Everyone can blook.

Tony Pierce wasn’t the first blogger to go from blog to book, and now it looks like he won’t be the last, thanks to the new BookSmart software from Blurb. Announced at the DEMO conference, Blurb BookSmart is a general purpose tool that does for text what iPhoto does for pictures: makes it easy to self publish quality hardbound books.

Given my experience with iPhoto books, I’m curious to see how it turns out. Unfortunately there doesn’t appear to be a way to get into the beta without an invitation, so if anyone can hook me up, I’m your friend. Oh yeah: also no word about Mac compatibility for the software either. (Update: I missed the software compatibility info on the bottom of the Create Your Book page, which indicates that Blurb BookSmart is available for both Windows and Mac OS X.)(via)

Time to buy a Shuffle?

My 512 MB USB memory stick has gone missing; I’ve looked all over for it. But I’m not sure I care after seeing the news from CNet that Apple has lowered the price of the 512 MB Shuffle to $69 (and the 1 GB to $99).

I don’t really think I can get one, of course, right now; but it’s still a suddenly compelling value proposition. Who needs a screen? It’s a memory stick with previous-next and a headphone port. What more do you need? Besides, it would be good to have a backup for those long flights when my regular iPod’s battery goes.

The only catch: 1 GB of memory is not designed for people who rip losslessly. I think I could fit about 100 minutes of music on it. (Update: I missed reading a review that points out that iTunes can automatically downsample lossless files for a particular iPod to 128kbps AAC. I never knew iTunes could do that!!)

But what’s the message in the new 1 GB Nano? I guess that people like the small form factor enough to want to have access to the screen even if they only have a few songs on it. And that it’s important to get new models out to customers so that the market gets even more saturated before the competitors catch up.