The plot

Incredibly discouraging and disturbing, but unfortunately not surprising considering the state of the country: ATF has foiled a skinhead plot to assassinate Obama and 102 others in the black community.


Reviewing Kindle samples

I purchased my Kindle because I liked the idea of my library of books being at my fingertip. I also liked the fact that ebooks are, typically, cheaper than paper books. What I didn’t expect was how much the Kindle opened up new avenues in reading for me, and it did so through the concept of Kindle samples.

As you’re browsing through books, either with the Kindle, or online at Amazon, if you find one that’s interesting but not sure whether you want to buy it or not, you can download a sample to your device for review. The sample is automatically sent to the Kindle, at no cost. At the end of the sample, you’re asked whether you want to buy the book, or read more about it at Amazon. If you decide you don’t want to buy the book, you can then use the Kindle’s Content Manager to delete the sample.

How big the Kindle samples are depends on the size of books. Some of the samples were quite large, others the briefest of introductions. The structure of the samples differed, too, probably based on the ebook structure as determined by the publisher. Many books started directly in the first chapter, without having to traverse any preliminary dedication or cover. Other books, though, led off with every last bit of paper that proceeded the book in hard format, including copyright pages, forwards, dedications, publisher contact information, and so on.

I have purchased, and enjoyed, several books via Kindle samples—books I probably wouldn’t have bought if it weren’t for the samples. I’ve also avoided many more books because the writing in the samples proved disappointing, or not what I expected.

What was it about each sample that led to the Buy, No Buy decision? In answering, I decided to review the Kindle samples I download, regardless of whether I bought the book based on the sample or not. If I buy the book, the review will then transition into a full book review. If not, then the review will be of the sample, only, including a discussion of why I did not buy the book.

I begin my new sample reviews with an author whose name might be familiar to some of you: Seth Godin’s Tribes.


Aviary gots business model

I’ve written about Aviary, the online graphics toolset that includes Phoenix, a graphics tool/photo editor, Peacock, a “visual laboratory” (background editor), Toucan, for creating color swatches, and supposedly Raven, for vector editing. I’ve been waiting for Raven, and it is out in alpha, but available only for Blue subscribers. Blue subscribers?

Yes, Aviary now has subscription plans, Blue and Green, each of which provides a different level of support. Blue provides everything, including access to early release software, such as Raven. Blue is also priced at $149.90 a year, though Photojojo readers can get the Blue for $95. At least the first 2000 readers can—the offer is limited.

It will be interesting to see how the Aviary toolset does as a subscription model. Internet users balk at anything that isn’t free, with mumbled, vague assumptions of “ad-based” as an alternative to paid subscriptions. I think the Aviary pricing model is fair, not necessarily great, but workable. The Blue plan is priced high for internet usage, but is much cheaper than Photoshop. Not as cheap as GIMP, though. However, when you consider the plan covers all the Aviary tools, including ones to be released in the future, the deal does seem sweeter. The toolset is also available from all your computers.

Will I be getting a subscription? No, I’m into frugal right now. Very, very frugal. I will miss being able to try out Raven, but I’m content with Inkscape for vector editing. However, for those of you interested in the Aviary toolset and with some bucks to spare, you might check to see if you can get the Photojojo pricing and save $55 bucks.