R.E.M. and MoveOn collaborate

As much as I support the public option, I’m not sure about its political possibility right now. However, I am sure that my favorite band, R.E.M., and MoveOn collaborated to produce a video urging its inclusion in any upcoming health care bill. The video is simply a slideshow of MoveOn members holding signs with the names of people who need health care now, set to R.E.M.’s “You Are the Everything” from Green.

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2009-09-04

  • Took BP at MA yesterday with @tylershores in 102-degree weather. #
  • Listening to a great Fresh Air interview with Ted Kennedy from a few years ago: #
  • How is it that the New Yorker and NYTM both run profiles of the Bryan brothers in the same week? #
  • PlayRadioPlay is a total Postal Service ripoff but still fun listening. #
  • Had a Zuni Cafe burger for lunch. But where was @albertkchen? #
  • Horray! A new book from Lorrie Moore and a profile of her in the Times: #
  • Can someone explain why the Gmail outage is a big deal? Are you really that dependent? Enable POP and use your own client + mail server. #
  • Jonny Greenwood: MP3s encourage people "to own far more music than they can ever give their full attention to." #
  • Better yet, send a postcard or pick up the phone. #
  • How to reverse "the victory of whatever can be quantified over everything that can't"? #
  • More mags should be using their iPhone apps to drive sales of physical product like the Economist. #
  • BlackBerry Desktop for the Mac is like three iPhones too late for me. #
  • Okay, so who else got the I Am T-Pain iPhone app? @albertkchen #
  • Found myself wishing my MacBook Pro had a fax modem today. #

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2009-08-21

  • Just gave my board presentation using Air Mouse on iPhone as a PowerPoint remote. Wish it didn't drain my battery so fast! #
  • Saw a whale on my way to the meeting yesterday. #
  • Sandwich showdown: Mike & Patty's vs. Darwin's. #
  • RT @norton_fiction: RT @elliottholt "Don't trust anyone who doesn't own books." #
  • Was at Darwin's and sold a woman on "Camus, a Romance" from @groveatlantic after she asked what I was reading. Didn't even have the jacket. #
  • Boo to @museumofscience for not admitting AAM members but stealing the AAM's code of ethics–this merits a letter. #
  • Lots of drivers at the airport with signs that say "Connect." Wonder what that means. 😉 @joshto #

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2009-08-14

  • Multi-page online articles inflate pageview numbers at the expense of user experience. @NYTimes, etc., allow us to default to single-page! #
  • "People who say that all this content wants to be free aren’t paying talented people to create it." #
  • Are there any good tech blogs that aren't rabidly pro-technology, if that makes sense? #
  • I don't have a problem with this: #
  • Obama's reading list: Joseph O'Neill, Dave Eggers and Jeff Sachs (via @melvillehouse) #
  • Ginevra King's–the inspiration for Daisy–Chicago home was for sale. Who bought it? #
  • "…the loss of identification so profound as to be constitutive of one's self…." #
  • Edmund Wilson responds to requests: #
  • ePub? Yuck! Can someone explain to me why we can't get books in PDF with embedded fonts? #
  • Lots of new sections just appeared in my NYTimes iPhone app, including "Pro Basketball" and "Start-Ups." What is up with that? #
  • The cover for Commencement looks so much like the one for Demonology. #

The price of a logo

I had a few logos made for projects over the past four years. Fortunately, I’ve been able to work with friends on many of them. However, I continue to encounter the misconceptions that logos should be cheap, say a couple hundred bucks, or involve a lot of constant feedback from the client to the designer on all possible designs. Here’s why neither is true.

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Twitter Weekly Updates for 2009-08-07

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2009-07-31

  • Why you shouldn't update Instapaper on your iPhone to version 2.1: #
  • Nicholson Baker re Kindle: "Where were sharp black letters laid out like lacquered chopsticks on a clean tablecloth?" #
  • I guess I'm slow, but I just realized that the Kindle doesn't actually reproduce the looks, layouts, or even fonts of printed books. Boo! #
  • What if Apple gave AT&T another year of iPhone exclusivity in exchange for free wireless for all Apple tablets? Yes! #
  • Hilarious test of speech recognition using classic works of literature: #
  • Finally, someone in business–Paul Graham–locates the value in being uninterruptedly alone: #
  • PW reviews Nabobov's Original of Laura. I can't wait to see the facsimile index cards! #

PW reviews Nabokov’s The Original of Laura

Publisher’s Weekly has the first review of Valdimir Nabokov’s last book, The Original of Laura. The magazine calls the book a “very unfinished work [that] reads largely like an outline.” What’s most interesting and exciting is how the book will look:

Knopf is publishing the book in an intriguing form: Nabokov’s handwritten index cards are reproduced with a transcription below of each card’s contents, generally less than a paragraph. The scanned index cards (perforated so they can be removed from the book) are what make this book an amazing document; they reveal Nabokov’s neat handwriting (a mix of cursive and print) and his own edits to the text: some lines are blacked out with scribbles, others simply crossed out. Words are inserted, typesetting notes (“no quotes”) and copyedit symbols pepper the writing, and the reverse of many cards bears a wobbly X. Depending on the reader’s eye, the final card in the book is either haunting or the great writer’s final sly wink: it’s a list of synonyms for “efface”—expunge, erase, delete, rub out, wipe out and, finally, obliterate.

Don’t update your iPhone’s Instapaper to version 2.1

As many of you know, one of my favorite iPhone applications is Instapaper. I use it to read pretty much anything I don’t want to read when I find it on my computer—generally long essays from the New Yorker, Atlantic, and New York Review of Books. Unfortunately, the latest version of Instapaper Free is simply a downgrade masquerading as an upgrade. This version removes the ability to save your place if you quit the application while in the middle of reading a saved article. However, it has two other qualities that are far worse: it shows ads and it only allows you to keep your ten most recently saved articles on the iPhone. I’m still running the old version of Instapaper, and will continue to do so because it’s allowed me to save over 100 articles from the web to my phone. Whenever I need something to read, I just go to Instapaper. Some articles are months old, but I frequently dig into my archive for reading material, especially if it’s a long essay or short story from the New Yorker. I really like the old Instapaper and hope that I’ll be able to continue using it. If not, I guess I’ll go back to paper—that is the kind that comes from trees.

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Twitter Weekly Updates for 2009-07-17

  • Any other auction sites that people use now that eBay has moved to more fixed price listings? #
  • "… the main thing you need as a writer is a sense of certainty that you won’t be interrupted." –Roxanna Robinson in today's NYT #
  • One thing fiction does is that it fosters the belief that what's possible in the world is more rather than less. #
  • A nice display of books at Liquor Bar in TriBeCa. #
  • How to read PDF books and other large PDFs on the iPhone? The best answer is GoodReader: #
  • The standards for getting a word into Webster's are very low: #
  • Let's see Obama's arm! #
  • Ted Williams in a Pepsi commercial? Noooo! #
  • "There is no real way to deal with everything we lose." –Joan Didion #

The NewsHour on the future of publishing

Yesterday on the NewsHour Ray Suarez discussed the future of the book publishing business and its handling of e-books with Jonathan Karp of Hachette’s Twelve, one of my favorite imprints. Karp likens the publishing business to gambling, but what business isn’t like gambling? I found his analogy between the Kindle and the Walkman to be a little misleading, however. Sony, though it had a music library when the Walkman came out, didn’t have the same retail relationship with customers. The comparison would be more apt if Karp’s employer, Hachette, was the one behind the Kindle and not Amazon.

Suarez prefaces the conversation with a brief segment about the book business as a whole, including a story about layoffs at Tattered Cover in Denver and a customer’s book buying binge of a response. More →

How to read large PDFs—books, articles, etc.—on your iPhone


In the past, I’ve tried emailing large PDFs to myself to read using the iPhone’s native PDF viewer. Unfortunately, it’s extremely slow with any sort of large file, so reading books is out of the question. I also tried importing PDFs of books into Stanza. However, the files tend to lose all formatting and line breaks, giving you large continuous paragraphs of text with page numbers and headers embedded in the text of the work itself. One of the reasons why I would like a Kindle DX is to read PDFs of books and journal/magazine articles. However, there are also several reasons why I don’t want a Kindle. More →