship)
  34. Castle of Sand: Bella Forrest (A Shade of Vampire)
  35. The Atlantis Gene: A.G. Riddle (The Atlantis World)
  36. Steelheart: Brandon Sanderson (Words of Radiance)
  37. The Elite: Kiera Cass (The One)
  38. I Want to Hold Your Hand: Marie Force (True North)
  39. The Way Life Should Be: Christina Baker Kline (Orphan Train)
  40. Catching Fire: Suzanne Collins (Mockingjay…these are both in The Hunger Games series)
  41. A Dark Mind: Theresa Ragan (Abducted)
  42. White Lace and Promises: Debbie Macomber (Promise Me Forever)
  43. The Proposition 3: H.M. Ward (The Wedding Contract)
  44. Club Prive Book 4: M.S. Parker (Club Prive Book 5)
  45. X-Men: Messiah Complex: Peter David (Artful)
  46. Heart Stealers (well, this is  embarrassing, but it’s one of these four: Patricia McLinn, Judith Arnold, Julie Ortolon and Kathryn Shay
  47. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire: J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone)
  48. The Black Box: Michael Connelly (The Gods of Guilt)
  49. Surrender: Melody Anne (Unexpected Treasure)
  50. A Tap on the Window: Linwood Barclay
  51. The Snake Handler: Anthony Doerr (All the Light We Cannot See)
  52. FaceOff: Steve Berry (The Lincoln Myth)
  53. Earth Awakens: Orson Scott Card (Ender’s Game)
  54. This Regret: Victoria Ashley (Slade)
  55. Shadow Kiss: Rachel Mead (Vampire Academy)
  56. Clockwork Angel: Cassandra Clare (City of Bones…these are in the The Mortal Instruments series)
  57. The Chance: Robyn Carr (Four Friends)
  58. Thankless in Death: J.D. Robb (Festive in Death)
  59. Deeply Odd: Dean Koontz (The City)
  60. Wonder: R.J. Palacio (The Julian Chapter)
  61. A Kiss of Shadows: Laurell K. Hamilton (A Shiver of Light)
  62. Just One Day: Gayle Forman (If I Stay)
  63. Innocent Blood: James Rollins (The Eye of God)
  64. Beyond Desire: J.S. Scott (Mine for Tonight)
  65. The Last Letter from Your Lover: Jojo Moyes (Me Before You)
  66. I Am the Messenger: Marcus Zusak (The Book Thief
  67. La ladrona de libros: Marcus Zusak (The Book Thief…listed twice)
  68. The Great Divide: C.S. Lewis (The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe)
  69. The Economies of Rising Inequalities: Thomas Piketty (Capital in the Twenty-First Century)
  70. Magic Tree House #52: Mary Pope Osborne (Magic Tree House Boxed Set 1-4)
  71. Reaper’s Legacy: Joanna Wylde (Devil’s Game)
  72. When the Heart Waits: Sue Monk Kidd (The Invention of Wings)
  73. Autumn in the Vineyard: Marina Adair (From the Moment We Met)
  74. Gone for Good: Harlan Coben (Missing You)
  75. Killing Lincoln: Bill O’Reilly (Killing Jesus)
  76. Killing Patton Martin Dugard (Killing Jesus)
  77. Hidden Order: Brad Thor (Act of War)
  78. Brothers in Battle, Best of Friends (only one book listed): William Guarnere
  79. Brothers in Battle, Best of Friends (only one book listed) (co-author): Edward Heffron
  80. The Lost Symbol: Dan Brown (Inferno)
  81. The Cold Truth: Jonathan Stone (Moving Day)
  82. The Longest Ride: Nicholas Sparks (The Best of Me)
  83. Night Shift: ?
  84. King for a Day: Mimi Jean Pamfiloff (King’s)
  85. When Day Breaks: Mary Jane Clark?
  86. A Tragic Wreck: T.K. Leigh
  87. Dark Wolf: Christine Feehan (Air Bound)
  88. Good Omens: Neil Gaiman (The Ocean at the End of the Lane)
  89. SuperFreakonomics: Stephen J. Dubner (Think Like a Freak)
  90. SuperFreakonomics (co-author): Steven D. Levitt (Think Like a Freak)
  91. Maid of Murder: Amanda Flower (A Plain Scandal)
  92. The Back Road: Rachel Abbott (Sleep Tight)
  93. First Sight: Danielle Steel (A Perfect Life)
  94. Living History: Hillary Rodham Clinton (Hard Choices)
  95. Cockroaches: Jo Nesbo
  96. Out of Breath: Rebecca Donovan? (Reason to Breath?)
  97. The Great Hunt: Robert Jordan (A Memory of Light)
  98. David and Goliath: Malcolm Gladwell (The Tipping Point?)
  99. Other People We Married: Emma Straub (The Vacationers)
  100. Doggies: Sandra Boynton (The Going to Bed Book)

Well, apologies are in order! I didn’t preserve the answers when I was working off the list at Amazon (I have a complicating factor right now, which may be resolved soon), and it changed…a lot! I should have anticipated that, since they do it hourly and rankings must change.

That meant I just spent a considerable amount of time researching them again…and couldn’t be sure on some of them.

I’ve never had that issue on a game before, but I do think you’ll have a pretty good idea how you did…

Lesson learned. :(

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.

 

Their other books

June 9, 2014

Their other books

Amazon has an interesting

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

page (it says it is in beta…test mode) where they rank their most popular authors (and update it hourly).

I thought I’d make a game out of this!

I’m going to give you one of the books that the author wrote…but not that author’s most popular book. It will be one of the more popular ones, though (top four)…that’s the easiest way to do this (and it keeps me from going deliberately obscure).

I’m doing these in order: the most popular author wrote the number one book on this list.

Without looking it up, let’s see how many authors you can identify…

  1. Looking for Alaska
  2. Revival
  3. Insurgent
  4. A Feast for Crows
  5. Middle School: Get Me out of Here!
  6. Dark Witch
  7. City of Lost Souls
  8. The Space Between
  9. Slow Burn
  10. The Finisher
  11. The Chase
  12. A Halflings (sic) Rescue
  13. Obsessed
  14. Letters to My Daughter
  15. Quarry
  16. Grave Peril
  17. Never Go Back
  18. Deadline
  19. The Little Friend
  20. The Mark of Athena
  21. Three Wishes
  22. John Grisham’s The Partner
  23. Sharp Objects
  24. 4 fer au feu
  25. The Racketeer
  26. Hold On My Heart
  27. Happy Birthday to You!
  28. Ring in the Dead
  29. When We Met
  30. The Death Cure
  31. The Quiet Game
  32. Where We Belong
  33. The Eye of Heaven
  34. Castle of Sand
  35. The Atlantis Gene
  36. Steelheart
  37. The Elite
  38. I Want to Hold Your Hand
  39. The Way Life Should Be
  40. Catching Fire
  41. A Dark Mind
  42. White Lace and Promises
  43. The Proposition 3
  44. Club Prive Book 4
  45. X-Men: Messiah Complex
  46. Heart Stealers
  47. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
  48. The Black Box
  49. Surrender
  50. A Tap on the Window
  51. The Snake Handler
  52. FaceOff
  53. Earth Awakens
  54. This Regret
  55. Shadow Kiss
  56. Clockwork Angel
  57. The Chance
  58. Thankless in Death
  59. Deeply Odd
  60. Wonder
  61. A Kiss of Shadows
  62. Just One Day
  63. Innocent Blood
  64. Beyond Desire
  65. The Last Letter from Your Lover
  66. I Am the Messenger
  67. La ladrona de libros
  68. The Great Divide
  69. The Economies of Rising Inequalities
  70. Magic Tree House Boxed Set #52
  71. Reaper’s Legacy
  72. When the Heart Waits
  73. Autumn in the Vineyard
  74. Gone for Good
  75. Killing Lincoln
  76. Killing Patton
  77. Hidden Order
  78. Brothers in Battle, Best of Friends (only one book listed)
  79. Brothers in Battle, Best of Friends (only one book listed) (co-author)
  80. The Lost Symbol
  81. The Cold Truth
  82. The Longest Ride
  83. Night Shift
  84. King for a Day
  85. When Day Breaks
  86. A Tragic Wreck
  87. Dark Wolf
  88. Good Omens
  89. SuperFreakonomics
  90. SuperFreakonomics (co-author)
  91. Maid of Murder
  92. The Back Road
  93. First Sight
  94. Living History
  95. Cockroaches
  96. Out of Breath
  97. The Great Hunt
  98. David and Goliath
  99. Other People We Married
  100. Doggies

Wow! That was a lot harder than I would have thought! I’m a former brick-and-mortar bookstore manager (although it’s been some time), and I would not have done well in this game. Better than a lot of people, I’m sure, but I don’t think I would have gotten twenty of these.

There are also some weird things in their algorithms: the same author may show up more than once, for example. I guess it’s reasonable that if there are co-authors, they show up separately. One person is listed as an author, but isn’t, exactly…

I’ll be curious to hear how many you got! I’m hoping this also leads you to some discovery of additional books to read.

Update: one of my regular readers and commenters, Lady Galaxy, correctly pointed out that I didn’t say I was going to give you the answers. :) I will…I’ll probably give it a couple of days.

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.


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