Yang Hengjun, a Chinese-Australian political thriller writer who lives part-time in Sydney, has gone missing in China, possibly detained by the Chinese government for his liberal politics and blogging. According the Sydney Morning Herald, Yang “has not been seen since phoning a colleague from Guangzhou airport on Sunday with news that he was being followed by three men.”
Yang is the author of a trilogy of political thriller novels. A scene from his first novel portrays a Chinese factory that preserves and sells human corpses. According to Creative Works, the literary agency that represents Yang:
Fatal Weakness, followed by Fatal Weapons and Fatal Pursuit tell of an American plot to control China, set right before the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Too sensitive to be published in China, these Chinese language novels have been read by millions of Chinese online….
“I want to thank the Beijing authorities personally on my own behalf because without their strong suppression of freedom of publishing, I would never have become the first political espionage novelist in China.”
In addition to being a novelist, Yang is an activist blogger, an outspoken pro-democracy advocate and critic of China’s political system. The New York Times writes that “Mr. Yang’s last blog entry on Netease is dated March 27, the day he vanished. The entry criticizes Peking University in Beijing for a new policy that aims to re-educate students who are deemed to have ‘radical’ thoughts.” Yang’s disappearance, the NYT reports, is part of disturbing trend:
The Chinese government, in the harshest crackdown in years, is holding scores of human rights advocates, political writers, lawyers and dissidents. The roundup began in late February after calls for a revolution modeled on the protests in Tunisia surfaced on the Internet in Chinese.
Both Chris Meadows and I are Peter Watts fans and so I was excited to see that his newest novel, Crysis: Legion, has just been released in paper and ebook formats.
I just bought the Kindle edition, which is priced at .99 (Amazon says This price was set by the publisher.) The paper version lists for and Amazon is selling it for .33. It’s published by Random House Digital.
Got something else to finish first, then straight on to this one.
Here’s the Amazon description:
MANHATTAN IS UNDER NEW MANAGEMENT.
THEY’RE NOT FROM AROUND HERE.
Welcome to the Big Apple, son. Welcome to the city that never sleeps: invaded by monstrous fusions of meat and machinery, defended by a private army that makes Blackwater look like the Red Cross, ravaged by a disfiguring plague that gifts its victims with religious rapture while it eats them alive. You’ve been thrown into this meat grinder without warning, without preparation, without a clue.
Your whole squad was mowed down the moment they stepped onto the battlefield. And the chorus of voices whispering in your head keeps saying that all of this is on you: that you and you alone might be able to turn the whole thing around if you only knew what the hell was going on.
You’d like to help. Really you would. But it’s not just the aliens that are gunning for you. Your own kind hunts you as a traitor, and your job might be a bit easier if you didn’t have the sneaking suspicion they could be right. . . .
Pandigital has come up with a new budget tablet to pamper those who are looking for low cost. However, the new aspect of the tablet is limited to just its color, as the new Pandigital Novel tablet with a black outfit matches up to the white Pandigital Novel in every other aspect. Pandigital has unveiled the Novel white last year while the new Novel tablet in black is currently available at QVC for a price of 9.98.
However, while the price might seem tempting, in some aspects the cost cutting measures seem all too evident. The operating system is Android 2.0 while its the resistive touch screen technology that finds application in the new Novel. The tablet is powered by a Samsung ARM 11 mobile processor coupled to a 256 mb DRAM. The tablet has a 2 GB internal memory and features 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi to connect to the internet.
These apart, the black Pandigital Novel includes other features such as a headphone jack, a mini USB 2.0 port, SD, MMC memory card reader along with an integrated accelerometer for automatic screen rotation. The tablet also includes built in speakers and sorts a 7 inch 800 x 600 pixel display.
So to those of you who think the above will suffice, flock to your closest QVC. They are currently accepting orders for the tablet.
via statedroid via liliputing
Pandigital E-Reader recalled due to Software Glitch
New Pandigital Novel Personal e-Reader for 9
Pandigital Novel e-reader hacked
The Pandigital Multimedia Novel now with 3G
Pandigital E-Reader is off the market, for now
Review of the Pandigital Novel 9 Inch Color Multi-Media E-Reader
Here are a couple of updates to the Tolkien story I did a couple of days ago:
First, Cory Doctorow heard from the Tolkien estate’s lawyer that the Tolkien estate was actually not involved in Zazzle’s takedown of the “While you were reading Tolkien, I was watching Evangelion” button—Zazzle did it all on its own.
According to [lawyer Steven] Maier, "Zazzle has confirmed that it took down the link of its own accord, because its content management department came across the product and deemed it to be potentially infringing."
The weird thing is, as I mentioned in that previous story, there are still plenty of Tolkien-related products on Zazzle’s store. I wonder if they were more concerned about it infringing Evangelion’s trademark, especially with a newly-rebooted series being available? However, there are still a number of other Evangelion-related products on the store, too—including the original button, which appears to be available for sale again.
In other news, Salon.com has republished a 2000 essay by the author of The Last Ring-bearer, the fanfic novel that reimagines the story from Mordor’s point of view, in which he explains why he wrote it. As Yeskov is himself an academic (a paleontologist), the essay is extremely dense, with a lot of thought put into it, and may be one of the most erudite justifications of fanfic you will ever read.
An apocryphal work – a different take on well-known events (whether from the real or an imaginary world is irrelevant: who are we to judge which is derivative?) — is totally different. Naturally, the world of an apocryphal work turns out differently, bearing at best the same relation to the initial world as that of d’Artagnan and milady Winter does to real France under Louis the XIII… or is it vice-versa? Actually, upon contemplation, what difference does it make? What’s important is that while the world of a sequel is a reproduction that adds absolutely nothing to the original, the worlds of the canonical and the apocryphal works can ideally make a "stereoscopic pair" that adds "depth" to the former. That is the field where all self-respecting authors have been playing ever since the aforementioned Dio, sometimes with quite decent results. (Interestingly, one can’t write a sequel to one’s own work, but one definitely can write a worthy apocrypha – take Stanislaw Lem’s "Local Session.")
Whether the freely-released novel will survive the Tolkien estate remains to be seen.
Welcome to another Good e-Reader Video! In this video we compare the Notion Ink Adam in Pixel QI mode vs the Amazon Kindle and the Pandigital Novel 9 inch. We show you how it looks in direct sunlight and how the Adam stacks up against e-ink and LCD.
One of the biggest factors in the Notion Ink Adams version of Pixel QI screen technology is how it employs the dual layer of glass that it uses. It makes the Adam highly reflective in the sun, and even the matted screen protector is pretty useless.
Our first comparison is with the Amazon Kindle and the Notion Ink Adam in Pixel QI mode. We give you a great visual example of how the Adam ranks against one of the premier e-ink based electronic readers. We have to give the advantage in this test to the Amazon Kindle.
The next comparison we show is how the Notion Ink Adam ranks with the Pandigital Novel 9 inch edition. This test is mainly pitted to show how Pixel QI in the Adam compares to the standard LCD based tablet and e-reader combination found in most competing devices. We have to decide this contest in favor of the Adam, as the LCD was unreadable in direct sunlight.
Notion Ink Adam vs the Apple iPad and Amazon Kindle
Notion Ink Adam Pre-Orders to begin December 9 2010
Hands on Review of the Notion Ink Adam – Part 2
Notion Ink Adam Ships today!
Notion Ink Adam USA shipping is delayed due to FCC
Notion Ink gets Production Samples of their Adam Tablet
Categories : Good E-Reader Videos, Tablet-Slates, Technology
KINDLE FORUM TALK AND AN INTERESTING ARTICLE ON A NEWISH KINDLE AUTHOR
Forum message-thread loading problems
Since there will be links to Amazon Kindle forum conversations here, I'll repeat a note I've been adding recently when pointing people to the Kindle forums.
NOTE: If your web browser (Firefox, IE, or Chrome) drops you onto the Amazon forum list of topics instead of bringing you to the forum thread, click on Refresh or Reload to get the message thread itself -- or click on the link again. I don't know why a 'retry' is often needed, but it is.
I found out that the above IS a problem for others on the forums, as a message thread was made about it last night and a regular, Dragi Raos, who's involved with the very thorough Unofficial Kindle Support website, mentioned he'd made an earlier discussion topic on that oddness in November. Other regular helpers on the forums such as ShirleyKat have been seeing the problem, so I guess we'll let Amazon know via feedback email. It's merely very annoying, but when a reader clicks on a link here to a recommended Kindle forum discussion and people are just left at the topic-list page (where the topic may not even be showing on the front page), that's awkward.
So the note in red above should be remembered. Just reload or refresh the page and you should ultimately get the discussion text.
Kindle and unexpected effect on young people with reading problems
A discussion on how the Kindle had unexpectedly helped young family members with reading difficulties caught my eye. It had been started some time ago, and the latest posters had not realized they were adding to an older thread. But the information remains helpful for some.
News article on the Kindle leather cover without built-in light
Attention was brought again yesterday to the fact that an Amazon Kindle cover (the non-lighted one sold for ) has been responsible for problems with the Kindle 3 over the Winter. Some have thought it was due to the winter cold and static discharges while others have felt it was a problem only for certain batches of the cover. I've seen discussions on this at Facebook also. The problems and Amazon's response were explained here in mid-December.
Amazon Kindle Forum thread with questions on choosing the cover with a light
Many have wondered about which cover to order then, and a recent forum thread discussed whether or not getting the lighted Amazon Kindle-3 cover is a good choice.
Aside from that, those seeking a less-expensive one or an interim one until making a decision can try the Acase cover for considerably less cost or take a look at other options.
First novel at age 86
A happier item is seen in an article written by Megan Lea Buck for the Midland Reporter-Telegram. Here is the item which tickled me:
' Fern Crume admits she is not familiar with the latest technology. Sitting on an airplane last November, she watched as the woman sitting beside her pulled a small, tablet-like computer out of her bag. Curious about the gadget, Crume watched the woman turn on her Amazon Kindle and flip to the front cover of a new book.
At this point the woman noticed Crume's gaze and asked her if she had read the book, a romance novel entitled, "Love is Never Late."
Crume laughed and, much to her neighbor's disbelief, replied "I wrote that book."
Published in October, "Love is Never Late" is the 86-year-old Midlander's first novel. '
Buck started writing the novel while caring for her late husband. Finding it difficult to find a book that was 'uplifting' she felt she could do better. Later on, she completed a manuscript in just three weeks and submitted it to Tate Publishing, which she found online. She was offered a contract and then another for the next book.
"Love is Never Late" is only 124 pages long and she had intentionally gone for a length that wouldn't take more than two hours to read, as that's what she'd wanted earlier. It's fiction although it's based on her experience caring for her husband of 63 years after he was diagnosed with advanced Alzheimer's disease.
I liked the newspaper story about her first novel being published at 86, but I have to say that the price chosen is very high, for a 124-page book. Maybe quality trumps quantity. It may be worth getting a sample anyway. There are no reviews on the book yet.
Kindle 3's (UK: Kindle 3's), DX Graphite
Check often:Temporarily-free late-listed non-classics or recently published ones
Guide to finding Free Kindle books and Sources. Top 100 free bestsellers. UK-Only: recently published non-classics, bestsellers, or highest-rated ones
Also, UK customers should see the UK store's Top 100 free bestsellers.
Once again, with thanks to The Ebook Reader, here is a full review of the Pandigital 9 inch ereader:
Continuing my attempt to collect as many video reviews of various ereaders and accessories in one place, here is the latest one, this one being the rather impressively proportioned Pandigital 9 inch ereader.
As you will see, this is yet another coloured screen ereader, so it will be superb for reading magazines and kid’s ebooks on, and the rather large screen helps there too, of course.
Anyhow, I leave the word (and images) with this excellent video from The Ebook Reader…… Enjoy it.
From QVC website:
Price: $ 235.00
Go beyond books. This eReader creates a complete multimedia experience on its 9″ diagonal full-color resistive touchscreen display. In addition to putting your favorite titles at your fingertips–complete with a My Library feature that can be customized for multiple users–it also offers built-in 802.11b/g wireless connectivity, so you can surf the Web and check e-mail, and a 2GB internal memory for your favorite audio, video, and photo files. The included 4GB microSD memory card expands your storage options, and the leatherette case keeps the device secure and stylish on the go. From PanDigital.
Wireless capability and use of public wireless locations or hot spots may require a network connection, additional accessories, and a service connection fee.
Access to and use of the Internet may require payment of a separate fee to an Internet Service Provider, DSL line, or more.
Includes eReader, AC adapter, USB cable, cradle/stand, leatherette case, and 4GB microSD memory card
Mashable has an article (citing an IDC study) about the 17 million iPad units shipped in 2010, but it also focuses on the number of e-book readers that were sold. In the e-book field, they peg the Kindle selling 1.14 million units in the third quarter of 2010, but instead of Barnes & Noble the Pandigital Novel takes second place with 440 thousand units, followed by the Nook in third at 420 thousand.
I find myself more than a little suspicious of these numbers, however, given that I know Amazon doesn’t ever reveal how many units they sell, and I’m not sure Barnes & Noble does either. (Don’t know whether Pandigital does or not.)
Still, even the fact that Pandigital is mentioned in the same breath as the “big two” seems to suggest that the e-book reader market may not be quite the two-horse race we’ve been assuming it was. Pandigital has done a very good job getting the Novel into a large number of retail outlets (including rather unexpected ones such as Bed Bath and Beyond), and it’s a lot less expensive than other non-Kindle-or-Nook competitors—demonstrating that it’s possible to compete on other factors than just brand-name recognition. Having access to the Barnes & Noble Nook e-book store doesn’t hurt either.
And those high sales for this LCD reader (coupled, of course, with the 17 million iPads sold) suggest that a significant number of readers aren’t fixated on e-ink as the only display technology that’s easy to read.
It will be quite interesting to see what the future holds for Pandigital, and for other would-be Kindle-killers.