October 2012

Magic.  E-publishing is magic.

Until about half an hour ago, I had a “Kindle app” only on my Ipod Touch I-gizmo.  For most purposes, reading on the I-gizmo was satisfactory but lately I’ve been buying instructional books and I wanted to make notes.  Using the I-gizmo to read books from which I want to take notes is do-able but the screen keeps turning off while I type (and if there is an off-button for the auto-off function, I haven’t found it).  If I take notes from the books, I also have to flip back and forth between reading the I-gizmo and typing on the computer.  Because of this, I bit the bullet and clicked on the Kindle app for computers.  Actually, I only clicked near the Kindle app button to find out more, but whaddya know, I’d downloaded something.

Seeing that I’d already taken that first step in putting a Kindle app on my laptop, I kept on clicking.  The app-fairies did their bit and, within a minute, all my e-books were neatly lined up awaiting my merest click.

I know that we all take for granted the stuff that we grow up with, which for my generation would be

  • Marilyn Monroe, Rock Hudson and Elizabeth Taylor
  • televisions,  tape recorders and party-line telephones
  • supermarkets, yellow margarine and tv-dinners
  • Snoopy, Dagwood and Alfred E. Newman
  • Disneyland, Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck
  • jet planes, the USSR and bomb shelters
  • Elvis, the Beatles and the Monkees
  • rock & roll, Dick Clark and teenagers (as a population demographic and not just as people older than 12 and younger than 20)

Just as all the above seemed as natural as air to me and my peers (but maybe not our parents), it seems as if the e-reading devices have been around for a long time.  In reality it has only been within the last decade or so that the computer capability explosion has magnificently rocked the amount of stuff — books, music, movies and games — made almost instantly available to customers.  The Kindle e-reader was introduced only in 2007.

I don’t know whether Hermione Granger could have conjured up dead-tree books any faster than my installation of the Kindle app, and if that’s not magic, [insert Harry Potter wand-wave] Publarium computatis!, I don’t know what is.

Breakfast again on the road (well, in the hotel prior to getting back on the road after Bouchercon) and I have to wonder why toast is not an integral component of egg breakfasts. Nut bread is the standard accompaniment at this hotel.

I’m used to the Americans not providing milk with tea (coffee creamer with tea is gross) and plunking down lemon wedges and honey, willy nilly, but no place we’ve eaten automatically offers toast to go with eggs. This makes me wonder if we’re the weird ones for expecting toast or if “it’s them“?

Do you expect toast with eggs?

I am developing an abiding hatred for invisible toggle keys on the keyboard. The program you’re using may tell you to “press X to use the keyboard shortcut to do Y” but it doesn’t tell you the “shortcut” of the key that turns that toggle key on and off.

I was happily using “insert” to create a new text box, all according to the drop-down box’s recommendation for the keyboard shortcut. An hour after I started work, all of a sudden the insert key will only make a zero (since the insert key is also the zero key in the number pad). I don’t remember striking the num lock button, but yeah, pushing it fixed the problem. Still, it was an interruption, an irritant and and an imposition.

I am so tired of the pile of learning curves between programs, between gizmos, and between iterations of gizmos. It’s like an hourly ‘learning of toilets’ on a European road trip: “how do you flush THIS one?!?!”

Okay, rant over, blood pressure returning to normal, time to get back to work.

(I’m enjoying alone time with the last of my tea from my room-service breakfast so I can finish a highly-useful course by Kris Neri that started before I left home and ends this coming week. I’m going to buy the CDs of the Bouchercon panels I’m missing — many thanks to the Bouchercon team posting pictures on Facebook to remind me.)

Just returned from walking around the Bouchercon convention area at the Cleveland Renaissance hotel.  I’m familiarizing myself with the hotel so that when the CROWDS are flowing and I’m drifting along between two (invariably) 6’5″ fellows who know where they’re going and we’re not there yet, I don’t wind up in Toledo.

I had a good time today with Nancy Pickard from my home Sisters in Crime group (Kansas) and about forty new friends.  Nancy taught a seminar, SinC into Great Writing, and many of us later agreed that we were happily surprised at the number of hints, tips and techniques she generously shared.

The icing on my cake was having my name drawn to win Nancy’s book, The Scent of Rain and Lightning.  She autographed it, too.

I must also thank my husband for doing my convention registration while I was listening to Nancy.  So far, I’m win-win at Bouchercon, and it doesn’t even officially begin until tomorrow.