05
Nov
08

Read about ion shield for future space explorers

ion shield

ion shield

This site has lots of great papers from e-journals, including a top article here about a proposed ion shield for space travelers. This would replace the bulky shielding being used today. Not a new idea to SCFI fans mind – ion shields of this kind have made an appearence on the big screen in films like Mission to Mars.

You have to be quick with this site – stuff is free for a limited time only.

05
Nov
08

Iphone ebooks – is it OK to pay for public domain books if they look purdy?

Iphone classics

Iphone classics

The lastest e-book available on the apple app store for a couple of bucks gives you 11 public domain books presented in a very purdy way.

looks purdy

looks purdy

All of which begs a question – why pay even 3 bucks for e-books you can get for free? Sure the interface is nice, and the formatting looks good, but this strikes me as a return to the bad old days given that items purchased on the store are DRMed and only work on one device.

If you want it, get it here

03
Nov
08

Oprah endorses the Kindle – e-books about to cross the chasm to mainstream?

kindle+oprah=love

kindle+oprah=love

On October 24th Oprah Winfrey endorsed the amazon kindle on air, saying “I’m telling you, it’s absolutely my new favorite thing in the world.”

There is evidence in the blogosphere that this is prompting people to look for the kindle on google and via direct links from Oprah’s site, and the kindles model of “buy the reader, preview books then just buy books anywhere for a flat price” could now take off in the same way that itunes/ipod took off for music. Such a shame amazon is even more USA centric than Apple!

22
Oct
08

Neal Stephenson – Anathem is not Scifi or Fantasy

Anathem

Anathem

It would seem Steve’s publisher has advised against this being pushed in a “niche” genre, because most sites are listing it as “general fiction” – which is baloney – the plot is set on a planet that is not earth, with lots of odd terminology and technology. I guess that maybe he is trying to pull a “swifty” like gulliver’s travels by claiming that it is a “fantasic parody of reality” or some such millarcy. Anyways, from what I have read so far it looks like a good read and you can get it in electronic formats easily if you are willing to part with around $20US, which is great because the book is huge and weighs a ton!

Also, get the first chapter free here and watch a reading here and here.

20
Oct
08

More Creative Commons Goodness – Star Dragon by Mike Brotherton

star dragon

star dragon

 

Hard SF seems to be where creative commons has some of its strongest proponents, and here is another one tht I am reading on my iREx right now. The idea of star inhabiting life has been around for a while, notably in David Brin’s “Sundiver” series.

Its got all the hard SF goodness – time dialation effects, AI’s, nutty humans on dangerous missionas. Get it here.

17
Oct
08

Cory Doctorow, My Hero (again) – Futuristic Tales

Corys short stories as a Graphical Novel

Cory's short stories as a Graphical Novel

I never lets up with Cory – here is a great collection is his stories in an e-book format.

17
Oct
08

IRex Iliad – mid term report

Iliad

Iliad

So I have had my iliad for two months now, and have passed through inital enthusiasm (ebook leeching party!), through getting distracted by a newer toy (iphone) and into day to day use.

My impressions? Basically, great. The e-paper screen delivers as promised – it really is as good as a pulp paperback, though nowhere as good as a quality printed book.

The builtin viewers do have some odd behavours at times – pdf’s in particular are prone to random problems when scrolling when zoomed. More formats would be nice – I would particually like microsoft help and lit formats.

I have tried a wide range of formats, and as expected mobibooks work best, followed by well formatted txt and then pdf, which mostly suffers from the wide range of page sizes and gutter selections people use. A particular favourite of mine is power point slide decks converted to PDF in landscape mode – these  work great compared to lugging about printed copies and can even be easily shared with others due to the high contrast of the screen.

I have yet to figure out what the delivery service is for – other than one software patch nothing of any use has appeared.

Power consumption is OK – I basically get a few days at fairly heavy use, though mini-usb USB charging and sync would have been handy.




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