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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Saturday, February 28, 2009

My Amazon Kindle 2 storefront

By now, everyone who's dropped by this blog knows that I have an affiliate's link to the BeBook ebook reader. (Just browse the posts and you'll find the link.) Well, I went a step further and created an 'aStore' on Amazon for the Kindle 2 and Kindle e-books (click on the title to this post to be taken there).

Some of you may wonder, I having tried to sell Bookeen Cybook Gen3 ebook readers through NAEB (Not Another E-Book, LTD, now out of business), why I'd switch my allegiance to BeBook and Kindle. It's simple. Bookeen hasn't really done much to improve the Cybook - they're still 'promising' ePub support when they've yet to improve HTML support or even add functionality to the Delete button - and I'm tired of waiting around.

The BeBook, as you may know, is fully-functional, has Secure Mobipocket support and can also run under the open-source OpenInkpot (OI) operating system with FBReader as it's reading app. The Kindle still only supports the Kindle and Mobipocket secure ebooks, but it's got speed, style, a better graphics display that's capable of showing 16-levels of gray (better pictures) and it can download an ebook anywhere it can reach a cellphone connection - NO COMPUTER NEEDED!

So take some time to browse my storefront and consider buying a Kindle 2.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Social Security Recipients get a 'stimulus check'.

Yep. Congress and Our Great and Glorious Revolutionary Leader Obama have decided those of us who receive Social Security, the vast majority of whom are on tight and fixed low incomes, WILL receive a whole whalloping $250!!! Yep. The people who, arguably, most NEED help during this economic crisis, get just a "bit" more than bupkis!

In the mean time, those who need the help the least, the major banks, the mortgage brokers, the various Wall Street firms, the Big Three US automobile manufacturers - and let us not forget all those soon-to-be-giftees, the pork-barrel "ready-to-go" construction projects - get a HUGE amount of money. Oink! Oink!

Folks, we are in a JAM here. We need the government to either do the RIGHT thing or GET THE HELL OUT OF THE WAY! And we come to discover that Obama's shoving same-old, same-old, worn-out (positively ANCIENT as the basic ideas come from that has-been hack economist, Keynes) policies from the New Deal.

You know, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (the Mormons) has this preparedness program that includes such things as setting up a food-storage system whereby a family 'banks' 30, 60 or 90 (optimal) days of bullk food in a room or part of the garage. Maybe it's time for the average family to set something like this up, hmmm?

Amazon Kindle 2 (Kindle2) pre-ordering is available.

Did you know that Amazon has already sold 500,000 of the first version of the Kindle? I didn't. That is AMAZING! That means there are one-half MILLION avid ebook readers - at the very least! When you add in all the people out there who chose to buy Sony, Bookeen, Jinke or iRex e-ink readers, there are probably more than one MILLION potential ebook customers who want to have a dedicated ebook reading device! Now add in all those who read ebooks with their iPhones, Smartphones, PDAs and desktop and laptop computers and we probably have 10 million or more avid ebook customers.

Pretty amazing for something that so many naysayers will 'never catch on'. And Amazon is releasing their Kindle 2 on February 24th. Amazon is taking pre-orders for the Kindle2 right now. So feel free to click on the title of this post to check it out.

So what do you think. Are you interested in ebooks? Or do you still prefer having a physical book to read? Please post your thoughts.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

What's RIGHT with current e-ink ebook reader technology.

With the announcement of the forthcoming release of the Kindle 2, we're now being beseiged with negative exposition over ebook technology - e-ink readers, ebooks themselves, cost, etc. - in numerous columns, blogs and reviews, the latter in both print and broadcast media. To hear some people, you'd have to picture the average ebook customer as a near-autistic savant incapable of functioning in normal society or as some socially-inept nerd who's idea of reality is closer to ABC's "Chuck" than modern America.

Yeah. Right. We all know the truth. E-books, and e-book readers - especially e-ink readers - are here to stay and gaining popularity by leaps and bounds. Amazon has finally admitted to selling nearly 500,000 Kindles (version 1) and the combined US sales of Sony PRS, Bookeen Cybook, iRex iLiad and Jinke V3 (Or it's variant the BeBook - click on the title of this post to find out more about the BeBook.) are nearly as high. That mean there are, just for e-ink devices, nearly 1 MILLION ebook customers in the US. Add in the 2-3 million people who use their iPhones, PDAs and desktop or laptop computers and it is obvious that ebook reading is here and broadly popular!

But one thing slows the spread of ebook-specific device acceptance. Cost. It's bad enough that one has to shell out several hundred bucks for an iPhone with it's tiny 4-inch display, especially when one also, in modern America, needs to own at least a $400 netbook, if not a $600-$1,000 desktop system. But then the ereader market insists upon charging anywhere from $229-$359 for a 6-ink e-ink device!

And these devices are all pretty much still first-generation. To be honest, there's little difference in display technology between the Sony PRS-500 and the Kindle 2, except the firmware and the controller for the display. There's no color, the screen refresh rate is still far slower than what is needed to support animation and we still need an external (yes, the light on the PRS-700 is in front of the screen) or "front" lighting system if we wish to read in low-light areas.

But all the technical issues are being improved and within two years we CAN expect to see many of these features to be present in the average ebook reader.

Which leaves cost. The one bugaboo which all nay-sayers have targeted. Okay, let's consider cost.

How many of you remember the Data General DG-1? Anyone? Anyone? Yep. The first truly "portable" computer recognizable as a "laptop". This sucker ran MS-DOS, could only hold a maximum of 512KB - that's right KILObytes! - of RAM, had a MONOCHROME, grayscale screen capable of 640x200 pixel resolution, needed to be near a power outlet if one wanted to use it for more than an hour, weighed NINE pounds and cost a "cost-effective" $2,895!!! Compared to the average EEE PC 900 (8.9" screen, 1GB RAM, SSD "drive" of 16GB size, $299 price and weighing just over two pounds), the DG-1 was a monstrous dinosaur! And the price differential, my gosh!

But that's what happens as technology improves and manufacturing processed get more efficient. Still, if one HAD to have a laptop back in 1984, the DG-1 made its owner vastly more productive than NOT owning one.

And that holds just as true for e-ink ebook readers. We've managed to move past "bleeding edge" and "innovator-level" and, with the BeBook, Kindle 2, PRS-700 and Cybook Gen3, are into "early adopter" phase. Prices will continue to fall as features are added.

So when your friends and neighbors show you the various nay-saying columns from these luddites and neanderthals, you remind them of these facts. Then poin them your favorite ebook reader and tell them to give one a try.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

More about the Kindle 2.

Okay, so Amazon is taking pre-orders for the Kindle 2. (Yes, you can pre-order one simply by clicking on the above title to this post. It'll take you right to the Kindle 2 page at Amazon.) But there really haven't been many people with hands-on with the Kindle 2.

So what *DO* we know about the Kindle 2? Here's a short list of features:

Slim: Just over 1/3 of an inch, as thin as most magazines

Lightweight: At 10.2 ounces, lighter than a typical paperback

Wireless: 3G wireless lets you download books right from your Kindle, anytime, anywhere; no monthly fees, service plans, or hunting for Wi-Fi hotspots

Books in Under 60 Seconds: Get books delivered in less than 60 seconds; no PC required

Improved Display: Reads like real paper; now boasts 16 shades of gray for clear text and even crisper images

Longer Battery Life: 25% longer battery life; read for days without recharging

More Storage: Take your library with you; holds over 1,500 books

Faster Page Turns: 20% faster page turns

Read-to-Me: With the new Text-to-Speech feature, Kindle can read every book, blog, magazine, and newspaper out loud to you

Large Selection: Over 230,000 books plus U.S. and international newspapers, magazines, and blogs available

Low Book Prices: New York Times Best Sellers and New Releases $9.99, unless marked otherwise

The Kindle 2 'might' not be right for every reader who wants to enjoy ebooks, but it's looking a LOT more desirable for the average reader. I suggest you check it out and get your pre-order in now so you can get yours as soon as they start to ship!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The Amazon Kindle2 is here!

It's finally here. Yes, Amazon has just released their second version of the Kindle. It's got seven, you heard me, SEVEN times the amount of internal memory that the original Kindle had! It now supports 16 shades of gray in images for better picture representation. It handles page-turns MUCH faster than the original Kindle and it's thinner and lighter. Click on the title of this post to check it out!

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Recall Obama Now!

For those who're not happy about the direction President Obama is taking; for those who believe that Obama has surrounded himself with scofflaws, tax cheats, lobbyists and influence-peddlers - overturning his campaign and post-campaign/pre-inauguration promises - I've created a bumper sticker for you. Place this on your car, pass it out to friends, family and neighbors - heck, stand on corners and hand it out to passing strangers! But get the message out - we don't want four more years of bad decisions, not even ONE more year!

Let's start the impeachment process and save our country! Just click on the title of this post and buy one or more of the Impeach, Arrest, Convict, Jail Obama Now! bumper stickers.

And I'm not stopping there. I'm setting up two more CafePress stores, one for Recall McCain Now! and one for Recall Pelosi Now! stickers.

Yes, McCain has shown he's perfectly willing to support Obama in his efforts to shove through one of the worst-thought-out, most-pork-laden bills. And they have the audacity to call it, despite the fact that most of the money won't be spent for years, as a 'stimulus package'!

Further, Speaker Pelosi has demonstrated she's so stupid that she can't even remember from one interview to the next that it's 500 THOUSAND, not 500 MILLION Americans who'll lose their jobs every month. (Of course, her rants in favor of the 'stimulus package' ignore the historical evidence that such 'packages' don't work, or the fact that a large minority of Americans expect it to make things far WORSE!)

So the Recall McCain store is up at:

Go! Shop! Share! Get the message out!

Friday, February 06, 2009

Michael Phelps and Pot.

You'd have to be brain-dead or completely illiterate, blind and deaf to not have heard of Michael Phelps' experimentation with pot. But he's not the only one. Check out the link behind this post's title for a heads-up, just in case you've forgotten. Yep. Our very own President Obama has used, and abused, alcohol, marijuana AND cocaine.

Now no one has asked Obama to 'suspend' his Presidency for each provable instance of drug use, so I must wonder why Michael Phelps is being so punished. (And don't even *begin* to push the brain-dead argument that Phelps is somehow a "role model" and "hero" who must constantly guard his reputation, because if an Olypmic athlete is one, how much more is a President?)

Further, Kellogg's is dropping Phelps as a spokesperson. Hunh? At best estimate, 60 MILLION Americans have at least "tried" pot. That means there's a very good chance that a significant percentage of Kelloggs' workforce, including middle and upper management, have tried or possibly continue to use pot. Same probability holds true for the ad agency and public relations firms Kelloggs uses. Thus, for them to drop Phelps is the height of hypocrisy.

Come to think of it, we can probably expect that at least one of the board members of the US Swim Association (USSA) has used pot. So why the suspension?

I call on people who know, to "out" any USSA board member or management employee of Kelloggs, it's ad agency and it's public relations firm to the public so we can hold these people to the same standards and same shame they've foisted upon Michael Phelps.

Michael, I've never used any illicit drugs stronger than alcohol, but I STILL respect you and salute your athletic acheivements!

Further Tax Cheat Problems for Obama

And yet another Obama Cabinet nominee has been found to be a tax cheat-click on the title of this post to go to the link. Now, as the various apologists point out, it was Hilda Solis' *husband*, Sam Sayyad, who's actually been failing to pay taxes, and the taxes are owed to California, not the US, but still, she's his WIFE so she benefitted from his tax scofflaw ways.

Isn't it time to say enough is enough? Can we believe ANYTHING Obama has promised to us? I say no!

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Obama and Pelosi

Okay, so we've all heard of Speaker Nancy Pelosi's faux pas where she tells us that every month Congress fails to pass the President's Stimulus Porkage 500 MILLION Americans will lose their jobs. (500 MILLION, Ms. Speaker? That translates to all 6 BILLION people of Earth becoming unemployed by March of 2010.)

I have a problem with this. It clearly shows she's bought into the Porkage 100%, even though we're hearing nightly how much partisan pork is being snuck in - pork which will do nothing to 'stimulate' the economy. Also, it clearly shows she's so dumb, that's right, DUMB as to believe we the citizens of the US, some of whom are her direct constituents, will swallow these lies without hesitation. IOW, she's proved she's too dumb to hold the office.

Thus, I propose that we initiate a recall of Speaker Pelosi. Yep, if you're part of her election district, file the damned papers and pull her before she does any more damage! I think this image sums up the proper message.

Next, let us examine President Obama's actions. Before the election, he promised us - and remember, please, he already KNEW how bad the economy was - that he was going to do things different, that he would not appoint criminals, superlobbyists and influence-peddlers to his Cabinet. I think we all know, it having been widely reported just how many of his appointees are nothing BUT criminals, influence-peddlers and superlobbyists, that he lied. Remember how the Justice Department tried and convicted Martha Stewart for lying? Not for selling stocks illegally, because they couldn't PROVE that crime had taken place, but for lying. Well, despite all his campaign promises and despite the Oath he took, President Obama lied - during the middle of our second-worst economic crisis.

He needs to be impeached. Not only that, he needs to be arrested, tried, convicted and jailed for lying to us. Again, here's a nice graphic to get the point across.