Archive for the ‘Thoughtabouts’ Category

Kids are growing up with talktech being normal

November 27, 2017

Kids are growing up with talktech being normal

We’ve gotten way beyond kids just being “digital natives” (growing up with digital technology) now. 😉

In this

Washington Post article by Hayley Tsukayama via L.A. Times**

they cite the example of Yana Welinder’s kid trying to say, “Alexa”…before being able to say, “Mama”.

That really gave me a smile, because something like that happened in my house (and it was my “fault”).

I have a sibling who is eight years younger than I am. Before my baby sib could talk, I would flick a light switch on and off, carefully enunciating the words “On” and “Off”.

The result of that was that my sibling’s first word was “On”.

My parents weren’t particularly amused, even though it was used contextually (often with a pointing finger).

I recommend the article, which goes more into depth (but not very deep) on some of the possible concerns.

What will it mean as kids grow up with lots of devices in their homes, and devices which perform essential functions, that respond to spoken requests (and with spoken responses in many cases)?

Will they feel like they are being slighted when other devices don’t respond? Will the assumption be that everything is able to talk, and some things just choose not to do that?

On the other hand, they almost certainly will treat

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

(which, at time of writing, are on sale for as low as under $30) as “social actors”. In other words, they will consider the device’s feelings, and have a sense of intent in what it does.

Many (probably most) adults do that with technology now. I strongly recommend

The Man Who Lied to His Laptop: What We Can Learn About Ourselves from Our Machines (at AmazonSmile*)

by Clifford Nass and Corina Yen, which uses that principle to delve into human interpersonal dynamics…I read a lot of books on that sort of thing, and this has one of the best explanation of how you build teams that I’ve ever seen.

I understand that there can be an issue with soldiers and law enforcement officers anthropomorphizing anti-bomb robots…and wanting to save the robots when they are in “danger”.

Today is the 31st anniversary of the release of Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home in the USA, and the article pointed to a scene in that movie…although that scene also has occurred to me independently around these issues.

This is really just a short gag and doesn’t affect the plot, but I’ll still give you a minor

SPOILER ALERT

The Enterprise crew are in 1986 (that’s on the posters), and Scotty (and McCoy) are trying to work with a computer of the era.

This scene shows Scotty trying first to address the computer verbally:

YouTube video

Of course, I could also just say to our Echo Show, “Alexa, play ‘Star Trek Hello Computer from YouTube'”…and I did to test it. 🙂 Oh, the Echo Show does have YouTube videos back, by the way, but they don’t show full screen…that’s what Google didn’t like, because it took away advertising and recommending other videos, I think.

END SPOILER

I think I’ve also mentioned this on the blog before, but I have often pointed out to people how the original Star Trek series was way ahead of us in transportation (the warp drive, the transporter), ahead of us in healthcare (but we are catching up), but way behind us in computers (at least, the standard computer on the Enterprise).

When Captain Kirk would ask a simple question, it would take the computer a few seconds to answer it…and you could actually hear relays closing!

Yes, there were some super intelligent computers, but they weren’t standard. In one episode (Tomorrow Is Yesterday), the computer is much smoother and has a definite personality…but that was anomalous, and wasn’t desired.

I don’t see the ability to talk to our devices going away for the next decade at least. As long as verbal communication remains one of our main ways to communicate our desires (it would take a lot to change that…just texting isn’t going to do that, although brain-machine-interfaces, which could effectively result in technological telepathy…techepathy(?) might), we’ll want to do speak with our tech…besides just chastising a computer or car.

I would expect that within the next five years, we’ll be able to speak as smoothly and successfully with our main personal devices as we can with most humans. That will require:

      • Better “artificial empathy”. We are getting that now…devices understanding how we feel. I love a free app from Microsoft, Seeing AI (currently only available for iOS, so I use t on my work iPhone. It’s designed for those with visual impairments, but its also just fun (and has significant benefit for people who have difficulty determining emotions in others, as some people with autism can have). I can take a picture of a person, and it will guess their gender and age (it’s almost always been within four years for me), and will tell me if they look “happy”, “neutral”, and so. Our talktech will be able to tell if we are angry or happy (maybe not with 100% accuracy…but humans don’t hit 100%, either), and adjust the responses accordingly
      • This has started, but they are beginning to recognize us as individuals. That’s obviously something we do with humans…and our talktech needs to be able to do this more reliably
      • It will also need to figure out context…is the voice generating person right next to them? Yelling from another room? On a recording? Something I really want is that, if I whisper to my Alexa device, it whispers back. 🙂 I’m sometimes talking to our Echo when my Significant Other is asleep. I can whisper and it understands me…but “Okay” is quite loud!
      • It will also need more languages and slang…it’s pretty facile with accents, in my experience, but it will become much more cosmopolitan and culturally diverse. I once heard of a doctor who told a patient that the patient would need to find another doctor…because the first doctor couldn’t understand the patient’s (English) slang!

If that gets too sophisticated, that could make for an interesting situation…it’s possible your child and your talktech will be develop their own language…which you won’t be able to understand…

Update: I forgot to address something I’ve mentioned previously in the blog, that we are donating an unopened Echo Dot to a children’s center (I’m hoping to drop off that donation, which includes other things, tomorrow). I think it’s important that possibly disadvantaged children also get exposed to this technology. I will include instructions on how to turn off voice purchasing (Menu-Settings-Voice Purchasing). They’ll also want to be careful about which experiences are enabled. I don’t think they can, through software, stop requests which include explicit music…that might require monitoring.

What do you think? Feel free to tell me and my readers by commenting on this post.


You can be part of my next book, Because of the Kindle!


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!

* 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! :) 

** Thanks to a reader who sent me a link to this story in a private communication…always appreciated! By the way, I linked to the L.A. Times instead of the (Jeff Bezos’ owned) Washington Post because the WaPo limits you to three free articles a day…and I didn’t want you to use one up unnecessarily…the world of paywalls! That one does seem like one possible strategy…

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.

Advertisements

What books should a robot read to learn morality?

July 26, 2017

What books should a robot read to learn morality?

Sometimes good is harder than best.

If it’s just a question of math, a computer can come up with the best answer more reliably than a human.

If, however, it’s a question of good as in good and evil, most people would say that a robot can’t make that decision.

They are going to have to do that in the future, though.

As robots (and by robots, I mean anything that does work that humans or animals used to do…that’s the origin of the word in the play R.U.R.) become more and more part of our lives, they will encounter more of the situations we do. They will be less in controlled, limited circumstances.

Let’s take the most obvious example: self-driving cars.

I consider it inappropriate to call them “driverless” cars. That’s inaccurate, and unnecessarily scary. There is a driver: not a human, carbon-based driver, but a silicon-based one. 😉

Does the robot need to figure out if it can make the green light? No problem. Eventually, we won’t even need traffic lights, when the cars are communicating with each other and recognizing that there are pedestrians who need to cross.

It can stay in the lane and avoid obstacles.

However…

Let’s suppose that the car loses its brakes…on a mountain road next to a cliff.

The light up ahead is red, and the crosswalk is full of people.

The car does a quick calculation. If it goes straight ahead, it will hit and kill at least five people.

It could also swerve off the cliff, killing just one person, its passenger.

I think if you ask most people what they would do if they were driving the car, they’d say drive off the cliff.

Would you get in a car that would make that same decision?

My guess is that most people would say no.

That’s part of the problem.

We don’t want our technology to be just as good as we are, we want it to be perfect. If a “phone dialer” dialed the wrong number once in a thousand times, we’d consider it unreliable, even though humans do it more often.

If you were just programming the car, you could program it to drive off the cliff.

Let’s complicate it.

Suppose there is a ten percent chance the car can make it so the passenger (we’ll start saying “you”) will survive and so will the people in the crosswalk. There’s a 90 percent chance if it tries it that the five people will die, and the passenger live.

What if it was a twenty-five percent chance?

Fifty-fifty?

Seventy-five percent chance it comes out fine?

Ninety percent chance everyone makes it…and ten percent chance they all die and you survive?

It’s just math, right?

Let’s back up and make an inevitable choice.

This time, there are five people in half of the crosswalk, and one person in the other half…the car can pick a lane, and kill one person or five.

We could program the car that killing fewer people is better than killing more people, right?

What if the five people are serial killers…and the one person is a four-year old child?

Does it matter if it’s a twenty-four year old instead of a four-year old? Five twelve-year olds versus a ninety-four year old?

There are too many variables to come up with just math.

Nowadays, the most advanced types of AI (Artificial Intelligence) aren’t programmed, anyway.

They use “machine learning”…in a sense, they learn by example.

AIs have figured out the rules of scissors/paper/rock just from watching videos.

There is an AI system at use in many public transit systems (we have had it in the San Francisco Bay Area)…at least, that used to be the case. It would watch videos of the station, and figure out normal patterns (on its own). When it saw something strange (such as someone jumping a turnstile, or being on “the wrong side of a fence”, both real examples), it would alert a human for an evaluation.

This

The Guardian article by English professor John Mullan

considers the idea of using fictional characters to teach robots morals, as is being tried. The above article references this

Georgia Tech article

I’m going to provide a brief excerpt from the Georgia Tech article (which is from February of 2016):

“Researchers Mark Riedl and Brent Harrison from the School of Interactive Computing at the Georgia Institute of Technology believe the answer lies in “Quixote” – to be unveiled at the AAAI-16 Conference in Phoenix, Ariz. (Feb. 12 – 17). Quixote teaches “value alignment” to robots by training them to read stories, learn acceptable sequences of events and understand successful ways to behave in human societies.”

When I read this this morning and flipped it into the

free ILMK magazine at Flipboard

it really got me thinking.

What would I have a robot read to learn morality? More interestingly to me, what would you have them read?

I need to set a few ground rules:

  • Only fiction. Nothing that is non-fiction philosophy, no religious non-fiction (including the books which “define” the major religions)
  • The works must have been originally published for humans to read, not created to teach robots morals
  • You can not instruct the robot as to what is good or bad in the book…or even who the hero is. We will accept that the robot has an excellent understanding of English (or whatever language you are having it read), including subtleties like humor. Think of it as an intelligent human being, but one that is naive about morality

While I’d like a robot to think like Doc Savage (one of my fictional heroes), those books have a lot of bad behavior in them. Doc also has a self-sacrificing streak I don’t think I’d want to see in my robot…and what if the robot modeled itself after the relatively bloodthirsty Monk Mayfair? Monk “wins” as much as Doc does, although Doc is more respected by others. I’m guessing that’s part of how a robot would learn, by judging the reactions of other characters to determine what is a good thing to do.

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

is a possibility…assuming that the robot would look to Atticus Finch for guidance. Atticus isn’t perfect, but I’m not looking for perfect. Atticus also isn’t the main character, and it would be much trickier if the robot also read

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

Hm…this is harder than I would have first thought.

Sherlock Holmes? Maybe if it chose Watson as the model, but not Holmes, certainly.

How about Lassie Come Home by Eric Knight? Maybe…

Clearly, I have to think about this more.

What do you think? What would you want a robot to read to learn morals? Is that the right way for a robot to learn what’s right and wrong to mold its behavior? Are Asimov’s 3 Laws of Robotics good enough…even though they were imperfect in Asimov’s own works? Would you accept imperfect morality in a robot, that it might rarely make a bad choice, one that humans would see as more evil than good? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think 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! 🙂 

What will we lose when nothing is lost?

June 23, 2017

What will we lose when nothing is lost?

I guess you could call it “lostalgia”.

No, not missing the Lost TV show (although that use of the term does exist).

I mean a recollection of something you can’t get any more…sometimes something that you may have trouble proving ever existed.

I had that for years for a particular TV show, Norman Corwin Presents, which aired once in the USA back in the early 1970s.

That was a show I enjoyed! It was an anthology series with a sardonic sense of humor, starring what are now Baby Boomer TV icons: Fred “Herman Munster” Gwynne; William “Captain Kirk” Shatner; Michael “Miguelito Loveless” Dunn; David “Ilya Kuryakin” McCallum; and more. They were well written, fantasy/science fiction oriented comments on society.

It didn’t help that I remembered it as “Roger Corman Presents”. 😉 I even wrote to Roger Corman at one point asking about it. Norman Corwin was a well-known radio writer, and I’m sure I didn’t think it was by Roger Corman at the time I watched it.

I would ask people about it, and no one else remembered it (and this was just prior to home video recording).

Eventually, I did find the proof…and there are audio recordings of some of the episodes online.

This concept of lost popular culture applies even more strongly to books.

There were many, many threads in the

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

where people would describe a book they had read and couldn’t remember the title or the author, and they were hoping someone could help them identify it.

Oh, I have a short story like that!

It was a science fiction story, set in the future. SPOILER ALERT: it was still more efficient for humans to do some tasks than robots, like cleaning subway stations (they could better determine what might be valuable and what might be garbage). However, they found the work boring, and would be unhappy. The government offered people an operation which would reduce their IQs, but they could guarantee the person would be happy. Decades later, they realize that society has stagnated, that nothing much new is being invented. What they hadn’t realized is that the people who think their IQ is making them unhappy are the smartest people…so they were the ones opting for the operation. END SPOILER ALERT

I can get some sense of how resonant an article is that I flip into the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard by how many people flip it into their magazines from mine, and how many people like it. A recent

Atlas Obscura post by Sommer Mathis

got a lot of activity!

This wonderful site (full of real world wonder, so it’s a very apt word) asked their readers to tell them about “…the obscure books you read as a kid that have stuck with you, but that hardly anyone else seems to remember“.

The post that had the responses was fascinating! I really recommend it. Would these books be so interesting, though, if everybody remembered them?

I run into this phenomenon with what was once a prominent part of pop culture: Captain Kangaroo. On this TV show, the Captain would actually read “us” real books. Nothing fancy…just seeing the pages and hearing it read. This was a shared experience, and while this was only one feature of the show, it meant that kids across the country knew Ping and Mike Mulligan and the cap seller (and the monkeys).

books read aloud on Captain Kangaroo at Goodreads

It wouldn’t surprise me if not 1% of people under 25 recognize the name of Captain Kangaroo…the shows aren’t easily streamable.

There is an article by Bob Fischer in the current

Fortean Times

which I read in the Zinio app on my now discontinued Kindle Fire 3rd generation about an art movement called “hauntology” (they’ve adopted the term from another use), which has nostalgia for British 1970s (or so) kids’ TV, which could be quite creepy and…well, unnerving could be a good word. Fischer reasonably speculates that something like that feeling is less likely with today’s generation…because they will be able to continuously see and read and hear the pop culture of their childhood as they grow up.

It’s hard to imagine the Harry Potter books going out of print and disappearing from the public consciousness the way many popular children’s books of, say, the 1920s or 1950s have done.

Will we lose anything when everybody knows everything?

There is something special about connecting with somebody over something that most people don’t know. Many years ago, I remember someone bringing a friend up to me to sing the theme song from The Patty Duke Show (this was pre-YouTube). I remember somebody happily proclaiming that a sibling could recite the opening from Mr. Terrific. Now, anybody can simply Google those.

That said, much of my interest has been directed to items that are considered to be ephemera (even if their status may have changed over the years). I’ve always wanted everything preserved and made available (legally). I’ve digitized a couple of public domain books as part of my past work with a non-profit, and we put them online.

I think the preservation is more important than the community we get from being out of the mainstream.

I’m interested, though, in what you think. 🙂 Do you have books which you remember, but almost no one else does (for an interesting take on this, see the Dimension 404 episode Chronos)? Should everyone know the same pop culture? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think 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!

* 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! :) 

Today is World Book Day: imagine a bookless world

April 23, 2017

Today is World Book Day: imagine a bookless world

Today (April 23rd) is World Book Day, observed since 1995 by many countries around the world. In addition to a good

official site

Amazon has been promoting it for several days, and also has its own

Amazon World Book Day page (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping* ((and Amazon recommends three book related ones on that page)))

There are so many positive things about books for society (in addition to us as individuals), and that got me thinking.

Imagine that a wand was waved, and all of the good effects from books disappeared.

In this thought experiment, it’s not that books (or the written language, for that matter) never developed.

It’s a takeaway. Good effects which had happened are simply subtracted from the equation.

What would change?

I need to make a quick working definition of a “book” before I go ahead.

“A book is a substantial set of verbal statements which are preserved in a way that they can be consumed by someone independent of their creator.”

Yes, that will work for me for now. 🙂 I wouldn’t consider a single five line poem a book, but I would consider an audiobook a book…verbal can mean spoken or written. The odd part, I suppose, would be separating this definition of a book from, say, an album.

So, let’s look at some effects of a bookless world:

Social Movements

Many years ago, I was working on a show called Freedom From Fear TV (or F3TV), which was a mix of comedy and surrealism. Well, working is perhaps misleading, because it was a public access show (meaning we didn’t get paid). 😉 One sketch I wrote was about the President declaring a “War on Books” and explaining why to the country. At one point, the President help up Uncle Tom’s Cabin and said something like, “It was a book which started the Civil War…” That’s hyperbole for comedic effect, but it certainly influenced the timing and heightened abolitionist feeling.

Silent Spring by Rachel Carson similarly sparked the environmental movement.

The list would be long: for one, Upton Sinclair’s 1906 exposure of the meatpacking industry, The Jungle, brought about big changes.

Politics

This might seem similar to social movements, but one thing that occurred to me was the people who have been elected President who had significantly selling books before they won. The last three Presidents all fit that category. Many Presidents have written books after leaving office, but there are indications that being an author (even years before entering the race) helped them win.

Books about politicians have also shaped the public’s impression of them…sometimes for good, sometimes for ill.

Science

Great science communicators have been able to affect…the very direction of society. A book is very different from a lecture, or a movie. The self-paced consumption means that people of different aptitudes can all understand a book in a way different from everything else. If the ideas expressed in Charles Darwins’ Origin of Species had been done in any other known way (and some elements had been floating around), could they possibly have changed the perception of the place of humans in the world for so many the way that the book did?

Religion

This one is obvious…”The Bible” even means “The Book” or “The Books”, and that’s just one of the guiding books for major religions.

Movies

Without books, I think many people would think of movies as what would have stood in their place (although TV is perhaps gaining, and music also is a mass medium). Many of our most popular movies are based on books: The Lord of the Rings; The Hunger Games; Gone with the Wind; and so on. In today’s Hollywood, we rarely see original works at the top of the box office (outside of animation, where originals still often top the charts).

Relationships

Whether it’s romantic relationships, familial ones, or even business, books have greatly influenced how humans interact: How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie; Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus by John Gray; Baby and Child Care by Dr. (Benjamin) Spock; and so many more!


A couple of the books I’ve listed so far are fiction, but I would be remiss not to bring up how fiction also impacts people. Science fiction has inspired many, and in some cases, led them into impactful careers in science. Many readers have taken inspiration from the actions of characters, or sought to avoid their failings.

Books are both powerful transferrers of information and invokers of emotion. They multiply the impact of a single individual in ways that shape the world…

I was curious what Amazon would do with today’s

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

being that it is World Book Day, but they also had such a good sale yesterday!

They decided to do “highly rated” Kindle books, and again, there are some great titles! There are books from: David Baldacci (4.6 stars on a scale 1 to 5 with over 2,500 customer reviews); Faye Kellerman; One Second After by William Fortschen (4.5 stars, over 7,000 reviews); The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver; Joyce Carol Oates, Nelson DeMille, Jade Chang..and Abandon by Blake Crouch (the Crouch book is also available t no additional cost to members of Kindle Unlimited (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)).

Enjoy!


My Amazon Giveaways: 

ENDS TODAY!

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

by my sibling, Kris Calvin

Ten winners

Giveaway: https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/e39ec1bca3592757

Start:Apr 8, 2017 12:05 PM PDT
End:Apr 23, 2017 11:59 PM PDT

===

CelebriDucks Rocky Horror Picture Show Dr Frank-N-Furter RUBBER DUCK Tim Curry (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*

1 winner

Giveaway: https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/10d9d8f4121e9918

Requirements for participation:
Resident of the 50 United States or the District of Columbia
18+ years of age (or legal age)
Tweet a message: “Happy birthday, @timothycurry! Tim Curry born April 19 1946 https://www.thehistoryproject.com/projects/view/1433/timeline?eventId=31535 https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/ #giveaway”

Start:Apr 19, 2017 7:04 AM PDT
End:Apr 26, 2017 11:59 PM PDT

* 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.

 

My Kindle Fire HDX has been a great device for over four years…and that’s a problem :)

March 22, 2017

My Kindle Fire HDX has been a great device for over four years…and that’s a problem 🙂

I think must people expect a gadget to last a year or two nowadays.

That’s very different from the way it used to be, when you might be able to count on inheriting your grandparent’s vacuum cleaner (and washer, and refrigerator, and…).

I use my Kindle Fire HDX every day, often for hours a day (since it reads to me in the car). Knock virtual wood, but it’s been one of the most reliable pieces of technology I’ve had. It does what it does quite well.

I have the

Fire, 7″ Display, Wi-Fi, 8 GB – Includes Special Offers, Black (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

but it’s really just a back up and guest device. I like the interface, but it’s a bit muddy by comparison.

So, I’m satisfied with it: why is that a problem?

Apps are evolving past it.

I have a morning routine, and that’s included the CNN app (as one of different news sources I check, in part for my Flipboard magazines).

I wrote to them recently, because the Tech section clearly hadn’t been updating…even when there were tech stories in other sections.

Then, maybe a week ago, it couldn’t display an ad on the Featured section…and wouldn’t show me any stories in that category.

About a week, it informed me that my version of the app was no longer supported, and to download the newer version.

That didn’t work, either.

So, I can’t really blame them.

As hardware becomes more capable, software evolves to match it. As the apps begin to push the edge of the capabilities of the hardware, the machine again gets better to match (and surpass) it.

Then the software evolves again, making for a virtuous cycle.

It’s a bit like…imagine that you’ve been going to your favorite movie theatre for years, and it’s the mid-1920s.

You love that place. The ushers know you by name. The organist plays like Lon Chaney in Paris. They program it really well.

You go every weekend, and it’s well worth your two bits.

1927 comes along, and Al Jolson ad libs a line…the talkies are born.

In the next town over, a theatre is wired for sound.

Even if your theatre wanted to wire for sound, they just aren’t set up for it.

You stay loyal, and enjoy every minute of it.

This goes on for another five years…in 1931, you are tempted by Frankenstein and Dracula (you’ve read the books, and saw Lugosi on stage), but your theatre is so…comfortable.

Eventually, though, all the movies you want to see have sound, and spoken dialogue.

You can’t blame the studios if they aren’t making silent movies any more. You can’t blame your theatre…it’s just as good as it ever was. You can’t blame the new theatre: your theatre was cutting edge once, too

That’s the problem with long-lasting gadgets…eventually, the content will outgrow it.

I expect to keep using HDXter for some time…but I’ll have to start thinking about a new one, too.

What do you think? Do you have any hardware that outlasted its compatible content? How long should a tablet last? Feel free to let me and my readers know what you think by commenting on this post.

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

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

* 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.

Sentenced to read

February 9, 2017

Sentenced to read

In a recent case where a group of teenagers defaced a school with insensitive graffiti, the judge threw the book at them.

While a book wasn’t literally thrown, the phrase is much more apt here than in the usual sense of giving someone a severe punishment.

The judge ordered the minors to read a book a month from a specific list and write a book report on it (they can also watch movies from a list and review those).

CNN story by Sophie Scott

Book ’em, Dano.

I am torn on this one, and I’ll be very interested to read your comments.

I think a lot of it will have to do with what you think the outcome of a conviction should be.

If you think that the goal should be to rehabilitate the guilty parties, then the judge’s requirement seems like a reasonable one.

I do believe that reading books tends to improve one’s empathy, and there has been evidence to that effect.

One of the books on the list is

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

The book helps you see other’s points of view. When you read dialog “spoken” by a character, you are, in effect, looking out through that character’s eyes. You will naturally try to understand their thoughts in that situation, to better understand the dialog and the book.

If we say that these teens lack empathy, and that at least certain books can improve empathy, then ordering these teens to read books is not all that different from making a condition of parole that someone attend a chemical dependency program.

It could be treatment.

It could also be education (like required attendance at traffic school after a moving violation), which could be considered to be part of treatment. If you believe that the defendants really didn’t understand the impact of what they were doing, educating them could be helpful.

I recall two instances from when I was a young child where I said/did something out of ignorance that would be considered offensive.

My family was very involved with the civil rights movement, and I don’t think I was particularly prejudiced…that would have been unlikely, I would say, when I was under ten years old being raised in that environment and around the types of people I knew.

Still, I mentioned to my Significant Other recently that I only easily recall a very prejudiced parody version of a TV theme song, not the actual original version. It had the “n word” in it, but I literally did not know what that word meant at that point. I had a vague sense of it being something mythological, like a unicorn. When I said the word, I had absolutely no intent to be saying anything bad about anybody. I didn’t relate it to real people, and I had never heard the word around the house, I’m sure.

I also recall being in Mexico as a kid and seeing a translated version of the comic book “Blackhawk”. I excitedly said something like, “Oh, ‘n*gro’ means ‘hawk’ in Spanish!” I’d forgotten that in Spanish, the adjective comes after the noun. I thought it was a cool, powerful image.

I debated with myself just now censoring that word, which is a Spanish word for a color (it means ‘black’). It has many legitimate uses in Spanish, certainly, and it’s used in a lot of contexts in the USA (there is an Oscar-nominated documentary about James Baldwin ((James Baldwin))with it in the title this year), but some people find it offensive so I figured I would err in that direction.

If you believed that these 16 and 17 year olds didn’t know what a swastika actually was, then educating them would make sense. I find that hard to believe in this case, though. When you look at the target and what was said, it certainly seems that they understood the context.

If you are looking for rehabilitation (and education can be a component), then this sentence makes sense (it also includes visiting some specific museums and writing about it).

In that perspective, I like the sentence.

The other major perspective on “crime and punishment”, though, is punishment.

Many people think that punishment and deterrence is the purpose of the law, and I’ve seen that suggested in the comments on this blog, by people I consider to be intelligent and compassionate.

That’s a big concern for me with this story.

It could easily be interpreted that reading is being used as a punishment, especially when children might hear about it. They are going to tend to think that a judge punishes, not heals (a jail term isn’t a vacation, and a fine isn’t a present)…and this then tells them that reading is an onerous task.

Regular readers also know that I’m unconvinced by required reading in school…encouraging reading, absolutely, but I think many people didn’t like books they were required to read in school…even though they may like them when they re-read them years later.

Will being sentenced to read make it less likely that they become regular readers later?

I do like that the judge is giving them a list, rather than a specific assignment each month. The teenagers will, I think, have a hand in choosing the book to read, which invests them in it to some extent.

Having thrashed my way through this in this post, I’m comfortable with the judge’s intent…but I’m still not sure about the collateral effects it may have.

What do you think? Do you agree with the judge’s sentence? Does it make a difference that these are juvenile offenders? Would you do something different for a 25 year-old…or an eight-year old? Can reading books improve people’s empathy…and would that reduce this kind of activity? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.

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

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

* 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.

Can movies and TV shows be literary?

January 11, 2017

Can movies and TV shows be literary?

I would guess that most readers have had the experience of reading a book and thinking, “This would make a great movie!” I’ve certainly had the thought that a book was deliberately written with the thought that it would be adapted into a movie or TV show (after all, that may be how a book author makes the most money). Those books may sometimes be described as “cinematic”.

Is the reverse true?

Do you ever watch a movie or TV show, and think, “This would make a great book!”?

They are certainly two very different media…and arguably, three.

Books are very much under the control of the reader. If people want to read the end of the book first (and I have a reader who has said they do that at least sometimes), they can. The reader can jump around, go back and re-read a chapter, skip over a “boring part”, and so on.

With a movie (at least seen in a theatre), you go at the movie’s pace. Miss something for some reason, and you’ve missed it. Want to stop and think about an element, or even have a discussion with a friend or family member before proceeding? Not happening in your cinema.

TV has become different from movies, in that it can be under the viewer’s control. That’s especially true with the “binge watching” model, where an entire season (series, in UK parlance) may be released at once. Skip ahead, go back, stop and discuss…all an option.

I suspect that’s part of why I am more likely to think of a TV series as “literary” than a movie. Moreover, that precedes the home recording era. I think I pretty much always thought of Star Trek: the Original Series as feeling literary. I knew those characters, and I did discuss episodes.

A TV series being a series is part of that literary feeling, I think. It’s like chapters in a book: time for contemplation, and call-backs and foreshadowing. A movie can foreshadow…but for no more than about two hours.

If that’s the case, have I thought of movie series as more literary than stand-alones?

I’d say yes. For example, the first three Star Wars movies felt literary to me. There was a lot of thinking about what happened (despite what Isaac Asimov, who I admire, saying about the first movie…I believe it was something like that you would enjoy it if you “parked your brain outside”). I’d even say something like The Bowery Boys can feel more literary to me than most stand-alone movies…even though they are pretty visual (but malapropisms being significant shows a connection to words).

Buckaroo Banzai and Casablanca are both movies that are stand-alones, but have somewhat of a literary feel to me. I could certainly see reading the lines in Casablanca in a book. Now, Casablanca was a play first, and Earl Mac Rauch had written about Buckaroo and the Hong Kong Cavaliers considerably before the movie (but those writings weren’t published before the movie…a novel was in conjunction with the movie). I don’t think that’s why they feel literary to me.

For me, there are a few elements which I believe may increase that literary feel:

  • There are a lot of words. 🙂 Books are word-based; movies are generally visual image-based. Casablanca is one of the most quotable movies ever
  • The plot is complex. That doesn’t mean it’s a Gordian knot of double-backs and sub-plots. Many movies nowadays spend almost the entire movie in “crisis mode”, with tactical responses to what is happening now, rather than strategic planning and a variegated pace. I felt that “crisis mode” issue with the latest Star Trek movie, which is part of why it didn’t feel like an episode of the original series to me. That’s an advantage for many TV series, where there are multiple plots and episodes which feel different from each other. A movie which amounts to a single chase scene or battle (or a combination of the two) doesn’t tend to feel like a book to me
  • The audience can speculate about what the “right choices” are, or what things mean…and different audience members may come to different conclusions. For me, that’s part of why Rogue One (the latest Star Wars movie) didn’t feel as literary to me. I’m very careful about spoilers, so MILD SPOILER WARNING, although I won’t reveal any plot points. I didn’t feel like the audience was ever supposed to be in doubt about what the right choices were in Rogue One. END SPOILER In the original Star Wars movies, we could argue with each other that characters might have legitimately made different choices

I would be remiss to omit that there are books made from movies and TV shows. I have really enjoyed some of those. Star Trek and Star Wars have had very successful books which were not novelizations of the movie plots. However, those aren’t the only ones, by far. There were Man from U.N.C.L.E. originals (which I own and liked). It might be surprising to some that the same is true of Get Smart novels I own. 🙂

Amazon has a section for “tie-ins”…they refer to it as movie tie-ins, but it includes TV series and videogames:

Literature & Fiction – Genre Fiction – Movie Tie-ins (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

There are 2,783 titles there at time of writing.

There has been some great writing in “tie-in” or “expanded universe” writing, and there is an organization dedicated to them:

The International Association of Media Tie-In Writers

I recommend taking a look at the site, which is copyrighted by prominent authors Lee Goldberg (at AmazonSmile*) and Max Allan Collins ( at AmazonSmile*). They are both successful authors of original works, in addition to their work with IAMTW.

One more note: “fanfic” (fan fiction) is something different, given that it isn’t authorized by the rightsholders. It tends to be self-published, not for profit, and can have both more “freedom” and less quality control for those reasons. Amazon has Kindle Worlds (at AmazonSmile: support a non-profit of your choice by shopping*), which has books in existing universes which are authorized but not curated by the rightsholders. It’s sort of a hybrid version: not unauthorized fanfic, not edited tie-in.

What do you think? Can movies and TV shows by literary? If so, what makes them feel like that to you? Are there particular movies/TV shows which have struck you that way? How do you feel about tie-in novels…are there ones you have read, original stories in a universe first established in a visual medium, that you would particularly recommend? 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 our new The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project! Join the TMCGTT Timeblazers!

* 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 The Measured Circle 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.

What’s scarier: supernatural horror or science fiction horror?

October 26, 2016

What’s scarier: supernatural horror or science fiction horror?

Literature can take us to impossible places…and they aren’t all feel-good fairy lands.

In fact, some of them are scary…very, very scary. I have no doubt that the vast majority of “impossible” fiction contains an element of fear-generation. Fear suggests risk, and risk is the very (rapidly beating) heart of drama.

I’m leaving purely psychological horror out of this discussion. If you read a book about a person whose cruelty is within known human behavior, who doesn’t use extra-reality techniques, it isn’t an impossible fiction…horrifying, yes, and by definition horror, but not what I consider small “f” fantasy or what I consider geeky**.

Broadly speaking, there are two types of impossible horror fiction.

In one, the thing that creates fear is presented as being based on science. We the readers are to believe that it could at some point happen within the “laws” of physics (and other science). It could be an alien invader, like the Martians in H.G. Wells’ War of the Worlds. It might be from experiments in biochemistry, like Robert Louis Stevenson’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde or Wells’ The Island of Doctor Moreau. It may be a social dystopia in the future (anything set in the future is by definition impossible for the reader), or artificial intelligence, or a new disease.

In the other, the thing that creates the fear is “supernatural”. It’s not based on science. It’s Bram Stoker’s Dracula or Jacob Marley in Charles’ Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. It’s not something that is just waiting to be invented.

They both can be scary. While it might seem like science fiction horror would be scarier, because it could happen in the real world, there are two things arguing against that.

One is that something that is created by science can hypothetically be fought by science. The tools that create it are here…the weapons to stop it must be as well. What can be made can be unmade…at least, the possibility exists.

The other thing is that many people believe in the supernatural. They may call it different things, and their beliefs may vary wildly and they may be accepting of one type of the supernatural and condemning of another.

Roughly one third to one half of Americans believe in ghosts, according to polls. Does that change ghost stories into science fiction? There are science fiction ghost stories, where the ghosts are explained by science. However, belief in non-science based ghosts is clearly sizeable. It’s possible, again based on polls, that more people believe in ghosts than in the Big Bang theory.

Interestingly, supernatural doesn’t usually mean without rules. The rules can be very clearly defined…we certainly see that in vampire literature, even though the rules may not be the same from one vampire “world” to another. Can a vampire enter a home without being asked? Can they walk around in the daytime? Do they have to sleep in a coffin with some of their native soil? No…and yes. 🙂 Depends on the book.

I think it could be argued that supernatural systems can have more precision in their rules. The real world is messy…it’s much harder to define a rule in reality than it is in fiction.

Perhaps supernatural horror is scarier if you don’t believe in the supernatural…and science fiction horror is scarier if you do believe in science. 🙂

There’s another whole subset that uses science to create the beings we know from the supernatural. One that I enjoyed was

World Enough, and Time by James Kahn (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

but there are many.

For me, bad science fiction is still in the science fiction category. By that, I mean science fiction based on bad science…if someone said, “I combined aspirin and lemonade and it created an invisibility formula because it blocked out visible wavelengths,” that’s not going to happen based on commonly accepted science, but it’s suggested that it happens based on known science, not on magic. That makes it “bad science” fiction, as far as I’m concerned.

It’s not a big deal to me: I don’t clearly separate science fiction from the supernatural, although I know it’s a passionate argument for many. I’m a “lumper” not a “splitter”. I look for elements that justify that something is fantasy, not that it isn’t.

It’s much harder to find a “classical” author who hasn’t written any “impossible” fiction than many of the literati might want you to believe. Dickens, Shakespeare, Jack London, on and on.

Well, what do you think? Do you find that horror based on science is scarier or that horror based on the supernatural is…or that it just depends on the book? If it does matter, why? What novel has scared you the most? What would recommend? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.

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

All aboard our new The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project! Do you have what it takes to be a Timeblazer?

* 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.

** At TMCGTT (The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip ) I consider any “impossible fiction” as geeky. The Lord of the Rings, non-science based, is geeky in my book.

Should the President be reading indies?

August 15, 2016

Should the President be reading indies?

“Politicians should read science fiction, not westerns and detective stories.”
–Arthur C. Clarke

I like that we get to see the President’s reading list..and just to be clear, that would be any President, not particularly the current one.

It tells the country and the world that the President of the USA reads recreationally…not a small message to send.

When I saw this year’s list, though, I was struck by one thing in particular. Here’s  the list, as reported by the White House

here

What stood out to me?

While they aren’t all from Big 5 publishers (Grove isn’t one), they are all traditionally published.

Now, that’s not really a surprise. These books are well known, and I’m sure a President doesn’t have much time to browse. 🙂

However, it could have really had an impact on an indie (independently published book) if the President had selected one.

I’m sure there are people who could have made a recommendation. 😉

I don’t have anything against mainstream published books. It’s just that it seems like this is a missed opportunity.

I was curious: in terms of the Kindle store, the highest any of these was ranked was #19 bestseller at time of writing. It’s a different situation in p-book (paperbook) bestsellers, and I would guess that at least some of the time, the President reads e-books…

One other comment: all of these publishers are headquartered in the USA. Penguin (a British company) merged with Random House, but the HQ is in New York. There are hundreds of indie books published in the USA Kindle store every month, and I would be sure the vast majority of those, if they make any money at all, are under USA tax jurisdiction, and tend to contribute to the USA  economy.

What do you think? Were you surprised by any of the President’s choices? Do  you think picking an indie or lesser-known book would have been a good  thing? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.

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

All aboard our new The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project! Do you have what it takes to be a Timeblazer?

* 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.

 

 

 

Are e-books good enough?

June 8, 2016

Are e-books good enough?

I found this a very interesting

TELEREAD post by Chris Meadows

In referencing a piece by Jason Illian of Bookshout! about the lack of technical innovation in e-books, Meadows says:

“There’s no consumer demand for better e-books.”

That’s an intriguing postulate, and I wanted to discuss it with you.

I love innovation: I think a lot of people do. My favorite thing in reading a book or watching a TV show or a movie is to be surprised…I like that with my tech, too.

Show me something I’ve never seen before, and I’ll smile.

However…

Most people don’t want change in something which is already working and on which they depend.

I can relate to this with my work.

I’m a trainer (I train technology to medical people…I train other things to them, too, but that’s my main job). I also do “performance improvement”…workflow analysis and optimization, that sort of thing.

People present these formulae for how to improve performance, and I’m amused by one thing which I see taught as a standard technique.

They want you to observe the top performers; see what they are doing which is efficient. Then, you get the moderate and lower performing users to do things that way.

The theory, I assume, is that the top performers have found the best way to do it.

There usually is no best way for everybody.

Since people are different and have different approaches, there are different “best ways”. I’m not a visual person: make me make choices based on icons, and I’ll be slower than making choices based on words. There are other people (probably more people) who will do better with the icons.

The other thing is that top performers with tech are top performers in part because they like change.

If you observe them again three months later, they’ll be doing it a different way. Do you go back and retrain everybody else to do it the new way?

A top performer with tech says,  “What does that button do? What if I do this instead of that?”

The average doctor, nurse, medical assistant, and so on, doesn’t want to intellectually engage with the tech while providing patient care. They want to concentrate on the patient, and have the tech just support them unobtrusively. That includes when they are “charting” (documenting what happened).

Top performers (with tech) tend to have a multi-tasking temperament. They can effectively do one thing while effectively thinking about something else.

You can’t transfer that to someone else.

Many of us feel like we “depend” on books. If we want to read a book and can’t do it, it upsets us. That is, by the way, how I, as a layperson, conceptualize addiction. It’s an addiction if it feels bad if you don’t do it. 🙂

E-books, right now, work. I can pick up my device, start reading, and I’m good to go.

After all, that’s how print books worked for centuries. You picked them up and read them and the tech worked.

Now, that doesn’t mean that I don’t really appreciate the innovations that e-books give me over p-books. Being able to carry a bunch of books in my pocket, having the book know where I finished my last reading session, and especially the increasable text size are all great.

If text sizes had been static, though, that wouldn’t have stopped me from reading e-books. I would have had to wear reading glasses, just as I would have with print books, or bought ones with larger text.

It’s true that I don’t buy books where the publisher has blocked text-to-speech access, but that’s an ethical stand, not a personal use one.

There are things that irritate people (the way that some models justify ((align the edges)) of the text, for example), but I doubt that most people feel like the e-books are below a standard acceptable level.

The question is this: why should Amazon (or other retailers, or the publishers) innovate on e-books?

Innovation costs money. It’s not just in the development; it’s in the customer service, which can be quite expensive. You risk people not liking it (ask Microsoft about Clippy the paper clip assistant for Microsoft Office)…if you even just change where a choice is in a menu, you get pushback.

There are strong reasons not to innovate.

Why, then, have we ever gotten innovation?

Competition.

That’s not the only reason…companies also innovate because it is fun, because it supports departments (the engineers you need to deal with changing conditions, say, a new internet standard, also need something to do when those don’t occur…it’s good for their morale, too), and because it gets media attention.

The biggest reason, I believe, is competition. For Amazon, that included competition with Barnes & Noble, Sony, and Kobo. We’ve seen that with the Kindle and the NOOK…for example, Barnes & Noble had a frontlit device before Amazon had the Paperwhite. It also, significantly, included competition with p-books…e-books have tried to match p-books competitive advantages, by adding lending, for example (we still don’t have a “used” e-book market, though).

Does any competitor with Amazon on e-books have current features which are so much better that Amazon as to worry about people switching? The only one that comes to my mind is a water resistant EBR (E-Book Reader)…but I don’t think someone with a significant Kindle library would drop it for, say, a Kobo Aura H20. They might have both…

Given the costs associated with e-book format innovation, the question is this: should Amazon devote resources to it?

I thought I’d ask you:

If you have additional comments, feel free to leave them on this post.

Special note: I’d said yesterday I wanted to get another post out last night, but I’d had dental work done yesterday, and it affected me more than I expected. 🙂 It’s not bad, but I think it’s still affecting me this morning. My Significant Other is back from helping our now adult kid move, though, so that’s good.  🙂

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

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

* 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.

 


%d bloggers like this: