Friday, February 27, 2009

Kindle and Text-to-Speech

We recently purchased a Amazon Kindle 2. I must say I was interested when the first Kindle came out, but I like to read reviews and find out how people use things before I plunk down that kind of money. The reviews looked good, but the consensus seemed to be that version 2 would be better. So I waited and was rewarded for my patience. The Kindle is great. I love the screen, it is as easy to read as a book. Its not too heavy, and I love that now I can make any book a large font. For someone with bad eyes, this is great.
But one feature that really sold me on the Kindle 2 was the Text-to-Speech feature. I learn best if I read and hear. Since I learned this about myself, I used to read aloud to myself, until I could get audio books. Then later I would look for books on PDF and convert those to audio using free programs on my computer. I once converted a 600 page book to 12 CDs when studying for an exam. It was all worth it, not only did I pass the test, but I have retained more of the information than I ever would of had just reading.
But once again, greed stands in the way of usability. Like the movie, TV and music industries before it, the Writers Guild is more worried about getting royalties from audio books than people reading, learning and enjoying literature people have written. When will people understand that technology WILL change the way most people consume: whether it be video, music, or literature, people want it accessible and fairly priced. VHS, DVDs, the internet and now Netflix and iTunes show this. The movie industry first fought VHS because they saw it taking away from box office sales. They were afraid of DVDs because people would learn to copy them and make perfect copies. The music industry is still scared of digital music. They see CD prices falling steadily, because they can't come up with a way to sell to consumers and get the money they used to, so Apple stepped in with iTunes. Now the Writers Guild wants to fight people listening to a computer read a book.
Didn't anyone learn how to share when they were kids? I agree that everyone from writer, actor, to musician should be able to make a living off their work, but do we need to always fight change? This was discussed before briefly. I have to end this post now before I get too mad. Bah.

Out with the new...

Please note that the blog is no longer "new". This is explained here.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Adobe Lightroom

Sorry, I know its been almost 2 weeks with no posts but work got crazy. What you going to do. Can't complain though, everyone tells me I just sit on my but for a living. The curse of a digital life.
I thought I would share what I got for my birthday, speaking of digital. I have about a terabyte of pics that I have yet to properly catalog, and got tired of jumping from program to program touching up photos so I finally decided to get myself a treat and purchased Adobe Lightroom off The only regret I have is I didn't get it sooner. If you are at all familiar with photoshop I would highly recommend it. It places your pics into a library with keyword search, allows you to do basic editing, or smooth integration with photoshop if you own that. A big sell for me is it supports dual monitor so I can edit the photo in zoom on one screen and view the changes almost instantly on the other. Many print options and web publishing as well. Check out the reviews on, they will probably answer any questions if you have tens of thousands of pictures like me.

Nintendo DSi

Nintendo has announced the DSi release date! April 5th, is the day. Now with a music player, camera, and SD memory slot. If you want one, I strongly suggest pre-ordering.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The Crow: New Songs for the Five-String Banjo

I heard about this a week or two ago on XM and found it on Amazon tonight. Thought I would share. "Multi-talented Steve Martin has just released a bonafide bluegrass album, featuring the likes of Dolly Parton, Vince Gill, Earl Scruggs, and others." One song is free to download off Amazon. Enjoy!