Monday, July 23, 2007

JJ Sutherland and The Armageddon Blues

JJ Sutherland, the NPR reporter/producer who created "Day to Day" and has risked his life far too many times doing war reporting from the Middle East, did a very nice piece on Harry Potter that's worth listening to -- the text of the review is in the comments section of the Harry Potter post I made a couple posts back, if you want to read it instead of listen to it.

Audio is here.

JJ's working on a nonfiction book about his Iraq experiences. JJ's been sending a series of posts about Iraq to a distribution list he keeps -- they're brilliant and wrenching. I hope they see publication at some point.


The Armageddon Blues is up at -- thank you again to Dave Aitel and crew. Link is here.


Sean Fagan said...

Yay, tAB!

You know my feelings about that book :).

jj sutherland said...

Thanks for the kind words, Dan. And I am really psyched to see that you're putting up your backlist online. It's great to be able to carry fewer books while travelling. I haven't yet found a great handheld reader (I use a pocketPC that I have for the GPS mapping functionality currently, but its not great for reading).

Have you or anyone else tried the Sony ebook reader? It looks cool, but it seems like it locks you into their proprietary encoding rather than being able to toss anything you want on it.

And if anyone is interested, two of my dispatches (both from last year) are available:


and here:

jj sutherland said...

Ah...those didn't wrap...let's try again

Anonymous said...

I own a Sony ebook reader and it is great. You can have multiple formats on it, the best kind for downloading free books is rtf.

It's great.

Dan Moran said...

I'm reading on my handheld -- a Dell Axim x51v. Great screen -- 640x480. Good for movies, good for text. (I admit, I haven't actually watched movies on it -- I was doing video development on it and watched video then.) But I do read books on it recreationally. I use .rtf files w/Textmaker pro, mostly -- Microsoft's Reader is abysmal, Adobe Acrobat has a font program (known solution, but it's a pain and I've never done it) so you get ugly bitmaps instead of smooth screen fonts. Palm reader I've never bothered to install.

Great thing about that handheld -- my reading speed goes back to my old speed, pretty near, when I use it. I used to see the whole line without moving my eyes -- I read straight down the page, very fast. Now I have to go left-right on the text and my reading speed's literally about a third what it used to be -- probably the worst impact of my eye problem.

On the handheld I can see the whole line at once -- I can read almost as fast as I can hit the page down button. Joy.

BTW -- Adobe Acrobat has a very nice automatic scroll function -- if I didn't have the font problem w/it, I'd probably use it more often. I read "Out of the Silent Planet" recently in Acrobat, and read long stretches of it on scroll.

What's boingboing? I keep hearing mention of it recently.

Sean Fagan said...

I'm reading it on the Nokia 770 "Web Tablet" or whatever name they came up with it. I got FBReader for it.

Pretty satisfied with it, modulo some UI concerns. I'd say it fits about half or a third of a page of text on it, the way I have it configured, and I can read it pretty quickly.

I'm still likely to get an e-ink reader when I see one I like (bookeen, I think, is the one that I'm looking at -- but it's not out yet, and is already late, so I'm not as optimistic as I was a few months ago); the Nokia 770 was on sale at some UK place, so only cost me about US$150.

Dan Moran said...'s selling that Nokia for $130 right now. 800x480 screen -- if I didn't have that 640x480 Axim already I'd be tempted. I'd give up reading books on paper if I could get everything on my handheld ... I've actually read in the tub a couple times, though that requires some preparation and a safe place to put the handheld when you're done reading. And you'd better not drop it ...

Anonymous said...

Hi Dan, I have the same PDA and enjoy reading on it using portrait mode (480 x 640) in order to take full advantage of ClearType.

Does TextMaker Pro do automatic bookmarking for you? If not, why not just use Pocket Word for your RTF documents?

jj sutherland said...


Boingboing was a zine that turned into a group blog a few years back. It is pretty much a grab bag of random stuff, although they do have their hobbyhorses, like the EFF and science fiction and unicorns.

But it's a pretty good source of what memes are flying around the techno/cultural blogosphere, they might not be first, but they'll have it.

Dave said...

Hi Dan,

There's a paragraph on page 67 of the AB pdf reading:

Reality began to flicker and blur. The air wavered around
Georges, and he was there, and then not there, a calm figure in
the midst of an incandescence that lit the night sky like a dozen

Did you really mean "suns"?


Dan Moran said...

Yeah, I do mean "suns." :-)

I've had 3-4 of these messages about the tAB PDF. I'll correct & republish as people tell me about the problems.

Dave said...

Collective proofing, near-realtime updates, and no dead trees. I kinda like it.