Archive for January, 2010

Apple’s iPad unveiled at last

So the Apple’s long-mooted tablet PC has been unveiled at last today.

It’s a big iPhone. It won’t fit in your pocket. Perhaps being seen wearing an iPouch to carry the thing will be the new fashion statement? But I can’t see many people buying it as a phone.

It is Kindle-esque in its proportions, but with a colour screen. Surely the screen won’t be as easy to read as the Kindle’s eInk screen?

Perhaps it’s aimed at home laptop users … who don’t want a tactile keyboard, don’t need to run more than one app at once, and who are happy to only run iPhone OS apps (not Mac OSX apps).

At first, I’m not sure where Apple intend the market for this. In effect, it’s a technology convergence, portable home-media device, but in a recession it must be hard to justify buying one – it costs more that a Kindle or a Netbook. However, no doubt, early-adopters will throng to it. We’ll just have to see where it really settles at home.

Clearly, Apple do intend it as an eBook reader. The incorporation of the new iBooks* strategy is proof of that. It also runs all existing iPhone apps, as I predicted, so existing iPhone book apps would probably command more downloads now that a larger reading surface is there to entice readers.

So it’s ready to go. Time to package up my book for iPhone/iPad after all? However many or few devices they sell, this can only mean more ebook downloads for authors. However, I would be very curious to know the terms & conditions under which Apple are giving publishers access to sell in the new iBook store. Like the success of the iPad itself … that detail will come out over time.

* iBooks appears to be eReader software, using the ePub format, linked to Apple’s own new iBook store.

Add comment January 27th, 2010

The Catcher in the Rye

With my new year’s impetus I dived into my backlog of books to read. Top of the list (because it was thinnest) is a book I’d intended to read for a while, a book I’d heard much about: The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger. I knew nothing about it, but was determined to find out what all the fuss was about. I still haven’t found out. I have, however, read the book. I can cross it off my list.

I can understand that it may have been controversial at the time it was published, especially in a time where the memory of the harsh sacrifices war was still fresh in the adult generation, and a time when the teenager generation had not yet been given their iconic advocate of James Dean in Rebel without a Cause. But today, perhaps a youth that is disillusioned, confused, and truant is no longer a worrying pointer of the future, but is now an engrained issue in society. When we hear regular news bulletins of happy-slapping, drug and alcohol abusing teenagers, teenage gangs, knife crimes, etc., then Holden Caulfield’s peccadillos seem tame by modern society’s standards.

The voice of the protagonist was certainly strong and convincing and of its time, but everything “killed” him. That killed me … after a while. While reading it, I wondered if a modern equivalent novel of disillusioned youth, laced with OMG!s and Whatevaar!s would attract as much interest as this book.

The biggest disappointment for me was, while the character voice was strong, the story was weak. It meandered. It went nowhere. Maybe that was the point. Maybe it was a clever way to show the lack of any purpose or trajectory in Caulfield’s life. Ok. I get that. But, I didn’t think it was very well done. Look at Karoo as an example. It had a similar type of meandering tale with a strong character voice. Karoo, in a way, is a middle-aged version of Caulfield’s character. I think the big difference was humour and irony. Caulfield’s was a humourless character. Karoo had a wry way of looking at the world and things happened to him. Aren’t things supposed to happen to a protagonist? Karoo certainly had a definitive ending. And something happened. Something that made you realise how much the character had grown on you. Holden Caulfield? I was glad to say goodbye to him. His story didn’t end, it just stopped, where it stopped. Not because it had arrived anywhere. It just stopped. So did I. It was a disappointment that (in my view) didn’t live up to the hype. Maybe it’s just not my taste.

So onto the next classic. I might try a little Dostoevsky this time.

Add comment January 26th, 2010

More on Procrastination

I’ve discovered again the power of the written word. I finished a book that was on my reading list called “Getting Things Done” by David Allen. One powerful gem of insight therein was the notion that creative people are most likely to procrastinate because it is their imagination that inclines them to see all kinds of off-putting negative outcomes. So it seems the deck is well and truly stacked against writers!

It’s over a year ago now since I wrote a post about procrastination. That post might have seemed a bit macabre, flippant, or even comic, but like most things macabre or flippant or comic it disguises something more serious, namely fear.

I know from personal analysis of my own procrastination that fear is the root cause of it. It’s not fear of work. No. For after all, why would anyone fear to do work that would bring them success? There’s the rub, and the essence of what I meant in my previous post on procrastination. We do not fear to do the work that would be successful, but we fear to do the work that will make us a failure, that will get us ridiculed, or in my case, my greatest fear is work that is simply … wasted. No one in their right mind would want to do that kind of work, would they? So we delay. We avoid. And then the fear becomes self-fulfilling, because by avoiding the work we fail for certain.

I can content myself that I pushed through that, wrote a competent thriller, attracted the interests of two different agents, and learned of the strengths and possible weaknesses of my work. But I didn’t push through, against my fear of waste, just to have it sit in a drawer forever. I honestly believe (as do others) that it is worth publishing.

A period of reflection, based upon the last rejection feedback, has left me considering some other edits that I’m now incorporating into a final draft. I’m making it as best I can, but I’m starting to get concerned that the edits might lose some of the spirit of the story. So I’m going to have to stop revising after this. This brings matters to a head. If no agent wants to take it on. If I can’t revise to make it more attractive to an agent then I’ve to live up to my threatened promise of taking it on myself. So at least all this effort won’t be wasted. But before taking that road, I’ve one last chance. While finishing this edit, I’ve one last agent to pitch to…

Add comment January 20th, 2010

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