Ric Bretschneider

My thoughts in your brain…

Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

Take the Blue Pill…

leave a comment »

Just a reminder that this blog (at https://ricbret.wordpress.com) is no longer active and new content is appearing at http://blog.ricbret.com.

Please adjust your links and subscriptions as necessary to keep in touch.

You can subscribe to the active blog by going to http://blog.ricbret.com and using the subscribe control at the top of the page on the right.

And there’s a new entry there today! Kind of fun, maybe leading into something scary. I’m excited and hope you’ll check it out.

Oh, here’s a direct link! http://blog.ricbret.com/books/take-the-red-pill/

redblue

 

Written by ricbret

July 26, 2014 at 11:29 pm

She’s Giving It Away…

leave a comment »

resonate

No secret to anyone about my love of this book.

So why is it news today?

This morning Nancy Duarte announced that “the multimedia version of Resonate is now available on HTML5 and iTunes for FREE! You can read, learn, and share on any platform or device.”

So stop reading this and go get it. Even if you already own the book, this is the multimedia enhanced version so you’ve got brand new levels of coolness to explore.

Written by ricbret

November 7, 2013 at 6:26 pm

Rotten Bitter Apple

with 2 comments

Update:

Word from comiXology now after many hand-wringing updates overnight is that Apple didn’t prevent comiXology from pushing to iOS apps, but comiXology made the call.  In a letter on their blog page, comiXology CEO David Steinberger noted:

After hearing from Apple this morning, we can say that our interpretation of its policies was mistaken. You’ll be glad to know that Saga #12 will be available on our App Store app soon.

It would be very interesting to know which policies, their actual nomenclature, comiXology was concerned about violating. Expect they were spot-on in their interpretation.  This smells of Apple making an exception after the fact to avoid bad press, and a small company falling on its own sword to keep in the fruit monopoly’s good graces.
Apple is a blatant censor, they just don’t want to be known as one.  Their role as a publisher who censors other publishers is a net-negative, regardless of the details.

20130410:12:45PM PST

Ric’ Originally Wrote on April 9th:

Apple Computer’s been pretty absurd about trying to prevent mature individuals from enjoying mature content on their mobile devices.

What’s so special about mobile devices? Nothing, except that Apple has implemented a file system and application system that they can control, they can prevent the user from using for any content. There is only content Apple approves of, on apps Apple approves of. And they’ve been your nanny since day one.

But now they’ve gone a little nuts.

a1Tomorrow, one of the finest comics available, Saga by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples, will not be available in digital form on iOS devices. This is due to two “postage stamp sized gay sex scenes” that appear in the magazine. They’re kind of background images, literally like someone left a TV on in a scene, context is ambiguous and not flamboyant.

Still Apple takes umbrage, and is shutting down all iOS apps that might try to down the comic. No iPad, no iPhone, no. Because they’re trying to protect you from an image you can walk into any comic store tomorrow and buy without showing your driver’s license. And it’s not the first nudity or sexuality in the magazine. It’s undoubtedly because of the gay context that they get out their big censor stick.

This is a crime against art.

I’m not exaggerating, Saga is one of the best comic books available today. Smart, inventive, human, witty, lovely, and unique.

All things Apple used to be.

And now they’re just disappointing.

Written by ricbret

April 10, 2013 at 7:03 am

Love of Books – An Unboxing of “The Fifty Year Sword”

with one comment

I’m a big fan of books. Not just the stories, but the book construction as well. From bindings, paper choice, typeset, typography, layout, it’s all interesting to me.

Mark Z. Danielewski is most famous for House of Leaves, an inventive experimental work of layered stories and typographic morphing of most everything we think of as the printed page.

In this video I do a short review of House of Leaves for those who are not familiar with the work (and to allow those familiar with it to berate and chastise me for “getting it wrong” I suspect) and then do an unboxing of his latest work The Fifty Year Sword, which comes in a unique box and exhibits some of the same traits found in House of Leaves.

I hope you enjoy, and I hope those trying to make a purchase decision on this book are aided in their decision making.

preview

Written by ricbret

December 10, 2012 at 9:58 pm

PowerPoint History, 25 years ago…

with 2 comments

This has to be quick.  Sorry for any typos or errors, but I’m packing, medicating, and generally running about today and this could not wait.

I got a very nice letter from Bob Gaskins yesterday. If you don’t recognize the name, here’s a clue: He’s the guy who “invented PowerPoint”. Quotes are there because 1) there were a couple of other guys involved in the birthing process and 2) I think the product gets reinvented with every new release. However it was Bob who built the vision for the product and made it happen.

Bob’s written a new book, called Sweating Bullets: Notes about Inventing PowerPoint. He wrote it specifically to celebrate the 25th anniversary of PowerPoint. And I’m reading it right now (along with preparing for two separate conventions and five panels I’m on this weekend, I did mention running about crazily, right?).  So I’ll do more of a review later, but wanted to get this out to you, dear reader, because you’re special to me.

I’m really excited about this. Bob left just before I joined the team, and notes that fact on page 14, saying

Ric Bretschneider (Wizard #77) joined just after I left, stayed with the group for 17 
years (twice as long as I stayed)…

And of course there’s more, but you’ve got to read it for yourself or wait for my later review.  OK, one more thing, how’s this for a blast from the past…
It's kinda like looking at cave drawings....

It’s kinda like looking at cave drawings….

What else does it say?  What’s all that Wizard 77 stuff?  Well, you’ve got a chance to find out for yourself because it’s available on Amazon right now, right here:  Sweating Bullets: Notes about Inventing PowerPoint

I can’t wait to see how it ends…

The Garr Box…

with 2 comments

To be honest, I’m having a little trouble getting to the point where I write every day. But I’m lucky, I have inspiring friends who help me get past this without even trying.  Today is Garr Reynold’s turn.

It’s Wednesday night, and I return home to another package from Amazon on the doorstep.  Monday night it was Nancy Duarte’s Resonate: Present Visual Stories that Transform Audiences. I’ve been savoring the early two page chapters and really expect this is another book I’ll enjoy recommending to people who care about their communication.

In Monday’s post, I joked about resisting the urge to do an “unboxing video.”  Unboxing videos are common in electronics reviews. The reviewer simply records with video as he opens the package and examines the pieces as they come out. It’s just about anticipating use rather than talking about their experiences, because really there haven’t been any experiences yet. They’re kind of silly, and yet compelling, but you just don’t do them for books and DVDs. And certainly not for a…

Oh well, the urge tonight was too strong.  The package was Garr Reynolds’s The Presentation Zen Way: Video Lessons on Simple Presentation Design and Delivery. I’m a soft touch for cool packaging and knew what to expect here, so I broke out the camera and took pictures along the way.

Nice cloth box, textured, with a lovely slip card around it.

This is classic Presentation Zen. Just enough but not too much. A beautiful and sparse slip card over a textured cloth box.

The cover removed.

Again, very clean with the slip removed. Embossed lettering on the cover. The spine has a silver foil text treatment. This is a hinged box that will look equally good on the shelf or desk.

Box is open!

And now open, we see pencils, a coupon for free photographs, some sticky notes for later storyboarding, and the DVD - video of Garr teaching the Presentation Zen lessons.

Removing the tray.

Removing the bento style tray exposes a high quality spiral bound notebook...

Storyboarding pages

...full of potential. All lined up with storyboarding guides, ready to help turn your next presentation into an epic experience.

Events like this make it easy to get back into writing about design goodness and presentation technique. Thanks Garr!

Written by ricbret

September 23, 2010 at 7:12 am

The Walking Dead…

leave a comment »

Just in time for Halloween...

AMC just released a new bit of advertising for the October 31st release of their “The Walking Dead” series.  That’s it over there on the left. The series is based on a comic by the brilliant Robert Kirkman.  The stark black and white art style and Kirkman’s brilliant character development over 75 issues has made it an acclaimed comic epic for some time now.  The quality and consistency of this book is amazing, so AMC has their work cut out for them to provide a similar television experience.

And it’s about zombies, did I mention that?

The trailer released this summer is quite graphic, not for the faint of heart.  Still, if you like such things… awesome.

Written by ricbret

September 21, 2010 at 3:55 pm