ˈvər-chə-wəlˈdā-vəs Serial storyteller, poetry pusher, digital doodler, flâneur.

USB Typewriter

The USBTypewriter™ is a new and groundbreaking innovation in the field of obsolescence.  Lovers of the look, feel, and quality of old fashioned manual typewriters can now use them as keyboards for any USB-capable computer, such as a PC, Mac, or even iPad!  The modification is easy to install, it involves no messy wiring, and does not change the outward appearance of the typewriter (except for the usb adapter itself, which is mounted in the rear of the machine).  So the end result is a retro-style USB keyboard that not only looks great, but feels great to use. (

Hat tip to Chris Casquilho (@chriscasquilho) for putting me onto this gem!

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Print Publishing’s Bastard Cousin


Founders Dirty Bastard Scotch Ale

Looks like “old school” publishers and authors are continuing to struggle with the transition from print publishing to digital publishing.

At The National Book Awards last night, books were being celebrated, but eBooks not as much. The New Yorker’s Andy Borowitz called the eBooks, “The bastard cousin of the print book” and Patti Smith begged the audience not to give up physical books. In her winning speech she said, “There is nothing more beautiful in our material world than the book.” (eBookNewser)

The bastard cousin? Hmmm… I’m not quite sure how that works, but it’s a catchy epithet!

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Are You Getting Used?

“Back when I first got on the Internet, I saw networking as the next great leap in human evolution, that we were moving towards a new networked organism. And I’m amazed at how few of us have actually decided to participate in this project. In a digital age, or in any age for that matter, whoever holds the keys to programming ends up building the reality in which the rest of us live… If we don’t seize the opportunity to remake our world, I promise you someone or something else will do it for us.”(from video trailer, above)

Boo! This book trailer for Program or Be Programmed by Douglas Rushkoff(@rushkoff) might startle you — should startle you! And if it doesn’t, you may already be programmed. Passive. Absorbing, consuming, yielding, surrendering…

“If you don’t know what the software you’re using is for, then you’re not using it but being used by it.” (from video trailer, above)

This promises to be a provocative read. And Rushkoff is presenting at Mediabistro’s eBook Summit on December 15th, explaining “why he left his traditional publisher for a new house — exploring the struggles of an author and journalist in the new publishing environment.” I’m looking forward to hearing what he has to say.

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ISBN with CreateSpace

Against Social Control

I just read Dianna Dilworth’s post at eBookNewser from last Monday (I know, I know… but it’s Thanksgiving!) about Amazon’s platform upgrade toCreateSpace.

The upgrade includes the ability for members to buy their own ISBN from Bowker LLC, directly through the CreateSpace platform. Other new enhancements include… an upgraded cover creator toolset for both books and discs… [with] a free image gallery that writers can use for their covers. There is also a new custom trim size feature in which members can choose a customized trim size for their book. (Amazon Self Pub Upgrade Adds ISBN Feature)

Sounds great! Another leap forward for self-publishing authors, streamlining the journey from creation to customer.

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Is Print Publishing the New Vanity Press?


All is vanity
All is vanity by quinn.anya, on Flickr

[Seth] Godin, a best-selling author of marketing books such as Tribes and Permission Marketing, felt he no longer needed his traditional publisher. Notably, Godin defined “publishing” far more broadly than did Penguin Group. He plans on distributing his content in a number of media—audio books, apps, podcasts, print on demand, etc.

As for the value of publishers, Godin commented: “Publishers provide a huge resource to authors who don’t know who reads their books. What the Internet has done for me, and a lot of others, is enable me to know my readers.” … As someone who has had six books and innumerable articles published by traditional print publishers… I have seen the transformation of a raw manuscript into an edited, indexed, laid-out publication. It is a sight to behold, and certainly something I couldn’t do on my own.

That said, if publishers can’t find innovative ways to create new markets for an author’s content, and if more successful authors shift to Godin’s model, we may get to the point where print publishers are seen as the vanity press and high-quality self-publishing is the new professional standard. If writers do not know who their audiences are, they can, in essence, ride the coattails of the marketing channels of a traditional publisher. If, on the other hand, they have already built their readership through other avenues, they may rely on their own reputation for credibility, rather than on the imprimatur of a publisher, to sell their books.

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Is the Best E-Reader No E-Reader?

To e-read or not to e-read, that is the question!

Following up on on his column over at yesterday about Barnes & Noble’s new Nookcolor e-reader, Harry McCracken offers a timely, Christmas-shoppers-take-note alternative to both the Kindle and the Nook.

You could choose to buy no e-reader at all…  both Amazon and Barnes & Noble are rolling out applications that bring their e-book stores to phones and other gadgets…’s app selection is particularly bountiful: It has ones for iPhone, iPad, Android, BlackBerry, Windows Phone 7, Windows, and OS X. Barnes & Noble has ones for iPhone, iPad, Android, and Windows. They’re not comprehensive recreations… But all the apps are free, and they all work on one or more devices you already own… I do most of my e-reading on other devices. And my single most-used e-reading device is my iPhone, simply because I take it with me nearly everywhere and can dip into any e-book I own in seconds, often while I’m doing something else at the same time… Both companies also have synching technologies that keep track of where you are in a particular tome: I can read a few pages on an iPhone, pick up on my Mac, and then finish a book on an actual Kindle. And I do, frequently.(

Sorry, economy, but Harry’s on to something. Something good. Something smart. Especially for newbies to the digital reading experience. Try it out on hardware you already own. Figure out if you like it. Or still miss books printed on trees. Get your feet wet. Buy nothing. Save your money for nachos. And an airplane ticket to lands exotic. Happy reading…

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Alison Norrington on Transmedia Storytelling

What exactly is transmedia storytelling? What are “rabbit holes”? Cheese holes? In Liz Thomson’s interview Alison Norrington, CEO of storycentralDIGITAL, tackles all three while considering the ongoing impact of transmedia storytelling on the publishing industry. “I would like to think… The book might not be the primary platform…” But she’s not optimistic. And she sees the future of transmedia storytelling as platform agnostic. Once again, I’m reminded that gaming is a driving force in this transition.

Feeling Ignored?

Too funny! A great ecard idea from, but it’d be an even greater postcard. I’d like to order a dozen!

Robin Williams on Feeling Ignored

“I used to think the worst thing in life is to end up all alone. It’s not. The worst thing in life is to end up with people who make you feel all alone.” ~ Robin Williams (as Lance Clayton in World’s Greatest Dad)

Mr. Cellophane

Chicago, the musical. Mr. Cellophane. It’s sort of become the anthem for those who are feeling ignored.

Cellophane, Mr. Cellophane shoulda been my name
Mr. Cellophane ’cause you can look right through me
Walk right by me and never know I’m there

But it’s too easy, too cowardly to feel invisible. Which is why people feel it. Say it. Believe it. The truth is worse. And better…

You’re not invisible. Far from it! What you are experiencing is worse, you’re feeling ignored. Visible but painfully overlooked. That’s not a reflection on you. It’s a reflection on those who are ignoring you. And it tells you everything, everything you need to know about the person or people ignoring you. They are sufficiently self-absorbed to erase you – intentionally or unintentionally, it really doesn’t much mate – from their presence. Accept them for what they are. Insecure. Narcissistic. And a total waste of your time and caring. It hurts to accept. Until it heals. And then it empowers you to move on, to gravitate toward more compelling peers. Easier said than done, but vitally important. Find friends, family, loves, colleagues, pets, even strangers who notice you and value you and honor you. Because you deserve all that. And then some.

And just so you know, those people are out there. Waiting for you. Go find them!

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Off to EBook Summit on December 15

Publishing hasn’t seen this much change in its 800-year history. New technologies bring a wave of opportunities as they disrupt regular print cycles and business models. Books are consumed digitally on portable devices, a new opportunity for authors and publishers to produce multimedia content. Authors can self-publish without the support of a major publishing house and find an audience through social media. As major publishers shift their businesses, new upstarts launch ideas for sharing digital content on a variety of platforms. (eBook Summit)

In less than one month I’m off to the eBook Summit to tip-dip my toes into a new era of publishing. I’m planning to soak up as much as possible from this crackerjack lineup. Time to learn what publishing challenges, opportunities and tools away in the digital age! With luck, I’ll emerge better focused on how proceed with Rosslyn Redux.

Poken: Digital Business Cards

Are Pokens the future of b-cards? (video via Bit Rebels)

Ready for a Poken? Not so quick? According to Diana Adams, CEO/owner of Adams Consulting Group (@adamsconsulting) in Atlanta, Georgia this is the future of b-cards!

I think puts it best when they say to “Simply pull out your Poken and ‘high five’ it with your new best friend’s. Clever RF technology then zaps the info between the devices, so next time you log on to your favorite site, your profiles are linked. Genius!” It functions as a business card sender and receiver. (Bit Rebels)

Goofy gadget? Hint of the future?

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