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Sunday, 29 April 2012

Comments

Q.: "I'm told I have to empty out the living room for the carpet layers.."UQ

So you haven't learned anything from your experience. You think new carpets will be fine?

We also had wall to wall carpeting and respiratory problems. We got all carpets out and either lino in or renovated the wood flooring. What a relief.

Then the same procedure, in principle, for beds and bedding. (Check Wikipedia for "house dust mite".) Complete relief.

Forget carpet. Wood or laminate. Carpet is SO last millennium.

The device you used to get me reading the executive summary is NOT fair! After the paragraph about this executive stopped, you keep on and on and I read and read.

I would count that as Part II ... I cannot imagine what else can you write? Well, better not to challenge you though, given the example of this executive summary.

This criticism extends to the Kindle's interface, too—on mine, all I get is an alphabetical list of all the titles; there's no way to organize them any better than that.

Mike, with a Kindle from 2010 you should be able to organise your titles into collections: first by creating some collections and then by right-clicking the titles and following the "add to collection" link. It's a little tedious but it avoids having a multi-page undifferentiated list of titles.

Mike,

I would disagree with you about the suitability of the Kindle for Poetry. I bought Mary Oliver's "The Swan" and have read it many times. The ability topic up the Kindle and go to a particular poem or place in a poem s a wonderful convenience.

GaryO

Repair the windows - don't replace. New wood ones aren't old growth wood, and the fly-by-night companies that sell Vinyl windows will be gone when they fail 15 years into the 30 year warranty.

I love my Kindle. My favorite part is all the pollution that doesn't get generated by cutting down trees, trucking them to mills (with thick, black soot spewing out in huge columns), processing them at mills to turn them into pulp and then paper, trucking the paper to printing plants, processing at printing plants, distributing books to warehouses and then trucking them to stores/homes, and ultimately shipping them to China to be processed by recycling plants, which then ship paper products back to the U.S.

You said, "There's no physical sense of where you are in a book as you read . . . ." My Kindle has a line across the bottom of the screen with an indicator showing how far along I am, along with a little percentage number. I know exactly where I am in a book when I glance down at that.

Good luck with your big project.


You might want to think about a laminate floating floor which you and and your son could install yourself. You cut the laminate and your son does the up and downs. Great father and son project. It's actually kind of fun and can be done room by room. There are a wide range of prices, many of which are comparable to carpeting. As long as your floor is flat and it good condition, it can do wonders. And you can take it with you when you move.

The best thing about the KINDLE is the "sample." You can read the first chapter(s) of you book to see if it holds your attentions, and it if does then check it out of your local library, instead of buying it before deciding if you like it or not.
This is a definite plus for an old-age pensioner who used to wrecklesly buy every book with an interesting review (of course, hardcovers were $4.95 then, and paperbacks $0.95).

I have a Kindle too but was lucky enough to be given an ipad for Xmas and now mostly read on that. I like it as the books are set out properly and the illustrations in art and photo books look really good on the screen. It's also easier to navigate and the index and book covers are replicated properly (and the covers are in full colour)

Ditto on liking the standard Kindle a lot, if not loving it. Before buying it, I test read it against the Kindle Fire and the iPad 1 for the same book. My IT guy lent me all three with Isaakson's Jobs bio on them, so I spent at least a half hour reading each. I sensed eye fatigue in that time with the Fire and iPad. The standard Kindle gave me none. I have heard others report similar findings.
I am now debating whether to buy the new iPad and wondering if my TOP colleagues have good things to say for it as a reader. Is it a better reader than camera? (Note TOPicality.) Does the new screen improve the reading experience over earlier iPad models? (Is it OK to elicit responses like this? If not, ignore me.)

I've been reading books on my tablet (an ASUS Transformer Prime) recently, and like and dislike the experience in much the same way you do. For the most part, I like reading novels on it very well, but the occasional high fantasies that find their way onto my reading list (e.g. "A Song of Ice and Fire") are annoying due to the constant need to flip to the map at the beginning.

The tablet experience is a bit different than the Kindle in a couple of was. On the upside over your Kindle are the backlight and the ability to read ebooks from multiple sources (Kindle, Nook, Google, and anything without DRM). The enormous downside to a tablet as an ereader is price, but that's compensated by the tablet's additional capabilities.

Don't take this the wrong way, but, well, I can't fathom the persistent love affair some cultures seem to have with fixed carpeting. It soon looks dingy, smells odd, attracts dirt and dust and practically cries out for periodic cleaning and replacement.

What is so attractive about it that you prefer it over hard floors and loose carpets on top? With loose carpets you can change the style from time to time, easily clean the place, get them out of the way when you're moving furniture around and even go completely without if you prefer (we have only a bathroom rug at this time, with bare wooden floors).

Janne,
I suspect it's mostly a matter of cost. Carpeting over plywood is (or can be) a lot cheaper than wood floors.

Well, convention and fashion must play a large part as well. But price has got to account for some of it.

Mike

Mike,

"...There's no physical sense of where you are in a book as you read..."

On my Kindle keyboard model there is a small bar chart display on the bottom of the screen showing the percentage read. This also appears under the book title on the "Home" page.

"...Flipping to and fro in a book isn't easy, and anyway you can't remember "about how far you were" when you found something you want to flip to..."

You can add a book mark to your current position, then use the book mark to return to that position when you're done flipping. The "search this book" function works well and the onboard dictionary can perform instant look up of unfamiliar words.

On book organization, if your Kindle supports "Collections" you can add books to collections, starting the name of each collection with an underscore "_". Then if you view your 'library' by Title the collections will always be on the top of the listing. I have a collection titled "__All New Books" with the double underscore as the lead characters; that collection is always on top when I view the 'library' by Title. The Kindle Fire does not support Collections.

On a related note, Victoria Brampton's new book on Lightroom4 has just been released on Amazon, and if one buys the printed version Ms. Brampton also supplies E-book versions and the .PDF version at no additional charge. (I have no financial interest in Ms. Brampton's endeavors, but I love the business model).

Regards,

Jim

Mike, you have just discovered the 'iceberg' rule of home repair/renovation .... in that you initially only see 1/10 of the work necessary, the other 9/10 reveal themselves as you move forward.

Like some of the other commentators, I've never been a fan of wall to wall carpeting .... much prefer hard surface flooring (wood, or laminate) with area rugs. But that's my preference for my house, you of course, should do what you prefer.

Hi Mike,

1. if you have hardwood floorboards, polish or wax them; if not, try laminated bamboo - allergy free, a renewable resource, and no more expensive than a decent carpet;

2. www.foliosociety.com.

(I have no financial interest in either...)

Cheers,

Mike

Another killer Kindle feature: synching pages between my Kindle, my iPad, and my phone. I keep the Kindle at home for serious evening reading. But if I find myself stuck at the proverbial DMV, I can pick up where I left off on the iPhone, iPad or laptop Kindle app, automatically. Ditto once I'm back home with the Kindle. So much more convenient than having to remember to lug a dead tree book around with me.

Mike, the kindest thing I did for my respiratory problems was to get rid of the carpeting and replace with stone flooring. It's cold, but by golly the rooms stay dust free. It's amazing what a year of sleeping in an allergen free room can do for your overall health, mood and energy levels. And if you must, you can always get a woolen rug or two. They are cold water washable in woolite (yes, no one will tell you that) and can be kept quite clean.

All of this remodeling makes me wonder if you have given up on the idea of moving. Good. I like the image of you in Wisconsin, selfish as it might be.

In reading the comments I second the suggestion for wood floors, however it is done, with area rugs maybe. though it will make you feel like you have to turn the heat up in those cold winters.

PLEASE put your books on thicker runners so they'll be WAY above the possibilities of even a "100 year flood!" (It is springtime in Wisconsin, after all...)

I've lost both books and vinyl to water damage and the thought of you losing any of your valuable and beloved collections is really concerning!!!

Regarding ebooks, and Ctien's recent dabbling in "Internet Piracy": what's the popular consensus with regards to format-shifting your books? I've got more than a few books that I bought at launch in hardcover, but prefer to leave the hardcover at home on the shelf looking studious and handsome, and liberate myself an ebook copy for reading on my Kobo on the commute to work-slash-around the house.

Anyone else with thoughts and/or incriminating stories?

Against all my wishes I was given a Kindle last Christmas and have just last week started reading a real honest-to-goodness hardback book again (Which I bought because it was only pence dearer than the Kindle version and books tend to do the rounds in our family before being donated to the local lending library. Cant do that with a Kindle book.)The Kindle got a grip on me. Daily deals @ 99p with the ability to download the first chapter was so enticing. Like a child in a sweetie shop I couldn't say no.
I agree about the physicality of it. I know about the bar at the bottom of the screen but its not the same as feeling the remaining number of pages reducing in ones hand. And also I miss the Cover art.
I do put books into directories but the titles remain on the main list which rather defeats the purpose. I'm probably doing something wrong.
My wife has an iPad which i would not like as a reading device. Much too big and heavy. She likes to sit up in bed to read I prefer to lie down and no way could I hold an iPad to read with whilst on my back.
And yes it is very convenient having so many books in a small package. Especially when travelling light with cabin luggage only, as the miserable airlines around here have started to weigh cabin baggage and hard backs really eat into ones allowance

Then we'll move the furniture to the garage, while the car temporarily resides in the driveway.

You keep your car in the garage? What a waste of space!

Mike: you might like to take a look at Calibre http://calibre-ebook.com/ It's free (although donations accepted) and allows much more organisation than the Kindle. It also has a handy convert feature which means that a lot of free books which are only available in other ebook formats can be converted to Kindle format.

Hope all the work goes smoothly for you.

I moved apartment a couple of months ago and I've only got parquet floors now (all wood). One thing is for certain: it's much easier to clean -- but you are always noticing the dust around! Also, playing music, the room just SOUNDS better.

Here's my problem with wood -- I loved the durability of carpet floors. I could throw things down on it, put things on it (that I wouldn't on wood, like speaker stands), etc. With every up-side there's always a down-side I suppose...

Pak

I must agree, carpeting is gross. I'd rather live on painted plywood. By a longshot.

BTW,

I laid carpet in my room simple.....shove all youre worldly good contained in that room to the side you start with. Then remove the old carpet from the empty side, then lay down the new carpet in that side, roll it as far as it will go, then stop. Take all the exces belongings and shove them over the roll....remove the old carpet from the other side and roll out the new, then take half of the stuff over to the now newly carpeted side and voilá a newly carpeted room. Only gripe, you have to shlep all your belongings twice that day. The mustle ache resulting from this procedure will be so rememberable that you will think twice about purchasing more worthly goods :-). BTW, hard floors are much easier to keep clean and dustfree then carpeted floors.

Greetings, and strength Mike,

Ed

My experiences with the Nook my wife won in in a raffle are similar. It hasn't really replaced my wife's habit of checking books out from the library but it has allowed her to check out better books. Also, having the Nook in her purse while traveling is great.

One related comment here concerns our local big city newspaper's online edition. I no longer must tote bundles of newspapers to the recycle bins which is good but reading the newspaper on a computer is just not that rewarding of an experience. The click the edge of a page to turn the page feature is nice. I never get the feeling though that I've glanced at every square inch of every page but rather scrolled past information I might have otherwise read in a printed edition on my kitchen table.

Plus 100 with everyone else that says ditch the carpeting...refinish the hardwood floors, if the house is old enough to have them, and go for area rugs if you need to...

BTW, as a guy who has been on many a painting crew in the last seven years, mostly due to the fact that photography doesn't pay any more, I can tell you that painting before carpet laying is backwards...I'd rather cover the whole new carpet with plastic and drop cloths than repaint the walls after the carpet people are there...apparently you've never seen the layers come in and just let the carpet slam against the walls when unrolling them, or leaning them against the walls and watching them slide over after they've left the room. Nice...

BTW also, it takes at least 30 days for latex paint to "cure out" after someone paints, so don't expect the paint to be hard enough to withstand any carpet layer abuse if it's smacked any time before that time...I always tell people that whatever they tell you about paint, for "scrubability" or wear, it isn't true until the paint "cures out"...

Some type of wood for a floor finish (boards, parquet, cork...) looks better and is a lot less dusty than full floor carpeting. Let's face it, carpets gather dust. Respiratory organs don't like dust. So give other options than carpeting a serious thought.

There's been some discussion lately about publishers being upset with Amazon trying to lowball prices. Whatever the case is, I don't find the fact that Kindle is very much centered on one company to be an advantage for the consumer.

In order to not come off as completely negative, I'll note that improving one's home once in a while is worth the effort and there are many applications where electronic books are very desirable and welcome :-)

You could cut the carpet around the bookcases and leave a pad of carpet under each bookcase. Just sayin'...

I constantly amazed by people who seem to think that electronics are better for the ecology than paper. They both have their problems. Electronics use a lot of rare earth, take a ton of water to create and have a lot of hazardous waste. Not to mention the problem disposing the remains. People seem to have no problem updating their electronics every several years, but I have yellowed paperbacks that are 25 years old.

Aside from the screed above, I do have an iPad. I like electronic books for the convenience, but i stay away from devices like the Kindle or the Sony reader. I only buy electronic books with no DRM, so I can move them to a new device or any device I own. The next big thing in ereaders, if it isn't an Amazon device, will render all your ebooks worthless.

Since I read mostly science fiction or geek books, I get most of my books from Baen or O'Reilly. Tor also just announced they will go DRM free. Photography books where I care about the photography, are paper. If I want an electronic copy, I wait until a copy becomes available DRM free from the author. Note I did note say I will not pay for them, I just won't pay for books that limit the places I can read them.

"'...There's no physical sense of where you are in a book as you read...' On my Kindle keyboard model there is a small bar chart display on the bottom of the screen showing the percentage read."

Yes but that's not physical....

Mike

http://www.unomaha.edu/~nbac/

If you love books and typography then check this link out. Years ago I got to interview Harry Duncan and watch him print some pages of poetry.
Our Kindle Fire is nice but it does not sit in your hand like Charles Martin's translation of the works of Catullus as set and printed by Harry back in the early 1980's.
Even as digital technology changes photography, I think we are at our best when we are producing individual works on paper. But I'm old...

Hey Pak - drop two litres of red wine on your carpet and see whether you wouldn't prefer wood.... ;-)

I'm in law school these days, and got a Kindle to handle my paper overflow problem. The amount of statutory supplements, case printouts, briefs, and other paper I don't have to carry around just this semester would fill a copybox. And while I have a messenger bag capable of holding a copybox's worth of books...

Wall to wall carpets can't be kept clean, they just hide the dirt. Wood or tile can be made clean enough to eat off and they will last forever.

I bought the Kindle to be able to loan books to friends and family as I do with paper books; few publishers permit this. When you buy a Kindle book you don't own the book. Then why are they priced like the real thing???

Mike, love this site and I come here almost every day. I also love that I am about to comment on flooring on a photography blog...
Count me in on the "no carpet" crowd. I had nasty cheap carpeting throughout my downstairs and I have replaced all of it with a floating engineered hardwood floor. Its thicker and more substantial feeling than a laminate floor and just as easy to put down. All you need is fairly standard handyman skills (hand saw, measuring, trimming, occasionally drilling) and it goes down very quickly.
I will also add to the previous comments on clean(ing): with a solid floor (tile, wood, stone) you can tell really quickly that it is dirty and the mess gets cleaned up right away. Not so with carpet! When carpet starts to look dirty its REALLY dirty. You know that, if you have ever used a rug shampoo machine. Scary.

One last thing - VOCs? The smell of new carpet filling your house is like a chemical fog and it will be that way for days and days.

I feel your pain.

Just last year, the 100 year old floor heater in my 100 year old house died. The subsequent sequence of events had me moving out and back in three times. But now I have heat/air, hardwood floors instead of carpet, and (mostly) modern electricity. All things I had planned to do, but in my own time, not all at once.

I need to move out once again in order to replace the 100 year old stucco ceilings before they fall on my head (and it hurts when they do that - I found out from experience), but I'm just not up for it this year. I hope they'll hold out til next year.

I like Readability for consuming web writings without all the crap that adorns pages these days (TOP excepted) - and you can use it to send stuff to your Kindle

http://www.readability.com/

@Richard: In Paris, if I did that, my poor neighbour below would start to see red wine drops from his ceiling. I've heard of a fuite d'eau (a big water leak) before, but a fuite de vin (a big night in)? ;)

Also, my floorboards aren't completely polished -- they are just stained. My real estate agent made a point of this to not get any water on it (and was especially picky about counting all the scratches and water spots already there). In closing: I'm extremely careful!

Pak

I'm in agreement with all the others who recommend ripping out the carpet and being done with it. You'll be amazed at the crap that is under it--stuff that filtered through it over the years and remained there to inflict respiratory hell on all who dare to enter in. The day the wife and I closed on the house we now own, I started ripping out the carpet. The previous owners even carpeted the bathrooms! Underneath were some worn wooden floors that we never bothered to refinish. The worn wood looks so much better than the finest carpet, in my opinion. My stepson just bought a house and is in the process of ripping out the carpeting. It's incredible how much sand, dust and unrecognizable debris had filtered through onto the flooring underneath. Luckily there is linoleum and hardwood flooring throughout his house, however, he was of the opinion that he would prefer to live on a bare concrete slab than spend a single night on unsanitary carpet. I'm in full agreement with him. Whoever took the concept of rugs to the absurd point of wall-to-wall carpeting deserves a special corner of the hottest ring of Hell.

As for the Kindle, I bought one in January after we did some holiday attic cleaning (so we could make room for other stuff we no longer used but didn't want to get rid of). We discovered several boxes of books neither of us intended to ever read again. We loaded them up and donated them to a local university for their fundraising. I then took stock of the four bookcases throughout the house and found another couple of boxes to haul away. I'm sure I could have found more with only a little incentive. The Kindle has helped a lot in keeping down the household clutter. It's also rekindled (ahem. Yeah...I know) my interest in some authors I have not read since high school or college. Although I find more typos and mistakes in spelling and structure in the ebooks, my main gripe is the prices being charged by the publishers who also control distribution. Still, I find the prices to be no barrier to my purchases. I seem to be filling the Kindle like I did the bookcases in the house.

The Kindle Keyboard I have allows me to put books into collections and arrange them by author. This keeps things tidy and fairly easy to manage. Usually, when I finish a popular fiction book, I will remove it from the device. If it was originally purchased from Amazon, it remains logged in at Amazon's Kindle site and can be retrieved whenever I want to. This also helps in keeping the device organized.

Carpets make for warm soft floors, and they hide dirt very well, and they can be interesting colors and patterns not available in other kinds of flooring. Warm is particular important here in the north.

Beyond regular vacuuming (which any floor needs; well, sweeping is fine for hard floors), yes, carpeting needs periodic cleaning, but not that frequent. And hardwood floors need periodic refinishing, too (though less often), and vinyl sheet flooring wears out and needs to be replaced (eventually), and laminate wears out and needs to be replaced (sooner than hardwood).

If they're smelling funny, you're either not cleaning often enough, or you're more sensitive to smells than me.

My experience with "loose carpets" is that they greatly complicate cleaning, and that smaller ones are a real hazard (slippery).

Clearing everything out of a room is a monumental and terrifying task for any of our rooms. And leads to scope creep of the same sort you mentioned, where you might as well paint at the same time if you're doing all that work.

On ebooks, I find that I only notice typography in paper books when it's particularly bad -- which happens often enough to be annoying. Once I find an ebook reader program I can live with, I can count on all books having the same, decent, type.

I do agree that the font choices should be wider. The problem is largely legal -- the people publishing the books don't have the rights to bundle the fonts they've chosen into the epub (or mobi) file. Given what's being done to make fonts usable more widely on the web, perhaps that will at least spill over to epub, which is html-based inside.

I grew up in a family of bibliophiles and own many more books than I read, use, or browse on a regular basis. I like the physicality of a printed book, and the price and DRM of e-books annoy me.

But -- one really neat feature, to me, of the Kindle is its ability to store articles from longform.org; it's restoring my ability and desire to read good "magazine" articles.

Mike-

I am in complete agreement with your Kindle experience. I was an early adopter and went through the same sequence of initially really liking it, then nearly abandoning it, and now a modest resurgence in Kindle use. I agree with the general inelegance and disorientation of the reading experience. If you really love books as "objects" onto themselves then Kindle will not scratch your itch. The other issue for me is that I frequently read a book and then hand it on to a family member or friend so that a single book may be read by many people. You can only do that in a limited way with Kindle by loading the book once to someone else with a Kindle. The access that Amazon Prime members have to free Kindle content on "loan" has alleviated this somewhat.

Where the Kindle really shines is if you travel quite a bit--you can take as many books or other content with you as you like and it weighs next to nothing. Kindles have been heavily adopted by road warriors. Also, the ability to acquire a book instantly is hard to resist. The convenience is starting to win me over.

There IS that little "percentage read" bar on the Kindle, but if you haven't seen the real book, it doesn't tell you whether 20% means 100 pages to go, or 400. I'd prefer a fraction showing number of screens read over total screens, like "254/470."

On carpet: it's true that cheap carpet is gross. Like anything else, you get what you pay for. Carpet needs to be vacuumed regularly and cleaned from time to time. Wood scratches and dents; hardwood will need to be refinished sooner or later, cheaper laminates scratch and dent even worse, and can't be refinished. There ain't no such thing as a cheap good floor.

Mike, I have to chime in and agree with everyone who's telling you to ditch the carpet entirely. Carpet is unsanitary in the extreme. I'd rather live with unfinished plywood myself.

I'm curious about the environmental test you mentioned. Any chance you'd be willing to provide a link to the company who performed it? Or, can you post the technical name of the test they performed so that I can find a company who does it close to where I live?

I love the look of wood flooring, but my hearing isn't as good as it was, and trying to decipher what one grandchild is saying to me from the noise the rest of them are making is much more difficult when all the surrounding surfaces are hard.
Good concert halls also rely on a controlled amount of absorbing surfaces, albeit not on the floor where dust are dirt are most prevalent.

Kindle's great. I'm a lover of coffee table books (that includes all the photography books, too) and they'll always have pride of place, but for reading – it's Kindle. No pains in the wrists from heavy hard backs – especially when reading in bed. No hassles keeping the page from turning while I read (fighting the paper).

I take Kindle on the train whenever I commute to Vienna. Makes the trip go faster …

I'm comfortable with the traditional typeface and glad of the ability to change type size when I have to. I keep mine in the red leather cover (no light) and have read just short of 50 books on it. Battery life's great – no worries there.

I use calibre to manage my e-book library. DRM's a fleabite problem if you have the proper tools.

Last year sailing off the Dalmatian coast I was able to get books whenever I wanted. Great 3G reception.

Matt,
I tested for radon (and installed radon abatement in the house) and also tested for "dust" using the "Allergen Test" on this page:

http://www.allergybuyersclub.com/test-kits.html

Except mine was provided for $15 by the city government in the city where I live.

I also bought a water test but never followed up on that, because there's a lot of data available from the city about the quality of the local water supply--water quality has been a big policy issue here for quite a while.

I'm definitely not an expert and am not in a position to recommend products in this area or evaluate how effective any particular product might be. I was simply trying to find out what the dust in my house WAS and where the heck it was coming from. I've never lived in a dusty house before and I was at first mystified as to the source--for a long time I figured it must have been coming from the insulation somehow.

It finally occurred to me that it must be the carpet because the dust doesn't occur in the basement, kitchen, or bathroom (all of which have no carpet in them). The test confirmed that the biggest component of our house dust was carpet fibers.

Mike

Hi Mike,

I didn't read all the comments, but I thought I would mention why I absolutely love my Nook, though the Kindle would be just as good. I am an avid browser of sites such as longform.org, longreads.com, givemesomethingtoread.com, the browser.com and a number of others, all of which specialize in linking to longer, magazine length articles. From there, I also use Instapaper, which allows me to use their bookmarklet feature and then save to a folder. When I go to that folder, I can download the articles into mobi/epub files and then install them to me ereader. If you have a number of links in the folder, it will even create a chaptered book. Through the sites I mentioned, there is so much really great writing being aggregated that I will never be able to totally catch up, but it is great trying.

Actually, as a kindle user, I believe there is a "save to kindle" function that can somehow automatically send the articles you want to your kindle, but I am not certain how that works.

As I'm from Malaysia, where tiled floors are most common and popular, I always found it hard to fathom why people in the US liked wall to wall carpets so much-- dust trapping and all.

Then I came to the US to study, experienced this thing called Winter, and decided that not wanting to walk on cold tiles all day is eminently justifiable.

As you say every so often, "horses for courses".

Yes, Instapaper. My first attempts to read academic papers in PDF on the Kindle were dreadful. Then I discovered that if I went to the text version on Jstor (and other sites) and ran it through Instapaper, I could have a very pleasant reading experience on my Kindle.

I had a Kindle and I brought it with me everywhere. Reading on public transport, at the queue in the bank, while waiting for dinner... The wife was annoyed to bits.
Then last Friday, April 13th, it got lost. I was saddened. I decided not to speak about it, and waited for anyone in the house to notice that my constant companion wasn't a companion anymore.
It took almost 2 weeks for anyone to notice.

Mike,

I completely understand how things can escalate when remodeling. Last fall we moved the contents of our attic to the garage so we could have foam insulation sprayed on the attic ceilings and walls. Then my wife decided the attic needed a new floor. So far I have replaced all the outlets and light switches, filled in several irrregular gaps around the edges of the floor, replaced a 2-inch step-down near the top of the stairs with a ramp, screwed each board in the rear attic room to the joists, hammered in all protruding nails, and sanded down the high spots. Currently, in the front attic room I am removing nails from the floorboards in order to get at a ridge caused by a high joist. And my car is still parked on the street.

Turning to Kindles, we bought ours this year with wilderness camping in mind. (My wife once brought three trade paperbacks along on a multi-day kayaking trip.) One wonderful thing about e-ink displays is how easy they are to read in direct sunlight; the other is, of course, battery life. I recharge mine about once a month. The daily special is insidious, however. I keep buying books faster than I can read them.

By the way, there are several new developments of interest in the ereader field: 1) Amazon has released Kindle Format 8, which should eventually improve the formatting and typography problems. 2) A firmware update for the Kindle Touch now allows landscape orientation along with other improvements. 3) Target is dropping the Kindle, having decided they were giving too much aid and comfort to a competitor. 4) Microsoft has invested in B&N's Nook subsidiary. 5) There is a new Nook with built-in front lighting, a feature that Amazon is sure to copy.

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