ebooks, on ebook readers or not

New gadgets can be fun, but there's a lot you can do with the computer you already own.

While doing some Christmas shopping at Best Buy last Saturday I asked one of their Geek Squad guys at the information desk if they had the Sony ebook reader, because I wanted to see what one looked like up close. This low-end Napoleon Dynamite snorted “They tried ebooks a few years ago, and it was a complete failure”. I was tempted to press him on what he meant by “they”, but I just smiled, told him “it’s a little more complicated than that”, and headed…

Roy Head's "Treat Her Right"

Somersaulting off the stage—in a buttoned-up double-breasted suit.

Texan Roy Head had several small and regional hits and one really big one: “Treat Her Right”, a single that was second only to the Beatles’ “Yesterday” at its peak on the U.S. charts. The chorus doesn’t come until the very end, but what a chorus, and it’s well worth the wait through the long slow burn leading up to it. The song remains an R&B standard for many bar bands, at least among the hipper ones.

The cheap commodity eBook reader of the future

If Kindle is the iPod of eBooks, I'm waiting for the Sansa.

My MP3 player is a Sandisk Sansa. It does everything I would want an iPod to do with a slightly clunkier interface for much less money. I can move music, podcasts, and playlists onto it from free software on both Windows and Linux machines, and it works with all standard MP3 accessories such as my noise-cancelling headphones and my in-car player. It can even record live room sound.

Customized cookbooks

Pay for professional recipes, or do it the XML geek way.

The New York Times article A Cookbook of One’s Own From the Internet (registration required) describes how Kamran Mohsenin, the founder of a photography web site, took an interesting step beyond personalized calendars: personalized cookbooks using recipes from epicurious.com, a web site has 25,000 recipes from Gourmet and Bon Appetit magazines. (I grew up with both of these magazines around the house, because my parents were big fans.) This reminds me of a quote I just read near the end of…