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e-maginings: June Year’s Resolution

June 16, 2009 by in category The Romance Journey by Linda Mclaughlin tagged as , ,

I’m thinking of going on a diet after years of eating whatever I wanted, which reminded me of this entry from the Urban Dictionary.
I subscribe to their free Word of the Day and find many of them quite entertaining.

June Year’s Resolution:

A New Year’s Resolution that starts June 1st instead of January 1st. This is assuming the original act of self improvement has failed from January to June and it is time to start over with something else.

Tim: “I thought you quit smoking as your New Year’s Resolution?”
Eric: “Yeah, I tried but… I’m going to work out instead. It’s my June Year’s Resolution.”

June is a good time to reassess those New Year’s Resolutions or goals or whatever you want to call them. If you made any resolutions or goals, that is. If you’re like me, it’s all too easy to drift through life, letting each day run its course and focusing on whatever seems most urgent. Lately I seem to feel more and more unable to focus. I used to have an adult attention span, but now I seem to have one more like a two-year-old. I don’t know if it’s the passing years or the fractured nature of modern life. So many things compete for our attention: 24-hour news cycles on TV, email, blogs, Twitter, FaceBook, etc.

Recently I started reading Rapt: Attention and the Focused Life by Winifred Gallagher, who says “The skillful management of attention is the key to happiness and fulfillment. Live the focused life.”

This is good advice for any writer, as the act of writing requires our focused, rapt attention. It has been a while since I’ve really been able to get caught up in writing a story.

Dieting requires focus, too, since the dieter has to pay attention to what goes in the mouth, not just nibble mindlessly. Maybe being able to focus on one will help me focus on another. Wish me luck.

What about you? How are you doing with your goals and resolutions?

Linda McLaughlin / Lyndi Lamont

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e-maginings: Kindle DX

May 16, 2009 by in category The Romance Journey by Linda Mclaughlin tagged as , ,

Earlier this month, Amazon announced its new, larger Kindle DX, due out this summer. The DX is magazine-size with a 9.7 inch screen compared to the 6-inch screen of the Kindle 2. The DX has a rotating screen so you can read in either portrait or landscape mode; a built-in PDF reader, no conversion required (a much sought after feature); wireless connection and Amazon’s new, somewhat controversial Read-to-Me text to speech capability.

The new device is designed to enhance reading of newspapers and textbooks, and I can see where the larger size will be helpful in viewing graphics. I’ve had a Kindle for almost a year and a half ago, and one of the few downsides I’ve found is that graphs and photos are often so tiny as to be meaningless. Gadget purists are upset about the lack of a slot for a storage card in the newer models, but Amazon claims the increased memory makes an SD card unnecessary.

The pre-order cost of $489.00 will no doubt chase away some readers, esp. during tough economic times, but I think the Kindle is here to stay. The smaller Kindle 2 is still available for $359.00 and there are some used first generation Kindles available for $250.00 and up.

On the POD front, I found an interesting blog post about the Espresso Book Machine. Personally, I’d love to see one of these in every bookstore.

Linda McLaughlin w/a Lyndi Lamont

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e-maginings: $50.00 Laptops?

April 16, 2009 by in category The Romance Journey by Linda Mclaughlin tagged as , , , ,

Are $50 netbooks in our future?

Consumer Reports said that AT&T will start selling netbooks for as little as $50, but of course, with a content contract. Spurred by the popularity of Amazon’s Kindle e-book reader, they are also planning to enter the ebook market.

It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out. Netbooks, like the Acer Aspire and MSI Wind, have become increasingly popular, and prices are dropping. My DH bought his MSI Wind earlier this year and the price has since dropped by $100.00. I imagine a lot of people will find the idea of a $50 netbook irresistible. I also suspect AT&T knows it will make a lot more money on the monthly contract fees than they lose by selling the computer well under purchase price. In life, the devil is often in the details.

FWIW, this is the opposite of the Amazon Kindle business model. The Kindle 2 costs $359.00, but there is no contract and no monthly fee. The base price includes connection charges to download books, though there is a small fee to search the web or upload your own content.

I don’t think these two things are mutually exclusive. Those of us who prefer a dedicated e-book reader will go for the Kindle every time, and those who want internet connectivity and general computing power, including e-books, will go for the netbook. And the gadget freaks will want both. One of these days, I’ll end up buying a netbook.

Which would you prefer?

Linda McLaughlin

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Driving With Minnie

March 16, 2009 by in category The Romance Journey by Linda Mclaughlin tagged as ,

The modern world is increasingly wired, or wireless. A new gadget came into my life recently, a Garmin GPS unit I’ve affectionately dubbed Minnie. My DH bought her for me a couple of weeks ago after Janet Corenlow Quinn and I decided to drive to Las Vegas for the recent EPICon2009 Conference. The DH seemed convinced I’d manage to get lost without him, so he bought the GPS unit. He’d been talking about getting one for some time now, and this made for a good excuse. Minnie is the ultimate back seat driver, and she can be very helpful or very annoying. Her directions helped us navigate through Henderson to our hotel, the Montelago Village Resort, a lovely property situated in a faux Tuscan village at Lake Las Vegas. Click here for a slideshow of my Vegas pictures at my blog.

The perverse part of my nature delights in foiling Minnie by not following directions. I love to hear her grumble, “Recalculating, recalculating” in her computer-generated voice. Sunday morning I turned her on to go to Wal-Mart in San Clemente because I knew there was a back way through the hills. Minnie, of course, expected me to take the freeway and Avenida Pico. She had to do a lot of recalculating. I also discovered that while Minnie is fluent in English and French (this model works only in the US and Canada), her Spanish pronunciation is atrocious. And of course the streets in the area were all Spanish. I had to wait until I got to an intersection to figure out which street she wanted me to turn on. Every Calle became a Call. Every avenida became an a-VEN-i-da. My favorite was Call Delay Pazz (Calle de la Paz). By the time I pulled into the Wal-Mart lot she was quite flustered and kept saying, “go to A-VEN-ida Pico” even though we’d arrived at the programmed destination. Obviously, the technology isn’t perfect. I’m happy to have Minnie, but sometimes I just want to turn her off.

What’s your favorite new gadget?

Linda McLaughlin / Lyndi Lamont

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