Posts tagged ‘kindle’

How to Tell Which Printing a Book is From

By Chad Upton | Editor

Books were once a luxury.

That changed with the printing press, making duplication of books faster and cheaper, which made books more accessible to common people. Eventually, public libraries made books available to everyone in a community.

The way we access books is changing again, by eReaders like the Kindle and iPad.

If you browse the Kindle forums on Amazon.com, you may notice that eBook snobs refer to normal books as DTBs (Dead Tree Books). While eBooks are a status symbol now, they may eventually be the way common people access books, making paper books a luxury once again, reserved for expensive hardcovers and collector editions.

For some people, the only books they have ever read were the ones they had to read in school. This year, many high schools and colleges are using iPads and Kindles to distribute reading materials. It’s not because they’re fancy, it’s actually quite practical.

Although the initial cost of the device is high, the cost to create and distribute electronic books is almost negligible. The cost of a Kindle ($139) is about the price of two or three large college textbooks. At that rate, the device could pay for itself in the first semester.

Because it is much cheaper, faster and easier to download books, eBooks may eventually replace paper books as the primary way we read. Like I said, the reading devices are expensive, but even if people don’t want to buy a dedicated device, chances are good they already own one that is compatible. Amazon has already made software that allows Kindle books to be downloaded and read on Windows and Mac computers, iPads and iPods, along with all of the major smartphone platforms (iPhone, Blackberry and Android).

The future of books may be eBooks. In the meantime, it’s hard to know how popular paper books are, unless you know this secret.

When a book is printed for the first time, the publisher doesn’t know how well it will sell. They print a limited number of books to minimize the risk of their investment. If the book sells well, they can always print more.

Most publishers list the number of the printing in an ambiguous format on the publishers copyright page near the front of the book. They put the numbers 1 through 10 on their own line near the bottom of the copyright page. Sometimes, they’re in left to right order from 1 to 10. Other times, the numbers alternate from left side to right side, with 10 in the center.

The lowest number you can see on this line is the printing that the book is from. When a book goes into its second printing, the number 1 is removed. On the third printing, the number 2 is removed and so on.

1st Printing

9th Printing

12th Printing

You can see that the numbers alternate from left to right. They sometimes do that so the remaining numbers stay centered without adjusting the printing of the remaining numbers. If you see them in a book and they are not alternated, the remaining numbers will be off to one side instead of being centered (they don’t normally adjust the type to re-center it).

Sometimes, printings are confused with editions. A book may go through many printings and still be considering the “First Edition.” Generally, the edition doesn’t change unless the content in the book or the publisher changes.

The images above are from one of my favorite books, The Book of Awesome. As you can see, this book has been extremely successful — it’s in its 12th printing! Frankly, it is an awesome book and I’m not just saying that because I’m trying to be funny or because I’m in the book — the sales speak for themselves, it is a great book.

Broken Secrets

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Sources: Travelin Librarian, Between the Covers, Wikipedia (Books), Kotaku

September 24, 2010 at 2:00 am 3 comments

Chilean Earthquake Shortened Earth Days

So far, 2010 is the year of the earthquake. In just over two months, there have been 13 notable quakes.

While the Haiti earthquake on January 12th was certainly the most devastating, it was not the most powerful. That title goes to the February 27th quake in Chile. It had a magnitude of 8.8, the fifth most powerful quake on record. It killed hundreds of people and triggered tsunami warnings in 53 countries.

The big Chilean quake was so powerful, it actually moved the city of Conception 10 feet to the West. It moved Santiago 11 inches and Buenos Aires, which is almost 800 miles from the epicenter, moved an inch. These results were found by an Ohio State research team who has 25 precise GPS sensors and have been monitoring crust movements in Chile since 1993.

Given these facts, there is no question it was a huge earthquake. But, further evidence is in the global impact of our spherical spaceship. The quake rocked the earth, moving us three inches off our axis. This new axis position actually shortens our days by 1.26 milliseconds.

Broken Secrets

Written By: Chad Upton

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Photo: Berk2804 (creative commons)

Sources: 2010 Earthquakes, Moved Cities, Off Axis

March 10, 2010 at 1:38 am 3 comments

Peanuts Are Not Actually Nuts

Sorry, this is not about Charlie Brown. I’m talking about the peanuts that some of us love to eat and others are deathly allergic to. Those peanuts are seeds and they belong to the legume family, along with beans, peas, alfalfa, lentils and others.

In fact, many things we typically consider nuts, do not meet the botanical definition of a nut. Try to pick out the non-nuts from this list:

  • Almonds
  • Brazil Nuts
  • Cashews
  • Coconuts
  • Macadamia Nuts
  • Pine Nuts
  • Pistachios
  • Walnuts

You probably guessed that coconuts are not actually nuts, and you’re right. If you guessed any of the others are not nuts, you’re right too — none of them are real nuts!

A nut is a hard shelled fruit that comes from a plant whose fruit does not open to release its seed. A nut is a composite of the fruit and seed, some examples of true nuts are: acorns, beechnuts, chestnuts and hazelnuts.

Some people avoid nuts because they are high in fat, but that’s actually the reason nuts are such a nutritious fruit. The Omega 3 fatty acids in nuts are believed to lower lipid levels (the “bad cholesterol”). Nuts also contain linoleic and linolenic acids, which are important for healthy growth, hair, skin, blood pressure, and immunological response. They are also rich in protein, folate, fiber, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, copper and selenium.

So, if you’ve been avoiding them, forget about it!

Go nuts.

Broken Secrets

Written By: Chad Upton

[available on Kindle]

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Sources: Nuts, Dehiscence

January 25, 2010 at 12:46 am Leave a comment

Getting The Most For Your Charitable Donation

By Chad Upton | Editor

With the recent disaster in Haiti, I have been thinking a lot about charitable donations. My wife and I wanted to make a donation, but had no idea where to start. We wanted our donation to provide as much aid as possible by giving to a trustworthy charity with minimal administration costs and decent buying power. Our questions was: which charity meets our standards and how much should we give?

I have done some research, learned some secrets and wanted to pass them along. This should be helpful for making any type of charitable donation, not just Haiti relief.

Give Cash

It might be tempting to buy blankets for a homeless shelter or give food to a food bank, but it’s actually better to give cash. Firstly, you don’t know what that charity needs most. The homeless shelter may have more than enough blankets, but not enough soap. If you give cash, they can buy what they actually need. Of course, if you already have a stack of blankets, call first to see if they can use them or if you should hang on to them for a later donation.

Secondly, your buying power is minimal. If you brought $50 worth of food to the food bank, they’d be very grateful. But, if you gave them $50, they combine that with their other cash donations to get a bulk discount and get more food with your $50 than you can.

Texting Is Actually a Slow Way to Donate

While it is extremely fast for you to initiate a donation by texting from your mobile phone, it can take 2 – 3 months for that money to get to the Charity. From the time you send the text to the time you pay your bill, 30-45 days may pass. That’s the first delay, the second delay is your mobile carrier. According mgive.com, the mobile giving foundation, carriers release donation money to mgive every 60-90 days. Then mgive takes 10% (processing fee) and distributes the money to the charities. Most of the charities take donations at their website, this is the fastest way to turn your money into help and cut out the middle man.

Know What You’re Buying

If you can’t decide how much to give, it may help to understand what your money can buy. Here are some of examples of what a donation to Unicef can get.

  • $67.79 – Water purification tablets, cleans 50,000 liters of water
  • $232.86 –  School in a box, enough school supplies for 80 children
  • $500 – Water pump, provides clean water for an entire community
  • $1,994.77 – Maternity kit, enough supplies to safely deliver 50 babies

In other words, you’re not giving $68, you’re giving 50,000 liters of clean water.

Donate To a Reputable Charity

There are some great websites to help you find a charity that provides the help you want to give. These sites also rank the charities and provide transparency by including information such as charitable institution’s financial statements. Here are some sites, and what I like most about each one:

  • Charity Navigator – Helpful ranking of charities. Good list of Haiti charities and their ranking.
  • Network for Good – Quick links for some of the most popular charities.
  • Just Give – Great search engine for finding a charity in your own community, also has a wedding registry for charitable donations.

You Don’t Need Money To Donate

Many local charities can use your time. Use Just Give to find a charity in your community.

The Largest Charities Are Not Always The Highest Rated

The largest charities usually do the best job of raising awareness, but that often means less of your money actually goes to the cause itself. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, awareness is a very important part of fund raising, and many charities allow you to designate your gift. This is ideal if you want to ensure your money is used for aid rather than further fund raising.

Click here for a list of some of the highest rated charities you can donate to, all of these are rather large charities but few of them are charities you usually hear about. Click here for a list of the charities participating in Haiti relief (4 star charities are at the top).

Privacy

Using some of the sites I mentioned above, you can ensure your charity of choice has a written privacy policy that will protect your information. It is especially important that your information is not sold to other charities — they know you’ve given before and your phone will be ringing off the hook.

Avoid scams

The FBI recently released some tips to avoid charity scams. It is very important that you don’t reply to or click on links in any spam email. Donate directly to the charity when possible, not through third parties. Verify the legitimacy of the charity with one of the sites I mentioned above. The rest is common sense, but you can read the entire list by clicking here.

Tax Benefits

One of the best parts about giving is the tax benefit. Most donations are tax deductible and many people also take advantage of a free efile, further adding to their refund. For a few countries, I have provided links to better understand the tax benefits and implications of giving to charities: USA, Canada, UK

Giving to a charity that you believe in can be one of the most rewarding things you do, for you and the people that you help.

Broken Secrets

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Photos: Zoriah, DVIDSHUB (creative commons)

Sources: Charity Navigator, Just Give, Network for Good, mgive, school in a box, Unicef Health, Unicef Water,

January 18, 2010 at 12:59 am 1 comment

How to Prevent a GPS From Falling Off the Windshield

You’re driving along, minding your own business, when your GPS unit suddenly annuls its marriage to the windshield. It crashes into the dashboard, slides into the door, high-fives your passenger and bounces on the floor. Your GPS is not broken; but, it will be the next time it startles, then attacks your passenger again.

In the winter, it’s especially tempting for the suction cups on your GPS or radar detector to take your electronics skydiving. The suction cup relies on a vacuum tight seal to maintain its grip on the windshield. Cold weather, or direct flow of air conditioning, can degrade that seal enough that it can’t support the weight of the device.

The secret to getting a good seal: warm the windshield and suction cup(s) before getting them back together. You can warm the suction cup(s) with your hand or treat them like takeout food and warm them with your seat heaters. Using the defogger, blow hot air on the windshield for at least 10 minutes, then pull over in a safe place and apply the warm suction cup(s).

The idea is to create as much suction as possible inside the suction cups. Before you push it against the window, be sure the suction lever is all the way back, then push the suction mount HARD against the windshield, then push the suction lever forward. Because the windshield and suction cups are warm, you’ll get a better seal that should maintain enough suction to support your GPS unit or radar detector.

If you still don’t have any luck, try cleaning your windscreen and suction cups with glass cleaner wipes and repeat the steps above.

BrokenSecrets.com [Now available on Kindle]

Photo: redjar (cc)

January 4, 2010 at 2:07 am 9 comments


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