Friday, March 25, 2016

An Unscheduled Visit of Illness

Writing over the course of the last two weeks has been at a virtual standstill. It's not that I don't want to progress on Ticket Agent's first draft; I do. I should be closing in on 40,000 words--novel-sized!--and nearing the halfway point by now. Pushing back the first-draft writing means other tasks--reading Beach Blanket Bloodshed before writing the blurb and uploading it for pre-order, doing the first full read-through of The Peg-Legged Privateer, writing all of the other projects filling my head--gets pushed back, too.

And there's a reason for that.

Welcome to the Noble House of Plague.

Yup. Whatever has been floating around Massachusetts lately has invaded the Farm, attacking its human denizens with the force of a shovel swung against a cranium. It swept in slowly, at first; I found myself sneezing quite a bit before aches and chills followed. Soon, I had a nose full of snot--I know, great visual--and lo and behold, Jen followed. In that time, I tried to write, even if it was just a page. Afterward, I felt as though I had run a marathon. We went through four boxes of tissues in just over a week.

Tired of feeling ill, I recently went to my doctor. The verdict: sinus infection. Meds for a week and a half. Jen went to hers the next day: bronchitis.

So to say we haven't gotten too much done over the course of the past two weeks is an understatement, and hopefully we'll be able to catch up on certain chores this coming week.

However, I am feeling better. I'm still coughing, but my head isn't filled with fifty pounds of yellow mucus any longer. The hope is I'll get to write a little this afternoon and a little tomorrow, but more than likely Monday is the best-case scenario to get back to Jaclyn's world.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Your Kindle needs a software update

Every little device we use needs a software update from time to time, and it's time to update your Kindles, ladies and gents. According to a nifty little message I received on my Kindle this morning, Kindle users need to update their devices by March 22--that's 11 days, people--or else you'll lose the ability to connect with the Kindle Store/Shop, or the ability to update through the Wi-Fi after that date. It more than likely has to do with security, but Amazon isn't saying. And honestly, I wouldn't risk it. I always update my iPhone right away--my laptop does it automatically, even while I'm in the middle of writing--and I'm updating my Kindle as we speak. I did a little research. According to The Huffington Post, these specific devices need updating: Kindle 1st Generation (2007) Kindle 2nd Generation (2009) Kindle DX 2nd Generation (2009) Kindle Keyboard 3rd Generation (2010) Kindle 4th Generation (2011) Kindle 5th Generation (2012) Kindle Touch 4th Generation (2011) Kindle Paperwhite 5th Generation (2012) Here's how to get the update: Plug your Kindle in to charge during the update. Connect to Wi-Fi. From the Home screen of your Kindle, select Menu or tap the Menu icon. Then choose Sync and Check for Items. The update will begin automatically. Leave your Kindle connected to both power and Wi-Fi overnight, or until the update is complete. It's that simple. Cheers.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

RIP, Nook UK. We hardly knew ye.

Beware the Ides of March has new meaning in 2016.

Over the weekend, Barnes & Noble announced its plans to shutter the Nook UK shop. Starting March 15--or 15 March, if you're reading this in the UK--B&N will stop selling digital content. By May 31, though, Nook UK will disappear into the ethos forever.

I can't say I'm totally surprised by this. I don't believe Barnes & Noble did a good job of promoting the Nook in the UK, and Amazon had beat it to the punch in launching Kindle there in 2011. And I couldn't tell you how the Sainsbury aspect of this will work out, regarding its reading app in the UK. I'm not there. Apple and Kobo, though, should make their moves in the UK now in order to grab that market.

The question now, of course, is how long Nook has remaining here in the United States? That I couldn't tell you. I have no idea, really. What I do know is back in December, Barnes & Noble's stock plunged 17 percent, and had fallen 34 percent across the entirety of the year. Nook sales, according to that link, went from just shy of $160 million in the second quarter of FY-2014, to a smidge above $40 million in the second quarter of FY-2016.

I'm not an economics expert, but I can't believe that's sustainable. What is clear to me, though, is this: Nook is spiraling. What could have been a solid competitor to Amazon fell short.

And I think you all know my feelings about Nook, anyway. I'm not too saddened to see it go the way of the dinosaur. I've never been a fan of the platform, having tried out the devices at my local B&N store in the past. They just didn't look easy to use; the interface just felt clunky to me. And their in-store sales claims that they have the largest bookstore in the world and access to every ebook available is laughable, and downright false; a few years ago, I actually laughed in a saleswoman's face when they said they have the largest ebook library in the world. Apparently, they have their heads in the sand regarding Kindle Unlimited and Kindle Select. Not that I actually agree with Kindle Select and Kindle Unlimited, but you get the gist of what I'm saying.

People have always asked me what I feel they should buy for their e-reading needs, and I always suggest Kindle. I always have, and I always will. My suggestion to current Nook users here in the US: convert your Nook books to the .mobi format using Calibre, and buy a Kindle, then transfer the files via USB.

Caveat emptor, gang.