Category Archives: opinion

Thoughts on the Star Wars Episode VII Trailer

I was five years old when the original Star Wars was released in theaters. I don’t remember seeing any trailers for the movie. I just remember my parents taking me to the drive-in to see the movie. That’s right: the first time I saw Star Wars was at the drive-in.

When The Phantom Menace came out in 1999, I remember seeing the trailer for the movie and feeling more excited about a movie than I had ever remembered feeling before. I watched the trailer over and over again, and I remember I was almost out of my head on the evening that I went to go an see the movie.

I’m afraid I can’t say the same thing about Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens. I watched the trailer over the weekend, expecting to be filled with the same excitement I had when I first saw the Episode 1 trailer. I was disappointed. The trailer didn’t move me at all.

This probably has much more to do with me than it does any problem with the trailer or the movie. I’ve just moved beyond Star Wars. There are far too many series out there today and far too few one-out movies–or books for that matter. I understand this, of course. The economics of it is clear. If a movie is successful, why risk something else, when you have a built in audience for a sequel. Still, I am tired of sequels and remakes, just as I am tired of television dramas that are serials rather than series. I’ve even grown tired of book series. I’m sure there are lots of people awaiting George R. R. Martin’s Winds of Winter, but I burned out after A Dance with Dragons.

Let’s face it: judging a movie by its trailer is like judging a book by its cover. But it is all I have to go on so far, and so far, I saw nothing new in the story, nothing to make me say, “Ah, now that looks interesting.” Everything I saw in the trailer is simply recycled from earlier movies: the settings, the characters, the problem (“the dark side, and the light”), the weapons (we saw a double light saber in Episode 1, so a triple light saber is the next logical step). And, of course, the music.

Having been at that critical impressionable age of 5 years old when Star Wars first came out, there was no way to avoid being a fan of the movie. Yet even at five, I never remember wondering what happened to all of the characters after the Death Star was destroyed. Nor did I wonder about them in the time before the story takes place. Still, a part of me hoped for something spectacular in the trailer, and I was a little saddened that I didn’t find it there. I hope that others do.

Thoughts on HBOs Attempt to Adapt Isaac Asimov’s Foundation for Television

Isaac Asimov’s Foundation series has long been one of my favorite pieces of science fiction. I know that there is a lot to criticize about the series. It has an unadorned writing style. It has continuity problems. These are elements that I’ve learned not only to embrace, but to love, the way one comes to love a scar from childhood. The Foundation series were among the first science fiction novels to really capture my imagination. That I read them early on was a coincidence, but a happy one in my mind.

During the mid-1990s, when the Second Foundation Trilogy was authorized by the Asimov estate, I really hesitated to read the three books by Gregory Benford, Greg Bear, and David Brin. But how could I not? Each one, I thought, was better than the last, and David Brin’s ending of the trilogy was a stroke of simple genius. So I’m glad that I read them.

On television or movies, however, I’ve long been torn. Being such a fan of the Foundation series, I’ve often rooted for its success in Hollywood. On the other hand, I’m not really a movie or TV person, and I am not a fan of science fiction films on the whole. So when I heard yesterday that HBO was planning to adapt Asimov’s Foundation series for television, I had mixed reactions. But after some consideration, I’ve decided that I’m happy for fans that they are adapting it.

It took time, but over the years I’ve learned that adaptations are an art form themselves. They are an interpretation of a work, altered for the medium in which they are produced. Rarely are adaptations completely true to the original story, but that’s okay, because adaptations are not the original story. Regardless of how well or poorly an adaptation of the Foundation series is done, I can always pull the books from my shelves and read them in their original form.

Where adaptations have a bigger impact on me is the characters. I have an image in my mind of Hari Seldon. How would an adaption alter that image by substituting an actor’s face for the one I picture in my mind? Well, there’s a chance that it might alter it, but is that really any different than reading the original Foundation stories in the Astounding and then, decades later, seeing Hari Seldon rendered by Michael Whelan on the cover of one of the books?

I’d guess that an adaptation of the stories would do better as a television series than as a movie for the simple reason that the original trilogy was a “fix up” of a dozen or so stories that first appeared in Astounding Science Fiction between 1942 and 1950. The stories themselves were episodic, often ending in cliff-hangers, and that seems a natural fit for television dramas today.

I’d have to imagine some alterations to the plot of the stories. More than likely there would be some mysterious secret running through the entire series, as this seems to be what television dramas like to do these days. It’s just one of the reasons I can no longer bear to watch dramas, but understandable give the short attention span of audiences and all they have to distract them.

I haven’t decided if I will watch an adaptation of the Foundation series, but gut says no. Not because I think it will be done poorly, but because I’ve lost interest in the medium of television (and to a large extent, movies as well). Also, I’ve read the Foundation books a dozen or more times and know them very well. I think there would be deviations in even the most true-to-form adaptation that would irk me, and why put myself through that?

So, while I am glad to see that these novels are finally getting attention from Hollywood that might help bring them to a larger audience, I am, nevertheless, unlikely to see the adaptations myself, not because I don’t like the idea or think they won’t be true to the story, but because television and movies just aren’t my thing. For the countless fans who love television and movies, I’m delighted that they will get a chance to see Foundation brought to life on the screen.

A Note To Congress on the Looming Government Shutdown

Dear Congress,

I write this note with all due respect. Here are some observations by a relatively optimistic guy from whom you have  sucked away the belief that Congress as an institution has the ability to do anything except pose for cameras and point fingers.

1. My son’s t-ball team, a diverse group of three, four and five-year olds seems to me to act with better reason, maturity, compassion, and good-nature than what I observe coming out of Congress. Except when they are on the ball field throwing dirt at each other. Then it is hard to tell the difference between them and you.

2. When I read the news these days, I am reminded with increasing frequency, of those pissing matches that used to take place in high school on the quad or over by the flagpole. Yeah, we get that you are are big and powerful (and probably a little insecure). We get that you have “integrity” and you dig in. I just wish you had little less big and powerful and little more intelligence. I refer you, again, to the kids in my son’s t-ball team, who come across substantially brighter than Congress.

3. I think we paid something like $30,000 in federal taxes last year and I don’t see it doing much good in Congress. If you were my employees, behaving as your are behaving, I’d fire you without a second thought, and without regard for political affiliation. If only there was some mechanism whereby I could do this… hey, wait a minute, there is! Mid-terms!

4. Even if by some miracle, you manage to avoid a government shutdown, don’t think for a second that you will come across looking like heroes that saved the day. You don’t get to call yourself a hero when you averted a problem that you caused in the first place.

5. I know I’ve said this before, but grow a backbone! I haven’t seen such cowardly behavior since, well, possibly ever. Your behavior disrespects the courage of our founders (think of Ben Franklin’s quip about hanging together and hanging apart) to say nothing of the men and women putting their lives on the line every day so that you guys can bicker like spoiled children. These men and women are willing to make the ultimate sacrifice. You don’t even seem willing to sacrifice a single corporate donation for the greater good.

6. In other words, stop worrying about the next election and worry about getting real work done. “But,” I hear you say, “I can’t govern if I am not in office.” And my response to that is: Well, someone else can, and probably do a better job, since the slightest effort will earn something more than the failing grade that you are getting today.

7. Perhaps I am misunderstanding the situation. Perhaps I don’t have the full picture. If so it is because you manage to muddy the picture so that our view of the political process is seen through stained glass.  I’d ask you to clarify things for me, but as far as I am concerned, it is too late for that. Regardless of the reality, perception is everything and my perception of Congress at the moment is that of two groups of cowardly bullies seeing who can come across as the least cowardly bunch while still remaining in office. But I could be wrong.

8. There probably are good intentioned people among you. But they are completely washed out by the rest of you. I feel for them, but then I remind myself that you all chose this path and ultimately, we all chose you. I guess the joke is on us, right?

9. There really is something to that old quip, “If pro is the opposite of con, what is the opposite of ‘progress’?”

10. Finally, when my kids misbehave, they get a timeout to think about their behavior and what they might have done differently. I’m hoping that the voters, at least, have the courage that you lack, and come the next election, they give you all a timeout–a time out of office where you can think about your behavior and what you might have done differently.

I make this observations because I still care, because change is needed, and because my perception is that members of Congress are not part of the solution, they are part of the problem.

Respectfully yours,

Jamie Todd Rubin

Where Would I Be Without Public Libraries?

An op-ed piece by Mary Vavrina in today’s Falls Church News-Press brought to my attention the fact that the Fairfax County Public Library Board will soon be voting on a plan to “streamline” all county library services. And in this context, “streamline” is not synonymous with “make more efficient,” unless your definition of efficiency is to simply cut service. Among the items proposed in this plan:

  • Drastically reducing the number of staff available to serve library patrons
  • Eliminating the requirement for ANY staff member to have a Masters of Library Science (MLS) Degree
  • Eliminating children/youth services librarians

National politics no longer makes my blood boil, but when people start messing with libraries, it gets my dander1 up. I have been a library user as far back as I can remember. Indeed, I’ve written about how I discovered my passion for astronomy way back in kindergarten or first grade, thanks to the Franklin Township Library in New Jersey, where i lived at the time.

It got me thinking, if, growing up, the libraries I used faced the kind of draconian streamlining proposed in the Fairfax County library system, what might I have lost? It’s really not that hard to figure out. Without a good library I would have lost, or never gained:

  1. A passion for astronomy. I discovered astronomy books like The Nine Planets when I was only five or six years old. I must have checked the book out of the library a dozen times. Why not? It was free!
  2. A passion for science. Reading about astronomy made me curious about science in general. Thankfully, there were librarians who worked well with children and could help me find new and interesting books to feed my curiosity. It was from librarians, not teachers in school, that I learned about the Dewey Decimal System, and that the science books were in the 500s.
  3. A freedom of thought. One book leads naturally to another. A library made it possible for me to experiment with everything without costing me any money. I could check out a book on the history of France. If I didn’t like it, I could return it and check out a different book, maybe one on horses, or dinosaurs. There was no risk. I was free to roam.
  4. A head start in reading. My parents read to me when I was a kid. For as far back as I can remember, I wanted to learn to read. I was frustrated by the fact that I had pretty much memorized every book I owned. The library provided a constant stream of fresh material for me to practice with as I was learning to read. I have no doubt that the library made me a better reader.
  5. The ability to think critically. You read a book and you form opinions. You learn to be critical, how to separate fact from fiction. If an author made a claim that I found farfetched, I learned to look up the sources they cited, thanks to the patient help of librarians, who taught me how to use the card catalog.
    Continue reading Where Would I Be Without Public Libraries?

Notes

  1. A word I might not have known if I didn’t have access to quality libraries growing up.

One or Two Spaces After a Period?

I am currently away on an Internet Vacation. I’ll be back online on March 31. I have written one new post for each day of my Vacation so that folks don’t miss me too much while I am gone. But keep in mind, these posts have been scheduled ahead of time. Feel free to comment, as always, but note that since I am not checking email, I will likely not be replying to comments until I am back from my Vacation on March 31. With that said, enjoy!


Not long ago, I saw a post on Facebook from my friend, Ryane, in which she described her frustration at the inconsistency in various manuals of style as to whether there should be one or two spaces after a period. If ever there was a first world problem, it seems to me that this is it. When I did a little poking around, I found, much to my surprise, that this is a hot topic, witness Slate.com’s “Space Invaders” article that still seems popular.

If you ask me, it is not only a first world problem, it is a non-problem. My definition of non-problem is a problem that is essentially imagined because there are solutions to it. The most obvious solution to me is the practice of splitting the content from the presentation. Folks familiar with HTML and CSS have some notion of this. HTML contains the content you want to present. CSS define the presentation itself, what fonts to use, what type of spacing, etc. It seems to me there is no difference between this and manuscripts.

Indeed, I have written before how I think that one of the biggest drags on a writer’s time is fretting over formatting. Intuition tells me that writers who use plain text editors for the bulk of their writing are probably measurably more productive when it comes to actual writing than writers using Microsoft Word.

How does this apply to one or two spaces after a period?

If you separate the content from the presentation layer, it becomes a moot point. When you are writing the content, uses as many spaces after a period as you like. Uses to using two spaces? Use two. Insist that only one is the way to go, use one.

When you compile the final document, that is where the ultimate style should be applied. If I am writing for a publication that wants to see only one space after a period, I’ll compile my manuscript to have just one space after a period. If I am writing for a publication that wants two spaces, I’ll compile it for two spaces. When I say “compile” a manuscript, I am referring to the process that takes the content and puts it into some kind of standard format. For me, this process is entirely automated.

For fiction, I use Scrivener for compiling my manuscripts. Scrivener takes my content, no matter how I’ve formatted it, and then compiles it to pre-defined standards. Some of these standards come out of the box, some of them can be customized to your needs. Another way to look at this is through line-spacing. Many fiction markets want their manuscripts double-spaced. What if it is your preference to write single-spaced. Rather than wasting time futzing with setting to get the content to look the way the publisher wants it, write it how you are comfortable writing it. Then, when you compile it through a tool like Scrivener, let the tool double-space the content for you.

Compiling my manuscript is the last thing I do before sending it to a publisher. These days, all but my final, compiled draft go through Google Docs. It’s that final compiled draft that goes through Scrivener and it is within Scrivener that I have the various “templates” for the publisher to whom I sell stories and articles. And I ‘ve written some scripts for Google Docs that allow me to, say, take my Period. Space. Space and convert it to a Period. Space. What it amounts to is a rather simply search and replace. All I’ve done is automate it.

With this kind of obvious solution available to just about anyone who wants it, I really don’t see what the fuss is about whether there should be one or two spaces after a period. Do it however you like, find out the preference of your editor, and compile the manuscript to that preference.

Oh, and for the record, I’m a period space space guy. It’s just what I’m used to. But with a single mouse-click, I can produce a manuscript with n spaces after a period where n >= 0. Just tell me how you like it and that’s what I’ll deliver. You’re happy, I’m happy and the world rolls on.

Dear Wells Fargo, Please Stop Poaching!

We refinanced our house recently and it was done through Wells Fargo and they did a terrific job, While the process took a while, there was very little paperwork involved (discounting the 146 pages we had to sign at the closing) and our mortgage guy was very, very good. We were happy with the results.

Not long after the process was finished, I got a cold call from Wells Fargo. They noticed that I had an auto loan with another bank. They could do better, they said, and it would be convenient to have the mortgage and car loan in one place. So I told them to run the numbers, make a proposal and get back to me. A day later, they came back and told me that, in fact, they could not match the deal that I currently had on the loan. Fine. No big deal.

A few days after that, I got another cold call from Wells Fargo. I am eligible for free checking with them. How would I like to switch my account over? No thanks, I explained. I was very happy with my current bank and besides, it would cost me a pretty penny in my own time to get everything transferred over. There was nothing in it for me.

And then yesterday, I got another cold call from Wells Fargo. They noticed that I was in good standing with the mortgage and they would like to offer me the opportunity to transfer my other banking to them. Well, this time I lost my patience a little. Mind you, I was very polite on the phone. I explained that I’d received several calls already. I explained that Wells Fargo offered to get me a better rate on my car loan–and then failed to do so. I explained that they offered me free checking, but it wasn’t worth my time. So I said, “I’ll tell you what. We can make it worth my time if you can give me a good interest rate on the savings account, say 5%?” Of course, they weren’t able to do that.

Wells Fargo, I appreciate the great job you did on my mortgage. Nice work, kudos, etc., etc. But please stop poaching me for other services, especially when I come to find you can’t even match the deals I am already getting. This is an obnoxious way of annoying customers, which I’m sure is not your intention, but which, at least in this case, is the result.

Now, who wants odds on me getting yet another cold call from Wells Fargo in the near future?

This Year’s Baseball Hall of Fame Ballot

Later today, the Baseball Writers Association of America will come out with their Hall of Fame ballot for 2013. I have a feeling that for only the third time since 1965, there may be no one on the list. Included among the eligible candidates this year are Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, and Sammy Sosa. While all three have Hall of Fame numbers, all three of their characters are called into question by the issue of steroids. In order to get into the Hall of Fame, a player must appear on 75% of the ballots cast.

I suspect that this year, these three names at the very least will not appear on the list. And it’s possible that no one will. And I am okay with that.

I agree with what Tom Verducci has written:

Voting for a known steroid user is endorsing steroid use. Having spent too much of the past two decades or so covering baseball on the subject of steroids — what they do, how the game was subverted by them, and how those who stayed away from them were disadvantaged — I cannot endorse it.

As a baseball fan, I remember watching with absolute excitement on the day that Mark McGwire hit the homerun that broke Roger Maris’ single-season homerun record. I just happened to get home from work early that day and turn on the ballgame. I couldn’t even sit down. It was thrilling. And it made it that much more disappointing when questions arose of his steroid use. I felt cheated, betrayed even. It wasn’t even disappointment that the record would now have a black mark. It was the damage done to the entire game. It has been a long road since then–fifteen years–and the damage still isn’t entirely healed.

It may be that Clemens and Bonds eventually get into the Hall of Fame. But, given their numbers, not getting in on their first year of eligibility sends a message that Cooperstown is about more than just the numbers1. And maybe, it will help finally bring to a close a disappointing era in the national pastime.


Notes

  1. And yes, players with character flaws have been voted into the Hall of Fame before. But that should not be a precedent we want to emulate.

Thoughts on The Hobbit

On Sunday, Kelly and I left the kids with their grandparents for a few hours and escaped to see The Hobbit at the local theater1. It was playing in 3D/48fps and that is how we saw it. The theater was at a large, outdoor shopping mall here in southwestern Florida and while the mall was packed with holiday shoppers, the movie theater was empty. I mean empty. Indeed, until the previews were over the movie was beginning, Kelly and I were the only two people in the theater. I think there ended up being a grand total of 6 people.

Not to bury the lead: I loved the movie.

Then again, I expected to. I really enjoyed Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy and had no reason to doubt that I wouldn’t enjoy this one. I went into it not having read The Hobbit in more than 30 years, and with the understanding that, like the Lord of the Rings trilogy, it was an adaptation of the book, not a strict canonical rendition. What this amounted to in reality was that I couldn’t begin to tell you how the movie differed from the book. Except for the very beginning, of course, which I liked and thought was well-done and a good way to introduce the new movie.

I’ve read complaints online that the movie was slow to start, that they didn’t get out of the Shire for the first hour or so. It was a while before the band of adventurers left the Shire, but that didn’t bother me at all. I enjoyed the story throughout, and found the humor both whimsical and amusing. It was a little tricky keeping track of all of the dwarves, but even that faded into the background of the larger story.

Indeed, I found the movie to be thoroughly entertaining and enjoyable, a good start to this new trilogy. It was the first movie I’ve seen in 3D and even the addition of 3D turned out to be an aid to storytelling as opposed to a distraction from it.

The most disappointing aspect of the movie is that I have to wait an entire year to see the next part. But I can forgive Peter Jackson for that. Besides, at my age, with two little kids running me ragged, the year seems to zip right by. It will all pass in a flash and before you know it you’ll be reading about the 24-hour-long Tolkien marathons people will be making.


Notes

  1. This was my first time to a movie theater since April of this year. I really don’t get out to movies very often.

The GoDaddy Outage

As everyone now knows, GoDaddy suffered a major outage yesterday,  which caused this site to be down for four hours.

It wasn’t that big a deal for me. I maintain this site as a labor of love, not as a business, so I didn’t lose any money over the outage. For others, that wasn’t the case. Still, I was surprised by the vitriolic response by many people. Frustration forced people to jump to conclusions that didn’t necessarily have evidence to back them up. For instance, a lot of people blamed Anonymous for the hack. They did this because someone on the Internet with a Twitter handle that had the word “anonymous” in it claimed to be the attacker. With no evidence. It could have been just a person in a room being a dick. Who knows!

What bothered me most about the outage was the barrage of ambulance-chasing hosting companies that came out of the woodwork to kick GoDaddy when they were down. Kind of sad that they would do this, but I think it shows how desperate they are for business–which is probably not a good sign for their future outlook.

I don’t agree with all of GoDaddy’s decisions and positions, but my purpose in switching to them last year was to avoid the maintenance headaches and outages I had with my previous hosting service.  And since I have switched to them from my previous hosting service, I have not had any problems and not had to stress that my site would be down. Yesterday was the first time. And I would point out that GoDaddy advertises 99.9% uptime. Over the course of a year, there are 8,776 hours. A 99.9% uptime means that a service is only unavailable for 8.7 hours for the entire year. GoDaddy was down for 4 hours yesterday so–at least for me–they are still well within their 99.9% uptime threshold.

Dear political campaigns: I will no longer be a party to nonsense

The transcript goes something like this:

ME: Hello?

CALLER: Hello, Mr. Rubin, this is [name redacted] from the [political organization redacted]. As I’m sure you know this is a tough election year and–“

ME: Let me stop you right there. I’m not taking calls from political campaigns.

CALLER: I understand, Mr. Rubin, and I won’t take up much of your time. You’ve given generously to [political campaign redacted] in the past and I–“

ME: I’m sorry to interrupt you again, but I’m no longer taking calls from political campaigns. Good luck with your efforts and sorry for hanging up on you.

Click.

The thing is, you can no longer open your eyes without seeing some kind of political advertising. It gets worse every year and thank goodness that I no longer watch television or I might go out of my mind. Thank goodness I have satellite radio or I might go bonkers listening to the political ads. Open a newspaper: politics. Read a blog: politics. Browse your Twitter stream: politics. It would be one thing if the ads were in the form of: here is what I did/will do to improve things instead of here is what the other fellow will do to fuck them up. The way we hotly debate political topics in public forums today remind me of the way we debated philosophy (or pretty much anything) as naive college freshmen. We focus only on edge cases. We get overly emotional. We talk and we don’t listen. We think our clever arguments are unique. Well, I’m tired of listening, but no because I don’t like the arguments being made (although, generally, I don’t). I just want a vacation from it all.

And while I hate to say it because I’ve tried very hard over the last ten years to gather in my sometimes unmanageably large ego: I don’t need anyone to explain the “issues” to me. I don’t need the person on the phone pitching their own narrow view like some snake oil salesperson. I don’t need the editorial columns. I don’t need the character assassination spots because, well, I have a brain and a higher-than-average IQ, and I can think for myself. Okay, there, I said it. I may not be setting records as a science fiction writer, or software developer, or blogger, or technology specialist, but I’m a pretty smart guy. I can see the logical flaws that crop up in nearly every ad. I know an ad hominem attack when I see one.

Continue reading Dear political campaigns: I will no longer be a party to nonsense

Stephen King: Digging Beneath the Topsoil

Yesterday, several friends pointed me to an article in Salon.com titled, “My Stephen King Problem” by a fellow named Dwight Allen. Actually, they pointed me to an excellent rebuttal to the article by Erik Nelson titled, “Stephen King: You Can Be Popular and Good.” You might consider reading both before continuing.

I suspect they directed me to these posts for two reasons: (1) I am a writer of genre fiction; (2) I am a Stephen King fan. With regard to the latter, I think it is important to state for the record that I wasn’t always a Stephen King fan. Before I read any of his books, I rather arrogantly dismissed him as “just another horror writer.” Then, sometime back in 2001, I read ‘Salem’s Lot. I thought the first two-thirds of the book were excellent. But then the monsters showed up and I thought the book got silly. I decided King wasn’t for me. That said, a few years later, I decided to give him another try. I read Needful Things and had almost the exact same reaction. They say the third time is a charm, however, and in September 2009, not long after our son was born, I sat down to read King’s book On Writing and I absolutely loved it. Of course, that was nonfiction, but in it, he talked about several of his books and stories and charmed the reader in such a way as to make it virtually impossible not to give his fiction another try. So I decided to start from the beginning and I read Carrie. And you know what? I thought it was a pretty good book. I followed that up with The Shining (I’d never seen the movie) and I enjoyed that one as well. And then I read It and I still consider that to be one of the finest pieces of fiction I’ve ever read.

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Continue reading Stephen King: Digging Beneath the Topsoil

Dear Scientific American, Left hand, meet right hand

I get that third-party vendors of digital magazines like Zinio may not share subscription information with the source magazine in question. So when I subscribed to New Scientist through Zinio and I kept getting renewal messages from New Scientist, it kind of made sense, in a bizarro-world kind of way. New Scientist simply didn’t have any way of knowing that I was still a subscriber through Zinio.

But Scientific American is another story. I love Scientific American and have been a subscriber for 15+ years now. Recently, I let my paper subscription lapse and replaced it with a digital subscription. The digital subscription is not through Zinio, but through Scientific American‘s website. You’d think all of this would be associated and recorded in the same database, but I keep getting e-mail from Scientific American with urgent warnings that my subscription has lapsed and I am going to miss out on vital scientific reporting, to say nothing of great savings on my subscription.

Wrong. I am not missing out on anything. I have the latest issues, all of them. I got them using my subscription to the digital (PDF) version of Scientific American, to which I subscribed through the Scientific American website. Why can’t their subscription department figure this out and stop pestering me? You’d think that a magazine that reports on science and technology–including articles on information technology–would have a clue and get their act together.

Come on, folks, you can do better than this. After all, you are Scientific American for crying out loud!