Monday, August 25, 2014

Computer woes

My home computer has been giving me problems for several months. These started before we went on holiday and were mainly fixed by replacing the power supply (and its fan). But in the past few weeks, it has been acting strangely: freezing, spontaneously rebooting and displaying the blue screen of death after an unpredictable amount of time. There have been days when I have managed to work without interruption (for example, last Friday) and there have been days (like yesterday) when the computer boots and progresses to the stage when I can download my email then ... pfff! No computer.

I have to replace this computer. I am somewhat wary of progressing to Windows 7 as I have a suspicion that some of the music software which I use won't work. I analysed my computing needs as follows:
  1. General computing - internet, email, word processing, etc. There shouldn't be a problem here although I hope that I won't lose any of the most recent emails (I have backups but not daily). All my doctoral work - papers which I have downloaded and material which I have written - is constantly backed up to Dropbox, so presuming that I can remember the password to Dropbox (probably stored in an email...), all this material will be accessible at home.
  2. Programming: all my source code is backed up on Dropbox. The only thing which worries me here is third party code; most of this is not essential, but the Indy 10 communications library is very important.
  3. Music: the majority of my files - either source MIDI files or final WAV files - are all backed up on external media. If my hard disk goes, then I lose the instrumental piece on which I have been working for the past week (in between reboots). This is based on a file which was made seventeen years ago, so I could reconstruct it if necessary. What really bothers me here is the software - I can reinstall the various programs, but it's the third party code (mainly vst effects) which will be problematic.
My computer technician called just as I was about to start writing this blog. It seems that he has transferred my hard disks to a new motherboard, so whilst he has to work ensuring that everything works on the system level (new drivers, etc), all the installed software and files will be intact and should work as before. Presumably the computer will have a new MAC address (network interface) which will be slightly problematic but easily overcome.

In case anyone is wondering how I can write this blog entry with no home computer, I am using one of my other two computers (one at work and one mobile). All three are connected to my Dropbox and I even copied a recent backup of my emails (a pst file) to the work file server, so I can even access those emails from work should I need to. How do I post blog entries when I'm on holiday? Obviously not from my home computer.

[MPP: 504;0,1,6]

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Abattoir blues

August means that there is a new Inspector Banks novel from Peter Robinson. I downloaded this book from Amazon to my Kindle about two weeks ago and I've read it twice. It's a very solid and engrossing book but I do have some comments about it.

First of all, it seems that about 75% of the book is exposition, waiting for something to happen. Whilst it's intriguing to read what the police team is doing, they don't seem to be progressing very much. When they do progress, though, they progress extremely fast, so much so that the ending seems very rushed.

As I have noted with several other of the Inspector Banks novels, it often seems that the team don't detect very much. Most of the important facts (or pieces of evidence) are brought to their attention: a tractor is stolen, some blood is found in a disused hangar. Following on from the tractor, they discover that the son of the person who was looking after the farm from which the tractor was stolen is missing. The common-law wife of this missing person is threatened by someone stupid enough to leave his fingerprints behind. The caravan belonging to a mate of the missing person is torched.

The detective team talk to people and theorise but don't really get anywhere. They have (at first) daily meetings which help them but also help the reader in making sense of what is happening. The only real insight which is made by the detective team is when Winsome realises that an hour of a driver's schedule is missing and makes an educated guess as to where he spent that hour.

The characterisation of Winsome is much better than it has been in previous books; she has moved more into the centre of the story, whilst DCI Banks and DI Cabbot relinquish some of their 'screen time'. Not only do we see Winsome the detective in action, we also see some of Winsome the person; she comes over as more sympathetic than she has been in previous books. On the other hand, DCI Banks receives much less 'personal time', there are fewer pieces of music referenced and his love life seems to be on hold. The hints which were made about retirement in the previous installment get referenced once - by Annie Cabbot. In other words, neither the police institution nor Banks himself refer to it, which means that it's a kind of red herring.

Coincidence - or the requirements of book writing - ensure that two characters from previous books make appearances, both with exactly the right information which Banks and his team need. In other words, I think that real life is more confusing and jumbled, but this wouldn't make for good reading.

There are some nice touches, almost jokes, in the book but only one sticks in my mind. There is a DC (he first appeared about three books ago) who apparently looks like Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter. People rib him about this, including his colleagues. At one stage, a local tearaway suddenly doubles up in pain whilst this DC walks past with an angelic expression on his face. The implication, of course, is that he dealt a blow to the tearaway in response to being ridiculed.

There is one incident which I have yet to understand. The person 'stupid enough to leave his fingerprints behind' (as I noted above) is traced and interviewed. After the interview finishes (he didn't reveal much and his expensive lawyer would have liked him to reveal even less), he wishes the woman (that he threatened) and her son well. The lawyer whisks him away before he can say any more and the DC accompanying Banks in the interview says "Is that what I thought it was?" I thought that the implication was that the thug could only know that the woman had a small son by having been in their flat, but this existence of the son is revealed at the beginning of the interview. Maybe the fact that the son was young was not mentioned, but I think that this is a mistake in the book. Certainly, this 'revelation' is never discussed again, so maybe this was something that should have been edited out.

There's another technique which I noticed being used a few times: someone (normally Banks) would voice an idea which wouldn't have much basis in fact (according to what the characters knew at the time) and one of the other characters (normally Annie) would criticise that idea, exactly in the same way that I would do, causing the first character to justify himself. It's as if author Robinson was aware that the statement would cause the reader to object, so he inserted the explanation into the text.

Here's part of an interesting article about reading books on the Kindle: A new study which found that readers using a Kindle were "significantly" worse than paperback readers at recalling when events occurred in a mystery story is part of major new Europe-wide research looking at the impact of digitisation on the reading experience.

The study, presented in Italy at a conference last month and set to be published as a paper, gave 50 readers the same short story by Elizabeth George to read. Half read the 28-page story on a Kindle, and half in a paperback, with readers then tested on aspects of the story including objects, characters and settings.

Anne Mangen of Norway's Stavanger University, a lead researcher on the study, thought academics might "find differences in the immersion facilitated by the device, in emotional responses" to the story. Her predictions were based on an earlier study comparing reading an upsetting short story on paper and on iPad. "In this study, we found that paper readers did report higher on measures having to do with empathy and transportation and immersion, and narrative coherence, than iPad readers," said Mangen.

But instead, the performance was largely similar, except when it came to the timing of events in the story. "The Kindle readers performed significantly worse on the plot reconstruction measure, ie, when they were asked to place 14 events in the correct order."

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Archeology (my computer music evolution)

Today was blessed with the absence of headaches (as opposed to yesterday, when I had one from 6am until 9pm). In the morning, I surprised myself by swimming 18 lengths in the pool, the first six without stopping: quite an improvement from six weeks ago!

In the afternoon, my wife was cleaning out my 'office' - basically a passageway in our house which is crammed with a computer credenza, four sets of bookshelves and hundreds of books and disks. She found a cupboard packed with old computer disks - both 5¼ and 3½ - which I have no possibility of reading. I'll try and find a computer museum who might be interested in them. In the same cupboard were two piles of audio cassettes; at first glance, these seem to be composed of three different types: records which I used to taped for to listen while walking with a walkman, rare recordings of Fairport Convention et al. (these were the days before cd burners) and cassette recordings of myself.

It's the last group which currently occupies me. I have probably related how I first started using MIDI in February 1996, initially at a friend's house and then on my computer. At first, I didn't have any way of recording these songs so I simply stockpiled them - not that there are so many; I was still learning how to create a song using MIDI.

In the summer of 1997, I went on my own to Britain for ten days - specifically for Cropredy 'week' but also for a few other activities. I spent a lovely week in Banbury, with music in the evening and wandering about during the day. I bought a lovely blue shirt which I still wear to this day, but the most important purchase was a cassette tape deck which cost 40GBP. I think that this was a double deck, thus allowing me to copy tapes. The idea was to connect the computer's sound card output directly to the tape deck through line in sockets, whilst singing into a microphone connected to a different socket. High tech for 1997! 

Once I had this machine installed at home, it was only a short while before I starting recording. One of the tapes which my wife found was recorded in the week 19-26/9/97, and this is the first tape that I transferred to computer this evening. There are several songs which are very familiar; most of them have been awarded with a second and even third recording in later days. Listening to them, my impressions are:
  • I sang quite well, without the aid of pitch changing software and multiple takes stitched together
  • I had yet to learn about syncopation
  • Either I had yet to learn about MIDI drumming or else the drum sounds that I was obtaining were so bad that I preferred to go without drums
There's a second tape, recorded a bit less than a year later (it took me a long time to create the songs) in May 1998. In the summer of 1998, we went to Britain again, this time returning with a computer disk of drum patterns. In the second half of 1998, I created yet another set of songs, this time with drums, and recorded them again directly to tape, in January 1999.

Just as I completed recording, I was talking with a new worker in the factory who suggested that I use a sound editor on the computer instead of recording to tape. He gave me a program which I installed, then used it to rerecord the songs. Obviously, the recording was much cleaner, with no tape hiss or hum. I even managed to add some effects.

A few months later, I found a program which turned the computer into a multi-track tape recorder: I could record the music once, then record myself singing on as many tracks as I needed, editing and adding effects. I could finally mix properly.

Until now, all the music was being rendered by the computer's sound card (there would have been a change in computers for I'm fairly sure that the sounds achieved in 2000 were not those of 1997). The next step in the computer music evolution was the move to Reason in 2005 which was a huge step. Again, it took me quite some time to learn how to create songs with MIDI and Reason. Since then, the only change has been the use of pitch changing software, which I seem to need much more than I did seventeen years ago. This may be due to me singing very softly into a mike a few inches from my mouth, instead of singing loudly into a microphone about a foot away. Maybe I should try the old style again... if I had some songs to record.

[MPP: 494; 0, 1, 6]

Friday, August 15, 2014

Research proposal supplement accepted

During the past two weeks, I've had many headaches which have affected to me to varying degrees: I had a really bad one a few days ago which forced me to leave work early and go home. The various anti-headache medications which I have seem to have no effect; I discussed the issue with my doctor yesterday evening and he may start me on a prophylactic medicine if there is no improvement. It might well be that the extra headaches are being caused by a new medicine which I will be taking for about a year: 13% of the people taking this medicine complained of headaches. The doctor gave me a prescription for an alternative medicine which has a lower level of side effects. We'll see whether this switch makes any difference. It's also been very hot in the past few days, though I don't think that dehydration has played a part in causing pain.

When not suffering from headaches, I have been working hard on my research proposal supplement. As I wrote a week ago, I had started finding quality papers which have been published in the past few years. Since then, I've found more quality papers, including one published very recently which discusses similar research to mine which was conducted in Denmark. This paper was published in a very expensive book although each paper is available separately for purchase from the publisher. I wrote to the paper's lead author asking for a copy of the paper, which he sent me the same day. The paper turned out to be even more interesting that I had originally expected; I asked the Danish professor a supplementary question and again he answered immediately.

I prepared what I thought was the final draft a few days ago and sent it to my mentor. His only criticism was that I needed to write in more forceful language - replacing statements like 'this could be researched' with 'data will be collected'. The language is too polite, reserved and passive, whereas it needs to be confident and active.  Fighting off the bad headache of that day (see opening paragraph), I made the required changes then sent the final draft to the research committee secretary.

I have just been informed that the committee (or representatives, as the committee did not meet in entirety) has accepted my proposal and that I now move on to the next stage. A new supervisor has been appointed, along with a second supervisor (this is the reviewer who was "on my side" for my initial proposal and who I met a few years ago). As my research proposal mentor expressed a desire to continue working with me and supervising my research, this switch comes as a surprise. I have written to the second supervisor asking what happened.

Over the next few days, I will refresh my memory regarding the requirements of the literature review and synthesis. As far as I remember, the material wasn't particularly clear; no doubt my supervisor will explain in greater detail when he gets in contact (he may not do this until I pay the supervisory fee, a stiff 4,000GBP per year). This is one of the major differences between a mentor and a supervisor: the mentor reviewed what I wrote but his suggestions were supposed to be confined to bringing the proposal - all my work - to the required level (in fact, mine helped no small amount with the statistics material, but the first half of the proposal was written by me and effectively edited by him). The supervisor will be much more actively involved, suggesting how to do things as well as reviewing my prose. It's not clear to me at the moment what the role of the second supervisor is, but no doubt I'll shortly find out.

I'm trying to compare that supervisory fee with the fees that I paid as a MBA student: each course cost - together with the exam - 1000GBP, so each year I paid 3,000GBP. But in a sense, that was pure profit for the university as the marginal cost per student was almost zero. Presumably some of that money made its way to Ramat Gan college, but someone who studied on their own (as I did for the Business Research courses) would have cost the university only the cost of the learning materials - which had already been printed. Now the university is 'employing' a professor to supervise me directly, so my fees go in no small amount into paying the salary of that professor. Another part of the fees will go into paying the salary of the DBA manager and a further part will go to the library. This obviously is how modern universities manage to stay alive.

Update, 16 Aug 2014: The second supervisor passed the letter which I sent to him on to the DBA manager who must have realised that something was wrong. Later in the evening, I received a letter saying that there had been a mistake and that my mentor would be continuing as my supervisor.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Robin Williams, RIP

The Oscar-winning actor and stand-up comedian Robin Williams, whose range extended from manic mimicry to understated character portrayals, was found dead in his California home on Monday [11 Aug 2014]. In a statement, the local sheriff’s office said that it was treating the death of the 63-year-old star as a suspected suicide.

The White House released a statement by Barack Obama, who said: “Robin Williams was an airman, a doctor, a genie, a nanny, a president, a professor, a bangarang Peter Pan, and everything in between. But he was one of a kind. He arrived in our lives as an alien – but he ended up touching every element of the human spirit.”

Obviously his huge talent will be missed - but his talent lives forever on in the films hinted at above (presumably Good morning Vietnam, Patch Adams, Aladdin, Mrs Doubtfire, Man of the year, Good Will Hunting - or maybe Flubber, Hook), all of which (save Mrs Doubtfire) I have in my collection. Unfortunately, most of them are from quite some time ago.

Not being American, I never saw any of his appearances as Mork; I first became aware of him when he was seriously miscast in 'The world according to Garp' but he really only made his mark (and how!) in 'Good morning, Vietnam', 1987. I have a memory of seeing this in a cinema in Rehovot, with the audience rolling on the floor and crying from laughter. Repeated viewings have awarded this film a mixed reputation: Williams as the DJ is excellent but the Vietnam parts are naive.

He cemented his comic reputation with all the films up to  'Aladdin', but I also liked very much some of his dramatic roles - 'Man of the year' comes strongly to mind. Thinking about it now, there is quite a similarity between this film and 'Good morning' - in both, he starts out as a comic but is forced to take part in a very sombre reality. Is it simply coincidence that both films were directed by Barry Levinson? The latter film is the lesser known but probably the better of the two.

No doubt we will shortly have a Robin Williams retrospective on our satellite TV channels, which will give me the opportunity of plugging some holes in his extensive filmography - IMDb lists 102 credits of an actor of which I have about 18.

Friday, August 08, 2014

Twenty five years ago

Twenty five years ago (summer of 1989), I wrote the following to a friend:  "This would be a good time to try and sum up the past year, from my 32nd birthday till my 33rd; this year was probably the worst of my adult life. On an automatic level, I functioned very well, but on a more personal level, it seems that I was totally cut off, living in my own world. I feel that I was forced into this situation and that my behaviour was a reaction to what was happening around me. It was a year of alienation from what was supposed to be my home, alienation from those surrounding me; it ended by finding a new home and hopefully a new life."

In late July 1989, we left Kibbutz Mishmar David, spent a month in Bournemouth on holiday,  then returned to MD only long enough to pack our belongings before moving to Kibbutz Tzora.

Thursday, August 07, 2014

Blackberries (or are they blackcurrants?)

One of my favourite foods is the blackberry - or is it the blackcurrant? They look completely different in their native forms, but in the shop they look the same.

When I was living in London during the 70s, I frequently made apple and blackcurrant crumble (I'm not sure how I would buy the black whatevers, fresh or canned). The colour of this tasty dish was purple. One day, someone added cream to the crumble and the colour instantly changed to sky blue. Regurgitating a lecture which I had heard that week in biochemistry, I was able to inform the diners that the colour depends on the light absorbing properties of double bonds within the phenolic flavonoid phytochemicals of the berries. The arrangement of these double bonds is dependent somewhat on pH (acidity); adding cream raises the pH of the mixture which causes the double bonds to rearrange which causes the crumble to change colour. I'm sure that this small dollop of information improved their appreciation of the crumble - or maybe it was the cream that they enjoyed.

Over the summer of 1978, after having completed my degree but before emigrating to Israel, I worked in the laboratory of a public analyst when someone brought in several punnets of blackcurrants. The full story can be read here.

My access to blackberries/currants has been virtually nil for the past thirty five years, but I've recently discovered a way of buying them. A few months ago, I related how I bought stinging nettle tea at a health shop; I didn't mention that I also bought a few hundred grams of blackberries. Ever since, I have been enjoying a spoonful of them every morning with my yoghurt. This morning I remembered to see what the nutritional benefits of eating them are; according to this site (edited slightly):
  • As in other kinds of bush berries, blackberries are packed with numerous plant nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, anti-oxidants and dietary fibers that are essential for optimum health.
  • The berries are very low in calories. 100 g provide just 43 calories. Nonetheless, they are rich in soluble and insoluble fiber (100 g whole berries consist of 5.3 g or 14% RDA of fiber). Xylitol, a low-calorie sugar substitute which is absorbed more slowly than glucose inside the gut, thus not causing rapid fluctuations in blood sugar levels, is found in the fiber.
  • Blackberries are composed of significantly high amounts of phenolic flavonoid phytochemicals such as anthocyanins, ellagic acid, tannin, quercetin, gallic acid, cyanidins, pelargonidins, catechins, kaempferol and salicylic acid. Scientific studies show that these antioxidant compounds may have potential health benefits against cancer, aging, inflammation, and neurological diseases.
  • Fresh berries are an excellent source of vitamin-C (100 g of berries contain 23 mg or 35% of RDA), which is a powerful natural antioxidant. Consumption of fruits rich in vitamin C helps develop resistance against infectious agents, counter inflammation, and scavenge harmful free radicals from the human body.
  • They contain adequate levels of vitamin A, vitamin E, and vitamin K (16% of RDA/100 g) and in addition; they are rich in much other health promoting flavonoid poly-phenolic antioxidants such as lutein, zea-xanthin, and ß-carotene in small amounts. Altogether, these compounds help act as protective scavengers against oxygen-derived free radicals and reactive oxygen species (ROS) that play a role in aging and various disease processes.
  • Blackberries have an ORAC value (oxygen radical absorbance capacity, a measure of anti-oxidant strength) of about 5347µmol TE per 100 grams.
  • Further, blackberries contain a good amount of minerals like potassium, manganese, copper, and magnesium. Copper is required in the bone metabolism as well as in production of white and red blood cells.
  • They contain moderate levels of B-complex group of vitamins, containing very good amounts of pyridoxine, niacin, pantothenic acid, riboflavin, and folic acid. These vitamins are acting as cofactors helping the body metabolize carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.
But (and this is a very big BUT), recent research has shown that the berries should not be consumed with milk (and presumably with milk products such as yoghurt). This means that I shall now move my blackberry consumption to a milk-free hour - probably lunchtime.

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Information quality

As I think I have written before, my mood seems to be very dependent of how well I'm doing with my research. I have to admit that this high level of coupling is juvenile, but I don't seem to be able to change this mode of behaviour. Yesterday, I was very frustrated with the requests of the research proposal reviewer who required explanation of how the research will have a business/management dimension, as it seemed that I couldn't find anything relevant. Today, though, is a new day and things have changed somewhat.

I am aware of two methods of finding relevant papers: the classical and the modern. In the classical method, one finds an interesting paper, reads it, notes the references then follows the references (when I was an undergraduate in the 1970s, the papers were found via a card index). In the modern method, one access a site such as Google Scholar then performs a search with carefully chosen parameters. It turns out that I'm not very good at using the modern method, as the really interesting papers have all been found by tracing the references and not by searching Google. That said, the best method of all seems to be a hybrid: finding something interesting via Google, reading it then following the references. But as references obviously can only lead to papers which had already been published when the interesting article was published, this method only leads to the past. The twist is then using Google Scholar to find the papers which have cited the referenced paper: this method leads to the future.

The first important find was a paper entitled "Organizational impact of system quality, information quality, and service quality". This paper is full of management speak such as "The value of Information Systems (IS) can be realized by improving profit margins for the firm, providing easy-to-use and useful applications, and designing easily maintainable software. IS quality as conformance denotes designing systems that conform to the end users’ information requirements and adhere to industry standards. Meeting customer expectations of IS quality is accomplished by offering appealing, user-friendly interfaces, entertaining user requests for changes, and satisfying the stakeholders of the IS. Organizational impact represents the firm-level benefits received by an organization because of IS applications. The organizational impact of IT is realized through business performance which leads to business value. Organizational impact has been measured as competitive advantage and strategic value, market value, organizational efficiency and effectiveness, and capacity utilization. IT resources create economic value by increasing operational efficiencies and creating competitive advantage." I sincerely hope that this is the kind of material which the research committee require.

The second interesting find came from a paper published in 2005 which defines four dimensions for information quality:
  • accuracy
  • completeness
  • currency (how up to date the data is, not whether it is stored in shekels or dollars)
  • format
I then remarked that "whilst the importance of the first three dimensions of information quality are fairly clear, I think that the importance of format is less well appreciated, even though it can be understood on a visceral level. The canonical paper (796 citations) on this subject (Vessey, 1991) dates from a pre-Windows 3 era, when easily programmable graphical applications had yet to appear. At the time, there was a clear divide between ERP systems and shadow systems, with no computer based interface between them. Thus by necessity, any data stored in a shadow system would have to be entered manually. 

I have long been convinced that the method in which information is presented (tabular vs graphic) has a major effect on the way in which the information is perceived; thus presenting the same data in a 'boring' table or in a 'state of the art' graphics application complete with gratuitous decoration would elicit completely different reactions in those viewing the presentation. Whilst Priority can nominally display data pre-formatted in a specific manner as a graph, such capability is very hard to achieve. Thus those wishing to display ERP data graphically are left with virtually no option other than to export the data to Excel and display from there. This subject could be added to the questionnaire and as a possible dependent variable, although I suspect that it would not be applicable to the majority of users."

Of course, citing a paper from 1991 is almost self defeating. But I then used the 'cited by' method to find more recent papers and found one published in 2014 which seems partially applicable. Unfortunately, I have only been able to access the paper's abstract but I am hoping to obtain the complete paper shortly. If this paper does not deliver any suitable quotes then I will follow its reference trail. 

I am now in a much better mood. I hope that my mentor will not deflate this mood.

Sunday, August 03, 2014

Kindle problems

Over the past few weeks, I've been having problems with my Kindle. The first thing that I noticed was that the battery seemed to be running down very fast. Previously I used to charge the Kindle once every few weeks, but now it seemed as if I had to charge every day. Last week I went to Haifa on the train; the Kindle was frequently warning me that its battery was running low and at one stage it simply turned itself off and refused to turn back on. 

I wanted the Kindle to be in top condition in order to download from Amazon the new Inspector Banks novel, "Abattoir blues".  

Obviously I charged the Kindle overnight but it seemed that the charge wasn't holding. When I started researching this, one of the suggestions was to turn "airplane mode" on, so that the Kindle wouldn't waste battery power looking for wi-fi networks. I suspect that this mode was not on beforehand, for when I turned it on, I noticed the icon of an airplane appeared on the screen. 

I also noticed that the Kindle appeared to have no MAC address; without this, it can't connect to the Internet which would mean that I wouldn't be able to download the book. I started googling how I could solve this problem and eventually I found the answer. I'm going to document how I solved the problem here, in case it happens again.

Problem: Wi-Fi MAC Address: Unavailable.
  1. I backed up the entire 'documents' directory of the Kindle onto my computer. Amazon believes that the entire contents of the Kindle were purchased via Amazon, but in my case, almost all of the books stored came from other sources.
  2. I set the Kindle up to require a password.
  3. I rebooted the Kindle by pressing on the power switch for about 30 seconds. When the Kindle rebooted, I entered the password which I had just defined and checked to see whether  rebooting had restored the MAC address - no.
  4. I rebooted again but this time entered the magic password 'resetmykindle'.
  5. After a few minutes, the Kindle came back to life and asked for details of my wireless connection.
Success! Of course, I didn't have the password to my mobile internet router handy so I couldn't continue redefining the Kindle. At work, I found the password (and wrote it down in my new notebook); I came home, turned on the router and the Kindle and began redefining. Once connected, the Kindle restored the names of the books which I had bought from Amazon; I had to download them myself (a painless process lasting a few seconds in each case). I then purchased the Inspector Banks novel and that got downloaded too.

I am now restoring the backup from my computer. I will have to rebuild all the collections, but that's a small price to pay. I have ensured that 'airplane mode' is turned on and I will religiously charge the Kindle after every use.

[SO: 3590; 2, 13, 35
MPP: 449; 0, 1, 6]