How I Became a Famous Novelist

How I Became a Famous NovelistHow I Became a Famous Novelist by Steve Hely

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book was a fun (and funny) quick read. I first heard of it when screenwriter John August announced on his site that he had optioned it to try to make a movie version (as far as I know, nothing has become of that project). I bought it to read on the plane for a trip to Texas, but started reading and didn’t put it down until I reached the end. Highly recommended. In fact, maybe I’ll read it again now.

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Ready Player One

Ready Player OneReady Player One by Ernest Cline

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Ready Player One is packed to the brim with geeky references to classic video games and allusions to William Gibson and other titans of the genre. Oh, and there’s a pretty good story in there, too. One of a few dystopian novels I read in 2012, which might say something about my state of mind. Highly recommended.

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via Goodreads | Tony Scida (Richmond, VA)’s review of Ready Player One.

Know your laws: Hotelling’s Law

Why are different airlines’ schedules so similar? Why are so many of the Asian restaurants located in the same part of town? And why don’t stores at shopping malls run each other out of business?

These questions and more are addressed by what’s known as Hotelling’s Law. In a 1929 journal article, economist Harold Hotelling pointed out that a lack of differentiation can help businesses maximize demand.

Logically, you might think that being as different as possible from your competitors would be an advantage, but in reality it (generally) takes more than one company to make a market. Macy’s and JCPenney generally benefit from being at the same mall, which then becomes a destination for department store shopping. If you’re in Boston and happen to be looking for a wedding dress, could you avoid going to Newbury Street?

Wikipedia has more, of course, but there are much more interesting examinations of the phenomenon out there hiding behind Google searches.

How to duplicate a DVD in Mac OS X

I needed to duplicate a DVD at work today (relax, it wasn’t a Hollywood movie or anything, just needed to create a backup of a DVD), which I had never done before. After a few false starts, I found out it was really quite easy. I’m throwing this up here in case it helps someone else facing the same task.

Here are the steps I took:

  1. Insert the original DVD you intend to copy
  2. Open Disk Utility
  3. Click “New Image” at the top of the window (the icon looks like a hard drive on a piece of paper with a plus sign next to it)
  4. Choose a format and destination (I chose “DVD/CD master”)
  5. When the image is done being created, it will show up on the left hand side of the window, you can now eject the original DVD
  6. Select the image and click Burn, then follow the prompts to insert a blank writeable DVD

My new site: Qworthy.com

A couple of weeks ago I had an idea for a new site to highlight the best of what can be streamed on services like Netflix and Hulu. I love streaming movies and

TV shows, but it can be hard to find the gems in the sea of dreck that clogs the library of every streaming service. (Understandably, content providers aren’t interested in streaming their best content until they’ve had a change to wring out every dollar of DVD or premium television money).

With help from some friends, I came up with a name, worked through some logo options, got WordPress 3 thrown up on a server, found a template and launched the site this past weekend. Qworthy isn’t a movie review site, so don’t look there for deep analysis of themes and characters or even for simpleĀ ratings. It will just feature content I find interesting, presented with a modicum of snark. Because, really, what is life without snark?

I’ve also started up a Twitter account, so follow along and let me know when you find something you think the world needs to know can be streamed. Also, if you’d like to contribute posts for the site, shoot me an email. Right now I’mĀ aiming for one post a day, but if I can get more contributors the limits are only theoretical.

Special thanks to Sharif from 28Media for helping to set everything up and find the theme.