Thursday, March 26, 2009

New Math

This new (to me) site “New Math” is too funny.

One of my favorites

So true, so true…

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The rumpus is getting closer!

As reported earlier on TeamPaulC, the rumpus is coming! The latest reports say that the movie is coming out in October 2009, so that means that you have plenty of time to get your jumpin jammerz! Get on it.

Below is the first trailer for the movie.

If that doesn't work, try this one.

Monday, March 23, 2009

PaulC’s calling card

What a GREAT idea! I have been putting off getting a “PaulC calling card” because I cant seem to come up with a good, original way to do it. Steve Martin does this:

Its a GREAT idea, maybe I can do something similar…

Friday, March 6, 2009


or “Yet Another PaulC Rant”

KindleBoards is one of the best kindle forums around. Some one asked the question “Do you still purchased DTBs?” (DTB = Dead Tree Book) So I typed a reply that quickly turned into “PaulC rant #6” which is partially covered in this post. Anyway, the KindleBoards server went offline so I cant post it. :( I assume that it will be back shortly, but I need to head over to Charlottes to help with her computer and I don’t want to loose a perfectly good rant! So here it is.

In Response to the question “(As a kindle owner) do you still buy DTBs?”


PaulC is a man of extremes, I have been kindle-ized and there is no return. I am on a jihad, a quest, a crusade, a holy war, I am under a gies (pick the word that best fits your imaginary friend) and you can not dissuade me!

(most) Publishers think, "pfft, we don't need to support ebooks! We will overcharge, they are a captive audience! Either they will pay too much for the electronic version, or we will sell them the DTB version. We OWN the reader!!"

To that I say that the publishers will be well met on the battlefield! They own nothing but their own outdated business practices! Your books hold no sway o'er me! I will read that which is free (as in speech) and revel in my ability to read it on my kindle, blackberry, or even my desktop computer! Your wily business practices will bring you naught but ruin and destruction! You can over charge for your books, but we are free people and we can read that which is free (as in beer) or possibly cheap! We will not buy your dam dead tree books!!

So, if you weren’t frothing at the mouth for that last sentence, please read the entire paragraph again, this time with EMOTION. And, uh, well, any place where I said "we" you can probably replace with "I". :) BUT, my point is this...

DON'T DO IT! Do not pay $20 for an ebook, and do not purchase DTBs! Publishers need to change their model. It may mean that you cannot read the latest NY Times Best Cellar, but so what? Broaden your horizons.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Kindle Comments that I am tired of

I am really getting tired of reading these comments, and many are from non kindle owners.

  1. The Kindle does not support PDF.
    True, but do you really care? Follow me close gang. The Adobe “Portable Document Format”, frankly isn’t. Sure, you can take PDF file from a Mac, to a PC, to a Linux box just fine, but only if they have large displays. A PDF file is formatted to a specific size, usually 8.5” x 11<”. So take that file to ANY device with a small screen, and its going to be tough reading. The answer here is to have Adobe fix PDF, or use a different file format.  And if you say “But I MUST have PDF support!” Fine, you can use a convertor to convert the PDF and upload it to your kindle, or you can just email to your kindle and it will be converted and sent wirelessly. So while its true that the kindle does not natively support PDF, you can read PDF files on your kindle.
  2. The Kindle is a closed system!
    Not really. Its an ebook reader, not a general computing device. As a comparison, I give you the iPhone. Apple markets the iPhone as a lifestyle device, you can read email, play games, listen to music, run random applications, oh, and its a phone. Then Apple says “BUT, you can only install applications that Apple develops, or that don’t compete with Apples current or future product offerings. If you try to install other applications on it, we will see you in court.” See THATS a closed system. Compare that to the kindle, its an ebook reader, you can read ANY electronic content that you want on it, put a text file with directions to a meeting, a recipe, a PDF file (see point #1), anything you want. OH, you want to crack it open and run other applications? That's stupid, but go ahead, Amazon doesn’t support or encourage it, but they wont call their lawyers on you for doing it. How is that “closed”?
  3. The Text To Speech (TTS) feature is bad for writers!”
    A variant I have also heard is “Amazon is removing TTS, that's unacceptable!”
    No, what's unacceptable is that you frakkin care. Let me make one thing clear, there are many people with physical disabilities that can benefit from TTS and they have no choice but to use it or a similar technology; I am NOT referring to those users in this rant.
    DOOD, TTS sucks. Really, listen to TTS read Poe’s “The Raven”, you will want to puncture your ears after 5 seconds. Imagine C-3PO reading it, TTS is 100 times worse. Really, there is no flavor, no bias, no love, no hate, its mechanical! How is that bad for writers or for the actors guild? If you listen to the TTS read “The Raven” and you think “Wow, that sounds better than my inner voice” you should shoot yourself. As for Amazon removing it, they are not removing it, the writers guild is, so blame the guild not Amazon.  
  4. “I wont pay $9.99 for a book!”
    Ahmen sister.
    The publisher is selling the ebook for 10% less than the physical book?! Are they high? The publishers claim that in the price of a book a very small fraction (< 10%) goes towards the physical plant (paper, printing, warehouse, distribution, etc) so that means that an ebook is still pretty expensive. So 90% of the cost of a book goes into marketing, authors, editors and overhead? That is either bullshit, or the publishing industry needs to get their business in order.
    From Harper Collins:
    We still pay for the author advance, the editing, the copyediting, the proofreading, the cover and interior design, the illustrations, the sales kit, the marketing efforts, the publicity, and the staff that needs to coordinate all of the details that make books possible in these stages. The costs are primarily in these previous stages; the difference between physical and electronic production is minimal. In fact, the paper/printing/binding of most books costs about $2.00…
    Via Futurismic
    If that’s true than the publishing industry is due for a major upheaval.  Either way, PaulC will not be purchasing any ebooks for anywhere near $9.
  5. “I paid $350 for the ereader, books should be free!”
    ok, and you should work for free too. Look man, DONT BUY BOOKS. At least don’t buy books that cost $9. If you can’t do that, if you HAVE to be reading the current NY Times best seller, then maybe the kindle isn’t for you. For me it makes perfect sense. I am just finishing “Moby-Dick” next on the list is “Frankenstein”, “Great Expectations”, “The Complete Sherlock Holmes”, and the complete “Tarzan” series, all free. Go to FeedBooks and see all the public domain books, including some awesome scifi! And not to be too harsh, but if your reading list is exclusively pulled from the NY Times best cellar (pun intended) list, then you need to consider broadening your horizons.
  6. “Books should be free!”
    I agree, books should be free, as in  “free speech” (not as in “free beer”). And all of my books are, see this post.

Kindle 2 Arrived!

Yay! My kindle arrived last week and its super cool!

I spent the week leading up to its arrival getting ready for it by putting my new elibrary together.
First I needed a good software package to manage my ebooks. I ended up going with calibre. Its basically iTunes for your ebooks. It manages the actual content as well as the metadata. You can tag, rate, set the cover art, etc. It also organizes the content on your ereader.

One of the problems with ebooks is that there are just FAR too many formats, and calibre handles all of them. I can take books in any format and convert them to mobipocket format for the kindle. Now it was time to actually start populating my library. If you follow my new bookmarks over in the left column, you probably noticed that the past two weeks has seen several new book related sites. I started with the project gutenberg website, its not a bad site, but its not that great either. Project Gutenberg does a lot for free book and should be commended, but there are other sites that have taken the Gutenberg texts and made them much better. One of those sites is Feedbooks, they provide free books for downloading in multiple formats, this means that you can download the format that you require and not have to worry about the conversion, very nice. Of course they don’t have the latest (or any) Dean Koontz book, but that’s ok. I have downloaded over 200 books from Feedbooks and am very happy with the quality.

When my kindle finally arrived, I purchased a book from Amazon "Storm Front (The Dresden Files, Book 1) ", its a good book and I wanted to purchase a book to be sure that I could remove the digital rights management. I will be dammed if I am going to pay for a book, only to be told that I can’t read it on another reader. Its called “fair use” and as long as I don’t distribute the book, its legal. So I found a tutorial online for removing DRM from kindle books and it worked great. The tutorial advocates getting a kindle owner to buy a book so that you can remove the DRM. Don’t even ask me, I won’t do it. :) I don’t mind removing DRM from my books for MY use, but allowing others to use the book is no longer “fair use”, its piracy. So now I can buy books from Amazon and not worry that I won’t be able to read them in the future. YAY! Ok, the fact is that I wont be buying many (if any) books from Amazon. :( There are plenty of free books that I have on the top of my list first.

Now I had to find a case for it. I can’t just let it flop around in the truck or the tank bag on my motorcycle! So I went to the paper store and grabbed one of these:

Its a great bag and the kindle fits in it perfectly. Yes, its a bit effeminate, but whatever. Look, I don’t want to put my nice new kindle in one of those heavy binders. I want to take my kindle to bed naked (I mean the kindle) not wearing a big bulky case. Captain Picard takes his flat ereader device to bed without a cover, and so does PaulC. :)

So how is the kindle in daily use? AWE-SOME! The display is crisp and has 5 different font sizes, I have it set for the smallest and looks like a paperback. Its easy to hold as you don’t have to support the binding. I can bookmark pages and takes notes (I generally don’t). I charged the battery one week ago and reading 2-4 hours a day it still has about 60% charge left.

So all in all, I think that its a great little device.

PaulC, where you been!?

Its been a couple weeks since the last blog post, been super busy! In no particular order…

My kindle 2 arrived last week!!! Man it is awesome. This will get its on blog post later today.

Been working with Bob and Sean on a new project, I am under an NDA so its secret squirrel stuff, but I can give you the high level.
Phase One: we fly to Africa, find Tarzan, and have him take us to the elephant graveyard.
Phase Two: secret squirrel stuff.
Phase Three: PROFIT!
So I have been pretty busy writing code, researching technology, and getting tickets to Africa.
Hopefully this project will be announced soon so that I can tell you guys all about it, and OF COURSE you will all participate. I mean, right?