AUTHORS! Why do you write?

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Kindle or iBook? An Author Discusses . . .

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Kindle v. iBook

Co-authoring a book (Abraham Lincoln and the Structure of Reason, with Dan Van Haften: see http://www.thestructureofreason.com/) puts one in a unique position to evaluate Kindle v. iBook.

Abraham Lincoln and the Structure of Reason is $9.99 on Kindle. It is $16.99 as an iBook. That relative price difference seems generally within the range of other similar newly published books.

The price difference is even greater because for $9.99 one can load the Kindle version on three platforms: For instance, a free Kindle reader on a Mac desktop, a free Kindle reader on an iPhone, and a free Kindle reader on an iPad. I don’t own a Kindle machine but one could substitute the Kindle machine for an iPad.

There is no desktop iBook reader. So forget about displaying an iBook on a Macbook or a PC.

iBooks can be used on an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, and can be synched to all iPhones, iPads, and iPod touches you own. But most people do not need more than one cell phone; and if you have an iPhone you don't need an iPod touch. Nor does one normally need more than one tablet. But, it is useful (for limited purposes) to be able to view a book on a desktop computer. So, in my view, Kindle’s three loads that work on three different kinds of hardware (small cell phone, a book-sized reader, and a full-sized computer) are more valuable than iBooks’ infinite loadability on an infinite number of iPhones, iPads, or iPod touches. You probably have no more than two of those three that you use, and you are restricted to Apple hardware (nice as it is).

But what about features.

Kindle sparkles on Apple hardware. However, as one might expect, there are some little touch, look, and feel aspects to iBooks that make iBooks marginally superior to Kindle. Except for one such feature, most of these pluses, though real, are trivial. But there is one iBook feature that to me is significantly more than trivial. Both iBook and Kindle have a slider on the bottom of the screen to quickly move through a book. But the Kindle slider is kind of like the old UNIX command line game of "Find the Wumpus," being blind in a maze of caves. An iBook shows chapter names as you slide. This is a huge plus.

If Apple wanted to improve that advantage, it would be great if there were a click when the slider reached the first page of any chapter. Usually that is where you want to go when you use the slider. Then, even better, would be a human factor automatically going to that chapter’s first page if one’s finger is lifted within the appropriate fraction of a second (since one is nearly always going to go just past that click).


David Hirsch

Monday, March 21, 2011

Sunday Jam Session

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OK, I lied. This is the last music post (for a while). Then on to e-books and a few other odds and ends.

Uncle Sugar Pops (inside band joke) with Nikkos' full stack of Marshalls. He just got a bottom cabinet, and together it is a wall of sound that blows you away. That's my new Rickenbacker 4003. My 4001 (which I used in Abalone and Disciple in the late 1970s and early 1980s) was stolen some years ago. I know who did it, but I forgive him.

 Enjoyed Sunday dinner with my brother Anthony and his son Nikkos (of JAXX) and then we moved into "the studio" (formerly the dining room--boy my brother has a great and understanding wife) for some real fun. 

Nikkos and I jamming. Nikkos is playing his bright yellow Ibanez, which is a guitar built for shredding (speed). It is lighter than his Les Paul and has a much thinner neck. I think he is looking into new DiMarzio pickups for it. Nikkos--use this guitar for "The Jammies" competition! Thanks for making this old man happy.

Nikkos has a looper (see the pedal board on the floor), which allows you to play and record, and then play back out of your amp while you play something else. So he laid down some jazzy chord progressions, I picked it up, and then he played it back (with a drumming background) and experimented with some great leads. It was challenging because I have very little jazz experience. Even with all the piano I played it was 95% classical. Now I wish I had worked in the jazz arena more deeply.

(Sigh) God I wish I was 20 again. Nikkos has no idea how good his life his right now at 16. I have high hopes for this one.




Monday, March 7, 2011

JAXX at Blacksheep: Back-to-Back Gigs (OT)

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Don't Worry! Will be back to publishing matters tomorrow. Meanwhile, enjoy the fruits of youth . . . (Not sure about yours, but mine passed way too quickly.) Click on photos to enlarge.

Nikkos Savas out on the dance floor rocking out.
I have to say the past Thursday and Friday evenings were a riot. The first time JAXX played two nights in a row, and two big gigs. Made me feel (almost) young again.
Wish I had a better picture of Jack Petterle on his drum kit. Jack was beating up a storm that night, with the green laser lights cutting through the wisps of fog. Looked and sounded awesome!

Alan Petterle with his new black Les Paul. Alan blew something in his Fender amp that night. Hey Bart! (Alan's dad). Time to buy that matching stack of Marshall amps!
I brought my new Rickenbacker 4003 for Kyle to play (at his request). Here is the old guy himself holding it during warm-ups. Kyle was kind enough to ask if I wanted to light it up with them. I declined. No need to make a fool of myself in public when I can do it in private just fine, thank you. Still, that itch is getting worse . . .
Kyle Maxwell jamming on Uncle Ted's Rick on two special songs: Rush's Necromancer, and UFO's Rock Bottom. Gotta love that unique Rick sound.

Good job lads! I am very proud of all your success. Your achievements are the clear result of all the hard work you put into it. Keep it up!

--Uncle Ted

Friday, March 4, 2011

JAXX at the Legendary Rock Club Boardwalk in Orangevale (OT)



JAXX, from their Sacramento Style Magazine article. Left to right: Alan Petterlee, Nikkos Savas, Jack Petterle,
and Kyle Maxwell (who needs a Rickenbacker full time).


My nephew and godson Nikkos Savas plays guitar in JAXX, an amazing group of teenagers (14, 15, and 16) who write their own music and are developing a strong following in the Sacramento area. They played last night at the Boardwalk, and rocked out. A DJ / producer from a major classic rock radio station came to hear them and was blown away.

Here are a few photos from my Blackberry. The quality varies, but they suffice. Jack Petterlee (Alan's 14-year old brother) plays drums. Sorry, Jack, no decent photos of you last night!


Nikkos Savas playing his cutting lead on the original "Waterfall."


Alan Petterle with his new black Les Paul on the opening original "Mean Machine."

They play again tonight in a small rock club up the hill in Cameron Park.
Kyle Maxwell and Nikkos jamming on War Pigs (Black Sabbath).

No more war pigs have the power / Hand of God has struck the hour / Day of judgement, God is calling / On their knees the war pig's crawling . . .
Nikkos finishes. Now it's Alan's turn.

Nikkos soaking in the reaction of the crowd.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Savas Beatie Author Wins Best Book of 2010 Award

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The Richard B. Harwell Book Award 2010:


David A. Powell

This prestigious award is given annually by the Civil War Round Table of Atlanta “for the best book on a Civil War subject published in the preceding year.” Consisting of $4,000 and an engraved plaque, the award honors the late Richard B. Harwell, nationally recognized librarian, bibliographer and historian, as well as the first President of the Civil War Round Table of Atlanta. The winning author is invited to appear as a speaker before the CWRTA, usually at the November meeting, during which time the award is presented.


Congratulations David (and to David Friedrichs for his outstanding maps in this title). You deserve the honor bestowed upon you.

--tps