A Talking Dick Head

April 28, 2015 at 3:38 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , )

UnknownTitle: How to Build An Android, the true story of Philip K. Dick’s Robotic Restoration

Author: David F. Dufty

Publisher: Henry Holt & Company

Genre: Technology

Length: 272 pages

Yesterday afternoon I messaged my friend after returning from running errands which involved the bookstore, lunch with my daughter, Hobby Lobby, and of course – the library.

“So I know you’re at work, but did you know that in 2005 some scientists made an android that looked just like Philip K. Dick and one of them LEFT HIS HEAD ON A PLANE! The robotic Philip K. Dick head has never been found. Some super nerd freak has his head somewhere. (And I’m jealous.)” I said.

“We must search for this robo head.”

We certainly do not plan to go searching for Philip K. Dick’s robotic head that has been missing for a decade.  The police have not found it and ended their search a long time ago.  The creators aren’t even looking for it anymore.  It was never insured, so there was nothing fraudulent about the circumstances.  But someone, somewhere, in a very A Gentle Madness style, is hoarding Dick’s head in their basement – probably in Washington State… or Orange County… or well, anywhere the airline could go.

Dufty’s recount of the building of the android and his version of events at Comic Con and other such places is a fun, light, entertaining read that I read in two sittings. It’s fascinating that so many intelligent people were involved in such a large scale plan that ended in something Philip K. Dick would probably determine predestined and foreseen.  They made an android of the author who wrote Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? then lost its head.  It’s a funny bit of irony, no?

The book isn’t just about building an android though, and isn’t as mechanical as you’d think.  It’s got a lot of commentary about Dick, his life, his themes, his work, and, of course, what makes a human human and an android a mere android.  If you appreciate robotics or are a Philip K. Dick fan, I recommend checking this one out sometime.

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Things That Burn Me ‘Bout My Kindle

September 27, 2014 at 5:05 am (Reviews) (, , , , , , , , )

kindle

I love reading on my kindle.  I wasn’t sure that I would, but I do.  Somehow, once you get the darn thing to work, it goes a little faster. Since acquiring my own, I’ve already read 7 titles.  There’s a reason that statistically kindle users read more than non-kindle users.  There’s more access, they’re conveniently portable, and there’s lots of free stuff to download so it’s poor people friendly.  (Trips to the library use gas.)

But that’s IF you can stay connected to the wifi.  Clearly, I’m on my wifi now – typing this onto my online blog.  My kindle, however, can’t find the connection.  Can’t make the connection.  When I do have a connection I download everything I can as fast as I can because there’s no telling when it will disappear.  I CAN guarantee that it will disappear if I plug my device into my computer to manage documents or to charge it.  As soon as I unplug, I have to set it all back up again.

When I have a connection, it loves to download things I didn’t ask for.  Those pages at the end of books that invite you to read other stuff the author has written?  Yeah, avoid them like the plague unless you have plenty of money and really love the author.  You even blink at that page and it will download the book.  I called customer service and the very helpful people un-downloaded it for me and returned my money… for the book I had already read instead of the one I didn’t want.  I had to call back and say, “Nope, you got the wrong one.  I need that book, I should be charged for that book as I already read it… it’s the OTHER one I don’t want.”  Currently I don’t have either.  Despite their speediness in answering phones (no lengthy wait times for these awesome people), I am not looking forward to calling yet again.

You would think this is user error.  I thought so too.  Clearly, it’s me we’re talking about here.  Technology is not my strong point.  However, I can read directions.  I can navigate myself around websites, and I READ.  (Also, there are tons of online complaints about the same issues I’m having.) More and more I’m finding that technology is not my strong suit because there always seems to be something wrong with it.  Computers always get viruses.  Phones drop calls. The electronic features in your car leave you trapped inside after a car accident because the door won’t open and the paramedics have to pull you through a window (true story); the electronics features in your (different) car stop working and the window just FALLS down while you’re driving down the highway. Kindles forget how to find their wifi.  It’s not so much that I’m ANTI-tech… it’s that it is only worth it to me when the tech is actually making my life easier, not more difficult.  Yay! I read 7 books on my kindle.  They were great books! I enjoyed my time with them.  But were it not for my extensive physical library, I’d be out of reading material before bed tonight.

If YOU have a kindle, or are thinking about getting one, you might want to write this stuff down:
online:www.amazon.com/kindlesupport
e-mail:kindle-cs-support@amazon.com
phone: 1-866-321-8851 or 1-206-266-0927

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Log Off and Smell the Lattes

April 2, 2014 at 9:48 pm (The Whim) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

DSC03062The phrase used to be ‘stop and smell the roses,’ I don’t know that it’s an entirely accurate turn of phrase anymore.

I am a busy lady with lots of activities, but mostly I’m busy on the internet.  I have my personal accounts, and most things started out as hobbies, but somewhere along the way all my hobbies turned into jobs – and most these jobs include manning facebook, twitter, pinterest, and a whole host of other social media.  Not just for me and my writing career, but for my art company, bookstores, and, well, everyone.

Because I do all this from an actual computer, because I don’t have what I call a ‘fancy’ phone or any kind of ‘spectacular device’ (smartphone, ipads, and whatever other twenty-first century gadgets the world has at their fingertips these days), when I go on vacation, or even a business trip, I get a true break from everything.

I had a book signing in Dallas this past weekend.  Which means from the time I got into my car to drive the four hour trek to the time I pulled back into my driveway 72 hours later, I was on internet silence.  No facebook to log into. I didn’t have a chance to or even a reminder to tweet anything.  My blog became an afterthought; and everything of the cyberspace variety went 100% on the back burner so that I could spend all my time with the real world – or ink and paper when I didn’t want to look beyond my nose.

And guess what?

It was marvelous.

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Click the photo to see all the pictures from the HPB Preston Village book signing.

My afternoon at my signing was completely focused on my customers, my business partner, and the beautiful friends that came to visit and support me.  I’ve seen many authors sit behind author tables and have no clue how to interact.  Instead they spend precious moments when they could be chatting with fans, typing on smartphones or figuring out how to take credit cards.  Being able to accept credit cards sure does make things simple for people – but my tech-free weekend kept all transactions cash only, and I have to say, it was nice.

Afterward, a group of us went off to a new restaurant in the Bishop Arts District of Dallas called Smoke.  I highly recommend eating there for anyone who hasn’t tried it.  The food was excellent, the service was great, and the place had a pretty stellar vibe.  (By the way, the creme brule is to die for – and the best part is the candied ginger. )  Part of that vibe, I must say, was enhanced by the fact that we spent little to no time on our phones!

P1010467 Instead, we discussed future events for Aoristos and myself, as well as books (both published and not yet published).  To the right, my lovely friend Miss Golightly is taking a brief gander at the Follies Past by Melanie Ker while we wait for our dinner.  (I’m still reading, but there will be a review posted soon!  Austen fans, stay tuned!)

Time and time again I have gone to dinner with the far less considerate only to sit at a table and watch people facebook and text all their friends who aren’t present.  It’s something I’ve never appreciated.  So, although having  a smart phone would make many of my events have a more solid online presence, I am not inclined to purchase one until I absolutely have to.  I’m less interested in an online presence and more interested in being present.  The online part can happen before and after, in my opinion.

After being stuffed to the gills with the most amazing barbecue I’ve had in a long time, I finished the day at my aunt and uncle’s house.  It’s practically a bed and breakfast it is so cozy and relaxing.  Homemade lattes were made, there was some time in the garden, and then afterward the kiddo and I slept here…

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Clearly, this is after I mussed up the pillows.  P1010517

FYI, there’s a manlier room down the hall…

It was the best sleep I’ve had in a good long while.  Probably helpful that my eyes hadn’t spent any evening time looking at a computer screen.  (Not to mention, I was physically exhausted.)

Bright and early, and well rested, the next morning… I stepped out of my room to something that is nothing short of heaven to my soul:

P1010502Yes, that’s a coffee bar right outside the guest bedroom.  Complete with bottled water for the Keurig, International Delight creamers (in hazelnut and french vanilla), sugar packets, and real mugs!

After helping myself to coffee, I took my journal and Melanie Kerr’s book and headed to the room one door down…

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It was a beautiful morning.  I did what I do every morning, sans computer screen blinking at me.  That lack of a computer screen makes all the difference.  And although computers are useful, and I adore my jobs and the freedom I have to raise my daughter while working mostly from home; once in awhile I need to remember that just because I’m sitting, doesn’t mean I need to be sitting with technology.

Log off… smell the lattes… breathe, relax, enjoy.

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