Um… (attention-span failure)

Kindle Singles. Score one for iPad enthusiasts. Soon there’ll be no time to suffer the unfortunate effects of backlit screens. Kindles are better for extended reading? Yeah, well. Whatever.

Savage Chickens cartoon used with permission. Read more

Crack-crazed butterflies in rampant botanical garden

The future of the book

“Meet Nelson, Coupland, and Alice — the faces of tomorrow’s book. Watch global design and innovation consultancy IDEO’s vision for the future of the book. What new experiences might be created by linking diverse discussions, what additional value could be created by connected readers to one another, and what innovative ways we might use to tell our favorite stories and build community around books?”

1. Alice. To say I resemble a Ludditic old fart is … Read more

No iMac for me, no sirree.

I’m not going to buy the iMac. (See my earlier post 26 July: “Make yourself feel better and save $200,000 to boot“.)

I recognize the syndrome. The world is going to hell all around me, and I haven’t won any literary prizes this week. My girl don’t love me and my chickens all ran away, not to mention my cotton won’t grow (© Mad Max iMac McGinty), and I sit here singing the blues and wondering … Read more

Make yourself feel better & save $200,000 to boot

We’re afflicted, here in Bangkok, by an atmosphere of foreboding. The messy events of April-May might appear to be behind us. But this surface calm, in some ways, resembles a moonlit pool on a still night. You’d never suspect this pool is full of big sharks just waiting to erupt in a frenzy. All they need is for someone to toss them a nice chunk of something bloody. Yesterday’s bomb was the mere slice of a dorsal fin, a wee … Read more

Spinning in our pre-graves rools, OK!

* PRE-OBITS. P.J. O’Rourke has recently suggested a way to help draw readers back to newspapers.


No industry in living memory has collapsed faster than daily print journalism,” he suggests. “You can still buy a buggy whip, which is more than can be said for a copy of the Rocky Mountain News, Cincinnati Post, or Seattle Post-Intelligencer.”

What’s needed, he suggests, is a new kind of feature: “What I propose is “Pre-Obituaries”—official notices that certain Read more

Blacksmiths & blockheads? “Payment and reserved copyright are at bottom the ruin of literature”

“No man but a blockhead ever wrote, except for money.”
  (reported by Boswell, in his Life of Johnson)

Attributed to Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), the renowned author and lexicographer, that’s one of the most famous writerly aphorisms in the English language.

Others have seen things differently.

Arthur Schopenhauer, for one (1788-1860), had this to say about the matter:

“There are above all two kinds of writer: those who write for the sake of what they have to say and Read more

Vanity, or Canny? Literary YouTube

The issue du jour in publishing: What’s happening to traditional controls on the industry? Digital technology has plunged us into an era where not only can anyone be a writer, you can be a “published author.” What does this forebode? Check out this video on the Wall Street Journal site and, for any actual readers out there, the story.

The lemmingesque rush to write and publish could well herald further social and cultural change to come. Soon there’ll be Read more

Unemployed Blacksmiths and Novelists Support Group

It was all foretold in Finnegans Wake. It could have been, anyway.

There’s just no end to human ingenuity. Now you don’t even have to buy an e-book reader to suffer Internet interconnectivity. Ubimark has developed a way for readers to evoke Web connections from a print book by way of cellphone camera and browser. Have a look at the following item (short article & video), “Putting the Web inside the printed book.”

Ubimark, iPads and Vooks Read more

Apocalypses on all sides

Me again. It seems Thailand is having its own little Apocalypse, back there where you folks are now. What with the Red Shirts, and the Yellow Shirts and the Multi-colors and one thing and another. The past few days have seen the hopes of all right-thinking people taking a roller-coaster ride. Meanwhile, it’s plain to see some other people believe it’s to their advantage to have civil society explode into real strife, and to heck with the good of the … Read more

Beepification

Leary here. I see Collin is worried about where this world is headed. And well he might be. Much of what he says about the iPad is true, but he doesn’t foresee the half of it, or the other snazzy devices coming just around the corner.

Anyway, I was reading some old notes the other day, stuff from way back at the start of my second half-century. I see that one day in Bangkok in 2010 I was riding the Read more