Monthly Archives: January 2011

Kindle and Facebook

I’m old enough to be a bit tardy adapting to these newfangled technologies, but not so old as to dismiss them completely.

I got a Kindle for Kristmas, and I have three comments about using it.

1) It’s annoying not to be able to synch the viewing area to the page number of the physical book. What page am I on? This is apparently a common complaint, and while I can understand some of the technical difficulties in implementing the mapping, I would think this could be worked.

2) I am reading on my Kindle Jared Diamond’s GUNS, GERMS, AND STEEL, a physical book I’ve meant to finish for years now. Aside from the page number issue, I have to note that *most* of the figures and table in the physical book do not translate into the Kindle version.

3) My major aesthetic complaint about Kindle is that it reduces every book into the same kind of display. Physical books have character; they use different fonts, line spacing, margin decorations, and so on, and all of those disappear in Kindle. Reading on a Kindle is like reading manuscripts — rather bare, and basic. It does lose something.

Meanwhile Facebook — I created a page there in 2007, and have since then received 30 or 40 friends requests, despite not having filled out anything on my Facebook page. This past weekend I decided to come up to speed. I posted a face pic, have been spending time adding favorites music and books and so on, and have responded, or at least considered, the many friend requests that I’ve received. I haven’t entirely figured it all out. I’m not sure why I get so many friend requests from folks I’ve never even heard of, and I’m reluctant to accept friend requests from people I know of, but not actually know (i.e., if I saw them at a science fiction convention, I would have to introduce myself). I suspect there is a sort of competition among people to accumulate as many friends as possible, and perhaps that explains some of those requests.

BTW I loved the Facebook movie — The Social Network. Despite being unlikeable and dishonorable in various ways, the Mark Zuckerberg character was a guy who was really smart and completely unapologetic about it, and I admired that. Something about it recalled my own self at that age, and friends I had, and the decisions we made and paths we’ve taken since then.

Return to the Mainland

I managed to post something every day, or for every day, of my 10-day Hawaii trip, which is ironic considering one is usually busier during a vacation than during routine life at home, and I sometimes go for weeks between posts here at home. I had this notion during the trip that I might keep the momentum going, somehow, and try to post something on this blog every day, just as I post something on the Locus Online site every day. But the flip side of this relationships is, of course, that one has more to talk about on a vacation than while at home, and once back at home last weekend, I didn’t have anything particularly novel to post about, right away.

OTOH, I could comment about Locus’ new electronic editions and subscription options, though as it’s turned out Locus HQ has managed to set this up and get it running largely without my intervention. It will be interesting to see, over the longer run, how this affects Locus’ subscription rates.

Meanwhile, Locus, and I, are working toward the February issue of the magazine, with summaries of the year in publishing. This weekend I’ll be finishing my annual task of tallying and profiling trends in short fiction publication, and I may also update my Roundtable blog post of several months ago about my online tallies of novels, breaking down totals between sf and fantasy, stand-alones and series books…

Honolulu Airport

Off the ship, taxi to the airport, where we learn United has had to ‘downsize’ the airplane for our scheduled flight back to L.A. today, and need 60 passengers to give up their seats. We discuss staying over another day, for the cost of a $400 credit against future United flights, and decide against. Fortunately we checked in early.

Wifi is free in the airport, for the price of watching a 30 second video commercial. Email and web works, but not for some reason my FTP app, which hangs. Managed to use web-based FTP, which is tedious to to use, to upload a minimal update today, for the January Toc. There’ll be catching up, posting updated indexes and directories and whatnot, tomorrow once I’m back home and up to speed.

UPDATE 8 HOURS LATER — Of the four of us traveling, one did not make the cut for the reduced flight. So we all took the offer of a $400 voucher and a flight later in the day — a red-eye flight leaving at 9:20 pm and arriving in LA at 4:45 am — and so have spent another day on Oahu. We rented another car (our fifth in 10 days, an Infiniti G25, and by far the best of the five), drove over the hills on the 61 to see the view, then up the middle of the island to visit the Dole pineapple plantation. Dinner at Sam Choy’s, then back to the airport to await our flight.