Is the eBook Worth Adopting Yet?

On December 21, 2007, I wrote a post asking why the ebook hadn’t caught on yet, and gave several reasons why I haven’t adopted this promising technology yet. Since writing that post, there have been some interesting developments. Amazon came out with a second edition Kindle and an app for the iPhone that allows you to read Kindle books. So far, I have a few Kindle books, although with one exception they’ve all been free. I’m debating whether to buy buy another book or not. There are a few books I’m determined to read, and I wonder whether or not to buy them for the Kindle to read on my iPhone.

What’s stopping me?

Well, for one, I’m realizing that it’s hard to take notes in Kindle books. I used to be shy about writing in my books, but recently I’ve started underlining, writing in questions, and writing in my own statements about material in the book. You can’t do that on Kindle for iPhone. It also doesn’t allow cut-copy-paste yet, so I can’t clip interesting quotes from the book into Evernote. The best I can do is exit out of Kindle for iPhone and record a Note to Self or Voice Note about whatever in the book stood out.

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Book Review: Rick & Bubba’s Guide to the Almost Nearly Perfect Marriage

When I finished my review of John Maxwell’s “Put Your Dream to the Test”, I went back to Thomas Nelson’s Book Review Bloggers site to request another book to review. There were slim pickings at that time; I think 3 books were available. One of them was “Rick and Bubba’s Guide to the Almost Nearly Perfect Marriage”. I figured that my marriage had hit a rough spot, and I was reading some books on marriage, so I should read this one.

After reading it, I’m kind of torn. I think I can take my review two ways. I can review how well written and how amusing the book might be for the average reader, then I can comment on how useful I thought it was to me.

I’d never heard of Rick and Bubba before. Apparently they’re southern DJs or talk show hosts. They call themselves “The sexiest fat men alive”. I guess somebody has to be. The book is 230 pages and I counted 45 chapters. If you do the math, you end up with fairly short chapters that are easy to read 2-3 at a time in one sitting. That makes it convenient.

I’d say the book is written (or edited) well enough. The content is fairly amusing. It’s about what you’d expect from two men who talk for a living given a contract to write a book about their marriages. I can’t say the content is very helpful for a marriage in trouble. Being written from a man’s perspective, I doubt my wife would read it. It is amusing in most points though, and made me laugh several times. At other times, I have to admit, I groaned as I read cliches and over-repeated jokes and stories that just about every man comes programmed to tell about his wife and assumes are unique. The book has several sidebars, and at the back contains the “Book of Blame”, which one of the authors says he got from his wife’s hope chest. It explains how wives can blame everything on their husbands.

I guess I enjoyed the book well enough. I think the average reader will probably find it amusing and worth the read. It’s definitely not the kind of book that you’ll read or refer to again and again, like “Put Your Dream to the Test”. I doubt it will earn a prominent place on my bookshelf for that reason.

It also comes with a companion CD containing tracks of Rick and Bubba. I have not had a chance to listen to the CD at this point. Below is the Amazon data for the book from my affiliate link (please consider buying it from my affiliation) and a YouTube clip of the authors promoting their book.

Management Perspective From a Non-Manager: Incentive

I work for two organizations. Each one has it’s own requirements, and sometimes they get really annoying, especially when I’m trying to get work done. I used to do these on time every time, but I recently stopped because I found that I had no incentive.

1) Weekly Reports

These are annoying. Every week, in addition to getting work done, I’m supposed to deliver a weekly report of what I’ve done. I did this every week, on-time, for months. Every time we had a team meeting, the entire group would get a butt-chewing for not turning in weekly reports. All sorts of incentives and threats were issued to the team in an effort to get everybody to turn in reports. At one point, if you didn’t do a report, you would have to buy each team member the soda of his or her choice.

I made sure that, no matter what, I got my report in every single week. Then I noticed that, not only was nobody else doing it, but I hadn’t gotten a single soda. I realized that not only did I have no incentive to turn in my reports, but there was also an empty threat on the other end. Since nobody else had been disciplined (except for the group butt-chewings), there was no point in doing the work. I pretty much quit turning in a weekly report. To hell with it. I was also a little bit upset at getting chewed out with the rest of the group for not turning in a report when I ACTUALLY DID TURN IT IN EVERY WEEK!

2) Timesheets

Same goes for timesheets. Every time I attend a team meeting, my manager bitches everybody out for not completing timesheets on time. At one meeting, I was getting tired of getting chewed out with everybody else even though my timesheet is always turned in on time. I commented, and was told to quit being so defensive. Get bent.

Managers, since most of you seem to have reached your position by not reading a single book or attending a single class or even having a single pep talk by a senior manager on how to actually manage people, here’s my mentoring tip to you: When you chew out the entire group for not doing something, please recognize the one or two people who do it right. Really, when you get involved in the group ass chewing, there’s no incentive to do it right anyway, except for pride or honor, but you can only milk that for so long.

Favorite Books: The Bermuda Triangle Mystery: Solved

I posted this on Shelfari. I figured I should repost it here, as I do review books on this blog:

I read this book in the 8th grade. I had to do a research report, and for some reason decided to do the Bermuda Triangle. I went to the school library, and started to check out the usual assortment of mystical books that repeat the old tales and speculate as to UFOs, demon magic, freak storms, and all manner of unverifiable events. Then I found a book called "The Bermuda Triangle Mystery: Solved". I figured that was very self-assured, but as I read the jacket and started reading the book, I found that this author was willing to do what no other author (at least, that I checked out) had done: ORIGINAL, FACT-BASED RESEARCH. He researched the news and weather reports, the insurance records, and whatever eyewitness and survivor accounts that he could find. He was able to either completely solve most Bermuda Triangle mysteries, or provide a highly plausible explanation that didn’t require UFOs or mystical activity.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not denying that events occur in this world for which there are no natural explanations. Some things do happen that appear to be supernatural. But when a naturalistic explanation is available, there’s no need to go for the mystical. I watch Ghost Hunters and I enjoy reading ghost stories and Weird NJ Magazine. Larry Kusche was able to verify plenty of Bermuda Triangle events with naturalistic explanations.

As a reader/egghead/amateur intellectual, this remains one of my favorite books.

One Degree Makes All The Difference

This is an interesting and inspirational film. Go ahead and take 3 minutes out of your day to watch it. It makes a great point based around the difference in one degree of water and how you can apply it to your own pursuit of greatness.

At 211 degrees, water is just hot water. At 212 degrees, it boils and begins to turn to steam. Steam can power machinery. It’s very impressive. It also covers how small the margin of victory is in some sports. It’s usually off by something that could be considered one degree.

What will it take for you to achieve one more degree?

“Those Were The Days” Emails

I took the boys outside this afternoon to ride their bikes and scooters on the sidewalk. I know the fresh air is good for all of us, but of course I’m happiest cooped on on my computers or with a book or something. That doesn’t help my health much. I got to thinking as I watched them ride between the arbitrary boundaries that I set for them about how I seemed to have had more freedom when I was their age than we’re willing to give them.

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I grew up in an Air Force family. When I was Joshua’s age of 4 (he’ll be 5 in a few weeks) I had some freedom to go up and down the street. At that age, my dad was stationed at Tyndale Air Force Base in Panama City, Florida. We rented a house “on town” for a year, then moved into base housing. I don’t remember much about our rented house other than one of those old tubs that had legs on it, and we fled from a hurricane (probably in ‘78 or ‘79) by heading into Georgia. When we lived on base, I can remember playing in some woods near our housing unit. I also remember a road that was being constructed that we would explore around. There was no traffic as it was being constructed.

I also remember riding my bike with my friends to a mini-mart or something to buy ice cream. I think I was able to mostly come and go from the house without worry.

I also had some freedom when we lived in Germany from ‘80-‘85. We would run around the woods in base housing. As I got older, we would often walk to the ruins of a castle in a nearby town. Often, this was done without checking for permission.

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Why Do I Keep Using Firefox?

Firefox drives me nuts. I’m starting this blog entry after yet another crash. Why did Firefox crash? I tried to load a page. One web page. Seth Godin’s blog. And Firefox crashed. Why do I continue to subject myself to this kind of instability?

Honestly, because as much as Firefox raises my blood pressure, there are a few things it can do that other browsers can’t match.

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