Mozart for President

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My wife just told me about a funny conversation she had with my 6 year-old son.

My father recently returned from a trip to Austria and he brought back one of my favorite treats: Mozartkugeln (Mozart Chocolate Balls). My boy saw them and said

Son: Mom! Mom! Look! [pointing to the Mozartkugeln] It’s George Washington!

Mom: That’s not George Washington, that’s Mozart.

Son: Who’s Mozart?

Mom: He is a composer. He makes music.

Son: OH! So that’s why he is on chocolates!

Why Cherish Bound is Better Than Blurb

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It’s curious that recently I’ve received inquiries about the difference between other on-line publishing companies and Cherish Bound. Some of you may not know that I was actively involved with a company that facilitates publishing your own books for some years. Sadly I have not had time to contribute much (if anything) to Cherish Bound in the past couple of years despite my longing to do so. I have had several friends and family publish books with Cherish Bound and I’ve had some publish through Blurb.com.

So what do I recommend?

Well, the title of the blog post gives it away, but I’ll outline my points below.

Both companies have some similarities: they will publish your book and they allow you print one-off copies. The prices are somewhat comparable as well but not exact because you have to take into account number of pages, binding types, etc. Book publishing has a lot of variables so exact comparisons are not practicle. Turnaround time is also comparable.

The biggest difference is that Blurb stops with the publishing whereas Cherish Bound has a much more wholeistic approach in terms of services.

Cherish Bound will actually help you write your book. They have great resouces, both printed and human, to help you create the content for your book.

Cherish Bound actually has people you can talk to if you have questions. You can even find people local to you who are experts; or you can become an expert yourself if you love sharing your knowledge and love helping people find and create their own stories.

If you love helping people create and share stories enough you can utilize the business opportunities Cherish Bound has to earn money. This is not a trivial thing. Did you know that 70% of all bankrupcies could be avoided by having as little as an additional $300 a month? What could you do with an extra $300 a month?

Lastly, there is Carol and Joe. There are no two finer people to work with on any project and I’ve known them both personally for several years. Carol, one of the founders, has a personality like the sun and can make anyone feel like a long-time friend. There is no one better to help you find and create your stories. Sadly, she is quite busy so working with her is, well, worth the wait. Joe, the main technical guy, is quite brilliant. But not I-can-speak-with-fax-machines geeky. Joe has the talent of being able to explain very technical things in a way anyone can understand.

Great question!

Eragon is Bastard Son of Dragonriders of Pern and Star Wars

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I was pretty sure that I had written about this before but I couldn’t find it in my blog.

The first time I read Eragon by Christopher Paolini I thought it was based largly on the Dragonriders of Pern by Anne Mccaffrey for all the lore and culture of dragons and their riders. That and a lot of plot lines from Star Wars. I’m not saying the book isn’t good, it’s just ripped off a lot elements from those two stories (in my opinion).

There are a lot of books that take place on Pern, about 22 last time I checked and I’m almost done reading them all. Right now I’m reading The Skies of Pern published Jan 2, 2002. And right here in the story is a character named “Erragon.” Checking Paolini’s publication data for Eragon it’s August 26, 2003.

I think besides ripping off all the dragon lore from Anne Mccaffrey, Paolini also ripped off the name of the main character.

Google Street View

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For those who don’t know, Google not only has Google Earth but it also has Google Maps which can give you driving directions and mapping functions. Recently it came to my attention (thank you Matt) that Salt Lake City now has the Street View feature that shows what the map location looks like from the street.

Simply look up your address in Salt Lake City, click on the “Street View” and look around. It was fun to look at my house (or at least what you can see from the street) and my parent’s house, which isn’t too far away.

But the question immediately came up: when were the pictures taken? Based on the foliage and other things we can determine my house was photographed sometime between July 1 and July 25 of 2007.

Does anyone know of a way to determine when the photos were taken?

You Suck at Photoshop by Donnie Hoyle

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I know how this post is going to go. I’m going to trash talk The Gimp and you are going to flame me but I’m going to stick by my guns and say that Photoshop is still better than The Gimp. I mean, what the hell kind of name is “The Gimp” anyway? To you really know what “gimp” means? Who came up with that name? (Don’t bother to tell me, I know is is an acronymn).

But even if you have Photoshop, you are probably using about $25 worth of features from your $400 purchase. Why did you buy CS3 instead of Photoshop Elements anyway? What you need is training.

Donnie Hoyle is helping us all with a series of tutorials based around solving real-world problems with Photoshop. Not only are they slightly educational they are entertaining, which what everyone wants anyway.

Check them out here.