Writings about Macs, music and more by Kirk McElhearn




More on Scribd, and a Free Three-Month Trial Code


I wrote last week about my dissatisfaction with Scribd, the “Netflix of books,” whose 400,000+ books turns out to be much less in the UK, where I live. I got some more information from the company. First, I’m told there are 277,000+ books available to UK readers. According to my explorations of the Scribd library, […]

Scribd Is Like Netflix for eBooks; and Just as Sucky


The Netflix model of “all you can consume” for a monthly fee is gaining traction. Subscription music is slowly picking up steam, and books are the latest type of media to appear in subscription services. I read a lot, and I would very much like to use a service where I can read a lot, […]

Book Notes: Miles Davis, Biography and Autobiography


As part of my recent Miles Davis binge, I bought two books about the musician. Miles Davis: The Definitive Biography, by Ian Carr (Amazon.com, Amazon UK) and Miles: The Autobiography (Amazon.com, Amazon UK). Both of these books give great insight into Miles’ career, and his music. Ian Carr’s biography is clearly that of a fan. […]

Book Review: Zona by Geoff Dyer


One of the most fascinating films I’ve ever seen is Stalker, which I wrote about here, calling it the Great Existentialist Science Fiction Film. Not many people have seen this movie, but Geoff Dyer not only has seen it many times, but has written an entire book about it. Entitled Zona: A Book about a […]

Book Notes: Echo’s Bones, by Samuel Beckett


It’s a rare event when an unpublished work by Samuel Beckett is released. Echo’s Bones (Amazon.com, Amazon UK) is a short story, originally written for Beckett’s first collection, More Pricks than Kicks (Amazon.com, Amazon UK) in 1933, when publisher Chatto & Windus felt the book was too short, at a mere 60,000 words. Echo’s Bones […]

Why We Get Fat


Food for thought: That the official embrace of low-fat, high-carbohydrate diets coincided not with a national decline in weight but with epidemics of both obesity and diabetes (both of which increase heart disease risk), should make any reasonable person question the underlying assumptions of the advice. But that’s not how people tend to think when […]

Richard Powers on Intelligent Life on Other Planets


From Richard Powers’ moving science fiction story Genie, available as a Kindle Single (Amazon.com, Amazon UK). Let us assume that there is, indeed, sentient life in one or another part of remote space … What on earth are we going to talk about? Hello, are you there?, from us, followed by Yes, hello, from them—will […]

Book Review: Orfeo, by Richard Powers; Classical Music and Terror


Ever since I first discovered Richard Powers’ novel Gold Bug Variations (Amazon.com, Amazon UK), I have been following this author’s work closely. I await each new novel with impatience, as he has one of the most fascinating voices in modern fiction. Powers often writes novels where science is an important character (and some which is […]

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