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How Writing a Book and Alcatraz Ruined My Health!

Last year, I wrote a book and an online course about mobile web apps. As you know, writing is generally a pretty sedentary activity that happens to go well with booze. Writing is also really hard work (mentally), and so it’s important for a writer to reward himself frequently with ice cream and various other snacks.

In spite of all these factors pulling me towards completely ignoring my health, I did make some attempts to be fit and forty early in the year (oh yeah, I forgot to mention that last year was also the year I turned 40). I registered for a 5k race and for a swim from Alcatraz, both of which helped me to focus on my training so that I wouldn’t die or get eaten by sharks. The problem, however, was that once the races were over, I felt like I didn’t need to exercise ever again. And, so I didn’t.

I think you can see where this is headed–writing and the successful completion of amazing feats of physical endurance have wrecked me! I’ve gained about 30lbs in the last year, and I have way more clothes that don’t fit now than I have that fit.

And so, like so many people with lame excuses for why they’re fat slobs, I’ve decided to start turning it around. I don’t have the guts to post a “before” picture of myself, but I’ll let you use your imagination. I look something like this:

Boss Hogg

And so, here I go! Stay tuned for updates!

Mobile Web Apps for Smart People!

My latest book (and my first book since 2001) is almost finished! The title is WebKit for Dummies, and it’s available for pre-order now!

I’m excited about the publication of this book (coming in February), and about the topic, but I’m finding myself having to explain what exactly it’s about pretty frequently, so I thought I’d write something about that here in order to clear up some misconceptions and possible confusion.

WebKit is the name of the open source browser engine that powers every mobile device’s browser except for Windows devices. This includes iPhone, iPad, Android, Blackberry, Nokia, and more. It also runs a large and growing percentage of desktop web browsers (Google Chrome, Apple Safari). My book isn’t really about WebKit, however — it’s really about how you can take advantage of the fact that WebKit is so widely available on smartphones and tablets in order to create cross-platform mobile apps with HTML5.

Also, the book isn’t really just for dummies. It is part of Wiley’s huge and successful “For Dummies” series, of course, but I want smart people to buy it as well. That’s not to say that dummies won’t also learn something, but I don’t think anyone needs to be excluded — with the possible exception of people who can’t read.

Now that you know all that, I hope you buy and enjoy the book!

Help! I’m running out of ideas!

It turns out that writing a weekly article is difficult….mostly just because I have to keep coming up with new stuff–even when everyone in the world is visiting, I have a million appointments, and I’m furiously working to get the winery insulated and fully functional before the hot weather arrives (I’ll post pictures soon!).

So, I thought I’d list the things I’ve already written about and see if any of you can suggest some topics I’ve yet to explore. I try to write articles that might make someone mad and that aren’t overly technical. I also don’t like to talk about politics. Here are some of the topics I’ve covered already:

* Religion and the Internet

* Porn and the Internet

* Gambling and the Internet

* Drinking and the Internet

* Parental Control Software (and the Internet)

* Plagiarism and the Internet

* The Semantic Web

* Single sign-on

If you have any ideas, please let me know. If your idea also turns out to be easy to write about, you’ll be my hero and I’ll write another article all about how great you are.


Nano-Uh Oh

So, it doesn’t look like I’m going to be able to finish my 50,000 word novel this month. I don’t quite have 10,000 words now, and it’s November 18. Darn. The good news is that this is the most fiction I’ve written since college, and I’m having a lot of fun with it when I actually do manage to find/make the time.

On another writing note, my first post on InternetEvolution.com went up last week. Check it out.