Monthly Archives: June 2013

The Return Of The Jungle

Jurgis could see all the truth now — could see himself, through the whole long course of events, the victim of ravenous vultures that had torn into his vitals and devoured him; of fiends that had racked and tortured him, mocking him, meantime, jeering in his face. Ah, God, the horror of it, the monstrous, hideous, demoniacal wickedness of it! He and his family, helpless women and children, struggling to live, ignorant and defenceless and forlorn as they were — and the enemies that had been lurking for them, crouching upon their trail and thirsting for their blood! That first lying circular, that smooth-tongued slippery agent! That trap of the extra payments, the interest, and all the other charges that they had not the means to pay, and would never have attempted to pay! And then all the tricks of the packers, their masters, the tyrants who ruled them, —the shutdowns and the scarcity of work, the irregular hours and the cruel speeding-up, the lowering of wages, the raising of prices! The mercilessness of nature about them, of heat and cold, rain and snow; the mercilessness of the city, of the country in which they lived, of its laws and customs that they did not understand! All of these things had worked together for the company that had marked them for its prey and was waiting for its chance. And now, with this last hideous injustice, its time had come, and it had turned them out bag and baggage, and taken their house and sold it again! And they could do nothing, they were tied hand and foot — the law was against them, the whole machinery of society was at their oppressors’ command! If Jurgis so much as raised a hand against them, back he would go into that wild-beast pen from which he had just escaped!

The Jungle, by Upton Sinclair

Available free at Google Books (download as PDF under the gear icon).

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Our Jules Verne Ant-Like Future

Sean’s Screed

Our whole nation has gone practical. Can you tell me where practical fits in with Bob Dylan or Alice Cooper or Joni Mitchell or even Sofia Coppola?

The book everyone must read (and, dammit, it’s available only in print): Paris in the Twentieth Century by Jules Verne.

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Not Books — Knowledge

Fighting The Pointless Fight: Books Come Back And Hit You, You Know

They say when you have a baby – when you hold it in your hands and feel how tiny and fragile it is — certain feelings well up in you that you have never felt before, which change you forever. I say when you look at a dumpster full of ancient books, you can’t possibly come away the same person. I have stood in front of mountains of discarded clothing higher than my head; I have seen warehouses of food sloughed off by supermarkets to go to food pantries; I have eaten freegan bagels and revived dumpstered computers; and I was not prepared for this.

Today I held a book in my hands from 1829 that was bound in leather – in actual dead animals. Its cover was scarcely bigger than my hands. The grain of the leather was so fine and soft. Its spine was torn away, leaving a mass like the inside of a squash. I opened it and could barely turn the pages out of fear I would kill its ideas with my clumsy futuristic hands.

I’m a digital book/eBook militant. But seeing books — knowledge! — discarded like that does drive me crazy.

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Chinese iPad Mini Clone Notes #5

ICOO has gone mad. Not only do they invite an Apple lawsuit (outside of China) on the “trade dress” issue, but they’re also inviting a lawsuit over Look & Feel (if not strictly Copyright) from Microsoft!

They’re offering a rip-off of the Windows 8 Metro/Modern UI on the ICOO Fatty 2:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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Nook Media: A Sinking Ship

The Barnes & Noble investor conference call this morning was one for the, um, books.

It was short, lasting about forty minutes, had few questions — none of which were hard-hitting — and was punctuated by moments of silence. I still don’t know if that silence was due to technical problems or if Lynch & Co. were hitting the Mute button on their speakerphone.

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As I Said First: Color Nooks Are Dead

I told all of you back on March 29: All Nook Tablets Are Now Orphan Devices

And now here we are:

Barnes & Noble Reports Fiscal 2013 Year-End Financial Results

Bloodbath.

And the color Nooks are dead:

The company plans to significantly reduce losses in the NOOK segment by limiting risks associated with manufacturing. Going forward, the company intends to continue to design eReading devices and reading platforms, while creating a partnership model for manufacturing in the competitive color tablet market. Thus, the widely popular lines of Simple Touch and Glowlight products will continue to be developed in house, and the company’s tablet line will be co-branded with yet to be announced third party manufacturers of consumer electronics products. At the same time, the company intends to continue to build its digital catalog, adding thousands of eBooks every week, and launching new NOOK Apps.

Boldfaced emphasis added by me.

So where does that leave them?

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R.I.P. Writer Richard Matheson

Richard Matheson, 1926-2013

Everyone has encountered his work: The Twilight Zone’sNightmare at 20,000 Feet” with William Shatner; the Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour cult classic movie Somewhere in Time, based on his novel Bid Time Return; more recently the movie I Am Legend, based on his novel of the same name; and the Cameron Diaz movie The Box, based on his short story, “Button, Button,” which was also adapted as a 1980’s Twilight Zone episode.

DuelMovie

And for those who never watch SF or fantasy, you encountered his work in the groundbreaking ABC-TV Movie of the Week directed by a young Steven Spielberg. It starred Dennis Weaver and was called Duel.

His influence was broad and incalculable. He left behind immortal work. Rest in peace.

Additional:

Wikipedia: Richard Matheson
Richard Matheson—Storyteller
The Men Behind the Zone #3: Richard Matheson

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Acer Iconia A1-810 Versus iPad Mini

With many people interested in iPad Mini clones, the video after the break should be of interest, even though it’s not in English.

Some screensnaps first.

Iconia on the left, Mini on the right:

A1vMini000

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The Color Nook Death Sale Continues

ColorNookDeathSale2
Click = big

Just how many of those are sitting in their warehouse?

No sign yet of a Death Sale for the eInk Nooks.

Tomorrow — June 25th — Barnes & Noble reports to Wall Street. Also this week is the Microsoft Build conference for developers.

If Microsoft doesn’t announce it’s acquiring Nook Media this week, it’s unlikely that will ever happen and Nook Media itself will join the Dead Pool. (What good are all those music and video contracts if all you’re selling are eInk devices?)

Previously here:

Is Anyone In Charge At Nook Media?
The Color Nook Death Sale Has Begun

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Cube Announces Second iPad Mini Clone

CubeCactus
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Like the U35GT, this is a Rockchip 3188-based tablet.

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