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Amazon 10th Anniversary Wishlist Sweepstakes

Amazon 10th Anniversary Wishlist Sweepstakes

To celebrate their 10th Anniversary, Amazon is holding Wishlist Sweepstakes.

Every week from the start of October until the middle of December they’re giving away prizes.  To enter the sweepstakes all you have to do is add something to your wishlist and then click on the link to enter the sweepstakes for that week.

Here are the prizes for each week:

Certainly some of the prizes aren’t interesting to me – Disney?  No.  Jonas Brothers?  Hell no.

But HDTV?  Yes.  Kindle, oh yes.

I’ve written before about how much I like the Amazon Wishlist, and as it happens I tend to add something to my wishlist at least once a week, so entering the sweepstakes is easy for me.  Even if it wasn’t for the sweepstakes I’d recommend to anyone to use the Amazon Universal Wishlist – it’s very useful.

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Sensecam for sale! (almost)

Vicon Revue

Vicon Revue

In the past I’ve posted1 about my search for a wearable camera and how Microsoft’s Sensecam project looked promising but wasn’t commercially available.

Finally it appears there is good news – a British company named Vicon has licensed the technology to release a version of the SenseCam, and it will be available in the next few months.  The bad news is that it’ll cost £500 (about $820).

I’m starting to get the impression that I’m not the target audience for the SenseCam – it needs to be about 10x cheaper before I could consider buying one.  I think the price could come down if they made it a bit less smart – it currently has accelerometers, light sensors and heat detection that it uses in an attempt to only record interesting images so that it doesn’t fill up its storage too fast.  Storage is cheap – if they got rid of all the cleverness I think it would be a lot more affordable.

Then again I guess life-blogging isn’t exactly a huge market – the subset of all people who are geeks, the subset of geeks that are less paranoid, the subset of them that are interested in auto-instrumenting etc.

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  1. I would wear one of these every day, Finally some movement on the SenseCam front and Wearable cameras []

Heat Wave by Richard Castle – fantastic meta-fiction

Heat Wave book cover

Heat Wave book cover

I just finished reading Heat Wave by Richard Castle – a tie-in novel for the TV show Castle (I wrote about the show previously).

There are some TV tie-in novels that I’ve enjoyed – for Burn Notice1, Psych2 and Monk3, however they all had a certain pulpiness in common.  Not just because they immediately came out in paperback (which I’ve always taken as a sign of the publisher putting in less effort because they don’t expect to make a lot of money from the book), but because they were a bit hobbled by their connection to the TV series.  The writers can’t kill off or otherwise make any major changes to the characters, their back story or setting – something writers of original novels can do at will.

Heat Wave is different – it’s meta-fiction.  In the TV series Richard Castle is a writer, and has written a book called Heat Wave – this book is written as if it is that book, by him.  For a brief while we get to live inside the world of the TV series because we can read the book that they’re reading.  The illusion is maintained flawlessly – from the dedication and afterword to the picture on the back cover.

An advantage Heat Wave has over most (if not all) other tie-in novels is that because it’s supposed to have been written by the TV character instead of about the TV character, the actual author can change things without causing any problems.  Any differences to the TV series are put down to the meta-author changing the names to protect the innocent or improving on (what is to him) real life by making it juicier.

A difference between the TV series and the book is that Castle is the main character of the series, but Nikki Heat is the main character of the book.  The main difference this makes is that although a good portion of the series is dedicated to Castle’s personal life, that’s almost completely missing from the book.  Once again,  mother gets a cameo in the book, and if you’ve seen the TV series

A difference between the TV series and the book is that Castle is the main character of the series, but Nikki Heat is the main character of the book.  The main difference this makes is that although a good portion of the series is dedicated to Castle’s personal life, that aspect is almost completely missing from the book.  Once again the meta nature of the book smooths this over – Castle’s mother gets a cameo in the book, and if you’ve seen the TV series you can easily imagine her haranguing her son to be written in.  His daughter is completely missing, but as a protective father you can imagine Richard Castle wanting to spare her any embarrassment by leaving her out.

The book is further tied back into the TV series by the actual cover being used in an episode and the actual page number of a sex scene in the book (p105) mentioned in the episode.

Additional meta is provided by Nathan Fillion showing up to book stores and signing the books as Richard Castle.

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  1. The Fix and The End Game []
  2. A Mind is a Terrible Thing to Read and Mind Over Magic []
  3. Mr. Monk Goes to the Firehouse, Mr. Monk Goes to Hawaii and Mr. Monk and The Blue Flu []