Monday July 24, 2006
Hey look. The MySpace parody I did for Slate is being used in a Perplex City scavenger hunt. As a fan of ARGs—I actually attended Perplex City’s last New York event—I find this awesome. … There is a livejournal community dedicated to slash fiction wherein the PC and Mac from those Apple commercials, like, do it. As a fan and distant associate of John “PC” Hodgman’s, I find this disturbing. (Thanks, Rose!)
Friday July 21, 2006
Last week, I proclaimed my enthusiasm for eBooks, both as a reader and a writer. I think the move to electronic text is inevitable—the question is only how long it will take to become mainstream. The thing that makes me bullish about it now, however, is not the Sony Reader or similar products. It’s the iPod.
This isn’t necessarily because of the device itself. At the moment, iPods don’t offer native support for eBooks, although there are workarounds. Slate has been experimenting with “textcasting”—piggybacking text articles on podcasts—and the “Notes” function in later models can be used to present eBooks.
But what the iPod has brought to the mainstream is the idea of a portable device that you regularly update with your media of choice and carry with you wherever you go. It seems natural that readers will extend this idea to books.
So, I’ve formatted my mini eBook—which features two longish stories that previously appeared in the Land-Grant College Review and One Story—for easy reading on an iPod. Here’s how to load it onto your device. (Adapted from MAKE:)
2. Unzip the file and place the entire folder in the notes section of your iPod.
NOTE: If you can’t access your iPod to add the files to the iPod you’ll need to enable disk mode. In iTunes: Edit > Preferences iPod Tab > General > Select “Enable disk use.”
3. Unplug your iPod from your computer and go to Extras > Notes and open the first file. At the end of the file there’s a link that will go to the next file automatically.
And that’s it. You can also convert any text file into an iPod eBook using this handy tool. Never read an eBook before? Make this your first.
UPDATE: The day after this post, Engadget reported that the next iPod is expected to have full-blown eBook support. Hold onto your hats. [Thanks, Preston!]
Thursday July 20, 2006
“She’s a newborn and normal size.” —actress and Suri-spotter Leah Remini in the new issue of Us Weekly.
Wednesday July 19, 2006
Pat writes in to suggest a challenge for readers of Hanasiana. US Airways has announced that it will begin selling advertising on its air sickness bags. Adfreak suggests that advertisers like Pepto-Bismal might want a piece of that action, but this strikes me as a little obvious. We can do better. That’s Pat’s proposal on the left. [NOTE: Pat’s execution was booted off Flickr without notice, presumably because of its corporate content. I’m hosting it now and am eagerly awaiting my nastygram.] Here’s my suggestion: “DirecTV: Rewind live TV—instead of your brunch.” Your turn. Leave your killer concepts in comments.
Monday July 17, 2006
My friend Pat just forwarded me a classic piece of Hanasiana—a photo of me trying to look all punk rock at the Serpentine Wall in Cincinnati in 1987. I was 17. It looks a little posed because it was. Pat took pictures of me and some other skaters for a school project he was working on. Somewhere on the bottom of that board, I had scratched the words, “Skate Hateful.” Ah, youth. You can see a larger version here. There’s also an action shot.
Tuesday July 11, 2006
Did you know that the World eBook Fair is going on this month? I didn’t either until BookNinja told me. Basically, Project Gutenberg is celebrating its 35th anniversary by teaming up with other online libraries to give away as many eBooks as possible. This has inspired me to do something I’ve been thinking about for awhile, which is to put out an eBook of my own. Titled Single, it features two of my previously published short stories in .txt, .pdf. and Mobipocket formats. I like these stories. They are two of my favorites. “Miss Tennessee” originally appeared in the Land-Grant College Review, while “The Cryerer” first appeared in One Story—both great journals. You can download the eBook here.
Lest you think I’m asking you to do something I wouldn’t do myself, I’ve been reading eBooks for awhile. I read them on my Audiovox SMT5600 smartphone using the Mobipocket reader. I showed this setup to some acquaintances in the book publishing business two or three years ago and they were shocked. They were sure eBooks were dead. But I have read everything from the novels of sf writer Cory Doctorow to the lesser works of F. Scott Fitzgerald this way. It’s a great way to read, and once you get used to it, you realize that there’s nothing about the written word that demands to be presented on pages between boards.
As Cory Doctorow says in the introduction to the eBook edition of Eastern Standard Tribe: “Here’s a thing I’ve noticed about the present: MORE PEOPLE ARE READING MORE WORDS OFF OF MORE SCREENS THAN EVER BEFORE. Here’s another thing I’ve noticed about the present: FEWER PEOPLE ARE READING FEWER WORDS OFF OF FEWER PAGES THAN EVER BEFORE. That doesn’t mean that the book is dying—no more than the advent of the printing press and the de-emphasis of Bible-copying monks meant that the book was dying—but it does mean that the book is changing.”