Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Ends and odds: gay ebooks on your phone?!

Many thanks indeed to Rainbow Reviews for the great review of DANGEROUS MOONLIGHT, which went up yesterday. As a writer, it's always nice (very) when reviews are good. (And on the other side of the coin, you have no idea what it's like to get a stinker! You live and learn ... but a great review puts a glow on your day.)

See the review here, and while you're there, enjoy rafts of reviews for books across the whole GLBTIQ spectrum.

To your left is the first of a new crop of ads which will be appearing ... well, starting about now. This one will be on Rainbow Reviews very soon (could be today), and a number of others are under design...

Speaking of DANGEROUS MOONLIGHT, look out for a DreamCraft newsletter this afternoon, with a modest promotion for the hardcover which appeared a couple of days ago.

It's always a challenge (albeit extremely rewarding) to get a book out in a new format. Right now, some of these books are available in four formats (paperback, hardcover, ebook for desktop and ebook for screenreader) ... and we're toying with the idea of adding another.

The current iPhone craze is seductive indeed, for someone like myself who loves their technology. I don't have one of these gizmos ... eventually, I might have one, though the last thing it'll be used for is a phone.

Who could resist something that plays music and videos, takes pictures, and doubles as a book viewer, tells the time, does service as a business diary and calendar. Oh, and if someone need to make a phonecall, you can chuck it at them and ask for it back later.

But, get real here: you can use the iPhone as a book viewer?!

Apparently yes, you can. It has an applet (something called Stanza) which lets it read files which have been converted, re-tagged, from HTML files. That part is simple. The only thing we need to research in-depth is our ability to secure the files. Are we paranoid? It's just that I have a recurring nightmare: the files are out there, my brainchildren, fully readable, copyable, and the next thing I know, the books are popping up everywhere from Pirate Pete's Peerless Paperback Publications Plus Extraordinary Ebooks' Exemplary Emporium. Incorporated.

So, right now we're looking at what can be done to, and with, files for the Stanza applet. Drop us a line if you're interested in Keegan for your iPhone ... meanwhile, let us research the possibilities of securing the files; and we'll let you know how it turns out.

Meanwhile --

Have you used Google today? If you haven't, load it up and look down, under the search field. They're offering the beta version of a new browser, Google Chrome. And it's not bad at all -- actually, excellent for the first outing of a beta. I installed it this morning (takes about five minutes or so, with a decent broadband connection.

The interface is very "stripped," very simple, and dead easy to configure. It has some of the visual features of Opera (quick-dial thumbnails), and a quick-hit bar across the top with your most-used bookmarks. Tabbed browsing is "go" without the increasingly clutsy and crash-prone tabs themselves (frozen tabs crash me routinely). Page names are just on a taskbar at the top, streamlining the whole thing nicely.

From what I saw, there are few problems, but in a half hour or so, I did notice some -- and one of them is a little odd. I wasn't surprised at all, that you can't get into Hotmail with Google Chrome. Hotmail foils your attempts to login and tells you, flat out, to go get a proper browser! It allows IE, Firefox and Opera, but as for logging in with Chrome? Forget it. That's a handshaking problem which will be fixed in due course -- probably when Chrome progresses out of the beta stage.

The second problem I saw is surprising: Chrome has font issues with Blogger. This is astonishing, when you remember, Google owns Blogger. One would have thought the programmer would have been able to liaise on a matter like display fonts. Hopefully, it's an easy question to resolve -- in fact, it's the first time I've seen a problem with the display of fonts in any browser, so it has to be something fundamental.

At this moment I'd give Google Chrome three-and-a-half stars out of five, which is pretty darned good, because the beta was only opened up for public testing today. I like it. If they can sort out a couple of minor technical hickies and convince Hotmail to play nice, I'd be happy to use it.

(I suppose I take a keener than average interest in browsers, because selling books online depends on the little fellas. Does anyone remember The Olden Days, when every browser displayed things its own way, and you beat your bloody brains out to get a page that looked okay in both IE and Netscape?! That would be 1995, 1996. Not so long ago. A mere nanosecond in geologic terms. But eons, in silicon terms. We have it easy today by comparison.)

Back to work now: THE LORDS OF HARBENDANE await.


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