Thursday, April 23, 2009

Michael Crichton Writes from the Beyond

In the April 6th newsletter from Media Bistro, there is a New York Times article regarding a complete novel found on Michael Crichton’s computer after he died. The interesting thing is that according to the Times, no one even knew he was writing it. HarperCollins, the publisher of Crichton’s other novels, will print an initial one million copies of the book, which reportedly required “little editing” to be suitable for printing. Crichton’s agent said that there are many files on the computer that no one’s looked at yet, so there may be other novels yet uncovered. What’s rather depressing to me is that Crichton wrote so much during his life that he couldn’t publish his books fast enough. I mean, the man had a backlog of bestsellers sitting on his computers when he died. It’s interesting to note, though, that HarperCollins says that they don’t plan on using Crichton’s name to create a franchise with ghostwriters, a la Robert Ludlum. Good for them.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Kindle for the Blind?

This isn't a mystery: I will never, ever own a Kindle. I view the Kindle as one of the clearest signs of the impending apocalypse. But I have read in a few places (including the Publisher’s Weekly newsletter from April 7th) about the debate regarding the Kindle’s text-to-speech function—and I take a perverse pleasure in seeing Amazon’s devil tool in a bit of controversy. At issue is the Kindle’s innate ability to read the text displayed on the screen. Why is this a big deal? Because if people can hear the books read to them on the Kindle, the thinking goes, then people won’t buy audiobooks. Fewer people buying audiobooks means fewer dollars in the bank. The Authors Guild is the group not happy about the audio function, and justifiably, the National Federation of the Blind are on the side of the text-to-speak ability. Personally, I see both sides of the argument, but I tend to side with the consumer in matters such as these. But as long as the Kindle is in the middle of any sort of mess, I’m happy.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

The People Want April Fool's Products for Real

At least two of the gags from yesterday are being demanded for actual production by the people.

The first is a tauntaun sleeping bag that actually looks freakin cool. Notice the intestines lining. Nice.

The second idea is the TXT'N'WALK mobile application, which allows you to see a PiP window of what's in front of you while you're texting and walking. Pure genius.