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With the release of windows 8, I decided to see if it would improve the performance of my sluggish Acer Iconia Tablet running windows 7. While the tablet worked OK, its performance has been mediocre to say the least. The Iconia tab running windows 7 was really not tablet friendly. While Acer had a nice “tablet” app for windows 7, it was far from what one would expect for a tablet. Using windows 7 directly was awkward and clumsy.

The install:
I went online and purchased windows 8 directly from Microsoft at their promotional rate. Prior to the actual purchase, an upgrade wizard was downloaded to the tablet and it analyzed the software for compatibility. The results stated 22 out of 28 applications and drivers were compatible. It also told me that the touch pad was not windows 8 compliant. The touch screen would work as well as it did with windows 7, but some of the functionality may be limited. While I was not happy with that piece of information, I was impressed that the wizard let me know in advance. Among the applications that was supported was my installation of Office 2010 home edition. The bluetooth driver needed to be uninstalled before the upgrade, which the wizard informed me in advance and assisted with the uninstall. It also told me that I would have to re-install the ATI (AMD) graphics driver and software. At this point I should note that the Iconia W500 comes with a 32 gig solid state drive. What the upgrade wizard failed to mention until the very last screen is that you need 16 gig of free space on the C drive to perform the install. This required removing all installed software including my copy of office 2010. While annoying, I thought I would just add back the software after the install. After freeing the space, the actual installation proceeded without any issues. It took about 45 minutes give or take for the upgrade to complete. After the installation completed and the system rebooted. I found myself on what looked like an actual tablet (older style tablet) The scrolling desktop was filled with large square or rectangle easy to push buttons. Some of the buttons were scrolling news feeds, weather and sports. One of the buttons, took me straight to my old familiar “windows” desktop. It took a while to get used to the navigation (I am still learning I admit) but after a while I was adding and removing buttons from the start. I downloaded the new Netflix app from the “app store” and began to assess the actual install.

What Worked:
After the install, With the exception of my old desktop wallpaper, all of my personal settings and files were intact. The lan card connected to my network with ease, the bluetooth functioned without reconfiguration on both my mouse and keyboard. Boot time on windows 8 on the Iconia tablet compared to the windows 7 originally on it is fast. I would say it is 35-40% faster than with windows 7. I was honestly surprised and impressed. The touch navigation worked fine, the menus are easy to use (there is a learning curve) I found them responsive and very touch friendly. The audio performed flawlessly. Internet explorer which can be accessed from a button on the start screen. It launched much quicker than IE on windows 7 on this machine. I downloaded the graphics driver and the webcam software and installed both. The install was clean and both worked perfectly after a reboot.

What didn’t work:
My biggest “gotcha” after the install was the fact that I could NOT re-install Office 2010. I received a message that stated the installer was not compatible with windows 8 and referred me to a KB article on Microsoft. The article told me the workaround was to restore the tablet to windows 7, install office and upgrade! Duh! I had to uninstall office to free sufficient room to install windows 8. Further the technote stated, if I wanted to buy a new copy of office 2010, the new installer would work. This is classic Microsoft in my opinion. I have a legitimate copy of office but because I was forced to uninstall, I cannot re-install unless I purchase it again. The other thing that did not work, is the new Netflix app on my Verizon FIOS network. I receive errors that the router is not configured correctly. On my Comcast account at my office however, the app work flawlessly. I have not had time to speak with Netflix support to troubleshoot the issue.

Overall opinion:
Despite the infuriating situation with office 2010, I am really impressed with the improved performance of the Acer Iconia tablet running on windows 8. I finally feel, I actually possess a windows true “tablet” I still have software to add back, and honestly if you were upgrading on a computer that had sufficient drive space where you would not have to uninstall office, the issue with it, would not have occurred. The app store is very limited, and the real issue is how many developers will come on board developing apps when android and IOS have so much more development.

UPDATE:

After the upgrade to windows 8, there was only 7 gig of free drive space on the SD drive. After the first couple windows 8 updates the free space was down to 4 gig. After examining the C drive I realized the upgrade made a complete backup of the window 7 operating system in a folder called “windows.old” after a quick google search, the folder can be removed manually by deleting it, or using the drive cleanup tool. After removing the old system files, I now had 11 gig of free drive space. I used the drive cleanup tool. The windows 8 cleanup tool is similar to the windows 7 tool, however, there is now a button that says “clean up system files”. Selecting that button will then give you the option of selecting “Previous Windows Installation(s)”.

ImageI was fortunate enough to have received an advanced copy of Billy two. I really enjoyed Billy one and was anxiously awaiting the release of the sequel. The Curse of the Satanic Five sort of picks up where the first book left off. The story is full of action and non-stop adventure. The plot is deep and twisting. The author did not let me down. The sequel revolves around the consequences of Billy’s actions in the first book. Without giving away spoilers, the Satanic Five are after Billy and Anastasia. They are unleashing all, in their attempts for revenge.

The story is well written and fast paced. The characters are rich, full of life and enjoyable. I had a few minor issues with the story. I found the beginning confusing; it took me several pages of reading before I realized where I was at in the story. There are also a few chapters in the book that breaks away from the story line to introduce new information, I found these breaks distracting. The distractions lessened slightly my enjoyment of the story. Lastly, what happens to Billy at the end of this book made me raise my eyebrows. I won’t go into detail, read for yourself.

Overall, I enjoyed this book and I highly recommend it and the first book, to everyone I meet. The storyline is unique, refreshing and entertaining. If you’ve read the first, the second is a must. I for one cannot wait for the third installment.

I give this book 4 stars

You can purchase this book on Amazon

As a fantasy author, I have created many names of people and places to fit the world I have created. I am often asked by readers how is a word pronounced, or listen as they pronounce the word as they think it should be. I will be the first to admit that I have mispronounced more words in my lifetime that I’ve gotten right. I have done a number of astronomy or meteorite related talks where I have apologized in advance for the mispronunciation that is bound to come out of my lips. In my world of fantasy however, I am bound by no rules other than my own. I take great pleasure in pronouncing the words I have created in the voices of my characters. To make it easier for my readers to understand Keya’s world, I have added a new section to the Keya Quests website. It is called “How do I Pronounce that Word” I am still building the list of words, but there on that page, you can click on a button and hear the word being pronounced as Keya and her people would say it.

The page requires either windows media player, or quick time player plugins for your browser. I have tested it on IE, Firefox, and Chrome. If you are looking for a word not yet on the list, let me know and I will see that it’s added. If you would like to see anything else on the Keya Quests site, let me know.

Here’s the ecover for the upcoming 4th book in the Keya Quests series. Because of the plot line, I strayed from the stock art of previous books and had an illustration created by the talented Thomas Boatwright. Of course, I had Robin Ludwig do the layout. Wait until you see the full cover around December.

I purchased an e-book copy of this book, but before I finished reading it, I had the opportunity to receive a free signed copy and took the opportunity. This was a book I knew I wanted to add to my collection. With that said, How to Market a Book is a straight forward, no-nonsense guide to book marketing. Whether it’s your first book, or in my case fourth, this book has something for everyone. Even if you have never attempted social media or marketing, this guide takes your hand, and walks you through the process in a plain talk, straight forward approach. It’s obvious the two authors know their subject matter. To borrow a line from the book, the first line for “Twitter” reads as follows: “We know, we know! The moment you saw the title, you rolled your eyes.”  I can totally relate as I have seen it myself so often. The authors then go on to give clear compelling reasons why people need to look past their preconceptions and step forward.

The subject matter of the book is arranged in an easy to read progressive order. I was highly impressed with the sections on doing your own keyword analysis, and SEO optimization of your website. My only dislike in the book is the not overwhelming, but frequent references to visit a website owned by one of the authors, which specializes in book marketing services. Other guides I’ve read frequently do the same, but generally, the links take you back to the publisher’s website where they host the content. I have no knowledge why they chose to host the reference material where they did, but personally I do not like being sent to a website that sells services to get reference material. Others may feel different. Despite the links, I highly recommend this book. While personally after several years in the field, I found a lot of the information too “beginner-ish” for lack of better term, it contained however, more than enough information to make it worth my while. I have already begun to make changes to my marketing strategies because of this book. I look forward to greater success because of it.

I give How to Market a Book four stars.

The Book can be purchased from Amazon here.

I have said it before, but I have to say it again, I love my cover designer Robin Ludwig, she does amazing work! Robin went above and beyond getting me this cover before leaving for vacation. Her professionalism and attention to detail is both commendable and refreshing. Three Souls Destiny-Bound has been rewritten to accommodate plot changes in the upcoming series. These changes will make the timeline and feel of the story, more uniform across the soon to be four editions. To celebrate the re-release, the book has been reformatted to reduce the page count and lower the cost. To Celebrate Keya’s upcoming 23rd birthday on August 26th, there will be a promotion I will detail soon. For my fans who have already read the first in the series, do not worry, this edition is the same great story and you will not be lost if you do not read this edition. For those who haven’t read the series, now will be your chance to get to know Keya and her friends. Here is the new cover.

A couple of weeks back after three days of redesign work on my website, I cursed my muse. I jokingly posted a classified ad to get rid of her, for having convinced me to go through the redesign hell I was experiencing at the time. Since then, I somehow became a muse for a fellow writer on a nanowrimo camp challenge. This has got me thinking about muses and society. The blogs are filled with references to muses pros and cons. Some hold them dear to their heart, others pound their fists in defiance of their existence, but what is a muse? The word itself is both verb and noun, I could for example be “musing” over my novel, while my “muse” inspires me to continue. On dictionary.com, my favorite definition of a muse is this one:
“the goddess or the power regarded as inspiring a poet, artist, thinker, or the like”
The key word to that definition is “inspiring” what is it that inspires you? Is it a voice in the back of your head, or perhaps a person, an achievement, or a goal? Whatever your answer, whether you want to admit it or not, that is your muse. I have boldly stated, my muse is a crazy little redheaded chatterbox of fairy. She hounds me endlessly day and night with her thoughts and ideas. You have to admit, it takes a man who is secure with his masculinity, or is totally insane to make such a statement. (The jury is still out on sane or insane). I know a friend who strongly argues there are no gods, powers, or creatures that inspire. All inspiration is created in the mind. Yet I am forced to counter, if the mind is nothing more than a biological computer with a subconscious OS and primary program that is our consciousness, then is it not true, that man uses but ten percent of their brain? Is it farfetched to propose that there might be other programs running in memory in the unused portions of the mind. Just as in a manmade computer, the underlying OS can handle multiple programs and provide transport layers so programs may share data. So why can’t that idea, have come from a program running elsewhere in the back of your mind and not you? Perhaps you have a muse after all. Think of it as a copy/paste between word processors, the destination has no idea where the words originated, it just knows they belong to it. OK, so I’m getting a bit deep, but I think you get the idea.
My point to all this, is that if you look at everything us, all we see, was inspired by a muse of one type or another. Even necessity is a muse of sorts, I give food, clothing and shelter for example. So whatever your muse may be, embrace it with open arms, forgive it when it drives you insane and enjoy the journey. I leave you with a modified poem dedicated to muses everywhere. Think of twinkle, twinkle little star when you read it.

Little muse inside my head
How I ponder what you said
You chatter on throughout the day
Your words of wisdom, here to stay
Little muse truth be told
You’re spoken thoughts are often bold
Your driving force though, makes me old
Before you babble, try to think
your crazy thoughts, make me drink
Little muse inside my head
Grant my wish and go to bed

I raise a toast to muses everywhere, slainte!
What is your muse, or do have one?
P.S.
On dictionary.com, their word dynamo told me, if I knew the meaning of muse, I know at least 20, 047 words just like a seventh grader. (Was that a compliment or an insult 😉 )

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