Archive for August, 2007

Links of Interest (August 24th 2007 Through August 31st 2007)

Friday, August 31st, 2007
Science Fiction Writers of America abuses the DMCA – Boing Boing
The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America invoked the DMCA to request works be removed from Scribd even though in a number of cases they had no right to do so, including Creative Commons licensed work.
Consumer Reports says ‘keep that car’
Driving one car for 15 years is cheaper than buying a new one ever 5 years. Nice to see I’ve been doing the right thing all this time.
YUI Theater ? Joseph Smarr: ?High-Performance JavaScript: Why Everything You?ve Been Taught is Wrong?
Video of Joseph Smarr’s talk on High-Performance JavaScript.
30+ Firefox Add-ons for Web Developers & Designers
Nice collection of Firefox extensions useful for web developers and/or designers.
Redirection – Manage 301 redirections without modifying Apache
Wordrpess 2.1+ plugin to handle redirects. Looks very full featured.
eTextbook seller fails logic test
Evo points out what I assume is a hilarious misuse of survey data. CafeScribe is supplying a “book” scented scratch and sniff sticker to customers because people like the way books smell.

Links of Interest (August 16th 2007 Through August 22nd 2007)

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2007
Launch: Google Earth Adds Sky
Google Earth adds a “Switch between Sky and Earth” button. The Sky view is made up of over 1 million photographs. Nice!
Sigler v. Hendrix Webscab Smackdown
On September 19th 2007 Terry Bison will moderate a debate between Scott Sigler and Howard Hendrix revolving around releasing works of fiction online for free (you know, webscabs).
That Yawn After Lunch Is Perfectly Normal
Feel sleepy after lunch? Here’s why. I agree with the suggestion of a short nap. Around 2pm on weekends I usually hit a wall, after which I’m not productive. A 10 minute nap is enough to stave that off for me.
Where you fall in poll of U.S. reading habits
Apparently one in four Americans read no books last year. Those who did, read four on average. I wonder if the poll took audiobooks into account.
Warner Bros. Follows the Yellow Brick Road
Warner wants to create a new Oz film. Todd McFarlane is involved. I love the Oz books. I do not have high hopes for this movie.
Sucking it up with the new Roomba
C|NET looks at the new Roomba 500 series from iRobot. We’re pretty happy with our existing Roomba. My kids talk to it sometimes.
The Best Software for Mac OS X
I’m new to Mac OS X, but this looks like an worthwhile list of applications.
Author King ‘mistaken for vandal’
Stephen King was mistaken for a vandal when he started signing books in an Australian book shop. I admit I’ve imagined having books on the shelves and just going in and signing them. Never really thought it through though.

Links of Interest (August 7th 2007 Through August 15th 2007)

Thursday, August 16th, 2007
Doubles champ
Interview in the New Zeland Herald with Jemaine Clement. Discusses his new movie Eagle vs Shark, and the possibility of a second season for Flight of the Conchords on HBO.
Television Studios Embrace BitTorrent
It appears an exec at Warner Brothers Television used his neighbor’s child to leak the “Pushing Daisies” pilot via BitTorrent to help increase it’s exposure.
The Optimus Prime PC Case Mod
PC case transforms into a 6’10” Optimus Prime. Images with and without Autobot Matrix of Leadership.
I Return To Doctor Who And Meet Kylie Minogue
Colin Baker visits the set of the 2007 Doctor Who Christmas special “Voyage of the Damned”.
Inflatable dress turns into a chair for impromptu sits
Feel like sitting down? Walk around for a bit in this dress and it will turn into a chair. Why? I have no clue.

Go Listen: Ben Bova and Orson Scott Card: The Audible Interview

Thursday, August 9th, 2007

Audible.com has an interview with Orson Scott Card and Ben Bova available as a free download. The interview is conducted by Stefan Rudnicki, and touches on the recently mentioned audiobooks vs. print argument (both authors agree that listening to the audiobook does count as reading).

Go Listen: Flight of the Chonchords: The Distant Future

Thursday, August 9th, 2007

I don’t know how long it will be up, but you can currently listen to the new Flight of the Conchords EP for free at Spinner.

Links of Interest (July 21st 2007 Through August 3rd 2007)

Friday, August 3rd, 2007
Official iPhone Tool
This looks somehow familiar.
Math Book Helps Girls Embrace Their Inner Mathematician
Interview with Danica McKellar (Winnie Cooper from “The Wonder Years”) about her new book: Math Doesn’t Suck: How to Survive Middle-School Math and not Break a Nail
Sandbox Designs Competition » The Designs
Gallery of entries for the Sandbox Designs Competition. All entries are the same XHTML styled with CSS.
Fisher-Price recalls 1M toys
If you have any Dora or Sesame Street toys in your home you want to be aware of this. We do. A lot of them. Oddly the online recall only lets you return six items. Not sure exactly what they expect us to do with the rest.
AjaxRain – Ajax/Javascript/Dhtml examples and demos to download
Interesting site. Lacks search. I recommend using the “Tag Cloud” to navigate, but be sure to scroll down after clicking a tag because it looks like nothing happened.
A Series of Unfortunate Events ::: NOW IN PAPERBACK!
Are you made fainthearted by the work of Lemony Snicket? Does the thought of strange new siblings unnerve you? Your answers likely reveal the following brief video to be ill-suited for your personal use.

Audiobooks Are Not Cheating

Friday, August 3rd, 2007

GalleyCat pointed out The New York Times article Your Cheatin’ Listenin’ Ways (also mentioned on TeleRead this morning). It’s not the first time an article about audiobooks in The New York Times has set me off. I continue to be dumbfounded by peoples reactions. I’m even more disturbed by the people in the article who listen to audiobooks an feel guilty about it. What’s wrong with people?

In general I don’t feel the need to defend myself on this, but it seems many audiobooks listeners feel some sort of shame, so I guess I will. Listening to an unabridged audiobook is not cheating. Listening to an unabridged audiobook is reading a book. The majority of books I consume are in audio form. When reading paper book I sometimes find that I don’t remember the last few pages and have to reread them. This happens much less often when listening to audiobooks (and when it does I do backtrack and listen again). I also don’t have the luxury of doing just one thing at a time. I have responsibilities to my family, my writing, and my job. I was only getting six hours of sleep before the new baby. When am I supposed to read? I do have a number of print books I want to read but they have a long waiting period before I can get to them. Even once I do it often takes months for me to get through them. I’ve had John Scalzi’s Old Man’s War in my queue for a while and I’m elated to find out yesterday that it will be available on audio soon.

Most importantly, I’m thirty and my eyes are not in good shape. They aren’t going to get any better. I already have separate reading/computer glasses and my eyes have basically shut down due to eye strain multiple times.

The reality is, there’s very little difference between listening and reading. According to The New York Times article:

“If the goal is to appreciate the aesthetic of the writing and understand the story,” said Daniel T. Willingham, a cognitive neuroscientist at the University of Virginia, then there won’t be much difference between listening and reading. “The basic architecture of how we understand language is much more similar between reading and listening than it is different.”

I know this is true. When I’ve re-listened to audiobooks I’ve been amazed at how much of the story I remember word for word.

My wife and I have been listening to Harry Potter on audio since before book three. Listening together is tougher now then it was then, so it’ll probably take a year to get through the new one, but it’s wonderful to be able to enjoy books with my wife in this way. Currently I’m working to instill a love of audiobooks in my children. I’ve found some great stuff for them on Audible.com (which is where I get most of my stuff as well). I love reading to my kids, but I also enjoy experiencing a story with them, and just enjoying it. I feel no shame in any of this.

Ron McLarty wasn’t able to get The Memory of Running published in print until after the audiobook was available and people heard it. Numerous authors are releasing free serialized audiobooks, many for otherwise unavailable works. I assume they consider the medium valid. Feel free to comment whether you agree or disagree. I’d like to hear what others think.