Posts Tagged ‘apple


The iPad: Spectacular or Craptacular?

Part 2:  My interest in the iPad is for the eBook technology, of course. The present eBook readers so far just replicate a paper book electronically. Plus most readers don’t take advantage of images and other playback formats. The Kindle is particularly guilty of this and partly this is a function of price point. The iPad is far more satisfactory in terms of a multimedia experience; the iPad can add sounds and beautiful color graphics that put the Kindle to shame. If I wanted a dedicated eBook reader I want the iPad, not the Kindle. However, at $499 I really don’t want the iPad eBook reader nor is there an overwhelming reason to want to one to replace a good old-fashioned books that could be had for all of $20. Give me a reason and a damn good one! Oh, I know it can do more than the average reader but still not more than a laptop. Make me want an iPad to pay that amount and want to lug it around!
First and foremost, we need to take advantage of the hardware and the technology. In others words, do not replicate thousand-year old technology such as paper books. Books are tactile and so is the touch screen on the iPad. Okay, I get it but I want more! I want to rethink how we read. More importantly, we have to rethink the novel experience and become less serial in our approach to the entire reading experience.


  • Nice, sleek design
  • Beautiful screen
  • It’s all touch baby!
  • It’s from Apple


  • It’s Unfortunate Name (ouch!)
  • Limited storage
  • Expensive
  • Size
  • No new functionality
  • No new eBook features

Bottom line: I still don’t have an overwhelming urge to say “Oh my Gawd, I got to have it!”

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Help Windows 7 Ate My Vista Twitter Laptop

Okay, from the title as you can guess this is going to be a cautionary tale, one you should perhaps heed. I should know better about being bleeding edge but last night I did something really, really stupid: I made the dreadful mistake of installing Windows 7 on perfectly good Compaq Vista laptop. It was so shiny and new I just had to take a peek and I had a perfectly good candidate to try the new release. Now I should tell you that I have two machines running Vista, that much maligned operating system that I have never had a serious problem with.

Wait, that can’t be right? Doesn’t Vista blow as per the Internet and popular media? No, if you threw enough memory I found it to be the best performing Windows to date (back off Mac boys) and I never experienced a BSD to date that I can recall on the almost two year old Quad processor desktop. Okay, the laptop had a couple of weird BSDs with the closing of its lid but those disappeared after an update and it too has also been running great.

Anyway I got my Windows 7 CD yesterday and for kicks and giggles I sacrificed my new HP Compaq CQ60-420 that ran Vista for the install. That wasn’t a critical production machine, I use it mostly for Word, Twitter and Bing searches,  so I didn’t give a second thought about the decision. After all, I knew I could lose everything on the laptop and still survive using my desktop. I popped it into the DVD drive and I answered three question and we off to the install. This was not a wipe and clean install but a true upgrade and I did have apps and data on the laptop. The upgrade took two and half hours with 3 reboots, no big deal and little interaction on my part other than waiting for a pot to boil. It started up after the third reboot and all looked well as I brought up a number of key applications including IE and Firefox. So far so good, right?

With my laptop I like to use a second external monitor and I noticed that I didn’t have two separate screens going and that the external monitor was just a mirror of the laptop. I had already created a scheme to support two monitors and I blithely right click the desktop to get to my scheme. Opps! New dialog box and worse none of my schemes made it through the upgrade. In fact Windows 7 had no clue what external monitor I had attached. Not a good sign since I had a very exotic Acer 22 inch LCD monitor attached (that’s a joke, there’s nothing exotic they are just cheap and work). Okay, I’ll tackle that in the morning after all how hard is it to create a new scheme.

Morning came and I booted the laptop up, signed in and went about having my crappy breakfast. I returned to the laptop and it was busily doing something and I was thinking that screwball indexing was it again. No problem, right click on the desktop and let’s create that new monitor scheme. Nothing. Tried again but more nothing. One more click and the desktop faded and a message was given about Windows Explorer having a heart attack. Not good!

Rebooted the computer and more of the same behavior. Yikes! My best guess it’s a video driver issue with the laptop. I went to the HP site and downloaded their Driver Robot. Whoa, not HP’s but some crapware or malware that is guaranteed to mess fubar your PC.  Be sure to go to the HP site and get the new drivers.  Let’s see if that addresses the issue.

So you ask why install Windows 7? It’s now and wow, shiny and new plus I’m in the business. I should add that I am not your average noob when it comes to computers. People who follow or stumble upon the blog know I am also a writer of a science fiction adventure trilogy called Flores Girl. Like most writers with the exception of Rollins and Stephen King, I support myself with a second paying job. In fact, for the past 20 years I have been a computer geek selling, marketing, developing and installing personal computers of the Windows persuasion to thousand of customers.

Besides my main source of income like most authors so I can afford shelter for my family I also wear a marketing hat for my novel. Publishers do less and less for authors and we novice authors really have to pickup the slack. Like most writers I have a novel web site, blog and I create the pages including the art work for everything. I ineffectively use a rendering program called Poser to create the Flores Girl Characters and I have created scenes from the next novel to be released with Sequel to Hell with Heroes. The Quad Core PC I mentioned earlier is my production machine and it does my rendering and runs my Photoshop.

The laptop is used as a portable computer to write the novel. It’s a HP Compaq CQ60-420, an inexpensive but not a cheap laptop. I got a deal for $349 and it replaces my 4 year old Compaq laptop that I used to write. That oldie still runs and is getting a second life with one of the kids so I had high hope for this laptop that is until I installed Windows 7 on it.

I’ll keep you updated with my ongoing travails regarding Windows 7. Hopefully, it’s just a video driver issue and not the beginning of some bizarre computer odyssey. My Ubuntu machine is looking good now and I can hear the Mac fan boys laughing right now!


10/28 – All is well in the world, just as I was ready to uninstall Windows 7 I did what I should have done right from the start and I went to the HP  site and install an updated video driver for Windows.  Its running fine now and I’ll give you some updates.

10/29 – Oops spoke too soon,  the Windows Explorer bug resurfaced and it continues to crash when it wants.  It runs fast, I just can’t get to the desktop.  Normally I don’t upgrade but stick with the original OS the computer came with which was easy to when XP had its 8 year run.  These are the pitfalls with an upgrade.   I know get a Mac!

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Flores Girl: The Children God Forgot is an exciting speculative adventure story about the discovery of a new prehistoric people by two scientists, Sarah and Richard. Their discovery is threatened by both religious zealots and marauding industrialists. Download the e-Book in PDF, Mobi and Microsoft Reader formats. Honest it is free at Just click the chick!

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  • Exodus - The Final Chapter
    Sarah and Richard must fight their way off the island in this final installment of the podcast.
  • Your Hands are Stained with Blood.
    As death and chaos overtakes the island, Sarah and Richard try to escape Reggie.
  • An Unlikely Ally
    Reggie begins a reign of terror on the island that will leave nobody, including the Ebu, safe from his murderous schemes. Reggie's only challenge will be a visit from the biggest murderer in human history.
  • The Capture
    Sarah and Richard must make their escape after witnessing Reggie's brutal capture of the Ebu.
  • The Guardian Meets the Lab Rat
    Bill is presuaded by Reggie to meet with Karl.
  • The Guardian
    Karl's fever starts to takes a toll on his sanity as his efforts to contact the Ebu becomes a religious quest for him
  • New Friends
    Sarah's relationships with both Richard and Flo take a surprising turn.
  • Christian Soldier
    Reggies discovers the island of the Ebu and begins his assault but not before Karl makes his move.
  • The Cost of Weakness
    A senseless act of violence challenges Sarah and her tenuous relationships with the inhabitants of the island.
  • Weakness
    Sarah is stricken by a life threatening illness that triggers a strange personal odyssey for her.
  • The Princess Meets Flo
    While observing the troop, Sarah forms a friendship with one of the Ebu that she names Flo.
  • By the Sea
    Sarah makes a risky first contact with the Ebu.
  • 14. The Wait - Flores Girl: The Children God Forgot
    -In this episode: Sarah and Richard wait for the Ebu at a small pond.
  • Discovery
    Sarah and Richard begin their exploration of the island in search of the Ebu.
  • Resolve
    After losing everything to the pirates, Sarah and Richard face their own personal failure and decide whether or not they should return to the states.
  • Pirates of the Flores Sea
    As they begin to set out for Sarah's island, Sarah's and Richard's boat is boarded by dangerous high-sea pirates.
  • All Work and No Play
    Before leaving for Sarah's mysterious island Sarah and Richard head out for a night on the town in Flores.
  • The Boss
    Sarah and Richard put their expedition together and travel to Flores Island in search of the Ebu Gogo.
  • Higher Calling
    Unbeknownst to Reggie and Bill, Karl, the head lab assistant at GenTech, is busily sabotaging the pharmaceutical giant's controversial stem cell research.
  • Corporate Citizen
    Ruthless elements within a large pharmaceutical company make their own plans for the Ebu.