As an ePublisher, I’ve been asked my opinion (most recently in an interview for the AP earlier this week – not sure when it’s coming out) about the future of the format, and things like the new Amazon Kindle reader.

I’m not impressed. $400 bucks for black-and-white, and no PDF support? No thanks. I mean, sure, Amazon has got the push behind it, but I don’t see a lot of early-adopters. Not at that price, and not with those features.

I’ve decided, however, that I need one of these:

That’s an Arcos 605 wi-fi Portable Media Player. With one of those, I can read PDF documents….but I can also watch video, listen to mp3s, surf the web, and more…..on a full-color hi-def screen. It comes with up to 160 GB of storage, and is priced roughly compatably with an iPod.

The Kindle? Not so much.

Torchwood Series Two — near-simultaneous run in US?

The Doctor Who News Page is reporting a press release from BBC America that says:

BBC AMERICA’s all-time highest rated show, Torchwood, is back with a U.S. premiere second season, beginning January 26, 9:00pm ET/PT. Created by Russell T Davies, lead writer on the current Doctor Who series, Torchwood (13 x 60) is a BBC Production, distributed by BBC Worldwide.

With guest stars including James Marsters (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Smallville), Alan Dale (Ugly Betty, The OC) and Doctor Who’s Freema Agyeman, the show will air close to its UK premiere.

Richard De Croce, VP Programming, BBC AMERICA says: Torchwood has legions of loyal fans in the U.S. and we wanted to bring them the next season as soon as possible.

Given the air date, it looks like the American showing will be only a week or two at the most following broadcast in the UK. That’s pretty cool.

Of course, I’ll still end up downloading the UK broadcast version, because the US version gets edited slightly…but still.

Special Edition: Wednesday Music

Like there was any question that I’d be doing this…..

If you haven’t picked up Beck’s most recent album, The Information, which was released late last year, you should do so. I’ll completely admit that it had slipped entirely beneath my radar, but I heard a couple of tracks last night while browsing in a local CD/DVD shop, and it hooked me completely. Give a listen, and you’ll understand: Beck – “Think I’m In Love.”

Mark Ronson is the producer behind the retro sounds of both Christina Aguilera’s Back to Basics and Amy Winehouse’s Back to Black. He’s released a solo record, Versions, where he does his own versions (hence the name — clever, eh?) of songs he likes, in his recognizable style, with various guest vocalists. I cannot emphasize enough how good this album is. So good, in fact, you’re getting two tracks–

First, Ronson employs Amy Winehouse on a cover of The Zutons’ 2006 single, “Valerie” — Mark Ronson (feat. Amy Winehouse) – “Valerie.”

Second, a brilliant redux of the classic tune by The Charlatans — Mark Ronson (feat. Robbie Williams) – “The Only One I Know.”

A post by reminded me of one of my all-time favorite albums, which I haven’t listened to in years: the soundtrack to the 1981 animated film Heavy Metal. Like most 1980s-era gamers, I had this thing on damn near constant rotation. I immediately decided to post two of my favorite tracks from the album:

From the beginning of the Taarna sequence, when the mutants sack the city: Black Sabbath – “The Mob Rules.”

And from the Captain Sternn sequence: Cheap Trick – “Reach Out.”

Shifting gears — “Ojos Asi” is my favorite track by Shakira, and I’ve posted it before. However, I found this accoustic version from an MTV Unplugged appearance, which I think I might even like more — in the absence of the electronic beat and synths, traditional instrumentation is used, and her vocals are put more central to the mix. I really like it: Shakira – “Ojos Asi (Unplugged).”

Lastly, a bit of cheese for you, and a guilty pleasure of mine. The single from Tori Amos’ ill-fated initial debut as a new wave vixen, back in 1988: Y Kant Tori Read – “The Big Picture.”