Monday, October 18, 2010

Somewhere, there's a schedule

OK, I'd like to know how the cats do it.

How do they decide whose turn it is to sleep on the bed at night? How do they know who guards the front window, and who goes out at 5:30 a.m. to patrol the property? How do they determine who gets to sleep on the bathmat at night, and who gets to wake me up in the morning?

There has got to be some kind of schedule, because they trade off. The tasks get done, but it's not always the same cat doing it.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Loving technology, hating website analyses

Marketing the ebook for the past two weeks has given me the chance to do what I've loved to do for the past 30 years — muck around with technology.

There are a lot of little backroads with the iPhone, and it's fun to see the solutions people come up with when they get stuck in the mud. I already have some updates for the ebook, which will initially appear on the publishers' blog.

The book itself is not selling as well as I'd hoped — the publisher markets to tech-oriented audiences, and those folks don't buy "basics" books. I am discovering that the iPhone newbies who are curious about the book will click through from my marketing pages but don't buy — I suspect they are wary of buying it through the publishers' website, which does not have PayPal or other familiar payment options. I am hoping that when the book is available through iBooks and some other ebook publishers, that payment barrier will be eliminated.

I was fortunate that as I worked on the book marketing and dealt with my injured ankle, my main client had two weeks of downtime.

I was able to complete two small business website evaluations and have decided that I don't want to do them any more. They involve educating the clients about technology, about marketing communications, about online communications, and about SEO — plus breaking the news to them that they need to divorce the web designer who saddled them with a cutesy, out-dated website with no content management system and start from scratch with a WordPress-based site. No fun at all, and I find that I spend too much time trying to make the reports I send them diplomatic as well as informative — so it's not even very profitable for me.

It would be fun about now to take a couple of weeks off to work on jewelry or cooking or furniture refinishing. I tried gardening, but my ankle didn't like it, and I don't dare try digging anything up!

Saturday, October 09, 2010

An exciting weekend

Laundry. Ironing. I begin to wonder if there is a Guinness World record category for things like that.

My ankle is healing amazingly well, but I decided not to risk walking around at the antiquarian book fair today. Instead, I stayed home and blogged about demonic yoga and did laundry. Not just laundry laundry, but tablecloths and curtains and pet beds and even a full-size sheepskin (which is done with dish soap, not laundry soap).

The winter rains have begun. It's warm, green, and wet outside — sort of like an aquarium.

Sunday, October 03, 2010


I've spent the day in bed with a sprained ankle. I was very luck it didn't break — I tripped and fell on the stairs this morning, and had to get x-rayed at Group Health. Everyone was surprised when the x-rays didn't show a fracture. The ankle is showing signs of improvement already, and I'm wearing a cute little black lace-up ankle brace that looks rather steampunk. I'm relying on ibuprofen and have the painkillers down to a minimal level. (They gave me a huge dose this morning at the hospital because they thought they were going to have to put me in a cast.)

Tom has been doing my list of household chores, from laundry to cooking a pot roast to cleaning up all the paperwork on the dining room table. Sadly, he looks as harassed and exhausted as I usually do on Sunday nights, and is just as unwilling to actually stop working and get to bed.

The cats' behavior is fascinating. I screamed in pain for a few minutes when I went down this morning, and now the cats are either comforting me or patrolling the yard for the predator that they (logically) think must have attacked one of their pack. This is not just a fanciful interpretation. The only cat that is not either comforting me or being vigilant is Sheba: being deaf, she didn't hear me scream and is unaware of any threat.

Friday, October 01, 2010

Psst! It's a soft launch*

*A "soft launch" means that a system is live but there is no official announcement yet.

My iPhone Basics ebook is now available from Take Control ebooks, and the readers of the Mysterious Traveler are the first to hear about it! I'll tell everybody else on Monday, when the publisher rolls out the PR.

If you visit the webpage, you can download the free sample PDF, which includes the introduction and these sections:
  • Deciding What to Buy (Do you need the iPhone 4 or would the inexpensive iPhone 3GS be enough?)
  • AppleCare (Who needs it, and who might get by without it?)
  • Accessories (What's available, and what's a must-have?)
You'll also find some teasers for key chapters.

You are more than welcome to pass the word about the ebook's availability, but please don't link back to Mysterious Traveler. Just use one of the book's URLs, which are:

You can buy and download the ebook ($10) or order the print edition ($20.99).

If you purchase the electronic version, the book can be electronically updated at no cost. That's important — Apple updates operating system software frequently, and we'll be updating the book to keep it current.

The publisher currently has a 30% discount deal if you buy the ebook with two other ebook titles — I highly recommend Joe Kissell's new ebook on dealing with email in iOS 4, which is also in soft launch today.