A Canadian book blog: Publishing, marketing, books and technology from a Canadian perspective

Thursday, July 31, 2008

EE Roadshow in Vancouver

imageIn my spare time *snicker* I’m helping organize a training workshop for users and developers of ExpressionEngine. EE is one of the tools that I love to use to create websites. SoMisguided is an EE site, my company site is EE, most of the client sites Boxcar Marketing has built are EE.

Who’s helping with this monster task: Hop Studios and Venn Communications. Hooray!

What do you need to know?
EE Roadshow: an ExpressionEngine training event is coming soon.

  • If you’ve ever wondered how to make ExpressionEngine work better for you in your job, this is the event for you.
  • If you’ve ever wondered how the other developers make EE jump through hoops and rool over, this is your event.
  • And if you also happen to wonder what EE developers look like in person, well, don’t miss the EE Roadshow.

EE Roadshow is an event for ExpressionEngine users and developers. It is part training, part brainstorming, part networking and all wonderful. ExpressionEngine’s online community is friendly and productive and supportive, one of the best on the Internet. EE Roadshow is our way of bringing ExpressionEngine users and developers together in a real-world way.

EE Roadshow Event Details
Friday, September 26th
Vancouver, BC
1-5 p.m. (then stay for the part-ee!)
$50 per person

Yup, you can make it here from out of town, you can get out of the office on a Friday, and you can come to a great event for the low price of $50. Why wait? Register today!

Check out the EE Roadshow sessions. We are covering everything from basic EE setup to developing your own module. And there’ll be special guests from EllisLab (the folks behind ExpressionEngine), as well as interesting prizes.

There has never been an EE Roadshow before so come be part of the inaugural one!

About EE Roadshow
EE Roadshow is brought to you by Boxcar Marketing, Venn Communications and Hop Studios, three passionate EE development companies who want to help bring ExpressionEngine to every Web site in the world.

Have questions? Contact Monique.

Amazon Sells The Tales of Beedle the Bard by JK Rowling


In December 2007, Amazon bought JK Rowling’s handwritten book The Tales of Beedle the Bard for $4 Million. At the time I thought it was awesome for Amazon to have bought the book, and that it was fitting for the number of copies they’ve sold of the books and ... well isn’t that nice.

I was also pretty desperate to hold that book. The little white gloves of the Sotheby’s staff are etched in my mind.

And NOW ... Amazon has the exclusive right to sell The Tales of Beedle the Bard to the masses. There is a limited collector’s edition that I just pre-ordered and a standard edition.

Here it is. Drool away. And if you want to order the book and follow my link below, I’ve signed up for the Amazon affiliate program and will get a percentage of the sale. That would be a nice Christmas present and could pay the hosting fees of SoMisguided or I could turn it back to you in the form of postage and mail you out any book that I’ve reviewed on my site (except for the signed copies of stuff I’m particularly fond of ...) Ya, that’s a better idea.

Who’s for that? If we make any money, I’ll post the amount and how many books and postage that equals and I’ll send you Christmas presents. We’ll figure out the details as we go. (I’m saying Christmas because Beetle isn’t published until Dec. 4—but you can pre-order.

The Tales of Beedle the Bard is Available for Pre-Order on Amazon.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Add Amazon Checkout to Your Site

imageI’m fascinated by Amazon’s business strategy. It’s really clever.

* Amazon acquires Audible.com (January 2008)
* Amazon.com CEO Jeff Bezos invests in Twitter (June 2008) through his personal fund, Bezos Expeditions.
* Kindle sales are 12% of Amazon’s total sales [update: Kindle sales are 12% of the 130,000 titles available on Kindle and in physical form] (June 2008).

Social retail. Retail on the go. Sales using your Amazon account. Sales via cell. It’s all credit card processing.

And yesterday, Amazon beefed up its payment services by launching Checkout by Amazon and Amazon Simple Pay.

Why is this clever? Because. Amazon became huge by allowing developers to use their API. To create their own stores.With these payment options, other e-commerce sites can insert an Amazon Checkout cart on their sites. E-commerce is hard. This is easy.

* For the user: One-click ordering for anyone with an existing Amazon account
* For the website owner: Order management, shipping, sales tax calculations and more from a reputable checkout service
* For Amazon: data mining and part of the transaction fee. Transaction fees start at 2.9 percent of the order amount, plus 30 cents per order (unless you’re doing a lot of business). And for transactions less than $10, Amazon charges 5 percent plus 5 cents.

Here’s what I think their new motto is:
Amazon. Solving the Hard Problems.

Payments. Data storage. Cloud computing services. Hello Amazon. You’re not the bookstore I remember. But you’re certainly making money.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Amazon Digital Text Platform

Here’s a little publicized Amazon feature: Amazon Digital Text Platform

Digital Text Platform is a fast and easy self-publishing tool that lets you upload and format your books for sale in the Kindle Store.

It’s Your Thing. Have a book you want to sell? Sign up with Digital Text Platform and publish your content in the Amazon Kindle Store in minutes.

Do It. If you have an Amazon.com account, you’re already signed up with Digital Text Platform. Start publishing now!

Your Way. Digital Text Platform gives you everything you need to become your own publisher today. See for yourself.

Hello Publishing 2.0.


Book Review: The Magician by Michael Scott

imageThe Magician is the second book in the series “The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel” and I like it a lot.

The first book The Alchemyst introduces readers to the legend of Nicholas Flamel.

Flamel was born in Paris on September 28, 1330. He is acknowledged as the greatest alchemyst of his day and it is said that he discovered the secret of eternal life.

My Harry Potter friends will know about him and the Philosopher’s Stone.

The records show that he died in 1418 but his tomb is empty.

The legend is that he lives on by making the elixir of life and that the secret of eternal life is hidden within a book that he protects called the Book of Abraham the Mage.

Michael Scott’s series is based on this part of the legend—that the book, in the wrong hands, will destroy the world.

The Magician, Dr. John Dee, plans to steal the book and bring about its prophecy. The Alchemyst, Nicholas Flamel, must protect the book and the good side of the prophecy, which is that twins—Sophie and Josh Newman (regular kids) are the only hope.

The Twins have powers that can be awakened and if they stay on the right side of the battle, they can save the world from the Dark Elders.

I know in writing it seems flaky, but it’s a great, page-turning adventure. I like these fantasy books that are based in reality but have a side of reality that we just don’t see or understand. We ignore magic because it’s just not sensible.

6 books in the series. Books 1 & 2 are in stores.

The Magician by Michael Scott is published by Delacorte Press (part of Random House)

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Cold War Spy Animation Film

Zoudov. According to GrainEdit this is a student film.


Mischief Managed

We made a carport

The building of a structure for Big Blue.


Goat it up

Time to pet the goats.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Why Microsoft Sucks

I’m sure there are many reasons but this is the one presenting itself to me today.

I have been sent an xml file created in Word. A file that really wants to open in Word despite my best efforts. The good news is that Microsoft Office recognizes that I’m on a Mac and there’s a converter that I can download and then I’ll be able to open the document. Do I want to do that?

Yes, I do.

I click the link to download the converter. But I come to a page where I find out I have to download the upgrade, install, then download the converter. Ok.

So I’m downloading the upgrade. This is all taking too much time. I’m having to read a lot of text to make sure I’m doing this correctly. The text suggest that I might want to print the page for future reference. That’s not promising.

Happily once clicking the download link, I get another page of instructions.

“In the File Download dialog box, do one of the following:”

Mmmm, that looks like important instructions? Ones that should be legible at all costs. Perhaps the most important text on the page. Here’s what I see.


Maybe it’s just me, but I feel like Microsoft should be better at this.

Harry Potter: Beyond the Book

I met several really cool people this weekend at Portus 2008 who are involved in various Harry Potter fan sites. Here’s a few you might like:


Azkatraz, Harry Potter conference next year in San Francisco. July 18-21, 2008. There will be a Wizard Rock show at Alcatraz.

Infinitus 2010 is the next Harry Potter conference AND it’s in Orlando, Florida, which will be the home of the “World of Harry Potter” theme park. I am incredibly excited about this conference.

My loot bag photo includes the links to lots of fun stuff that I discovered at Portus. Click on the photo to view it in Flickr and mouse over areas to see the info.

My Loot

Monday, July 14, 2008

Portus: July 12, Masquerade Ball

Saturday I gave my keynote at the luncheon and that evening was the masquerade ball.  A little wrock (wizard rock for you muggles) and lots of costumes.

I went as a stylized version of Hedwig.

Monique & James



A Sugar Plum Fairy

Cute as a button!

Nearly Headless Nic

Nearly Headless Nic

Hedwig & the Phoenix


Bad guys have great costumes!

Great Costumes

Good thing my Gryffindor buddies are around.


Hep & Aziza

More costumes

Snape & Dumbledore

Snape & Dumbledore



Poor Winky. Fell off the butterbeer wagon.

Portus 2008: July 12

Albus? Aberforth?


The Craft of Portus

Lots of fans make incredible art.

Portus 08: Harry Potter dolls

My absolute favourite paintings were by Elizabeth Wu. This one in particular I really, really wanted.

Hermione by Elizabeth Wu

I have to mention my totally cool Snapefest bag. If you’ve never heard the Snapecast podcast, have a listen to the snapey, snarkiness of Snapecast.

Portus 08: Most Precious Gift

The People of Portus

Jim Dale, narrates on the North American audio books. Brilliant.

Portus 08: Masquerade Ball

Henry Jenkins, smarter than Hermione, Director, Comparative Media Studies Program, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Portus 08: Henry Jenkins

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Portus 08, July 12: Met Dumbledore

Dumbledore & one of the Hallows

Yesterday was about Slytherin. Today was about Gryffindor.

Here’s the burned hand of Dumbledore.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Kindle Sales 12% of Amazon Sales

RyanSpoon.com: Great post on Kindle Sales

Amidst all of the discussion about the iPhone 3G that hits stores tomorrow, another industry changing gadget is getting overlooked. According to Time Magazine:

“On a title-by-title basis, of the 130,000 titles available on Kindle and in physical form, Kindle sales now make up over 12% of sales for those titles…. At a technology trade conference in May, CEO Jeff Bezos said that Kindle sales accounted for 6% of book titles sold for the Kindle and in print. So Amazon appears to be selling more e-books.”

Those are big numbers. 12% of sales for books that are available in print AND on the Kindle are purchased for the Kindle

Read the full post ...

Portus 2008: Mudbloods

First wizard spotting is a death eater.


First Wrock (Wizard Rock) concert I attend is The Mudbloods.

The Mudbloods on MySpace. I am LOVING “Wish You’d Be My Witch”. Please listen.

Despite the ominous overtones of these two things, the conference is very cool and awesome.

I’ll be posting photos on my Flickr stream.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Portus 2008: Saturday Keynote


Bibb Lettuce with Cucumbers and Tomatoes, Oil and Vinegar Dressing

Pecan-Crusted Chicken Breast with Roasted Corn Sauce, Garlic Mashed
Potatoes, Seasonal Fresh Vegetables
Vegetable Lasagna

Banana Cream Pie in Almond Crust

And then the phenomenon of podcasting in the Harry Potter community, according to Monique.