Newsletter 158 – February 2010


Number 158 – February 2010 – ISSN 1470-1863

Arts, Culture, and Technology as seen from
the digital hub of Media city Manchester UK

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Mantex NewsletterThe First Five Pages” – advice for writers

Noah Lukeman is a New York writer’s agent with a
number of big names on his books. So he knows
what he’s talking about when it comes to getting

This is his tough-love advice for staying out of
the publisher’s slush pile – where 99.99% of
manuscripts finish up.

You’d be amazed how quickly agents and publishers
will make up their mind about your deathless prose.

Lukeman gives you five pages in his title, but the
truth is nearer to five sentences.

And don’t even bother sending off your typescript
unless it’s printed out new each time on crisp
and pristine A4 sheets.

It’s a tough world – but Lukeman’s tips could just
give you the extra attention-grabbing pull you will
undoubtedly need.

redbtn Pub Quiz Question #1

Who was known as the father of Western philosophy?

redbtn The New iPad – For and Against


1. $500 for the cheapest model.
2. The battery is good for 10 hours.
3. It’s half an inch thick and weighs 1.5 pounds
4. It has a 9.7″ high-res display
5. Books, newspapers and mags will be available.
6. iPad 3G models are unlocked and there’s no contract
7. It has a 1GHz ‘Apple A4’ chip and flash storage.
8. It has Wifi, Bluetooth, speaker, and mic,
9. It has an iPod connector, an accelerometer and compass.
10. There’s a keyboard dock, turning it into a desktop computer.


1. No apps that have not been approved by Apple.
2. No camera.
3. Microphone, but no voice calls.
4. eBook reader only through iBookstore.
5. Network is GSM-based.
6. No multitasking.
7. 16 GB for $500. 64 GB for $700.
8. No support for Flash
9. No USB
10. Not available in UK

Meanwhile, Mad TV was quickly off the mark
with this satire. Apple seemed to have been
unaware that the term ‘Pad’ is used in the
US to describe a laydee’s hygiene requirement.

redbtn Mad TV

redbtn Pub quiz – Question #2

Which film star became ‘the World’s sweetheart’?

redbtn eNewspapers are on the way!

Computer display screen can now be so thin
that digital newspapers are not far away.

Kit Eaton, writing in Fast Company magazine
recently, predicts that eReaders have only got
another twelve months left before they join
the digital obsolescence scrap heap.

Heard it all before? Too good to be true?

redbtn Pub quiz – Question #3

In which country is the ‘Lost City’ of the Incas?

redbtn What is a tablet PC?

You saw all the Hoo-Haa (and jokes) surrounding
the launch of the iPad? [see above] It’s been
predicted that 2010 will be the Year of the Tablet PC.

But what exactly IS a tablet?

My new mates at Fast Company have done an excellent
job of defining the genre and explaining what options
are available for 2010.

redbtn Pub quiz – Question #4

Which country left NATO in 1966?

redbtnThe Smashing Book” – web design

Smashing Magazine is a really stylish site
for web designers run by two guys in Germany.

They publish a new article every day giving
advice and tips on layout, typography, colour,
coding, and good practice.

All the articles carry high quality graphics,
and the site has a huge readership.

They’ve come up with the good idea of extracting
the best design principles from their archive
and turning it into a book.

And like the site, their book is very stylish.

redbtn Pub quiz – Question #5

What musical instrument did Larry Adler play?

redbtnThe A-Z of Effective Vocabulary” – new book

This is a sort of specialist dictionary with
extra supplements that act as guides for common
writing tasks.

* writing a report
* drafting a business proposal
* expressing your opinion
* discussing a topic
* describing an event
* writing a CV and job application

First you consult the subject index, which lists
the terms you might need according to your objective.

Here you find listed a selection of vocabulary
items which are likely to be effective. For
instance, in the section for writing CVs,
you are offered able, accomplish, accredited,
accurate, achieve ,active, adapt and so on.

You can then look up any of these to check the
common ways in which they are used. The idea is
that they will give your writing more of a
professional tone and edge.

redbtn Pub quiz – Question #6

Which American state is known as ‘The Last Frontier’?

redbtn Mashup Classics – new study resources

We’ve been doing literary mashups recently –
compiling study resources on some classic novels.

What’s a mashup in this context? It’s a virtual
box stuffed with goodies that a student might
use or a reader might simply like because they’re
nice. Our mashups can comprise letters, photos,
diaries and in one case even a postage stamp!

Most combine plot summaries, list of characters,
video clips, selected criticism, and web links.

We would be interested in feedback on these pages,
particularly from students and literature fans
with suggestions for additions and improvements.

The first are available here:

redbtn Jane Austen – “Pride and Prejudice

redbtn Thomas Hardy – “Tess of the d’Urbervilles

redbtn Joseph Conrad – “Nostromo

redbtn Franz Kafka – “The Trial

redbtn Virginia Woolf – “To the Lighthouse

redbtn James Joyce – “Ulysses

redbtn Vladimir Nabokov – “Lolita

redbtn Pub Quiz – Question #7

What is the outermost layer of skin called?

redbtn Ace New Gizmo – an electronic pen

The Livescribe 2GB Pulse Smartpen is an
electronic pen that makes a digital recording
of what you write or draw. At the same time
it will also record speech.

It syncs with your computer via a USB
cradle, and third party software is available
to transform your handwriting into fully
digitised text.

I think it’s aimed at students who want to
take notes and record lectures at the same
time. And a number of the reviews at Amazon
are from journalists and interviewers.

The manufacturers don’t make a big thing of this,
but the pen only works using their special notebooks.

It shouldn’t be too long before some third-party
entrepreneurs start marketing cheaper alternatives.

redbtn Comprehensive review from Geekanoids at YouTube

redbtn Pub Quiz – Question #8

In which country is the city of Alexandria?

redbtn The Ten Word Wiki – short jokes


Singer told to go to rehab. Maybe should have gone


Popstar Chameleon, Too Old To Wear Leotards, Collects Foreign kids


Micro Blogging Website Where You Say Nothing In 140 Characters


Would you? Wouldn’t you? At least you’d get decent breakfast

redbtn Pub Quiz – Question 9#

Which river tumbles over the Victoria Falls?

redbtn Pub Quiz – Question #10

In which school is Mr Quelch a form master?

redbtn Comments and corrections

John Rostron writes to tell us:

Your question and answer:

#1 What was the name of Charles Darwin’s survey ship?
ANSWER: The Beagle

Not strictly true. Darwin was just a
hanger-on on the Beagle, as the captain’s
‘gentleman companion’. The survey was, of
course the Admiralty’s under the supervision
of the captain Robert Fitzoy.

redbtn Spot the offensive word – competition

We also got this auto-responder message from
a school with sensibilities – namely Gravesend
Grammar School for Girls – in response to last
month’s newsletter.

“Message Filtering

The message you sent to this account on my
network contained at least one restricted word.

The message has not been delivered to the recipient.”

What could this offending term have been?

redbtn Pub quiz – ANSWERS

#1 Who was known as the father of Western philosophy?

#2 Which film star became ‘the World’s sweetheart’?
ANSWER: Mary Pickford

#3 In which country is the ‘Lost City’ of the Incas?

#4 Which country left NATO in 1966?
ANSWER: France

#5 What musical instrument did Larry Adler play?
ANSWER: The harmonica

#6 Which American state is known as ‘The Last Frontier’?
ANSWER: Alaska

#7 What is the outermost layer of skin called?
ANSWER: The epidermis

#8 In which country is the city of Alexandria?

#9 Which river tumbles over the Victoria Falls?
ANSWER: The Zambezi

#10 In which school is Mr Quelch a form master?
ANSWER: Greyfriars

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