Bookblog name

Still mulling over this on.  On other news, the movie Ninja was crap.  I dislike armored ninjas.

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There are a couple of things I’m thinking of lately.  Firstly, I want to upgrade the look of this site.  It’s been a while, and I think it’s time to make sure that the look is upgraded to reflect the seriousness of all the objections that I usually make in this place.  WordPress has premium themes all over the place, and I was shocked to discover that Movable Types doesn’t really have a comparable marketplace.  As I’ve said elsewhere (read: Twitter), if you don’t have people selling stuff on your platform, you’re pretty much toast.  I’ll still keep a look around, but not being incredibly optimistic.

The other thing is I’m thinking of starting a book blog – a site where I’ll chronicle my reading journey.  It’s not a high-falutin review site; it’s not like I’m a thoughtful and prolific reader.  The genesis of this site has more to do with the fact that I’m forgetting things at an alarming rate, particularly on the things that I’ve read, what I felt before, during and after I’ve read them.  The fact that I can only recall one or two scenes from the entire book of Raymond Feist’s Magician (which I did not enjoy), makes it very difficult for me to formulate coherent points to defend my position, not just on this book, or any other that I’ve read.  And no, I don’t think that forgetting the majority of the book is really a point in and of itself.

I dislike the fact that we spend so much time reading, and only a sliver of the knowledge contained from the effort is retained.  I recently read Daniel Ariely’s Predictably Irrational, which is a fabulous book about how we make decisions, why our supposedly random decisions are in effect pretty predictable after all.  The book is endlessly fascinating, but I can’t remember most of what I’ve read, and it’s distressing!  The same with Freakonomics, and will undoubtedly be the same when I read Outliers, or Lolita, or whatever.

So the book blog is primarily a personal journal of what I’ve read, along with stuff that has to do with my reading adventure.  It’s not going to be regularly updated, but that’s ok, since it’s primarily a tool for me to remember stuff.

We’ll see how it goes as the days roll along.  I’ve had this in my head a couple of weeks now, and the task of coming up with a name for the blog is messing with my sleep.  This is an itch I desperately need to scratch soon.

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I’ve recently purchased a couple of games from Valve Software’s Steam service.  The service is enormously convenient – a good selection of games, constant stream of special offers, and they make it ridiculously easy to spend.  All well and good.

After a while I started to think about the fact that should the day come when Steam goes out of business, my purchased games go Poof! – as if I had never owned them.  This is because the purchased games themselves are contained within the Steam infrastructure – they are DRM-protected content that I will not be able to access without Steam.

This isn’t new, and we can see this all around us.  Kindle books are tied to Amazon’s device, and can’t be retrieved should Amazon goes out of business.  There are lots of ebooks sold today that are also encrypted in one of the many available DRM-enabled ebook formats (i.e. Microsoft Reader’s LIT, Mobipocket’s .mobi, encrypted .pdf files, etc).  In fact, my ebooks encrypted in the MS Reader format cannot be opened as there’s a problem with the activation process on my Windows Mobile smartphone.  Until recently, music purchased via iTunes cannot be played without the iPod (Apple has not too long ago made the majority of their music files unencumbered with DRM).

This makes me a little nervous.  One could argue I wouldn’t care about the games I’ve purchased by the time Valve goes out of business.  But if they were items which I owned, then at least I had the option to give it to someone, or archive it.

This brings to memory an XKCD strip that struck a chord with me: it’s meaningless to purchase a complete collection of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series on the Kindle.

The only thing that doesn’t come with DRM are actual physical commodities, e.g. dead-tree version of books.  I’ve not sunk in money in this area yet, but the pull is quite irresistible.  Especially for that perpetually-absent-from-storefronts copy of Hemann Hesse’s The Glass Bead Game.

Ok, rambling over.

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Ok, it’s not a podcast – it’s an NPR radio show.  But I get it weekly via the RSS feed. Anyway, I just wanted to say it’s my guaranteed laugh-a-minute podcast at the moment, and I’m loving it.

Go google it up.

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I understand what he’s saying. He’s got a point to put across.  So why did I feel the way Tucker Carlson did it was so blatantly evocative of a simple ‘revenge’ act out towards another who humiliated him?

Summary: Years ago during the 2004 campaign trail, Jon Stewart appeared in CNN’s Crossfire where Carlson was a co-host, and basically told off Carlson that Crossfire was not doing enough to ‘hold politician’s feet to the fire’ and ‘hurting America’.  The clip of Stewart’s attack became an Internet sensation.  Two weeks ago, Stewart had Jim Cramer, a CNBC financial pundit, on the Daily Show and proceeded to rip Cramer up for what Stewart considered to be Cramer’s ‘responsibility’ to the American people to expose the warning signs within the financial industry that is the precursor to today’s financial meltdown. Carlson appeared in CNN after the Cramer-Stewart interview and, uhm, ranted.

Here’s a link to The Huffington Post where Carlson rips into Jon Stewart on CNN’s Reliable Sources.

And here are the clips of Jim Cramer’s interview in the Daily Show which prompted the tirade by Carlson.

Now this is what I call reality TV. 

See for yourselves.

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Sure, this is old news already, but hey, it’s still appearing in Reuters’s list of most popular articles.

Chuck Norris has sued Penguin, the publisher of the book "The Truth About Chuck Norris: 400 facts about the World’s Greatest Human", which lists previously unknown gems such as:

  • A cobra once bit Chuck Norris’s leg. After five days of excruciating pain, the cobra died.
  • Chuck Norris can charge a cell phone by rubbing it against his beard.
  • When an episode of “Walker, Texas Ranger” aired in France, the French surrendered to Chuck Norris just to be on the safe side.
  • Chuck Norris was the first person to tame a dinosaur.
  • Chuck Norris once visited The Virgin Islands. Afterward, they were renamed The Islands.
  • Every piece of furniture in Chuck Norris’s house is a Total Gym.

Obviously, these are all fake truths made in the name of fun.  I think Norris was widely denounced as a complete dunderhead when he sued, saying he was as funny as wet burlap, and that may be true.  However, it is stated that he believed Penguin and the author of the book of “misappropriated and exploited Mr. Norris’s name and likeness without authorization for their own commercial profit.”

This case reminds me of JK Rowling suing to prevent the publication of the Harry Potter Lexicon.

I’m not saying he should be suing, I’m just saying he may be all fun and smiles while the Chuck Facts is free to float around in the Internet without commercial implications, but he kicks ass when someone compiles all these things and sells it as a book, possibly even without compensation to the original writers of these gems (I don’t know) or to Chuck himself.

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