Derek's Blog Page

Can a libertarian curmudgeon survive in a post 9/11 America? Is it possible to create the perfect meal on a Baby Q grill? Will Elaine finally succumb to her innermost desires? Check out my novels - which I am excerpting to separate blogs as I write them. Just click on my Profile button to access their links.

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Location: Citrus Heights, California


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Thursday, July 24, 2008

So maybe it's not quite ready for prime time.

But I invite you to check out OpenInkpot. The people there are hard at work developing a completely Open Source Linux distribution designed to run on any of the e-ink-display-based ebook readers currently available. That means Amazon Kindles, Sony PRS-505s, Cybook Gen3s, Jinke V3s and iRex iLiads among others. Further, the goal is to allow owners of these devices to run OpenInkpot from the SD card instead of installing it over the built-in operating system (usually a Linux variant already). This means the built-in DRM-laden formats native to these devices will still be usable by the owners. They won't lose ANY functionality!

Further, OI will support a standalone bookshelf/library manager and FBReader. What makes FBReader nice is that it supports so many currently available non-DRM ebook formats, such as Palmdoc (pdb/prc), non-DRM Mobipocket, chm, html, rtf, txt and, of course, FB2, FBReader's native ebook format. And because FBReader is Open Source, I have no doubt that someone is already hard at work making ePub work on it.

Right now, a version 0.0 of OI is up and running on the Jinke V3 hardware platform, complete with a barebones bookshelf and FBReader. I wouldn't recommend it at this point to regular readers, but if you want to check it out, go to Open Inkpot and follow the download instructions.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Nick Hornby's an Idiot - and a Coward.

Please, before you read any further in this post, click on the title and read the article that's there. You won't really understand what I'm saying unless you do. Go on. I'll wait.


Back so soon? You must be a fast reader. (Not that there was much in the way of "real" content to the article, but he uses slang many of my readers may not understand.)

Okay. Even the most cursory reading of the article demonstrates Nick Hornby is an idiot, so let's move on for the moment to the cowardice angle.

Nick Hornby first posted this article on his blog. Now if you're a reader, whether you agree or disagree with what he's saying, you probably have strong opinions on the issue. You probably want to make a comment in support or to refute his premise. But you can't do so because Nick Hornby doesn't allow comments on his blog; nor does he give any email address where comments, either positive or outraged, can be sent. He doesn't want to hear whether you - his audience - even have an opinion. Now one could say that Nick Hornby is so supremely confident that his view is not merely opinion, but objective reality, but how often has that proven true about such an incendiary statement? Not very often. Heck, just the fact that I'm willing to make a blog post against his statement raises the question of the validity of it. But he, Nick Hornby, does NOT want to hear anything which disputes his claim.

That makes him a coward. A non-coward would be willing to allow open discussion of such a view. I am perfectly willing to do so. You will note that I am allowing comments. Feel free to dispute my claim.

But his clear and demonstrable cowardice also raises another issue. He's afraid to have his work judged. He's a writer. He makes his living by writing. Yet, when writing something which exposes his most personal views, he refuses to allow it to be reviewed - which is exactly what comments are, a review of the work. I've known only one type of writer afraid to let his work be reviewed. A writer who cannot write meaningful work; a writer who lacks faith in the accuracy and value of what he's writing. And that writer is Nick Hornby. So he's not only an idiot and a coward, he's an incompetent - at least in his own mind. IOW, in his own mind, he's a Piss-Poor Writer.

Further, he's demonstrated he's a Luddite. Any time a new technology, a new paradigm, arises, it grows in stages. When it involves products such as e-ink displays, the early versions are high-priced and not readily accessible to the wider public. Rather like trying to find a good e-ink ebook reader. (And I'd never suggest that a person wishing to read novels buy an iRex iLiad. They cost almost double of what a smaller, 6" display, model, such as an Amazon Kindle, Bookeen Cybook Gen3 or Sony PRS-505 runs.) But these ebook readers are coming down in price. And newer models with more features are being released. Beleive me, if you've not experienced the sheer JOY of reading an ebook on a 6" e-ink ebook reader, you should try it. You'll never go back.

And there's more evidence to suggest he's a Luddite. Recently, Apple introduced the iPhone 3G. Hundreds of thousands were sold and will continue to be sold - at $200 per phone plus a ridiculously expensive 2-year service contract. Less that a month afterwards, eReader ( ) introduced a version of its eReader Pro software that runs on the iPhone. Millions of iPhone customers, not just the ones who bought the iPhone 3G, but those who really got sucked in and bought the $600 and $800 models, downloaded and installed the software onto their phones and are now surfing the eReader bookstore - buying ebooks.

Think about this... The iPhone has a dinky 4" screen. A dinky 4" screen which, as with any LCD screen, refreshes at a fast enough rate to cause eye-strain from continued use and even with this problem MILLIONS of owners are using the iPhone to READ ebooks. At least half of them spent $400 or more for the privilege to do so. That's a bit like buying a dedicated 8"-display iRex iLiad for $799 for the privilege of buying and reading ebooks on it. Nick Hornby, you can stand out in the middle of the desert and shove your head in the sand, but the facts aren't going to disappear just because you "wish" them away. People LOVE to read ebooks.

This brings us back to Idiot. And this is the easiest to prove. He mentions a statistic from a 2004 survey which stated that 34% of the 2,000 people questioned didn't read at all. Gosh, Nick! That means that 66%, 1,320 people DO read! Nick Hornby is an Idiot, a Coward, a Luddite and a Piss-Poor Writer. It's up to you to tell him so.

I'm asking you to keep an eye out for Nick Hornby book signings and writers' panel discussions. If you spot one, go to it. Carry a placard. Let him know just how stupid he is. My suggestion is for one like this:

Nick Hornby is:
A) An Idiot
B) A Coward
C) A Luddite
D) A Piss-Poor Writer
E) All of the Above

That's my opinion and you're welcome to post comments about it.