Archive for September 18, 2008

R.I.P. Writer James Crumley

September 18, 2008

U.S. crime novelist James Crumley dies in Montana at age of 68

HELENA, Mont. — Crime writer James Crumley, known for books with hardened detectives and endings that deliver a note of optimism, has died in Missoula at the age of 68.

— via Victor Gischler

Quote: Nikki Finke (On True Blood)

September 18, 2008

Ugh, HBO Renews Repugnant ‘True Blood’

So Plepler and Lombardo now think they’re heroes. I’m here to tell them they’re not. True Blood is the definition of craptastic. When Alan Ball was first pitching it, he told HBO, “This is popcorn TV for smart people.” But I felt like a dumbass for watching all four advance episodes expecting some kind of intelligent life to emerge on the small screen. And if the pay channel bosses had half a brain between them, and taste that wasn’t in their mouths, they’d feel ashamed to feed this junky show to HBO’s already malnourished viewers.

Wow.

And Fringe is crap too. So far, only Leverage is worth seeing.

Sony Reader Revolution Campaign

September 18, 2008

Weirdly, clicking on a link in a French newspaper that I thought would lead to Sony France bounced me back to America’s SonyStyle site for the Sony Reader.

There I found out they’ve launched a very … sad … promotion for the Sony Reader called the Reader Revolution. (Why does this seem like it’s been done before? Has it? Did they do it before?)

This leads to a splash screen …


Click = large sadness

… where there is actually a point to this (see red underlined text):

OK, I like that sentiment. So, I did the video. And it’s not one of those things you can shunt off to the side and let run for its two minutes. No. There is interactivity:


Click = big

However, I was dumb enough to believe in a selfless act. No. Sony wants your email address in order to actually count your viewing as one-fifth of a five-view donation. So, I did that too:


Click = big

Then they wonder if you will let them spam invite four other people:


Click = big

Yeah, well, OK, it’s for The eBook Cause. So I did that too!

As it turns out, there’s more to this than just this silly retro- barfable- pathetic online campaign. There’s actually going to be something happening at some stores that sell the Sony Reader. Click here to see Upcoming Tour Dates. You can get away with just putting in a zip code and area radius for store listings (if any) and a map.

In New York City, it seems that every Borders Store will be having an event on this Saturday, September 20th, from 11:00AM to 5:00PM. Check to see if that’s the case where you live too.

Anyone who wants to see eBooks flourish: Go ahead and view the video and spam invite four friends. You — and they — can always opt-out of Sony spams emails after the first one arrives.

In the meantime, you’ll be helping to get eBooks out there where the non-Internet everyday people can encounter and maybe even use them.


Reading and eBooks: A Revolution I Can Get Behind!

Sony Reader: French Press Coverage

September 18, 2008

Apparently it will debut with only two-thousand eBooks. I hope they boost that number fast. And I hope that number doesn’t include the “100 free classics!”

Sony Reader : le livre numérique franchit une nouvelle étape

« Reader » a été présenté mardi 16 septembre par le groupe japonais Sony. « Reader » est un livre électronique qui permet de stocker 160 bouquins dans un boîtier de 260 grammes ! Il sera commercialisé en octobre. L’objet est déjà disponible aux USA et au Canada depuis 2006 ainsi qu’au Royaume Uni. Il a pour principal concurrent le Kindle d’Amazon qui a déjà un an d’avance et qui offre en plus de « Reader » une connexion sans fil au Web.

C’est officiel, le livre électronique de Sony sera bientôt disponible chez nous.

Pour ceux d’entre vous qui s’en souviennent encore, le Reader de Sony a été présenté au début du mois de janvier 2006, à l’occasion du CES de Las Vegas, aux États-Unis.

Affichant 250 grammes sur la balance, il s’agit d’un livre électronique pouvant stocker jusqu’à 160 romans dans sa mémoire interne ( la synchronisation se fait via le port USB ), mais il peut également lire des ouvrages stockés sur une carte mémoire de type MS ou SD grâce au lecteur prévu à cet effet. L’affichage se fait sur un écran LCD 6 pouces ( ou 15,24 centimètres ) avec 8 niveaux de gris et une résolution de 170 dpi. Sa batterie Lithium-Ion est rechargeable en 4 heures par USB ou en 2 heures sur secteur et permet la lecture de 7500 pages ou d’une douzaine de romans.

Sony lance le livre électronique pour tous

De son côté, le Reader de Sony s’adresse aux amateurs de livres qui ne veulent pas ou ne peuvent pas s’encombrer de volumes imprimés. «Il n’a pas pour but de remplacer le livre, mais d’être un support additionnel, essentiellement pour les grands lecteurs et les étudiants qui ont l’habitude de lire dans les transports en commun», souligne Samir Militao, responsable du marketing du Reader. Pas de liaison Bluetooth ni 3G, mais un simple câble USB à relier à un ordinateur pour y transférer des contenus. Cependant, pour donner toutes ses chances à son livre électronique, Sony a fixé un prix de vente raisonnable (299 €) et s’est investi pour que ses clients puissent profiter d’un maximum de contenus. D’abord en signant un partenariat avec la Fnac et Hachette pour donner accès à une boutique en ligne dont le catalogue propose près de 2 000 titres en français : essais, romans, guides de voyages, manuels pratiques, etc. L’acheteur du Reader trouvera des nouveautés comme les derniers ouvrages d’Amélie Nothomb, Éric-Emmanuel Schmitt, Jacques Attali, Max Gallo, Katherine Pancol, Jean-Paul Enthoven, etc. Mais à des prix très proches de ceux des ouvrages imprimés (10 à 15 % moins cher seulement), ce qui pourrait retarder l’adoption du Reader.

La guerre du livre électronique aura bien lieu

Attaque et contre-attaque en France sur le marché débutant du livre électronique

Sony, qui a lancé mardi dans l’hexagone son “Reader” (concurrent du Kindle d’Amazon), a choisi de s’allier avec la Fnac pour la distribution et avec Hachette pour le contenu.

La maison Gallimard annonce de son côté qu’elle va proposer à la fin du mois une offre de livres numérisés sur le site de sa librairie le Divan.

Des livres qui seraient lisibles sur plusieurs formats électroniques, sans exclusivité.

L'(énième) retour du livre électronique

Le livre électronique, c’est un peu l’Arlésienne du numérique. Beaucoup en parlent, peu l’ont vu. Ni le Cybook première génération, pourtant lancé en grande pompe par l’académicien Erik Orsenna en 2001, ni ses multiples déclinaisons depuis. Et pour cause, à chaque fois ou presque, les expériences se sont soldées par des échecs. Et pourtant, il revient cette fois par la volonté de trois acteurs de poids : le constructeur japonais Sony associé au distributeur Fnac et à l’éditeur Hachette. Surfant sur le succès américain d’Amazon et de son Kindle, les trois partenaires affichent un optimisme certain pour ce qu’ils qualifient de mini-révolution. Et une fois n’est pas coutume, “grâce à une offre diversifiée et récente de livres qui va permettre de découvrir une nouvelle expérience de lecture”, selon Arnaud Nourry, pdg d’Hachette. Soit.

It’s interesting that the abominable Kindle is mentioned in many reports, even though it might not appear in France for well over a year!

Google France link to Sony Reader news search

Chronicles Of Depression 2.0: #217: Do Over!

September 18, 2008

US Weighing Plan to Set Up Facility to Hold Bad Debts

Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson is working on a plan that would set up a government facility to take on bad debts from financial institutions, preventing a worsening of the global credit crisis, Wall Street sources have told CNBC.

The facility would be similar to the Resolution Trust Corporation, which was set up in 1989 to take on all the failed thrift assets during the savings and loan crisis, these sources said.

They’re applying the Bush Doctrine to this crisis. They’re pulling a pre-emptive DO-OVER!!!

Such a move, according to its advocates, would allow banks to shovel bad debt off their balance sheets and allow the firms to go back to business as usual. It would also eliminate the need for individual company bailouts.

In turn, that could allow the housing market to recover because it would restore banks willingness to lend.

Emphasis added by me.

What are the international ramifications of this?

What will Japan especially think of this? Japan “lost” a decade because of a property values bubble. They were told by us to take their medicine. Now we’re going to pull a Do-Over on them?!! What do you think the Japanese will tell the Chinese on the Mainland, and Korea, and Hong Kong?

I’m unconvinced this is going to work.

Finance is international. Do you think our firms can simply reset their balance sheets like that when the balance sheets in other countries are running with blood too? This has to have revenge effects.

This could be the unknown factor I’ve been awaiting.

How exactly is this going to work in the real world?

And why can’t we the people get any profits that accrue if this Do-Over works and the value of what’s being held appreciates? Why should the risk be our burden and the profit be private property?

I’m unconvinced this is going to work.

And what about the millions who have already been thrown out of their homes because of phony property values and fraudulent mortgages? Why couldn’t they have gotten Do-Overs too?

I’m damned unconvinced this is going to work.

All prior Chronicles of Depression 2.0 posts. Read them before you must.

Chronicles Of Depression 2.0: #216

September 18, 2008


Composite of Drudge. Click = big

Bush says he’s working hard on economic turmoil

And I’d say he’s damn well succeeded too. We have turmoil.

Oh, but that’s not what he meant. He may as well have.

With the financial markets in turmoil, President Bush said Thursday that he shares Americans’ concerns and the government will act aggressively to avert a deepening crisis.

Bush was supposed to spend the day in Alabama and Florida raising money for Republicans and talking energy policy. But he canceled the trip to focus on what is unfolding as the worst financial meltdown since the Great Depression.

Aiming to be reassuring and to show that he is working on the problem, he said the markets are adjusting to the “extraordinary measures” that have been taken in recent days by the federal government.

“The American people can be sure we will continue to act to strengthen and stabilize our financial markets and improve investor confidence,” Bush said in two minutes of remarks delivered outside the Oval Office.

He did not specify what actions would be taken. The president was to meet with economic advisers over much of the day, and was seeing Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson at the White House later Thursday.

Emphasis added y me.

That jump in the market is the signal we’ve all been sold down the river. Especially if it goes up tomorrow too.

Because our nitwit President, who “puts food on his family” and who welcomes Grecians here, is a lame duck and he knows that.

So when he met with the Fed and the Treasury, he told them one thing: “Do whatever you have to do.”

Because, what the fuck does he care? He’s gone in January.

America might be too.

All the money sure as hell will be.

All prior Chronicles of Depression 2.0 posts. Read them before you must.

Chronicles Of Depression 2.0: #215

September 18, 2008

GOP hits Bush on econ troubles

The greed on Wall Street is only exceeded by the stupidity of the Treasury secretary and the chairman of the Federal Reserve.

— Republican Senator Jim Bunning of Kentucky

Red Headlines For September 18, 2008

September 18, 2008

The New York Daily News is also good for a second image:

The New York Post had absolutely no finance on its cover!

Sony Reader At Brooklyn, NY Target Store

September 18, 2008

I had an appointment today that took me back to the neighborhood of the Target Store I’d been at a few days before I knew the Sony Reader was going to be on sale there. So I stopped in with the Philips crapcam and took some pictures:


The signage. So, only young and pretty white women read, huh? This Target Store is where young and pretty white women are a minority. So: Oopsie!


The Sony Reader itself, locked-down. Crapcam doesn’t pick up the text on the screen!


Blurry pic of the lightwedge cover.


That alligator cover and travel pouch combo.


Another shot. The color is waaay off. It’s darker and screams Suit!


The Sony Reader packaging itself.


If you squint, you can see the text on the screen.


Display also had prepaid gift cards and an AC adapter. And too many headphones!

Well, overall I was rather disappointed with it. Down the aisle was a display for a smart pen. It had a small screen with video demo. I think the Sony Reader should have had that too. As it stands now, only people who know about the Sony Reader will seek it out. This is a missed opportunity to educate people about eBooks — and about the existence and use of the Sony Reader itself. I’d upgrade these displays with video. Hell, I’d replace that signage with a big-ass LCD TV that silently shows how the Sony Reader works and a big-ass Press ME! button to run an overwhelming video/audio demo of the Sony Reader. Eat that, Amazon Kindle!