Break on through to the other side…

April 1, 2004

I’m now essentially working 100% on the Powerbook.  I’ve found workable options for pretty much everything I do on a day-to-day basis, but there are still Windows apps and tools that I’ve yet to find a Mac replacement for.  I’m open for suggestions for anything on this list (other than running VirtualPC).

E-Book Reader—Preferably supporting MobiPocket format (which doesn’t seem likely), or any common format (“formats you can download at blackmask” would be a reasonable guideline) OTHER than Adobe.  A Mac version of ConvertLit would be nice too.

MobiPocket Publisher—To generate MobiPocket format e-books for my PDA and phone.

MP3Gain—A replacement for the PC implementation of MP3Gain that comes as a simple installable app (rather than a “you can download and compile all of this” option).  Integration into iTunes would be a plus.

Update – Found.  iVolume handles this.

Document Manager—A replacement for PaperPort on Windows.

Windows Remote Admin client that does multiple simultaneous sessions.

Google Toolbar for Safari—Safari of course does pop-up blocking and has Google searching built in.  What it’s missing is the Page Info, Page Rank, and Translate options.  Replacements for applets like the Blogrolling and Technorati applets would be nice, too.

Update—Almost solved.  There’s a Google Toolbar plugin for Firefox.  Unfortunately, Firefox 0.9 is a wee bit unstable

I’ll post updates as I find solutions for these things and / or more stuff I’ve missed.

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Free Culture, Free Content

March 25, 2004

Hurray!  Lawrence Lessig‘s new book, Free Culture is not only out, it’s available as a free e-book released under a Creative Commons license.

I’ve just started reading it, but so far it appears to be brilliant (as expected).

Now, if someone could steer me towards a non-PDF’d version suitable for putting on the PDA and hauling around to the places I tend to read e-books, that’d just be icing on the cake.


Update—Blackmask now has it up in seven different formats (tip of the hat to Teleread for the link)

Mmmm… Mobipocket goodness—I just love it when stuff moves at ‘net speeds…


March 16, 2004

Quicksilver—the new Neal Stephenson novel—appears to be out in e-book format(s) now.



Of course, there’s no discount involved in not killing a tree, or not having to print or ship the book, even if you do buy the digital copy… Much like paying not to have lead added to my gasoline, I’m getting used to that idea…

But some of the disingenuous gouging on the part of some of the e-book sites is getting a little annoying.

The book lists for $20.  One of the e-book sites (let’s call them “HandMedia”) has a “Sale” price of $18, or $16 and some change if you join their “club”.  Another one (let’s call them “DramaWise”) has it for $20, or $17 if you join their “club”. (all prices rounded).

Yet if you go to plain-jane, you can buy it in the DRM format of your choice (unless your choice is “none” of course) for $16.  No clubs, no silliness.

Guess where I’m buying?

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2-4-6-8 Who you gonna disintermediate?

January 22, 2004

Teleread feels that Kodak’s retreat from the film camera business is a signpost that e-books will eventually do the same to the conventional book industry.

Does anyone smell a trend here?  As technology emerges to shorten the path from content producer to content consumer, the people who get cut out are the existing middlemen. 

If you’re in between content that’s now electronically distributable and the people who buy it, you’d either better a) find some new revenue streams that work WITH the tide, or b) figure out how to quickly drain off as much money as you can while your lawyers stick their fingers in the dike. 

Kodak seems to have taken the graceful approach.

“You know, at one time there must’ve been dozens of companies making buggy whips. And I’ll bet the last company around was the one that made the best goddamn buggy whip you ever saw. Now how would you have liked to have been a stockholder in that company? You invested in a business and this business is dead. Let’s have the intelligence, let’s have the DECENCY to sign the death certificate, collect the insurance, and invest in something with a future.”

— Danny Devito as Lawrence Garfield in “Other People’s Money” (1991)

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December 13, 2003

It must sting like a bitch to design an elegant piece of technology, and then see it be intentionally crippled.

Such is the Toshiba e800/e805 (same beast, different software packages).

A Windows Mobile 2003 Pocket PC, with 400 MHz X-Scale processor, and a four inch, honest-to-God 640×480 display.  Okay, 480×640 if you hold it right side up.

But still…

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Pocket Convergence

June 24, 2003

Things are hopping in the mobile world. 

Microsoft this week simplified their Pocket PC and Smartphone efforts into Windows Mobile 2003″.

Palm is acquiring Handspring, which just brought out the Treo 600, the latest update of their Palm / mobile phone hybrid. A week or two ago they announced that their wi-fi enabled Tungsten C would soon have a VOIP phone client.

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June 17, 2003

Or perhaps, if not exactly “Unwired”, then at the very least “UnPOTSed”.

The last few days, most of the odd moments I normally spend blithering my blather here have been spent on the phone with various telcos and related entities, rearranging the way they extract money from my wallet.

Vonage now offers 911 service.  This was pretty much the last straw I needed to finish getting wireline telcos out of my life—something I managed to do with cable TV providers 12 years ago, and have wanted to do with GTE and their successor Verizon, ever since…

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Best Toy Ever?

April 29, 2003

About a year ago, I decided to try using a palm-top.  I hadn’t really messed with them since having one of the original Newtons, and there were a handful of things I wanted to do.

Since I wasn’t convinced about how much I’d actually use the thing, I got conservative and bought a Palm M130, their lowest-end color at the time.  I tried the monochromes, and they were unreadable in most places I wanted to use them; the color added a backlight.

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Got Whuffie?

April 12, 2003

I’m probably the last person on the blo[g]ck to read Cory Doctorow‘s Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom, but so far I’m seriously impressed.  It strikes me as what you’d get if you crossed Allen Steele with John Varley.  You can get your very own copy on real genuine dead trees at Amazon, or even a paid-for e-book complete with “digital rights management” (copy protection) at the same place.

Or you can download a free e-book with no annoying copy protection in over 15 formats here.

I hope we see a lot more from Cory, and no, I won’t even mind paying for the next one.

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