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Before Wiscon, I purchased a Sony E-Reader Pocket Edition from woot.com. It was a good deal (I'd have to look up how much, and my connection is not at its best at the moment), even though it was refurbished.

I was hoping it would come before I left for Wiscon, but not expecting it. I did expect it to be here waiting when I got back. But it wasn't! I finally got it on Thursday, after it had traveled the country on the back of a snail with a Fedex logo on its shell.

They were sold out of black when I finally went for it, and silver is boring, so I got 'red' which is really 'rose', which is really more of a nice pinky-purply color and not as feminine as it sounds. I seem to be acquiring red electronics... (my ds is red and my portable hd).

I plugged it into my computer to charge and took a nap. A long nap, as it was fully charged and ready and waiting for me when I woke up. From the literature that came with it, it wasn't entirely clear to me if I had to install the Sony software or not if I wasn't intending to 'purchase' any books. But, in the end, I did install it.

I accidentally 'ejected' my reader just shortly after I got the software going, which caused me some confusion. I had clicked an icon half-expecting it to expand the 'folder' (and the other half expecting it to at least give me a clue what the icon was 'do you really want to X?'). I had to actually read the help to figure out the icon was the eject button. And so I closed the program, unplugged and replugged in the reader. And it was back.

I downloaded 3 of Cory Doctorow's books and an epub version of Peter Pan I found with a Google seasrch. (See? I said I wasn't going to purchase books! I didn't say I was going to acquire them illegally!)

It wasn't too hard to get them on the reader. And then, voila, there they were! I stayed up too late that night picking up For the Win where I had left off (from my hardcover print copy). It was the combination of reading, and using a electronic device, nice and comfortable-like while in bed, that just kept me reading and reading. Hey, it's a step up from playing Picross 3D or random Facebook games!

Unfortunately, this is when I hit my first disappointment. The book had typos. Then.. the book had errors. Was the epub created from a proof version of the manuscript? Because I can't blame the person who turned it into epub for the errors I found. You'd think the digital versions would be more up to date and more correct. As fans read and say 'Look, Cory, this is wrong.' But.. no.

I can't easily compare it to my print version, as the page numbers don't match up. But I do see that one of the main character's names, which switches from Goldberg to Rosenbaum and back in the epub, seems to have been corrected to just Goldberg in the print. Hopefully his age is consistent there as well, because that was repeatedly bugging me. First he'd be nearly 17, then he'd be 17, then 18, then nearly 18, then back to 17. Driving me mad!

I still haven't finished the book. Now I'm not sure if I should finish in the print version or the e-version. Just how different are they?

My next thing I did was (after clearing the block on my library account from a lost book I'm sure I returned and which will probably show up in the next week now that I've paid for it) browse the library collection of e-books from Overdrive. There aren't a whole lot, and we're sharing with everyone in the state. And, annoyingly, the sf/f is all in with the 'adult fiction', so I had to browse 400+ titles. I placed holds for 4 books, and one came up just last night. So that was quick.

Overdrive gave me a download button, which returned gibberish when clicked on it. It also told me to download Adobe Digital Editions. So I clicked through, and clicked through, and clicked, and then a little flash popped up that said 'connecting'. And did not move from there.

Restart the whole thing from Firefox, beginning on the library's website. Click, click, click, click, click, type in barcode, click, click, click, click, click... there may have been one or two more clicks in there (not fewer!).. and approve the flash. Nada. I had gotten further in Opera.

Tell flash blocker to allow all flash from adobe.com, reload, reload again for good measure. Et, voila. Now it downloads. And installs. La la la. Okay, you need an Adobe ID. So go get one.

Click on it, and it opens Opera (my default browser) which sits there and sits there. Stop, refresh. Nope. Won't load.

Go to adobe's homepage, click my account, create an account that way.

Yay! Finish the install. It tells me it found a book or something that it's now going to associate with my adobe ID. No idea what that was, since it wasn't the book from Overdrive (which I didn't have yet) and my other epubs should've been drm free. But.. anyhow..

Now download it from Overdrive. And get it onto my reader. Yay!

And it's going to mysteriously self-destruct in 14 days. Boo!

The book I grabbed this way was This Book is Overdue a nonfiction book about libraries and stuff. Maybe that's like.. apropos or ironic or something. But I mention the title because the formatting is crap!! The margins are insane. So on longish paragraphs, I just get this skinny straight block of text with no break for my eyes. Grr. For all the errors in For the Win at least it was pretty to read! (And Cory had inserted adverts for various bookstores, and mentioned our trip to Mysterious Galaxy for the Harry Potter 7th book release. Squee.)

So I hope all the Overdrive books aren't formatted like this. Or I won't bother. Hold queue, fourteen days to read it, _and_ horrible margins? No thanks. There's plenty of other free content out there.

And I aim to find it.

Oh! The reader itself! Yes, I quite like it. It's easy to hold and curl up in bed with. It's a bit annoying you have to have the light on, but well, you would with a book anyway, wouldn't you? I like the size and the placement of the page flip button. The battery still shows all its bars, even though I've been reading like mad for 3 days now. My only wish is that it was _slightly_ lighter. Perhaps made of hard plastic instead of metal. Or maybe I just want a bit of padding in key areas.

It came with a sleeve, but I think I might want to buy a case for it. I'll take suggestions.

I would recommend the device to other people without hesitation.
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I was Googling the Interwebs and found this 3-page article in Popular Science. It's a couple of years old, but I found it both interesting and helpful. It discusses the Singularity, science fiction, and the future of science fiction, and the writer talks with Charles Stross and Cory Doctorow. I'm thinking I need to read more Stross.

Is Science Fiction About to Go Blind?

This new brand of science fiction, I realize, like all the best SF before it, is not just about predicting the future or pushing an agenda or even plain old entertaining techno-fun. It is all that, but it’s also about expanding the boundaries of the possible, building far-out worlds and then populating them with characters who bring the big ideas down to Earth. “That’s what you’re supposed to do in science fiction,” Abarbanel tells me. “You make a leap that’s 10 orders of magnitude beyond what we can actually do. If they don’t do that, then we don’t get there.”

Lately I've felt like science fiction had been moving on without me, while I was reading fantasy, space opera, and slightly older sf/f. And I think it was hindering me from fully appreciating (and even actually enjoying) the fiction being published in magazines like Fantasy & Science Fiction.

You know how most science fiction requires that you know how to read science fiction to really get into it? I think I hadn't kept up and was reading with the science fiction reading level of a junior high school student. Which means some of the recent stuff was perfectly accessible to me, but some had aspects that were going over my head. I wasn't getting it, without quite knowing why I wasn't getting it.

But I'm catching up.
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The Locus Awards Finalists are posted right on over here.

Go Cory!

Some books there I definitely need to read. I was eyeing Powers at the library today.
julieandrews: (Default)
I just finished reading Innovation Nation by John Kao. It talks about how the US is falling behind in the realm of innovation and how if we don't step up, other countries are going to overtake us more than they already are. We could be in serious trouble economically. And you know bad economically will lead to bad everything else.

It's an interesting read and I found myself wishing I could put it in the hands of each of the presidential candidates. But I specifically mention it here because of two things.

Cory Doctorow (follow the link in a timely fashion to see the cute new Doctorow) gets talked about. You're an innovator, Cory! (He probably already knew that.) The book talks about how he used a Creative Commons license to rocket himself into stardom. We all knew Cory was cool, but here's another person proving it.

And not long after that, the book talks about UCSD. Apparently UCSD is an innovative school, in how it was conceived and how its organized. I admit, it made me even more tempted to apply there. I was already thinking about it when I discovered that starting in Fall 2009, they're going to have a Master's program in Writing. They don't have details yet, and they won't be accepting applications until this Fall, but I'm definitely thinking about it.

Another reason I'm considering it is because I attended the Nancy Holder chat that the Clarion Foundation hosted. Two classes she taught/teaches on Buffy and on science fiction sounded cool, obviously.

It's my hope that UCSD will have a science fiction/fantasy-friendly writing program.

I also hope there will be scholarship, grant, and fellowship opportunities. But that's another matter.

Back to Innovation Nation, as I did have another comment I wanted to make about it. I only remember one woman getting mentioned in the book. I admit I may have missed a couple. I wasn't specifically looking until about halfway through. Are women not innovators? Are women not getting noticed? Is Kao himself just biased? Unconsciously, one would assume, since he does make a point to change up his pronouns a bit when speaking generically. Still, it makes me wonder: What's up with that?


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