Is the book better than the movie?

Is the book better than the movie?
Is the book better than the movie?

It is no secret that I’m a fan of the Chronicles of Narnia series of books and movies, and as a loyal fan, I follow news related to Narnia, and one of my favorite news sources for Narnia related news is NarniaFans.com.  I don’t normally bother to post Narnia related news here, because I feel that I would never be able to do the justice that a dedicated site such as NarniaFans can do, however today my Google Reader showed me an article relating to Narnia that caught my attention for more reasons then The Lion.

In New Zealand, the New Zealand Book Council’s agency (Colenso BBDO) in Auckland, New Zealand, has come up with a rather ingenious way to try and get more young people to read.  When people in New Zealand rent Prince Caspian on DVD from video rental stores in Auckland and the surrounding areas, they see the DVD on the left, and on the right a number of pages, in fact, they see the first 2 chapters of Prince Caspian by C.S. Lewis, with a title page that contains the question “Is the book better than the movie?”

I felt like posting about this story here because I love anything that encourages young people to read.  When I was growing up, the Chronicles of Narnia were some of my personal favorite books to read, and I read them over and over again, today sadly a lot of young people who go to see these movies (which are fantastic), don’t even realize that these wonderful books exist.  By putting the first couple of chapters of a book in with the DVD Rental, perhaps children who enjoy the movie will decide to read the accompanying beginning of the book, and when they get hooked, will head to their local library to grab the rest of it.

This could obviously work for series other then Narnia, imagine if the Harry Potter DVDs included the first two chapters of their accompanying books. I know by chapter 2 of Philosopher’s Stone, I was hooked on J.K. Rowling’s style.

And why limit it to the DVD release, have movie theaters hand out pamphlets of the first chapter of Inkheart after children go to see that imaginative tale this month.

I applaud the New Zealand Book Council for trying out this imaginative campaign to bring more young people to literature.  It is my belief that with more children reading books, we will have a much brighter tomorrow.

Mashup Camp, Next Week

Mashup CampNext Week, I will be attending parts of Mashup Camp at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, CA (across the street from Justia Headquarters).

Nick and Dan at Mashup CampLast spring, I went to Mashup Camp with my coworker Dan, and competed in their SpeedGeeking Best Mashup Contest. Dan did rather well, scoring 4th place with his iPhoneLocator Facebook App (although he’s rather disappointed as only the first 3 places won prizes), and I unfortunately came in last place. I haven’t decided if I’m going to compete again or not, but I can guarantee you if I do, I refuse to get last place again.

This years event looks like it will be fun however, including a Keynote by Tim O’Reilly, Founder and CEO of O’Reilly Media, which, among other things the company does, is my favorite publisher of Technology books.

I’m way behind blogging about this, as Dan blogged about it back in August

Amazon Kindle Reader for the iPhone

I wish I was posting this as a follow up to an announcement, but actually it’s a suggestion to Amazon on how they can make more money, sell more Kindle books, and make more people happy.

Amazon KindleFor those of you who don’t already know, the Amazon Kindle is an ebook reader that uses E-Ink technology to display content on a screen. What’s cook about e-ink is that once it has rendered the screen’s contents, it takes no power to keep the content on the screen. The result is that battery life of the kindle is measured in “page turns” instead of hours. The Kindle is also cool because it has WhisperNet, provided by Sprint, which lets you have books you purchase from Amazon’s kindle store be sent straight to the Kindle, without the need to plug the kindle into your computer. The Kindle also gets a special email address where you can email documents to this address and have them appear on your Kindle for a nominal fee for reading. All in all, it’s a fantastic product, it only has one little problem, the price. The Kindle is $349 (previously $399), available only from Amazon, which is still a bit steep for an up-front cost before you start buying books from the Kindle store to put on it.

Amazon, I know you want to sell Kindles, but your bread and butter will always be the books themselves. My suggestion is that you write an iPhone app that can read the Kindle book format and will validate like a Kindle to your own DRM. You could sell this app in Apple’s app store to make even more money, I’m thinking something along the lines of $20 to $40. This way people with an iPod Touch or iPhone (which is quite a lot of people, including yours truely) can start buying Kindle books without a Kindle, and get the enjoyment of having instant access to literature the way only the elite Kindle owners do. The iPhone already has access to the internet, so it could support all of the functionality of Whispernet without any difficulty from you the developer. The iPod Touch has WiFi, so even it can download books directly when it’s on a hotspot.

Amazon can even take this one step further. Amazon already partners with Apple’s iTunes Music Store as a place to purchase content from it’s own Audible.com, once someone has purchased your iPhone app, partner with iTunes again and have people able to shop for books right through the iTunes music store, making it even easier for iPhone owners to purchase your Kindle books.

What I think Amazon may find surprising if they did this, is that it probably would bolster sails of the Kindle devices itself, not only the Kindle books.

See I’m a bit leery of buying a Kindle, and buying Kindle books, knowing that those books are locked to the Kindle. If I could start buying those books now, and reading them on another device, I’d probably later buy a Kindle knowing it’s a better platform for reading them on.

It’s also not exactly outside of Amazon’s business model to offer their digital products to other platforms either. In March, 2007, I blogged about Amazon and TiVo teaming up to make Amazon Unbox Videos (now known as Amazon Video on Demand) available on TiVo boxes. I immediately started buying Unbox videos when I never had before. Incidentally, I’d love it if Amazon Video-on-demand Videos were playable on the iPhone as well, and I’d probably buy a lot more videos from Amazon if they did, but I think that might be a bit of wishful thinking.

So come on Amazon, release an iPhone app that can read Kindle documents and you’ll have even more of my money then you do now, and I’d bet a whole lot of other people’s money as well.

All Primed Up – Amazon is Brilliant

I’ve been a member of Amazon Prime for over about 2 years now, and I was just thinking today what brilliant marketing it is. By paying a nominal yearly fee, I get free two day shipping, or really cheap next day shipping on everything I buy from them, but does it save me any money? See before I was an Amazon Prime member, I used to make sure that my Amazon orders reached the $25 minimum to get free “Super Saver Shipping” so I didn’t pay for shipping in the first place.

However now that I’m an Amazon Prime member, I find myself buying things on Amazon I would normally have gone to a store and spending not only my time, which is getting less and less, but in many cases more money. Now when I need to buy something, I find myself saying “Let me check to see if Amazon has it”, and if it does for the same or less price, I buy it there. What’s amazing is, a lot of the time, Amazon has it cheaper.

I’ve got to hand it to Amazon, by coming up with a system that gives people faster shipping, they’ve got me looking to them first, instead of last for the things I need.

If you haven’t tried out Amazon Prime, Check out their free trial and see how much happier it makes you about getting the things you want

Happy New Year 2008!

Has it been a year already? It seems like such a short time ago that I sat up at 2 a.m. in a hotel room in San Simeon, CA writing about 2006. I claimed 2006 incredible and, an “oddity” in my life as for the first time in recent years I was not alone and sad on New Years Eve.

Tonight I’m starting a little early, it’s 11:31 p.m. right now as I type these words (I imagine it will take me a bit to finish writing this post) on New Years Eve, and I’m capping yet another amazing year in the life of Nick Moline.
Continue reading “Happy New Year 2008!”

I prefer “Sir Nicholas” if you don’t mind.

As for me, I'll be a KnightJust a little bit of Google humor today, I decided to do something I do every so often and do a google search for my name, Nicholas Moline. I was pleased to see that 8 out of the first 10 results were indeed about me (a few of which were by me), but I happened across a listing that made me smile.

Google Book Search found my name in a very old book: The Egerton Papers: A Collection of Public and Private Documents, Chiefly Illustrative of the … contains an interesting mention on Page 403

Continue reading “I prefer “Sir Nicholas” if you don’t mind.”

WizardCast 3

WizardCast Episode 3 is out, including some interesting announcements. I’ll go ahead an innumerate the announcements here, though I haven’t yet on the WizardCast website. First, we’ve expaned WizardCast into Wizards.FM, the Wizard’s Webcast Network and have already recorded a few additional shows that will be coming out in addition to WizardCast, including “The Looking Glass” a movie review podcast where we review the latest in Fantasy and Science Fiction movies, “WizFM News” where we take our news segment out of WizardCast and produce it more regularly, “The Witching Hour” where we introduce people to fantasy and science fiction music, particularly Wizard Rock bands, and “The Common Room Fire” where we review Science Fiction and Fantasy Books.

The second, even bigger announcement is that this summer, we will be doing a Live Podcast at the Book’s Inc Laurel Village, in San Francisco the night of the release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. It will be tons of fun with giveaways, contests, trivia, and much more.

The Week from Hell

You know the expression “It can’t possibly get worse?” You know how whenever anyone says that it almost invariably… DOES get worse? It’s been like that for me lately. Any of you who happen to read my blog probably consider me a pessimist with my relatively bleak outlook on life I’ve had the past several months. You may be right, my depression, which is again in full swing, probably forces me to focus on the negative aspects of life and ignore the good. This past week and a half however, I’ve been consciously trying to find the good, I have yet to find it.

Last Week was, as most people here in the USA know, tax day, April 15th. I received my W2 from Metrotime Business Systems on April 14th, no, I didn’t say January, I said April, as in one day before the taxes were due. And as much as I had wished the W2 would alter my taxes slightly for the better (I had come up with a balance of owing $254 without that 1 W2), hoping that the fact that I claimed 0 deductions on the W4 to get that W2 would cause Metrotime to withhold too much money which would counteract the fact that also during this year I worked (again for Metrotime) under a 1099-MISC. It didn’t, in fact, it made things worse, I now owed $306 on my federal taxes, I know that’s not that much of a difference, but I didn’t have $254 to begin with, $306 was killer. I had a check come in from a job but I didn’t get the check UNTIL April 15th, and then too late in the day to deposit it in time, so I borrowed $100 from my father to make sure I had enough money in my account to pay my taxes. Continue reading “The Week from Hell”