eBook reading on the iPod Touch

Yes – the 2.0 software for the iPod Touch allows (finally !) 3rd party software to be installed, making the Touch a more versatile piece of equipment than just a browser and audio/video player. Suddenly it becomes more of a PDA.

I downloaded the Stanza ebook reader to the Touch. It allows downloads of free ebooks from project Gutenberg. I downloaded a few, and got to read one for now. Having watched the “Jekyll” miniseries on DVD I got curious and wanted to (re)read the story giving the inspiration for the series – the short story “Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” by Robert Louis Stevenson.

Also I downloaded a few ebooks that come as applications for the Touch. Mike Stackpole has a few there, mostly short stories, but his novel “One a Hero” is there as well.

I have read a bit of those as well.

The small screen of the Touch is not really ideal for the purpose, but if you go travelling and want to travel “light” it is an option for having a set of books with you. It is easy to adjust the font size for relatively comfortable reading. Just don’t expect to read a novel in one go on the iPod Touch.

Bloated Linux

I have been using the standard Ubuntu Linux with the GNOME interface for a while with my small eeeBox.

The Atom processor got exhausted rather fast just running a browser, chat client and satellite tracking program.

Switch the desktop from Gnome to XFce, a lightweight desktop environment, and bingo, things run faster and the processor does not run into the 100% barrier. Looks like I will configure the XFce a bit, but that is a small price to pay for some speed.

Of course – it does not look as sleek as the other desktop, but I want functionality, not eye candy.

Ice on Mars ! Life on Mars ?

The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has detected large glaciers just under the surface of Mars.

This can be very interesting as water supply when (yes, I am optimistic) we send people to Mars – they do not have to bring large supplies of water. Could it be that – with care – the people going there can be self supporting with water supply ? Quite possible.

This is also a sign that Mars has had much more water than it has today. Maybe it even had an atmosphere dense enough to support life, more or less as we know it.

Full story

The “Blessings” of a Linux distribution.

Or rather – “why does a package not work as it is supposed to be ?”

Today I tried to install a text mode satellite tracking program under Ubuntu. It installs fine and starts up, asking for some initial data (“this is the first time….”). I enter the data, the program exits. Sounds ok. The screen (window) looks strange, I restart the program : “this is the first time …”

I do not know what is wrong, something is incompatible. Probably the modifications used by the distribution.

When I get time I will look into it, for now that will have to wait. But it is annoying.

Babylon 5 : 10 years since the final episode aired.

Exactly 10 years ago, November 25th 1998 the final episode of “Babylon 5”, “Sleeping in Light” was aired for the first time, completing the epic story.

Interesting is that just a few days ago the ISS had its 10th anniversary, too (the first module Zarya was launched). An imaginary space station was decommissioned and a the building of a real life space station was initiated.

B5 is a show I have watched several times by now, and one of the few shows (scifi or otherwise) that I recommend to lots of people. One of the things is that every single time I have seen it, there is something new – a new connection inside the story, a detail that has gone unnoticed before etc.

I have introduced it to a few people, watching it together with them and seen them come to love the show as I do. Not many shows can do that, and none other has done this for me.

Podcast : SciFi Talk

“SciFi Talk”, as far as I understand it, is Tony Tellado’s continuation of a radio show. It comes in a slightly irregular scheme (if any), but often I see two or three episodes in the same week.

Interviews, round table discussions etc about all things SciFi, Fantasy, Horror etc is the stuff of “SciFi Talk”. He generally appears enthusiastic and knowledgeable about the people he talks to, to a degree that I occasionally find too much.

Also, I am not much int the Horror genre, so I will skip many of the interviews.

This podcast is still in my iTunes feed, but if there are 2 or 3 downloads I do not always feel the need to get them all.

I think it will stay on my list for a while yet, but it is one of the podcasts under consideration for cancelling.

Link :

SciFi Talk

Doctor Who (new) Season 4 box set, Disc one

In the week end I have been rewatching the Children in Need special “Time Crash” and “Voyage of the Damned”.

“Time Crash” is a short special, in short the TARDIS runs Amok and the fifth Doctor (Peter Davison) appears. Quite fun and the “You were *my* Doctor” is a nice tribute.

One of the highlights in “Voyage of the Damned” for me was seeing, for the first time, Bernard Cribbins’ character Wilf – the alien hunter and amateur astronomer in the middle of a deserted London. A nice bit of continuity, even if that is not known at the first viewing, later we learn that he is Donna’s Grandpa. I generally enjoyed the story, even if it was not the greatest of Doctor Who.

Podcast : Dragonpage Cover to Cover

A weekly podcast all about the written word in SciFi, Fantasy etc.

Most of the weeks this show is hosted by Mike Mennenga and Mike Stackpole. Both have written books, Stackpole just “a few” more, including some New York Times bestsellers.

For now I have read just one of his books (Star Wars: “I, Jedi”) and two short stories. I like them, but more about that later.

General discussions about books and publishing can often, to me at least, be quite interesting. It looks like we are going to see a shift in publishing the written word similar to what we have seen in the music industry. Actually it has already started. Ebooks are becoming common, and ebook readers are seriously coming now. Amazon has the Kindle, Sony has a reader, and the iPod Touch has a set of ebook reader packages available, some are free, some not. On the other hand, paper books are not going to disappear overnight, there is something about having a *real paper* book in your hands.

I do have an iPod Touch, more about that at a later stage

Every week has an interview with an author, publisher etc.

Finally, the library segment, where they talk briefly about books that have been sent to the studio, and an occasional book review.

In the last episode I listened to there was an invitation to submit content about book publishing, more reviews etc, so I expect to listen to a more varied podcast in the future.

This is one podcast I expect to stay in my iTunes subscription, I particular like that Mike and Mike sound like they are really enjoying doing the show, apart from it being informative and entertaining.