Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Mobile Apps Get Rated

A recent article in USAToday (Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2011, Mike Snider) explained the new ratings that are going to apply to mobile applications and games on smartphones and tablets. According to the article, the ratings used by AT&t Wireless, Microsoft, Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular and Verizon Wireless are the same ratings given to video games.

The ratings include the following:

  • E for everyone - 6 years old and older
  • E 10+ - 10 years old and older
  • T 13+ - Teens
  • M 17+ - Mature audiences
  • A 18+ - Adults only

Smartphone and tablet apps first appeared around 2005. The companies that have created the apps have also assigned the rating. In the future, apps creators submit the app to the Entertainment Software Ratings Board (ESRB) and the Board will assign a rating. There is an appeal process for ratings that app creators don't agree with the ESRB.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Missing Borders Books

The Borders Books store in my area has been closed for many weeks now. I have only been in a book store one time since it closed. The closest book store is 25 to 30 miles away. When I walked through the door of the book store, I picked up 5 books all right in front of the door. I never even made it halfway through the store.

I miss our Borders Books. About a week ago a new book store opened in its  place. Late last month, I drove by the then closed Borders store and some of the local people who sat in Borders' coffee shop almost everyday were standing outside looking in through the windows. It would appear, there are many people miss Borders.

Borders was more than just a store. It was a place to go to feel at home. The people were helpful and friendly, the books were from the bestsellers lists, the coffee was good and the shopping experience always the best. The Borders store in my area was 'the hot spot' in town for Friday evenings after eating out, Saturday nights after doing the required shopping and errands of the day or Sunday mornings to help wind down the weekend.

Our store was part of the community and this avid reader and book buyer truly misses it.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Book Reviewing Revived

Poets & Writers recently published an article, Back From the Dead: The State of Book Reviewing by Jane Ciabattari, that says book reviews remain a mainstay reference for many of today's readers. Ciabattari reports the following:
  • We remain a nation of passionate readers (even with the ability to stream movies on demand).
  • Book-related discussions take up millions of characters on the Internet.
  • The majority of the nation's readers are still able to recognize good writing and "yearn for fresh voices from authors and critics."
  • The report is a "counter-argument to the naysayers" for the group of people who are dedicated to reading books and writing reviews to share with others. 

The report goes on to list a host of publications, both online and print, that provide book reviews on a variety of platforms.

This is great news for people like me who have been doing book reviews for many, many years. It is a great art form that has taken its lumps over the years. Nonetheless, it is truly an addiction for this writer. Combining a love of reading with the undying love for writing and it all comes out as all over this blog and through my book reviews at www.suite101.com and www.constant-content.com.

Monday, August 08, 2011

The Latest Top 10 Green Books List

My latest top 10 list of green-related books includes a few of the latest titles I've reviewed and few of the books that have left a long lasting impression. Take a look and let me know of any titles that you think are must reads.

1. Sustainable Value by Chris Laszlo
2. Green to Gold by Daniel C. Etsy and Andrew S. Winston
3. Hot, Flat and Crowded by Thomas Friedman
4. The World is Flat by Thomas Friedman
5. Natural Capitalism by Paul Hawken, Amory Lovins and L. Hunter Lovins
6. Building the Green Economy by Kevin Danaher, Shannon Biggs and Jason Mark
7. Conversations with Green Gurus by Laura Mazur and Lowella Miles
8. Strategies for the Green Economy by Joel Makower
9. Ecological Intelligences by Daniel Goleman
10. The New Rules of Green Marketing by Jacquelyn A. Ottman

You can read full reviews of the books in the list at http://www.suite101.com/. Search for my name or the book title to find the review. Good reading to you today.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The AMA Forms for Due Diligence

The latest edition of the AMA Handbook of Due Diligence (AMACOM, 2010, ISBN: 9780814413821) includes a CD 400 templates or forms for a do-it-yourself due diligence process. Companies that are anticipating selling the business or merging with another business generally complete a due diligence for potential new owners.

The Forms

The forms are fully customizable using Microsoft Word. The Handbook does have sections that offer definitions and sample uses for the forms.

Read a complete review of the AMA Handbook of Due Diligence on the business book review section at http://www.suite101.com/content/the-ama-handbook-for-due-diligence-book-review-a378528.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Recent Business Book Reviews

I have just read several really good business books and written book reviews on each. The links below will lead you to each review I've recenlty posted at http://www.suite101.com/.

Rush by Todd Buchholz http://www.suite101.com/content/competition-and-some-stress-are-good-things-according-to-new-book-a372966

Full Engagement by Brian Tracy http://www.suite101.com/content/new-book-is-a-revolutionizing-management-guide-a369761

"Managers can you hear me now?" by Denny E. Strigl http://www.suite101.com/content/managers-can-you-hear-me-now--book-review-a365566

Let me know if you have read any of these and if so, what did you think of any of them.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Two New Books Provide Differing Business Views

I have just finished a book, Blood, Bones & Butter (Random House, 2011) by Gabrielle Hamilton. The author is a the chef and owner of a restaurant called Prune in New York City's East Village. The book is a memoir that has a few surprising twists and turns.

Hamilton and her siblings were left and abandoned when their parents divorced. She details stories of shoplifting, drug use, world travels, her live-in girlfriends, her ultimate marriage and her children. All of this takes place while she learns to cook and then learns to run her own successful restaurant. Hamilton did attend the University of Michigan and received a MFA in fiction writing. She has written for many well known magazines including The New Yorker and Bon Appetit.

The second book I have just started is Onward How Starbucks Fought for Its Life without Losing Its Soul (Rodale Books, 2011) by Starbucks CEO, Howard Schultz. I have read a couple of Schultz's other bestsellers and the story and message in each have been pretty much the same. And, why not? It is what has made his company the success that it is today.
I look forward to reading this book which details how the company suffered a mid-life crisis just a short three years ago and how it came back from that to be profitable once again.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Nice Girls Just Don't Get It Book Review

Louis P. Frankel, PH. D. will be releasing a new book this summer. She wrote the wonderful book about nice girls not getting the corner office which contained 101 ways women sabotage their careers . She provided great insights and suggestions to improve personal practices such as communicating verbally and through body language.

She is the co-author of the upcoming book, Nice Girls Just Don't Get It 99 Ways to Win the Respect You Deserve, The Success You've Earned, and the Life You Want (Crown Archetype). Frankel and her co-author Carol Frohlinger, J.D. write, "If you are the quintessential nice girl, one who acts in ways she was socialized to behave, others in your life don't have much interest or investment in helping you change."

The book is meant to help female readers become "a winning woman" by using the strategies and tactics recommended by the authors. Once again, Frankel provides a book that has great insights into the ways of too many women, myself included.  Trying to please others first, the disease to please, and failing to believe that you deserve success and respect are symptoms of the nice girl who doesn't get what she wants.

There are several ideas presented that make so much sense including:
  • Charting your network of friends, family, and associates
  • Being SMART (Specific, Measurable, Appropriate, Resistance, Time frame) about what you want
  • Learning how to say no
  • Avoiding perfectionism
  • Being tough on a problem and not on people
The book gets it right beginning with the front cover and the subtitle, win the respect you deserve, the success you've earned, and the life you want. Frankel has a distinct voice in both of the nice girls books and this book has real legs. It is a great read with applicable tips and techniques.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

My Reading Life by Pat Conroy

Pat Conroy is one of my favorite authors with bestselling titles like The Prince of Tides, Beach Music, The Great Santini, and South of Broad among several others. His latest is called My Reading Life (Doubleday, 2010). It is one of those books that makes me ashamed of my own reading life.

Conroy's mother taught him to be a considerable reader and he has continued to read through his adult life. He mentions many of his favorite classics and favorite poets and life changing poetry that has propelled his writing life to the level it is today. As with all of his writings, he truly has perfected the skills of making words sing. Conroy has learned to write like he does because of the reading he has done.

Surprises include how much the book Gone with the Wind meant to his mother. And, Conroy admits he is not good at keeping journals but writes that he has kept journals of words that have caught his attention. He talks about his relationship with his mother and his father whom he has professed to hate most of his young life.

It is a great read except for the guilt factor that comes with the book. I would love to be the kind of reader he describes himself to be. I have read a number of classics but I have to admit that the contemporary writers of today appeal to me more than those of decades ago. Conroy has learned to perfect his craft through his reading which is something any writer should aspire to do.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Nice Girls Don't Get the Corner Office Book Review

Got a great book for any woman in business to read, Nice Girls Don't Get the Corner Office 101 Unconscious Mistakes Women Make That Sabotage Their Careers (Hachette Book Group, 2004) by Lois P. Frankel,  Ph.D.

The book looks at some of the mistakes women make when conducting themselves in the business world. I've been reading through all of the coaching tips presented in this book for the last two weeks and I can't seem to put the book on the shelf and deem it as a book I've finished reading.

Frankel tells readers that business is a game that they can win it if they play it right. She is a business coach that helps women recognize and work through some of their faux pas.

"The areas in which women often aren't quite as skilled as men are knowing where the imaginary boundaries are and understanding the unspoken rules. Many of the suggestions are counter to everything we learned growing up," writes Frankel.

Some of the chapter names include:
  • How You Play the Game
  • How You Act
  • How You Think
  • How You Sound
  • How You Look
  • How You Respond
Frankel goes over common mistakes women make such as decorating their office like their home, asking permission versus informing coworkers of intentions, using minimizing words, smiling inappropriately, taking up too little space at meetings, failing to define their brand, among many, many others.

After detailing what many women do for each category, Frankel then provides coaching tips to correct the actions. It is just a really no nonsense book with great information and meaningful coaching tips. I have found myself in so many of the mistakes and found great comfort in learning how to correct my own actions.

It is well written and makes for a great professional reference guide for professional women.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

So I got an iPad for Christmas

I got it. I got what I had been asking for over the past year. I got an Apple iPad. It is a great little digital tool. I have been using it to track project notes, do my calendar, and read email. It has a much bigger screen to read email than my iPhone.

It makes a great net surfing machine. I am typing this post using the iPad right now. Of course typing is made a bit easier with the full size Apple keyboard I got as an accessory.

I've watched movies, listened to music, put an album full of my favorite photos, and yes, I've purchased a couple of e-books. Reading books is really a breeze and provides many moments of nice features for an avid reader.

Is reading in bed made more difficult because of low light? Do you spend a lot of time waiting in lobbies and wish you had a book with you to help pass the time? None of those problems occur when reading a book using the iPad.

The iPad is backlit which takes care of the low light situations. The iPad is small and compact and can easily be carried in a briefcase so that you have it with you at all times for all types of situations. I've read a book over the iPad while waiting to board a plane, while riding a plane, while waiting for my car to get its oil changed, and while waiting for my dinner to come at my favorite restaurant.

It is truly a miracle machine. All the great parts of a smartphone combined with some of the most used features of a laptop computer put into one lightweight, small power machine. Wow!