Archive for August 20, 2008

Hey, Apple! I Warned You About iPhone 3G Lawsuits!

August 20, 2008

August 20, 2008: Apple hit with class-action lawsuit over iPhone 3G flakiness

We all knew it was coming, it was just a matter of time. A lawsuit has been filed against Apple over what the plaintiff is referring to as the “Defective iPhone 3G,” which she hopes will become a class-action complaint.

July 19, 2008: What’s Happened To YouTube On iPhone 3G?!!?

If this is the new shape of YouTube on iPhone, Apple has just opened itself up to getting sued by Attorneys General all across this country. You can’t go around showing crystal clear video in TV ads as an example of YouTube and then substitute it with that crap! That’s clear bait and switch as well as misrepresentation and outright fraud.

Oh, there’s been a great deal of wailing over the performance of the iPhone 3G.

This is exactly why I never, ever buy early.

I think most of these things will be sorted out and that this lawsuit will fail.

But I did see lawsuits coming.

Some people just don’t have any patience.

Winter 2008: The Big Freeze

August 20, 2008

Yeah, I’ve had a suspicion this was coming up. This has to be the shortest Summer I’ve ever experienced. A few weeks ago it began to feel like Fall overnight. I had a horrible feeling about a monster Winter coming. Now it’s been predicted:

Brrr! Farmers’ Almanac says cold winter ahead

Households worried about the high cost of keeping warm this winter will draw little comfort from the Farmers’ Almanac, which predicts below-average temperatures for most of the U.S.

“Numb’s the word,” says the 192-year-old publication, which claims an accuracy rate of 80 to 85 percent for its forecasts that are prepared two years in advance.

The almanac’s 2009 edition, which goes on sale Tuesday, says at least two-thirds of the country can expect colder than average temperatures, with only the Far West and Southeast in line for near-normal readings.

This is going to be catastrophic for millions of people,” said almanac editor Peter Geiger, noting that the frigid forecast combined with high prices for heating fuel is sure to compound problems households will face in keeping warm.

Emphasis added by me.

However, there is disagreement:

The almanac’s winter forecast is at odds with that of the National Weather Service, whose trends-based outlook calls for warmer than normal temperatures over much of the country, including Alaska, said Ed O’Lenic, chief of the operations branch at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center.

Emphasis added by me.

All I know is what I’ve been feeling out there.

Hell Winter is coming.


Look at that evil smile! Evil!!

Why I Hate Sony Today

August 20, 2008


They’ve made a limited-edition Red Sony Reader!

They tempt me!

Note to self: Will. Not. Work. With. Mac.

Previously here:

Two eBook Posts By Writer Gary Gibson
Sony Reader Gets Truth And Love
Kindle, Schmindle
Sony Fumbles Its eBook Reader
Sony Tries To Do Right To Reader Pioneers
Sony Still Shoots Itself In Foot
Sony Reader Gets Some Love
Sony To Kindle: Up Yours!
Sony’s Strange Strategy
A Gadget Too Far
Sony, The New Titanic?
eInk eBook Readers: They’re All Dead, Jim!
Amazon: Already Toast
More Bad For Sony Reader: Kindles Coming
Borders Catches Cold, Sony Reader Gets Pneumonia?
Sony Reader Can Be Bought In Spain!
Oprah, Get A Sony Reader!
Sony’s In Worse Shape Than I Thought
Sony Has Big eBook News Today
Oh, NOW He Believes Me!
Macbook Air Vs Everex Cloudbook Vs Sony Reader
Does Borders Know The Sony Reader Exists?
Sony: I’m Not Alone
What’s Going On With Sony And Its Reader?
Sony’s Got Something Big For Their Reader
Has Sony Just Lost Its eBook Battle?

Free Short Fiction: Apex Digest Online

August 20, 2008

Apex Digest

Dear God! How’s this for a teaser?

Maxwell Sanders pressed the phone closer to his ear as if that would somehow bring comprehension. “Did you say trolls?”

I note this to return to later, when I have some sort of (iPod) e-(Touchbook) reading device.

(Shut up, Sony! I’m weak. I still have Reader lust!)

And all of you must read: Apex Editor: Deb Taber, which is brief, non-fiction, and funny.

— via Twitter from ApexBookCompany

xkcd Speaks For Me

August 20, 2008

xkcd comic

Your life is your life. Don’t let it be clubbed into dank submission.
Charles Bukowski

— via Twitter from aboutbooks

Writer Ken Bruen: Fall 2008

August 20, 2008


I wonder how authentic it will seem to me? When he writes about Ireland, I can feel it. But he lives in Ireland, so how to tackle NYC? Yes, he’s lived here, but that was a loooong time ago. It’s difficult to write about the subtle bits of a place you don’t reside in.

Thanks for the non-head’s up, St. Martin’s. You lot could join the 21st century, get on the Net, see who’s written about Bruen and — here’s a fantastic and shocking thought! — email them to see if they’d like to be kept abreast of new releases! Yeah, imagine that! Getting help from people who like writers to sell their books. How crazy is that?

And then you wonder why I hope you’re all wiped out!

See Ken Bruen’s eBook status at The eBook Test blog.

Previously here:

Quote: Ken Bruen
NoirCon 2008 Coverage
Quote: Jean Rhys

— screensnapped and reformatted all to hell from galleycat

I’m Late To Yet Another Party

August 20, 2008

The Bookseller to the Stars blog recently died. Like end of July recently.

This is a classic: Big Words, You Are Beautiful

The Fiction Bitch Is No More?

August 20, 2008

The Fiction Bitch (MetaFilter item)

The Fiction Bitch doesn’t want to encourage new writers. She wants to weed out terrible writers before they go on to bore millions of innocent publishing house interns to tears. If you suspect you are a lousy writer, the Fiction Bitch can remove all doubts, thus freeing you for other, more productive pursuits.

Damn! Do you know I have her in my LifeDrive?

This is what we’re now missing:

About The Fiction Bitch

1. Who is the Fiction Bitch? The Fiction Bitch is an experienced writer/editor with a loathing of bad writing and a heart of stone.

2. Why should I submit my fiction to the Fiction Bitch? You shouldn’t, if all you want is a pat on the back and polite, empty praise. But if what you want is an unvarnished, educated opinion, undiluted by tact or compassion — the straight truth — then the Fiction Bitch can provide this.

3. Doesn’t negative feedback discourage rather than nurture the creative process?
Yes, and that’s precisely the point. The Fiction Bitch doesn’t want to encourage new writers. She wants to weed out terrible writers before they go on to bore millions of innocent publishing house interns to tears. If you suspect you are a lousy writer, the Fiction Bitch can remove all doubts, thus freeing you for other, more productive pursuits.

4. How do I submit a story to the Fiction Bitch?
Submit your entry from the Submissions page, so that you view our Terms of Agreement. In order to maintain anonymity, we will remove your name before we pass the manuscript on to the Fiction Bitch. If the Fiction Bitch chooses to review your story, she will post it here along with her critique. In addition, readers are welcome to render their own opinions on the story. See submission guidelines below for more information.

5. Is there anything the Fiction Bitch won’t read?
No poetry. If you’ve always wanted to know if you’ve got the right stuff, and you’re tired of the gentle lies fed to you by your friends and relatives, send your story to the Fiction Bitch today…if you’ve got the guts!

1. Manuscripts may be sent as attached files or plain-text/rich-text e-mail (we’re not picky). File attachments must be in a MS Word-compatible format.

2. Authors will be identified by the name they use in the manuscript byline, or by whatever other identifying information is given. If you are writing under a pseudonym, use that name in the byline. If you wish to remain anonymous, you must indicate this in your submission.

3. Depending upon the number of submissions, it may be a week or more before the Fiction Bitch critiques your story.

4. Go to the Submissions page before sending your manuscript and read the Terms of Agreement there. It is assumed that anyone submitting a story has read and agreed to those terms.

And this is a review of an absolutely awful short story she was sent to critique (yes, I do have actual story — and no, you wise ass, I didn’t write it! — but I will spare you!):

Friday • 09.26.03

“The Tree” by A Guy Who Stole 65 Minutes of My Life

Here’s the short version of my review: this author needs to stop writing. Now. Give up, call it quits, hang up the gloves, whatever expression will do the trick. Just do not torture us any further. Bad writing will be punished; good writing will be as quickly rewarded. No reward for you.

And now for the long version.

“The Tree” is a passing good idea with an inept execution. The problems with sentence structure leaped out at me right away. Future writers of America: learn why a phrase like, “I had just received a beating from my stepmother when the demon came out of my mouth, while lying on the kitchen floor” is wrong.

The first paragraph was an indication of the pain yet to come. I wasn’t just dropped into the action, I was blindfolded and spun around first. There was an abrupt shift from present day to twenty years in the past, all of it written in a flurry of confused verb tenses. If you cannot get your verb tenses right, do not pick up the pen. Back slowly away and no one will get hurt.

As I’ve said before: tell me what a character is feeling, and the story practically writes itself. Unfortunately, I got no sense that the author was in the mind of his characters. He appears to have forgotten the father even exists by the end of the story (was he declared an unfit guardian, or what?), and I have little or no idea what the kid was thinking about all the fantastic stuff going on around him (although I was repeatedly informed that he was shocked and/or confused). The stepmother also bothered me. It wasn’t that she was a walking cliché (ooh, she’s scary because she’s fat and ugly!), it was more that I didn’t know why she was there. Was the story about a boy and a special tree, or about a power struggle between a sad, small-minded woman and a boy she considered an interloper? The author couldn’t decide, and neither could I.

Finally, the description and exposition left me feeling limp. It kept reminding me of notes in an outline – all action, no substance. As if to make up for the lack of effective description, the author would occasionally aim a blunt instrument at my head with expository sentences like “It was the demon that came from my soul” – just like that, right in the first paragraph, before I even know what is going on. Just between you and me, that ain’t the way to build suspense.

I wanted to know more about the tree at first, but finding out that it had plastic tubes that it stabbed little boys with so that they barfed out ticked off sap monsters when their stepmothers went berserk kind of cured that. Aside from the fact that plastic tubes in a tree is just lame (it’s a magic tree, do we have to have so much “how to” mad scientist talk?), I was more freaked out by the tree than drawn to it.

I suggest some nice whittling or ship-in-a-bottle making; something to keep those idle hands busy so they don’t do the devil’s work… making interns contemplate suicide, for instance, or at least a career adjustment.

I went looking for her to add to my Bookmarks and to recommend to others!

Ah, Fiction Bitch, wherever you are, I hope you’re reading some good stuff.

Online Shakeup At Barnes & Noble

August 20, 2008

Barnes & Noble’s online CEO resigns

Wow, I’d really like to know the story behind that!

Barnes & Noble said Marie J. Toulantis’s duties have been assumed by E-Commerce vice president Tom Burke and Kevin Frain, its chief financial officer. The bookseller said Toulantis will remain with the company as a consultant

Emphasis added by me.

Oh yeah, having a CFO marketing books online. That’ll work out as FAIL!

Toulantis will remain with the company as a consultant.

Translation: We don’t know this shit. Here’s money. Teach us!

So let’s see … Barnes & Noble acquires Borders, then sells itself to Amazon.

Nah. Bezos would just crush them.

Dear God, Steve Jobs, save us!!

Max Barry: Syrup

August 20, 2008

Another from my LifeDrive. This one especially for our (oh so fleeting!) Top Post of the Day subject: Gekko, who needs to read, you know, these things called books.

“She’s such a bitch,” Tina says, which I find a little contradictory, but overall quite true. “She’s got to be in charge of everything.”

I sit near to her. “Well, I guess. But in business, that’s leadership.”

Tina stares at me for a second. “I can’t believe you consider that a positive trait. How about her inability to accept other points of view? Is it good leadership to be narrow, too?”

“Focus,” I say. “They call that focus.”

Tina stares at me. “Her paranoia?”

“Business savvy.”

“Compulsive need to have everything just how she wants it?”

“Organizational skills.”


“Aggressiveness,” I say, “is already a good thing.”

“Jesus Christ,” Tina says, her eyebrow ring glinting in the morning sun. “Sometimes I worry about this country.”

[pgs. 162-163]
[Copyright © Max Barry 1999]

By the way, at one time Barry thought he’d be clever and add a second X to his first name. He dropped that.

Max Barry website

Previously here:

Writer Max Barry Gives A Laugh
Free Short Story From Max Barry