My Thoughts Exactly

Roland the Robot explains how publishing works today

I met Roland Denning in the comment thread of an article that Cory Doctorow had written in the Guardian (UK) about “Why free ebooks should be part of the plot for writers.”. I wrote to Roland proposing a book swap: one of my self-published technoparanoid dystopian novels for a copy of his self-published technoparanoid dystopian novel The Beach Beneath the Pavement.

When his book came in the mail, I read two chapters & then set it aside for later, as I was in the middle of a few other books at the time. I haven’t finished reading beyond chapter two yet. All of which context will only make you laugh harder (and cringe more) when you watch Roland’s alter robot ego as he follows the path that leads him to self-published stardom.

Part 2 below the fold. This is simply the best thing on publishing and self-publishing ever. Watch it and cry. Watch it and weep. Watch it and laugh your ass off. Watch it and go buy a few copies of Roland’s book, and then a few of mine.

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

Tales of the Sausage Factory

Update on Program Access — looks like FCC rolls lucky 7 at DC Cir. Casino.

Wall St. J. reports the court was fairly deferential to the FCC’s predictive judgment. That’s good. But it would be nice if the D.C. Circuit were less of a crap shoot. What makes the FCC’s “predictive judgment” better on program access and on inside wiring than on cable ownership or telco forbearance? Makes it rather Hell to do policy one way or the other.

Stay tuned….

Posted in Cable, Tales of the Sausage Factory | Also tagged , | Comments closed

Inventing the Future

Sounds Good

One of the general internal themes of Croquet is that everything ought to just work, and work well. Most practicing software developers aren’t fortunate enough to be able to create artifacts like this because the software is aimed at addressing a very specific problem. That tends to lead to tools of limited scope and interaction.

Consider sound. If you only want to make voice chat work, you can use a low fidelity encoding on a lossy transport. It will do what it does well, but only that. Now suppose you and someone else are watching a movie and discussing it, using separate programs for the movie and VoIP. Either program might work well, but use them together and everything is likely to go to hell.

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Inventing the Future

We lost our house yesterday.

It never was our house. We’re renting it, because the people who are supposedly buying our house haven’t sold theirs, and so are renting ours. So we had rented this house with the intention of buying it when we could. It was terrific.

But the owner has just decided that she’s going to move back into it, and we will have to leave. I can see why she loves it – we do. But I’m certain that she’s never really going to move back in, and in the mean time, we’re screwed.

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Posted in Inventing the Future, Philosophical business mumbo-jumbo | Also tagged | 3 Comments (Comments closed)

Tales of the Sausage Factory

W00T!!! W00T!!!

More intelligent analysis tomorrow.

It’s been one Hell of a day.

Gotta go hear MCCAIN’S CONCESSION SPEECH!!!!.

Stay tuned for change . . . .

Posted in General, Tales of the Sausage Factory | Also tagged | 1 Comment (Comments closed)

Tales of the Sausage Factory

Why Verizon Should Give Away FIOS Connections and Get People Addicted to Speed.

I just got a postcard from Verizon telling me FIOS will soon be available in my neighborhood. While I’m probably one of the last residential CLEC subscribers in the United States, I’m a firm believer in the idea that fiber is better and have been waiting for FIOS to become available so I can look at switching.

Then I saw the prices. Yuck. Verizon prices its FIOS as “competitive” with cable and other providers in my region — for a premium service. But it takes more than competitive to get me to go through the hassle of switching, especially when I am reasonably comfortable with my service right now. Switching doesn’t just mean spending several days going through hook up Hell and having Verizon install some super duper power pack on my premises. It also means changing a whole bunch of things tied to my (or my wife’s) current email address. That’s no small deal.

Meanwhile, as everyone knows, the cable operators did better at gaining new broadband customers in Q2, although uptake for broadband was generally anemic. Not surprisingly, Verizon defends its performance on its policy blog. Besides the usual (when you do poorly) inveighing against looking at a single quarter. Verizon points to a number of indicators that its FIOS system is the top dog system in the U.S., with possible top speeds of up to 50 MBPS and usually providing its advertised speed (I love that as a selling point!). Still, analysts argue that Verizon is pricing itself out of the market, and should go back to DSL.

I have a different take. I think VZ needs to get people addicted to speed.

More below . . . .

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Posted in Series of Tubes, Tales of the Sausage Factory | Also tagged , , , , , , | 4 Comments (Comments closed)

Inventing the Future

Everyone in the Pool

The US Senate just passed a bill to outlaw discrimination in employment or insurance based on genetic testing. No one voted against it. It is expected to pass the house and be signed by President Bush.

No one thinks it’s ok to base insurance on genetic information?

Then why the hell do we allow insurers to charge so much more based on the absence of a Y chromosome? (I own a day care that is unusual in providing insurance for our staff. They are mostly women, and the extra costs are staggering.)

I had thought that insurance was supposed to be about pooled risk. Actuarial studies were supposed to be used to figure out how much total risk the insurer faced, so that they could set overall rates to be solvent and actually provide their service when needed. Instead, insurers seem today to default on payments. Moreover, they seem to use actuarial studies (and past-payments to individuals) to manage profit from micro-pools or individual accounts. Instead of being about pooled risk, today’s insurance is more like an individual savings plan.

Posted in I Fear These Things, Inventing the Future | Also tagged | Comments closed

My Thoughts Exactly

Obama, Clinton, Edwards and all the other authoritarian Republicans

Will any of them stand with Chris Dodd this week in defense of the Constitution?

If so, they will win my support.

If not, they can go to hell, as far as I’m concerned.

Posted in "A Republic, if you can keep it", My Thoughts Exactly | Tagged | Comments closed

My Thoughts Exactly

Some painful things & a request

When I announced The Pains on April 18th of this year I said that I was going to try to do an update every two weeks or so. There has not been an update since.

I apologize. Sometimes the real world just gets in the way. I also promised to ship copies of the printed book “this summer”, and I still intend to hold to that promise, by which I mean that the books will ship before September 23nd or so. Yes, I’ll be cutting it close, but I’ll do it somehow.

See, the story is written, but it’s written longhand in my notebooks. I just have to find time to type it up, proofread, format, etc. Getting it online is the hardest part, just typing it up. From there to formatting for printing is not such big deal. When I did “Cheap Complex Devices” it only took nine days from when I gave my files to the printer to when the books were in the mail to paying customers. So I’m not too worried about the endgame.

I won’t make all kinds of excuses for the delay (not many of you have been paying attention) but I gots to tell you, it has been one hell of a spring around my house. One hell of a spring.

So my request is twofold: (1) If you’re waiting for the next installment of The Pains, especially if you have already pre-ordered a copy, please continue to be patient. An update is coming soon; hopefully I’ll get three or four chapters up over the 4th of July holiday break and (2) if you have ever had any inclination to pre-order the pains, or to buy a copy of my other books “Acts of the Apostles” and “Cheap Complex Devices”, or just to throw a few dollars towards the general support of Wetmachine, now might be a good time to do some clicking. A few dollars would come in handy right about now. And besides, every copy I sell of Acts or CCD is that much more closet space in my not-overly-large house!

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My Thoughts Exactly

Register here to claim your phony “freedom”

The registered traveler program, in which people surrender a bit of themselves into the maw of the Overmind in exchange for some bogus promise of “security” is so obviously bad that I’m not going to belabor it here. Here’s an artilcle that pricks the surface of why this program is stupid and dangerous — and asks the question, how long will it remain “voluntary”?

One of the things that’s always puzzled me about the Transportaion Security Agency is why people — good guys and bad guys alike, evidently– consider mass transportation the default target for attack. If bad guys started blowing up shopping malls would we then have to create a Shopping Security Agency and have our retninas scanned before being allowed to shop?

Like John Gilmore, I think that the TSA has a lot more to do with conditioning people to surrender privacy and freedom of movement to The Authorities than it does with increasing our safety. I distrust, emphatically distrust, the TSA and all its ilk, but I’m willing to admit that there may be some benefit derived from it to counterbalance the incipient totalitarianism it presages and prepares the way for, like John the Baptist making smooth the way for the One Who Was to Come. But as for the Registered Traveler program in particular, I say it’s spinach, and I say the hell with it.

Posted in I Fear These Things, My Thoughts Exactly | Also tagged , | 1 Comment (Comments closed)
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