On declining ebook sales (two thoughts and some good material to consider)

If you are interested in books and ebooks in particular, you should read this: On the declining ebook reading experience. Two beliefs I have on this topic:

  1. Book sellers have become more competitive. In Canada, Indigo’s prices seem to be much lower and they sell books using low prices stamped prominently on the cover.
  2. He doesn’t say it, but the author hints that Apple should step in and make their own Kindle. I certainly would like to see Apple step up and make their own Kindle. The device and the user experience would be great, I am certain. It would blow the Kindle out of the water and likely make me switch over to becoming a bigger ebook reader.


Adulting: a funny self help book, not just for young people

For anyone starting out on the road to being an independent adult, the book Adulting (from Hachette) is a good guide to have. It is packed with tips – 468 to be exact – on pretty much any experience you are going to go through in your early 20s. If this is you or someone you love, this book will have an obvious appeal.

It’s not just for young people though. I think all adults could benefit from parts of the book, especially if you are having to start out on some adult experience that is either new to you or something you haven’t done for some time. It’s good advice, and good advice never goes out of date.

Even if you don’t need good advice, read it just for the humour. It’s a very funny book. (Note, there is a fair amount of profanity and references to sex, but if that doesn’t bother you, then you’ll be fine.)

Finally, if you want to have a better understanding of what life is like for that young person you know, this book can help you achieve that.

By the way, if you want a preview of it, you can check out the Adulting blog. Also very good.

I was killing time in a bookstore last night and I thought it looked good. I ended up reading it from cover to cover.


It’s not that Brooklyn is getting more expensive: it’s that Manhattan is expanding. Why?

Home prices in some of the city’s neighborhoods have not just climbed over the last decade, they’ve blasted off, landed on Mars and found water.

Why? Well, look at where the growth is, and then look at this map of the NYC Subway:

More than other factors, the price of real estate seems  is tied to how easy it is to get back and forth from Manhattan.

That said, I’d be interested to know the story behind the areas of Manhattan that are stagnating.

NYC is never boring.

Source: New York Home Prices | New York Real Estate Price History

On starting to take my personal life offline

I am supportive of people sharing things, both good and bad, on social media. Some people think sharing only positive things is best, but I think sharing bad things has benefits. When you share bad things you allow people to express empathy which can be good for them and you. Sharing negative experiences can also help people feel that they are not the only ones feeling that way. In either case, a small dose of negativity can lead to a larger response of positivity.

Lately, however, I have had so many bad things, big and small, happen to me that I no longer feel it is a net benefit to share them. I even wrote them down tonight and thought: yeah that is a lot of bad things at once. I think that sharing them all the time will just have a negative effect on other people. It will bring them down more than help them. It will also affect me as well, as people move away from me for various reasons, either because they don’t know how to respond or they don’t want to deal with it.(something I have experienced this year.)

As a result, I started logging much of the difficulties I have been having in Day One, which is a great app. Writing things there helps me vent and review it later without having it social. As I found, after I vented, I was able to gain some perspective and think better about the situation, which helped. Sharing things can be useful, but in some cases not sharing can be more beneficial.

If you share a lot of your life, I recommend this approach for people in a similar situation. I recommend the Day One app too.  It is great. 

Why you should not buy insurance for rental cars, toys or video games

Sales people asking you if you want insurance at a counter leans on your anxiety and often leads you to end up buying it. Should you? Well, if it is rental car insurance, Vox says no and does so persuasively, here: Why rental car insurance is usually a rip-off – Vox.

Two other places I see people wasting money on insurance is toys and video games. Toys R Us used to push insurance on me all the time. Before you buy it, consider how your child plays with a toy. Chances are, the insurance doesn’t buy you anything. If it is the only toy you are going to buy your child and the only one they will play with for a long time, then sure. But most children will play intently with a toy for awhile and then the interest drops.

Likewise with video games. Perhaps your child will play with it for a year and it will be their favorite game. Most times, I’ll bet they play intently for awhile, and then the interest drops.  During that time, the chance of damage is very slight.

The insurance for toys and video games is low, but it buys you next to nothing. If the store said: do you mind if we charge you an extra 5-10% on this item, you would laugh and say “no!”. Yet that is what they are doing with insurance.

Skip it and use the few bucks to treat your child to a sweet or yourself to a coffee or give it to someone in need.

Blackberry has a new Android phone coming

And I think it could be successful. First off, it looks good, and it has the famous BlackBerry keyboard. Plus it will work with BlackBerry Enterprise Servers. For some users, this is the best of both worlds. For BlackBerry fans who also want to tap into the benefits of Android devices, this could be for you. More details, here:  BlackBerry Priv — the Android phone formerly known as Venice — is on the way | IT Business.

How to run Minecraft on a mainframe and other cool things

Here are two interesting pieces of innovative things people have done with Minecraft. The first one, New Minecraft Mod Teaches You Code as You Play, is a novel way to learn how to code. If you have a young one who loves Minecraft and whom you want to learn how to code, this may be a good way to do this. The second one is an amazing story found on Reddit: My experiences with running a Minecraft Server on an IBM Mainframe.

I was amazed he managed to get it to run, albeit slowly. Needless to say, a Mainframe is not an ideal platform for this software. Still, that he did get it to run is a testament to his ingenuity and also the flexibility of Minecraft and the IBM Mainframe.