Am I Becoming An Old Fogey?

I started taking programming classes in 1971, and in 1977 I got caught up in the microcomputer mania.  By 1981 I got swept away with the PC revolution and during the 1980s I was quite passionate about BBSes and online computer services like CompuServe and GENIE.  And I was wowed when my university got connected to the Internet years before the WWW.  I’ve always been an early adopter of any computer gadget, but somehow I’m letting the smartphone mania pass me by.  Is this a sign of aging?

At some computer news sites there are more stories about smartphones than computers,  and some digital pundits even predict smartphones replacing computers.  They sneer that the desktop is just a boring office device.  I guess I’m getting old because desktop computers are still as exciting to me as muscle cars were to me in my teens.

I’d love to have a smartphone, but I just can’t justify spending a $1,000 a year to use one.  The iPhone 4 is one seductive piece of hardware and if it was only $199 I’d get one in a snap.  I can’t stop thinking about getting an iPhone 4 or one of the new Android smartphones – but I keep remembering that I barely use my cell phone, and that I have both an iPod touch and netbook that both go weeks without being used.  And my GPS sits at the bottom of a desk drawer, and my three digital cameras seldom get snapped.

I add $50 to my T-Mobile pay-as-you-go phone and I can talk for 6-8 months.  Now I might justify paying for a smartphone if I could ditch my house phone, but cell phone service from my home is terrible, for both AT&T and T-Mobile.  My wife does have an iPhone.  She works and lives out of town and greatly benefits from her smartphone but she practically lives on the damn thing.  But Susan is a couple years younger than me and loves Farmville, Facebook and going to live rock concerts.  Her favorite band is The Foo Fighters while I enjoy people like Laura Bell Bundy who sings a tamer country rock.

I spend all day at work at my desktop, and all evening at home at my desktop, and my commute is 8 minutes.  So I don’t exactly need a powerful smartphone or laptop.  But the smartphone mania keeps gnawing at me.  They’re like a toy that every cool kid owns, and I don’t.

When I saw the video for the new iPhone 4 at the Apple site I thought the face time video calling was fantastic until I remembered Susan and I bought webcams two years ago for Valentine’s Day and only used them once.

Now I’m not trying to be the Grinch that steals Christmas but is all this smartphone mania some new kind of addiction?  I know some people who don’t have home phones, and who don’t have a computer at home, or Internet access, and the smartphone is a great, affordable solution for them.  These folks are the kind of people that a smartphone will be their computer, and the ones the pundits were talking about.

And if you’re an on-the-go person that’s already spending a pile of money for cell phone calling and texting, it’s not that much money to add a data plan.  I suppose kids and young people who stay constantly in touch with their friends via cell phones can’t imagine living any other way.  And that might be the reason why I question all of this.  Am I too old to see the necessity of such a wired lifestyle?

Will spending a $1,000 a year for smartphone use just become a necessity of life?  And what is that cost for a family with three teenagers?  On one hand, I know the smartphone mania is a great boost for the economy, so I shouldn’t complain, but on the other hand, it seems so wasteful.  But I guess I’m just an old fogey.

And now the 3D TV mania is starting.  HDTV was sexy to me, but 3D TV leaves me limp.  I wonder if I need a Viagra for my techno lust?  And did I give up cable TV and my two DVR boxes to save money, like I thought, or was it because I’m getting old and couldn’t stand all those channels, like I felt.  Now that I think of it, I did sell my Kindle, and I’m actually reading books.  Well, I’m not as bad as my friend Lee, he’s returned to listening to LPs.  I wonder if that will happen to me too?

JWH – 6/13/10 

Netbooks: Windows 7 versus Linux

I’ve been playing with Linux since 1994, but it always disappoints me in use, even though I love the concept of Linux.  Recently, I thought Linux for the desktop was going to make it on netbooks.  My Toshiba netbook came with XP, and it was okay.  Because I didn’t depend on my netbook I felt like experimenting, and tried several netbook specific versions of Linux, including Ubuntu Netbook Remix, Jolicloud and Moblin.

They were cool, especially Jolicloud which tries to control it’s environment like the iPhone/iPad with HTML5 apps, but ultimately I discovered that Windows 7 was by far the best netbook OS for me.  I’m sure the Linux people will have technical reasons to argue that I’m wrong, but for me the aesthetics of how Windows 7 looked on the small screen, it’s speed of booting up, running and shutting down, and it’s battery life just seemed overwhelmingly obvious.  It’s a shame that XP still comes on some netbooks.

However, I’d gladly trade my Toshiba netbook for an iPad.  The small size of the netbook makes it useful for on-the-go computing, but ultimately, various needs will determine whether or not a user wants a netbook or tablet.  If I was a student taking a computer to class, I’d probably want a netbook, but I’m not a student.  Nor a traveling salesman.  I now wished I hadn’t bought a netbook because I think a iPad would better suit my portable at home needs.  And I might even be wrong about that too. I might be better served by a smartphone, like an iPhone or Android.

I’ve read that Windows 7 is too big and power hungry to run on tablet computers and compete with the iPad, and that’s a shame.  I’m very happy with Windows 7.  If I could afford to own a Mac OS machine it might compete, but I’m so happy with Windows 7 that I’m not sure I’d switch if the prices came down on Macs.  Having Windows 7 on my desktop, HTPC and netbook works so well it makes me not want more.  I’m OS satisfied with Windows 7.

After having Jolicloud and Windows 7 on the same machine for awhile, I realized that Windows 7 has won the OS war for me.  I removed Jolicloud, and I gave my second desktop I kept for Ubuntu away.  I now just have three machines: desktop, HTPC, netbook.  All run Windows 7 and they all talk to each other easily.

JWH – 5/14/10

The iPad and Screen Evolution

I got to play with an iPad today for the first time.  It was beautiful.  I’m going to have a hard time keeping my resolution to not buy one before the second generation comes out.  I’ve been trying to find a carry around the house computer for years.  I tried a Kindle, iPod touch and a Toshiba netbook.  I sold my Kindle to a bookworm friend, and my other two devices just sit around losing battery charge.  I use each occasionally, but they have the wrong size screens.

I liked the Kindle for reading fiction, but I wanted something to read electronic magazines, RSS feeds and the Internet while reclined in my La-Z-Boy.  The iPod touch lets me read stuff the Kindle didn’t plus my Kindle fiction, but the screen is too small.  I installed several ebook reader programs on my netbook, but 10.1” landscape screen is all wrong.  Seeing the 9.7” inch portrait screen of the iPad today convinced me it was near perfect for electronic magazines, RSS feeds and Internet reading, and probably for fiction too.  It was heavier than I expected, and that might be a drawback.  But it was damn close to what I want.

The iPad should do a lot to eliminate paper, which is one of my environmental goals.  The iPad also well illustrates the role and purpose of the computer screen.  The small screen on the iPhone/iPod touch is perfect for carrying around all the time.  The interface is tuned to it’s 3.5” screen.  iPhone apps that aren’t rewritten for the 9.7” iPad screen will miss their mark.  Putting Windows 7 on a 10.1” netbook screen just isn’t right either.  Tiny desktop applications don’t cut it, they need to be redesigned to the screen real estate.

For example, Windows Media Center works great on my 52” television screen.  It’s an application designed to work on a TV screen with viewers across the room.  It doesn’t need a keyboard.   Using regular Windows apps on my big TV is clunky.  I can make browsing OK with IE 8 by using the Zoom magnification, so I can play music and read Engadget or Slashdot from the couch, but some pages like Pandora just doesn’t resize or work well on the big screen.

It would be damn cool if Pandora, Rhapsody and Lala all were rewritten to run inside of Windows Media Center.  In fact, it would be extremely neat if there was a version of IE for Windows Media Player so I could browse the web with just a clicker.  It would need a virtual keyboard like the iPad/iPhone, but that’s doable.

Back in the 1990s pundits started talking about digital convergence.  They expected TVs and computers to merge, and that’s rapidly happening, but I don’t think they planned for giant screen TVs.  Nor did they expect the convergence with telephones, GPSes and books, or even game machines.  Now it’s all a matter of fitting the task to the screen size:

Screen Size Device Best Use
1-2” MP3
  • Music
  • Audiobooks
  • Voice Recording
2-4” Phone
Video Cam
Portable Game
  • Smartphone
  • GPS
  • Photography
  • Videography
  • Games
5-6” Ebook
  • Fiction
9-11” Tablet
  • Nonfiction
  • Magazines
  • RSS feeds
  • Photos
  • Games
10-16” Netbook
  • Work on the go
18-24” Desktop
  • Work at the desk
26-60” Television
  • TV
  • Movies
  • Music
  • Home video
  • Internet TV
> 60” Projector
  • Lectures
  • Education

You can watch video on all these screen sizes, and even use all of them with computer applications or games.  Telephone features like video conferencing, Skype and web cams have moved to the various screen sizes.  I think the iPad has been in development since before the advent of netbooks, and I bet Steve Jobs was sick to see them succeed because that 9-11” screen size was territory ripe for exploitation.  I tend to think tablets will win out in that form factor and 12-13” will become the ultimate netbook size for extreme road warriors who want to type on the go, while 16” will be the common size for notebooks.  I expect 24” to become the ultimate size for desktop machines, although I’ve discovered I like having two monitors at work, one in portrait and the other in landscape.

Now, is there room for a new form factor and unique applications?  I don’t know.  Will the future just be ones of refining these screen territories?  And will there be some repositioning of functions?  Do you need a smartphone if you carry around an iPad?  Would a dumb phone be good enough?  Some people like everything on one device, like an iPhone, but I prefer the right tool for the job.  The iPod Nano is perfect for audio books.  They are harder to use on the iPhone.  Time will tell how everything shakes out, but I think screen size will be the factor that will determine the ultimate use of each device.

JWH – 4/8/10

iPhone Revelations

The iPhone is a disturbance in the Force.  The personal computer revolution, starting back in the 1970s, has gone through many radical paradigm shifts, with the most profound brought on by the Internet.  Ripples of change, caused by Apple’s telephone, indicate revolutionary upheavals in the fabric of the cybernetic collective.  In other words, Dudes and Dames, get ready to be impacted.  For over a decade now, tech philosophers predicted the total ascendance of the Internet browser as the Imperial Interface between the real world and the digital wonderland, but now the iPhone has accidently started a rebellion, one that might overthrow that Emperor IE.

Kids say the darnedest things, now in 140 characters or less.  They have rejected talk for texting, and email for tweets.  Going further, they jettison the bloated browser for tiny applets on the iPhone.  Strangely, the byproduct of selling to twitchy unfocused minds is writing programs with jewel-like simplicity where form dictates functionality.  But then, programming has always determined what percentage of the population embraces the geek lifestyle.

Take word processing.  Remember WordStar commands?  Back then mostly secretaries and lawyers were the only people to apply their brainpower to the task.  Then came Word Perfect, with its elegant text menu making a revolutionary advance over memorized commands.  Millions switched to doing their writing on a computer because of this.  Finally, came the GUI, and WYSIWYG, with Microsoft Word becoming the Cro-Magnon of word processors, killing off Neanderthal Word Perfect.

The Internet has been around longer than personal computers, but it wasn’t until it was combined with the GUI based web browser that the mundane Dick and Jane joined the nerd herd online.  The ascent of the browser, starting with Mosaic in 1993, has slowly crowded out almost every other fat client except Microsoft Office.  And cloud computing cowboys are programming as fast as they can to dethrone that King too.  The browser has evolved to the one-size-fits all condom on every computer.

Now Apple disturbs the Force with the iPhone, with netbooks out on the ocean, being the potential next tsunami to shake things up.  Programming for the 3.5” screen is changing the game.  Safari might be a dog that talks and dances, but who cares, it’s the applet mice at play that are pointing the way to the future.   Instead of relying on the browser that can do a billion things, people seem to prefer and handful of custom tools that fit their day-to-day on-the-go lifestyle.  All designed to work specifically and elegantly on a 3.5” screen with constant Interact access.  Until you play with an iPhone or iPod touch, you will not understand what I mean, and I don’t have enough time before bed to make point by point examples.  Seeing is believing.  Get your iPhone friends to demo their favorite apps.

Netbooks are machines with 10” screens.  If they becoming baby desktops, powered by IE or FireFox, they will not rippled the Force, but if, on the other hand, developers write programs customized for the 10” window like they did for the iPhone, and netbooks are universally combined with broadband connections, we should see another disturbance in the net hive mind.

The browser owns the 13” through 24” LCD display.  Browsers suck on 3.5” screens.  Browsers are annoying at best on 10” screens.  If netbook programmers take lessons from iPhone programmers and develop functionality for the 10” form, then we should see new application species emerging that will create new paths for computing users to take.  The iPhone has been the 1849 gold rush for programmers, and the netbook should become the Alaskan gold rush.  Lets see.

JWH – 7/6/9

Toshiba NB205 Netbook

I finally made the plunge and bought a netbook, a Toshiba NB205.  I had been wanting one since the Asus Eee PC 2G Surf was announced.  I kept waiting for better battery life, better keyboard, better screens, and finally decided I’d buy either the Asus Eee PC 1005HA or the Toshiba NB205 because of reviews in Laptop Magazine. 

The extensive review in Laptop Magazine practically gushed about the Toshiba, giving the Toshiba 4.5 stars, .5 more than any review that I had seen for a netbook, but the magazine was also was quite fond of the 1005HA, which it gave 4 stars, a rating many netbooks had achieved there.  And the Asus 1005HA had some features I really wanted more, like wireless-N, a better webcam, slightly better battery life, and not having a weird battery butt hanging out.  However, the Toshiba got rave comments from an Amazon customer reviewer who owned a Macbook Pro and claimed the Toshiba was the first netbook that had Apple-like build quality – that swayed me a good bit.  Plus everyone said the touch typing on the Toshiba was fantastic, and I had always found typing on any the netbooks I had used so far as being yucky at best.  Typing on the Toshiba is surprisingly great, at least for me.

I highly recommend using the netbook you are thinking about buying at a store before you purchase one.  Don’t just order one from Amazon, sight unseen.  Sales are staggering for netbooks, and I think a lot of people aren’t ready for this new computer size. 

The whole concept of a netbook is a compromise.  I paid $399 for my netbook.  When people hear they can get a laptop for $399 they think its a bargain they can’t pass up.  Buyer beware, netbooks use an Intel Atom processor that is far slower than your standard Centrino.  They use smaller and cheaper components.  10” screens are tiny, and the keyboards are very different.

Too many people I’ve met wanted a netbook because they are cheaper than a laptop.  Netbooks represent a functional design to meet specialized tasks.  Don’t go by price.  Buy one because you want to carry a computer to more places than you do now.  Or because you want a small form factor for a specialized reason.  I bought mine because I want to make it into a multimedia ebook to use in my La-Z-Boy.  A guy on Amazon said he bought one because he was afraid to take his expensive MacBook Pro on trips, but wasn’t afraid to risk a $400 machine.

Think of a netbook as a device that fits between an iPhone and laptop in finding a purpose for existence.  Smart phones allow users to take the Internet everywhere, but at a cost $70-$100 per month, and limiting their users to seeing the web on a 3.5” screen and typing with one finger.  A netbook requires no monthly fee, but getting the Internet means mooching Wi-Fi connections or buying a broadband subscription, but you get to see the web through a 10” window and type with all your fingers.  Netbooks originally came with 7” screens and tiny keyboards, but it was soon realized those dimensions were not practical unless you were a child with tiny fingers.

Unpacking and Setting Up

I bought my Toshiba at Office Depot, and they tried to pass off an opened machine as unopened, so I had to take it back and get an unopened box.  That annoyed me, but the actual experience of opening a new NB205 was very nice.  I was up and running very quickly.  Boot-up was fast.  There wasn’t much crapware on the machine, just a 30-day trial of Norton Internet Security 2009 and Microsoft Works with a bunch of custom Toshiba utilities for improving netbook living.  There were a handful of promotional short cuts on the desktop that I immediately deleted.

Netbooks don’t have CD/DVD drives for installing software, so anything you want needs to come from USB or over the net.  A very useful utility for owners of netbooks is a ISO image mounter, that allows you to treat an .iso image file like it was a CD/DVD drive.  I got a free program called Virtual CloneDrive from Slysoft.  This allowed me to install programs from work on my machine.  I downloaded the .iso file, clicked on it, and I had a virtual H: drive to install the program.  Very cool.

Like most computers I set up at work, wired connections are a snap, but wireless ones are annoying.  The Toshiba comes with the wireless and Bluetooth turned off.  I quickly spotted the FN + F8 key combination that would turn it on, but many people will miss that.  The Toshiba comes with damn little documentation.  Mostly a warranty and little pamphlet about Safety and Comfort.  Plus the standard Quick Start Guide.  It does not come with an install CD/DVD, but it does have a hidden partition to reinstall itself and provisions to make your own install DVD.  But you’ll need a USB DVD burner. 

On the Quick Start Guide they tell you to launch the User’s Guide on the computer.  It’s an Acrobat file.  Although the little NB205 screen is very nice and bright, I sent the User’s Guide to my desktop so I could read it on a 22” monitor.  The manual is okay, but like most, they have to have all kinds of wordy warnings, and exceptions depending on which country you are living in.  It’s hard to zero in on just the stuff you need to know immediately. 

Computer makers should put out two manuals – one that their lawyers would approve, and a second, that readers will like.  Better yet, put out a training video, or put a link to the web, and offer a better multimedia experience.

[Update:  At work, on a .11b network I’m getting 4.85 Mbps downloads, so the problem discussed below is a conflict with my home wireless-N router.  I’m leaving the original content below to be illustrative of the kinds of problems people face with new computers.  I’ll post further updates when I find the fix to my home network problem.]

[Update 2:  I contacted Toshiba’s 1-800 tech support, but got little help.  The guy tried, but it’s obvious that the Atheros wireless doesn’t like my Linksys router and he had no previous problem reports to help him.  The support guy was all to ready to get rid of me and showed no real interest in helping me solve my problem.  Bad sign.  I could take the Toshiba back, but I hate taking things back.  I really like the keyboard on this dingus.  My next step is to contact Linksys.  I’ve already checked and there is no firmware upgrade to try.  The wireless works well enough for web browsing, just not good enough for streaming videos.  Since the Toshiba’s wireless uploads plenty fast, I’m wonder if the problem is in the download encyrption routines.  To test that would require taking all my other wireless devices off encyrption and that would be a pain.  So for now I’m going to take my chances hoping an update will show up that fixes things.  Like I said, the Toshiba works fine with other routers.  Another wireless problem has shown up, though.  Neither Moblin or Ubuntu Netbook Remix will recognize my wireless card.  That’s not uncommon for Linux distros, but it makes me wonder how common Atheros is used.]

I’ve been spending hours trying to find a way to make the wireless work correctly.  This is a bad first experience bump in the road.  I don’t know if it’s Toshiba’s fault, or something with my Linksys Router.  But my other wireless devices work fine.  I hope it’s just a miscommunication setting. 

Wireless Speed

Laptop Magazine reported that the Toshiba NB205 got faster than average transfer speeds with the built-in wireless connection, getting 21.30 Mbps download speeds at 10 feet from the router.  At ten feet from my router I’m getting .4 – .7 Mbps downloading speeds, which is significantly wrong.  I average around 2.2 Mbps upload speeds, which is great, but bizarre since upload speed are usually a fraction of downloading speeds.

Like most laptops today, the Toshiba came with wireless software that tries to wrestle control from Windows to manage the wireless connection.  The NB205 ships with Atheros, which does have a nice little utility to give back control to Windows.  Under Windows my download speed sucks, under Atheros, I can’t even make a connection, even though both systems tell me I have an excellent wireless connection.

Using a wired connection I can go to and achieve 22 Mbps download speeds.  Switching to wireless and I get .5 usually.  Where’s the problem?  So far I haven’t figured this out myself, and I may have to wait till after the holidays to contact Toshiba.  Carrying around my netbook in the house I can use the net, but it’s very slow, and unsuitable for streaming video, a feature many netbook users like.  I did check Hulu and YouTube under the wired connection, and the videos look great on the Toshiba’s little screen.

Battery Life

Laptop Magazine reported the NB205 got 8 hours and 33 minutes of battery life on their tests.  I used my machine over over 4 hours today and had 55% left on the battery meter, so that seems to pan out.  Not only that, the screen shows nice brightness with the power connector pulled.  I hate laptops that go all dim just to save battery life.

The reason why I wanted either the 1005HA or NB205 is because they got between 8-9 hours of useful battery life.  You can carry your machine around all day and not need to bring the power brick and cord.

LED LCD Screen

The LED backlit screen is lovely.  Bright and sharp.  I got TweakUI and removed the Recycle Bin from my desktop and set my taskbar to auto hide, so my desktop is completely clear of all icons and menus.  I always install Webshots, a desktop photo gallery program.  I want my desktop to be my art gallery, not an ugly collection of icons. 

If you pay Webshots a $19.99 annual fee, you can download unlimited photos from their archives and get wide screen crops.  I don’t know what Webshots does to the battery life, but I like seeing a slideshow of great nature photos for ten minutes now and then.  Having the outdoors as part of my indoor life is restful and contemplative.  People who come to my office at work often get mesmerized by my Webshot slideshows.  I’m used to visitors not looking at me when they are talking to me, but looking over my shoulder to my image gallery.  Some photos are dazzling.

I’ve set up Dell Mini netbooks that had higher resolution than the Toshiba, but the fonts are just too tiny.  1024 by 600 is a decent size, and the Toshiba’s desktop doesn’t looked squashed or stretched like I’ve seen on some netbook screen settings.  It’s a perfect little XP window.  I’ve very happy with the screen.

Keyboard and Track Pad

The keyboard is excellent for touch typing.  I like the island style keys, because the design does feel right.  Often on other keyboards I hit two keys at once, but not on this one.

The track pad also feels good, and has multi-touch features.  I keep doing something wrong though, with my fingering, because I keep causing the browser window go back a page.  That’s annoying, but probably my fault for unintentionally giving it the wrong command.

Plans for the Toshiba NB205 Netbook

I don’t want my little netbook to be a pint-size version of my desktop computer.  I want to find apps that take advantage of it’s size and on-the-go potential.  Take for instance Safari on the iPhone and iPod touch.  It’s very cool to have a browser that works so well on a 3.5” screen, but in reality I never use Safari to browse the web on my iPod touch.  But I don’t consider that a failure.  What Apple developers have done is bypass the browser with custom apps.

There are web pages that sense Safari on the iPhone and show a cut-down web page for better viewing.  And that’s great.  Instead I prefer a custom app for each task I routinely need.

For example, instead of using Safari to browse the web for movies and show times, I use an app called Now Playing.  It looks great on the 3.5” screen.  When I launch it, I’m shown a list of nearby theaters.  I pick one and I’m shown a list of movies playing at the theater with show times and Rotten Tomato ratings.  If I select a movie I’m given a paragraph about the movie and buttons to a video of the trailer, reviews and links to several web sites that offer more reviews.  I can even add the movie to my Netflix queue or send the movie times as an email.

In other words, several sites I’d normally browse to research going out to a movie, are combined into one app and formatted perfectly for the 3.5” screen.  What I want to find for the netbook is an app that does the same thing formatted for the 10” screen.  See the distinction.  Understand why I don’t want my netbook to be a tiny desktop?

Now I might have to get away from Windows to achieve this goal.  Jolicloud and Moblin are two alternative operating systems that make a  button menu system like on the iPhone for netbook computers.  But that’s just the start.  They also need to reformat the web applications so they are designed to be perfect on a 10” screen.  Right now they just call up desktop applications and browser applications for regular computers.

For example, most people who create magazines and newsletters to be distributed in acrobat reader, format them for 8.5 x 11 inch paper.  On rare occasions, I’v seen magazines formatted for acrobat to fit a full size computer screen.  This makes a stunning difference.  I wished I had a link to illustrate this.  iPhone apps are great because developers format for their screen.  Web apps on desktop computers often look odd because they were designed for the developer’s monitor and not yours.  How often have you gone to a web page with teeny tiny fonts and an extremely busy layout.  I bet it looks wonderful on the developer’s 24” Macintosh display.

I don’t know if developers will develop applications specific to 10” netbook displays, but I’m hoping.  Although I have Office 2007 running on my little machine, and it’s very usable, it’s not pleasurable to use.  Now I might be able to put Word in full screen mode and be happy, but I’d rather have a word processor designed for a 10” screen.

I did downloaded Microsoft Reader and eReader to see how they looked on the Toshiba.  They are okay for reading ebooks on the 10” screen, especially eReader, because that program can be configured for a two page layout that makes the screen look like I’m reading from an open book.  I’ll have to explore more later, especially my old account at  I’ve been trying to find a comfortable and practical ebook reader for years and years.  I have to admit the Kindle was very close.

I’ll return to the subject of the NB205 in the future, as I find more applications and tasks suited for what I want.  It’s a very nice little mini laptop.  I’ll need to buy a purse or some kind of messenger bag to carry my netbook.  It can’t be an on-the-go computer if I don’t take it everywhere I go.

JWH – 7/4/9

Where one line can make a difference.

Engaging With Aging

As long as we're green, we're growing

A Deep Look by Dave Hook

Thoughts, ramblings and ruminations


A story a day keeps the boredom away: SF and Fantasy story reviews


Pluralism and Individuation in a World of Becoming

the sinister science

sf & critical theory join forces to destroy the present

Short Story Magic Tricks

breaking down why great fiction is great

Xeno Swarm

Multiple Estrangements in Philosophy and Science Fiction

fiction review

(mostly) short reviews of (mostly) short fiction

A Just Recompense

I'm Writing and I Can't Shut Up

Universes of the Mind

A celebration of stories that, while they may have been invented, are still true

Iconic Photos

Famous, Infamous and Iconic Photos

Make Lists, Not War

The Meta-Lists Website

From Earth to the Stars

The Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine Author & Editor Blog

SFF Reviews

Short Reviews of Short SFF

Featured Futures

classic science fiction and more

Sable Aradia, Priestess & Witch

Witchcraft, Magick, Paganism & Metaphysical Matters

Pulp and old Magazines

Pulp and old Magazines

Matthew Wright

Science, writing, reason and stuff

My Colourful Life

Because Life is Colourful

The Astounding Analog Companion

The official Analog Science Fiction and Fact blog.

What's Nonfiction?

Where is your nonfiction section please.

A Commonplace for the Uncommon

Books I want to remember - and why

a rambling collective

Short Fiction by Nicola Humphreys

The Real SciBlog

Articles about riveting topics in science

West Hunter

Omnes vulnerant, ultima necat

The Subway Test

Joe Pitkin's stories, queries, and quibbles regarding the human, the inhuman, the humanesque.

SuchFriends Blog

'...and say my glory was I had such friends.' --- WB Yeats

Neither Kings nor Americans

Reading the American tradition from an anarchist perspective


Speculations on the Future: Science, Technology and Society

I can't believe it!

Problems of today, Ideas for tomorrow


Peter Webscott's travel and photography blog

The Wonderful World of Cinema

Where classic films are very much alive! It's Wonderful!

The Case for Global Film

'in the picture': Films from everywhere and every era

A Sky of Books and Movies

Books & movies, art and thoughts.

Emily Munro

Spinning Tales in the Big Apple


hold a mirror up to life.....are there layers you can see?