Shia LaBeouf on Today Show with Meredith Viera

by Taylor Brooks on June 25, 2009

This is a fantastic interview with Shia LaBeouf.  Born in Los Angeles and in the Hollywood scene nearly all his life, Shia doesn't seem tainted by Tinseltown.

He's seems genuine and humble.  

Viera: And when they say about you, 'this is the next leading man in Hollywood.'

LaBeouf: (shrugs shoulders) I don't know where the screw-up happened, but here I am.  Hi America.

 

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Why I Want a Kindle DX – PDF Support

by Taylor Brooks on June 18, 2009

The next big tech trend will be eBooks and Amazon is leading the way with its latest version of the Kindle DX.  I believe the Kindle DX will revolutionize our consumption of print media — just as the iPod revolutionized our consumption of audible material.I also think portable phone chargers for iphone and galaxy are going to lead the charge in tech over the year

In 1999, Napster broke the mold of peer to peer file sharing, was sued, and quickly shut down by the RIAA.  Two years later, Apple released its one-two-three punch of the iPod, iTunes, and the iTunes music store.  They were the first to deliver music digitally and make money. 

Amazon is trying the same trick: a beautiful device (Kindle, iPod), a simple delivery system (Whispernet, iTunes), and a cheap marketplace (amazon.com, iTunes music store).  Many say that Amazon's greatest strength is Whispernet.  Maybe so. 

The first two iterations of the Kindle were complete shit in my opinion.  And the UI is still pretty crappy on the DX.  That doesn't really matter because Amazon's smartest and biggest move was native PDF support.  Other book readers, I'm thinking of the Sony PRS-505, claim to support the PDF format.  But they don't.  The PDFs are shrunk down for the small screen size and when you use the magnification feature, the document loses it's resolution and words become blurry.  Not so with Kindle DX.

Why is the PDF feature a such a big deal?  Two reasons.

  1. Authors are giving away their books for free
  2. Piracy

Authors are wising up and seeing that publishers don't offer much value in terms of marketing/distribution.  Take John Piper for example.  Here is one of his books on Amazon.com with a Kindle version for $7.19.  And the same book (below) on his own site for free.  

My suspicion is that, just like artists and record labels, authors will drive readers to their own site by offering their content for free — in hopes of exposing them to more information.  Author wins.  Reader wins.  Publisher fails.

Now onto the second reason to purchase a Kindle DX, piracy

Amazon has marketed the DX as the "eBook reader for college students."  There is nothing parents and students hate more than shelling out $1000 each semester for textbooks and returning them to the college book store for a quarter of the price.  The new Kindle is no steal at $489, but textbooks will soon appear, for free, on The Pirate Bay and other torrent sites.  And when that happens it's game over for textbook publishers.

Related Reading

Future of Reading in a Digital World

PDFs on the Kindle DX

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Things To Do in the Summer

by Taylor Brooks on June 15, 2009

Rachel and I listed out 22 things we want to do this summer.  Give us a shout if you're interested in doing some of these activities with us!

  1. Go canoeing.
  2. Handpick blackberries from a farm and make homemade cobbler.
  3. Visit the flea market.
  4. Grill out and make homemade ice cream.
  5. Host a game night.
  6. Cosmic Bowling.
  7. Bike ride the Natchez Trace.
  8. Hike around Sewanee, TN.
  9. Putt-put and go-karts.
  10. Visit Arrington Vineyards.
  11. Picnic at a concert in Chastain Park.
  12. Drive-in Movie.
  13. Movies in Centennial Park.
  14. Go for a horse ride.
  15. Shop at the farmer's market.
  16. Spend a week at the beach.
  17. Float down a river on a tube.
  18. Spend time on boat/lake.
  19. Gig for softshell crabs.
  20. Go caving/spelunking.
  21. Learn how to fly-fish.
  22. Get a new tattoo.

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New Blogs I Read

by Taylor Brooks on June 5, 2009

 

1.  Andrew Hyde

Andrew works for TechStars, the startup fund/mentorship program in Boulder, CO.  He also founded VC Wear, StartUp Weekend, and Ignite Boulder.  Andrew's passion for Boulder and the startup community is encouraging.  Read his latest post on Frontier Airlines; it's quite comical.

2.  Between Two Worlds

This is my new favorite blog.  I came late to the table on this one… it's been around since 2004.  The man behind the site is Justin Taylor, editor for Crossway Publishing in Wheaton, Illinois and ex-editor for John Piper and Desiring God Ministries.  Justin played a huge role in the editing the new ESV Study Bible.  I highly recommend this blog.

3.  Marty Nemko

I first heard about Marty from his video interview with Ben Casnocha.  Marty is a career coach and writes for U.S. News, editing the careers column.  He's a great thinker and his political musings could be my own.  Subscribe to this blog if you want some solid career advice and direction.

4.  Smashing Magazine

Smashing Mag is the "go-to" web magazine for web designers.  With 120,000 subscribers, it's more or less the industry standard.

5.  The Sartorialist

I love the simplicity of this idea: take pictures of people, post pictures on a blog.  Scott Schuman started The Sartorialist after he shut down his own showroom to be a stay at home dad and take care of his daughter.  The blog has led to a regular spot in GQ, Conde Nast's style.com, and a few book deals.  Newsweek did a writeup on Scott and The Sartorialist last year.

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My Problem with Sonia Sotomayer

by Taylor Brooks on June 4, 2009

In 1788, the framers of the U.S. Constitution created three branches of the government: the judicial branch, the executive branch, and the legislative branch.

Our founding fathers structured it this way so there was a system of checks and balances. A way that no one party or ideological movement would have supreme control of these United States.  From Whitehouse.gov:

To ensure that no person or group would amass too much power, the founders established a government in which the powers to create, implement, and adjudicate laws were separated. Each branch of government is balanced by powers in the other two coequal branches: The President can veto the laws of the Congress; the Congress confirms or rejects the President's appointments and can remove the President from office in exceptional circumstances; and the justices of the Supreme Court, who can overturn unconstitutional laws, are appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate.

The era of the Obama presidency is a scary one.  The Democratic party has majority power stake in two branches and they are salivating for the third – the judicial branch.  We have an activist president who is appointing activist judges and we are in danger of losing focus on justice.  We need to make rulings, laws, and decisions on what fair and just; not on empathy and how to right past wrongs.

Read more from Charles Krauthammer's excellent position piece on Obama's appointment of Judge Sotomayer.

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Homeless Man with High Net Worth

by Taylor Brooks on May 28, 2009

There is a good chance that homeless people are wealthier than half of the US population.

Could a homeless person have a higher net worth than you?

If you're late to the personal finance game, I have two suggestions:

  1. Sign up with Mint (http://www.mint.com) to track your spending.
  2. Read I Will Teach You to Be Rich (http://bit.ly/17Q3vk).  You can't find better advice for under $10.

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My Reference Books

by Taylor Brooks on May 18, 2009

After the first read, some books aren't worth keeping around.  I'm clearing out my bookshelves and holding on to a few timeless classics.  

These are six books I keep close-by my desk.  I usually reference at least one of these every day.

1.  How to Win Friends and Influence People

The title of this book is pretty self-explanatory.  Here is a great outline of some key points.

2.  The Elements of Style

Two of the books on my list are helpful for writing.  Second only to speech, writing is the most common form of communication.  It's important to write effectively.

3.  Mere Christianity

Whether you believe in God or not, this book is an important read.  The chapter on Pride/Selfishness sums up the human condition.

4.  On Writing Well

The writer's bible.  Zinsser said, "the person who thinks clearly, writes clearly."  The four basic premises of writing are: clarity, brevity, simplicity, and humanity.

5.  The Effective Executive

Classic Drucker.  The book that started productivity pr0n.

6.  Don't Waste Your Life

There is one central criterion that should govern all the decisions you make in life and in death: Will this help make Jesus Christ look like the treasure he is?  Download Piper's talk by the same title.

 

What are your reference books?

 

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John Piper on Obama re: Abortion

by Taylor Brooks on May 13, 2009

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Beth Brooks – Great Mom

by Taylor Brooks on May 11, 2009

I would've posted this yesterday (Mother's Day), but my graphics card was being replaced.

Parenting is a thankless job.  Jeff Foxworthy, speaking to parents, says, "You sacrifice decades of your life to no sleep, no money, no social life… So your children can grow up, go on Oprah, and blame everything dang problem they got on you."    Only two days a year are dedicated to parents – Mother's Day and Father's Day.  I'm not good at verbalizing it, but I'm extremely thankful for my mom and dad.

Here are a few reasons why my mom is great:

  1. She's still married.  Only half the population can say their parents this.  I thank my parents for modeling a successful marriage.
  2. She listens.  She takes a genuine interest in what people have to say, she's never told me she's too busy to talk, and people quickly develop a rapport with her because you can tell she cares. 
  3. She's a great conversationalist.  In high school, Mom would have hour long conversations with my friends.  I used to always think, "are there enough subjects to talk about in an hour?"  I hope to hone my conversation skills and have enjoyable talks with people like she does.
  4. She laughs.  Mom has a great sense of humor.  When I picture her, she's laughing or smiling.  If I'm mad or frustrated she'll hop around the house, chasing me, trying to punch me.  It instantly changes my mood and I can't help but laugh.  I wish I had a video of it.
  5. She loves about her sons.  I don't think there is any doubt that my mom loves me.  If there is a picture of selflessness; it's a picture of her.  I hope to show my children, the unconditional love she has shown to me.

Love you Mom.  Happy Mother's Day.

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Death Cab Tickets FTW!

by Taylor Brooks on May 3, 2009

Tomorrow night I'm taking Rachel to the Death Cab for Cutie show at the Ryman.  I've seen DCFC/Gibbard 4x and they've never disappointed.

I'm a firm believer in purchasing tickets at the last moment, through Craigslist.  I knew these tickets were close, but I didn't know how close.  Check it:

Section 1, Row C, Seats 1 & 2

Craigslist FTW!

 

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