Coming to Terms with Gay Rights

Where once it was culturally unacceptable to be involved in a homosexual lifestyle, today it is celebrated in certain circles and viewed as a viable family alternative in others.

Gay Rights is a term we have all heard and read about, but what does it mean?

If it means that those involved in a gay lifestyle are no longer subjected to laws that forbade this lifestyle then the rights have already been extended.

Many would argue that Gay Rights is much more complicated than that.

Some homosexual lobbyists are pursuing and sometimes winning a very specific argument in state governing bodies and in the corporate world. The argument is that gay couples should be extended insurance privileges in the same way traditional marriages receive.

Public schools often have books dealing with alternate lifestyles (including homosexuality) on their library shelves.

Gay Pride parades are featured in cities throughout the world.

It would seem that the rights of homosexuals are being improved with each passing day. In Massachusetts, gay marriage is recognized while a handful of other states recognize civil unions among same-sex couples.

There are even a growing number of churches that will perform and recognize same-sex civil unions. Some denominations have also accepted gay clergy.

Some African Americans have been vocally opposed to comparing Gay Rights with Civil Rights. The feeling among some is that African Americans were born with their skin color while many consider homosexuality to be a choice.

There has been an argument that there may be a gay gene that makes it almost impossible for a gay or lesbian individual to act different. This runs contrary to reports that indicate there may be a gene that may make an individual more susceptible to becoming homosexual, but the choice remains with the individual unlike a choice of skin tone in African Americans. If there is a choice in one scenario and no choice in the other then some cannot bring themselves to view these two movements in the same light.

Another area of contention is hate crimes bills that are discussed in the courts as well as on the floor of the senate and congress. The idea is to enforce a more severe penalty for crimes that are considered motivated by hatred. While this is not limited to homosexuals it is inclusive of crimes committed against this sector of society.

Proponents indicate this will serve as a deterrent to those who may have considered violence against a gay or lesbian individual. Opponents of hate crimes legislation indicate that this only leads to someone trying to interpret the motives behind an act of violence. They also believe that harsh penalties are already in place to deal with violent crimes without the need for additional penalties that may be viewed as entirely subjective.

Some might further argue that the gay community will not be content to settle for equal rights, they will push for protected or elevated rights. Those who espouse this argument believe that the protected status may actually result in a lessening of rights for heterosexual citizens.

The many layers of this argument are debated both publicly and behind closed doors and the debate is bound to continue as each individual comes to terms with their own belief system and how this issue fits within that point of view.

Discuss the Gay Rights at Controversial Forums. Have Debates in our Debate Forums.

Author: Thomas Phelps
Article Source: EzineArticles.com
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Amazon Kindle 2 Review – An In Depth Amazon Kindle 2 Review

Before I ordered my Amazon Kindle 2 from Amazon, I read several reviews on the web. There are literally hundreds if not thousands of people out there that have written their own personal Amazon Kindle reviews. But, there are some people that truly do not understand the magnitude of this new innovative device (it’s current stage in development and how fast it’s market is growing) and there are some that do. While reading these reviews, it becomes very clear which category people fall in. To put it in another perspective, I work at top well-known investment research firm and without getting into too many specifics, lets just say we are very bullish on AMZN stock most specifically because of the huge potential of the Amazon Kindle in the emerging e-reader market. No I am not trying to give investment advice (that’s not part my job) but I just want to make it very clear how excited I am about the product and its market in general. My Amazon Kindle 2 review is no holds barred and no BULL SHIP!

In the few weeks prior to the announcement of the Amazon Kindle 2, you couldn’t turn a virtual corner without stumbling over alleged rumors and “insider” information regarding the new innovative device. Last month, having played with my boss’s Amazon Kindle 2 at the office, I found myself in absolute lust for this gadget. Before I decided to order the Amazon Kindle 2 as Christmas gift for myself;), I reviewed, reviewed, and REVIEWED several Amazon Kindle 2 websites, articles, and reviews. This is my personal take / response to some of those good andbad reviews. The following is my Amazon Kindle 2 review:

1. The Amazon Kindle 2 is not cheap! First of all, let’s not beat around the bush; I certainly wanted to know how much I was in for right away! As is the case for all other new / “hot” items, such as the iPhone 3Gs, Playstation 3, and LCD tv’s, (which were originally priced for hundreds more than the Amazon Kindle 2), the Kindle 2 is priced a little on the high-end. Currently, the Amazon Kindle 2 is on sale for $259. Recently, Amazon’s CEO announced an “amazing” deal for Kindle 1 owners at a press conference: If they ordered within the next 24 hours, they could jump to the front of the line for pre-orders! There wasn’t even a discount offered, just the “privilege” of spending $259 quicker than non-existing Amazon Kindle 1 owners. What a great deal huh?? Later though, I considered some other factors. Relative to purchasing new books and best sellers on a regular basis, the Amazon Kindle 2 really isn’t that expensive. Have you looked at the price of new books lately?? They can be pretty expensive themselves, especially at big name stores like Barnes and Noble and Borders. Even online at Amazon, you’ll pay $50 for the Twilight Saga Collection and $15 for Sarah Palin’s new book (not that I would want to read her book anyway but you get the point!). Most e-books are $9.99 or less. Over the long-run, especially if you are enthusiastic book reader like me, the Amazon Kindle 2 is essential.

2. What does it look like? According to its creators, the key design objective was to make the Amazon Kindle 2 “disappear”. When we read a good book, we tend to get so immersed into the author’s world / story that the physical book eventually disappears. The thinking behind the Kindle was to make sure we are still able to get lost in the reading, not the technology. The Kindle 2 has a black-and-white 6″ screen and uses electronic-ink display technology: the screen displays ink particles electronically to make it look like real books, newspapers, magazines, etc. As aforementioned, I sit on my butt all day in an office in front of a computer screen. During my lunch breaks and when I get home, the LAST thing I want to do is look at a computer screen!! However, I actually found that the Kindle’s screen has a pretty soothing contrast and looks like a real page. Also, the Kindle 2 does not use backlighting which eliminates glares for daytime / outdoor reading.

The Kindle also has six adjustable font sizes and utilizes 16 shades of gray. So when your eyes get tired or if you have a book that has small font, you can make it bigger on the Kindle screen. Compared to the first version, the Amazon Kindle 2 is MUCH slimmer and more refined. It is about 1/3 of an inch in profile and weighs 10.2 ounces. That’s about the size of most magazines, only this gadget can hold up to 1,500 books in one!

3. The five-way joy stick: piece of crap?? The five-way navigation is like those pencil-eraser mice that come on laptops (in between the keys); I found it pretty intuitive but not that convenient. Sometimes I felt that the joystick was a little slow, but not a deal breaker. Something like a track ball on the Blackberry would probably be a better solution. A touch screen would be ideal! There are also page-turning buttons located on both sides and the screen can be rotated from portrait to landscape views for optimal comfort.

4. “Monotasking Hardware”. I read several reviews and comments on how the Amazon Kindle 2 only does ONE thing. First of all, let me just say that the Amazon Kindle 2 is NOT, I repeat NOTan iPhone!! Most cameras do only “one” thing, but like the Kindle, they do one thing very well. The bottom line about my digital camera is that as long as it takes high-quality pictures, I am perfectly content. The 2 GB storage capability is not for storing all kinds of content (music, maps, FaceBook, Shazam, Table Tennis, Air Hockey, ESPN, etc.), it is for storing 1,500 BOOKS! If you’re in the market for an innovative reading device, why would you want to have all the aforesaid distractions? When you finish a book, you simply download another one and begin again. In short, the Amazon Kindle 2 may have one main function (reading) but you can still download a number of different formats in addition to books, like newspapers, magazines, and blogs.

5. Simplicity. The Amazon Kindle 2 is simple and easy to use. It is wireless and ready to go right out of the box; there are no cables, no setup, and no software to install. During the Amazon Kindle 2 review presentation, Amazon’s CEO showed a video where one lucky tester said he never read manuals (who does??), and he had no trouble at all using the Amazon Kindle 2 right away. The design team also claims to have improved the battery life on the Kindle 2. The Kindle 2 will stay charged for a week with wireless on and two weeks with wireless off (varies based on usage). However, I did see a few comments on the web that since both the Kindle 1 and 2 have long battery lives, the difference is hardly noticeable.

6. Is the Kindle too fragile? This is a touchy subject for some people. I read several reviews regarding the durability of the Amazon Kindle 2 and I found that it really depends on the person using it. Some people go through their day worrying that their Kindle may be too flimsy and that it might break in their bags. Of course nothing can replace the durability of a good-old-fashioned book; you can drop it, throw it, use it as a door stopper, and it will still be readable. Personally, I didn’t think it is that flimsy at all. I guess I can see how jamming a few books and magazines into your bag, and even the laptop (all together with the Kindle) can cause apprehension. However, when I have my Amazon Kindle 2, I’ll be carrying half as many magazines and books. Sounds like the problem is solved to me! On a side note, just like cell phones and laptops, there are also various Kindle cases you can buy separately for more protection.

7. The Amazon Kindle 2 can read to you! True. With the Text-to-Speech feature, the Amazon Kindle 2 can read English books, newspapers, magazines, and blogs out loud while you’re on the train, as you’re walking, or when it gets too dark outside, at which point you can turn on the audio and listen to the rest of the chapter. You can even have the Kindle read to you while you drive from point A to point B. You can also choose between a male and female voice that can be sped up or slowed down according to your preference. Every now and then however, the reader will mispronounce items and may give wacky emphasis. For example, the reader has been known to pronounce “dash” instead of pausing at one; still not a deal breaker though.

8. eBooks are the FUTURE. The Amazon Kindle 2 review presentation featured testimonials from Kindle 2 users, saying that they read now more than ever. I concur with this because I often leave books, magazines, and articles behind because I simply can’t carry all of them. Plus, I only read what I have on hand… doesn’t everyone?? The Amazon Kindle 2, with its instant access to over 390,000 books, will surely expand my reading horizons as well as yours as popularity continues to intensify.

As is the case with all new cutting-edge technology, the Amazon Kindle 2 has several negatives, but in my opinion, the benefits far prevail. Amazon has nailed the eBook market and will probably dominate for several years. I expect that we’ll be reading eBooks while we rocket to Mars in 2100. Whether you join the bandwagon now or later, it is inevitable. Send me a message at my website if you have any questions regarding my Amazon Kindle 2 review.

Lately, I’ve been working on a website that reviews the Amazon Kindle 2 even further: reviewing Amazon’s main e-reader competitors, emerging issues / stories, Kindle accessories, and user tips!CLICK HERE to get the latest scoop / reviews on the Amazon Kindle 2 and related products.

Author: Aaron Espinoza
Article Source: EzineArticles.com
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True Blood Vs Twilight – Which Has the Bigger Bite?

Two of the biggest and most anticipated paromantasy series are making (or have made) their debut this month. True Blood hit the small screen on June 13th with its season 3 premiere, and The Twilight Saga: Eclipse hits the big screen on June 30th. My question to you is:

Which is the ultimate vamp saga: True Blood or Eclipse?

The battle of the Twilighters and True Blooders has been raging on, both with huge followings. This doesn’t mean that the Twilighters aren’t fans of True Blood, or vice-verse – it’s just the debate of which one is the better of the two series, both in literature and on-screen.
Twilighters are fierce in their support, as seen by Twilight’s complete take over at the MTV Movie Awards this past Sunday. True Blood is not slacking in the awards arena, with both an Emmy and a Golden Globe under its belt.

It is also clear that neither phenomenon is going anywhere. Alan Ball confirmed in January that True Blood will be back for a fourth season and Wyck told the Times earlier this year that Breaking Dawn is going forward (still not sure if it will be one movie or two), and shooting will begin this Fall.

So, what’s the verdict? If you ask me: True Blood wins – Hands Down!

Wait! Before you hit send on the hate email you just put together, hear me out.

Don’t get me wrong – I love the Twilight Saga and consider myself a Superfang, but True Blood has it all: Action, Romance, Mystery, Horror, plus it is just plain steamy. Vamps and Werewolves are scary, sinister and sexy – which is pretty much why we love them. True Blood brings this to the forefront making you love them and fear them at the same time. Key Examples: Remember when sensitive and tranquil vampire Bill went a little loco and killed Sookie’s molesting uncle – wasn’t that the sweetest and scariest thing you ever saw?! How about Eric Northman? Do I even have to give you an example? That vamp is walking danger and sex on very long legs (sorry, you can clearly tell who my paromantasy vamp is).

Twilight can be the complete opposite. It does have moments of action, but it is essentially a love story, without the added bonus of gore and suspense. We can pretty much predict what is going to happen from beginning to end. Even the fans out there have to admit that it can also get down right depressing at times! Remember the scene where Bella sat at the window for months after Edward left – ugh. I was screaming at her to get up and get over it already. Sorry, that part just ticked me off. That leads me to the next bit; True Blood characters are just more entertaining. Let’s take a look:

Bella vs. Sookie

Sookie can be ditzy and downright annoying at times, but she doesn’t take crap from anyone (or anything!). She sticks up for what she believes in and isn’t afraid to take the bull by the horns, or should I say the vamps by their fangs. This lady is fierce when she wants to be. Plus, she can read minds and that’s hot.

Bella is the complete opposite. She’s smart and shy, but she is too dependent on others. Come on – Admit it! When she lost Edward, her world turned upside down. She was pretty much the walking dead, which is funny cause isn’t that Edward’s job:)

She stood in that crazy zombie state until she started hanging out with Jacob. When Jacob wanted to ditch her, Bella nearly went insane again – she begged him not to leave her. Not cool! Like I said before, Bella and Sookie are complete opposites. Bella’s power: The vamps can’t read her mind.

Winner is: Sookie

Leading Men

Do you prefer a vamp that sparkles or is completely dead in the sunlight?
Do you prefer a vamp who will recite poetry to you or a vamp that will make you scream poetry in the bedroom (if you catch my drift)?

When you look at the leading male characters of Bill and Edward, determining a clear winner is pretty hard. These two are particularly similar. Two vamps that want to go against the grain and lead “normal” lives. They want to better themselves instead of becoming the monsters that you hear about in scary stories. They are both intelligent, old fashioned and are very protective of their ladies. Both are melancholy and a little to blah for my taste. That is why I am team Eric and team Jacob!

Winner is: Tie. They are too much alike to call a clear winner

Lady Stealer

You can’t have a paromantasy without throwing in a love triangle. Not to worry: Eric and Jacob are here to give us the drama we want.

Eric: Ah, Eric. What can I say about him? He is walking sex, danger and evil, with a hidden soft spot in that non-beating heart of his. Isn’t that an oxy moron for you? He locks up and tortures Lafayette one minute, then saves Sookie and cries for Godric in the next. His character leaves you on your toes at all times. Do you trust him or not? Are his intentions pure or does he just want something from you? Is he hot or is he hot? Okay, that last one doesn’t make sense. The point is: with Eric, nothing is predictable, nothing is straightforward and everything is erotic and sexy. This is why we love him. Men want to be him and ladies; well we want to do much, much more to him;-)

Jacob: He is the lovable werewolf who will die defending the people he loves, especially Bella. He is both immature and mature for his age. This is confusing, but true. When it comes to Bella he is naive, but when it comes to life – he gets the big picture. This werewolf is cute with an edge.

Winner is: Eric. Did you even have to ask?! This one is no contest.

Supporting Cast

True Blood
This is where things get interesting. True Blood has a huge array of characters that are all interesting, entertaining and down right funny. Case in point: Lafayette. Who doesn’t love the flamboyant gay guy who can be your makeup artists, stylist and your bodyguard all at the same time? He dances, wears makeup and can throw a killer punch. He is the manliest guy in a skirt and I love him.

Jason: He is the dumb, hot, athletic blonde brother of Sookie whose main goal is to get laid any chance he gets. He is funny and strong. A trouble seeker, but loyal to those he loves – sweet and incredibly stupid. He is the ladies man whose escapades leave us dying, figuratively and literally.

Tara: She is a complete aggressor. She will take on the world, but is also quite gullible. I must admit that she is not my favorite character and I prefer the books version of Tara to the TV version, but there is also never a dull moment in her life and that makes for great entertainment.

Pam: Eric’s sidekick may not be a regular, but when she is on – she is memorable. She is classy, pretty, snarky, witty and sarcastic all wrapped up with a comically evil bow. This fashionista vamp can take a crowd down in seconds without wrinkling her outfits or messing up her shoes, except when she was looking for Maryanne – wasn’t that part funny. She is also hot, but don’t underestimate her. She’ll eat your kids for dinner – literally.

Jessica: She is the newly made vamp that is driving Bill crazy. She came on the scene and was an instant fan favorite. Why? She is funny and sexy – innocent and wild. Plus, teens are crazy as it is – teen vamps are just insane. Hey, even Eric couldn’t deal with her, and that is saying something.

The Werewolves: They are coming to town this season and those familiar with the novels have already been introduced to them. They are strong, fierce and incredibly hot. For those who haven’t been keeping up with TB news, the character of Alcide has this last requirement down pact. Take a look:

Twilight
The supporting cast in Twilight is just that: a supporting cast – Alice aside. None of the Cullen clan is given the chance to really connect with the audience. Sure you catch a glimpse of them here and get a word from them there, but they are never given the opportunity to shine. They are potential that is completely stifled. Personalities are not really shown and other than Alice, none are really extraordinary. Just to be fair, I’ll go over the Cullen’s anyway.

Alice: She is lively and vivacious. Fierce and lovable (did you see her snap James’ neck – so yes, I did mean fierce). She can also predict the future, which is just awesome. I love her character because she demands attention. She is the cutest, sweetest vamp you’ll meet, plus she has a sense of style.

Carlisle: He is the caring “father” that is the head of the Cullen clan. He is devoted to his family and friends. He is like a doctor vamp angel and you just got to love that!

Esme: She is the “mom” of the Cullen clan and is pretty much the female version of Carlisle. She’s patient, loving and angelic (except for the fact that she hunts and drinks animal blood).

Jasper: He is the newly made vamp who is not as restrained in his desire for human blood. He constantly looks like he’s in pain or smelled something really funky because of this desire to kill.

Emmett: He is the golden boy of the Cullen brood. He’s athletic, modern, loves cars and is super hot. Too bad he only has two lines per movie. At least he is great to look at!

Rosalie: She is the designated bitch of the clan and I personally love her. She is straightforward and is very vocal in her dislike for Bella (although that does change later on). If you want an honest answer and/or opinion – this is the girl to go to!

Winner is: True Blood

Plot
True Blood addresses a number of underlying issues, while giving us the nail biting, hair pulling, adrenaline / heart pumping action that keeps us on our toes. They tackle racism, segregation, religion, and vamp rights in society.

Twilight gives us the typical forbidden romance with the normal background of vamps hiding amongst the humans and battling a few evil human blood spilling vamps that threaten society. The only twist is that they can come out during the day, but even that is not fun because they sparkle, which causes them to hide on sunny days.

Winner: True Blood

Final Verdict
True Blood and Twilight are like their respective vampire bites. True Blood vamp bites are erotic, dangerous and mind blowing, while a bite by a Twilight vamp pretty much leaves you lifeless or turns you into a cold one.

As for me: I prefer hot and dangerous. The Ultimate Winner Is: True Blood!

The fans seem to agree with me. On a poll given on my Paromantasy website, True Blood held the crown with a whopping 90% of voters voting for them over Twilight.

This article is written by Evelyn Amaro. You can find news, spoilers, pictures and articles on True Blood, Twilight, along with all things paranormal romance and urban fantasy on her Paromantasy website: http://www.paromantasy.com

Evelyn Amaro
http://www.paromantasy.com

Author: Evelyn Amaro
Article Source: EzineArticles.com
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Barnes & Noble Nook Vs Amazon Kindle – Which is the Best eReader?

Amazon’s Kindle eReader has been the leader, at least in the US, of the eReader market since the introduction of Kindle 1 in 2007. Sony has held 2nd place with 30 – 35% of the market.

But now there is a new kid on the block. In October ’09 Barnes & Noble announced its nook eReader that sold out on pre-order within a few weeks.

The nook is revolutionary primarily in its looks. It will be hard for your average gadget boy/girl to see one and not develop a serious craving. But does this mean that the nook is the best thing since the printing press for bookish boys and girls?

Let’s look at and compare some of the features of the nook and the Kindle eReaders.

For the most part reading on the nook’s e-ink screen is very similar to reading on the Kindle eReader’s e-ink screen. Both eRreaders use the same or a very similar reading screen.

What is dramatically different, and what in fact attracts many people to the nook eReader is the small LCD touchscreen under the e-ink screen. On the Kindle, navigation is accomplished by using the chicklet keyboard and the 5-way controller. The controls for the nook are mostly accessed through using the LCD touchscreen.

The nook’s touchscreen is also used for browsing books in your library or for selecting books to purchase from Barnes & Noble over the wireless connection. A virtual keyboard is available on the LCD screen for typing.

The nook’s color LCD screen looks really nice and would seem to be a very desirable feature, but there are problems with the software implementation, which we will get to in a bit.

Connectivity:

The Kindle eReader has a 3G wireless connection through AT&T for the Kindle Global, and Sprint for the Kindle 2. Amazon calls its wireless service “Whispernet”. Using Whispernet, you can usually purchase and download a book within a minute or less. You also can use the somewhat clunky but functional browser to access the internet, check email, research your reading on Wikipedia, even access another online ebook store than Amazon to purchase and download books, etc. With Kindle Global you also have access to the Kindle store in many other countries besides the US, though you have to pay a surcharge for downloading a book on the Whispernet outside of the US.

The nook eReader has both a WiFi connection and a 3G AT&T wireless connection. The difference is that the nook’s connection can only be used for purchasing and downloading books from Barnes & Noble. No internet, no Wikipedia, you cannot use it to connect to another online ebook store and purchase books.

The nook’s WiFi connection will be useful if you carry your nook eReader into a B&N store as it will download coupons and special offers to your eReader. You can also use the WiFi to browse ebooks while in a B&N store, but you can only read each book for a maximum of one hour in a 24-hour period. These in-store features are not yet fully implemented so we don’t yet know how useful they will prove to be.

Sharing

One of the nook eReader’s features that received a lot of press coverage is the ability to lend your ebooks to friends. Unfortunately, this feature is not as great as first thought. For one thing, publishers must opt in to let their books be loaned. Some have said they will not allow this. Also there are restrictions: you can only loan a particular book once ever, and only for 14 days. While a book is loaned out you cannot access it on your own nook.

The Kindle does not at this time allow this type of lending. However, you can share ebooks with up to 6 (it can vary by title) Kindles that are registered to the same account. This works well for multi-Kindle families. It is even possible to set up a reading club with your Kindle owning friends if you feel comfortable sharing a single credit card to register your Kindle eReaders to.

Other Features

One nice feature that the nook eReader has is a user replaceable battery. The Kindle’s battery is hardwired in and therefore will need to be sent back to Amazon for replacement ($60). Amazon says that even after 500 charges (ten years or so) these batteries will still hold 80% charge, so this may not be an issue for most people.

The nook also accepts an SD card for additional storage. The Kindle only has its internal storage, but that is enough to hold around 1,500 books, so this may also not be an issue for you.

A nook feature that has not received any official Barnes & Noble acknowledgment is the ability to borrow ebooks from your local library if they use Overdrive’s digital distribution service. To do this you need to install Adobe Digital Editions on your computer and use that to sideload the ebook onto your nook. You can borrow an ebook from the library for 14 days, after which it will be automatically deleted. You cannot renew library ebook checkouts. To find out how useful this feature will be in your case you should check your local library website. Most libraries do not have a large catalogue of ebooks yet. Kindle does not support borrowing library ebooks at this time

The eBook Stores

No matter how attractive the hardware, an eReader’s primary purpose is to read books. Since today’s eReaders tend to be tied to proprietary DRM formats for current titles, you want to make sure that the hardware that you choose is backed up by the best ebook store(s).

The nook’s primary ebook supplier for DRM’ed ebooks will of course be Barnes & Noble. You can also purchase DRM’ed ebooks from other online sellers that support Adobe Digital Editions. The nook is also compatible with non DRM’ed EPUB and PDF format.

With Kindle you will purchase most if not all of your DRM’ed titles from Amazon’s Kindle store. Kindle also uses a few other formats for non-DRM’ed ebooks such as MOBI and PDF. Public domain ebooks are also available for the Kindle eReaders. I suspect that at some point Amazon will also have to allow EPUB compatibility for the Kindle, as there is increasing pressure for this.

Many people disparage the Kindle’s being locked into Amazon’s ebook store for DRM’ed ebooks. While this may be true to a large extent, the fact is that the Kindle store has more titles available than B&N and all of the online stores selling ADE format ebooks put together. In most cases Amazon’s prices are less as well, although Barnes & Noble has been trying to match their prices.

If you primarily read books on the current best sellers lists you will likely be able to find these available in most formats at similar prices. The more off the beaten path your reading is however, the more likely you are to find what you are looking for at the Kindle store.

So Which eReader is Best – Kindle or nook?

If the nook eReader had not been rushed to market to make the holiday 2009 season, and if Barnes & Noble had waited until they had the software ready and the bugs worked out, then I would say that the nook would have been a very close second choice and maybe even equal to the Kindle.

In fact, the nook at present is crippled by its faulty release version software and unless B&N gets it fixed in a timely fashion the nook will be leapfrogged by the next Kindle release. Barnes & Noble has said that they are working around the clock to update the software and fix the current nook problems; and to their credit they have released a couple of updates as of this writing. However there are still lots of bugs and the nook is slower than the Kindle, which will be distracting when you are trying to immerse yourself in that next great book. In its present state the LCD screen does not play well with the e-ink screen and can be very frustrating to use.

Also, I prefer the Kindle store. My reading tastes may be different than yours however, so I would suggest you make a list of books you want to read and make a price and availability comparison between the Kindle store and B&N’s offerings. Higher ebook prices can add up pretty quickly.

The Kindle’s ability to connect to the internet and Wikipedia, etc. is also not to be underestimated.

I think that the nook eReader has the potential to be a great eReader and possibly equal the Kindle, but it is something of a gamble buying one now and waiting to see if Barnes & Noble can get all of the glitches fixed in time and also match the Kindle store’s offerings.

For more ebook reader news and reviews, please visit me at  http://www.findebookreaders.com

Author: Richard Greenlee
Article Source: EzineArticles.com
Provided by: WordPress plugin Guest Blogger

Review – Sony PSP

I’m fairly certain there are folks at Nintendo feeling some serious self-loathing right about now. You see, back in the mid-90′s Nintendo contracted Sony to develop a CD-ROM drive for the Super Nintendo. As the project progressed, a number of factors (one of them being the spectacular failure of the Sega CD and its’ followup the 32X) led Nintendo to can the project. Sony was left holding the bag, with a CD-based gaming system but no one to sell it to.

Making proverbial lemonade from lemons, Sony turned around and produced what is perhaps the most successful game console in history, the Sony Playstation. The result? For the first time in history, Nintendo took second place in the video game console market, while fellow rival Sega got out of the console business altogether.

One segment of the gaming market Nintendo still has a stranglehold on, however, is the handheld sector. Beginning with the original Gameboy, the name Nintendo has been a veritable synonym for handheld gaming. This dominant streak has held sway through several subsequent iterations of the Gameboy. Some have claimed Nintendo’s dual screen DS handheld system to be a revolutionary step forward in portable gaming. Others have decried it as gimmicky. Whichever side you fall on, there’s no doubt Nintendo execs are fingering their collars as Sony prepares to rain on their parade with their new Playstation Portable – aka the PSP.

Comparing the two systems, I’d say there’s a real chance Nintendo may finally have a serious challenger to the portable gaming throne. Most assuredly, Nintendo will claim that they are pursuing a different demographic than Sony (read ‘kids’), and to their credit the pre-teen crowd will probably favor the DS over the PSP. But for anyone over the age of 12, the PSP is definitely a serious contender for your pocket change.

Okay, so enough Nintendo-bashing. Review the damn thing already.

The first impression one gets from the PSP (once you’ve ravenously clawed your way through the packaging) is just how sleek the system is. From a purely aesthetic standpoint, the PSP is one seriously sexy piece of cutting-edge tech. The system’s faceplate is fashioned of one glassy piece, interrupted only by the protrusion of the various buttons. The backside is just as nice, with the UMD disc door featuring a prominent PSP logo inside a silver metal ring set flush against the backplate. The two shoulder buttons are clear plastic, and the perimeter edge is accented in silver giving the whole thing a very streamlined look.

Of course, looks are one thing, but how does it actually play? I’m happy to report that the PSP delivers very well in this regard. For a portable system, weight is an important factor, as it is by nature handheld. The PSP is fairly lightweight, especially considering all the hi-tech goodness crammed into it’s slim chassis. In fact, it weighs just about the same as the Nintendo DS, if you need the comparison. You could easily play this thing for hours straight without feeling weighed down.

One thing that takes a little getting used to is the somewhat cramped form-factor. While the PSP’s controls may be perfect for Japanese gamers, most Westerners will find that having a go with the PSP will involve a short learning curve while hunting for a comfortable grip. Really, though, it’s no worse than any handheld system before it, and there’s no denying that Sony designed the PSP with ergonomics in mind. The back of the PSP has a very subtle curvature on each side, creating a natural shallow channel for placing one’s fingertips…it’s a small detail, but it counts.

Sony smartly modeled the PSP’s controls on the PS2′s Dualshock controllers, minus two of the front triggers and the right control stick. Replacing the left stick is an analog ‘nub’, which works much better than it sounds. Rather than tilt on an axis, the nub moves gently in a horizontal direction, giving you the same control as a stick but without the height a stick would require. It’s actually a small bit of genius, and works great in action.

As you’ve probably heard, the PSP’s main selling point is its’ 4.3-inch hi-def screen. While 4.3 inches doesn’t sound like much on paper, the PSP’s screen really must be seen to be appreciated. Both games and feature films look absolutely fantastic, and since the screen is formatted to a 16:9 ratio both applications can be appreciated in full widescreen, high-definition glory. Watching Spiderman 2 (which was included in the first million units sold in the US) is a remarkable experience; when I first booted it up, I laughed at the game store manager and proclaimed ‘It looks better than my television!’. And sure enough, it does. The screen is bright and crisp, and you may find yourself picking details out of the image that you might not have noticed the first time around.

Of course, movies are one thing, but the PSP is primarily a game platform. You wouldn’t think so, but games benefit from the PSP’s hi-def screen more so than films. Watching something like Wipeout Pure in motion is amazing; not only is the image in razor-sharp hi-definition, it’s also widescreen, allowing a larger view of the playfield than ever before. Again, you’d think a 4.3-inch screen wouldn’t capable of very much, but it just isn’t so. Without a doubt, the PSP’s screen is one of the greatest single innovations the handheld gaming world has ever seen.

Powering the PSP is a single 333mhz processor, which may not sound too impressive up front, but visually, the PSP stacks up favorably with it’s bigger sibling, the PS2. All the flourishes you’ve come to expect from the full-size gaming platforms, sharp textures, lens flares, hi-poly models, can be found on a device roughly the size of a scientific calculator. Pick up Ridge Racer, perhaps the most visually impressive title in the PSP’s launch lineup, and you won’t miss the PS2 iterations one bit. Ditto for the aforementioned Wipeout Pure, which actually manages to overtake the PS2′s Wipeout Fusion by a fair mile…and not merely by virtue of it’s portability. It’s actually a better game…if that doesn’t say anything to you about the power of the PSP, nothing will.

The PSP also lends itself to other applications, such as viewing photos, watching videos, and playing music. Though these are definitely secondary uses for the PSP, they are no less good selling points, as the PSP handles them well enough to be a serious consideration for anyone looking for a secondary media display device. In each instance, simply connecting the PSP to your PC with a 5-pin USB cord will let you drag files from your hard drive onto the PSP’s Memory Stick. Pictures and music are fairly straightforward, while video is less so, requiring you to convert it to .mp4 format and set up a separate folder on the Memory Stick.

Picture viewing is a breeze. The PSP interface is set up in a horizontal hierarchy displaying each function; you simply navigate left or right to choose the application and then vertically to choose the source. Selecting ‘Pictures’ and then ‘Memory Stick’ will let you browse whatever images you have stored on your Memory Stick. Since the PSP uses standard Memory Stick Duo format chips, if you have a digital camera that uses MS Duo sticks, you can simply slap the stick from your digican into the PSP and browse to your heart’s content. The PSP allows you to zoom in or out and pan the photos in any direction using the nub.

Music is just as easy…you just drag your ATRAC (ech!) or .mp3 (yay!) music files onto the Memory Stick, and then navigate to them the same way you did the photos. One thing the PSP is not, however, is an iPod…you have to set up folders for each group of tunes you want, though you can assign tracks to song groups and play them back at will. That said, the PSP’s music playback functionality is great. The PSP comes with a decent set of ear buds and a remote extension allowing you to control the PSP’s music functions without having to dig the unit out of your pocket. More importantly, it sounds great. If you know how to edit .wmu playlists, you can even assign thumbnail images to the tracks which will appear when you play back the tune on your PSP.

Videos are the biggest pain in the arse, mainly because you have to do the most fiddling. Luckily, homebrew PSP programmers have already jumped to action, and there are already a number of freeware apps available online which will let you drag ‘n drop video onto your PSP with little or no trouble.

The biggest drawback to all this media fun is the fact that the PSP ships with a measly 32mb Memory Stick. By the time you start messing around with music and video files, you’ll be sorely aching for a big ‘ole 1GB Memory Stick.

So okay, I’m sure you’re wondering whether or not any of the horror stories you’ve heard about the PSP are true. One of the bigger points of contention that’s hounded the PSP is the dreaded ‘dead pixels’ issue. Reports have circulated widely that a number of PSP units have been plagued by ‘dead pixels’, pixels which are either permanently light or dark, depending on how they’re stuck. My unit does indeed have a handful of these dreaded dead pixels, but seriously…I think you’d have to be a real anal-retentive type for it to be considered truly bothersome. I’m certain that a handful of PSP’s have some serious issues, and Sony has agreed to repair or replace these units at no cost. However, seeing the problem first-hand, I can honestly say that it doesn’t seem to be that big an issue. In fact, over the last week or so, some of the ‘dead pixels’ seem to have disappeared, leaving only two barely noticeable spots. The other standout problem with the PSP’s screen is that it is a veritable magnet for smudges and fingerprints. Sony thoughtfully includes a microfiber cleaning cloth with the unit, and believe me, you’ll get a lot of use out of it. If this really bothers you, be aware that for less than $5 you can buy a number of PSP ‘skins’ which protect the screen from smudges or (gasp!) scratches.

The second biggest concern about the PSP has been the battery life. So far, in my experience, the power supply is adequate for what the PSP is…a portable gaming system. With average use, you should expect to get between 4-5 hours of use between recharges. I generally use the PSP to while away lunch breaks or spare moments in the evening when I’ve got nothing better to do, and I have yet to encounter a situation when I’ve been left with a fully discharged PSP. If you really expect to put some time into the PSP, you will probably want to get into the habit of carrying around the included 5v power supply or invest in a secondary power source (Pelican currently sells a ‘power brick’ which will recharge your PSP twice on a single charge for a mere $10). Other reports, from UMD’s ejecting from the unit when its’ twisted, to poorly fabricated ‘square’ buttons, have really been overblown. I’m sure you can find faults with the system, but overall, it’s very well manufactured and should withstand years of use provided you take care of it.

A minor issue of mine lies with the UMD movie lineup. While I’m all for enjoying fan-favorite fare like Hellboy and Kill Bill, I wonder if film studios will truly embrace the format. Will we ever be able to enjoy Citizen Kane or the works of Jean Cocteau on the PSP? I think not. Considering the highly proprietary nature of the UMD format, I can’t imagine the studios taking a risk on less bankable material for consideration for UMD release. I suppose those of us who enjoy the occasional foreign or classic film will have to resort to storing flicks on the Memory Stick. Oh well…least common denominator, I suppose…

Film snobbery aside, the PSP is truly a remarkable piece of engineering. When the PSP’s specs were first unveiled a mere two years ago, it was widely believed that Sony’s handheld system was vaporware in the making, and that the final product couldn’t possibly deliver. Amazingly, they have. Nearly every point on Sony’s ambitious list is intact. With numerous hardware and software improvements on the way (digital camera attachments, installed web browser and chat clients, PSP MMORPG’s), Sony has crafted the first true challenger to the handheld gaming throne…and suddenly it feels like 1995 all over again.

Alex Mayo is a graphic designer of Irish/Filipino descent who grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio. He was raised on comic books, punk rock, and grade-B kung fu movies, which explains his complete and utter inability to deal with real life in a rational manner. He is reasonably well-educated (if Art school counts), reasonably well-read (if graphic novels and the ‘Letters to Hustler…’ columns count), and reasonably well-fed (if Sliders from White Castle count).

Alex currently supports himself as a freelance graphic designer and as the helmsman in charge of http://destroy-all-monsters.com a popular Asian-American Pop Culture webzine.

Author: Alex Mayo
Article Source: EzineArticles.com
Provided by: Guest blogger

Sean Penn As Harvey Milk – Gay Rights Take Center Stage

When Hollywood needed to find a star for the movie Milk, about a San Francisco gay politician named Harvey Milk who was murdered in 1978, tough guy Sean Penn showed he could morph into any character at all. He disappears into the role of Milk with tenderness and true artistry. Penn and his co-stars – James Franco, Emile Hirsch, and Diego Luna – felt totally comfortable playing gay roles, which shows how times have changed in Hollywood. Previously, playing that type of role could have kept an actor off the A list, so progress has been made. However, top stars who are actually gay don’t feel safe enough to come out of the closet yet, so there is still a long way to go. It’s rather like gay rights.

In watching Harvey Milk’s 1978 battle against California’s Proposition 6, which would have banned gay teachers in public schools, audiences can’t help but ponder the halting progress on gay rights in light of the current battle raging over gay marriage. Gays and countless straight supporters took to the streets to protest what they saw as an assault on civil rights over the passage of Proposition 8, which effectively banned gay marriage in California. What would Milk have done? “He’d be right there on the streets with the marchers,” film director Gus Van Sant said.

Using broadcast film footage of the 1970s battles over gay rights, Van Sant shows how Milk, a community organizer, urged gays to come out of the closet. Milk knew that the more interaction there was between straights and gays, the more voters would understand what impact their vote would have. Milk’s message is just as valid today.

Gay marriage came to California this past June. Gay weddings flourished (over 18,000 of them), long-time couples celebrated, gay families with children were thrilled to be part of the legally recognized community. The summer wedding frenzy was set off by the May decision of the California Supreme Court, in its landmark marriage case, that said same-sex couples have a “right” to marry.

Others weren’t the least bit pleased. Those who deemed marriage to be a sacred union between a man and a woman – ONLY a man and a woman – and not a matter of legal contracts and civil rights, objected. So they put forth Proposition 8 to insert in the State constitution the words: “Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.” Fifty-two percent of Californians voted yes on Prop 8 and it passed – right into an emotional uproar, protests on the streets, and legal rebuttals.

Now those words are before the California Supreme Court, which has agreed to a hearing of the legal challenges to Prop 8. The following issues are involved:

* Are the words a simple amendment or are they a constitutional revision, which should have required a two-thirds vote of the legislature?
* Does Prop 8 violate the constitutional separation of powers by restricting the judges’ authority to protect the rights of same-sex couples?
* Does Prop 8 invalidate the 18,000 same-sex marriages that took place between June 16th and the election?

If the justices uphold Prop 8, those who back gay marriage plan to put a measure before voters in 2010 to re-amend the state Constitution. If they toss out Prop 8, the opponents of gay marriage may put something back on the ballot or may even try to oust the Supreme Court justices by recall!

The justices are evidently divided on how to resolve the case. Their decision to delay hearings until as late as March without putting a stay on the law indicates conflict. That means that there will be no more gay marriages in California until oral arguments are heard. Justice Joyce L. Kennard reportedly voted not to hear the case at all, but she did agree to hear a case evaluating marriages instituted before the ban was in place. This is not a good omen for those in favor of gays’ right to marry.

There are also legal issues concerning the separation of church and state because of the huge amounts of money contributed by both the Mormon and Catholic Churches. California officials are presently questioning whether the Mormon Church accurately accounted for its role in the Yes on 8 campaign and are investigating their non-monetary contributions, such as phone banks, Web site, and commercials on behalf of Prop 8.

Why would 52% of the voters in California deny a minority the same rights they enjoy? Everyone, in my opinion, should be entitled to the same rights and privileges of marriage. The problem, in a nutshell, seems to be the word marriage. Those who consider marriage to be holy wedlock, rather than merely a legally binding relationship, might be willing to consider passage of civil rights legislation for same-sex partners if something other than the word marriage was used to describe it.

As I travel the country putting on public events where I work with thousands of lonely, depressed, and sick people, I have seen that anytime an individual is willing to make a commitment to a relationship, he is increasing his chances for health and happiness. The main task we have in our lifetime is to learn to love through the difficult lens of relationship. Research shows that established relationships tend to promote stability, so it seems that the more married couples there are, heterosexual or not, would actually benefit society. Instead of judging others and forbidding them from forming a union of happiness, I ask that we allow people to love and support one another. Life is hard enough; why do it alone?

With the Obama team in Washington taking over the reins after the Bush years of division and distrust, and proclaiming that unity and inclusion will be the new themes, I feel deeply that the time has come for us to put aside the things that separate us, including our fear of those whose lifestyles and sexual orientation differ from the norm.

Call it what you will, marriage means union. We can become more tolerant of all who seek union. We can support civil rights for all. And we can learn a lot from Milk.

Deborah King is a health and wellness expert and author of Truth Heals: What You Hide Can Hurt You. Learn more about your own ability to change your life through truth athttp://www.deborahkingcenter.com

Author: Deborah King
Article Source: EzineArticles.com

Patriot?

I got the most disturbing email today. I don’t know how I got on their mailing list but some how the website Patriot Update started sending me these horrible emails spewing hate towards gay people. It’s hilarious to me that they sent it to a gay person.

This email was very long so I’m not going to paste the entire email and force you to have to read that much text but I will pick out a few things that disturbed me the most. I have created a html page with the entire email here.

First of all they have a big red ALERT because it needs your immediate attention! Because gay people are so horrible so they need to ALERT you with a big red graphic.

It starts out with this:

Dear fellow American,

The Radical Homosexuals claim you and other pro-family Americans actually now support same-sex marriage, special job preferences for homosexuals and promotion of the homosexual lifestyle in schools.

The radical homosexuals? Special job preferences and promotion of the gay lifestyle in schools? What?

  • Special job rights for homosexuals and lesbians . Businesses may have to adopt hiring quotas to protect themselves from lawsuits. Every homosexual fired or not hired becomes a potential federal civil rights lawsuit.Radical homosexuals will terrorize day care centers, hospitals, churches and private schools. Traditional moral values will be shattered by federal law.

Businesses have already had the quotas for minorities so why is it that gay people shouldn’t be allowed to fit that category? Gay people are part of the minority. And being fired because you are gay is ILLEGAL so yes, there is going to be a lawsuit, deal with it.

Terrorize day care centers, hospitals, churches and private schools? How? How the hell are gay people going to terrorize those places?

  • Same-sex marriages and adoptions . Wedding-gown clad men smooching before some left-wing clergy or state official is just the beginning.You’ll see men hand-in-hand skipping down to adoption centers to “pick out” a little boy for themselves.

First of all, men who are going to marry another men aren’t going to be wearing wedding gowns you morons. They are both going to be wearing suits. So that statement right there is offensive. And they will obviously get a minister who is gay themselves or gay friendly, they aren’t going to force an anti-gay person to marry them.

You won’t see men hand-in-hand “skipping” anywhere, we’re not 10 years old. Skipping to adoption centers to “pick out” a little boy. Is that a joke? Are they trying to say that all gay people want to corrupt little boys? No, if anything gay people would want to adopt any sex child, girl or boy, we don’t discriminate because they aren’t a boy and by saying that they are implying that gay people are going to adopt little boys to molest them.

  • Homosexual advocacy in schools . Your children or grandchildren will be taught homosexuality is moral, natural and good. High school children will learn perverted sex acts as part of “safe sex” education.With condoms already handed out in many schools, Radical Homosexuals will have little trouble adopting today’s “if it feels good do it” sex-ed curriculum to their agenda.

WHAT?!?!? These people are so out of touch it amazes me.

Ok if you want to read the rest of the hatred go ahead. It sounds so much like a plot in a novel where all gay people are evil vampires sucking blood from the vein of society. They have a survey in MANY links and banners in the email begging you to tell them how you feel and then begging for money.

The whole email made me nauseous.

I unsubscribed because I didn’t want their emails to begin with and when they asked why I told them that I don’t agree with their hatred towards gay people and they make me ashamed to be an American. Because their name is “Patriot” Update.

The definition of patriot to me is someone who loves their country not someone who hates gay people. This website is an anti-gay website, not a pro-American website. They are so out of touch with who gay people are and they probably don’t want to know the truth about gay people. All they care about is that they don’t like them and they will do whatever it takes to stop gay people from having the same rights as everyone else does under the constitution of the United States of America.

No, they are not patriots at all. They call the gays “radicals” but they are the radicals. Get a life!

Oh by the way, I took that survey and all the answers were already set to NO so that all you had to do was submit.  I changed them all to YES and submitted the survey and got an email saying thank you for supporting us.  Idiots lol.