The Garret Tree
Monday, February 12, 2007
  Final edits under way
I have received the first edited chapters back from Allan & Unwin, so the book is on track for the planned publication in July 2007.

The title is now

A River Kwai Story
F Force and the Sonkrai Tribunal

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Friday, February 02, 2007
  Turning a Nikon into a scanner!

My CBC colleague Paul Gorbould of our online Archives reveals one of the secrets that Google is using to create its controversial Google Book Search, by turning high-end Nikons into a robotic scanner.
It's from a company called Kirtas, and has a total cost of about $200,000.

Details on his blog in a post called Speed Reader.

Reminds of the old sayings about using a racehorse to pull a cart.
But at least using the Nikon will likely ensure the result is readable!

As the New Yorker reported this week Google wants to scan every book ever published and this has been controversial ever since it was announced. Legal expert Jeffrey Toobin says in the story Google isn't the only outfit planning to scan every written word from Gilgamesh to Harry Potter.

Gilgamesh, at least in the original cuneiform, if you can find a copy that is not copyrighted by a museum, should have been in pubic domain for 4600 years. Harry Potter, of course, will remain copyrighted for years after the latest Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows hits the streets in July.

And Google recently announced plans to merge Google Maps with Google Books, so, in theory, you can follow your character, fiction or non-fiction, through the streets of New York or Moscow. Although I wonder how Google Book-Maps would handle the settlements in Robert Heinlein's Moon is a Harsh Mistress.
(Wikipedia entry)

I now have a "what do I have to lose" attitude about Google Book Search, especially since Toobin's article shows that the publishers are of two minds (or perhaps forked tongues) on the issue, at one end making deals with Google and on the other suing over copyright issues.

Ever since book publishing became part of media conglomerates and began selling books to the major chains, rather than the reading public, the author has become the least important person in the process. I simply assume--and most writers I know agree with this--that I am going to be ripped off anyway. So what's a little copyright infringement along the way? Perhaps if Google finds a way to pay the author's share directly for those who want to view or download copyright works, rather than going through the publishers, there will be more pluses than minuses for an author.

It's often less frustrating and more satisfying just to blog at least part of your work without having to deal with magazines that won't pay you enough for your time and effort any way or editors who write "guidelines" which are so unclear that they could have used a good copy editor. That's why I am blogging how I am building my model railway, rather than bothering to go to the magazines, which demand all rights --another ripoff.

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I write in a renovated garret in my house in a part of Toronto, Canada, called "The Pocket." The blog is named for a tree can be seen outside the window of my garret.

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Name: Robin Rowland
Location: Toronto, Canada

I'm a Toronto-based writer, photographer, web producer, television producer, journalist and teacher. I'm author of five books, the latest A River Kwai Story: The Sonkrai Tribunal. The Garret tree is my blog on the writing life including my progress on my next book (which will be announced here some time in the coming months) My second blog, the Wampo, Nieke and Sonkrai follows the slow progress of my freelanced model railway based on my research on the Burma Thailand Railway (which is why it isn't updated that often) The Creative Guide to Research, based on my book published in 2000 is basically an archive of news, information and hints for both the online and the shoe-leather" researcher. (Google has taken over everything but there are still good hints there)

New blogs as of Sept. 2009
Robin's Weir
Tao of News

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    A River Kwai Story
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