November 2010

Sublime Sherlock

by Michael Alderete on 11/10/2010 · 1 comment


Sherlock Holmes is one of the most popular and enduring characters in all of English literature. In addition to the 60 original stories and novels written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, there are dozens and dozens of additional takes on the Sherlock mythos by successful authors—among them Laurie R. King, Michael Chabon, Nicholas Meyer, and Carole Nelson Douglas—with further adventures, alternative perspectives, and interesting new interpretations. More than 200 movies and TV shows (with 75 different actors portraying Holmes), radio episodes, and so on. To write that Holmes is beloved by many is a serious understatement.

The vast majority of the presentations, across all media, preserve the Victorian setting of the original stories, or at most advance the setting and the age of the detective. This Fall brought something new, a thoroughly modernized Sherlock Holmes who texts, blogs, and hacks into other people’s computers. And even up against modern CSI techniques, he still makes those around him look dim with his brilliant observations, deductions, and leaps of logic. (Some police call him “Freak.” To his face.)

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App Review: Audible Audiobook Player

by Michael Alderete on 11/5/2010 · 11 comments

If you search the App Store for “audiobook” you turn up hundreds of results, most of which are crap. (More on that in a future post.) Separating the wheat from the chaff can be a challenge. Aldo on Audiobooks will only bother to review worthwhile apps.

My favorite source for audiobooks is, an online service offering over 85,000 digital downloads of audiobooks and other spoken word content (more here). This summer Audible released the Audible audio player app, dedicated to playing Audible content and interacting with the service directly, without requiring the use of a computer or iTunes. The app is free, but requires the use of an account.

Audible app

The short version of this review is, if you’re an Audible customer with an iOS device, getting this free app is a no-brainer. It’s intuitive and optimized for audiobooks, it plays in the background just like the built-in iPod app, it adds useful features not in the built-in iPod app, and its design is clean, simple, tasteful. I’ve used it exclusively for audiobooks for the last four months, and it’s a great replacement for the iPod app. I plan to continue using it indefinitely. I still use the iPod app for podcasts and non-Audible audiobooks, and regularly miss Audible app features.

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