Wednesday, November 30, 2011

BMW Book Lets Fans Read While Driving

BMW Group is celebrating its 40 years of global cultural engagement efforts with the launch of a limited-edition branded book called “Culture.” The book, a joint project between the automaker and graphic designer Stefan Sagmeister, consists of photos that present the history of BMW’s corporate cultural and sponsorship efforts. The back of the book also doubles as a small remote-control car motor that lets readers “drive” the book.

BMW will only be producing and distributing 1,488 copies of Culture, with every copy numbered, emphasizing its rarity and exclusivity.

Via psfk.

Inside the libraries of famous writers (photo set)

Click images to enlarge
Eudora Welty’s library in Jackson, Mississippi. Photo by Susana Raab.

Rudyard Kipling’s study in Naulakha.

Keith Richards is now the author of a much-acclaimed memoir, which makes him a legitimate writer in our book.

17 more at Flavorwire.

On the 111 anniversary of the death of Oscar Wilde a video commentary

111 years ago today Oscar Wilde died and the world lost one of its greatest writers. This fascinating 1997 documentary from Omnibus traces Wilde’s life, loves, and legacy, from his intellectual upbringing to his imprisonment for being openly gay. The film features cameos from Stephen Fry, who played Wilde in the film of the same title, Pet Shop Boys’ Neil Tennant, and prolific British playwright Tom Stoppard, who explore what made Wilde the 20th century’s first true pop celebrity.

Found at Brain Pickings

Happy Birthday Mark Twain

Click to enlarge

From Google.

Neil Gaiman offers advice to young writers (short video)

Neil Richard Gaiman is an English author of short fiction, novels, comic books, graphic novels, audio theatre and films. His notable works include the comic book series The Sandman and novels Stardust, American Gods, Coraline, and The Graveyard Book. Gaiman's writing has won numerous awards, including Hugo, Nebula, and Bram Stoker, as well as the 2009 Newbery Medal and 2010 Carnegie Medal in Literature. He is the first author to win both the Newbery and the Carnegie medals for the same work. In this brief video he offers advice to young writers (which is, bascially, WRITE!)

Via Libraryland.

Triton Color E Ink may revolutionize eReaders (video)

The Florida Disabled Outdoors Association: Please follow on Twitter

I am fortunate to be associated with the Florida Disabled Outdoors Association. They have just launched their Twitter account and they need followers. I suspect there will be less than two or three posts per day, but a larger following would help them immensely with funding requests.

Please follow at: FDOA7 It would mean a lot to me personally if you would give them a hand and pass it on! Thanks to you all!

Since it’s inception in 1990, the FDOA has promoted accessible recreation to persons with disabilities as well as the general public through special events, newsletters and community education.

The FDOA has been instrumental in many successful projects and programs with agencies that include:

  • U.S. Fish and wildlife Service – accessibility training for wildlife refuge managers from fifteen states.
  • Saint Marks Wildlife Refuge – designed and implemented mobility impaired hunting program and FDOA volunteers host the event every year; consulted for design of courtesy boat dock facility.
  • Florida Department of Environment Protection – consulted and assisted in the creation of ADA compliance and self-evaluation program.
  • Department of Environmental Protection /Parks and Recreation – assisted in on-site evaluation of all District II State Parks. Served on strategic planning committee; member state park group- users advisory board; ADA committee member for Friends of State Parks.
  • Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission – assisted in evaluation and consultation of accessible state boat ramps, assisted in design of accessible fishing facilities; also directly responsible for development and expansion of mobility impaired hunt program.
  • Florida Water Management Districts and Eglin Air Force Base – initiated and assisted in development of mobility impaired hunt programs.
  • Hands Helping Anglers – as a committee member, expanded fishing derby for disabled anglers, now over fifty per year.
  • City of Tallahassee Parks and Recreation – assisted in self-evaluation of city parks and facilities.
  • City of Tallahassee Citizens ADA Advisory and Compliance Board- contributed to ADA transition plan

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Kerouac's 'lost' debut novel is published 70 years after its conception at sea

The American beat generation author Jack Kerouac is said to have spent just eight days on active service in the US merchant marines on board the SS Dorchester in 1942; but his short stay furnished him with notes for his first novel and, after nearly 70 years, it has now been published for the first time.

The 158-page The Sea is my Brother, a tale of two young men serving on a voyage from Boston to Greenland, has been known about for some time, but is being described by Penguin, its publisher, as "a unique insight into the young Kerouac and the formation of his genius".

The author himself apparently noted: "It's a crock [of s@#t] as literature."

Complete narrative and review at The Guardian.

Bergcloud's "Little Printer"

Little Printer lives in your home, bringing you news, puzzles and gossip from friends. Use your smartphone to set up subscriptions and Little Printer will gather them together to create a timely, beautiful mini-newspaper.

Connected to the Web, Little Printer has wide range of sources, called “publications” available to check on your behalf.Subscribe to your favorites and choose when you’d like them delivered. Little Printer gathers everything it needs to prepare a neat little personalised package, printed as soon as you press the button. You can get deliveries multiple times a day, but once or twice works best–like your very own morning or evening newspaper.

So retro, in a good way, that I really want one!

Pre-orders for Little Printer will open in 2012, when it launches as a ‘beta’ product.

British Library puts 19th century newspapers online

The British Library has published online more than 4 million pages of newspapers from the 18th and 19th centuries Tuesday in what head of newspapers Ed King calls "a digital Aladdin's Cave" for researchers. The online archive is a partnership between the library and digital publishing firm Brightsolid, which has been scanning 8,000 pages a day from the library's vast periodical archive for the past year and plans to digitize 40 million pages over the next decade.

The library hopes the searchable online trove will be a major resource for academics and researchers. The vast majority of the British Library's 750 million pages of newspapers - the largest collection in the world - are currently available only on microfilm or bound in bulky volumes at a newspaper archive in north London, where the yellowing journals cover 20 miles (32 kilometers) of shelves.

"We've got 200 years of newspapers locked away," King said. "We're trying to open it up to a wider audience."

There will be a cost to download articles online, though they can be accessed for free at the library's London reading rooms.

More at the blog.

Book art by Alexander Korzer-Robinson

From:  dotsonme

(Via Libraryland.)

Buttons for Librarians (and patrons!)

Many more for sale here (no affiliation)

How "pop-up" books are made

Prepared for the Smithsonian's Paper Engineering Project: Fold, Pull, Pop & Turn.

Our cerebrum is a library (short film)

Shiba Ryotaro Memorial Museum and Library (narrative and photos)

Ryotaro Shiba started writing historical novels after World War II and won the prestigious Naoki Prize for his 1959 novel, "Fukuro no Shiro" ("The Castle of an Owl").

His best-selling books include "Ryoma ga Yuku" ("Ryoma Is Going"), about the life of Ryoma Sakamoto, a major figure in Japan's transformation from feudal military rule in the 1860's.

For the last quarter-century, Mr. Shiba's articles on his travels around Japan were printed weekly in the magazine Shukan Asahi in a series that reached 1,146 installments. He received the Government's Order of Cultural Merit in 1993.

The Museum in his honor consists of two parts, his former house and a museum newly built after his death. You can walk around the garden and see the author's study from outside. The author lived here until his death, 12th. Feb. 1996.

Inside one sees the huge bookshelf(11 meters high) housing his more than 20,000 books.

The building was designed by Ando Tadao.

Artist Marco Brambilla's F1-Inspired Short Gets Behind Ferrari's Wheel

Video artist Marco Brambilla shares his densely hypnotic and kaleidoscopic 3D film RPM, commissioned by Ferrari in celebration of their latest auto masterpiece, the 458 Spider, and premiering at Art Basel Miami tonight. Assembling footage shot on location over several months at the Italian Formula One Grand Prix in Monza with imagery from the Scuderia Ferrari archives and the artist’s own recordings, RPM is a visceral, cubist representation of a Formula One driver’s state of mind during a race. “I wanted to make a portrait of speed,” says Brambilla, a life-long F1 fan. “Something as subjective as can be, that explores the connection of man and machine and tests the limits of human endurance.” Featuring Möbius strip racetracks, wind-gritted teeth and a howling soundtrack of throttling engines, RPM accelerates in complexity with every turn of the circuit. “[The film is] always accelerating,” says the artist, “just building, no payoff, no win.” The New York-based Brambilla, who created the digital tableau vivant for Kanye West’s “Power” and the 3D videos Evolution and Civilization, wanted to push the limits of his own aesthetic vocabulary with this project. “This one is a little bit different in that we used 3D as an editing tool,” he says. “As the piece speeds up, the multi-planing—the foreground, mid-ground and background objects—all cycle through each other to create an acceleration in 3D space.”

Formula One Stats

An F1 driver loses on average 5 kilograms in weight during a Grand Prix race and burns approximately 600 calories.

Drivers' heart rates reach peaks of 190 beats per minute during a Grand Prix.

A typical F1 car is made up of 80,000 components, in a package weighing less than 550 kg—less than half the weight of a Mini.

When an F1 driver hits the brakes, he experiences deceleration comparable to a regular car driving through a brick wall at 300kmph.

An F1 car can go from 0 to 160 kph and back in 0 to 4 seconds. During the 2004 Italian Grand Prix in Monza, the record top speed for an F1 car was set at over 360 kph.

Top F1 pit crews can refuel and change tires in around 3 seconds.

An F1 car generates enough downforce that it could drive inverted at top speed. In a street course race, this is enough suction to lift manhole covers, which have to be welded down before each race.

Scuderia Ferrari, founded by Enzo Ferrari in 1932, is the oldest and most successful F1 team in history with a record of 15 drivers’ championships and 16 constructors’ championships.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

"Who owns the fish?" - a brain teaser from Einstein

This brainteaser, reportedly written by Einstein is so difficult that Einstein said 98% of the people in the world could not figure it out. This should give you something to do over a long Thanksgiving weekend.

The solution is here, though it is nearly as complicated as the puzzler!

There are five houses in a row and each house is a different color. In each house lives a person with a different nationality. The five owners drink a different drink, smoke a different brand of cigar and keep a different pet, one of which is a fish.
The question is-- who owns the fish?


1. The Brit lives in the red house.
2. The Swede keeps dogs as pets.
3. The Dane drinks tea.
4. The green house is on the left of the white house.
5. The green house owner drinks coffee.
6. The person who smokes Pall Malls keeps birds.
7. The owner of the yellow house smokes Dunhills.
8. The man living in the house right in the center drinks milk.
9. The man who smokes Blends lives next to the one who keeps cats.
10. The Norwegian lives in the first house.
11. The man who keeps horses lives next to the one who smokes Dunhills.
12. The owner who smokes Bluemasters drinks beer.
13. The German smokes Princes.
14. The Norwegian lives next to the blue house.
15. The man who smokes Blends has a neighbor who drinks water.

There are no tricks; pure logic will get you the correct answer. And yes, there is enough information to arrive at the one and only correct answer.
If you get the correct answer, congratulations, you are one of the exclusive group of 121,348,731 people in the world who can.

Anne McCaffrey: 1 April 1926 – 21 November 2011

Anne McCaffrey, legendary SF and fantasy author best known for her Dragonriders of Pern series, has passed away. Random House has confirmed that McCaffrey died of a stroke at her home in Ireland on Monday, November 21. The initial word arrived through author Alan Baxter reporting on behalf of Trent Zelazny.

McCaffrey was the first woman to win a Hugo Award for fiction, the first woman to win a Nebula Award, and the first author to hit the New York Times bestseller list with an SF title (The White Dragon).

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Macy's launches mobile parade app for iOS and Android

Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade has launched its first official mobile app powered by MyCityWay. The app, available now for iOS and Android, gives spectators access to a route map, a list of participants, the line of the march (apparently only available on the day of the parade), and practical travel and tourism information.

Downloads at the link.

via psfk

Where are you sitting for Thanksgiving Dinner (Flowchart)

Click image to enlarge

Via College Humor

Literary Turducken

Today Doubleday launched a Thanksgiving Twitter tradition, asking readers to combine three classic book titles in a crazy new book. Follow the Literary Turducken for some funny ideas.

For example:

The Sun Also Rises As I Lay Dying On The Road

How Green Was My Valley of the Doll's House

Kindle Fire review - I sent it back

On the day that Amazon began accepting pre-orders for the Kindle Fire, I placed mine. For several weeks I excitedly awaited its delivery sure that it would fill the gap between my iPhone 4 and my Macbook Air. I couldn't really justify an iPad, but at $199 the Fire as a media server seemed exactly what I needed. (I should also point out that I have a 3rd generation Kindle which I love.)

When it arrived I was initially pleased. Its size was nice - about the same size as my Kindle – and it was very well made feeling very solid in my hand. Firing it up I was offered a Cover Flow-like interface that was preloaded with every Kindle book I had ever purchased. There was a "favorites" shelf below that held four of my favorite apps, books, magazines - whatever. More on that later.

I poked around its features and was initially impressed with the quality of the display, the variety of offerings and its seemingly simple interface. I made a Facebook post exclaiming its merits – going so far as to call it a "keeper". I even ordered a case for it. Then the romance waned.

Over the next weekend I put the Fire through its paces downloading every possible form of media, surfing the web on its "Silk" browser, downloading a few apps – some free and some paid. I set up my email accounts including my Exchange account at my office. The bugs began to crawl out.

On the home screen there is a Cover Flow-like interface for my books and recently used apps and media. I noticed that it was almost impossible to access my desired item among the "covers" on first try. The interface is so sensitive that I repeatedly went past my selection - coming and going - before I could at last get the item to stop where I could "click" on it. Frustrating.

The "favorites" shelf below the scrollables only held four items. It looks as if it should be scrollable to hold more than four, but it was not – you only get four. And, if you send a new favorite to the shelf you bump one already there off the shelf (of course), but I could never figure out how to keep the three I wanted and bump the fourth I wanted to replace. It seemed random and pointless. I also noticed that if you wanted to delete a book, app, magazine - whatever - from the home screen the icon for the item remained displaying a "download now" arrow. I deleted it. Why would I want to reload it now? So I ended up with several "ghost" icons taking up space on my home screen. That is just dumb. Give me an archive (like on my regular Kindle) but get the icons out of my way!

Navigation - I began to notice that many of the virtual buttons, like the back button and home button, would often be unresponsive and would require multiple clicks to work correctly. There was no "throbber" image that would indicate that a function was running so I had no choice but to repeatedly press the button until it cooperated. Also frustrating. Oddly, on some screens the buttons were so super sensitive that just brushing one accidentally would open an unwanted item. Go figure. The keyboard works at least as well as that of an iPhone.

Magazines - I downloaded a magazine - Car and Driver for which I also have a print subscription - to see how it compared to the physical copy. It was exactly like the print magazine page for page only much, much smaller. So small that it was impossible for me to read without enlarging the page to the point that I could only see a small portion of a paragraph and none of the images on the page. There is a "read" mode that is text only, but frankly that defeats half the purpose of a magazine. Enjoying the images along with the copy is what makes the magazine experience so enjoyable. That is almost impossible on the Fire. The table of contents was not "clickable" so I had to manually scroll through 59 pages to get to the first article I wanted to read. Also dumb - it is as if they just scanned the images and put them up (which is probably what they did do). A PDF would have been more useful. At least it has navigation!

Movies - the display is excellent and the quality of the movie image was superb (depending on its original quality I imagine). I loaded Elizabeth from my free Amazon Prime collection and was blown away by the quality of playback. Unfortunately, from the very limited selection of free Amazon Prime movie offerings, I could find nothing else I cared to watch. Most of the free movies are years old and of genres that do not appeal to me - teen comedies for example. Another disappointment. (There is a Netflix app that I did not try as I have no Netflix account - maybe that could fill the gap).

Apps - I will admit that I am an Apple user and the Apple app store is extensive and well managed (meaning you have to get past Apple's sometimes Byzantine approval process before an app is accepted). Most of the apps in the Apple store are uniform, useable and tested. Not so with the Kindle Fire (Android) store. I found many of the apps poorly designed and in some cases downright infantile. Not to say there aren't gems, but I found both the selection and quality lagging. I admit that may be an Apple bias, but I felt it nonetheless.

Books - The Amazon book store can not be beat. Almost everything ever published is at your finger tips. As mentioned, I have a "regular" Kindle which I love. The reading experience on the Fire is identical to that on the iPad and Nook. Meaning it is OK, but no where near the quality of the regular Kindle's ePaper experience. It will get you by in a pinch, but long reading sessions on a back-lit screen (just like your laptop or desktop) are tiring and less than enjoyable. Had I kept the Fire, I would also have kept my Kindle 3.

Browser - It works and works reasonably well. Not as quick as my laptop, but not too bad. Flash does work.

Battery life - OK, I only used it a little less than a week, but in my limited experience there is no way the battery will last the predicted 7 hours under anything other than minimal usage. I did nothing out of the ordinary and found that after a couple of hours the on-board battery life indicator (in the settings module) would indicate a remaining battery strength of only a couple of hours - less than 40 percent. Perhaps it would have lasted longer, but that is what the display indicated, so back to the charger. I charged it three times over the course of the weekend. Under moderate use viewing a few magazines, playing a game or two and maybe a movie I would estimate more like four hours.

Conclusions - The Kindle Fire is very well constructed. It feels solid and substantial in my hand and is the perfect size to hold. Its display rivals the iPad and iPhone in quality - may even be better. At $199 it seems to be a great value for someone looking for a media device. The deal breaker for me was the clunky navigation, the limited movie offerings,the less than ideal magazine experience and the disappointing app store. Your mileage may vary.

The worst passwords of 2011 (list)

SplashData, a company that makes password management tools, has released a roundup of 2011's "25 worst passwords," gleaned from password-dumps posted by "hackers" (presumably, sources like the Lulzsec Sony password files). The actual study and its methodology can not be located (are these passwords "worst" because they're the most common, or because they contain the least entropy? Is the sample set representative?) but the list is still informative.

1. password
2. 123456
4. qwerty
5. abc123
6. monkey
7. 1234567
8. letmein
9. trustno1
10. dragon
11. baseball
12. 111111
13. iloveyou
14. master
15. sunshine
16. ashley
17. bailey
18. passw0rd
19. shadow
20. 123123
21. 654321
22. superman
23. qazwsx
24. michael
25. football

Via Boing Boing.

A very clever reading lamp (photo)

From Ideas to Steal.

Library hammock (photo)

Found at 1001 Books to Read Before You Die.

My Week with Marilyn

From ruby lipstick application to shimmering backstage solitude, Michelle Williams’s transformation into the world’s most iconic sex symbol during the filming of My Week With Marilyn is intimately documented in this personal project by Brigitte Lacombe. “Michelle was as close as you can get to becoming Marilyn; aware of my presence, but really in Marilyn 's world,” says the noted photographer, who has worked on the movies of Martin Scorsese, Spike Jonze and Quentin Tarantino. Lacombe flew to London at Williams’s invitation, for a dressing room portraiture session with the Oscar nominee just after the wrapping of the Simon Curtis-directed drama. The plot follows the bombshell’s troubled relationship with co-star and director Laurence Olivier (Kenneth Branagh) while filming The Prince and the Showgirl on her honeymoon with playwright Arthur Miller. It hinges on Monroe’s unexpected kinship with Olivier’s third assistant, Oxford graduate Colin Clark (Eddie Redmayne), whose memoir forms the basis of the story. “I was there for the very last scene on the very last night of filming, in this tiny pub just outside of London,” says Lacombe. “It was very intense and taut, [the crew was] almost delirious with fatigue—it was a smokey, crowded and elated atmosphere.”

Via Nowness.