Entries in the ‘Books’ Category:

Kindle for Android

Amazon released the Kindle reader for Android today. It looks nice, and integrates very well with Amazon. Maybe too well: you have to register an account just to use it. You can browse through books on the Kindle store. Purchased books are downloaded by the app the next time you load it. The Kindle store seems to have a decent selection, but one of my favorites is missing. Although Amazon makes them hard to find, the Kindle store also has a number of public domain books for free. I prefer Aldiko for ePub books, so I don’t think I’ll get much use out of this app for now.

I have a severe allergic reaction to paying $10, often more, for a book that I can’t loan or resell. Since the Kindle uses a proprietary format, buying ebooks from the Kindle store is an investment that locks you to the platform. At least they’re trying to make the platform widely available. Dave Winer is right, Amazon knows they’re business is selling ebooks, not ebook readers. I just hope we can keep the concept of owning a book, instead of owning a non-transferable license to read a specific incarnation of the aforementioned book (heretofore referred to as The Book) on one of a class of reading devices.

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Snow Crash

I just finished the book Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson. Yes, for the first time. It had some interesting ideas; not “they might be true” interesting, but “what if they were true” interesting. The idea that all our major religions are based on stories about exceptionally remarkable people which have evolved into more grandiose tales over millenia of oral tradition is probably not far from the truth. Just looking at something like Iliad it’s obvious how quickly an oral tradition can embelish extraordinary deeds until they’re superhuman. Add to that the modifications stories undergo as they’re filtered through the ever shifting styles and zeitgeist of the people telling them, and the tendency for people to rely on supernatural explanations when natural explanations fail them, and we can almost see the skeleton on which our religious myths have been built.

I also liked the idea of an ancient language which arose from our brain structures. Interesting to think of the consequences that would have on linguistic research, but it doesn’t seem too likely.

The ending of the book was disappointing, since almost nothing was resolved with any of the characters. We don’t even know who lived and who died. It desperately needed an epilogue. I was also rather disappointed with the three or four chapters which consist entirely of Hiro explaining everything that was going on. That part felt like the end of a Scooby Doo episode, right before they say, “Well, that about wraps it up. There’s just one more thing. Let’s see who the monster really is. Why, it’s old man Wilfred!!” Neal Stephenson seems to be a good writer sometimes, but at times he simply fails.

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Bruce Campbell’s Book

Bruce Campbell wrote a book! How cool is that?

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Win ME Annoyances

I couldn’t believe this was a real book when I saw it the other day. I think O’Reilly is getting sassy.

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I figured out how to write a best-selling novel! All I have to do is write a touching story about some weepy single mother with a limp who overcame the world that was trying to keep her down and her personal tragedies to become a big-shot lawyer/doctor/business-person. Then I’ll send it to Oprah and she’ll make her book club lackies buy it. I’m set!

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