Prepping for HTML 5

Well, i suppose since HTML 5 will eventually show up, i should make my pages (and previous posts) html 5 friendly. Most things can stay, but there are a few HTML 4 deprecated tags that have been dropped. Gonna do a search for those and replace them with css replacements.

The dropped tags are:

  • center
  • font
  • strike

I can’t think of anywhere i’ve used strike, but i know all sorts of places where i’ve used font, and several that i’ve used center. Oops. :) Fortunately there are simple css alternatives. Just a matter of search/replace. At least i’ll have something to do next time i get bored (ya, like that happens a lot). hah.

Some notes for myself: Here’s a good css page.

Here’s how to convert center to the css equivalent:

If it’s an inline element, simply put “text-align:center” on the parent element.

If it’s a block level element, make sure the parent is not absolutely positioned and has a width, and then add “margin: 0 auto”.

The Gathering Storm

I’ve been following Brandon Sanderson’s blog as he works away on the final chapter of the Wheel of Time series. After several years, there is finally official word on when we can expect to see the next volume. And although it’s supposed to be the last book, it looks like it’s going to be split into a trilogy. I find that i’m ok with this. I look forward to as much WoT as possible, and if it takes three more books to do the story justice, then so be it.

Tor Books is proud to announce the November 3rd, 2009 on-sale date for The Gathering Storm, Book Twelve of The Wheel of Time and the first of three volumes that will make up A Memory of Light, the stunning conclusion to Robert Jordan’s beloved and bestselling fantasy series. A Memory of Light, partially written by Jordan and completed by Brandon Sanderson, will be released over a two-year period.Universal Pictures acquired the movie rights to The Wheel of Time in August 2008, and currently plan to adapt The Eye of the World as the first movie.

Press Release

And a long but enlightening blog post by Mr. Sanderson on the decision to do three books.

Alex the telepath

Alex informed us the other day that he has telepathy. But he says it’s kind of a bummer because nobody else does, so he can’t use his ability. Don’t you just hate it when you get stuck with a superpower that you can’t enjoy? I know i do.

Unboxing the Kindle 2

The package arrives:

Kindle 2 -- The Long Awaited Package

After what seemed like an eternity, the package finally arrived. It actually came about a week sooner than the original estimate, but it still seemed like a long time.

Once upon a time…:

Kindle 2 -- Once upon a time...

Cute … :)

Little Black Box:

Kindle 2 -- Little Black Box

Inside the big cardboard box was a sleek looking black cardboard cover…

Packaging Detail 1:

Kindle 2 -- Packaging Detail 1

… with lots of cool shiny letters circling the Kindle logo.

Once again…:

Kindle 2 -- Once again...

It’s a bit like opening a mummy’s sarcophagus. You have an outer stone box and then a nicer inner wooden layer.

Packaging Detail 2:

Kindle 2 -- Packaging Detail 2

Just in case you didn’t know what was inside.

Inner Box:

Kindle 2 -- Inner Box

The full view.

Without Further Adieu:

Kindle 2 -- Without Further Adieu...

And finally the moment arrives: We open the lid to gaze upon the Kindle!

Cracked Case:

Kindle 2 -- Cracked Case

But wait – what’s this? The inner packaging is cracked. Someone has not been kind to our newest arrival :(

Inner Package:

Kindle 2 -- Inner Package (Power Cord and Booklet)

However, all is well. The packaging did its job and no harm done.

Out of the Box:

Kindle 2 -- Out of the Box

And the big glamor shot for the press. Isn’t it beautiful?

Why i love the Kindle 2

I went ahead and ordered a Kindle 2. In a previous post here i reviewed the Kindle 1 and in this post i decided that i didn’t want one of my own. So why did i just go out and buy one? Good question. Here’s my thought process:

I really enjoyed using the Kindle (once all the weird issues went away after the reboot/recharge). It looked great, was easy to read, had nice features like annotations, clippings, and a built-in dictionary for all those troublesome words.

The cons consisted of the proprietary nature of the Kindle book format (not to mention the DRM crippling), and the lack of several key titles that i was searching for. Let’s address those each in turn.

The proprietary Kindle ebook format really doesn’t bother me after thinking about it more. What do i care? It’s not like i’m really going to try to read the book on some other device. I just want to be able to have that option. And i’m sure that given some time, someone will crack the format and release a conversion tool. But honestly, i don’t see myself realistically caring that much. After all, how many books do you read over and over again? A few, to be sure, but this device should last for a long time. And as long as Amazon exists as a company, i have all of the books purchased from them backed up online and can redownload at any time.

The other issue was lack of content. After playing around a bit, i discovered that you’re not limited to the books made available by Amazon. In fact, there are a plethora of ebook sites available that have titles that can be put onto the kindle. Sure, you have to use the sync cable rather than an over-the-air download, but whatever. There’s a great wikipedia page here that lists many sites that have ebooks that can be loaded onto the Kindle.

Finally, what about specific titles that i couldn’t find? I believe this is just a chicken and egg problem that will solve itself soon enough. The reason many books aren’t available is because ebooks are just now starting to really come into their own. Sooner (rather than later) the ebook market will gain critical mass and publishers will publish everything as an ebook as a matter or course. (Oh, and since i’ve written the last Kindle review a month ago, another 10,000 books have been added to the Amazon library).

Oh and hey – let’s not forget the clutter aspect. How many boxes and boxes of books do i have gathering dust in my attic? Far too many. Chances i’ll ever dig them out? Negligible (unless i want to sell them all on ebay someday). And think of all the trees i can save :) Oh ya – and then there’s the newspaper and magazine subscriptions you can get on this as well. And the best reason of all: it’s just freaking cool.

Final Battlestar Galactica predicions

I’d better get this entry written now, because the show is about to end and i want to get this out there before it’s no longer relevant :)

Let me backup. If you don’t watch Sci-fi’s remake of Battlestar Galactica this post won’t mean much to you. If you do watch it but aren’t up to date, don’t read the rest of this post. There are only four episodes left.

Still here? Here’s what i think is going to happen. Starbuck’s crash on Earth, and her “resurrection” even though she’s not a cylon, plus the brand new ship she showed up in are going to be key to the final moments of the show.

What is she? What really happened to her? Why is she the harbinger of doom? I haven’t read any newsgroups, i don’t have any inside information, this is just my own thoughts on how i believe the show will end.

Starbuck did in fact crash on Earth. Or maybe she was shot down by something. But i honestly don’t think that the new Galactica show creators are really going to bring in the “angels” from the original show. I think what happens is that something about Earth rejuvenates people. Somehow, if you die on Earth, you’ll get resurrected. And what’s more, if your ship is destroyed, it’ll get rebuilt in pristine condition.

How this is accomplished, i’m not sure. But somehow this will get found out by the fleet, and what happens next is where things get really interesting. All the disparate plotlines will rapidly converge in the last 20-30 minutes of the show and through a series of events that keep raising the stakes and tension, the entire fleet will ram the planet. Yes, that’s right – the entire fleet (from the Galactica to the rogue Cylon base ship to the lowliest civilian ship in the fleet) will ram themselves into the planet. Why? In hopes that everyone will get resurrected and get shiny new ships – a chance to start over. (or perhaps a chance to have new ships that will be fresh in an ongoing battle against the Cavel fleet).

The final scene will be a glorious explosion as all the ships hit the surface … and then the credits will roll. We’ll never know if it worked. But wow, what an ending.