Links of Interest (January 9th 2008 Through January 25th 2008)

Friday, January 25th, 2008
Playing for Keeps Characters – Set 1
Three of the character cards Natalie Metzger produced for Mur Lafferty’s “Playing for Keeps”. Shown side by side with the black and wite ink versions.
Fresh Pics of Mulder & Scully
Slice of Sci Fi has three photos of Mulder & Scully from the new X-Files movie. There nothing super special, but seeing these I’m a lot more excited about seeing this when it comes out.
Scott Brick Presents
One of my all time favorite audiobook narrators, Scott Brick, has launched a blog. If you’ve never heard one of his productions I recommend you seek one out and give it a listen.
New PDF reading software for Sony Reader: Reflowing and resizing will help cope with small-screen issues
Apparently Sony Reader is going to have a way to reflow and resize PDFs for reading. My opinion is the PDF is the single worst e-book distribution method, but this would at least make them usable. Hopefully other devices follow suit.

Links of Interest (November 27th 2007 Through January 3rd 2008)

Thursday, January 3rd, 2008
How to rewrite
A detailed post on rewriting, and how to do it.
Podiobooks.com Community
Online community based around Podiobooks.com. A place for listeners, authors, producers, etc. to communicate and help improve Podiobooks.com
Issue #1 of Sci Phi is available
The first issue of Sci Phi (The Journal of Science Fiction and Philosophy) is now available. The download version ($7) contains all stories and articles in various ebook formats as well as MP3.
GTD: Free Bundle of GTD Articles Written By David Allen
Lifehacker has a link to a collection of 17 articles available for free download from the David Allen Company.
Infamous IE hasLayout is toast
This “feature” of the IE rendering engine has caused me more headaches than I care to remember. I’m not at all sorry to see it go.
Kindles in libraries – the importance of ebook standards
DRM, lack of e-book standards, and related issues are even bigger issues for libraries.
AICN: 12th Episode will air!
SaveJourneman.net brings word that episode 12 of Journeyman will air. Journeyman is my favorite show of the new season, and I hope it comes back, but at least it will get to finish it’s run.
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Doug Morris, Old Person
Jonathan Coulton posted this summary of the New York Magazine blog’s summary or Wired’s profile of Doug Morris, CEO of Universal Music Group. I’m not going to further summarize, just read and be enlightened.

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).

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.

Go Listen: 7th Son: Book Three – Destruction

Saturday, July 7th, 2007

The final book of J.C. Hutchins 7th Son novel trilogy starts today! Available (sometime today) for free at jchutchins.net or podiobooks.com.

Update: It’s available now!

Go Listen: 2007 Hugo Award Nominees

Tuesday, June 12th, 2007
Escape Pod has a number of this years short story nominees available: Impossible Dreams by Tim Pratt, The House Beyond Your Sky by Benjamin Rosembaum, Eight Episodes by Robert Reed, and Kin by Bruce McAllister.

Scott Sigler and Podiobooks.com in New York Times

Thursday, March 1st, 2007
Authors Find Their Voice, and Audience, in Podcasts. Found via Podiobooker.

Tee Morris’s “Billibub Baddings and the Case of the Singing Sword”

Wednesday, February 21st, 2007
I haven’t had a chance to listen yet, but if the promo is anything to go by this should be good. Free unabridged audiobook podcast available at Baddings Investigations, Inc. or Podiobooks.com

Assassination, Explosions, and Clones! Oh My!

Wednesday, December 20th, 2006

I recently finished listening to this podiobook, and I wanted to share my thoughts. But before I jump in, let’s get the “What is a podiobook?” thing out of the way. Podiobooks are audiobooks made available via a podcast feed. More simply, podiobooks are audiobooks available for download online, usually free of charge. They’re the audiobook equivalent to print on demand, in a way.

The book opens with the assassination of the President of the United States by a four year old boy. It’s a powerful scene. The story then shifts to tell the story of seven men, who are all abducted out of their lives by armed men. It’s not until they are all together in one place that it becomes clear that they are, in fact, clones. They’ve been collected together to help track down the person they were cloned from (referred to as John Alpha). Alpha is in some way behind the assassination of the President.

The seven men are the results of an experiment, not only in cloning human bodies, but in memory cloning as well. The scientists at 7th Son have developed a way to take a snapshot of a persons memories, and upload them into another persons mind, wiping it clean. This explains why the seven clones all have the same memories up to a certain point in their lives. As the book progresses we learn of further variations of this technology in use.

I really enjoyed listening to this. The story held my interest, and the author did a good job reading it. He’s obviously not a pro audiobook reader, but I never found his reading distracted from the story in any way. As someone who listens to audiobooks regularly I’m not the hugest fan of the serialized podcast audiobook, but thanks to Podiobooks.com I was able to subscribe to the book from the beginning and wait until it was complete before starting listening.

My only complaint is that although it’s obvious from the Book 1 in the title that the story is not complete, I expected a bit more of a solid ending to this “book”. But the first 19 chapters Book 2 are already available, and I’m excited to start listening to it soon. If any of this sounds even vaguely interesting, I recommend you give it a try. It’s free, so what do you have to loose? Still on the fence? Give this promo a listen.

I’m Back

Tuesday, July 4th, 2006

I’ve spent almost all of my time since my last post getting ready for, traveling to and from, or participating in Jon and Nicole’s Wedding. Jon’s been one of my best friends for twenty years. I was honored to be asked to participate. The ceremony was amazing (if a bit hot), and the reception was a lot of fun. It was great to see some people I haven’t seen in some time (including Jon’s family), and meet some really fun new people. I even managed to give my toast without choking too badly. I wish Jon and Nicole the very best, and hope they’re having a great time on their honeymoon.

The drive there took forever, but coming back things at least kept moving. Denise and I listened to the amazing unabridged reading of Ender’s Game (I’d heard it before, but it’s great to be able to enjoy a good book with your wife). The full-cast unabridged readings of the Enderverse books are some of the greatest audiobook productions I’ve ever experienced. I can’t recommend them highly enough (available for download from audible.com as well).

I need to thank my Dad for spoiling… er… taking care of the kids while we were gone. I also need to thank Edna and my grandparents for helping him survive the experience.

Now it’s time to clean the desk off (it got a bit cluttered during the search for the GPS serial cable), and get back to work on the book.