Take me to your Lizard

From So long, and thanks for all the fish by Douglas Adams. At this point in the story, an alien spaceship has landed on planet Earth. The doors open and a robot comes out...

‘I come in peace,’ it said, adding after a long moment of further grinding, ‘take me to your Lizard.’

Ford Prefect, of course, had an explanation for this, as he sat with Arthur and watched the nonstop frenetic news reports on television, none of which had anything to say other than to record that the thing had done this amount of damage which was valued at that amount of billions of pounds and had killed this totally other number of people, and then say it again, because the robot was doing nothing more than standing there, swaying very slightly, and emitting short incomprehensible error messages.

‘It comes from a very ancient democracy, you see…’

‘You mean, it comes from a world of lizards?’

‘No,’ said Ford, who by this time was a little more rational and coherent than he had been, having finally had the coffee forced down him, ‘nothing so simple. Nothing anything like to straightforward. On its world, the people are people. The leaders are lizards. The people hate the lizards and the lizards rule the people.’

‘Odd,’ said Arthur, ‘I thought you said it was a democracy.’

‘I did,’ said Ford. ‘It is.’

‘So,’ said Arthur, hoping he wasn’t sounding ridiculously obtuse, ‘why don’t the people get rid of the lizards?’

‘It honestly doesn’t occur to them,’ said Ford. ‘They’ve all got the vote, so they all pretty much assume that the government they’ve voted in more or less approximates to the government they want.’

‘You mean they actually vote for the lizards?’

‘Oh yes,’ said Ford with a shrug, `of course.’

‘But,’ said Arthur, going for the big one again, ‘why?’

‘Because if they didn’t vote for a lizard,’ said Ford, ‘the wrong lizard might get in. Got any gin?’

‘What?’

‘I said,’ said Ford, with an increasing air of urgency creeping into his voice, ‘have you got any gin?’

‘I’ll look. Tell me about the lizards.’

Ford shrugged again.

‘Some people say that the lizards are the best thing that ever happened to them,’ he said. ‘They’re completely wrong of course, completely and utterly wrong, but someone’s got to say it.’

Every time I read The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy I find new things that somehow seem prescient.

Anyone can fight the battles of just one day. It is only when you and I add the battles of those two awful eternities, yesterday and tomorrow, that we break down. It is not the experience of today that drives us mad. It is the remorse or bitterness for something that happened yesterday or the dread of what tomorrow may bring. Let us therefore do our best to live but one day at a time
— Richard Walker in Twenty-Four Hours A Day

Week 2: Album covers, Terry Gilliam, and Gate's books of 2013

Chase Jarvis on shooting award winning album cover art

Chase Jarvis interviewed Mario Andreoni on how a musician chooses cover art for their albums:

So I was flattered — and immediately on board — when Mario Andreoni of !!! (pronounced/also written Chk Chk Chk) asked if they could use the above image for their album cover, Thr!!!er.

It's a good interview and the answers are interesting. The cover is a great photograph, and Chase shares a link in there with some goodies.

Terry Gilliam interview from 1970

This week I came across the interview above. I'm a fan of Terry Gilliam's films (Brazil, 12 Monkeys, The Brothers Grimm, The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, etc.), so I really enjoyed watching this video where he explains his process to create a short film he did back in the 70's.

Books Bill Gates read in 2013

Bill Gates shares the books he read in 2013. I like how he introduces the list:

Each of the books on the list below taught me something I didn’t know. How shipping containers helped cut the cost of moving goods between Asia and North America by roughly half. How refined tools for measurement laid the groundwork for the invention of the steam engine. How we’re dangerously overfishing cod, tuna, and other species.

More generally, these books tell amazing stories of human ingenuity. It is this ingenuity that helps explain why the world keeps getting better, and why at the end of each year I look forward to the next one with hope and optimism

It's always interesting to see which books people choose to read.

People of the Globe - Aperture Book Test

Apple Aperture Book

A very cool feature of Apple's Aperture is it's ability to create and order books right from within the application. You can easily design beautiful books and get them delivered to your home in multiple sizes in both hardcover and softcover.

Over the years, I've designed and ordered many and have always been very pleased with the results. However, I've always done medium and big books and had never ordered the small size. It just seemed way too small at only 8.9 x 6.7cm.

apple-aperture-book-test-02.jpg

I'd always been intrigued though, so a few weeks ago I pulled the trigger and ordered a small Aperture book with photographs from the People of the Globe project.

It arrived a few days ago. My first impression was *wow, that is small*, but having flipped through it and shown it around to friends, I really like it. The quality is good. The paper is relatively thick and the photos look good. They're all black and white and they came out fairly neutral. It's not perfect, but it's good for a small pass around book.

I love that I can take it with me everywhere and show it around. When I meet people interested in being part of the project, it's nice to show them what it's all about. I've found it always gets them more excited to participate when they can hold the photographs in their hands.

apple-aperture-book-test-cover.jpg

Paperless Holiday Sale, 30% Off — MacSparky

If you haven't purchased Paperless and you have even the slightest interest in reducing the amount of paper in your life, you should get this book. David Sparks, the author, explains it as:

Paperless takes the mystery (and fear) out of going paperless with your Apple technology. The book includes 32 screencasts, 4 movies, over 26,000 words, and other rich-media assets to turn you into a paperless ninja.

It was named one of the Best Books of 2012 by the iBookstore and it certainly deserves it. David is very good at explaining things in a very straightforward and approachable way. It's also a great showcase for books made with iBooks Author.

Paperless is usually $10, but it's on sale at only $7 until December 31.

Apple Aperture 4 book postponed to October?

Apple Aperture 4 book postponed to October 2012

Apple Aperture 4 book postponed to October 2012

A few months ago I wrote about an Aperture 4 book leak that appeared in multiple bookstores with a release date of July 4. I speculated that the long awaited new version of Aperture could be close and that maybe we'd see an announcement at WWDC. It even inspired me to write a wishlist of features for Aperture 4.

Unfortunately, it didn't happen. However, today I saw the book in two Australian bookstores with the release date updated to October 2012. I know I'm just feeding the rumours, but oh well. It's fun to speculate and I really want to see a new version soon.

The price is pretty ridiculous, by the way. I can't see brick and mortar bookstores surviving much longer selling at those prices. One major one has recently gone bankrupt in Australia.

More links to the Apple Aperture 4 book rumoured for July 4

A few weeks ago I wrote about an Aperture 4 book that was available for pre-order at Barnes & Noble. It's still there and it still says it'll be available on July 4, 2012. I'm trying not to get too excited about a possible update in 2 months, but I do feel it's time.

To feed the rumours even more, a few readers emailed me additional links to the same book in different online stores. The full title of the book seems to be "Apple Aperture 4, Unleashing Your Photo Workflow" and it has a valid ISBN number (9781133788904). Although in some stores it's called "Apple Aperture 4" and in others it's "Apple Aperture X".

It's pure speculation, but it's still fun. Here are the links:

Apple Aperture 4 Book leak?

Screenshot of Apple Aperture 4 book in Barnes & Noble in 11 April 2012

Screenshot of Apple Aperture 4 book in Barnes & Noble in 11 April 2012

This link from Barnes & Noble is for a book titled "Apple Aperture 4" that you can pre-order now. It says it'll be available on July 4, 2012. It doesn't have an image, but the author is one John Lewell, who I assume is the same guy that wrote The Digital Photographer's Software Guide, so it could be real. I took a screenshot for reference in case Barnes & Noble takes it down.

I also found this one in amazon.co.uk, although this one seems a bit weird. Either way, it would be pretty cool if the new version of Aperture was only a few months away.

Steve Jobs biography by Walter Isaacson on sale

I bought it this morning through the iBookstore and can't wait to read it.

It seems the prices for the ebook versions have been all over the place today. This morning Amazon had it for US$9.99 and right now it's at US$10.36. Not a big difference, just weird.

What's really strange is that the US iBookstore is selling it for US$16.99 while the Australian one is selling it for AU$9.99. I can't complain about that, but it's just really weird. Normally the Australian store has all prices about 30% higher than the US store.

I've complained about that on multiple occasions, and I now buy most ebooks on Amazon. I checked the iBookstore for the Steve Jobs biography today because it just felt right to buy it there.