1. On this week’s Critically Speaking podcast: Controversy. How does an industry with games that feature so many guns and so many deaths not have controversy? According to this week’s feature article, there are no controversial games. Nate and Scott try their best to understand and shed some light on the issues facing gaming and its audience.

    Check it out on ShoutEngine or subscribe in iTunes.

     


  2. For those following the publication of my new book, Fragments: Alora’s Tear, Vol. I, I have some big news.

    Pre orders are now available on iBooks and at BarhamInk.com (paperback)!

    Amazon and others make the pre order process much more difficult (and in some cases impossible). So if you’re on Kindle, Kobo, or Nook, the wait will be a bit longer.

    Thanks for your support. The biggest news yet—release day—comes on August 18th.

     


  3. This week, I’m proud to announce the pre order and release dates for my novel. Fragments: Alora’s Tear, Volume I will be made available in three stages.

    Pre Order: August 12th, 2014
    iBooks, Kobo, Nook, and Paperback at Barhamink.com

    Digital and Paperback: August 18th, 2014
    Kindle, iBooks, Kobo, Nook, and Paperback at Barhamink.com

    Mass Market Paperback: TBA
    Amazon and other large physical book retailers

    If you’re interested in the publishing process, see the longer post on BarhamInk.com for details.

     


  4. I can’t quite describe how excited I am for everyone to see the cover for my upcoming novel, Fragments. On Monday I started the reveal with a short article and a bit of the final image.

    Today, it’s the real deal full cover reveal. No teases. Just the whole beautiful image by Isis Sousa.

    Check it out over on BarhamInk.com!

     


  5. Recommended - Begin

    The last few days have seen quite a few posts unrelated to tech. When you’re publishing a book, that tends to happen. But, as it turns out, one of the tools I’ve been using during that process needs and deserves to be recognized.

    About a month ago, on a recommendation from Ben Brooks and at a sale price, I picked up Begin. Now, I have todo apps—probably too many of them. There are apps that work great for location-based reminders, apps that I downloaded years ago that have long since languished, Apple’s own reminders app, brilliantly designed list apps that just aren’t for me, and on and on. So why start with Begin?

    Number one is always the same: I like exploring new designs and writing about them. Number two is that I was deep in the publication process, a project that could benefit from its own set of reminders and todos, so I went for it.

    I already had a makeshift list in Scrivener. I just needed to port it over, and I was ready to go. Here’s how the experiment has worked out.

    Begin is great for specific, day-to-day todos. There’s one list. It has fields for today and tomorrow (and an uncompleted section hiding below the main screen). You can complete, delay until tomorrow, restore uncompleted items, and delete. And that’s pretty much it. It’s incredibly simple. And there, Begin shines. I needed a running list that I would address every day and throughout the day, for just one project. For that, Begin is almost perfect.

    Some apps deal with priorities on todo items, Begin’s way of managing that is by filing it in Today or Tomorrow and then allowing the user to drag and drop the order. There are no heat maps, no tiers to worry about, and no due date/times.

    Now, on the subject of due times, Begin again excels. The app provides a daily reminder system which sends a push notification at the same, user-defined time. If it is your preference, you can set a “last chance” notification for the app, upping the forced interruptions to a whopping two. I love this feature. For my ordinary reminders, such a system would be terrible. In fact, almost the entire point of regular reminders, for me, is to be notified at specific times throughout the day that I should be doing something that I was likely to forget.

    Begin sees its list (rightly) in a different way. There are things that need doing today, and you’ll be reminded of those at the start of your day (or your decided time). From there, it’s your responsibility to return to the app and check those items off as the day goes on. If you so choose, you get the second reminder before you leave the office or after lunch (or again, whatever time you predetermine).

    It’s refreshing to see an app that works hard to control the amount of times it interrupts the user throughout the day. And for an app that is strongest when users are focusing on a single project, the lack of buzzing distractions will hopefully keep users on task more often and for longer periods. I know it has for me.

    You can download Begin for yourself on the App Store. It’s free with a $0.99 in-app purchase (each) for extended features and bonus themes.