Archives for: July 2012
Housekeeping: Kindle Touch Security Hole and Short and Sassy Reviews and Cheap Reads 0 comments

Kindle Touch Security Hole
If you have a Kindle Touch, you need to read this article.
Lynn alerted us to a news item on Tuesday regarding a security issue which could mean trouble for Kindle Touch owners. A German company heise (sic) Security found that there is a NPAPI plug-in that can execute administrative privileges on your Touch if you access certain webpages.
What’s that mean to the average Touch user? If you go to one of these webpages via your Kindle, a hacker could erase everything on your Kindle or access your Amazon account information.
Not wanting to waste the security hole, a browser-based hacking program has become available that will allow you to install unauthorized software. So if there is a rogue Sudoku game you have to have on your Touch. . . .you can now do it.
Until the announcement this week very few people knew about the security issue so widespread hacking does not appear to be a problem. Amazon has been working on a solution known as a patch, but don’t hold your breath. Amazon has known about problem for three months.
Check your firmware version on your Touch. If you have version 5.1.0 you might want to refrain from web browsing just to be safe. There’s no solution for you to download to fix this problem. If you just purchased a Touch, your device may have version 5.1.1 which does not have the security flaw.
 
Short and Sassy Reviews
Over the last few months I have read many short pieces and will be sharing short and sassy reviews in the weeks to come. Hope you can find a few short reads to enjoy this summer.
 

Upstaged by Republicans (99 cents) by Bob Olson: In this very short story set in 1938, the author’s parents hosted the local Republican party members for an Independence Day picnic. The author and his friends created a play for the evening’s entertainment. Before the curtain rises, the young acting troupe is upstaged by the Republicans. An amusing, very short story to read this election year.
You Again ($1.99) by Carolyn Scott: A dynamite young woman from a notorious crime family and a by-the-book cop are reunited when the young woman breaks into a house and the cop comes calling following the crime. Lily is trying to make up for the sins of her father; Luke wants to make up for pushing Lily out of his life two years earlier.
This novella is well-written, moves at a good pace and is on the spicy side. Set in Melbourne, Australia, this contemporary romance is worth the money. There was one small typo – a critical word was left out of the next to the last paragraph. OOPS! Download includes an excerpt from Surrender ($2.99) by C.J. Archer.
The Peach Pies (free) by Erik Martin: An amusing story that may or may not have its genesis in an actual event or person. If you have ever baked late into the night to make the perfect item for the bake sale, you will identify with the mother in this story. She was determined to bake perfect peach pies to upstage the woman who always contributes the “must buy” item. The story is a bit predictable, but the woman has a genius solution to her dilemma. I would have stopped the story right there, but the bake sale was at a parochial school so confession was probably necessary.
If you have ever been the mother who longs to be the perfect baker, you must read this story. You will find the perfect solution when you have a peach pie-type dilemma.

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Housekeeping – Name Changes, Rumors, and Cheap Reads – Short Story Collections 1 comment

Name Game
Mentalfloss.com’s recent post identified seventeen literary characters whose working names didn’t make it to the final publication.
Breakfast at Tiffany’s just would not have been the same if Holly Golightly had been named Connie Gustafson. The book description on the Kindle Store webpage states:

Truman Capote created a woman whose name has entered the American idiom and whose style is a part of the literary landscape.

 
“Connie Gustafson” could have never pulled that off.
My personal favorite was Gone with the Wind’s Scarlett O’Hara, who narrowly escaped being Pansy. Really? Rhett Butler could not have fallen for a woman named Pansy. Ashley, yes. But Rhett, never.
Who doesn’t love Little Orphan Annie, but Little Orphan Otto? Thank goodness curly red hair brought about the name and gender change.
I’ve read books with characters whose names just didn’t work for me. My own little quirk is that grown men should not be known by names like Ricky, Billy, or Jimmy. They sound childish to me as I prefer the more grown-up names of Rick, Bill and Jim.
Predictable names don’t bother me – cowboys named Dusty and Buck or Englishmen named Sebastian and Clive. Lead male characters named Lucifer, Demon, or Trinity are just creepy.
Women characters named Destiny, Chastity, or Nevaeh (Heaven spelled backwards) – too cutesy. In historical novels, the name has to match the period. A Regency heroine named Heather ruined a book for me. Ditto for the contemporary novel starring Lavender.
Have you read a book where the name just didn’t fit in your mind? Or couldn’t finish a book because of the names? What about a name you fell in love with and named your child or pet the same? Tell us about it.
 
Rumors and more rumors
The Wall Street Journal through wsj.com has a story about the upcoming Kindle Phone, which is supposedly being developed and will be larger than four inches.
•pcworld.com has an article about the look of the next Kindle. Backlit and color e-ink are features being rumored.
•Finally, technobuffalo.com reported on a survey where more than 50% of Kindle Fire owners intend to purchase an iPad 3. My personal opinion is that once you become a tablet user, you integrate the device into your life and start looking for a tablet with more features. If the Kindle Fire draws a consumer to buy a tablet and they then buy an iPad, does Apple owe Amazon a 30% commission?
 
Cheap Reads – Short Story Collections
HarperCollins has reduced the price on short story collections normally priced above $10 to just $1.99 each. The three books below are available to download now for $1.99 each.
 

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Housekeeping – Five things learned about publishing and Cheap contemporary reads 1 comment


Five things learned about publishing
O’Reilly Radar, an emerging technology blog, wrote a post of the five things learned about publishing last year. The first item was this: Amazon is a disruptive publishing competitor. The article sited several items that Amazon has implemented in the last 18 months:
• Expanded tools for self publishers – Providing even more options and opportunities for authors to create, publish and promote their works.
• Their own imprints – Montlake for romance, 47North for science fiction, Thomas & Mercer for mystery were added to AmazonEncore and AmazonCrossing. Amazon also purchased Marshall Cavendish to expand their children’s books beyond Amazon Children’s Books.
• Kindle Owners Lending Library – Speculation is that this innovative program may have caused irreparable damage to the publisher-library relationship as problems were already surfacing between traditional publishers and libraries.
• Kindle Single – Magazines must now compete with Amazon for quality short fiction and non-fiction as Kindle Single opened a market for short pieces. The Kindle Single sales channel may be more lucrative than magazines.
The second thing learned is that publishers aren’t necessary for publishing. No one wants to hear they are no longer needed. Publishers are going to have to re-think and re-tool to remain relevant in the current environment. I believe that the current environment of self-publishing without editing will be short lived in that readers are going to demand a minimum standard for e-books and Amazon will be forced to respond. The process will be evolving, but will eventually build a better inventory of books.
You won’t be surprised by the third thing publishers have learned: Readers sure do like e-books. We can safely say that e-books are not a passing fad. They are here to stay in some form. E-book readers will buy more books as they cannot sell or purchase e-books on a secondary market.
Numbers four and five are about the e-reader technology: HTML5 is important to publishing and DRM (Digital Rights Management) can be a negative too. DRM on Kindle books means that the customer has to have a Kindle or Kindle app to read the book. While that limitation has sold a lot of Kindles, if a competitor did not have those restrictions and sold e-books that could be read on any e-reader device, readers would have options to shop for their books.
Bottom line: There’s been a total shift in the publishing landscape and readers, not just the publishers, are the cause.
 
Three novels – Contemporary Fiction – $2.99 each

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