Kindle e-book lending

Interesting to see that Amazon is now letting Prime members borrow e-books. Only one at a time, and from a limited selection, but it’s a start. I bought four e-books yesterday from Amazon, all $1.99 or $2.99, and I probably have 30 or 40 unread books on my Kindle right now anyway, so I don’t have much need for this program at this point. But I like where they’re going with Amazon Prime.

Dark Horse

I’ve bought a few digital comics via the Comixology iPad app over the last year, but I hadn’t bought any through the Dark Horse app until today. I just bought the new Groo mini-series (which apparently came out in print in 2009), and a Classic Usagi Yojimbo mini-series, which may be a digital-only release. The bundle pricing on these books is pretty reasonable, but you can only buy the bundles through the web site, not the app.
I’ve found myself reading comics on the iPad a lot recently, mostly while I’m on the train. I should really be working my way through the Programming iOS 4 ebook that I started a while ago, but I’ve been finding that my brain isn’t really up for that sometimes.
One interesting comic I’ve been reading via Comixology recently is Vision Machine. The whole three-issue series is completely free. It originally came out just about one year ago, and there was a panel about it at last year’s NYCC, moderated by Andy Ihnatko.

iOS 5

I haven’t updated either my iPhone or iPad to iOS 5 yet, but, as a programmer, I’m happy to see that they’re finally doing automatic reference counting in Objective-C. I’m wondering if the instructor for my NYU iOS class is going to work any iOS 5 stuff into the class or not.  I could see where it would be hard to update class materials on the fly for this stuff, and our classroom iMacs probably still haven’t been updated to the latest version of XCode, but I’m hopeful.

off to NYCC 2011

I’m heading out to NYCC tomorrow. I’m pretty sure that the last con I went to was NYCC 2009, which was back in February 2009, before they moved the con to the fall. I had plans to go to NYAF in 2009 also, which would have been in September, but my Dad was in the hospital at that time, so I skipped it. So I haven’t been to a con in a while.

I was also thinking that I haven’t really taken a vacation (other than a long weekend) in a while either. I guess that NYCC in Feb 2009 was the last time, though I think I only took Friday off for that, so that would also have just been a long weekend. This time, I’m taking Thursday, Friday, and Monday off, but I’ve got class at NYU on Thursday night, and a doctor’s appointment back in NJ on Monday, so I don’t know if this really counts as more than a long weekend.

The last San Diego show I went to was 2008. For SDCC, I would have flown out on Wednesday, come back on Monday, and I probably took Tuesday off to do laundry and relax, so that’s a solid seven days away from work. So July 2008 was likely the last serious vacation I had, which involved leaving the NY/NJ area, and staying away for more than a few days. And I can’t remember the last time I took a whole work week, Monday to Friday, off and had a good full nine days away from work. Technically, I wasn’t working at all during April 2010, in between leaving NMS/Spar and starting at Electric Vine, but there was enough going on then that it sure didn’t feel like a vacation.

So this long blog post that was going to be about NYCC 2011 has turned into a rumination on my lack of time off over the last few years. I’m going to have to come up with a plan to remedy that, though I’m really not that enthusiastic about any particular vacation idea right now. I’d like to get back to SDCC and/or WonderCon next year, so maybe I should look at that as my goal.

RIP Steve

So sad to hear of Steve Jobs passing tonight. Only 56 years old. I’m starting an iOS dev class at NYU tomorrow night. That first class is going to feel a little weird now. I remember, years ago, being kind of mad at Steve for killing off the Newton, and its OS. It took a while to get from the Newton to where we are now with iOS, the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch, but we wouldn’t have gotten here without Steve Jobs. And I have to grudgingly admit that killing the Newton was probably the right decision. Sorry Steve.

Planetary

I finally read the last issue of Planetary today. It came out in 2009, and the previous issue came out in 2006, so it’s been about 5 years since I read an issue. I managed to find all the issues back to #16 in my mostly undifferentiated pile(s) of old comics, so I got a chance to re-read a bunch of issues leading up to it. Planetary had been one of my favorite series, despite the long gaps between issues. That last issue was a nice one, and a fitting end to the series. It does leave open some possibilities, and it would be nice to see Ellis and Cassaday come back to it, but I guess that’s unlikely. I found a couple of good online references to the series, here and here. It’s a very dense series, so it helps to read someone else’s perspective on it, just to see things you’ve missed, or that might have alternate interpretations.

many things

I feel like things have gotten a little out of control lately.  I’ve been letting non-essential paperwork pile up at home. (Still paying all the bills on time, of course.) And there have been various minor irritants in my life that are making me a bit cranky and jumpy.  (For instance, the nighttime Main St. repaving project that’s been going on right outside my window, and the daytime parking lot repaving project that’s made it hard to find a place to park after work, and other stuff like that.)
I’ve been working this week a bit on “clearing the decks,” to the extent that I can.  I’ve got my old NMS 401(k) rolled over into Merrill Lynch. (That’s a long story that I won’t go into here.) I’m getting my GMail inbox under control (with the help of Other Inbox). And I think I’m about ready for both my NYU iOS dev class, which starts next month, and NYCC, which takes place next month.
I’ve been slacking off on keeping up with my GTD lists, which I generally keep in Backpack, but I think I’m getting them in shape now.
So, I guess I’m doing OK.  I still kind of feel like I need to go on some kind of zen retreat for a few days and find my center. Or something like that. (I should mention that the link above was just found with a quick Google search.  I have no idea if it represents a genuine, legitimate Zen Buddhist organization. Looks legit, though, right?)