Archive for the ‘Techno News’ Category

From Steve Jobs to a Request for Feedback

Friday, October 7th, 2011

retroI missed my regular blogging spot (every other Friday) last time because I was in the midst of a Mac crisis.  Said crisis involved a Separation from my Beloved MacBook Pro since said device had to be sent to Apple for some minor work.  I sent it off on Thursday and it was back in my hot little hands on Tuesday morning, which is service that can’t be beat.  Anyway, due to my having to resort to my backup iMac and, no doubt, some pouting over the loss of my Beloved MacBook Pro, I didn’t get around to blogging.

I blogged a few weeks ago about my affection for Steve Jobs.  As the whole world knows by now, he is lost to us.  He was a visionary, an innovator, a design genius, and so much more. I felt his death much as I felt the death of John Lennon 31 years ago.  RIP, Steve Jobs.  You truly did change the world.

Now, on to subjects that are a bit less fraught. I’m hearing that Romantic Suspense as a genre is in trouble and that it’s a tough sell to an editor.  Anybody care to elaborate?

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A Shameless Plug: AAR-Amazon Kindle Links

Wednesday, September 28th, 2011

Mucho excitement is in the air today.  Amazon has announced a new range of Kindles, including a basic Kindle for just $79 and a $199 Kindle Fire tablet.

If anybody is buying a Kindle today, we’d very much appreciate it if you’d use the links below to do so:

Kindle Touch 3G

Kindle Touch

Kindle Basic

Kindle Fire

AAR will receive a small commission for each Kindle purchased through these links.

- Sandy AAR

Steve Jobs: You Are Still the Coolest

Friday, August 26th, 2011
YouTube Preview Image

We’ve all heard the news by now:  Steve Jobs has resigned as CEO of Apple.  Though he will still be involved with the company since he’ll serve as Chairman of the Board, it’s fair to say that his day-to-day involvement with the company is at an end.

Back in the late 80s (gulp), I arrived at my first day on the job at an advertising agency and they sat me down in front of a Mac. I remember one of the first things I did that day was to take a tutorial designed to show me how to use the mouse.  A mouse?  What the heck was that thing and how did it work?  I soon learned.

Ever since that day I have been a certified Apple geek. For the most part it was a lonely little world, consisting of me and my ad buddies against the world. When I first joined AAR over 10 years ago, I was the only one on a Mac and it caused problems.  But I was unconcerned.  I knew the Mac was better and everybody else would eventually come around.

Then along came the iPod and all that changed.  The iPod not only revolutionized the way we listen to music, but it brought new people into the Mac fold.  Suddenly, we were no longer an exclusive little group of dedicated diehards.

Then came the iPhone.  And the iPad.  And the rest, as they say, is history.

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Connie Brockway Is Launch Author in Amazon’s New Romance Imprint

Thursday, May 5th, 2011

connie-199x300We had quite a party around here when Connie Brockway announced her intentions to self-publish several books that readers have long been waiting for, including sequels to As You Desire and, my personal favorite, All Through the Night.  While this discussion was punctuated with many booyahs, there were also quite a few complaints from those who don’t have an eReader and no plans to get one.  Turns out more than just readers were listening.

Here’s Connie:

About a month ago I was here announcing my intention of “going rogue” by writing and publishing my own books. The announcement certainly garnered more attention than I’d expected, including from Amazon. Soon afterward, they contacted me with a fabulous proposition: Would I like to be the launch author Montlake, brand new digital and print and audio publishing imprint dedicated to romance.

It didn’t take long for me to say yes –even though it meant I had to down-grade my status from “rogue” to “roguish.” Because I’d been impressed with AmazonCrossings, and I knew they could do similar wonderful things for the romance genre. Now I don’t mean to sound disingenuous, but my first consideration really was the reader. One of my greatest regrets in “going e” was the thought of disappointing those of you without an eReader. (Oh, yes. I read every comment.) Montlake will make my books available to everyone, in every variety of formats, including print, though digitally the books will only be formatted for Kindle—but remember, you can download a free Kindle app that you can use on your phone or your computer.

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Nook Update: It’s Great! Not.

Wednesday, May 4th, 2011

cartoon-bucket-on-head-sitting-on-the-fence-undecided-576x272This cartoon from Edward Lear’s Laughable Lyrics perfectly illustrates my feelings about the recent Nook Color (NC) software update: A man, sitting on a fence, with a bucket over his head.

When it comes to technology, sometimes I feel exactly like that: Blind, frustrated, and living out a giant crapshoot.  Case in point: The Barnes and Noble Nook Color, version 1.2.  Between Monday when I got the email notification to Friday, when I handed in this blog, my emotions sort of went like this:

  • Monday: Excitement
  • Tuesday: Ecstasy
  • Wednesday: Disenchantment
  • Thursday: Resentment
  • Friday: Resignation

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Readers Love eBooks. Too Bad Publishers Still Don’t Get It.

Friday, April 22nd, 2011

sonyIn case you missed it, in February sales of eBooks were up an astonishing 202% from the same month just a year before. To make the news even more impressive, for the first time eBooks exceeded sales of all other formats – specifically hardcovers and, the former staple of romance, mass market paperbacks.

Wow.  Just wow.  This change has happened far faster than I ever would have expected and it reflects a few things that I think are most significant for readers:

  • The enormous ease of eReading.  You want it, you got it without having to worry about whether or not a capricious bookseller will have the book you want in stock.
  • The anonymity of eReading.  While I wish it weren’t the case, women are often embarrassed or uncomfortable reading romance and with eReading, it’s your business and yours alone.

And, even more astoundingly, this growth occurred despite the lame-fisted, ham-handed, stupid, ridiculous, short-sighted, hide-bound, tradition-worshipping New York publishing industry.

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Barnes & Noble Nook Color: A Review

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011

nook-colorUnconditional love – that’s what I give my lovely Nook Color.  I’ve now had it for three weeks, even though the device has been out since November, and I’ve got a fairly good idea of its capabilities.  First, it must be said that the NC is a very specific device.  It’s a color touch screen tablet that’s still, first and foremost, a device for reading books.  When it comes to reading, the NC mostly succeeds.  In other areas, not so much.

The Looooove

  • Reading Library Books: This is the most important reason that I got an eBook reader, and I have no complaints.  Adobe Digital Editions, that’s another matter.
  • Size:  I deliberately chose a larger size that more closely resembles (so it seems, anyway) the dimensions on a paper page, and I love the 8” x 5” dimensions with a 7” screen.  I’m all in favor of fewer page turns.
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Apple Has Caused a Ruckus. Again.

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011

apple_its_showtimeBut this time it’s not over the latest iPod iteration or another generation-defining device.  Nope, now they’re pissing people off with their new subscription rules.

The facts are these: Consumers can now subscribe to magazines and newspapers through the iTunes App Store.  The pieces were put in place with Newsweek and the Daily, in October and earlier this month respectively.  But now you can subscribe to almost anything, provided the publishers agree to the new regulations.  And the big sticking point for the publishers is that if consumers make the purchase from within the iTunes App Store, Apple takes a 30% cut of the revenue.  If you make the purchase outside the App store, Apple gets nothing.  And the publisher can’t provide a Web site link from within the app.

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No Personal Jet Packs Yet, But Still

Friday, January 14th, 2011

O CarAccording to the experts, there was very little or nothing particularly new at the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show.  Well, pooh on you, you jaded roosters – I found it plenty fascinating.

It’s not just the whole tablet thing, although there’s more than enough variation to keep us occupied for at least another year.  We’ve got tablets that slide out and tablets that dock in, tablets that swivel and flip and connect.  (Heck, I wouldn’t be surprised if next year they came up with a tablet that could dance.)  But aside from all the tablets, and the obvious implications for readers on the digital book market, one thing struck me in general: The In Death reality is a lot closer than I thought.

For those who aren’t familiar with J.D. Robb’s In Death series, it depicts a world fifty years in the future, where there are autochefs and robot servants, handheld audio/visual communication devices, lots of synthetic foods, weird and wacky cars;  in short, everything that could be touched by technology has been touched, and possibly enhanced.

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Enter to Win a New Kindle 3 from AAR (Contest Closed)

Monday, January 3rd, 2011

Kindle3We’ve got a brand new Kindle 3 Wi-Fi to give away this week to one lucky reader, courtesy of AAR.

The Kindle is the most popular product in Amazon’s history and, as someone who loves her Kindle 3, it’s easy to see why.  So, if you’ve been wanting a Kindle 3, but find yourself not quite ready to shell out the bucks, this is your chance.

Entering is easy.  All you need to do comment to this post by 11:59 pm on Thursday, January 6th.

A few caveats apply:  Please comment only once.  Due to high postage costs, this giveaway is only open to residents of the U.S. and Canada. The winner will be chosen at random and notified by email on Friday morning January 7th.  The winner will have 24 hours to respond to the notification email and claim the prize.  After that on Saturday, January 8th a new winner will be chosen.  That winner will also have 24 hours – and so it will go until we have a winner. So, if you enter, please remember to check your email on Friday morning.

Good luck to all!

– Sandy AAR