Archive for the ‘Self Indulgence’ category

Is it Fair to Ask Bachmann about Her Religion?

August 17, 2011

Recently, Byron York of the Washington Examiner asked Michelle Bachmann to elaborate on her previous claim that she was “submissive” to her husband, and if this would translate to her being submissive as President. Much offense was taken to York’s question, but,  is it fair to ask Michelle Bachmann about her beliefs? Well, I say if a candidate chooses to make official policy decisions based upon a belief in punishment by an invisible entity in a some particular concept of an afterlife, well then, yeah. I would not only think, but hope, that people would be interested. Especially when there’s so much disagreement even among believers as to what any of these beliefs actually mean, let alone how one should act if the adopt such beliefs.

And questioning politicians about submissiveness based on their religious beliefs is not new. During the 1960 presidential debates,  John F Kennedy was asked about his Roman Catholic faith, and whether or not he would just blindly follow anything the pope happened to mutter that day. He claimed he wouldn’t, though I suspect that John XXIII was the one that told JFK to “go ahead and hit that” when he saw Marilyn Monroe.

It’s pretty easy to see that the current gay marriage issue is being decided entirely on religious beliefs, whether politicians are willing to come clean about it or not. It would be naive to think that a politician’s world view does not affect their politics. I mean, once you accept that invisible creatures are running the earth and that you are their servant, only you don’t really know what they want, but rather must infer it based upon 2,000 year old writings and your own “gut feel” as to their interpretation … yeah, important to know.

Especially Michelle Bachmann is one of those that thinks god actually tells her what to do

From Salon.com

Bachmann recounted how as a college student she decided to marry Marcus not because of a “romantic surge,” but because God had given her a vision that she was to marry him. God “began to create in us and to perfect for us what his plan was for us,” she added. Bachmann the college student didn’t want to go to law school, but nonetheless she said God led her to Oral Roberts University, the first “Christian” law school “where they taught law from a biblical worldview.” When Marcus told her she should get an additional degree in tax law, she exclaimed, “Tax law? I hate taxes. Why should I go and do something like that? But the Lord says, be submissive, wives, you are to be submissive to your husbands.”

Put on Your Fighting Trousers!

July 29, 2011

This just may be the best nerdcore tune ever!

Are E-Books Ready for the World?

June 11, 2011

Wired has an article called 5 Reasons Why E-Books Aren’t There Yet. While people can like or dislike e-books all they want, the reasons listed in the article are just ridiculous, and seem like more of a gripe than an honest critique. I’m quite found of e-books, and have been reading them for several months.

Wired’s “reasons” are in bold, my rebuttles follow:

1) An unfinished e-book isn’t a constant reminder to finish reading it.

If you need to be nagged to finish a book, buy better books! And, if a book I’m reading does wind up to be total crap, I can stop reading it no matter what the format.

2) You can’t keep your books all in one place.

Well, they are all on your e-reader. Not all e-readers organize books in the same way, so the author may have run into some kind of an issue. I use the wonderful e-book program Calibre in conjunction with my Nook (though it works with most e-reader devices) to act as a library management tool. It works pretty well, and there are other programs out there, too.

3) Notes in the margins help you think.

I don’t write in books, and don’t understand people that do. What, do they think they are having a conversation with the author? If you’re in the mood for writing, put the damn book down and write.

4) E-books are positioned as disposable, but aren’t priced that way.

Disposable? Who positions e-books as disposable? Once you buy one, it’s yours. If you buy from a major retailer, like Barnes and Nobel or Amazon, it’s backed up in your user account library, so you can delete it from your device, then re-download it at no cost (think of it as a closet!), or re-load them to a difference device if get a new e-reader. E-book formats are pretty standard modifications of html, so it’s not like they’re going to suddenly not work because of a future upgrade.

5) E-books can’t be used for interior design.

Well, this is just silly. Though, I do have some books that are used to look all old timey on the table behind me, my few decorative books aren’t meant for reading, and my reading books aren’t meant to be a decoration.

What are some real reasons to dislike e-books? Say, if I was paid to write an article? Mmmm, let’s give it a shot:

1) I’m a Luddite. I don’t trust tech-mology, and write about how awful it is on my web page.

2) I like to write on things, like a little kid, and paper books are like page after page of activity sheets.

3) I’m scared, and wolves are after me! I can throw a dictionary much more effectively than a Kindle.

4) Waiting for a book to arrive in the mail is like foreplay for reading.

5) I like to display all the books I’ve read for people to see. I also take picture of my food and make picture books out of them, which I then display on my book shelf.

Life in the Future!

May 29, 2011

Back when the future was 1999, and the present was 1966.

 

Besides the sexism, the self repairing machines are the only real mistake.

Rapture Prevented by “Macho Man” Randy Savage

May 21, 2011

In it came to pass, on May 21st, 2011, in a heroic act  of self sacrifice, “Macho Man” Randy Savage ascended to heaven to prevent the Rapture with a massive forearm to the back of Jesus the Destroyer’s head. Praise be to our savior. Macho Be Thy Name.

E-Readers: Kindle vs Nook, let the battle begin

April 26, 2011

The wife and I both decided that what we really wanted for Xmas this year, both of us being in full possession of our front teeth, were e-readers. We were mulling over which reader was the best for a couple of days, until we just decided to split the difference. She’ll get a Kindle, I’ll get a Nook. Then we could have all kinds of fun comparing and contrasting the two devices. Ok, we’re a bit strange. But, if you’re reading this, you’re probably glad we did it.

Shipping Time:

We ordered both our Nook and our Kindle on a Thursday evening, after normal business hours. Midday Monday, I got notice that both our readers had already arrived at our house. I chose basic shipping on both the items.

Winner: Tie.

Packaging:

The Kindle came in a basic brown box, The Nook came in very nice looking packaging.

Winner: style goes to Nook, environmental friendliness goes to Kindle.


Screen:

Both readers have nice e-ink screens that are easy on the eyes and look quite a bit like paper. The Kindle screen does seem to look a bit more like paper (results of a little less gloss, perhaps?).

Winner: Kindle

Use:

Both are easy to use and set up. The Kindle uses hard buttons, so typing can be a bit awkward, though most navigation is done with the 5 way controller, which is easy and intuitive. The Nook uses a touch screen, and the menus are set up to allow the user to easily tap with a thumb. Non-ebook use, such as the web browser, is awkward. Both devices are comfortable to hold while reading.

Result: Toss up.

Book Purchasing and Availability:

Getting books onto either device is about as easy as you can imagine. Anyone waking up from a 10 year coma would be able to figure it out without a glance at the manual.

Result: Tie

Title selection for both are pretty good, though neither is fully comprehensive. I made a list of every book on my book wish list and checked for price and availability for both formats: both hovered around the 50% availability range, the Kindle being a few points higher, the Nook a few points lower (though, honestly, a lot of my selections are odd books from small presses that aren’t really available in paper either). If you are a reader of popular titles (New York Times Best Sellers, then you’ll have nothing to worry about with either. In addition, both Amazon and B&N have a “tell the publisher you want this book” button on their web pages. Go to the books you want, and ping the publishers to get up with the times. There won’t be any immediate gratification, of course. But, it’ll let the publishers know that their readers will throw some cash their way if they make the jump.

Result: Slight advantage to Kindle

There also seems to be a lot of talk about book price going around the web; people seem to think that the Kindle has cheaper pricing than the Nook. But, as far as I can tell this isn’t true. Any popular titles (NYTBS list) seem to be matched to the penny. I have found some books from small presses that are cheaper on the Kindle by a couple of dollars, and one book that was way cheaper on the Nook.

Winner: Tie

Social Features:

The Nook has the ability to lend books to friends for a limited period of time. The Kindle has the ability to send quotes from the book you are currently reading to Facebook and Twitter. Originally the Facebook Quote feature didn’t interest me, but, now that the wife’s using it, I’m a bit jealous.

Winner: User dependent. I feel a lot of users will like Kindle’s Facebook app.

Adaptability:

On the Nook, the user can easily install their own screen savers and wallpapers by simply dragging and dropping jpgs into a folder. MP3 files can also be installed this way. For the computer hobbyists out there, the Nook runs on the Android operating system so … it can be hacked; I’ll wait until the newness of the device wears off before I try this.

Winner: Nook

Accessories:

The Kindle has a wider selection of attractive covers and skins. The Nook does to, but the selection seems to be wider with the Kindle.

Winner: Kindle

Non E-book use:

Both feature web browsers that are usable (barely). To be fair, they are ‘extra’ features, and not either of the devices primary use.

Result: Tie

Other:

Both devices must be charged first before use, for a good three hours or more. Initially, I thought my Nook was defective because I attempted to use it before it was fully charged, and it simply would not boot. After plugging it back in for another 30 minutes, it booted up fine and has worked great since. Both have great battery life, though the Kindle is better: I got the “time to charge” message after a week, while the Kindle was still going strong (the 1.5 firmware update for the Nook, which was released today, promises extended battery life).

The Nook comes with a few preloaded books which … I hate. For some reason, having a copy of Little Women on my Nook just gets under my skin (they are easy to delete from your B&N account page). There are also Freebook Fridays with the Nook but …  I’m a really picky reader so I just don’t care. There’s not enough time to read the books that I want to read let alone promotional giveaways. Both of us have downloaded and use the Calibre e-book management software, and it is quite nice for side loading content onto just about any e-reader out there. The guy that wrote that software has my utmost respect.

The Nook could stand for better organizing ability when I got it, but the new 1.5 firmware update allows the user to organize by “Shelves” that are user definable. The Kindle allows users to organize your books by “Collections” that are user definable, as well.

So, it looks like the Kindle does hold a bit of an advantage. Not really surprising, since they’ve been in the game a bit longer. But, the Nook is catching up real fast. And, with the Android OS and periodic fw updates (very easy, the pretty much install themselves), future advantages might lie in that products ability to adapt. Oh, have I mentioned, you can root hack the Nook? I thought so.

*Update* (4.26.2011)

After 6 months of using our devices, I thought I would give an update.

As far as reading books go, they both work well. But, I have noticed plenty of books have been released for the Kindle that have not been released for the Nook. So, Amazon is really keeping up on new title aquisistion, B&N doesn’t appear to be too concerned (neither the wife nor I are much interested in romance, light fiction, or other recent fiction ‘best sellers’, but I would assume that both would acquire those money making titles as soon as they can).

The Nook and the Kindle have both had one firmware update since we acquired them.

The Kindle has added a plethora of active content (chess, NYT crosswords, jumbles, Scrabble, MahJong, trivia, language tutors, etc). Some are free and others can be bought for a small charge (99 cents to a couple of bucks). The Nook still offers only Sudoku and chess.

The web browser on the Nook is so cumbersome that I dread using it (the soft pad is terrible for navigation). My wife has no issues hopping onto the internet to check stuff.

There is a notepad add on for the kindle that you can purchase of 99 cents. It’s simple, but the wife’s been using it effectively for taking notes in the college class she’s taking. The Nook classic does not offer any note taking solution.

The LendMe feature was exclusive to the Nook when we got our e-readers, but since then the Kindle has added a similar feature. The Nook LendMe feature is limited to one “lend” per book, the Kindle does not have a limit on the times a book can be lent.

When I mention to people that we purchased both a Nook classic and a Kindle so we could compare and contrast, people do ask which I would recommend. I’ve been telling them to go with the Kindle. And that they owe me.

Amazon is treating their Kindle as their major flagship product (and right fully so, Kindle books are now outselling paperbacks). B&N still seems to be focusing on their brick and mortar stores (that are rapidly turning into dens of supernatural fiction and board games), and their efforts for e-readers are divided between two completely different products (Nook classic and Nook Color), diluting their efforts.

One other minor irritant (ok, it bothers me much more than it should): the search engine on Barnes and Nobles web site sucks! I can type in the exact title of a book, and the searched for title will often be several selections down. And a misspelled title (I am the king of typos) will not be found at all. Amazon’s search engine is a modern wonder and should be worshiped as a god.

Happy International Space Day!

April 12, 2011

Today is the 50 th anniversary of the date Yuri Gagarin’s flew 200 miles into the atmosphere, making him the first human being in space.

To commemorate, the UN has declared April 12 to be International Day of Human Space Flight.