2007 - a (readable) year in review

posted in Media on December 27th, 2007

Another year has come (and gone) and as such, it is, once again, time to do a quick recap of the hottest things I came across this year. Unlike previous years, however, this year’s listing will also include a recap of events.

Similar to last year, the first part of this series will discuss printed / written media, followed by an article on the hottest series / movies and a summary of great music after which the series is concluded by an entry on the best events this year, so let’s get to it.

Brad Thor - The First Commandment:

The book that I looked forward to the most this year, must have been the latest release from the Scott Harvath universe

The best description I could come up with last year, for Brad Thor’s Takedown, was to call it an action movie for your mind and frankly, that is just what The First Commandment is, too. This title is so adrenaline packed that it is hard not to overdose on all the conspiracy, flying lead and twisted plots that you will come across.

Brad Thor, once again, manages to deliver a high-quality piece d’art that will rock your socks off - there is really nothing more to say, without spoiling the experience.

John Milton - Paradise Lost:

Discovered by way of The Unit, Paradise Lost turned out to be one of the more difficult, yet very inspiring books I have read in the past five years. It took me quite some time to fully understand the poem and its implications, but for anyone interested in expanding their horizon, this is hands-down, a great choice.

Tim Sanders - Love is the killer app:

Last July, I came across Love is the Killer app, thanks to Patrick de Laive and I have to say that Patrick’s book list rocks. I was very tempted to list a few other suggestions here too, but the one that made the most impression on me was Love is the Killer app, not only because of the whole concept of “sharing love” with (business) associates, but also because the book reminded me of what many people seem to forget; the things that should be the core value of every single transaction, no matter if it ends in a monetary exchange too or not.

And that was the year in books - audio and visual media is coming up shortly

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Amazon Kindle - is this the future of eBooks?

posted in Media on November 23rd, 2007

Back in August, I talked about a possible vision of the future of eBooks and this week, part of that future seemed to come true, thanks to the Kindle.

The Kindle is a wireless reading device that is built mainly as a product that can be used to generate additional revenue, rather than a product that can replace aging technology and that is where I stopped bothering.

Why would I want to pay for the chance of reading one of 250 top blogs on the Kindle if I can get the same, for free, on my much smaller, therefore much more portable and better looking Pocket PC?

Yes, you can read the New York Times (if you pay, of course) and a couple of other newspapers on it, but the same technology has been available before, it just was not as hyped as the Kindle is.

And yet, the Kindle has already sold out…

a vision of the eBook future

posted in Media on August 1st, 2007

Hot on the heels of yesterday’s post about eBooks is this entry about a possible usage scenario of eBooks in the future: latest work, called “Possible ou probable” is a clip that shows off some very interesting ways of utilizing ePaper and eBooks:

According to this vision, ePaper will not only be used for reading in the future, but also for navigation, content creation / content remixing and rich media browsing. The interface looks like a mashup of the iPhone interface (note the pinching to zoom in and out) and Microsoft Surface and it looks like this kind of thing actually works.

While the clip is in French, you should be able to make out most of the important things based on the (visual) context. Enjoy!

Virtual hat-tip to Bill McCoy

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The First Commandment

posted in Media on July 31st, 2007

Since January 2005, I have read some 80 eBooks. I love all the advantages those books have and I have no immediate plans to go back to reading “dead trees”, as Richard Scoble called it so appropriately, but all of that is secondary.

The real reason for this post is that my favourite suspense author, Brad Thor, recently released his newest book from the Scott Harvath series, called The First Commandement.

Fictionwise, luckily, was very quick in picking it up for digital distribution, with a turnaround time of about a week after the paperback was released and thanks to Josef, who gifted me with a copy, I can actually immerse myself in the book right now.

That said, if you are looking for a great thriller / action movie for your mind, head on over here and get yourself a copy, I’m outta here, time for some quality time with the other Scot in my life ;-)

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The Pursuit of Happyness

posted in Media, personal stuff on February 25th, 2007

I just came back from spending some quality time with a good friend of mine and I somehow had the urge to blog about tonight. We went to see “The Pursuit of Happyness“, a reflection on the life of Christopher Gardner, the guy who didn’t just live the American dream, no, he rewrote it.

The movie tells the story of the struggle and difficulties Gardner, who is portrayed by Will Smith, has to overcome in order to succeed. I must admit, the beginning of the movie was rather … shall we say, uninteresting, it was strange to see Will Smith use bad language, ’cause he barely ever does that and while I’m able to handle bad language, it didn’t seem fitting.

After half an hour though, the story had gotten to me. Smith is a great actor and he has portrayed some great characters, but this one, was, hands down, the best thing I’ve ever seen him do. Now, I’m no big shot movie critic but this movie has all it needs:

Smith and his (real life) son are portrayed in a great array of situations, you can see them having fun together and you can literally read Gardner’s mind, the thoughts that are crossing through it, the problems and challenges he is facing. It’s surreal.

The movie makes you feel bad, just looking at those pictures, the fight Smith has to put up to with in order to reach his final goal, to succeed in getting a job at Dean Witter Reynolds, a stock brokerage firm. The ordeals Gardner went through are … amazing.

Now, the movie portrays the whole internship thing as an unpaid training, while Gardner actually received $1,000 and there are some other things that aren’t told in the same way it happened back in 1981, but still, this movie touched me on a level that no movie ever did until now.

I may not have faced the hardships that Chris Gardner has faced and I may never face them, but his story and most of all, the way he solved the problems he was thrown at inspires me. Gardner doesn’t know the concept of “giving up” and for what it’s worth, he is a better man for that.

If you’re looking to spend a few bucks on a great story, I can more than recommend checking out this movie. No matter if you watch it on a DVD, in a cinema or just grab the book, the story will get to you.

For what it’s worth, this year might only be a couple of weeks old, but I have found my favorite movie of the year already.

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