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Howdy, it's the irritated overweight male here.

If you haven't heard, seen, felt, or used your Jedi Force Sense powers to figure it out yet, Mary Anne is trying something new - she's writing a serialized novel titled The Duke of Eden. She's got the first four chapters up for a mere 99¢ on the Kindle, so check it out. If you like it, feel free to sample and/or grab her other books.

Because of various contractual obligations, we can offer serialized works only on the Kindle. We're sorry about that; we'd like to offer it everywhere else we offer Mary Anne's books, but... lawyers. You know. Ahem.

I've added Duke to the sidebar and to the book list page. As Mary Anne finishes a sizable chunk of chapters, one of us will announce it and link to those pages for you.

In the meantime, stay chilly peeps. And stay away from lawyers, they're nothing but trouble. Ahem.

Angry Old Fat Dude here, and I've been especially steamed recently. Why? Because computers suck and everybody knows it, that's why.

How strange this is coming from a computer guy, right? 24 years in the industry. I was there at the birth of both the home computer and the publicly accessible Internet. You know what I never witnessed? The promise of a truly easy-to-use computer interface being fulfilled. If you've ever had to read instructions on how to simply make the computer do what it was designed for, then the computer isn't really easy to use.

You don't need to read a set of different instructions every year to operate a car. Even different makes and models of cars. They all work pretty much the same. They have practically the same interface.

How about other electronics? CD and DVD players work the same way, with the same sort of buttons coded in a universal fashion to tell the user how to operate the machine.

Before the smartphone, plain old phones all worked the same way. You input the unique number of the person you want to talk to, their phone makes a noise indicating that someone wants to talk to them, they pick up the phone and put it to their ears and mouths and you talk to them. This didn't change for over 100 years.

Now, hold on, you're probably saying "But AOFM, computers are open-ended devices! They're not designed with just one thing in mind! They can do ANYTHING!"

Well that's the problem in a nutshell. It's a machine that emulates other machines. To do this, a programmer must either utilize the most commonly attached devices - the keyboard, mouse, monitor, and printer - or propose an entirely new device - another machine to be bought, attached, and configured.

...continue reading "AOFM-MWU – It Should Just Work, Dammit"

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

--  An excerpt from the second paragraph of the United States of America's Declaration of Independence from the British Crown.

Happy Birthday, America!

 

Also, this.

Well, the cover that Mary Anne wanted for one of her serialized e-books is done; I have finally completed it. Behold, the first man-titty cover from Quacking Alone Romances - click the thumbnail, look upon it, and despair:

Click for larger image

I feel soooooooooo dirty. I think I need to loofah my entire body with a Black & Decker belt sander now.

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Hi. That Angry Guy here. Feeling better, hence more angry.

If you haven't heard about it yet, there is a huge price war going on among companies that sell e-reader devices. It seems that the Apple cart (via the iPad) has upset a bunch of people, mainly those people who thought they had the e-book and e-reader device market cornered.

I knew that the $400 price tags on Kindles wouldn't last long, because even though it put many different technologies together in a synergistic fashion, it was still a device with a singular purpose (as are its immediate competitors like the Nook) - in essence, a digital book.

The iPad, like the Amazon Kindle, didn't introduce any radical new technology; it assembled existing technologies into a neat little package that ends up being greater than the sum of its parts.

Tablet computers were conceptualized back in the days before GUIs were even invented, so Apple didn't invent the idea of a tablet computer.

Tablet computers, with varying degrees of interaction, had been manufactured by other companies since the early 1990s, so Apple didn't invent the form of a tablet computer.

But Apple did make a computer that utilized a number of robust interdependent technologies, and that computer had the right form and was introduced at the right time to break the collective inertia of the buying public.

And even though the competing devices may someday add other functions besides downloading and displaying e-books, the public perception of them is already set. The perception is that the Kindle, Nook, etc., are one-trick ponies whereas the iPad has no boundaries.

And, fortunately or unfortunately as the case may be, perception is reality.

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Mary Anne and I weren't always married, though it seems like it after 20+ years. I still had a lot to learn about women when she and I first got married. One of those things I had to learn was how women had an entirely different methodology for shopping than men.

I found it best to think about it in terms of our hunter-gatherer ancestry. Men were the hunters; the first thing we saw that could provide the necessary meat for the tribe was the first thing we stabbed to death and brought home. We knew the general locations where those meals on legs could be found, so we just went there, waited for them to show up, go Stone Age on their asses, and then, VOILA, lunchtime.

Men today shop the same way, except huge discount stores make it so much easier to spot that button-down oxford shirt, sneak up on it, spear it, and drag it back to our caves.

Women? That's a whole different game. One that men will never understand, except to note it somehow evolved from jabbering at each other while wandering among groves of fruit trees.

As an example of what happens when these worlds collide, I present an account of my first married shopping trip with Mary Anne:

...continue reading "AOFM-MWU – Our First Shopping Trip"

AOFM here, not feeling too well. Bad lifestyle choices + piles of stress = world of hurt. We're going to have to make this one short.

As you know, Mary Anne wrote on June 6th about serialized books and how they could open up new (but actually very old) ways of making electronic distribution a little more interesting for the reader and more educational and fun for the writer.

Well, the very same day a bigwig in the e-publishing industry wrote about the very same thing, listing a subset of the same authors my wife listed in her blog post.

Same-said bigwig posted on the same topic on the bigwig's site the next day. That same day, the bigwig wrote about it on a bigwig political & news site.

Wow, that's an unbelievable coincidence, isn' t it?  Predicting on the very day the very topic and even the very list of authors that the bigwig was going to write about, before he did so!

It's like my wife is psycho psychic or something!

AOFM here.

As an old guy who has followed technology since cell phones resembled my BFF, I was more than a little shocked when the news broke that Apple had become bigger than Microsoft.

I really shouldn't have been all that surprised.

The three big things that Apple always did while Steve Jobs was in charge was innovate, innovate, and innovate. While Jobs has had failures both inside (Lisa, Newton) and outside Apple (NeXT), he always manages to learn things from them and, most importantly, to keep the good stuff. In other words, Apple doesn't throw the baby out with the bathwater.

Since Microsoft inherited its 800-pound gorilla status from IBM back in the late 80's/early 90's, it hasn't innovated as much as it has... ahem... "borrowed". Which isn't necessarily a bad business model - hell, it's how Apple got a little kick-start from Xerox. But innovation wasn't the most important component of Microsoft that got Bill Gates his billions upon billions. What was important was making sure Windows and other Microsoft products were an indispensable part of affordable computers.

...continue reading "AOFM-MWU – The Apple Cart Upsets Microsoft"

Hi there my little steamed dumplings, it's yours truly, Angry Old Fat Man. We've decided to add a new feature to the website, mainly me rambling on about stuff in the middle of the week to augment Mary Anne's weekend posts.

Mary Anne has a lot on her plate, especially writing-wise. She writes legalese while daylight burns, then comes home and puts in another work shift taking care of me and the children while trying to find time to write her books. Then the weekend comes, and it's laundry, cooking, and bill-paying while trying to think of something to fill a blog post. And then actually typing out the post.

I swear to you, I don't know how she does it. I would have run out naked into the street with a growling chainsaw and a Pez dispenser full of Xanax if I had that kind of schedule.

So being the helpful hubby, I suggested to her that I could post something in the middle of the week to keep readership up.

Yeah, she bought it. HA!

Now I get to torture entertain YOU, the formerly unsuspecting blog reader, with inane garbage insightful comments on random brain flotsam whimsical ideas and interesting events.

Just look for AOFM-MWU in the title of the post around Wednesday or Thursday of a single an occasional every week.

Tentative subject for next week: Apple overtakes Microsoft. See you then!

... it'd be just as unoriginal as all the others, but a good bit more honest about it. (link for the embedding-impaired)

Includes a jab at Grey's Anatomy starting at 1:51.

Made back in 2008 just after the TV writer's strike was over.

All video clips used in this work are copyrighted by their respective owners and are for parody purposes only.