EarthCore- podcast only novel

EarthcorecoverScott Sigler wrote a novel and sold it to AOL/Time Warner who published it in 2001 as an ebook that sold quite well.  So well, in fact, that they intended to release it in paperback in 2002 until in a bout of cost cutting they shut down the division that published books like Scott’s.  It took him a year to recover the rights to the book, only to find it impossible to find another publisher willing to release the book.  Not one to let that get him down Scott has come up with a novel way to bring EarthCore to the masses.  From the EarthCore web site:

EarthCore is the world’s first podcast-only novel: you can’t find it in stores, you can’t download the full audio, and the only way to find out what happens is to subscribe to the podcast. This novel is a cross between episodic modern-action fare like "24" and classic sci-fi movies like Predator and Starship Troopers.

To subscribe, copy this link into your podcast application:

I’m subscribed.

Mobile Gadget Form Factors

Russell Beattie has a nice post on his blog that analyzes the various form factors that different mobile devices need to accomplish different tasks and he simplifies this overview with a wonderful abstract graphic of the different forms currently available.  The main point of his article is a search for the holy grail of mobile devices, the search for the perfect device for everyone.

I tend to take a different stance on mobile devices, the greater variation in device types we have the easier it is for each individual to find their perfect device.  Everyone’s needs and routines are so different that to try and pin everyone to one type of device is not only futile but actually impedes the incorporation of mobile technology into the lives of many.

The interesting thing I noticed when studying Russ’s form factor graphic is how intuitive it is in presenting pretty much everything available today.  It also makes it clear to me that trying to converge every mobile device function into a phone is not the way to go, at least for me.  I would rather see a small tablet-like device a little bigger than the Sony U750 that can easily fill four of the six functions that Russell depicts in his drawing.  The Sony U can actually fill the four functions right now, especially with a portable keyboard attached.  If you are willing to put up with a bigger device a Tablet PC will satisfy all of Russell’s needed functions right now.

Socket WinXP woes- a followup

Last year I ranted about the way Socket handled the drivers for their CF Bluetooth card and the problems I had trying to get it to work on the Sony U.  I have a CF card that I have used for a long time with my Pocket PC but could never get it to work well with the Windows XP based Sony.  The drivers that Socket made available for download were terrible and the BlueSoleil drivers I purchased from Socket weren’t any better and I finally gave up and got a Billionton CF card which works flawlessly.  I was anxious to get the Socket working because the card doesn’t stick out from the slot making it much better to just leave it in all the time without worrying about possibly damaging it.  It never worked with all the peripherals I wanted to use so I moved to the Billionton and never looked back.

Lending credence to my observation recently that companies are paying attention to bloggers who write about problems with their products I was recently contacted via email by a Socket representative who wanted to help me with my problem using their card.  One of my original complaints was the difficulty in getting up to date BlueSoleil drivers for the Socket CF card because they are produced by a third party company and not Socket.  The Socket representative genuinely wanted to help me out and he sent me the very latest drivers which are version for me to try out and see if it solved my problem.

I haven’t had time to install these drivers yet for two reasons- the Billionton works perfectly with the Sony, the ThinkOutside BT keyboard, my Motorola cell phone and the Bluetake mouse; and according to the Socket rep the Socket CF card still does not work with the ThinkOutside keyboard, even with the new drivers.  So, when I get enough time to remove the Billionton s/w and install the Socket I will give it a go.  It’s just hard to get motivated to do that when I know the keyboard will still not work.

Kudos to Socket for contacting me on their own, I appreciate that they were willing to help fix the problem.  The Socket rep did tell me some good news- Socket is working to make their BT cards work with the WinXP SP2 Bluetooth stack which will eliminate most of these types of problems.  He did not indicate when that might actually happen or whether it would be a solution for users with existing cards.  My bet it will be restricted to new models that Socket will release when that happens.

Print on demand publishing

Anybody who is interested in print-on-demand publishing needs to check out this article on the Foner Books website.  I hear from a lot of people who are interested in publishing their masterpieces and print-on-demand publishing can be a cost effective method to do that.  This article takes an actual publication the authors released and explains the entire process for those interested.  They give complete cost comparisons for all the alternatives and explain in detail why they went the route they chose.  They show a year of sales in the life of their publication as they tracked the different sales channels.  Very informative look at self-publication.