Archive for June 24, 2008

Quote: Rob May

June 24, 2008

My Business Magazines Lied to Me

Business magazines that don’t cater to what people want will go out of business. The result then, is that business magazines (and books and blogs) tell us what we want to hear. Then we go off and implement that bad advice, and when it doesn’t work, we make up some other excuse. Or, if we come to realize the advice was wrong, but it is still popular, we keep it to ourselves, because speaking out about it is a quick way to get chastised and be labeled (negative, luddite, sour grapes, etc). People want to believe what they want to believe, and if you try to show them a truth that conflicts with that, you will most likely fail.

Emphasis added by me.

Oh yeah, the Smiley Nazis will come after your ass for melting their rainbows and strangling their pretty unicorns.

This is an excellent post. It’s long and well-reasoned and, dammit, so honest.

Naturally, they’re probably burning him at the stake, ripping out his fingernails, and sticking their tongues out at him in the Comments. Which is why I didn’t read them.

Immediately related:

Quote: Diogenes
In Praise Of The Cynic

At the old blog:

The Secret: I Can’t Finish Reading It!

That Foul Day Has Arrived

June 24, 2008

Me eyes …

… are no longer up to the task.

I must now wear glasses at the PC screen!!!

I feel like such a frikkin girl.

Yeah, that’s what they looked like in elementary school. Then they grew up, had LASIK, and now live — and see! — glasses-free.

Me, if I tried LASIK, my eyeballs would boil and explode!

I’ll save that fun for later.

Asus EeePC 900: Multi-Touch Driver Update

June 24, 2008

Oh, this is breathtaking! Watch!

Multi-Touch Eee PC 900 小NB時代,出門不再帶滑鼠

— via UMPC Fever

What Apple Better Not Miss About eBooks

June 24, 2008

Christian Novel Is Surprise Best Seller

Mr. Nowak, a maintenance worker near Yakima, Wash., first bought a copy of “The Shack,” a slim paperback novel by an unknown author about a grieving father who meets God in the form of a jolly African-American woman, at a Borders bookstore in March. He was so taken by the story of redemption and God’s love that he promptly bought 10 more copies to give to family and friends.

“Everybody that I know has bought at least 10 copies,” Mr. Nowak said. “There’s definitely something about the book that makes people want to share it.”

Thousands of readers like Mr. Nowak, a regular churchgoer, have helped propel “The Shack,” written by William P. Young, a former office manager and hotel night clerk in Gresham, Ore., and privately published by a pair of former pastors near Los Angeles, into a surprise best seller. It is the most compelling recent example of how a word-of-mouth phenomenon can explode into a blockbuster when the momentum hits chain bookstores, and the marketing and distribution power of a major commercial publisher is thrown behind it.

Just over a year after it was originally published as a paperback, “The Shack” had its debut at No. 1 on the New York Times trade paperback fiction best-seller list on June 8 and has stayed there ever since. It is No. 1 on Borders Group’s trade paperback fiction list, and at Barnes & Noble it has been No. 1 on the trade paperback list since the end of May, outselling even Mr. Tolle’s spiritual guide “A New Earth,” selected by Ms. Winfrey’s book club in January.

Its publisher, Windblown Media, a company that was formed expressly to publish “The Shack” in May of last year, estimates that the book has sold more than one million copies. According to Nielsen Bookscan, which usually tracks about 70 percent of sales, the book has sold about 350,000 copies, although those numbers do not include sales at stores like Wal-Mart or direct sales from the publisher’s Web site, theshackbook.com, which may have accounted for an unusually large percentage of the book’s sales.

Emphasis added by me.

Hello, ebook publishers.

Can someone who buys an ebook at your estore also buy ten copies for friends?

Even if such purchasing was possible (which I don’t believe it is; although there might be a Gift Card/Certificate workaround), how would the gift-giver know what ebook format each friend or family member could use?

PDF? Kindle? Sony LRF? MobiPocket? eReader? Microsoft Reader?

And what if you bought one format and the person wanted or actually needed another? (“Well, Bob, I appreciate the gift, but that Sony Reader [LRF]/ Amazon Kindle [Kindle] died on me and I can’t read this ebook on my Macintosh screen!”)

I know print publishers will argue that if you buy in PDF and then want a different file format, it’s like first buying a hardcover and then having to pay again for a paperback.

But this is e.

We’re down to what really matters: the words.

Penalizing people due to proprietary or non-universal containers is ridiculous.

These are things Apple must pay attention to if it intends to wade into ebooks.

Apple has already made sure both Mac and PC users can use iTunes and Safari. I hope the same will be true for any ebook file format Apple creates or — better yet — outright endorses, such as ePub.

And there must be the ability for people to gift others.

One other point for both writers as well as ebook publishers:

Brad Cummings, a former pastor and the president of Windblown, said the company, which first shipped books out of his garage, spent about $300 in marketing. Word of the book ripped through the Christian blogosphere, talk radio and pulpits across the country.

Emphasis added by me.

Are any ebook publishers out there spreading the word about books that have caught fire? Do any of them have professional PR either on staff or on hire?

And, lastly, a word for writers:

Mr. Young, Mr. Cummings and Mr. Jacobsen worked for 16 months through four rewrites.

Emphasis added by me.

Rewrites aren’t worth much until others have seen it and made their suggestions. Never, ever forget this caution.

Previously here:

For God’s Sake, Get eBooks Going, Steve Jobs!
iPod Air: See You In September?
Quote: Eleanor Randolph
A Gadget Too Far
First Apple eBook Device?
East Coast Corporate Liberal Meets An eBook
It’s Now All Down To Apple Vs. Google
Writer Mark Billingham On eBooks, More
Writer Steven Poole Gets Bad News Too
What eChanges Will High Oil Prices Bring?
Writer Richard Herley Gets Bad News
eInk eBook Readers: They’re All Dead, Jim!
Amazon: Already Toast
More About That HarperCollins Plan
Future iPods: Piper Jaffray’s Blind Spot
Quote: Warren Ellis (Again)
Writers Don’t Fear The Future: Publishers Do!
D.I.Y. Book Anthologies?
The Long Tail: A Lie?
David Rothman Just Saved Google’s Android OS
The Three Companies Apple Should Acquire
Apple And eBooks: Why The Delay
For The Record: Apple and eBooks
I’m No Fan Of The Kindle. Nor Is He.
Memo To Steve Jobs: People DO Still Read!
HarperCollins Tries Free eBooks — World Laughs.
Self-Published Ebook = DIY Or Vanity?
The Three Big As: Apple, Amazon, Adobe
One More Time: Apple And Ebooks
Steve Jobs Is Up To Something. Probably Big.
Does Apple Want To Be King Of Ebooks?
Ebooks Are Now
Print Publishing Is In Self-Destruct Mode: eBook S.O.S.
The Urgency Of eBooks

Nokia: Their Death Spiral Commences Apace!

June 24, 2008

Mobile leaders to unify the Symbian software platform and set the future of mobile free

London, UK – Nokia, Sony Ericsson, Motorola and NTT DOCOMO announced today their intent to unite Symbian OS(TM), S60, UIQ and MOAP(S) to create one open mobile software platform. Together with AT&T, LG Electronics, Samsung Electronics, STMicroelectronics, Texas Instruments and Vodafone they plan to establish the Symbian Foundation to extend the appeal of this unified software platform. Membership of this non-profit Foundation will be open to all organizations. This initiative is supported by current shareholders and management of Symbian Limited, who have been actively involved in its development. Plans for the Foundation have already received wide support from other industry leaders.

Ha. Ha. Ha.

As they spin to their rightful and justified corporate death, they suddenly grasp at any possible ploy to stay in the game.

Hey, Nokia, how did all that work out for you with Maemo, eh?

Maemo was no-go. This is no-go.

Previously here:

It Won’t Save You! You Finns Are Doomed!
It’s Now All Down To Apple Vs. Google
Nokia: Oops! We Can’t Shaft You After All!
Nokia: We Already Have Your Money, So What?
Will Nokia Finally Buy Palm?
The End Of Finland
My Personal Bitter Laugh Of The Day

Leverage: The (Leaked) TNT Pilot

June 24, 2008

Attention: No no NO spoilers ahead. (Well, OK, a teeny-tiny one! You’ll see why I couldn’t resist.)

Leverage001

There are so many things that can go wrong with a TV series.

The cast members who are chosen can wind up not being the performers they seemed to be in screen tests.

Leverage002

The writers can be in it just for the money and it shows in every line of dialog.

The director can be a hack who just points a camera.

Leverage003

And then there’s even the music. It can be totally inappropriate and as dull as muzak.

Television started out in the heights. Paddy Chayefsky, Rod Serling, Reginald Rose, and a handful of others took a new medium and defined it. But that definition was subverted by advertisers and TV went from The Twilight Zone to, god help us, The Fantastic Journey. Television fell into a comatose state in the 1970s, revived in the 1980s, leveled off in the 1990s. We are now in the late part of the first decade of the new century — and what will it bring?

Leverage004

To succeed, I think a TV show has to be surprising, delightful, exciting, and memorable. Several TV series of the 1980s were that, but there are really less than a handful I’d want to pay for as DVD boxed sets (or, truth be told, even watch as free repeats!). Because what it really all comes down to is the writing.

Leverage005

What is there in the writing that is not what comes out of everyone else’s mouth? Rod Serling’s dialog, for example, had a distinct style. So, in an entirely different vein, did the dialog of Jack Webb. And then there was Stephen J. Cannell, who specialized in really pushing things in just about every series he did.

Leverage006

I think if the writing can impress a writer, it will grab the attention of an audience, hold it, and sustain it over the course of a series. For years and years.

Now we come to the leaked pilot of Leverage. Does it fit into anything I’ve specified in this long preamble?

Leverage007

The funny thing is, people like summaries. They like something they can grasp without many words. That’s unsatisfying for, say, attorneys; imagine having to sum up a case to a jury at trial’s end with as few words as possible. All that prior effort, crunched down into, say, an advertising slogan. Sometimes it can work: “If it doesn’t fit, you must acquit!”

I was looking for an immediately-grasped summary for the leaked pilot of Leverage.

I didn’t have to do much work. It was put right in front of my face!

For you to see what it was, click below.

Let me tell you that it’s …

Leverage: Coming Soon To TNT

June 24, 2008

TNT has given the greenlight to the thrilling, action-packed drama series LEVERAGE, starring Oscar® winner Timothy Hutton (Ordinary People, Nero Wolfe) and executive-produced by Dean Devlin (Independence Day, TNT’s The Librarian) and John Rogers (Cosby). The series follows a team of thieves, hackers and grifters who act as modern-day Robin Hoods, taking revenge against those who use power and wealth to victimize others. TNT has ordered 13 episodes of LEVERAGE, which comes to the network from Devlin’s Electric Entertainment. Devlin makes his directorial debut on the pilot, which was written by Rogers (Transformers) and Chris Downey (The King of Queens). LEVERAGE is slated to premiere on TNT later this year.

“LEVERAGE is great entertainment,” said Michael Wright, senior vice president in charge of the content creation group for TNT, TBS and TCM. “It’s fast-paced, smart and just great fun. Dean Devlin directed the pilot to perfection. Timothy Hutton is outstanding, and he and the cast around him have a great chemistry. This is a new genre for us in our series efforts, and it’s great to be able to tackle it with Dean. His Librarian movies for TNT have been huge successes. We couldn’t be happier having him and John Rogers bring that same sense of style and storytelling to us in series form.”

In LEVERAGE, Hutton plays former insurance investigator Nate Ford, a once-loyal corporate employee who had recovered millions of dollars in stolen goods for his employer. But when that employer denied his son’s insurance claims and allowed the boy to die, he realized he could no longer work for such an entity.

Out of work and descending into alcoholism, Ford is hired by an aeronautics executive to recover airplane designs the executive claims were stolen by a rival company. Helping him are four highly skilled team members: Parker (Beth Riesgraf – Alvin and the Chipmunks), an expert thief; Alex Hardison (Aldis Hodge – Friday Night Lights), a specialist in Internet and computer fraud; Eliot Spencer (Christian Kane – Into the West), a high-octane “retrieval specialist” who can take out a gang of henchmen without breaking a sweat; and Sophie Devereaux (Gina Bellman – Coupling), a grifter who could win awards for her acting skills during difficult scams. At first the newly formed team is hesitant to trust each other after so many years working alone but being double-crossed changes the dynamic, ultimately forcing them to unite. They emerge from the job realizing they are far better working together than apart. Once they discover they can trust each other the group targets their cons toward the richest, the greediest and the most unjust.

Why do you care about this?

1) It’s from John Rogers, who wrote the illegal-only P2P Internet cult classic adaptation of Warren Ellis‘s Global Frequency

2) I’m going to bust whatever embargo there is for the show later today

In the meantime, go to the TNT site to see the preview (it’s in WMV, so if you have a browser other than IE, you’ll need a plug-in; hell, just do what I did: hold your nose and use IE just to see it trouble-free; it’s worth it!).

(Don’t bother revving up those lawyers, TNT. Read my blog first. I can be feral bastard! Especially — especially — to Suits!)

(And no, Rogers did not leak this. Someone who’s been leaking stuff for quite some time did it. It makes me think you lot are employing a leaking service!)