Friday, September 25, 2009

Banal ramblings

I took the plunge last week and decided to set up a Twitter account, as it seems to be the latest thing and from what I have seen and heard, an excellent way of generating more traffic to your blog. Despite the banality of my ramblings, I am surprised to see that I already have 3 followers. I guess to them, my ramblings aren't as banal as they seem.

It has been a strange day so far - in fact it has been a strange week, a strange year, and an even stranger lifetime ...

I always used to go a salon to get my hair cut, not these expensive glossy ones where they charge you an arm and a leg to walk through the door, but a plain and simple one, with no fuss and no spraying of gallons of chemicals. Lately though on the recommendation of a friend, I have been having my hair cut at home. It is well worth the extra money, as you don't have the stress and hassle of going into town and finding somewhere to park, even if you do have to hoover afterwards. Anyway, today was the day, and my appointment was at 10.45am.

Knowing that the hairdresser likes her clients to wash or at least dampen their hair on arrival, this meant that there was no point in showering. So, for the last couple of hours I have been slobbing around the house in my dressing gown, drinking tea, playing Farmville (a farming game on Facebook) and watching this weeks Ugly Betty.

Now I am showered and not quite dressed (I am still in the dressing gown) I am not sure what to do with the day. It is too close to lunch time to go out, and the crops that I planted will not be ready for another hour. I know what I should do - enter that competition from the National Trust and register for a group meeting with an agent that a friend from a writers forum has set up for forum members. I have half an hour until those crops are ready, so I should be able to get at least half of my entry complete - they only need a few hundred words .... On the other hand, I should really hoover up all that hair ...

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Google hearing delayed

As expected, lawyers representing US based authors and publishers have requested the courts to postpone the hearing set to take place on October 7th, regarding the proposed Google settlement. More time is needed to examine the various objections and for further negotiations to take place. The issues are complex and cannot be settled overnight.

On Friday, the Department of Justice proposed several important changes to the proposed settlement, including new protection for unknown rights holders and allowing Google's competitors to gain access to and sell books within the registry, thereby preventing a monopoly.
The Open Content Alliance - which includes Amazon, Microsoft, and the Internet Archive naturally view this as an important victory, which will open up competition. It goes without saying, that the opposite is true for Google. We can safely say that the settlement as we knew it, is officially dead.

The October issue is ready to print

The village newsletter is finally ready for the month of October, having completed it late last night. I shall proof read it today and ring the printer for it to be picked up tomorrow morning, bang on schedule (we usually try and print around the 24th of the month).

I didn't think I would get it done on time as almost everyone was late with their contributions, the last one not arriving until yesterday afternoon - most unlike the person who sent it. He is our Chairman and really ought to have known better, but it still got done.

Every month I panic that I don't have enough material, but somehow the pages get filled up. This month because there is a shortage of news, I have been able to include a few spiritually themed page fillers, such as traditions for living by his Holiness the Dalai Lama, and a piece on the benefits of meditation. I was asked to include this by the lovely people who run the meditation group that I attend every other Monday night, one of whom is the Rector (yes, you did read that right). Not all religious people have closed minds - apologies if you are reading this and consider yourself to be religious - like I say, not all religious people have closed minds, and if you are offended by my words, then I suggest you find the nearest mirror !

The news stories this month are suitably scintillating for a small village such as ours - the winners for the recent mastermind type quiz, fund raising efforts made for a children's village in southern Africa, and the shoe box scheme which is run by the local Christian Fellowship (a very worthy cause). The centre spread has been provided by the National Trust, who play a vital role in our village and in fact, throughout the whole area.

I can't believe it is only 2 months to go until Christmas - I shall have to start planning the Christmas edition soon then !

Monday, September 21, 2009

Google settlement likely to be delayed

It seems that the Google book settlement currently being debated in the US courts may have been dealt a death blow, as in a statement released late on Friday night, the US Justice Department declared in no uncertain terms that the settlement should be rejected.

In their own words:

"As presently drafted the proposed settlement does not meet the legal standards this court must apply. This court should reject the proposed settlement and encourage the parties to continue negotiations to comply with Rule 23 and the copyright and antitrust laws."

Google say that they aim to address the findings of the Department of Justice at the hearing in October. Meanwhile, behind the scenes, frantic negotiations are taking place with their objectors, of which there are many. No matter what settlements are reached, the word is that Judge Denny Chin will not veer too far away from the wishes of the Justice Department, and it may take some months of re-negotitions before the final outcome is announced.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Try this if you dare !

One of my Facebook friends (which I have been spending far too much time on this week, perfecting the art of farming) alterted me to a fun 'game' which she found on dovegreyreaders, whereby using only books that you have read this year, you answer the following questions. You are supposed to use the book titles only once, and the game is a lot harder than it actually looks - especially for someone who has read as little as I have (hardly enough books to answer the questions at all!). I have then been forced to cheat and include books that I have bought this year but am yet to read (terrible I know). Thank goodness for Waterstones and those 3 for 2 offers (never thought I would say that either).

Here then goes:

Describe yourself: The Elegance of the Hedgehog: Muriel Barbery
How do you feel: A Fraction of the Whole: Steve Toltz
Describe where you currently live: Heaven's Gate: Karen Bishop
If you could go anywhere, where would you go: Small Island: Andrea Levy
Your favorite form of transportation: Night Train to Lisbon: Pascal Marcier
Your best friend is: The Library of Shadows: Mikkel Birkegaard
You and your friends are: Past Imperfect: Julian Fellowes
What's the weather like: Baking Cakes in Kigali: Gaile Parkin
You fear: Dark Places: Kate Grenville
What is the best advice you have to give: Watching the Door: Kevin Myers
Thought for the day: Late Nights on Air: Elizabeth Hay
How I would like to die: Born Under a Million Shadows: Andrea Busfield
My soul's present condition: The Vagrants: Yi Yun Li

Enough said !