Archive for May 20, 2008

Quote: Rob May

May 20, 2008

Still Here. Still Thinking

I have a hard time focusing on the web these days because of the Ron Paul effect. For those involved heavily in the web and social media, it seemed as if Ron Paul was at least making a dent in the primaries. As it turned out though, most of the rest of the world had no idea who he was. I think about that every time someone tells me about the latest frivolous web tool that is going to be the next big thing. I wonder, “the next big thing to who? A bunch of web novelty seekers that just move on from big thing to big thing?” It only seems like “everyone” is using the latest and greatest tool because we are pulling from the wrong sample.

That’s a great last post for today.

Thank God It’s Not Gareth Roberts!

May 20, 2008

Moffat named Doctor Who supremo

Scriptwriter Steven Moffat was today named lead writer and executive producer on hit BBC1 drama Doctor Who.

Moffat, who has written a number of episodes of the show – including the acclaimed Blink episode which won him the writer prize at this year’s Bafta Craft Awards – will replace Russell T Davies.

Davies, the key creative figure behind the Doctor Who revival in 2005, stands down next year.

The appointment makes Moffat Doctor Who’s showrunner – the key creative force behind the programme – on the fifth series, which will be broadcast on BBC1 in 2010.

As well as Blink, his previous work on Doctor Who includes The Girl in the Fireplace for series two which earned him his second Hugo Award. His first was for the series one two-parter The Empty Child.

To understand my post headline: Doctor Who Jumps The Gay Shark

— via Warren Ellis

The Lowdown On LifeLock

May 20, 2008

Yeah, you know those ads. He gives out his Social Security Number and invites people to try to steal his identity.

And they have!

Over and over again!

It’s all yet another frikkin scam!

ID theft protection firm sued
LifeLock misinformed customers, lawsuit says

The suit also traces what it calls the “nefarious origin” of the company, including the background of Robert J. Maynard Jr., who co-founded the company with Davis in 2005.

“Upon information and belief, Maynard developed the idea for LifeLock while sitting in a jail cell after having been arrested for failure to repay a $16,000 casino marker taken out at the Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas,” the suit states.

Maynard was sanctioned by the Federal Trade Commission because of misleading infomercials for National Credit Foundation, a separate credit-improvement company, according to the suit.

The suit also maintains that Maynard stole his father’s identity by using his information to get an American Express card, which he used to rack up more than $100,000 of debt.

Nice guy, huh?

And if you subscribed, he now has your personal info!

via MySpace Bulletin from Matthew St. Amand

Truckers Strike 2008: TRUCC Act And Crime

May 20, 2008


Two communiques from Trucker Strike at MySpace:

S. 2910
This Act may be cited as the `Trust in Reliable Understanding of Consumer Costs Act’ or the `TRUCC Act’.

To contact your Senators and your Representative in the House, call the U.S. Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and provide the operator with your home zip code. The operator will connect you with the offices of your elected representatives. To voice your opinion on the TRUCC ACT.

And this bit of real-life horror:

OK we all read about truckers getting robbed and loads getting stolen from them on a daily basis from all over the United States. Or at least I do but it hits home now.

Tonight (5/19-08) while my husband was waiting to get fuel in Maryland. A man came up to him and demanded that he give him all of his money. The man had his hand in his pocket like he was holding a gun. He obviously was not too smart considering my husband was still in his truck but had the window down. Husband told him to hang on, grabbed his gun and stuck it in the man’s face and told him he better be moving on. The man ran off and nobody was hurt but this could have been tragic. I honestly do not know what I would have done if this would have turned negative real fast. Concealed weapons permits DO come in handy after all.

So for all the drivers out there please please be careful anywhere you stop and no matter what you are doing keep your doors locked and your eye balls and ears open. I hear about truckers getting robbed a lot or their loads getting stolen and I have a bad feeling it is only going to get worse.

Stay Safe.

Yes, stay safe! With diesel fuel so expensive, find a way to prevent siphoning. And watch your back while filling that tank!

God bless the American trucker!

The American Driver – From Drivers … For Drivers
– helping to organize the various protest actions

– be sure to see the list of planned events to participate!

Trucker Strike MySpace
– Add as Friend to get all the Bulletins!

Owner Operators United MySpace
– Add as Friend to get Bulletins (the page layout is now better but it has too many elements and loads slowly)

Previously here:

New York City: Anti-American
Truckers Strike 2008: Thieves At Work
Truckers Strike 2008: D.C. Video
Truckers Strike 2008: Today In D.C.
Truckers Strike 2008: April 28th D.C. Route
Truckers Strike 2008: A Salute And Links
Truckers Strike 2008: Indiana, April 18, 2008
Truckers Strike 2008: Protest In D.C.!
Truckers Strike 2008: April 28th Rally In D.C.
Truckers Strike 2008: Action!
Truckers Strike 2008: Contacts Needed
Truckers Strike 2008: Who Wants To Go To DC???
Truckers Strike 2008: Big Rig Documentary
Truckers Strike: Harrisburg, PA Convoy
Truckers Strike 2008: Meeting Tomorrow
Chronicles Of Depression 2.0: #017
Truckers Strike 2008: Day Three?
Truckers Strike 2008: A Success?
Truckers Strike 2008: Search Precedent Set
Truckers Strike 2008: Day Two
Truckers Strike 2008: Join MySpace
Truckers Strike 2008: National/New Jersey Action
Truckers Strike 2008: National/New Jersey Action
Truckers Strike 2008: 3 A.M. Wake-Up Toot
Truckers Strike 2008: Fill Up = Hold Up!
Truckers Strike 2008: Day One
God Bless The American Trucker
Truckers Strike 2008: Additional
Truckers Strike 2008: A Search Record Set
Is The April 1, 2008 Truckers Strike Real?
Truckers Strike: April 1, 2008
April 1: Truckers Strike?

Writer Richard Herley Gets Bad News

May 20, 2008

Teleread chronicles it:

March 6, 2008
Well-regarded U.K. writer Richard Herley offering The Penal Colony and other novels as shareware

“As far as I know, I am one of the first mainstream writers to adopt this publishing model. It somewhat recalls an earlier age, when the arts were supported by patronage and subscription; in operation it is indistinguishable from the modern model of shareware.

“I believe this is a better way of funding authorship: the conventional model is inefficient, bad for authors and new writing, and unduly expensive for readers.”

May 13, 2008:
Share the ware but not the wealth? Nonpaying readers dash U.K. novelist Richard Herley’s shareware hopes

So what are the results of the experiment after three months? Despite 11,000 downloads of The Penal Colony and other titles, Richard got paid by a mere 25 people for 89 books.

May 20, 2008:
No Free Lunch Department: U.K. novelist Richard Herley takes shareware book site down

Richard Herley, a prize-winning U.K. writer of such lively books as The Penal Colony, hoped that the shareware model would work for his novels. It didn’t, at least not as he saw it.

Now he’s taken down and disabled the related e-mail address since he doesn’t consider the hassles to be worth it.

I doubt he will ever read this post, but still.

Richard, you have just made a big mistake.

This is the year ebooks will really begin to take off.

Next month Apple will open its AppStore for the iPhone and iPod Touch.

Things will be exploding on the ebook front as e-reading software is offered for those devices.

Suddenly, millions and millions of people who otherwise were never exposed to ebooks in an easy way will have a chance to experience them.

What you’ve done is started a race and the fog on the track has obscured the Finish Line for you and so you’ve given up. Ignore the goddam fog! It will pass.

When you began as a writer, did you expect instant success? (Please dear god be one of the realistic ones who replies No!)

Then why should you expect anything different when acting basically as your own publisher?

Forget that figure of 11,000 distributed. That really is meaningless.

In fact, I’m shocked that the figure is so damned low. (And no, you do not get to claim torrents; those too are meaningless, unless you’ve done a movie.)

How did you promote this new move of yours? Did you try to get the attention of mainstream media? Did you try to get on radio talk shows to spread the word? Did you distribute any press release? What did you do other than the equivalent of dumping a bunch of books on a street corner with a handscrawled sign declaring, “Please take and pay if you read it and like it”?

Hell yes I’m coming down hard on you.

Because your action is going to influence others!

I never got to your site, so I can’t comment on that. I don’t know what it was like or what you were doing there or how often you updated it. Was it anything like John Scalzi’s site? Or was it more a promotional vehicle that lacked a personal touch? (Oh, I could name names, but then I’d never be able to face some of the writers I list here!)

Christ, man, what were you in it for? Giving up after three months?! What the hell is that?

Do you know how far behind I am personally in my own reading? Part of it is because I’m not yet doing ebooks. Rothman has educated me on the evils of DRM and lock-in file formats and I’ve seen too many teleread people comment on their ebook investments being lost. And I can’t buy any more print books because it’s been hellish just packing and transporting what I already have during moves. So I’ve been using the New York Public Library — where I’ve now got a collection of fines about the cost of two hardcover books.

I looked you up at the NYPL (where I turn first when I’m interested in a writer). Let’s see:

Um … you’re not there. Why not? (Don’t scream “Go to the next screen!” at me. The next screen begins with Herlianey!)

I go to amazon (my backup lookup, but I really should use, dammit). The results are not happy. Out of print in the U.S.?

Well, that’s even worst news. Imagine if you’d gotten — let me go temporarily insane here — 250,000 copies distributed and 25,000 people who paid.

Do you realize how much money you would have also lost? Because those ebook readers wouldn’t have been able to go to a store to buy a printed copy to give to their non-ebook reading friends.

And if you had gotten that hypothetical distribution and paying result, do you think it would have impressed a major print publisher? You’d have been pissed on as either a fluke or seen as a minor-leaguer. (“Wait. You tell us you’ve won awards and you could only sell how many?”)

You say you’re sitting on a thriller. For Christ’s sake man, get back in the game and release that.

Speaking personally, looking at the descriptions of your past work, most of it doesn’t appeal to me. Stone age people? Historical dramas? Uh, no.

But a thriller, a mystery?

Learn the lesson that Tom Piccirilli did:

I’ve been a horror writer since I was twenty-one or so. And despite having written in just about every genre across the board, I always felt like a capitalized HORROR WRITER who just dabbled in those other fields. I’ve never quite understood those authors who only write in a single genre. I would think that most authors are inherent readers who read widely throughout all the breadth of literature. Since I read a little of everything, it’s only natural that I write a little of everything. One of the reasons why we do what we do is because we want to impress ourselves upon the grand annals of the fiction that we enjoy so much. You read a book that amazes and awes you, and you think, I want to do this too, I need to become a part of this thing.

But over the past couple of years I’ve drifted further and further away from the core genre I always felt most attached to.

The older I’ve gotten the less interest I’ve had in writing fantastical work and the more I’ve turned toward realistic fiction. Now I think I’ve actually become a CRIME WRITER, or maybe better put, A WRITER OF DARK AUTHENTIC STORIES, THE SHIT THAT MIGHT HAPPEN, THE SHIT THAT DOES HAPPEN.

He’s a damned good writer with many books behind him (read his other blog entries).

Out of all of that work over all of those years, how did I happen to finally find him? By one of his few crime fiction novels. And what sealed the deal was that Ken Bruen wrote an introduction to it. (Ken Bruen was the one who introduced me to crime fiction; I never considered reading it before I came upon his The Hackman Blues. I thought anything with the label Mystery was the stereotypical drawing room mystery; as dull as most of the “mysteries” American TV has presented under that label.)

So that thriller? Get it the hell out there. It could the one that saves you.

Get your website back up. Keep pounding at it. Don’t let the site look like a “I’ll do it when I feel like it” whim. If you are serious about staying a writer, get serious about your future. Ignore the print publishers. They haven’t a clue (just ask Rothman!).

Dickens, Balzac, Poe, Nerval, Dostoyevsky and many others would have jumped at the chance to liberate themselves from print publishers. You live in an age they never imagined. Are you going to pass up such an incredible chance?

Get back in. Do it now!

Previously here:

Writer Harlan Coben Shares His Favorite Link Ever
Orson Scott Card Rips J.K. Rowling
Quote: J.D. Rhoades
Quote: Ken Bruen
More Words About One Thousand True Fans
J.K. Rowling Trial Ends
M. Dylan Raskin: The Curse Of The Writer
Reference: Author Magazine
J.K. Rowling Is In NYC For Her Silly Lawsuit
Warren Ellis Twists My Dendrites
Mark Billingham: Writer, Crime Victim
Harlan Coben: Writer’s Perspective
Quote: Warren Ellis (Again)
Writers Don’t Fear The Future: Publishers Do!
Red Room: Social Net For Writers
Quote: Warren Ellis
Quote: Jean Rhys
More On The 1KTF Matter
When One Thousand Means Over Fifty Thousand
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?

The Congress Has Deserted Reality Again

May 20, 2008

House passes bill to sue OPEC over oil prices

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved legislation on Tuesday allowing the Justice Department to sue OPEC members for limiting oil supplies and working together to set crude prices, but the White House threatened to veto the measure.

The bill would subject OPEC oil producers, including Saudi Arabia, Iran and Venezuela, to the same antitrust laws that U.S. companies must follow.

The measure passed in a 324-84 vote, a big enough margin to override a presidential veto.

The legislation also creates a Justice Department task force to aggressively investigate gasoline price gouging and energy market manipulation.

Yeah, good luck with that, you eejits.

And if OPEC decides on another 1970s-style boycott, what will you do? Authorize an invasion?

With what army?

Petitinvention: Your Source For Next-Gen Macs?

May 20, 2008

Everyone’s in a swoon over the proposed next-gen OLPC XO computer featuring dual touchscreens.

But I’d seen that idea before, for the Mac:

Used under the website‘s Creative Commons license.

It was part of a post called Mac Morph?, published March 14, 2008.

Petitinvention is a treasure trove of ideas of how to improve just about anything.

Mac users will especially be interested in the Mac-specific posts.

But there’s also an idea for an iPod Touch camera.

And Future of Internet Search: Mobile version is one post no one should miss!

So, the new XO? Nice, but I bet Petitinvention could improve it!

Ad Bastards

May 20, 2008

On both, click = bigger

Laptop magazine blog

You can’t click out of this shit.

ZDNet’s Matt Miller

This fucker won’t disappear at all! I couldn’t read the column!

Know of any other ad bastards? Leave URLs in Comments and I’ll shame the bastards here.

I’m giving this its own Category because I’m sick of it!

Hey, websites! How much are those dollars worth to you?

More than your readers?

More than the hell I’m going to give you here?

05/20/08 Recent Reading

May 20, 2008

No time for any detailed write-ups.

Charlatan: America’s Most Dangerous Huckster, The Man Who Pursued Him, and The Age of Flimflam by Pope Brock

That’s a book Warren Ellis should read. And anyone in the grip of the brainwashing the Republicans have done for the past three decades over how government regulation is evil should read it. The kind of con man who flourished before there were regulations would be all over the place today without regulations. It’s also some wonderful writing.

Cross by Ken Bruen

The latest — in America — of Ken Bruen’s Jack Taylor series. Ah, what he puts that poor man through! With this, it’s best to start with the first Jack Taylor mystery, The Guards. Half the pleasure of the series is seeing not just how the main character evolves (as well as devolves!), but the other characters who appear throughout the series. Bruen is on my list of Must Buy when I finally assemble an ebook library.

Shinjuku Shark by Arimasa Osawa (website in Japanese)

The trouble with reading books originally written in Japanese is that I don’t know how good a job the translator did. I always feel — with all Japanese books — as if the text has been wrapped in plastic, making it distant. I don’t know if this is actually the style of writing in Japan (just as there is an anime style) or if the translator is just inept at conveying whatever — if any — emotional impact is in the text. That said, I still liked this very much. This is the launch of a series, already well underway in Japan, and I’ll have to wait until the end of this year for the next one.

Chronicles Of Depression 2.0: #105

May 20, 2008

Oil crosses $129 for first time, heads for $130

NEW YORK (AP) — Oil prices spiked to a new trading high Tuesday, sweeping toward $130 a barrel as supply concerns intensified the momentum buying that has lifted crude deeper into record territory. Gasoline, meanwhile, reached an average of $3.80 at the pump for the first time.

The June contract for light, sweet crude traded as high as $129.60 on the New York Mercantile Exchange before settling back to $129.43, up $2.38. The imminent expiration of that contract created additional volatility in the market, and raised the very real possibility that crude could hit $130 before the end of the day, when the contract was ending.

Oil’s trek toward $130 coincided with the Labor Department’s report of an unexpectedly sharp rise in wholesale inflation last month. The combination raised fears that inflation will slice into Americans’ discretionary spending, and that sent stocks falling sharply on Wall Street.

Retail fuel prices also shattered records. The national average price for a gallon of regular gasoline touched $3.80, according to AAA and the Oil Price Information Service, while diesel jumped nearly 2 cents to a record $4.54 a gallon. Gas prices are up about 19 percent from this time last year.

Emphasis added by me.

“[T]he Labor Department’s report of an unexpectedly sharp rise in wholesale inflation last month.”

What planet do these people inhabit? Unexpected?! Unexpected?!!!?

I’ve had two pizzerias nearby go out of business because of the rise in ingredient prices! Here on Satan Staten Island, refuge of the $1.50 pizza slice, it’s now $1.75 at one place and others are already at $2.00! It’s probably $3.00 or even $3.50 in Manhattan now.

When you have a government that is creating policy based on $3.80/gallon gas and $4.54/gallon diesel, do you think they’re considering the $4.25/gallon and $4.79/gallon prices here? Or the higher prices where you live?