Tag Archives: Browsing

Technical problems, travelling, et al.

For those who visit my blog regularly, many apologies. It appears that it wasn’t accessible for a whole month. There’s an explanation for it, I promise.

On 8 September, I left for Rome (Italy, not the US, where there are actually 10 States who have a town called Rome) for a month. Came back last Sunday.

During that time, I made it a point not to access the internet, except for basic email to parents and friends, and the odd online reservation to museums. Big mistake.

A few days before I left, I had to change my server’s username; I thought everything was fine, but it appears the changes took only after I left for Europe. Hence disabling my blog.

Well, it’s fine now, and I’m back. I had a wonderful holiday and over the next weeks will discuss my experiences and of course add pertinent photos. Rome is an incredible place, where ancient times compete with 21st century technology. It was exhilarating, humbling, and sometimes disappointing. I was able to experience some of the culture since I was there a month and we rented an apartment, much more I think than if we had traveled through the country. The apartment was in a less “touristy” place than the center of Rome and gave us a glimpse of how people lived day-to-day. I’ll be talking about that.

I’ll also be talking about the incredible sights, the mix of ancient, old, and new, and how conflicting it looked for the Romans. Again, those are only impressions and they stem from my own culture. I may be way off base.

If any of you, my readers, are Italian or of Italian background, I’d love your opinions and rebuttals on what I’ll write. The only way you can learn about another culture is through exchange of ideas.

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Beautiful, weird, intriguing photographs

I found a new blog dedicated mostly to strange and great photography, Novak’s blog. This photo is part of the Moments Frozen in Time collection, Novak’s most popular of the blog. Some of them I’m not sure if they’ve been remastered (taking something out of one and plucking it into something else) but, you know, I don’t really care. The pictures are fun, they’ll make you smile, laugh, groan, and you’ll be wide-eyed for some of them.

In some of the people pictures, it makes you think that, if someone followed you with a camera all day, you’d end up looking pretty silly, too. I particularly like the above picture, because I love Robert Servranckx’s Nature Photography and I could imagine something like that happening to him. It takes incredible patience to photograph birds and animals, and I can’t help thinking how long that photographer had been motionless before that beastie was bold enough to come see what that big black thing was about.

There is also the incredible art of Blaž Porenta, a Slovenian graphic artist who’s already won several prizes. Any amateur of Fantasy and SF will appreciate his imagination.

I’ve always admired artists who can create fantastic creatures and world without falling into the clichéed images of fairies and ogres, or medieval-looking people with ruffles at the neck and swords in the hand. We see way too much of those on the covers of Fantasy novels and they become far from intriguing. Oh, yeah, I forgot the dragons, too. Okay, maybe it’s hard to make a dragon look different (they all have, I suppose, some characteristic bodily features in common) but sheesh, enough of those on the covers already. Or maybe has there been too many stories about dragons? Hmmm. Yeah. After a while, it gets old. Very old.

For more incredible photographs and art, click on the “pictures” tag in Novak’s Blog.

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Fiction Best Sellers on Library Journal – Last week of May

The fifteen most borrowed books in US Libraries as of 31 May (fiction only). I find this list much more revealing than best sellers lists based on books ordered (not sold) by bookstores (e.g. NY Times Best Sellers List) or books sold by independent booksellers. Here, there is no money exchange, so reading does not depend on one’s ability to spend money on books.

Rank Title/Author/Publisher Last Position Times on List
1 The Memory Keeper’s Daughter. Kim Edwards
Penguin, $14. ISBN 0143037145.
1 18
2 Snow Flower and the Secret Fan. See, Lisa
Random House, $13.95. ISBN 0812968069.
3 14
3 Step on a Crack. James Patterson & Michael Ledwidge
Little, Brown, $27.99. ISBN 9780316013949.
2 7
4 I Heard That Song Before. Clark, Mary Higgins
Simon & Schuster, $25.95. ISBN 9780743264914.
7 2
5 Nineteen Minutes. Picoult, Jodi
Atria, $26.95. ISBN 9780743496728.
4 4
6 Getting’ Buck Wild: Sex Chronicles II. Zane Zane
Atria: S. & S., $15. ISBN 0743457021.
6 11
7 Eldest. Christopher Paolini
Knopf, $21. ISBN 037582670X.
5 10
8 Simple Genius. Baldacci, David
Warner, $26.99. ISBN 9780446580342.
9 Obsession. Kellerman, Jonathan
Ballantine, $26.95. ISBN 9780345452634.
13 2
10 Keeping Faith. Picoult, Jodi
William Morrow & Company, $24. ISBN 0688168256.
8 9
11 The Inheritance of Loss. Kiran Desai
Grove Press, $14. ISBN 0802142818.
12 2
12 Fresh Disasters. Woods, Stuart
Putnam, $25.95. ISBN 9780399154102.
13 Whitethorn Woods. Binchy, Maeve
Knopf, $25.95. ISBN 9780307265784.
10 2
14 Chocolate Flava: The Eroticanoir.com Anthology. Zane Zane
Atria: S. & S., $15. ISBN 9780743482387.
14 6
15 The Woods. Harlan Coben
Dutton, $26.95. ISBN 0525950127.

How many have you read?

Latest LJ Bestsellers: Fiction Best Sellers on Library Journal – 05/31/2007

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The Mad Techno-Guide

opendoorsm.jpgI’ve been using computers and computer software for almost thirty years. Been blogging for five. Maintained my own website for eleven.

I’ve been part of various internet communities for at least fifteen years. Now that computers and the internet are becoming more and more complicated and sophisticated, not to mention used by several million people (there are from 15 to 30 billion webpages) it gets more difficult for the average user (make that a novice) to find his or her way through the morass.

This weekly techno-guide (every Wednesday) is designed for people who know little about computers, the internet, blogging, html code, net etiquette, use of resources , website, podcasts, videos, and internet tracking systems such as SEO, RSS, CSM.

Am I speaking another language already? If yes, then this techno-guide is for you. I’ll go step-by-step through the basics, keeping it short so as not to overwhelm you, but also giving you real information so you can increase your knowledge and be more effective on your own.

Imagine, not having to wait for anyone to upload an image, make changes to your website, start your own blog, or even optimize the speed of your computer! I mean to open a door to another world for you (hence this picture). It is up to you, however, to step through it.

I welcome topic suggestions, questions, comments. The more interactive this column is, the better for all of you out there. You ‘ll be able to refer to all the posts from the Mad Techno-Guide in our Archives.
M. D. Benoit is the author of SF Thriller Synergy and The Jack Meter Case Files. She has been using computers for more than 25 years, and has managed to learn a few things along the way.

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