...in the bottom drawer
I knew I'd lose it so I put it in a safe place, and now I can't remember where it is.

currently stashed in: Cheshire Street, London
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June 21, 2005 || 12:33 am

Ebooks and more

I read my first ever ebook yesterday, after long putting it off due to my old-fashioned love of paper and libraries, and my equally old-fashioned love of sticking to old-fashioned ideas like that. But yesterday I dived in, appropriately enough, with Boing Boing coeditor Cory Doctorow's new novel Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town. First a quick lowdown on the content of the book - in short, it was really good. Angela Carter/Margaret Atwood/Kate Atkinson-ish blend (why did I think of all female authors? that's strange) with, I felt, nods to many other authors working in the realm of parable and some sort of real/unreal world juxtapositions. I found it was funny, enthralling, and not at all what I would consider sci-fi which is how at least the geek community pigeonholed it. It is a literary fable, populated with characters who are half escapees from Edward Lear's nonsense verse and half punks, well-crafted and certainly good for anyone wanting an unputdownable read where you might also learn something new. And the Toronto it mostly takes place in reminded me of Beacon Street, somehow - the combination of super-hitech with super grungy. I wonder if Cory also knows about the Cybermohalla project by Sarai and the Raqs Media Collective...

The ebook thing was also pretty good. I read the whole book at one three-hour sitting and the way you just kept scrolling down the page was certainly condusive to that. The text was laid out in a fairly eye-friendly way and certainly, for a novel, it was pretty good to be able to just open it on screen and start to read, especially as there are no bookshops here and anyway I'm too broke to buy books when I don't know how good they are. I really like books on the shelf but I think, sadly, that I am definitely a convert to the whole ebook deal, at least for books that are purely about text (not Tristram Shandy or beautiful glossy art books).

Apart from that, I gave my last fiddle lesson today to my pupil, who goes off to summer camp this week. She's made great progress - I don't know if that's more of a compliment to her or self-congratulation on my part!


I posted about Google's proposed new 3D mapping of San Francisco a few days ago - and here's how it might look. This is a completely unrelated Berkeley mapping projects and I was amazed to see that the data acquisition time (i.e. time that the truck had to spend on the road) was only 25 minutes for 12 city blocks.

The Japanese are so superb. They come up with urban farms under office buildings.

Another fantastic googlemaps hack - gCensus. Google Maps is really, from my point of view, one of the most interesting urban design and planning tools ever - but again, more in another post when I get the time.

Urban Exploration Resource" is another rather amazing mapping thing. Not GIS-linked (yet?) but it's so fantastic that someone has made such a methodical and detailed database of places that you basically aren't meant to go.



What a great review! Glad you liked it. I'm honoured to be classed with so many of my literary hero(ine)s!

By Blogger Cory, at 5:09 pm  

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