I need a flux capacitor to fix this…

I recently wrote an article for TidBITS about the app’s resurrected text-box-linking feature. A reader responded with complaints about Pages 7:

Whatever, it is still the most ignorant word processing software. I can open a document in Word I made in 2007 with office 2016- with Pages no way. I have to update to a more recent version. That’s not just cloudy it’s ridiculous and nobody I know who uses a Mac uses Pages. If they would have made it backwards compatible then it would be a viable software. But as we know Apple only does things (basic word) to their convenience on many levels.

I responded to the “backwards compatible” complaint:

I just dug up an old Word .doc file of mine that was last modified in 2004 and had no problem opening it with Pages 7. I can also open files made with Pages 4 in Pages 7. The rumors of Pages’ lack of backward compatibility may be exaggerated.

Turns out, this reader had a…unique…interpretation of what backward compatibility entailed:

Pages 3.0.3 will not open documents created with later Pages. That’s a problem.

Pages 3.0.3 was released 10 years ago. I suppose I could climb into my Delorean, travel to Apple in 2007, and deliver the Pages 7 file format specs to the Pages 3 development team, but that almost certainly would split the timeline and cause serious instability in the multiverse. So I probably won’t.

I guess the disgruntled reader wins this round.

A Book Tour in the Age of Global Warming

Last week I made a Lulu.com print-on-demand copy of Fuzzy Bytes, and the proof copy is now on a book tour!!

According to the latest FedEx tracking information, it arrived at Northborough, MA, on Friday, got to Scrubgrass Township, PA, on Saturday, made a quick stop on Sunday at Pacific, MO, before scooting off to McLean, TX, and from there went to Flagstaff, AZ, on Monday.

It occurs to me that, between the natural resources consumed in printing the proof copy, and the fossil fuels used in transporting it to all of these locations, the carbon footprint of my novel is now daikaiju-sized!

The Author’s Big Mistake: A Case Study

Once upon a time, I was asked to review an interactive book. I wrote the review, posted it, and that was that. For a few weeks.

Then the book’s author discovered my review. And he even thanked me for it. At first.

Then, he didn’t. Within hours, he proceeded to commit, in a torrential series of responses to the review that dwarfed the review itself in sheer volume, what Paul Fussell described in his 1982 essay, “The Author’s Reply as Literary Genre,”: “the A.B.M. — the Author’s Big Mistake—that is, the letter from an aggrieved writer complaining about a review.”

It was, in a weird way, a beautiful thing to behold as the aggrieved author posted comment after comment (revising each several times [I got an email from the server each time he revised a comment]), spinning ever more wildly out of control with each submission. Some people tried to talk him down gently from the ledge, but he would have none of it. I stayed out of the fray, remembering both the wisdom of Sir John Falstaff and a poster that a friend of mine had back in the 1970s which read, “Never wrestle with a pig: you’ll both get dirty, and the pig likes it.”

The comment storm continued for the next week, but it eventually died down. Then, someone else found it and posted a series of screen shots, with commentary, to Imgur. And that, in turn, spawned a reddit thread.

Before the author chose to “prove” that my review was wrong, the review had gone largely unnoticed, but once the author engaged, hilarity and mockery ensued. And the attention that the author’s rebuttals attracted, and the scorn that was subsequently heaped upon him, is why Fussell calls such responses the Author’s Big Mistake—and Fussell didn’t even have the Internet to provide him with examples!

Today’s Episode of “What Were They Thinking?”

Recently I undertook to convert Glenn Fleishman’s The Magazine: The Book from a beautifully laid out hardcover book into something that an EPUB reader could handle. The tool I used was Adobe’s latest version of InDesign, a program that I hadn’t used since it was a PowerPC application back in the long-long-ago.

When I fired up the application, I saw its latest splash screen, which looked to me like a fatal explosion in a type foundry:

InDesign Splash Screen

After painstaking research, I believe I have found the inspiration:

Inspiration for InDesign splash screen

Getting the Book Invented Properly

In 1992, Douglas Adams’ Complete Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy was one of the original three Voyager Expanded Books published. A big Mac fan, and a Voyager fan as well, Adams wrote and recorded a short promotional audio for the floppy-disk-based ebook series. Here, in all of its crunchy 8-bit-audio glory, is that recording, Getting the Book Invented Properly.

Bonus: the Literary Platform site recently held a competition for animations to accompany the recording. The entries are here.

In which I commit another reckless act of authorship

I assumed this would be a 75-page ebook, but it turned out to be double that. On the other hand, it was both fun and rewarding to write, and I think it can be very helpful to aspiring ebook authors and publishers: Take Control of iBooks Author, available for $15 from Take Control Books.

Plus, there’s a free Multi-Touch excerpt for the iPad, Take Control of Getting Ready for iBooks Author, that you can download!

The cover of Take Control of iBooks Author

Ganging up on the iBookstore

This evening, I went to the iBookstore in iTunes and checked out the Computers & Internet section. Not only is our iPad 2 Project Book featured, but it is #2 in the sales ranking, just behind my friend Jeff Carlson’s book. There’s also another book of mine on the page, another one of Jeff’s, two books by yet another friend, Joe Kissell, and another book by another friend, Tonya Engst.

Weirdest flash mob ever.

I wave my hand and raise a storm

Late last week I began composing a short piece for this blog about the phrase “get over it.” However, knowing that the weekly edition of TidBITS was running a little light this week, I showed it to the editors there, and they felt it was worthy of publication, so I submitted it, and they published it.

It seems I touched a nerve: as I write this, the article has accrued almost 90 comments in the course of the day. And I didn’t even mention sex or free prizes in it once!