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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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e-maginings: Amazon Kindle 2 Debuts

February 16, 2009 by in category Archives tagged as , , , ,

A week ago, Amazon.com released the second version of its Kindle e-book reader. Owners of the first version had a day to order a new one and jump to the head of the queue, but I managed to resist the temptation.

The Kindle 2 is slimmer than the original, with more storage, longer battery life, faster page changes and an improved display. Another, more controversial, feature of the new device is the “Read-to-Me” feature which allows the Kindle to read aloud “every book, blog, magazine, and newspaper”. The Authors Guild quickly pointed out that this feature probably violates existing copyright laws.

Several of my books are available for the Kindle as e-books, but I own the audio rights and have not licensed them to anyone. On the other hand, if someone buys a copy of one of my books and wants to have it read to them by a goofy, machine-generated voice, do I care? At this point in time, I’m grateful for every sale. If the same books were available as professionally produced audio books, I’m sure I’d be looking at this differently.

I don’t know how all this will play out, but it seems like our rapidly-evolving technology has lawyers scrambling to keep up. It’ll be interesting to see what happens.


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e-maginings: Publisher Suing Borders

January 16, 2009 by in category Archives tagged as

Jasmine-Jade Enterprises, parent company of Ellora’s Cave, Cerridwen Press and The Lotus Circle, filed suit against Borders and distributor Baker and Taylor for breach of contract and fraud. The issue involved has to do with books returned in violation of the bookstore chain’s contract with the publisher.

Details can be found at Publisher’s Weekly and Media Bistro. At issue is the chain’s habit of returning significant numbers of ordered books for credit.

Publishers have long complained about the policy of bookstore returns and it hits small publishers particularly hard, so it will be interesting to see how this case plays out.


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e-maginings: Happy Holidays!

December 17, 2008 by in category Archives tagged as

Wishing you the best of the season and a happy and prosperous 2009!

Linda McLaughlin / Lyndi Lamont

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