Guest Post: Schrödinger’s Ebook Box

For Marlene’s birthday I got her a new iPad.  Since her work involves reading and reviewing ebooks, and since the iPad has become her primary ebook reader, transferring the books from her old iPad to the new one was critical.  Since she uses a number of ebook apps, this gave us an opportunity to answer the (not-so) age-old question: when you open the new box, are the ebooks still alive and meowing?

We set up the new iPad using one of the recommended approaches:

  1. Sync the old iPad with iTunes.
  2. Make a backup of the old iPad using iTunes.
  3. Hook up the new iPad to the computer and choose to restore from the backup.
  4. After the restoration, wait for iTunes to finish syncing apps and content to the new iPad.

How did the the various apps do?

  • iBooks — success.  All of the titles came over.
  • Amazon Kindle for iPad — success.  The list of titles came over.  It was necessary to re-download them, but that came as no surprise.
  • Barnes and Noble Nook — success.  The list of titles came over; as with the Kindle app, it was necessary to re-download the books.
  • Bluefire Reader — success.  Everything came over, although it was necessary to re-enter the Adobe DRM credentials.
  • Google Play Books — success.  Same story as the Kindle and Nook apps.
  • Kobo for iPad — success.  At least, apparently so.  The default titles came over, but this app is one that Marlene looked at but never actively used.

However, there was one failure: the OverDrive app for iPad.  When we opened it on the new iPad, the bookshelf was empty!

Of course, the primary purpose of this app is to display ebooks and audiobooks from OverDrive’s library service, but it will happily store and open EPUB files, and you don’t even need the OverDrive Media Console application on your PC.  You can just download an EPUB from Safari on the iPad and open it in OverDrive.  Because of apparent capacity issues with Bluefire reader, there was a period of Marlene had started using the OverDrive app to handle some of the overflow; in particular, she used it for non-DRM EPUBs.

But therein lies the rub… as near as I can tell, the OverDrive app turns out to be the Hotel California of iOS EPUB readers.  Since the restore and iTunes sync obviously hadn’t brought the ebooks over, I started looking for ways to manually transfer them.  The first place I looked was in the File Sharing feature in iTunes:

If OverDrive supported app file sharing, I could have used iTunes to copy the ebooks from the old iPad to the new one.  Unfortunately… it doesn’t.

My next step was scanning through the OverDrive app to see if it offered a way to download or email the files.  I came up with nothing.

Finally, I turned to my favorite reference librarian Google… and came up with a lot of folks complaining about how iOS5 and the recent update of the app apparently don’t play well together for audiobooks, but nothing relevant to my efforts.  So, if you’ve made this far into the post and have ideas about how to transfer the books… I’m all ears.

Ultimately, if we don’t find a way to make the transfer, the effective loss will be small, as Marlene has current files for all of the titles in the OverDrive app with the exception of three titles she had downloaded via iOS Safari from NetGalley that have since been removed from the active download list.  One irony is that those three ebooks are in open EPUB format; if only we could get to the files, any EPUB reader app could display them.

This is all a perfect storm of circumstances that could drive somebody who is unlike me (by expecting that software will actually work all the time) back into the comfortable but heavy arms of physical books:

  • Ebook DRM can punish the reader.  Marlene and I are perfectly willing to pay for ebooks (though of course, most of the time she doesn’t have to because of the number of egalleys and ARCs she reviews), but in the case of the OverDrive app, were I to make a charitable guess, DRM inspired a design compromise for the OverDrive app that lead to app file sharing not being enabled, even for non-DRM ebooks.
  • Apple’s iOS backup and syncing model has pitfalls for the unwary.  In particular, backing up to iTunes does not back up everything, and syncing with iTunes does not necessary cover content that wasn’t purchased via iTunes.  Want a real full backup of your iOS device?  It seems like you can get one only if you jailbreak it.  By the way, I really hope to be proven wrong on this.
  • It’s a truism that preserving ebooks require the reader to work harder.  You can leave a physical book sitting around and expect it to stay put (and even a very industrious cat isn’t going to push a book very far); one has to actually think in order to keep one’s ebooks available as time, hardware upgrades, and fashions in digital format pass.  But it’s even harder if one has to work to get one’s hands on the ebook file.
  • Using apps for anything other than their exact intended purpose can have unexpected pitfalls.  As an EPUB reader, the OverDrive app is arguably decent, but at the moment I can no longer recommend it for any purpose other than using OverDrive’s service.  I hope future updates of the app will make it easier to transfer titles to new iOS devices and to back up any non-library ebooks that a user chooses to read in OverDrive.

In conclusion (and to further inflict quantum mechanics metaphors on the reader), despite all of the advantages of ebooks, ebook users must still keep the Ebook Uncertainty Principle in mind: without care (and ideally access to discrete, non-DRM ebook files that you can back up), the long-term availability of ebooks that you purchase is at best a little uncertain.

NetGalley April Read-A-Thon

It’s April, which means it’s time for the quarterly NetGalley catch-up month at Red House Books.

Emily has declared this month to be a Read-A-Thon, a chance to clear some of the backlog of NetGalley books and just plain maintenance tasks associated with reviewing.

Mmm. Well. Mmm. Marlene sticks her toe in the ground and looks down shame-facedly.

On the maintenance, I’m good. On the backlog, not so much.

I did finally take advantage of the “Kindle books don’t expire” option and mailed every possible NetGalley title to my Kindle app. Whether that will help or not, we’ll see. One thing I don’t see with that option is book covers. They are all “docs” and documents don’t have book covers. There is one word for them, and that word is “UGLY”.

Also very hard to tell apart.

I had a second reason for doing this. The Kindle app probably doesn’t get full. Bluefire, much as I love the app, does seem to have a limit. And I found it. Every time I need to add a book to it, I have to delete one.

Guess what? You can fill up an ebook reader, if you try really, really hard. Or at least, you can fill up an ebook app. (I’ve emailed Bluefire support and we’re in the middle of figuring this one out. It seems to have to do with expired books. Update: It turns out it definitely has to do with expired books. I have too many and there’s no easy way to get rid of them. Only very boring ways.)

In the meantime, I’ve got to take a look at my NetGalley queue. There’s plenty in there (shudder). I absolutely must post a couple of reviews this month for the Read-A-Thon.

After all, I can’t let the side down. I’m one of NetGalley’s Librarian Voices.

Introducing Ebook Review Central

So what is “Ebook Review Central“? I’m so glad you asked.

Every Monday, Ebook Review Central will publish a list of all the ebooks published by a particular publisher the previous month, with links to all the published reviews.  Today’s first issue contains all the Carina Press titles for September 2011, along with links to all the reviews as of Sunday, 10/23/11.

In the upcoming weeks I will do the same thing for Dreamspinner Press and Samhain Publishing. I would be interested in hearing from you, the readers, your suggestions for which publisher or publishers to include for week 4. After the 4th week, I’ll cycle around to Carina’s October titles, and back through Dreamspinner and Samhain and “the player to be named later” again.

Why am I doing this? People decide what books to buy based on browsing at a bookstore or recommendations. Ebook-only books can’t be browsed in a bookstore, so we all blog to create more recommendations when we like a book. But each of us blogs about the books we like, and it’s fantastic.

But, when a reader is undecided, where do they go? Amazon or Goodreads, and not all of us post our reviews there. Sometimes none of us. And that debate is for another post someday. Yet an ebook may have tons of reviews.

Also, I’m a librarian by training. Librarians need a place where they can find reviews of ebooks, just like they do print books.  Their budgets are tight. They want to add ebooks from ebook-only publishers, but if they can only buy 3 or 5 Carina Press titles this month and 3 or 5 Dreamspinner titles this month, there is no place to go to find which ones were the best. Ebook Review Central will be that place.

A question that will be asked, because I had to ask myself when I created this, is why the one month delay? Why am I only publishing the September titles now, when it’s already mid-October?

It takes about a month for the blogosphere to generate reviews for all the titles. I wanted to put up last week’s titles this week, but when I started my research, half the titles weren’t reviewed yet.  When I looked at last month’s titles, almost everything had a review someplace. That won’t always be 100% true, but at least it turns out to be a reasonable way to bet.

One other note: Amazon and Goodreads will not be listed as review sources unless that was the only thing I could find.

If you have suggestions, let me know. If you find this useful, definitely let me know. I will update published lists, so if later reviews are published, or if you have a review that should be listed but I missed (Google is good, but it is not perfect), send email to

On the shoulders of giants: Steve Jobs RIP

When I heard the news about Steve Jobs last night, I was reading a book. On my iPad. My husband found out because he was checking blogs. On his iPad. What did I do when he told me? I looked for an authoritative news source. I checked–on my iPad.

Yes, we’re geeks. But that’s not the point. A year ago, we would have been in front of separate computers, checking the net from desktops. Or maybe laptops. And yes, one of the laptops is a MacBook Pro. Not mine. But the iPad changed that. The iPad made it convenient to curl up with a good book. One that also lets you surf the net and play some really cool games.

All the Apple origin stories that have been repeated in the past 24 hours have reminded me of some library computing origin stories. The first three “computers” to make their way into any public library were generally an OCLC terminal, a CLSI terminal, and an Apple II computer, usually in the Children’s Area. Not necessarily in that order. The Apple II was the only real computer of the three. Think of how far we’ve come!

The comment is so often quoted, “If I have seen further it is only by standing on the shoulders of giants.” Sir Isaac Newton said it first, ironically a man who is one of the giants on whose shoulders modern science stands.

Steve Jobs was a giant.

Where ebooks? There ebooks!

Last night, we had our first guest come to the house since we put up our books. It reminded me of an essay I read in Wired a couple of weeks ago that has generated a lot of comments on the Digital Book World group on LinkedIn.

The essay, “5 Reasons Why E-Books Aren’t There Yet,\” by John C. Abell, came to mind because of his 5th reason: you can’t use ebooks as an interior design element. He’s right. One of the first things that people used to say whenever they visited us was something about how many books we had. They were everywhere. Every room in every house had bookshelves, overstuffed bookshelves, including the master bedroom. Every flat surface overflowed. We had boxes of books we never unpacked. And since new books we wanted to read continued to be published, we bought more. But in this move, we shed 1,700 books, and we’re down to 2,300, thanks to our iPads. So the impression of tons of books simply isn’t there. There are four bookcases in the front room, and all the others are in our offices upstairs. The physical collection is shrinking.

What did we lose? We lose that impression of being excruciatingly well-read. Possibly, we lose the impression of being insane. YMMV. In the decision of where to start the alphabet, we were conscious that the end of the alphabet and the miscellany that followed would be on immediate display to anyone who entered the house. Visitors see the Tolkien collection, and all our media books, so Star Trek, Babylon 5, Doctor Who, etc will be right by the door. Anyone who doesn’t know we both like Science Fiction and Fantasy will soon figure it out.

On the other hand, everything from 2010 onwards is missing. It’s on one of our iPads. Did we stop reading? Will anyone care? Or is it the mass of books that impresses? Who knows?  All that can be inferred from the iPads is that we’re both geeks. That’s fairly obvious anyway. We also have every game console known to geek-kind currently hooked up to the TV. But books, books imply an air of erudition that the iPads, consoles and computers just don’t match, no matter what’s concealed within them.

His other reasons were also interesting to think about. His number one reason was something I’ve written about before, that eTBRs don’t command your attention. There’s no pile of books in your physical space getting in your way to jump out at you and say “READ ME!” the way there can be with print books. I borrowed one print book from the local library last week. I finished that one pronto. But that may have more to do with my not owning the thing  (I have over 200 print books I own and haven’t read yet in my house) than it being print.

But Abell’s second reason is the one that I can personally get behind. He comments that a big problem to be solved in the ebook business in general is that if you read ebooks a lot, you don’t have one set of shelves, you have a set of shelves for every app, and no easy way to blend them. He’s right. and it is a right royal pain in the patootie. The joy of using an iPad is that it is supplier-agnostic. I can get ebooks from pretty much anywhere, and I do. But that means I’ve got ebooks in every app imaginable; Nook, Kindle, Google, Overdrive, Bluefire, iBooks, Stanza, etc., with no easy way to combine the lists. In the bad, old print days, my first choice TBR pile was the far end of the kitchen counter. I piled everything there. I need an ebook everything TBR app. Except that it isn’t in the ebooksellers’ best interests to allow me to combine my lists, so that app doesn’t exist yet. I’ll confess that I’ve started using the Overdrive Media Console iPad app as my ereader for any EPUB that isn’t tied to a particular company. It’s a surprisingly good general purpose ereader, and it eliminates my need for a couple of those apps. If only it read PDFs…

Ebooks are here to stay. There are still some issues to be resolved, but there’s no longer a question of whether enough people will adopt ebooks to make them profitable for publishers.

On the other hand, books are here to stay, too. Very few technological revolutions completely wipe out the predecessor. We still have radio, it’s just changed. We still have LPs, they’re just a niche market. We may not ride horses for everyday transportation, but horses are still ridden. Books, both to be read and as treasured objects, will always have a place. I recently watched Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan, again. Early in the movie, Spock gives Kirk a copy of Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities as a birthday present. Ebooks make good reading, but there’s no way to attach ceremonial weight to them.  For that, you still need a book. 


Reading is a solitary pursuit

Reading is generally a solitary pursuit, but there are exceptions. I started to write that people who love to read generally learned by being read to as a child. I realized that the other way of learning to love reading is by using books as a way of retreating from the world. Losing yourself in books can become a very safe haven for a child who is lonely, bullied, or just plain different in some way. A lot of us who read science fiction and fantasy probably came to it that way.

Audiobooks are not necessarily a solitary experience. Anyone within earshot can listen. This is particularly true on long car trips. But not everyone enjoys listening to a book. I can’t drive long distance without one, and I prefer not to drive anywhere familiar without, not even for fifteen minutes. Yes, there’s radio. NPR talk is good. Classical music puts me to sleep. I love Classic Rock, but the thing about Classic Rock is that they’re not making any more of it, and I already own what I like. I’d rather have someone tell me a story, and there we are, back to audiobooks.

But reading a book is something one generally does alone.  There are some notable exceptions. For example, neither of us is allowed to read Terry Pratchett in bed.  Sir Terry is simply too laugh-out-loud funny. Laughing out loud is detrimental to the good night’s sleep of the party on the other side of the bed. Even a suppressed laugh, if there are enough of them, is problematic at 2 or 3 am.

Reading on an iPad in the wee hours has some advantages. It provides its own light.  This is much better than a bedside lamp.  This is good. But last night, one of the unintended consequences of sharing ebooks turned up.

As the collection has been weeded, we have sold as many books as possible to Powell’s Books in Oregon. This has built us a nice credit balance, which can be used online at Google Books. This is pretty terrific. Since Galen and I “married” our book collections a long time ago, we fully intended to share the credit balance, without worrying about whose books generated how much of it. But the whole balance happened to be tied to his Gmail account. So, the Google Books account also got tied to his Gmail account, which is, of course, not shared.

Back in the olden days of print books only, sharing a credit account like this would be easy. We’d each order books until it was gone. A book is a book. Some we would both read, like the Hunger Games, or Native Star by M.K. Hobson, and some only one of us would read. But it wouldn’t matter.  Now it matters.  The credit account can only be tied to one Google identity at a time. So we’re going to have to switch it back and forth to use it. It’s a nuisance that doesn’t exist with “dead tree” books.  And yes, we will pass the iPads back and forth. And we’ll set up a new account at Powell’s for the next batch of books we sell.

What amazes me most is that the “olden days” when we set this account up are less than three years ago.

Are eTBRs easier to forget?

A thread in rec.arts.sf.written that was discussing the merits of ereaders vs. “dead tree” books raised some interesting corollary questions that don’t seem to have anything to do with the technology per se.  They seem more like unintended consequences.

Bookshelves have inherent browsability. Many people commented on the pleasure involved in just looking at the books they have, and seeing what is available to read, or re-read. I know that’s true for me. Also, there’s the added benefit of thinking that Galen might like something, and knowing that I have it and can simply go to the shelf and pull it out, even at 2 am. He can read it or not, because it’s already here. John Scalzi’s Old Man’s War is a book I know I introduced him to, because I had the whole series on hand. Likewise, Tanya Huff’s Valor series. Not all my introductions go that well, but when it works, it really works. There’s just something about handing someone a book that you know they will absolutely love, and then watching them just absorb it, and by absorbed by it, that is simply marvelous.

Handing over my Nook doesn’t quite have the same feel to it. It only contains my B&N stuff, not the rest of my ebooks on my iPad. And it duplicates everything–so it includes all the trashy romance novels, not just the book I want to give Galen to read.  I’m not sure who is going to be more embarrassed!

And, as someone on the list pointed out, it is much easier to lose your TBR list on an ereader than it is in the “flesh”.  A physical TBR pile has weight and heft–it piles up–sometimes literally.  My remaining “dead tree” TBR pile takes up three bookcases, plus the 200 or so books that were interfiled during the last move we made. And it continues to increase in my B&N wishlist, since that’s where I keep it.

But my ereader TBR list is even more invisible. The Locus Awards finalists were announced last week.  Connie Willis duology Blackout/All Clear was nominated Best Science Fiction Novel, and it was already moving up my TBR list after having been nominated for the Hugo last month. Guy Gavriel Kay’s latest book, Under Heaven, was nominated for Best Fantasy Novel, and it has been hiding on my Nook and then my iPad for over a year. I usually read him as soon as his stuff comes out, but the ebook was too easily buried compared to a physical object.

I’m discovering that the less obvious a TBR is, the more likely it is to wind up on a back burner. My library books get read first because they have the highest nuisance value. I do not mean that in any negative way, merely that there are so many built-in reminders. I keep them easily visible on the kitchen counter, so I don’t lose track of them. They have to be renewed, and I can only renew them so many times. If someone else wants them, I can’t renew them at all. Of course, any library books from here are going to have to be shipped back if I haven’t finished them before we move, and I’ll have to pay for shipping. Physical books that are on countertops are more in the way, and are more likely to get read next. Books in those TBR bookcases in the living room just cry out “read us first!”. The TBR bookcase in the Florida Room is “out of sight” and therefore, “out of mind”.  The TBRs that got interfiled have blended into the books I have already read.  Finding out there were over 200 of them was quite a shock.  The eTBRs are just a tiny part of my iPad. Compared to all the other books clamoring for my attention, they’re almost invisible.

So many books, so little time.

Will ebooks kill print books?

What a question!

This is the title of a very provocative essay by John Dvorak recently posted on  His premise is that ebooks will serve as a sampling device for print books, and that publishers, in spite of their current “chickens crying that the sky is falling” behavior, will not just survive, but actually become more profitable in the long run.

Why?  Because as been noted in multiple sources already, including Amazon, ebook purchasers buy more ebooks.  It’s less expensive than a hardback for the consumer, and it’s way easier.  Then there’s that instant gratification factor.  People who want to read something NOW, get the ebook. 

But Dvorak’s contention is that collectors and book lovers will pick up a print version for the books they really, really want to own.  In other words, that people will use the ebook as a sampling service.  That some categories, like beach reading, may switch to mostly electronic, but types where a person will collect or want to refer back, book lovers will actually purchase a print copy of something they truly love after they have read it in electronic.

This is an extension of the library borrowing phenomenon, where library users sample an author by borrowing the book from the library, then if they like the book, start buying.  Bookstores locate themselves near libraries by this logic. One of my FPOWs had two major bookstores plunk themselves down within two blocks of its main library for this very reason.

Also, very few old technologies really get killed by new ones.  The old ones just morph and find a new niche.  CDs did not kill LPs, actually LPs are on the rise again.  Now 8-track is pretty dead, and cassette looks like it’s going the way of the dinosaur.  But radio found a niche of its own.  TV didn’t kill movies, although the economy may be another thing.  But that’s not one technology wiping out another, that’s something different entirely.  The Great Recession is wrecking havoc all over the place.

But speaking of old technologies that never die–I was directed to the Dvorak piece by a link from rec.arts.sf.written.  This is the linear descendant of a Usenet news group devoted to the discussion of written science fiction.  It is now a Google group, but it has been active since practically the dawn of Internet time.  And it’s still going strong.  And still acting on it’s original purpose, the discussion of written science fiction.  Yes, it digresses.  But no more than any other discussion by any other group of somewhat like-minded individuals. And the link to Dvorak’s essay isn’t much of a digression.  Whether written SF will be available in ebook only or print or both is pretty much on topic, and, the whole concept was presaged in Neil Stephenson’s The Diamond Age, which is very much SF.

But widespread email and RSS feeds and Facebook haven’t killed Usenet.  The new technologies did not wipe out all trace of the old.  The useful and relevant parts adapted and carried on.  In fact, the amount of Usenet traffic has steadily increased in the past 15 years.  Ebooks most likely won’t wipe out print books either.  As one of the rec.arts.sf folks pointed out, endpaper maps on a Kindle are sheer torture.  They are better on an iPad, but then, it’s easy to be better than absolutely putrid.  The technology for ebook readers and iPads will get better, but my big illustrated Lord of the Rings and complete annotated Sherlock Holmes canon are still better in print form.  And probably will be for quite a while.

A visit to Murphyspace

Yesterday, the latest Sookie Stackhouse book by Charlaine Harris was released.  I wanted to read it.  So, of course, I bought it from B&N and tried to download it to by iPad into my Nook app.  No go.  Then I realized that the other two books I had purchased on Monday weren’t there either.  Uh Oh!  I tried downloading them again, and they wanted to open in any available app except Nook.  I thought, “Okay, fine,” and downloaded them into the Overdrive app.  Since Overdrive released a native iPad app, it’s a perfectly good ebook reader.  I regularly use it for epub titles I purchase from places that don’t have an app of their own. (I use Bluefire for PDFs)

Meanwhile, everything looked like it downloaded to Overdrive, but the book wouldn’t open.  And did I mention that I had reached insomnia point by the time I figured out that the book wasn’t actually there?  Also, my iPad suddenly decided it had no network.  Our house has two wireless networks, and I have 3G on the iPad.  If my iPad drops off the net, it’s seriously unwell.  But at post-midnight, I wasn’t going to look into it too deeply, especially since every time I left the bedroom to investigate, the cats all started thinking that I might be willing to play with them, or at least provide lap space.  But really, I was just getting more and more annoyed, and less and less sleepy.

Brilliance is generally in short supply at that hour of the night.  I just wanted to start my book!  I resorted to my trusty Nook.  Yes, the real thing.  It still had a charge after more than a week unplugged, and it found the 3G network just fine.  I downloaded Dead Reckoning and settled in for a couple of chapters.

But my misbehaving iPad was still a problem this morning.  At least it found a network in the morning.  Maybe it needed a night’s sleep more than I did, but that didn’t solve any of the problems with the Nook app.  I guessed that the iPad needed a serious update, probably something to do with Apple getting hinky about apps wanting to sell things without the iStore getting a cut, or a move in that direction.  And so the fun began.  It refused to update.  Four times.  The update kept losing the network, somewhere in the middle of the hour-plus download.  I discovered that not only does the watched pot never boil, neither does the watched update. I shut everything down except the upload and moved to my laptop. Then I left the house!  It finally updated while I was out.

For anyone thinking that print books don’t do this, print books also don’t let you decide to purchase the book at midnight, and keep downloading to alternate devices until one of them finally decides to play ball.  Midnight cravings for particular treats can’t be satisfied until the next day.  Whether they should be, well, your mileage may vary.

Murphy wasn’t done with me yet.  Late this morning I called the property management company about the house we were hoping to rent in Atlanta.  The owner is suddenly not so sure about renting to four cats.  Last week, when we were there and could keep looking, it was okay.  This week, he’s not so sure.  Unless we get a “yes” by tomorrow, we’re going back to Atlanta this weekend to find a house.  Second verse, same as the first.

Murphy is laughing at us.

Geeks amazing traveling circus

Yesterday, we packed up for a week’s trip to Atlanta to look for a house to rent.  This was a driving trip, and we’re here for a week.  Two geeks, one car, and a week away from all our toys.

Computers and parts pictureAfter we loaded up the car, I realized that we had packed more technological gimcrackery than we had clothes.  This says something about what we now define as the necessities of modern life,  and certainly that neither of us are exactly fashion plates.

Besides this blog, I am also working on a proposal to do a collection development workshop.  For serious work, I need a real computer, not just my iPad.  So, that’s one laptop.  Galen has his laptop, since he’s here to attend and present at the Evergreen Conference, and his MacBook is his work computer.  That’s two laptops.  I have a mouse, resting on a PLA in Portland (2010) mousepad that I’ve been traveling with since 2008.

But I still have my iPad.  I need my iPad for reading.  It’s my library away from home.  And, Galen also has an iPad with his traveling library.  That’s two iPads.  He has an iPhone, for work.  I have an iPod, for audiobooks.  I also have an old cellphone, because I’m not going to invest in an iPhone at this point until we move.  So five mobile devices of some sort.

Two digital cameras, his and hers.  We have to strive not to abandon either of them in the hotel room as we leave.  At least one of Galen’s prior digital cameras met its fate this way.

And all of the power cords these beasts require.  Which tangled up in my briefcase and committed spaghetti on the way up.  At least this particular hotel room has enough power outlets.  The room at the PLA conference in Portland didn’t, and I had to buy a power strip before dinner.  The toys ate before we did!

We can’t be the only people who travel this way.  It will be geek nirvana (nerdvana) when its possible to request a hotel room with a double-facing desk with two chairs and six outlets at table height.  Come to think of it, is six power outlets even enough?