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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Sunday, May 31, 2009

What hey! There *ARE* other cross-trainers for obese people!

And if you go to my "I Need A NuStep" blog - a link is in the left column - you'll see that I've found the Elgin Cross Stepper. Except for the non-swiveling seat, I don't see all that much different between the two - function-wise - and it's "only" $3,195! Still far too expensive for me to buy outright, but I've set up a ChipIn donation widget for anyone who'd like to help me buy one (or the NuStep).

Look, anyone who's been reading my blogs knows that I'm 570 pounds, 50 years old (51 on June 4th), and my knees and ankles are so shot that I need a way to do aerobic exercise which doesn't require walking or standing. (Don't ask about swimming, for skin reasons that's out.) There are only three devices 'rated' for me, ranging in price from $2,395 to $5,595 and the 'cheap' one doesn't do both upper- and lower-body workouts. Sigh. And, of course, there are no grants or aid programs to let me buy one straight up, nor do any of the companies offer leasing. Sigh.

It sometimes seems to me that, once you reach a certain weight, people are still willing to bitch at you for being fat, but no one wants to help you get DOWN. (And yes, I have been told by three different physicians that I must lose between 120 and 170 BEFORE they'll let me have gastric surgery. Sigh.)

And thus I'm trying to gain donations so I can buy an aerobic workout machine. I've set the ChipIn goal high enough that I would be able to afford either the Elgin ($3,195) or NuStep ($5,595). But if you're an avid reader, you could just go to my BeBook and/or Kindle associate's/affiliate's page(s) and buy one - that way I get between $22 and $45 but you get a usable device. The links to both pages are in my "I Need a NuStep' blog - linked at the left - but I've also included a ChipIn widget at the end of this column if you just feel like making a donation.

It breaks down like this, 32 people donating $100 gets me an Elgin, 64 people donating $50 or 128 donating $25 accomplishes the same thing. In the same way, 280 people donating $20 would raise enough for a NuStep T5xr. I think I could swing taxes and shipping.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Livin' La Vida Publisherica!

Otherwise known as, Why Publishers Continue To e-Publish Books Out Of Sequence.

It's a little-understood fact that publishers are not smart. We can see this demonstrated in several different ways. One sign is that publishers, by and large, cannot grasp that e-book versions of their in-print titles are very effective tools for marketing the paper versions. Another is that pricing e-book versions at the same level as NYT Top 10 Bestseller hardcovers discourages people from buying e-book versions and, thereby, reduces the exposure of authors to potential readers.

But these aren't the only signs. One of the most insidious is the tendency for publishers to release e-book versions out-of-sequence. For example, Linda Greenlaw has written several non-fiction books of her life experiences as a lobster fisherman and boat owner. She's also written - and they've published - two fiction works, "Slipknot" (2007) and "Fisherman's Bend" (2008). Note the two publication dates. Now here's a curious fact. You can get the non-fiction works in e-book format AND you can get "Fisherman's Bend" as an e-book. But you can't get "Slipknot" that way! Hunh? Why not?

After all, it makes sense does it not, to release the books in a series in proper order, yes? And it's not as if "Slipknot" has been "too long out of print". I don't think it's even OUT-of-print yet.

And Ms. Greenlaw's not the only author to whom the publishers have done this.

Naturally, if an author has written several books that are completely unrelated to each other, the sequence of release does not matter, but when the books are part of a series, with a continuous cast of characters and progressing line of development, it makes it harder for a reader to maintain interest when out-of-sequence releases occur.

But I'm just a reader, not a publisher. What could *I* possibly know?!?

Monday, May 11, 2009

So I've actually had 'hands-on' time with a Kindle 2.

And, I like it. Don't get me wrong. I think the whole concept of an ebook-format linked to a particular device is just plain WRONG! So I'm against the Kindle's Topaz (.tpz) format, but the Kindle is a decent e-ink based ebook reader and I think it will do well.

Of course, I already HAVE two Cybook Gen3s, one (broken) Netronix EB-100 and one Sony PRS-500, so I need another 6" e-ink reader like I need a hole in my head. Thus I haven't BOUGHT a Kindle 2. Now that Kindle DX, which is being released in June, THAT one appeals to me. It's got everything the Kindle 2 has AND a 9.7" display size. The larger size means that PDF ebooks created from trade paperback books, such as you'd find of computer textbooks, display properly with decent font sizes without having to zoom, pan or scroll along each page. Nice!

The $489 price tag may seem a bit off-putting to some people, but please remember that you're typical larger screen e-ink device usually runs about $700-$900 for this display size. Plus, you get storage capacity for 3,500 ebooks!

So click on the title for this post and consider pre-ordering a Kindle DX.

Now for those of you on a tighter budget, I suggest you do what I did. Go to eBay and buy yourself a used Apple iPod Touch. I got a 1st generation model which had been upgraded to version 2.2.1 of the firmware (you need 2.2.1 or newer) and that means the Touch can run almost all the same applications that the iPhone can! I downloaded and registered the FREE Kindle for iPhone app and now I can purchase Kindle ebooks right from my iPod Touch! Cost me just under $100.