Sunday, November 15, 2009

Weekend free books reminder - and Odd News

Fireflies in December - this book averages 5 stars from 25 users rating it, so I thought I'd start with that.

Here is the Direct Link to the most recent free and under $1 books reminder, unchanged from Late October.   Click on that to get various lists of free or ultra cheap books and the links to them.  It would be difficult not to find something for $0.00.
  (Maybe return here later for the odd tidbits below.)

  Unfortunately, I need to add now that international Kindle users in Europe and some other countries are in high wireless-cost areas, so Amazon charges about $2.30 for the otherwise free book.  For those Amazon customers, I recommend again the following instead
You can download to your computer for later transfer to your Kindle free "mobi" or "prc" format books from,,, and as I've often mentioned, any of 30,000 well-formatted books from the Project Gutenberg set.  The instructions meant for the Project Gutenberg to Kindle will work for your computer, and you can move the downloads over to the Kindle later.
 For those interested in an easier-to-remember shortcut to Amazon's 100 Bestsellers (the majority seem to be free but there are regular-priced ones in the list as well), try

1.   Crunchpad - There are many articles wondering if it's a dead project.  Consensus seems to be, from 5 months of silence, that after a rise of expected price from $200 to $300 and then to $400, the parts became even more expensive and this web-only tablet would not likely sell well at $600 or $700.  In the meantime, no one at TechCrunch is saying a thing.
  At the same time, there are several articles also saying that it would not do well at that price because the currently vaporware Apple Tablet (someone wrote about it as Apple Slate) would do much more and "come in under $1,000."  I should hope so; I have no idea why something so pricey would be considered an e-reader killer.  But it will no doubt be fun to use.

  I'm elated with the Samsung NC10 Netbook which, at under 3 lbs, I carried on my 3-wk vacation (often in a backpack along with my DX), blogging comfortably from Egypt on it and now it can read my Kindle books.  With 7 good hours of battery use, I can't see wanting a battery-eating tablet.  Unfortunately, the pricing went up on this Samsung model, because it's the only 10" netbook with a non-glare screen - no reflections - and a great keyboard plus excellent screen display with accurate color.

2.   NOOK display stands in New York
This is a very promising e-reader, with its added file formats, including ePub, its loaning capability and the WiFi option plus an SD card slot (not to mention people are attracted by the possibly battery-gobbling color LCD navigation screen at the bottom of the unit).

Forum responses from B&N staff confirm that publishers decide which books can be lent out and that any one book can be lent out once only, for 14 days, during which time the owner can't read it (the latter part makes sense).  A second loan to another person later can't be done for the same book.

Gizmodo has a story and photo, with their trademark style caption - "The $259 Double-screen Gadget That Stole All The Crappy Kindle Thunder will arrive in November 30" - while showing a Nook stand at 86th and Third Ave.
  They updated this with the news from another reader that there was a 2nd stand at Union Square but that "He says the units are not real, however: They are plastic mock-ups."  It could be that unanticipated demand for the product affects demo models.

3.   Robert Murdoch is still complaining
Recently, Murdoch had complained that the Wall St. Journal saw only 1/3 of revenue from Kindle subscriptions (it's said by an industry insider as mentioned in another blog entry here that the split is 33% publisher, 33% Amazon and 33% wireless-provider -- the latter paid by Amazon).
  Now, he's got a slightly better cut and is not happy about that.
' Murdoch, speaking during a conference call, noted that News Corp. gets about $6 to $6.50 for every $15 Journal subscription Amazon sells on the Kindle.  "That is not a great deal," he said.  "Amazon treats those people as their customers, not our customers." [Imagine the nerve of Amazon.]  Murdoch said there will probably be "half a dozen" e-readers of some kind on the market eventually, and News Corp. will be open to deals with the distributors of those devices.  "As long as we get a [sufficient] portion of the revenue." '
  He's also been threatening to charge iPod and Blackberry users soon.  But I haven't read anything on that recently; on the other hand, I haven't been paying attention.

  Murdoch has also announced that he plans to block Google search-access to his newspapers once they all go to Pay status.  Two interesting and different takes on that (not negative) are at bigmouthmedia and PCAdvisor, UK.

4.   Completely off topic - "My Nightmare Interviews with Google"
Reading this gal's experience with the strange questions asked by two interviewers was mind-boggling.  They're looking for people fast on their feet, but ... Also, here's a follow-up story: 15 Google-interview questions that will make you feel stupid

5.   A maybe useful 'gadget' for a Kindle world:
  Massaging backpack relaxes your back.
  (The link doesn't work at first. Click on "Try again" and then it does -- very weird.) Below are ways to Share this post if you'd like others to see it.
-- The Send to Kindle button works well only on Firefox currently.

Send to Kindle

(Older posts have older Kindle model info. For latest models, see CURRENT KINDLES page. )
If interested, you can also follow my add'l blog-related news at Facebook and Twitter
Questions & feedback are welcome in the Comment areas (tho' spam is deleted). Thanks!


  1. Andrys,
    F.Y.I., I got the following message on both my home and work computer when trying to access the “massaging backpack” link:

    You don't have permission to access /wp-content/cache/supercache/ on this server.
    Additionally, a 403 Forbidden error was encountered while trying to use an ErrorDocument to handle the request.”

    Also, very interesting item on the Google interviews. I’ve bookmarked it to use in my lecture on selection in my human resource class. Believe it or not, there are some interview “systems” that are even more seemingly bizarre than this. I’d be interested to see if Google’s method would stand up to legal scrutiny if challenged as to applicability/validity for the relevant job title. Take care.

  2. Batman,
    Yes, the link worked for awhile and then it started giving me that bit but when I click on the 'Try again...' link it works so I left it in. Didn't find another link. I should just replicate the pic as I don't think it tells you how to get one. It's very funny looking! And doesn't seem to be something that allows you to carry anything!

  3. Okay, I got it by pasting the URL in Google. Yes, funny looking, indeed - kind of looks like a turtle shell costume. ;-0

  4. I'm addicted to the Homedics Therapist Select Kneading Shiatsu massagers - little things you can put on the back of a chair and it can be placed high, low, to the side. Very effective!
    Usually about $30 at Walgreens but they've a new model out now.

  5. Fortunately I never got to the interview stage with Google. One of their recruiters sent me a couple of links to YouTube videos showing the supposedly joyful, productive working environment at Google. It was a horror: no privacy, either visual or acoustic. Completely open bullpen, not even cubicles. Constant noise and distraction and interruptions. I guess I'm just too old to get used to this kind of thing; the engineers in the videos who said they loved the noise were all very young. I suspect the older superstars like Rob Pike and Ken Thompson get their own offices.

  6. Hi, Mark
    You really -were- lucky. Maybe the very young, who grew up in a world filled with distractions are most comfortable with the constant (over)stimulation. I slept over cable car tracks and found it harder to sleep in quiet for awhile! And, I guess it's cheaper when your employees don't feel they need quiet and space to concentrate best.

    Your blog, by the way, is terrific. Really interesting info.


NOTE: TO AVOID SPAM being posted instantly, this blog uses the "DELAY" feature.

Am often away much of the day, and postings won't show up right away. Posts done to use referrer-links may never show up.

Usually, am online enough to release comments within a day though, so the hard-to-read match-text tests for commenting won't be needed this way.

Feedback and questions are welcome. Thanks for participating.

Technical Problems?
If you're having problems leaving a Comment, Google's blogger-help asks that you clear the '' cookies on your browser's Tools or Options menu bar and that will fix the Comment-box problems (until they have a permanent fix).

IF that doesn't work either, then UNcheck the "keep me signed in" box -- Google-help says that should allow your comment to post (it's a workaround to a current bug).
Apologies for the problems.

TIP: There's a size limit. If longer than 3500 characters or so, in a text editor, make two posts out of it.

[Valid RSS]