Tag Archives: Mark Webster

Black Friday online sales


CreativeTech in iBooks — Black Friday pre-Christmas sale on all CreativeTech books until Sunday 27th November.
Prices are across all 51 territories with discounts commensurate to the following in local currencies:
Parcels From Home: The Prisoner of War Parcel Scheme and the New Zealand Red Cross in World War Two, now NZ99¢/Australian-US99¢/UK49p (usually NZ$11.99)
Parcels From Home: Jack’s War by Steve Bolton (historical graphic novel telling the NZ WWII Red Cross Parcel story) now NZ$1.99/Aus-US 99¢/UK49p (usually NZ$17.99)
Parcels From Home: The Prisoner of War Parcel Scheme and the New Zealand Red Cross in World War Two (Trainspotter Edition), now NZ$2.99/Aus-US$1.99/UK99p (usually NZ$17.99)
Friendship, Foes and Feathers: June, Anne and the Great War by Lynda Johansson Nunweek, now NZ99¢/Aus-US99¢/UK49p (usually NZ$7.99)
Four Immeasurable States and What Is Nirvana? Traleg Rinpoche, now NZ99¢/Aus-US99¢/UK49p (usually NZ$9.99)


MacPhun — Luminar (offer available until December 1st)
Price for Macphun Users: US$49
Price for New Users: US$59
Buy before December 1st to receive the following Black Friday Bonuses:
Africa with Athena Video by Athena Carey ($60 value)
Cameras in the Wild ebook by Contrastly ($29 value)
Making the Image ebook by Dan Bailey ($25 value)
Luminar Presets pack ($25 value)
Aurora HDR 2017 (offer available until December 1st )
Upgrade Price for existing Aurora HDR Pro Owners: US$49
Price for existing Aurora HDR Owners: US$79
Price for New Users: US$89
Buy before December 1st to receive the following Black Friday Bonuses:
The Essentials of Street Photography & The New York Photographer’s Travel Guide by James Maher (US$25 value)
20 Minute Video Training from Trey Ratcliff (US$20 value)
Holiday Preset Pack (US$25 value)

Stellar rebirth, Pluto, Earth’s Moon, hotter, nano-meds, spray-tough, tiny France, Apple II update, 168-year-old ship, Maya Codex, Tech podcast

Pluto's moon Charon got its red cap from Pluto
Pluto’s moon Charon got its red cap from Pluto

Astronomers just witnessed a rare stellar rebirth for the first time — At the heart of the Stingray Nebula some 2700 light years from Earth lies a small, aging star known as SAO 244567. Astronomers have been observing it on and off for decades, and they can now confirm they’ve witnessed something amazing: a never-before-seen stellar rebirth.
~ Gee, I’ve never seen one of those before. 

Pluto emits X-Rays, and it’s moon once banged into Mars — Something very strange is going on around Pluto. The icy world that sits some 3.6 billion miles from the sun appears to be emitting X-Rays—high energy radiation associated with gases with temperatures of a million degrees. That makes Pluto the furthest known x-ray source in our solar system. If confirmed, the finding could reshape our understanding of the dwarf planet’s atmosphere. Also its moon, Charon, got its strange red cap, apparently, from methane gas escaping the dwarf planet Pluto itself. It then froze solid in the frigid pole.
~ Is it that weird? I’m pretty sure my dentist emits X-Rays too. 

We were wrong about our Moon — New measurements from Apollo-era moon rocks suggest that the moon and Earth had a much more savage past than we knew.
A new paper out in Nature says the moon formed as a result of a more violent space collision than previously believed. Since the 1970s, many researchers have championed a theory in which the moon was created from thrown-off debris when a Mars-sized body grazed Earth in a relatively low-contact collision. Instead, the researchers say new evidence shows that the impact was more “like a sledgehammer hitting a watermelon.”
~ I’d rather be the sledgehammer than the watermelon. Yes I would …

Gifs shows Earth warming — We just had the warmest August on record, which also tied last month for the warmest month ever recorded. But it’s the overall trend that’s truly scary, and now you can watch it unfold right before your eyes.
~ Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton must have did it.

Nano-sized metal fish deliver targeted drugs to your body — Doctors have long dreamed of delivering drugs to specific parts of your body, and they may soon have a clever way to do it: fish. UC San Diego researchers have developed nanoscale metallic fish (they’re just 800 nanometers long) that could carry medicine into the deeper reaches of your bloodstream. Each critter has a gold head and tailfin, as well as a nickel body joined by silver hinges.
~ As long as doctors make a fortune from prescribing them , right? 

Spay-on coating even makes eggs indestructible — Line-X’s spray on coating makes things super tough. So YouTube’s How Ridiculous tried it on an egg.

Tiny house costs NZ$1652 and can be built in three hours — ‘France’ is a prototype designed by Joshua Woodsman of Pin-Up Houses, which sells plans for sheds, cottages, and tiny houses. According to Woodsman, his latest creation only costs US$1200, and takes a team of three people about three hours to put together.
~ Just need to work on downsizing Aucklands’ expectations. 

This Apple II is at MOTAT in Auckland
This Apple II is at MOTAT in Auckland

Apple II receives OS update after 23 years — Software developer John Brooks released what is clearly a work of pure love: the first update to an operating system for the Apple II computer family since 1993. ProDOS 2.4, released on the 30th anniversary of the introduction of the Apple II GS, brings the enhanced operating system to even older Apple II systems, including the original Apple ][ and ][+.
~ Now we have ‘Apple Too’

168-year-old Arctic wreck — An arctic research mission claims it’s discovered the HMS Terror, one of two Franklin Expedition ships that sunk during a doomed attempt to traverse the Northwest Passage. Incredibly, the 168-year-old wreck would probably not have been found if it weren’t for information provided by an indigenous crew member. Underwater footage shows the ship in excellent condition, with all three masts still standing and nearly all hatches closed. A pair of wine bottles, tables, a desk (with its drawers open), and empty shelving were seen inside the wreck.
~ OK, let’s take a look at that ship’s name again …

Controversial Maya Codex appears to be real after all — Scientists have been arguing over the authenticity of an ancient document called the Grolier Codex for 50 years. A new analysis published in a special section of the journal Maya Archaeology has concluded the codex is indeed genuine, making it the oldest surviving manuscript from the pre-Colombian era.
~ ‘Begin by frying an onion in a little oil …’

Tech talkin’ — Want to hear me chat about tech and the Apple announcements? I’m on this long-running (episode 301!) NZ tech podcast show with host Paul Spain.

Apple iBooks and Parcels From Home

Parcels From Home: Jack's War
Parcels From Home: Jack’s War

Two new New Zealand multi-touch books available in Apple’s iBooks explore the power of the platform — Please excuse me for blowing my own trumpet to some extent, but this is the culmination of seven years research and writing work for me, and, for both Steve Bolton and Paul Luker, a year of intensive work on Jack’s War (NZ$8.99).

We have released the first two Parcels From Home books into the iBooks Store. Both books talk about the New Zealand Red Cross POW parcel scheme in World War Two, and these releases coincide with Anzac Day and, on May 8th, the 70th anniversary of the end of World War Two in Europe. The books take different approaches: Parcels From Home: The POW Parcels Scheme and the New Zealand Red Cross in World War Two is a history book covering the worldwide parcel scheme and, much more specifically, the stellar New Zealand role in the scheme in relation to our c9000 prisoners of Germany, while Parcels From Home: Jack’s War is a work of ‘creative non-fiction’ in graphic novel form. It’s fully illustrated – beautifully illustrated – by New Zealand author and artist Steve Bolton.

Societally — The books uncover facets of the war often mentioned, rarely described. Over 100,000 New Zealanders served in World War Two – but back here, over a million struggled with the war, the emergency, privations, loss and fear back home. They kept New Zealand running to support our forces and to safeguard our precious democracy. One of the ways they coped was by helping the Red Cross. The books explore what went on at the battlefront and in the POW camps, but they also explain what went on back in New Zealand. (A percentage of sales will go to NZ Red Cross.)

Special features — Both books support Apple’s cool iBooks multi-touch features. Although they only work on iPad and Mac (there’s too much going on to fit them onto iPhone screens) they support Apple’s note-taking and highlighting features. Buy one book once and install it on both your Mac and iPad. Stop reading on a page on your Mac and open it on your iPad, and it opens to the page you finished on. Any notes or highlighting you added on one device appears in the book on the next – all thanks to Apple’s brilliant implementation of iCloud, of course. Both books support thumbnail Contents view (buttons appear at top left) for fast navigation, and search. As study aids these features put them into a league well above traditional books, much as we love traditional books.
But we went further, thanks to Paul Luker’s design acumen. In Parcels From Home (NZ$12.99), images ‘pop’ and expand when you tap or click them. Some of these images have never been published before, by the way. You can zoom in – two fingers placed on an iPad screen or Mac trackpad and spread apart – lets you zoom in and inspect them even more closely. We have some primary source interviews with New Zealand WII veterans and, in some cases, you can hear them.
Bold text means a glossary reference. Tap/click it and you can see where the information came from. The glossary is in both books as a study aid.
In Jack’s War, we have added an extensive glossary too, but also sound files with the authentic sounds of, for example, some military equipment: hear a real Bren Gun, or German Stuka, as well as some environmental effects. There are also informational pop-ups.  Foreign words show translations when you tap or click them.

Both books are have special, integrated multi-media features
Both books are have special, integrated multi-media features

Big plans —We have a third Parcels From Home book in the pipeline.  This will be released in November 2015 to help commemorate the 100th anniversary of NZ Red Cross. This is an expanded history book with more images, more information, more sound files and a whole additional chapter on the War in the Pacific. It will cost NZ$18.99. But before that we have Lynda Nunweek’s brilliant book about friends growing up in New Zealand in World War One, the start of an engaging series. We are translating When The World Returns about Dutch WWII resistance figure Wim Naeijé – this has never been published in English and the author is adding in extra content for CreativeTech.
We have a range of extremely interesting books coming out, including never-before-published NZ band photos by outstanding photographer Frances Carter, currently working in New York … and much more.

Stay tuned — Search on ‘CreativeTech’ or ‘Parcels From Home’ in iBooks to find our volumes. If you consider buying them, I’d appreciate it – all the work I detailed above has, so far, been done for love. We don’t receive a cent until we sell some books. We made these because we thought the stories needed to be told.
Thank you, most sincerely, in advance!

Launches — We have two. The first is in Wellington at the NZ Red Cross HQ presented by NZ Red Cross director Doctor Jenny McMahon and MP for Wellington Central Grant Robertson on April 24th, and another in Auckland upstairs at the Grey Lynn Returned Services Club on May 1st. We will display interesting items and show how the books work at these events – and we can for your interest group as well, on request.

For review copies, more information, to schedule a free talk or presentation, please email Mark Webster at markwebster at vodafone.co.nz.