Archive for March 5, 2008

One More Chance For You

March 5, 2008

To take yesterday’s test.

I have a splitting headache from a sinus infection and the ills of the world I’ve come across via the Net today (many of which I would have posted about had they not been so bleak and depressing — yes, even darker than what I did post about!).

So, I will post the answer to the test tomorrow.

Meantime, go take it.


March 5, 2008

Wikileaks is back.

And look at the horror I just found there: Masha Allen law suit over her unlawful adoption after being a child pornography star

This document hasn’t been released either on the internet or anywhere else. It is a legal notice of claim by a girl named Masha Allen who is planning on suing the county for wrongful adoption placement. The girl is pretty famous and used to live in Allegheny County where she is related to an important evangelical Judge Cheryl Allen. This girl Masha has appeared on Oprah, ABC Primetime and testified before the Congress with former Presidential Candidate Senator John Kerry who created a law named for her, Masha’s Law. I think Masha is living in Georgia now, or at least she was. Her name comes up from time to time in the newspaper. I just think everyone should know what happened to her and that the county and Marc Charna is in trouble if any of this is true, not to mention Masha.

This is from the PDF of the lawsuit:

1. Masha was trafficked into the United States from Russia at age five by a Pennsylvania pedophile named Matthew A. Mancuso and subjected to extensive sexual abuse and exploitation, including sadomasochism, starvation, and forced exhibitionism. Masha is pictured in hundreds of child pornography images which are highly sought by pedophiles worldwide. Her image sets are among the most popular in the world and are possessed by upwards of 80% of child predators apprehended in the United States and Canada. In the last decade, hundreds of child predators have been criminally prosecuted and imprisoned for possessing her images.

And that was just the beginning of her hell!

Followup: Her Blog Is Dead. Is She?

March 5, 2008

In She Will Kill Herself In Less Than 90 Days From Now, I wrote:

It’s a free Blogger blog.

Probably in deep violation of the TOS.

Expect it to go away before she does.

And yep, it’s gone.

I hope she changed her mind.

When One Thousand Means Over Fifty Thousand

March 5, 2008

1,000 True Fans

The long tail is famously good news for two classes of people; a few lucky aggregators, such as Amazon and Netflix, and 6 billion consumers. Of those two, I think consumers earn the greater reward from the wealth hidden in infinite niches.

But the long tail is a decidedly mixed blessing for creators. Individual artists, producers, inventors and makers are overlooked in the equation. The long tail does not raise the sales of creators much, but it does add massive competition and endless downward pressure on prices. Unless artists become a large aggregator of other artist’s works, the long tail offers no path out of the quiet doldrums of minuscule sales.

Other than aim for a blockbuster hit, what can an artist do to escape the long tail?

One solution is to find 1,000 True Fans. While some artists have discovered this path without calling it that, I think it is worth trying to formalize. The gist of 1,000 True Fans can be stated simply:

A creator, such as an artist, musician, photographer, craftsperson, performer, animator, designer, videomaker, or author – in other words, anyone producing works of art – needs to acquire only 1,000 True Fans to make a living.

I would amend that to True Fans who can afford to give.

To raise your sales out of the flatline of the long tail you need to connect with your True Fans directly. Another way to state this is, you need to convert a thousand Lesser Fans into a thousand True Fans.

Assume conservatively that your True Fans will each spend one day’s wages per year in support of what you do. That “one-day-wage” is an average, because of course your truest fans will spend a lot more than that. Let’s peg that per diem each True Fan spends at $100 per year. If you have 1,000 fans that sums up to $100,000 per year, which minus some modest expenses, is a living for most folks.

One thousand is a feasible number. You could count to 1,000. If you added one fan a day, it would take only three years. True Fanship is doable. Pleasing a True Fan is pleasurable, and invigorating. It rewards the artist to remain true, to focus on the unique aspects of their work, the qualities that True Fans appreciate.

This sounds like it comes right out of the Robert Schuller school of financing, for his Crystal Cathedral:

According to a History Channel program about the Crystal Cathedral, construction began in 1977 and ended in 1980. The initial estimated cost of the church was $7 million, but the final cost was over $17 million (about $55 million in 2007 dollars). Also according to the History Channel TV show, one way Dr. Schuller found to help finance the construction of the Crystal Cathedral was to sell each one of the 10,000 rectangular panes of glass for US$500 each, when the sale of the panes of glass was completed Dr. Schuller had raised over US$5 million.

But it glosses over the response rate I mentioned earlier.

Basically, with a good two per cent response rate, to get those one thousand True Fans, a person would have to be exposed to fifty thousand people. In fact, it will be a multiple of that because you want True Fans who can afford to give.

There’s a lot of noise to cut through. Let me use MySpace as an example. When you Add someone as a Friend, it allows that person to send Bulletins to you (and vice versa). Very few of these Bulletins fall into other than two categories:

1) We want your money (from those who have something to sell)

2) I’m bored (from those who don’t have anything to sell)

If you have, say, three hundred Friends, that means a potential of receiving three hundred Bulletins each day. Now imagine a MySpace member with thousands and thousands of Friends. Do you think one of your Bulletins would ever get read by that member?

I have over three hundred MySpace Friends. I’ve grown weary of MySpace because most of the Bulletins fall into those two categories I’ve cited. I’ve had to delete Friends who sent more than one Bulletin a day. It just got to be too much to deal with. I intend to continue trimming Friends. And I’ve stopped accepting Friend requests too.

So even when you have the ability to easily spread your word, that ease is mitigated — if not entirely thwarted — due to others also having the same ability.

I’ve sent few Bulletins on MySpace. The times I’ve done so and linked to this blog, the response was even less than the two per cent I’ve mentioned. This tells me most Bulletins aren’t even being read because, really, even the most swamped person has time do to one frikkin click just out of curiosity.

So all of you writers who someday hope to bypass the print publishing dinosaurs, be prepared for a long, hard slog. Don’t expect overnight success. But don’t give up, either.

Previously here:

Harlan Ellison (Again)
I’m Infecting You
Self-Published Ebook = DIY Or Vanity?
A Spirit That Can Conquer The World
Self-Confidence Vs. Self-Delusion
More Writers Getting Screwed
Iain Banks Interviewed
Defensive Pessimism: Part Of The Real Secret
Quotes: Benn Jordan
Edgar, The Fount
Quote Fight
Quote: J.K. Rowling
Quote Goodness
A Quote To Learn From
You Go, Ringo!
Harlan Ellison
Why Don’t More People Read?
More About Trent Reznor And Saul Williams
Hollywood’s Worst Nightmare: Obsolescence
DIY Book Marketing
The New School: Saul Williams Vs. Trent Reznor
Trent Reznor Meets Real Life And Weeps
Print Publishing Is In Self-Destruct Mode: eBook S.O.S.
Writers: Laugh Last, Laugh Best
Video Vitamins For Our Souls
Who’s Flogging Their Work Online?

Internet Imperialism

March 5, 2008

A Wave of the Watch List, and Speech Disappears

Steve Marshall is an English travel agent. He lives in Spain, and he sells trips to Europeans who want to go to sunny places, including Cuba. In October, about 80 of his Web sites stopped working, thanks to the United States government.


It turned out, though, that Mr. Marshall’s Web sites had been put on a Treasury Department blacklist and, as a consequence, his American domain name registrar, eNom Inc., had disabled them. Mr. Marshall said eNom told him it did so after a call from the Treasury Department; the company, based in Bellevue, Wash., says it learned that the sites were on the blacklist through a blog.

Either way, there is no dispute that eNom shut down Mr. Marshall’s sites without notifying him and has refused to release the domain names to him. In effect, Mr. Marshall said, eNom has taken his property and interfered with his business. He has slowly rebuilt his Web business over the last several months, and now many of the same sites operate with the suffix .net rather than .com, through a European registrar. His servers, he said, have been in the Bahamas all along.

Mr. Marshall said he did not understand “how Web sites owned by a British national operating via a Spanish travel agency can be affected by U.S. law.” Worse, he said, “these days not even a judge is required for the U.S. government to censor online materials.”

Another site had an interesting piece of advice for these situations:

Solution: make sure your business has as little connection to the U.S. as you possibly can. It’s just not worth the potential hassle. I’m sure the rest of the world is getting this message loud and clear.

Reference: Phun

March 5, 2008

Coolest science toy ever

Phun is without question the greatest computer toy in the history of the universe, if this had been around when I was a kid I would be a frickin genius by now. You don’t need things any more.

Wow. He has a YouTube vid at his site. Go look.

(No, I won’t embed the video here. That would be duplicating his post and deny him traffic.)

MySpace For iPhone?

March 5, 2008

MySpace developing native iPhone app

MySpace is in the midst of developing a native iPhone and iPod touch application, Electronista has learned. Although details of what the app involves remain closely guarded, the product is known to be the result of early SDK access and is described as impressive compared to current mobile versions of the social networking site. Whether it will support MySpace’s signature music and video services is unknown, though neither are likely given the lack of a native Adobe Flash port for the handset or else iPhone-friendly content on the site’s servers.

Emphasis added by me.

There’s a big weakness. Maybe MySpace will get religion and start converting all video to H.264 as YouTube is doing?

I don’t like the idea of otherwise not being able to show people, for example, a video of Nobarbies.

Reference: GyPSii For iPhone

March 5, 2008


GyPSii website

Press release about iPhone support (PDF). This is interesting:

GyPSii also confirmed that it would produce a “native” version of its application using Apple’s Software Developer Kit (SDK) which is scheduled to be launched later this week, providing seamless access for all Apple users, from the desktop, to the iPhone.

Watch the video infomercial at the site. I like the Space Me feature:

See where your friends and (optionally) other GyPSii members are in real time on your mobile and on the web. Call them, email them or send them text messages. Share your lives with each other.

By the way, it’s also available for Windows Mobile as well as for phones from that death-spiraling Finnish company I will never name.

Reference: Free London Travel Guide For iPhone/iPod

March 5, 2008

London Travel Guide for iPod

The London Travel Guide for iPod is a podcast with a difference! Once installed onto your iPod, you will have an awesome travel guide to London that includes some great features you just can’t get with a paperback travel guide!

The guide includes over 60 attractions in London, loads of helpful maps, pictures and video and is everything you would expect from a 21st century travel guide for your iPod!

Also available for iPhone/iPod Touch web access.

Still one of the things I Want To Do Before Becoming Dead.

— via Shiny Shiny

Adobe, Get Off Your Fat …

March 5, 2008

Adobe’s Flash Player Not Suited For IPhone, Apple CEO Says

As Jobs put it Tuesday, Apple’s iPhone, with all its cutting-edge mobile Internet trickery, needs something much better than the current Flash player that Adobe makes for cellphones. The Flash Player option that fits the bill is made for devices like laptops that are larger than the iPhone; as a consequence, it performs too slowly on the iPhone, he said.

Whose job is it supposed to be to provide a Flash player for the iPhone?

Why should Apple do it? Flash isn’t Apple’s creation. And apparently the H.264 video codec can produce far better images than Flash.

I see this as yet another failure by Adobe. Did Adobe even approach Apple about developing Flash for the iPhone? I doubt it.


Just look at Adobe’s history with PalmOS. The PDF viewer they created for PalmOS was a disaster. No one was pleased with it. It used too much RAM and was too slow.

Similarly, with Flash, only Sony’s latter CLIEs were able to play Flash. Palm’s own PDAs couldn’t.

This really makes me wonder about that new PDF software for the Sony Reader (hey, it’s now March; where is it?) as well as the IDPF’s .epub ebook file standard.

Adobe is looking more like a fat and complacent Microsoft all the time.

Hey Adobe! When the “iSDK” is released, are you going to do something?

Adobe Under Scrutiny. Doesn’t Look Promising.