Monday, January 20, 2014

Runners and Readers

I had an interesting experience Sunday.

It was the Baton Rouge (Louisiana?) Marathon this weekend. I was asked to staff a table on Sunday morning. It was set up in the Welcome Center, right near where the runners picked up their checked gear after the race.

I shared space with two other folks from the Department of Culture, Recreation, and Tourism (the parent agency for the State Library of Louisiana). The other folks were from State Parks and from Retire Louisiana/Audubon Golf Trail. I was there promoting the Louisiana Book Festival (LBF). [The 11th Book Festival will be on November 1, 2014. The date has been set, the web site has wrap up information from the 10th Festival.]

I was the middle agency of the three. As we handed out information for each of our "projects" I was fascinated to see that most of the runners (and their families/friends) were not golfers and had very little interest in the golf information. However, a good number of them were interested in the Book Festival, and a significant proportion of them had at least heard of the LBF if not having attended it in the past.

There seems to be a larger overlap between runners and readers. Who knew? It occurs to me that this could be another segment to whom to promote libraries and reading.

Friday, January 03, 2014

Books Read 2013

Here is my list of books read during the past calendar year. This year was both heavy on non-fiction, and very heavily based on ARCs which I received. They are in reverse chronological order.

    Vanished: The sixty-year search for the missing men of World War II by Wil S. Hylton ARC

    Storm Front: A Virgil Flowers Novel by John Sandford

    "Spectacular Wickedness": New Orleans, Prostitution, and the Politics of Sex, 1897-1917 by Emily Epstein Landau [Dissertation for PhD, Yale University, 2005]

    My Mother's Secret by J.L. Witterick ARC

    Wilson by A. Scott Berg ARC

    Drama High: The incredible true story of a brilliant teacher, a struggling town, and the magic of theater by Michael Sokolove ARC

    The Dark Path: a memoir by David Schickler ARC

    Confederate in the Attic: Dispatches from the Unfinished Civil War by Tony Horwitz

    Sweet Thunder: A novel by Ivan Doig ARC

    Critical Mass by Sara Paretsky ARC

    The Black Country by Alex Grecian ARC

    Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker: A novel by Jennifer Chiaverini ARC

    Farewell Dorothy Parker: A novel by Ellen Meister ARC

    The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls: A novel by Anton DiSclafani ARC

    Furious Cool: Richard Pryor and the world that made him by David Henry & Joe Henry ARC

    W is for Wasted by Sue Grafton ARC

    On the Noodle Road: From Beijing to Rome, with Love and Pasta by Jen Lin-Liu ARC

    And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hossein ARC

    Laura Lamont's Life in Pictures by Emma Straub ARC

    The Lost Art of Mixing by Erica Bauermeister ARC

    The Bartenders Tale by Ivan Doig ARC

    Hidden America: From Coal Miners to Cowboys ... by Jeanne Marie Laskas ARC

    Help, Thanks, Wow: The Three Essential Prayers by Anne Lamott

The Nook
    Wife 22: A Novel by Melanie Gideon

    Four seasons in Rome : On Twins, Insomnia, and the Biggest Funeral in the History of the World by Anthony Doerr

    Becoming Normal by Mark Edick

    The Science of single : One Woman's Grand Experiment in Modern Dating, Creating Chemistry, and Finding Love by Rachel Machacek

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

TracFone Duped Me: Locked Hardware with no warning

I feel like I have been duped. If this had happened to me when I lived in Connecticut, and when Richard
Blumental was still Attorney General, I know what I would have done. I would have gone to his office with my issue. (I think that he was an incredible public advocate for consumers and consumer rights.)

So here is the story. I went to Costa Rica. I knew from prior trips that international calls are expensive as is adding international calling service. Even with international calling service (at a monthly fee), you still pay for both every call made and received. I added international data and texting, but not calling. I did what folks traveling do, I bought an inexpensive phone to use, and then bought a SIM card in the country to use for local phone calls. The local SIM card was inexpensive and gave me a local phone number.

I made a mistake though. I bought a phone, which I thought was just a phone. It was a TracFone.

Nowhere on the packaging does it say it. Nowhere in the agreement of terms and conditions does it say it. It is locked and can ONLY be used with a TracFone SIM card. The physical handset has no markings saying it is TracFone. Nowhere. Not on the case, not on the battery, not on the rest of the guts of the phone. Nowhere. (Bad marketing, by the way.)

I thought I bought a Samsung phone which came with TracFone service.

So not true.

I wound up going to a store in Costa Rica and buying another phone (Nokia, by the way), which is what I will use from now on for international traveling. It worked fine out of the box, and was even charged when I bought it (unlike the TracFone).

I had a series of emails with tech services at TracFone which were entirely unsatisfactory. Of course, I could have been talking with a machine.

They may provide a useful service, and I know some folks who have used it. However, I found them to be totally deceptive in my dealings with them. I recommend you not use them.