Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Ludlum's over for me...

I began to read The Icarus Agenda and then stopped and checked it back into the library. I think I have maxed out on Ludlum. I have read so may of his books that they are all sort of flowing into each other, each one a plot of megalomaniacs taking over the world. I liked that for the first ten books or so, but now I think I've read enough to have, in effect, read them all. Since reading Alan Furst, the bar has been lifted for any novel I read of any geopolitical topic. I am reading Night Soldiers now, and that's going to take awhile. In eReader, I just finished reading Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere. It was like reading a video game. His first novel, it was not at all fleshed out. The characters left a lot undiscovered, and the alternative world was left pretty much unexplained. I did like it though. I am looking forward to the next Gaiman ebook I have, Stardust.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Diversifying...

I started Eyelets in the Seams so that that topic won't figure heavily in this blog. Since the picture today is of my beloved rice cooker, I may as well extol its virtues a bit. NO home appliance is quite as handy if you like rice. The best small appliance buy I ever made, and I've bought plenty of small appiances (a personal obsession). LOVE it. The only drawback with mine is that there is only one container and no lid for it out of the cooker. One should be able to store rice in the frig in one container and have one for use when the rice runs low.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Not alone anymore...

After all this time I am not the only family blogger. I'll be adding two sites to the side bar - two my home on the web type sites, one containing a very funny blog. One is the family comedienne, and one the family heavy metal musician. He has less to say. No blog? This is the twenty-first century, and although it is in many ways a shame, everyone could be blogging. See them on the side bar later.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Fiber Optic to the home...BTV

Let me begin by saying how exciting it is to live in a city with the foresight and initiative to undertake a task of this magnitude. Fiber optic to the home is a great network, and providing telephone, Internet and television as a municipal service is the best idea since Bell made that first call. Read about the current state of the network at 802 Online.

Having heard of this being started in the Mid-West by some small city or other several years ago, I was excited when I heard that my city was thinking of asking the voters if they should go ahead with the plan to bring this to Burlington. The answer was yes, and the plan got rolling. I was waiting for the day the cable went by my house so we could sign up. The only high speed Internet we could get was Adelphia for many years, and then Comcast after their purchase of Adelphia. Service with Adelphia was extremely poor to put it mildly, for both television and Internet, and of course we had to have Verizon phone service. With Comcast, service got measurably better, but the cost was extremely high to have Comcast cable TV and Verizon phone service. The cost savings for all three services with BTV is remarkable. There were delays in the completion of the infrastructure, but we got online with BTV last October.

There have been occasions for using the support provided, and this weekend, after an ice storm of two days, we really had an Internet problem. Here is where the localization of services really pays off. LOCAL service from LOCAL people. We know where they work, and we can call and talk to them. If we had to, we could go down there and actually see them. They don't work out of a sweat shop in Bangladesh, or a bank of phones in South Carolina or California. They work a few blocks down the hill and are part of our community. I am thankful for the support folks at BTV, and I applaud their efforts to make sure we can get the services! Our router seems to be in a group of several problems of the same kind which have been experienced in the last couple days. BTV is sending out an engineer to the homes to check and solve these problems. TRY and get that kind of service from a huge faceless corporation.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Seattle entries finally tuned....

I finally finished the entry on Seattle from last July! I had pictures to add, and I must say that the picture coding here on blogger is confusing. After many trials, I have the text wrapping well, but the pictures aren't in the order I had envisioned. Here's the link to Seattle entries. I once again found I couldn't stop myself from starting a Ludlum book. This time it's The Aquitaine Progression. In eReader, my new updated version for Windows of eReaderpro, I am reading Prester John, a dated novel by John Buchan. While a swashbuckling adventure, it does illustrate the colonial prejudices common in its time. I love his writing, and have previously read several of his novels set in and around WWI. The new version of eReadPro has a handy bookshelf feature which the software badly needed. I have no idea why it was so long in coming. The Mac version doesn't have it so far. Soon?

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Reading through to Summer...

After a quick read through Robert Ludlum's Holcroft Covenant
I was ready for something a bit less frenzied. It's a long, complex and depressing book, actually. The movie was different in resolution, but had the same ambiance. I then took up Marjory Allingham's The Tiger in the Smoke, a very different sort of book from the usual procedural she wrote. It is a philosophical book, a thinkers story of the evolution of evil, juxtapositioned with good. A morality tale which leaves the reader glad for resolution, and appreciative of the chance to pick up the book at the local grocery store from a charity book heap for the low low price of one dollar. I finished the Allingham book, happy to have discovered a real sleeper, and then took up Alan Furst again. I have bought all the rest of his WWII era novels, as they are so well written and so thick with plotting, philosophy, ethical conundrums, and all the detail of that era in Europe and Eastern Europe of which he writes. His novels could be a class in history all by themselves, but human history, not dry recountings of espionage tales, not fast-paced romps through violence and mayhem, but thoughtfully moving accounts of human experiences at difficult times and in difficult places. Choices or no choices, the characters struggle to survive, to reach decisions made sometimes in the society of ethical vacuum, and always these choices open paths down which our characters struggle to maintain a human dignity, even in the midst of chaos and terror. Mundane daily survival becomes a problem of turmoil and compromise. I am reading Night Soldiers now.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

eReader SOLD...winter...blogging malaise

eReader up and sold to Fictionwise. HHhmmm....I haven't a clue what this will mean for the Palm book format. Motricity decided to get out of the ebook biz and concentrate on their mobile technology lines. Can't blame them, but I liked eReader and never dealt with Fictionwise. The changes so far seem to be backend, and are good so far. Cart remembers you and what you have in it, wish list changes as you add books to cart. These are new changes. So the site is being retooled to bring it up to more current usage practices. I wonder when the changes in book unlock and so on will come if they do come.

AMAZON'S Kindle may be the driving force behind this merger for Fictionwise. There is already ability to get some books with mobile phone technology other than Kindle. As long as Kindle is so expensive and so limiting in format I am not interested as a buyer, but of course I am interested as an observer. It's development is interesting. The ebook readership has not grown to the proportions envisioned back in the early 90s of course, and Kindle might lure a few more people into the fold, so in that way it may encourage other vendors as well.

Winter proceeds - we have broken the ALL TIME record for snow in February and fast approaching the top of the top 10 all time winter snow loads. How wonderful. Could have lived without the honor. Can't do much either way.

Blog malaise sets in every few months...I think post-blogging is hitting me just as post-iPod did! Blogging is at best a harmless narcissistic activity for those of us who can't find enough people in real life to bore, and after awhile it does lose its shiny newness. I could go on about the political climate, how boring is that? Pretty darn boring!