Archive for the 'ebook' Category

Thursday, August 6th, 2009

Kindle software update 2.0.4

According to this page, it’s here. At least the source code is. You heard it here first. -m

Sunday, August 24th, 2008

Trying to read _Playing for Keeps_ on an iPhone

Mur Lafferty’s new superhero novel is making the rounds. She’s encouraging everyone to buy a printed copy on August 25 (buy it here) to make a nice impression in the bestseller lists. I’m a sucker for these kinds of promotions. The full text also recently appeared on the Escape Pod feed, under a Creative Commons license. It’s a whopping 35 megabytes, including illustrated comic book covers…a nice touch.

It would be really nice to have this with me to read during spare moments without the bulk of the printed book. Hmm.

My question is: how I can read it on an iPhone? Ebook support isn’t that great so far, especially for the PDF format. I know about the data:url trick, but it doesn’t work with 35 megs. Has anyone successfully set up an iPhone to read this book? What software and/or conversions did you use? Comment below. -m

Tuesday, May 13th, 2008

Little Brother is out

Cory Doctorow’s Little Brother is now shipping from Amazon and other stores. I reviewed a pre-release copy of it and liked it. But the best part is–like Cory’s other books–it’s downloadable right now, for free, under an open content license. I can attest that this is an effective strategy for getting your name and your work out into the wild. If you really like it, then please purchase it in a convenient portable package, also known as a printed book. :-) -m

Sunday, March 23rd, 2008

Review: Little Brother

(sick again…at least I get to catch up on my reading)

Something has always puzzled me: I’ve never solidly connected with a Cory Doctorow story. It’s baffling; we’re practically brothers-in-geekdom. Most every nonfiction thing I read from Cory leaves me nodding in agreement. If we met, we’d have no trouble talking for hours about metacrap, free content licenses, and crypto. But for some reason, Cory’s fiction–short story or freely-downloadable-novel–hasn’t clicked with my peculiar mind.

Until now, that is. I emailed Cory asking him for a prerelease copy of Little Brother, in return for an honest review here. He was happy to oblige. The story pulled me in fast and hard, and by the time it was over, I wished there was more to the tale. I’d call that “solidly connecting”. :-)

The story is aimed at high-school-aged kids, and naturally features a cast of high-school-aged protagonists. This means that I’m quite outside the target audience, so your opinions might vary. Too many reviews fall into plot synopsis mode here, so I’ll try to avoid it. Suffice it to say that the story revolves around a close group of teens who get accused of involvement in a bigger-than-911 plot, and quietly fight back against the resulting oppression.

The tale has a lot of (and AFAIK this is a freshly minted word) techsposition. Like any exposition, it is a risky thing to do as a writer, since it halts the forward momentum of your story. It’s doubly hard to stop to explain technical details. Blocks of techsposition were heavy enough to throw me out of the story a few times. There were cases where the plot wouldn’t have suffered by glossing over some details. On the other hand, these not-quite-asides are about real-world (as opposed to fictional) technology, so definitely have some benefit for readers.

The story has a strong message, but it gets spread a little thick toward the middle. All the clever things the kids think to do happen fairly early in the story, but the plot keeps rolling along. There’s also a few too many instances of the really-smart teen who has outwitted or escaped from the clutches of The Man, just in time to appear in the action.

There’s a number of characters in the story, with complex interactions among them.  The main characters are solid, believable, and fully-realized. In fact, I’d point to the characterization as the main that kept me up late reading.

Little Brother comes out the end of April, both in print and freely downloadable. If you’re allowed to choose your own reading material, you might decide it’s worth a look. -m

Thursday, March 20th, 2008

Geeking out

I have here a pre-release copy of Cory Doctorow’s novel Little Brother.

With permission.

In plain text.

Being read with the UNIX command less.

On an XO laptop.

And so far it’s awesome. -m

Tuesday, January 15th, 2008

OK, I have to ask…

Does the MacBook Air make a good ebook reader? -m

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