Daily Archives: Sunday, 11th Sep 2011

Weight and Stuff Report – 11 September 2011

Back up to what seems to be my current average weight today. Mutter.

I did have vague plans to go for a moderate walk with a camera today. But by the time I’d caught up with things and was more or less ready to get my act together, the clear blue sky had turned grey and dull, and it seemed to be ever so slightly windy, so I decided to stay in instead. And I didn’t find a suitable moment to get on the exercise bike either. Naughty Les  :slap:

So, in the absence of new pictures, here’s one for the “Funny Signs” file, spotted in Middlesbrough:

No  you're not

No you're not

Doctor Who – The Girl Who Waited

Aha! A proper stand-alone story this week, with not so much a hint of the troubles to come, which is not a Bad Thing at all. This one was written by Tom MacRae, whose last Who involvement was The Rise of the Cybermen/The Age of Steel, and it was a nicely different piece.

For a start, there was no villain or disaster to overcome, no monsters to fight, just a slight problem with time and some overly kind robots. Unfortunately, this slight problem led to Amy being left alone for 36 years, which did remarkably little for her temper.

But I won’t go into the plot details beyond that. What I’d like to talk about is the quite superb performances from Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill as Amy and Rory. Karen quite convincingly carried off playing her older self with a nice line in swordplay and a huge pile of bitterness, and Arthur was quite excellent in portraying Rory’s struggle to deal with two Amys. With the Doctor having to stay in the TARDIS to avoid being infected with a deadly disease that only affects two-hearted beings[1], this episode was an excellent chance to develop the companions, and it managed that very nicely indeed.

And in between the action fun and games, there were some quite affecting moments – Amy and Amy talking about Rory was beautifully done, and Rory’s struggle at the end was impressive stuff.

A good solid episode, and hardly anything to confuse anyone who’s been finding the wibbly wobblyness of the series so far a bit much…

Waterstone’s to launch e-reader

After various closures, takeovers and collapses, Waterstone’s is the last major specialist bookseller standing in the UK. Other shops, such as WH Smith and the ubiquitous supermarkets still sell books, but their selection is far more limited. But like a lot of retailers, Waterstone’s isn’t doing quite as well as it might, with its trade being eaten away by those supermarkets (for the more popular items) and the almighty Amazon (for everything else). They’ve been trying hard over the years, with those 3 for 2 offers[1] and assorted discounts, but beating Amazon on price wasn’t really an option.

They’re now under new ownership and new management, and changes are coming. First, the 3 for 2 deals are going, to be replaced by simple discounts on book prices. This is more convenient if you just want one book, but removes the incentive to browse and maybe discover an unexpected treasure. It also puts them right up against Amazon’s pricing model, which could be interesting.

Waterstone’s and Amazon used to get along quite nicely – in what seemed a quite bizarre deal, for many years Waterstone’s web presence was an Amazon store, but that deal came to an end, and they’ve been doing their own web thing for some years now.

The previous management tried to get in early on the eBook thing – you might recall me buying a Sony Reader from them three years ago. Unfortunately, despite continuing to sell the devices in their shops, they never quite got the point about pricing of eBooks, which meant that I bought next to nothing for the device, and was quite happy to sell it and use the proceeds to buy my Amazon Kindle.

Well, it seems that the new management, having noticed that US book chain Barnes and Noble seem to be doing reasonable business with their Nook e-reader, have decided that they want some of that, and will be developing their own device, which they’re expecting to start selling next year.

They’re also putting out a reader app for Android devices, which may get them some more business.

Interesting developments – while I’m unlikely to buy their device, a bit of competition can’t be bad. And if it helps keep actual bookshops open, I’m all for it.

BBC News – Waterstone’s to launch e-reader.

[1] Like a lot pf people, I’ve been in two minds about these – sometimes it’s a struggle to find that third book that you actually want, but other times it’s a chance to try something you didn’t know you wanted.