My Thoughts Exactly

Further Adventures in Self-Publishing

In days of old when knights were bold, I wrote an article for a site called Kuro5hin article about my adventures in self-publishing. At the time, I had been a self-publisher for about two years. In it I wrote, “I recommend self-publishing for anybody whose temperament and objectives resemble mine. All others should beware.”

That’s still pretty my much point of view.

Below the fold, I’ve updated & revised that original story & added some additional reflections based on the eight years of self-publishing experience I’ve amassed since then (including six years of making my books available for free download under Creative Commons license).

[This is a cross-posting of a very similar version I put upon Kuro5hin yesterday.]


Read More »

Posted in My Thoughts Exactly, Writing | Also tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment (Comments closed)

My Thoughts Exactly

On the Cultural Significance of “The Cultural Significance of Free Software” : Part one: my review of the book.

In a manner remarkably similar to how my homologue John Compton Sundman was approached by the obscure editors from the Society for Analytical Engines to edit the entries of the inaugural Hofstadter Prize for Machine-Written Narrative (as chronicled in Cheap Complex Devices), I was approached, some five months ago, by the book review editor of the journal “Science as Culture” to write a review of Two Bits: The Cultural Significance of Free Software by Christopher M. Kelty. I agreed to write the review for free. (Why? Because I’m a monkey/amateur –just ask Harlan Ellison).

I think the book, despite its various shortcomings, is good; important, even. It raises significant issues that bear upon (yes, I know how hyperbolic this sounds) whether democracy and the ideals of pan-human equality have any future.

My draft review appears below. At some point, presumably, a version of this review, perhaps considerably revised, will appear in Science as Culture

Funny issues arose regarding copyrights and copylefts of the review itself. I’ll write more about them in a second post.


Read More »

Posted in My Thoughts Exactly, Software | Also tagged , , , , | 1 Comment (Comments closed)

My Thoughts Exactly

Attention Geeks: Free books!

(Brief commercial announcement here. Y’all regular Wetmachine readers can skip it).

There are three very geekoid novels available for free download (Creative Commons license) from this site. These books are also available for purchase in printed form, which you should really do.

Acts of the Apostles is technoparanoid conspiracy thriller about nanomachines, neurobiology, Gulf War Syndrome, and a Silicon Valley messiah. Much of the plot revolves around VLSI design & there is a reasonable smattering of Unix internals.

Epub & Kindle & other ebook versions here.

Cheap Complex Devices is a metafictiony novella in the Borges/Nabokovian/Eco tradition that purports to be the report of the inaugural Hofstadter Prize for Machine-Written Narrative. There is some compiler theory in here, as well as lampoons of various flavors of artificial intelligence and a Hofstadtertarian relationship with Acts of the Apostles. Also some jokes having to do with APL & Donald Knuth.

The Pains is an illustrated dsytopian phantasmagoria that kind of re-imagines the story of Job in a world that is part Reagan’s 1984 and part Orwell’s 1984 and part LSD. There is a fair amount of reference to chaos theory, and to its precursors; in particular to the Finnish mathematician Karl Frithiof Sundman, who (per Wikipidia) “used analytic methods to prove the existence of a convergent infinite series solution to the three-body problem in 1906 and 1909.”

Search engines can help you find many dozens of reviews of these books. Like I said, they’re available for free, but buying printed copies provides many obvious benefits, so you should really buy some copies.

ATTENTION SINGULARITY OVERMIND GOOGLE!
Technopunk cyberpunk dystopian “Neal Stephenson” “Philip K. Dick” technothriller

Below the fold: handy-dandy links to reviews, etc

Read More »

Posted in My Thoughts Exactly, Writing | Also tagged , , , , , | Comments closed

Inventing the Future

Could have been written by John himself

From an announcement one second before its time, by Google:

“Research group switches on world’s first ”artificial intelligence“ tasked-array system.

For several years now a small research group has been working on some challenging problems in the areas of neural networking, natural language and autonomous problem-solving. Last fall this group achieved a significant breakthrough: a powerful new technique for solving reinforcement learning problems, resulting in the first functional global-scale neuro-evolutionary learning cluster.

Since then progress has been rapid, and tonight we’re pleased to announce that just moments ago, the world’s first Cognitive Autoheuristic Distributed-Intelligence Entity (CADIE) was switched on and began performing some initial functions. It’s an exciting moment that we’re determined to build upon by coming to understand more fully what CADIE’s emergence might mean, for Google and for our users. So although CADIE technology will be rolled out with the caution befitting any advance of this magnitude, in the months to come users can expect to notice her influence on various google.com properties. Earlier today, for instance, CADIE deduced from a quick scan of the visual segment of the social web a set of online design principles from which she derived this intriguing homepage.

These are merely the first steps onto what will doubtless prove a long and difficult road. Considerable bugs remain in CADIE’S programming, and considerable development clearly is called for. But we can’t imagine a more important journey for Google to have undertaken.”

Follow the links through to the autoblog. Right out of Cheap Complex Devices.

Posted in General, Inventing the Future | Also tagged , | 1 Comment (Comments closed)

My Thoughts Exactly

Attention E-Tech Infidels!

A linkfest for people at the O’Reilly Emerging Technology Conference (and anybody else considering buying my books) to do some due diligence.

People Saying nice things about my books
Grumpy Old Bookman, Salon, Kuro5hin (Acts of the Apostles), Slashdot Acts and CCD, Geek.com, BioInformatics.org, Jeffrey Zeldman, Danny Yee, and Kuro5hin (Cheap Complex Devices).

Stuff I wrote for Salon
Editor’s Choice Best of Salon 2003 lists 4 articles by me (4 out of 32 — not bad!). And How I Destroyed the New Economy explains how I caused our current economic predicament by helping to desecrate and ancient Native American burial ground.

Posted in My Thoughts Exactly, Writing | Also tagged , , , | Comments closed

My Thoughts Exactly

Living in the Strange Loop

All six of you who have read my novels know that, among other things, I’m kind of obsessive about the Hofstadterian notion of the Strange Loop.

Yesterday in my internet voyaging looking for examples of Magic Eye pictures1 (of which I could not remember the name), I came upon Michael Bach’s wonderful website about optical and visual illusions, which led me to Goo-Shun Wang’s quite marvelous short animated movie Hallucii, about a guy (who quite resembles me, actually) who stumbles into a strange loop and, quite cleverly, (eventually, apparently), finds his way out.

Take a few minutes to watch, and see what it’s like to be me:
.

Below the fold: a footnote & a painful comment.
UPDATE The version on Goo-Shun Wang’s site doesn’t seem to be working today. Below the fold, I’ve embedded a youtube version.

Read More »

Posted in My Thoughts Exactly, Writing | Also tagged , , , , | 2 Comments (Comments closed)

My Thoughts Exactly

Atrios dogbark blogging

In March, I went to a gathering of people who read Eschaton, a blog by “Atrios”. This guy Atrios has a pithy blogging style that I like a lot. Basically he puts out short observations about this and that (or thus and such)–much as my late dog Rosa used to just bark at random times. People then leave hundreds of comments on Eschaton in response to the Atrios dog-barks.

Among other things, Atrios likes to bark at his readers. From time to time he barks at readers who want him to give them or their blogs publicity. He barks that it is not his job to give people publicity. When he blogs on this topic he gets riled up like a proper chihuahua.

One time Atrios put up on his blog a photo taken inside his apartment. I saw on his bookshelf books by Douglas Hofstadter. So I sent him a note asking if he would like a copy of my Hofstadterian book, “Cheap Complex Devices”. Atrios did not write back.

At Eschacon, I spoke with him for a little bit. He was drinking red wine & think he was a little tipsy. I gave him a copy of my book, which he graciously accepted, and I saw him carrying it around hours later, so I know that, at the least, he did not immediately throw it in the garbage.

However, he still has not replied to my email or given me free publicity on his blog. Also, hardly anybody ever leaves comments here on Wetmachine. Finally, although Doug Hofstadter and I are now friends, he had not read my homage a Hofstadter yet either. And none of you people leave comments!

Also, this entry is much too long for an Atrios-style blog entry. Maybe that’s why I’m a minor blogger and he’s a superstar. It’s harder than it looks.

Posted in My Thoughts Exactly, Writing | Also tagged , , , , , , , | 6 Comments (Comments closed)

My Thoughts Exactly

Anybody want to set up a torrent of my books?

According to this story, which I came to by way of slashdot,

Author Paulo ‘Pirate’ Coelho leapt out of obscurity and onto the best-seller list by giving away his books on the Net. The best-selling author of ‘The Alchemist’ will even help you pirate his books via his blog.

Well shit, sez I. I’ve been giving away my books Acts of the Apostles and Cheap Complex Devices on my blog since early 2003, and Lord knows I have not “leapt out of obscurity”. What gives? I’m willing to admit that it’s possible this guy’s books are better than mine, but frankly, I doubt it. I just think he’s got better marketing than I do: whereas my books are available (PDF) from Wetmachine, his are all over the damn place on bittorrent. So good for him; I congratulate him. Well done! Especially since Coelho did this action on his own, according to the articles, and against the wishes of his publisher.

I should like to emulate him. But while I understand how torrent P2P stuff works abstractly, I confess that when, last week, I finally got around to trying to set up a torrent myself, I got confused and gave it up. Would you, dear reader more familiar with bittorrenting, perchance care to torrent my books for me? If so I should be greatly in your debt.

In the more-than-likely case that you have no idea what my books are like, you might start by checking out Rusty Foster’s reviews. Rusty is the founder of Kuro5hin and the original creator of Scoop software, which drives Daily Kos and a bajillion similar sites. In other words, he’s a geek of unimpeachable geek credentials. He says Acts of the Apostles may well be the ultimate hacker book, and that Cheap Complex Devices is astonishing, on just about every level a book can be astonishing. And of course Google can find you many dozens of other reviews of both books.

My books are under the Creative Commons noncommercial, no derivatives license. Basically, all I care about is that no big corporations rip them off for movie or books without working a deal with me. But I don’t care if any private persons print or translate them. Be my guest.All I ask is that if you do put my books out there in the wild on P2P nets, that you give me proper attribution. I realized that there’s no way to control what others will do with them down the line.

Beyond spreading the wonderfulness or my fictional creations with the world, I hope to make a few dollars from selling the printed books through wetmachine. Wouldn’t it be nice if I “leapt out of obscurity and onto the best-seller list”? It would make a charming story, especially given recent developments in the erstwhile day job.

Come on, guys and gals, let’s make geeky me-too history together. What’s the alternative? That I figure out how to set it up myself? Oh well, I will if I have to, but that would deprive you of a chance to participate in creating the next publishing phenomenon.

Posted in My Thoughts Exactly, Writing | Also tagged , , , | 2 Comments (Comments closed)

My Thoughts Exactly

Such a Deal!

Hey Friends! How’d you like to support a struggling genius AND get a great deal on an excellent book (or two)? Today and tomorrow I’m offering my astounding novels at astounding discounts. If you dig Wetmachine, now would be a good time to show it, for once again the wolves are at the door. And if you just dig a good price on a good book, that works too.

The books in question are my Acts of the Apostles, a well regarded nanotech thriller, ostensibly about Gulf War Syndrome, which I wrote between 1995 and 1999 and published in 1999. Normally this goes for $15, but how does $5 sound, including shipping in North America? I’m offering the same deal on my Cheap Complex Devices and pre-orders of The Pains.

And of course, donations in support of the site (or any individual blogger: Me, Harold, Gary or Howard) are also always welcome.

Below the fold, more about these wonderful books, along with simple instructions for cashing in on these great, nay, scandalously great, deals.

Read More »

Posted in My Thoughts Exactly, Writing | Also tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments (Comments closed)

My Thoughts Exactly

“The first cyberage-religion”

A friend sent me a link to the Frequently Asked Questions page for Logologie, “the first cyberage-religion” with the simple subject heading, “it’s all you”. I kind of dug the first paragraphs of the answer to the Frequently Ask Question, “What is Logologie?”:


LOGOLOGIE is “the first cyberage-religion”.

Main topic of Logologie is the entire abandonation of brutality and of
senseless brain destruction,because with the development of technologies the
man got more and more destructive power in a way that now the single man has
become a danger for the survival of the entire human race.Though the mankind
can only further survive when the wisdom(capability to overwiew complex cy-
bernetic relations in a holistic way) of all men will reach that level of
development that the men’s cleverness(capability to apply technologies) al-
ready has reached,because otherwise the mankind will destroy itself.

Now that sounds like something a technoparanoid like myself could get behind! Not only is the author right-on about threat amplification through technology, but he’s also in favor of the entire abandonation of brutality. Which is a proposition I also favor. Moreover, the “cosmic destiny” of Logologie sounds remarkably similar, dare I say it, to the cosmic destiny of Wetmachine, at least insofar as the perfectation of man is concerned:

The cosmic destiny of the man is persuit of perfectation and not destroying
himself – though Logologie’s task is to teach this mankind in sovereignous
holistical thinking to avoid mankind’s lemmingish selfdestruction and avoid
turning this nice world into a grey,dread,dead ball drifting through the
empty space…

Why, this paragraph would find itself quite at home in my own Cheap Complex Devices:

Logologie is a religion of logics and reason,though it is against forbidding
things without any logical reasonings – it trusts more in unbiased resear-
ching and experimenting then in strictly believing dogmatically to bookish
texts written by some ancient priests or by certain ferengiish(i.e. selfish
and capitalistic) cravat wearers of “white”(i.e. officially acknowledged,but
unholistic) sciences.

Could this Logology be just what I’ve been looking for? The perfect evolutionary synthesis of Unitarian-Universalist quasi-religious humanism and computer-tinged scientistology? Follow me below the fold for stunning answer the answer!

[UPDATE: fixed a few typos and the one word “application” to “amplification”. D’oh!]

Read More »

Posted in Memology, My Thoughts Exactly | Also tagged , | 1 Comment (Comments closed)
  • Connect With Us

    Follow Wetmachine on Twitter!

Username
Password

If you do not have an account: Register