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Archive for November, 2010

The World Crisis by Winston Churchill (Part 1: 1911 - 1914)

The World Crisis by Winston Churchill (Part 1: 1911 – 1914)

Winston Churchill was a prolific author, and received the Nobel prize in Literature in 1953. His more well know historical works are his six volume memoirs of the Second World War, and his four volume History of the English Speaking Peoples. Both of these sit upon my shelves, but I started with his lesser known history/memoir of World War I, The World Crisis.

Though I am reading the “Abridged and Revised Edition, With an Additional Chapter on The Battle of the Marne”, I’m making my notes in accordance with The World Crisis‘ original separated books (that, and the fact that the book is longer than my memory). The Abridgment contains the first four volumes:

  • Volume 1: 1911 – 1914
  • Volume 2: 1915
  • Volume 3: 1916-1918
  • Volume 4: The Eastern Front

Volume 5, The Aftermath, is not included in the Abridged version, and is difficult to find. If anyone has a spare copy, they are welcomed to speed it my way.

The first volume was published in 1923, with the last volume and the Abridgment in 1931. Initially it was to only cover the Admiralty and the naval war with Germany, but expanded to cover the full of the war, including Churchill’s defense of his own actions in the Dardanelles and Gallipoli (the genesis for these volumes, according to the intro from Churchill biographer Martin Gilbert) and Churchill’s disdain for the decisions in the trench warfare stage.

As opposed to an event by event history, this is more of an observer’s record, with the observer in this case having a front row seat to the Admiralty, the fall of Antwerp and other events. It falls short it detailing some of the non-naval happenings at the beginning, and it is certainly biased; but it is an excellent read, infused with Churchill’s passion. (more…)

Kindle differences

Many readers and authors do not realize that Amazon’s Kindle solution works on a wide variety of devices. Amazon has a “Kindle everywhere” strategy, and has released versions for iPhone/iPad/iPod, PC, Blackberry, Android and now a beta for the Web (and a forthcoming version for Windows Phone 7). Amazon’s main page for describing their Kindle software offering is here.

Unfortunately, not all capabilities are supported on all devices. This is changing with new releases of the software and updated devices. From my own experiences, the Kindle for iPhone and iPad is the most feature rich (allowing image zoom which is quite useful on iPad, and embedded audio and video via HTML5);  the Kindle for Blackberry seems to be lagging behind, not yet allowing the addition of notes and highlights, nor supporting the advanced features of HTML5 and image zooming. The Android version was a bit of a pain, as I had to flash the software on the Samsung Moment device I was testing; otherwise the Kinlde software would not download from a link or show up in the Android Market.

To see the capabilities of the other devices in the market besides Kindle, see this list.

We’ve been working on multiple eBook projects that require audio, video, enhanced imagery, and synchronization of notes and highlights and have all of these versions for testing. The table below is my own cheat sheet of current versions and capabilities. I’ve left out the obvious features (such as the ability to change the font size, synchronizing last page read across versions, etc.).

If you see an error or area that needs to be updated or have any other feedback, I’d be glad to hear it.

Kindle 3
Kindle for iPad
Kindle for PC
Kindle for MAC
Kindle for BB
Kindle for Android
Kindle for Web (beta)
PricingWiFi $139Free softwareFree softwareFree softwareFree softwareFree softwareFree software
Device testedWiFi Kindle 3iPad WiFi/3Gnetbook (XP)MAC miniBold (TMobile)Samsung Moment (Sprint)Firefox
Amazon info page (click link)Kindle 3iPad
iPhone
PCMACBlackberryAndroidWeb preview
Software version3.0.12.3.1.31.2.11.2.21.0.0 (beta 1)1.1.0 (90220088)beta web preview
Software sourceon deviceiPad/iPhone AppStoreAmazon (click hereAmazon (click hereBB App WorldAndroid MarketAmazon (for Kindle previews only as of this writing)
Screen resolution600 x 800768 x 1024device dependentdevice dependentdevice dependentdevice dependentdevice dependent
ImagesB/W
Zoom (one size with click on image)
Color
Zoom (pinch gesture, plus pan)
Color
Can make book full screen, but no zoom
Color
Can make book full screen, but no zoom
Color
Can make book full screen, but no zoom
Color
No zoom or pan
Color
Notes and Highlights - addingYesYesYesYesNoYesNo (preview only)
Notes and Highlights - viewingYesYesYesYesYesYesNo (preview only)
Embedded Audio/VideoNo HTML5 supportHTML5 audio and video tagsNo HTML5 supportNo HTML5 supportNo HTML5 supportNo HTML5 support

docphantomcity

The Phantom City (Doc Savage #10)

This is the 10th story in Street and Smith’s original publishing order.docphantomcity

Two red letter events for Doc fans:
- Doc accidentally KO’s Monk, out cold with one swing;
- the first appearance of Habeas Corpus, the pig Monk buys in Arabia on this adventure, purely to poke fun at Ham.

As in previous posts, I highly recommend reading these in the originally published order. This story has a small but continuity providing reference to The Czar of Fear, the previous chronologically published story. And the next is the first appearance of Doc’s cousin, Pat.

Arab hoodlums (lead by Mohallet) first try to bully Doc, then negotiate with him on obtaining the submarine used and publicized from an earlier adventure (The Polar Treasure). While fighting them, Doc finds an exotic white- haired women dressed in something akin to Arab dress, speaking a tongue somewhat like Arabic that even Doc does not understand. He loses the girl when Monk and Renny jump him in the dark (Doc is knocked down for one of the few times in the stories, but puts Monk out with one punch). Determining that the Arab gang has recaptured the girl and is holding her prisoner, and the hint of a strange tribe of people in an unexplored desert in Arabia that contains treasure, Doc and the boys follow the Arabs in their sub across the Atlantic to Arabia.

After some back and forth battles and trickery (where Doc admits he fell for a ruse, a rarity), Doc and Mohallet share the sub. Mohallet’s men are in control with Doc and team locked up, but a contagious itching powder on back of the pig Habeas Corpus (a featured part in his first role!) has the Arabs begging for the cure. The tables are turned as the Arabs are locked up, with Doc’s team back in control and searching for the Crying Rock, secret entrance to the place where Ja, the white haired girl (who has a bracelet of platinum) is from.The entrance is a very well-described passage through an underground cave (hence the need for the submarine).  The entrance is collapsed by Mohallet’s men. They emerge from the cave into an oasis in the desert, where “White Beasts”, white haired men who look like Monk, savagely attack them. Mohallet speaks their language (from having the girl prisoner) and builds an alliance against Doc. Doc takes the girl (his men are captured), and she guides him to her home, The Phantom City. Unfortunately, it too has been overrun by the White Beasts.  Doc ends up rescuing the citizens and his men, drowning the bad guys as the collapsed entrance gives way and floods the area.

Excellent locale, another beautiful woman who Doc spurns, and a new pig. What more could you ask for?

My sortable table of Doc Savage books is here.

  • Written by: Lester Dent
  • Villain: Mohallet, the White Beasts
  • Doc Gadget: portable seismograph, used to determine when the blocked-off underwater cavern would be opening;
  • Doc Feat: knocking out Monk with one punch; running through the desert with a beautiful white haired girl thrown over his shoulder;
  • Exotic locale: the “pitiless desert of Rub’ Al Khali”, in Arabia; and, of course, NYC.
  • By the numbers: originally published December 1933; Bantam #10 published March 1966; Philip Jose Farmer dated March 1932

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