Archive for October 2008

Speakers UP! Happy Halloween!

October 31, 2008

My final October post. Speakers up to dig this:

Nocturnal Depression – Nostalgia

Just two more months left to this blog.

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A List Of Blog Novels

October 31, 2008

Blog Novels: the definitive list

New Writing International is aiming to compile a definitive list of blog novels.

At the time of this post, there are forty-five listed.

That link might be hinky. It’s not for the post, but the top level. The post doesn’t have a permalink (yet?). Look to the Top Posts on the right side to possibly find it later.

New Writing International has also undergone a redesign.

Hey, Stupid: eBooks Don’t Have Returns

October 31, 2008

Returned Inventory Fees Shutter Impetus Press

“We have been hit with a procession of distribution-related problems which have put us into a financial situation that is forcing us to close our doors,” they explain. “For the better part of the year, we have been paying very high return fees to our distributor — many generated by books being sent back by the currently less-than-stable Borders — fees which have slowly been bleeding us dry… Try as we might, we have been unable to figure a way out of this situation as we have never been long on capital and with the economy being in such a disastrous state, there is no hope of finding any money from an outside source.”

I wonder what this venture was capitalized at?

I wonder how much frikkin Internet advertising they could have paid for instead of wasting it on print, paper, and shipping?

I wonder how many eBooks they would have been able to sell if they’d put some hardcore effort behind such a plan?

One more dying dinosaur of print drops dead.

Death by self-inflicted cluelessness.

The Great Book Bank Robbery

October 31, 2008

At last, there is someone else on the Internet who understands the implications of the Google Book Search settlement!

His punctuation is all hell in this post. I expect he wrote it while holding back.

The Morning After the Great Book Bank Robbery

What will be the relationship between authors and publishers as they become tethered for life with no divorces?

Emphasis added by me.

And:

Forget right reversals Google has wiped that of the agenda in one swoop and some major publishers have got their way, albeit with Google’s considerable help. There is now no ‘reprint under consideration’ only a notice saying ‘Go get it from Google’.

Emphasis added by me.

Oh we’ll soon see how hard rights reversals are going to get.

I’m seeking them right now.

And my ex-publisher better recall what a mad son of a bitch I am.

Many other writers might have to turn into mad sons of bitches too.

R.I.P. Writer Tony Hoare

October 31, 2008

Tony Hoare: screenwriter of The Sweeney and Minder

Oh my god, this is one of the best obits I’ve ever read!

Tony Hoare spent much of his early life in prison for robbing banks, but from this unlikely background he became a successful writer for television, with scripts for such programmes as Crown Court, The Sweeney and, above all, Minder.

Emphasis added by me.

Wait. It gets better:

Tony Hoare was born in Oxford in 1938. His father worked in a ball bearings factory and his mother was a waitress in one of the colleges. The family later moved to Luton, where Hoare grew up. He was a bright scholar and might have gone on to college, but on leaving school he went to London in search of excitement.

He found it as the member of a gang of bank robbers. They were never very successful. After a job in Warrington they repaired to a nearby pub but their southern accents immediately gave them away and they were arrested. Although a terrible driver, Hoare was the getaway man. He could reflect that he made far more money writing about crime for television than from his own crimes.

For much of the 1960s he was in and out of prison. He made headlines when he escaped from a high-security jail in Liverpool, had a spell in solitary confinement in Dartmoor and ended up in Hull, where he got a job in the library, read a lot and started writing. He ran a magazine called Contact, with the emphasis on the “con”, and wrote a novel which won an Arthur Koestler Award.

Emphasis added by me.

Wait. Here comes the twist:

Most importantly, he came to the attention of Alan Plater, a veteran of Z Cars and much else, who was a prison visitor and gave individual tuition to inmates interested in writing. Hoare was his star pupil. Plater suggested that he try to write a television script. Hoare had no idea where to start, so Plater showed him some of his own scripts, telling him: “Write something that’s like that.”

Hoare came up with a play called The Chaps, slang for villains, which Plater showed to friends in the business and after Hoare was released from Hull it was produced for television. Despite a further spell in prison for driving while disqualified, Hoare’s writing career quickly took off.

Emphasis added by me.

Get this:

Some of the titles of Hoare’s episodes are worth treasuring on their own. In 1984 there was If Money Be the Food of Love, Play On, in 1989 It’s a Sorry Lorry Morrie and in 1994, for the show’s 100th programme, he came up with All Things Brighton Beautiful.

And the final twist:

Hoare was often asked where he got his ideas from and had no convincing answer, though he tended to agree that writers often do their best work under pressure. He cited a Minder commission in 1982 when his life was falling apart. He had been ejected from the family home, was living out of his car and cadging beds from friends. But the script got written.

Emphasis added by me.

Talk about dedication!

Reference: Shrink PDFs

October 31, 2008

WOiP Tip – Reduce PDFs For Quicker Access

Over the past year I have been moving toward a “paperless” work-style. Most of my important documents and text are now in electronic format – most of the time PDF. As a result, I can literally have an entire reference library with me at all times on either my iPhone or iPod Touch. Unfortunately, PDFs can be huge, and that is where the problem begins.

The handhelds seem to be able to handle rather large files but, unfortunately, they can take a long time to load. Try to resize them and you end up waiting a long time. Moreover, flipping from one page to the next is at best, a slow process.

That’s where the tip comes in…

Shrink PDFs!

Most PDF programs offer the option to shrink PDFs. Unfortunately, the quality is often rather poor. Apago’s PDFShrink for the Mac, however, offers a huge degree of control over the compression and quality. After a bit of experimenting I found a setting that provided excellent compression but maintained the high degree of image quality that I want when reading documents. A 7MB PFD files was reduced to just 1MB. The result? It loads super fast on my iPhone and, once loaded, is much easier, faster and stable when resizing or flipping pages.

I still haven’t gotten around to reading the Sony guidelines for optimized Sony Reader PDFs. I wonder if this added step could make them even better?

Erica Jong: Head Out Of Ass, Dear

October 31, 2008

Erica Jong Tells Italians Obama Loss ‘Will Spark the Second American Civil War. Blood Will Run in the Streets’

If Obama loses it will spark the second American Civil War. Blood will run in the streets, believe me. And it’s not a coincidence that President Bush recalled soldiers from Iraq for Dick Cheney to lead against American citizens in the streets.

Jesus Christ. What is wrong with her and — I use this term deliberately — her fellow travelers?

Has it become inconceivable to these asshats that even if the election is totally honest, Obama could still lose?

I was just thinking about this last night. One in seven voters can still be persuaded. That’s enough to make the election go either way.

Obama has been counting his chickens before they hatch. Americans don’t go for that shit. Pride before fall and all that.

I also thought last night that an Obama loss might be the best thing for him. He’d have four years to think about how he screwed up, four years to grow up, and four years to create campaign speeches that had some actual substance.

Jong doesn’t live anywhere near one of the hundreds of Ground Zeros for possible post-election violence. Jong and her pals also have enough money to pool together to charter a small jet to fly their asses to Canada.

I’m right in a Ground Zero. I’m not packing up my ass and splitting.

But I sure wish Jong and her ilk would!