California Reader Best Seller…

View 835 Wednesday, July 23, 2014

“Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency.”

President Barack Obama, January 31, 2009


I’m running late, but I have good news:

Congrats on a best selling Amazon book –

Congratulations, Jerry, the California Sixth Grade Reader has made it to #1 in two categories. My experience of Amazon rank is that it can be a highly dynamic measure, so I thought I would document this for you. When I checked at 1:15 AM CDST on 7/23/2014, the book’s “Amazon Best Sellers Rank” was:

#5,542 Paid in Kindle Store

#1 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Education & Teaching > Teacher Resources > Education Theory > Aims & Objectives

#1 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Education & Teaching > Teacher Resources > Homeschooling

#8 in Books > Education & Teaching > Schools & Teaching > Homeschooling

Congratulations again!

–Gary P.

Which is certainly good news. It’s lunch time but I’ll be back later. The actual sales are not more than a couple of hundred, but we can hope that will change; and the Homeschooling people are of course a major reason we put the book up in the first place.

More later.


Surface Pro 3, Kindle Fire HD, Wi-Fi File Explorer Pro


Some thoughts about your recent posts:


“I am bringing back Chaos Manor Reviews.” 7/22/2014

I have waited a long time for you to revive that column. May you be energized.


“One is Precious, the name I have given to my new Surface 3 Pro which Eric found for me at a big one-day sale.: 7/21/2014

I am looking forward to your experiences with Precious. I may want to get a new tablet to replace my Kindle Fire HD 8.9 (bought in November 2012). I have enjoyed the KFHD 8.9″, but it is a poor reader and a poor tablet running a toy operating system with toy web browsers and I’ll never buy another. So I’m deciding whether to get a laptop or a tablet for casual browsing and news reading and for sifting through e-mail. Otherwise I work with two 24” monitors on my Dell XPS 8500 desktop running Windows 7 Pro x64, and that is hardly enough screen space.

I was more optimistic about the KFHD8.9 when I wrote my review in January 2013.

Today I’d probably reduce my rating to 2 stars from 4, mostly because of the horribly reflective screen that makes reading difficult in any normally lighted room and because I have not found a web browser that doesn’t freeze the Kindle completely on some of the newspaper sites I visit. Also, the Kindle book format is far too limited when compared to PDF for reading, comparing texts, making comments, and annotating.

But I’ll leave it at that having been pummeled by the Kindleistas when I made some casual comments about the limitations of reading on a Kindle. (And I once thought Apple fanatics were extremists.)


“But when I connected the Kindle Fire HD to my Windows 7 desktop the computer reported that the driver installation failed.” 7/22/2014

I did not have a problem the few times I connected my KFHD8.9 to my

Win7 desktop through the USB port, but I did find it tedious.

Fortunately, within a month of getting my Kindle I discovered Wi-Fi File Explorer PRO for just 99 cents. It’s one of the few paid apps I have on my Kindle. It makes file transfers to and from the Kindle quite easy through your desktop web browser. Highly recommended, as I remember you used to say when you found a product you liked.

Best regards,

–Harry M.

I like the Kindle Fire HD despite the glare outside; it does have to be in the shade but then so does everything else.  Mostly though it’s for books on airplanes, and it works just fine for those.  My biggest problem is with connecting it to PC’s.  My two main PC systems are Windows 7, and they simply do not recognize the device.  Either they trundle a while and say device not installed. or they say unrecognized device please go away.  Neither is very useful.  But on my ThinkPad, several years old, with Windows 7 it trundles a while and opened the device and that’s that.  And with a Windows 8 system it just opened the device: no trundle no wait nothing.


On Precious, though, inserting the USB plugged into the Kindle, NOTHING happens.  Nothing.  The Surface Pro 3 just doesn’t believe there is a device attached to the port.  I confess I am unfamiliar with Windows 8 and haven’t studied how to force it to poll all the ports and look again and I’ll have to learn that, but this was disappointing…



Well, I have learned a lot about USB and Kindle.  Most of it will go into the new Chaos Manor Reviews column, but I can summarize.  When you connect a Kindle Fire HD to a Windows 8 machine, if you are not watching carefully nothing will happen, or at least it will seem that way; but in fact the device will now be present on you “This Computer” screen although the default size of that screen is so small you will not see it there until you expand the screen.  At least that is what was happening with Precious, my new Surface Pro 3. With Windows 7 it was more complicated and I will explain it all in the column.  But eventually both Windows 7 and Windows 8 will see a Kindle Fire HD as just another device.  You can also use Media Player to play stuff from the Kindle on a Surface.

The cable needed is a standard USB cable, full size plug on one end and micro – not mini, but micro – USB on the other end.  With Windows 8 It Just Works.  With Windows 7 it might just work, but it might also take a bit of manipulation and coaxing.


One of my favorite TV characters, Abby Sciuto, the forensic science expert on NCIS, has a warning about hair dye; if you use black hair day or know anyone who does, you need to know this:

I think I have posted this before, but I am cleaning out Firefox Tabs, and this one remains: if you have not seen it, it is worth while, and if you have my apologies.


From reading Willy Ley’s Rockets and Space Travel while in High School about 1947 I always knew I would live to see the first man on the Moon.  I never expected that I would shake hands with the last man on the Moon, but I have done so.  I hope that’s temporary.

And something I didn’t get to write an essay on:


We have been working on Chaos Manor Reviews, and thanks to Rick Hellewell we’re almost done: I’ll be able to post essays directly to that site, so I won’t be mixing the technology and political and social stuff.  I don’t know the publishing schedule of the new Review, but it will certainly have some reviews every month, and possibly more often, since I won’t have editors with deadlines.

I have not been receiving review books and stuff for a while, and of course I shouldn’t be since I wasn’t doing the column, but I think we have enough influential readers to be worth considering when it comes to review copies of books and such items, and next time you revise your reviewer list you might think of me again.  Anyway, gets to me although I do have pretty good spam filters; I generally get well done press releases.  Upcoming will be some words on Windows 8, and my log of my experience with Precious, the Surface Pro 3 tablet and PC, in which I am installing the latest Microsoft Office.  I’ll also experiment with dictation software.  And there will be considerable about the publishing revolution.




Freedom is not free. Free men are not equal. Equal men are not free.




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