Monthly Archives: December 2012

Mildred: Our Merry Mermaid Christmas Mascot

All Mermaids Must Go!

If you’ve been following the Merry Mermaid Christmas Book Give-away either on The Merblog or here on The Parsons’ Rant, you will know that the authors and publishers have been extraordinarily generous to us. In fact, we have more books than we can give away between now and Christmas Eve. In fact, we’re going to have enough books to give away from here to Epiphany if we don’t do something about it. No doubt, many of you would like to see the Merry Mermaid Give-away roll on until Old Christmas but come Boxing Day, yours truly wants to put his feet up, have a wee dram and a long nap. Since the purpose of the give-away is to (a) spread some holiday cheer and (b) get books about Merfolk into the hands of those interested in this particular sub-genre, we are offering our excess books on a first-come, first served basis. The books listed here are those of which we have too many copies to give away within the time-frame of our 25-day marathon or interest in winning a copy of the book has slowed down. Rather than cluttering The Merblog with un-claimed offerings, any copy of any book that doesn’t move on that site will be listed here so keep checking this post on a daily basis. If you want one of our clearance books, simply comment on this post & tell us which book you want. All comments on this blog-site are moderated in order to keep out spam, etc. so do not worry that your request has been lost.

The Books:

All The Mermaids In The Sea byRobert W. Cabell. This book serves as the foundation for all of Mr. Cabell’s forthcoming series including The Magical Adventures of Princess Miranda whose first installment is A Mermaid Christmas. All The Mermaids In The Sea tells the real story of the Little Mermaid. This novel is very YA-Friendly and is even suitable for older ‘Tweens. If you’re an adult, don’t worry; You’ll enjoy this story just as much. –  2 Copies Available

The link to my review of All The Mermaids In The Sea may be found below.


A Mermaid Christmas newly released by Robert W. Cabell. The story is written for 9 to 15 year-olds. If you’re of a child 7 or 8 years of age, Mr. Cabell’s writing is such that it will make a nice bedtime story when read in installments. It’s a very cute story and it’s perfectly acceptable to pretend you’re a child at Christmastime. Don’t worry – we won’t tell. – 3 Copies Available

The link to my review of A Mermaid Christmas may be found below.


When, At Last, He Found Me. The story contains romance, mystery, danger and heroism. Although the book was aimed at the mid-teen segment of the Young Adult market, it is easily readable and enjoyable by older teens as well as adults. In short, it is fun and exciting. – 2 Copies Available

The Link to my review of When, At Last, He Found Me may be found below.


The Book Reviews:

  • [intlink id=”5328″ type=”page”]All The Mermaids In The Sea[/intlink]
  • [intlink id=”5743″ type=”page”]A Mermaid Christmas[/intlink]
  • [intlink id=”903″ type=”page”]When, At Last, He Found Me[/intlink]

There is nothing new under the sun – or so it would seem with Microsoft. ZDNet’s Ed Bott is beginning to think he’s Bill Murray suffering through his Punxsutawney punishment in Ground Hog Day. He feels this way because just about every Windows 8 story of late sounds eerily similar to stories from 2001 and  the release of Windows XP.

PC sales were significantly down in the third quarter of 2012 from those in the same period of 2011. Way back in the ancient days of 2001, PC sales were also in the toilet and manufacturers were hoping that XP would help to pull them out.

Some of the reasons for slow sales of PC’s – and Windows 8 – are obvious. Tablets like the iPad account for a significant amount of spending from consumers as they decide that perhaps, all they really need is one of these devices. Back in ’01, laptops were continuing to be more and more common than those supposedly in the know were starting to proclaim that the desktop was dead. In those days, however, people were shifting from Windows on a  desktop to windows on a laptop. In 2012, buyers are shifting from Windows on a desktop or laptop to Android or iOS on a tablet. Yes, there are now Windows 8 tablets but it is still too soon to determine what sort of share of the market they will own.

Another factor is that Windows 7 is still fairly new. Compared to XP, it’s practically a spring chicken! And so are the PC’s that were purchased in order to run 7. As long as Windows 7 adequately fulfills the needs of consumers, the impetus to upgrade is relatively small.

Dr. Data will definitely give Ed Bott credit for his observations but believes that things are a bit different this time around. At the end of the day, we won’t really know anything until 2013 when the 4th quarter sales figures are released. Read Ed’s story & decide for yourself.

Source: With Windows 8, Microsoft’s playing a scene from Groundhog Day

I mentioned sometime last week that my Windows 8 installation DVD finally arrived. I found some time on Saturday afternoon to try & complete the installation that I had begun 1 month ago. I wasn’t expecting it to be painless but I was not expecting what I did encounter either.

To begin, I unplugged the Linux OS hard drive. I dual-boot on this machine and Windows & Linux are on separate internal hard drives.  I did a clean boot & (re)started the installation from the DVD. The process went through the initial stages until a screen popped up asking if I wanted to check online for updates. Since this was recommended to ensure a smoother installation, I clicked “Yes”. There was another question asking me if I wanted to share installation information with Microsoft. Figuring that my installation could help make things easier for someone down the line, I clicked “Yes” as well. Once I was all set, I clicked the button to proceed.

After taking what seemed forever to look for updates, the installation process suddenly threw up a screen saying that it was unable to install Windows 8 and that I needed to close out the installation and restart it. That is exactly what I did. After a clean boot, I restarted the installation and guess what? I got the same message again.

After doing this cycle for five installation attempts, I decided that I would try something different. I said “No” to looking for updates and sharing information with Microsoft. This time, I didn’t get the message and as the installation process chugged along, it . . . looked . . . like . . . it . . . was. . .  going . . . to . . . go . . . all . . .the. . . way!!! Not. The installation got as far as the spot where I was to select the background colour for the infamous Start screen. I made my selection & clicked “Next”. The installation process threw up a screen saying that the installation had failed and that it was rolling back everything to Windows 7.

Once again, I rebooted. This time, there was an automatic CHKDISK session that was apparently initiated by the rollback procedure. CHKDISK found a few things wrong with the HDD but nothing major and the repairs went smoothly. When I restarted the installation process – remembering to just say NO to updates and sharing information – it finally did go all the way.

Overall, the entire process took between 5 & 6 hours.

The moment the process was done, I downloaded and installed Classic Shell. This is a freebie which doth restoreth what Microsoft tooketh away. The interface will not win any beauty contest but at least it’s useable. Everything looks flat; no depth to icons, windows, etc. This is probably great if you’ve got a tablet but if you’ve got a desk/laptop, not so much. Like I said, it’s use-able.

The one thing that makes me want to consider moving to Window 8 on my main machine is the free app for London’s Daily Telegraph. It gives you selected stories from the most recent editions and I really like what it does and how it does it.

I have noticed a couple of problems:

  1. I am unable to type the “@” sign into any browser-based web form. I tried this with both Chrome & Internet Explorer; No Joy. I can type an “@” in something like Notepad and then do a cut & paste into the browser form but that’s going around your elbow to get to your thumb.
  2. Windows updates fail on installation. I’ve tried this 3 or 4 times but with no luck. My main machine – Windows 7 – has been doing the same thing for a couple of months so now I’ve got two machines to sort out instead of one.

I’ll keep you apprised of further developments.

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December 2012
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