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.

Read More »

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

Inventing the Future

Vista Performance

I was out of town and I FORGOT MY LAPTOP’S CHARGER. On reaching the hotel, I had only enough juice to check my mail and maybe make one reply. Scanning my inbox, there seemed to be one message I could send that might plausibly be useful. It turned out to have a huge impact for some of our users. What was this wisdom?….

Read More »

Posted in General, Inventing the Future | Also tagged , | Comments closed

Inventing the Future

Self-destruction of a monster?

My cable company seems to be self-destructing. We can only hope.

Recently I wrote about my cableco cutting off my service, and not turning it back on until I answered questions about my and my wife’s social security numbers and download habits.

Last Monday I called to complain that despite the premium I was paying for 3Mb/s service, I was getting 300 Kb/s downloads and worse. They responded by cutting me off completely. I’ll spare you the dialog, but you can just substitute any page from Franz Kafka or Lewis Carroll. A guy came on Wednesday to replace my cable modem and splitter, and it appeared in his immediate testing to yield close to the expected 3000 Kb/s.

Over the next few days I found that I only got that speed immediately after rebooting the cable-modem. After a few minutes, it would drop to 1500, 600, 300, 150, and finally 30 Kb/s. Slower than an acoustic modem from before my children were born. All through the rest of the week, I would reboot, and watch as the speed fell off.

Charter stopped taking my calls altogether. They just hung up on me over and over again.

After one of these calls we ordered DSL from our local phone company. The modem arrived Friday. I plugged it in and it worked! 3.5 to 4 Mb/s. And it has stayed that way ever since. I’ve been trying to get my mail and Webpages copied off from Charter, but they won’t let me log in.

Since then, I’ve discovered two things I didn’t know or pay any attention to when things just worked:

  • Charter Communications is run by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen. What an asshole.
  • Despite increasing their revenue from saps like me by more than 10% over this quarter last year, they announced this week that they’re losing even more money than ever, and their stock lost nearly 20% of it’s value. Couldn’t happen to a more deserving group.
  • Posted in General, Inventing the Future | Also tagged , , , , | 3 Comments (Comments closed)

    Inventing the Future

    Collaborative initial connection

    Sometimes someone tickles a bug, and you find you cannot connect to the Collaborative at all. I that happens, send mail to croquetcollaborative at charter dot net and we’ll reset it.

    But even when things are working, it can often take as much as three or four minutes to connect. Here’s why.

    Read More »

    Posted in CroquetCollaborative, Inventing the Future | Also tagged , | 3 Comments (Comments closed)

    My Thoughts Exactly

    Kosmic Karma Waves & update

    I keep a kind of random, desultory diary on a place called HuSi, “Hulver’s Site”. This is where I put more personal stuff and things I deem “not in keeping with the spirit of Wetmachine”, however nebulously defined that concept may be.

    Recently I posted a diary entry on Husi, a reminiscence from nearly thirty years ago, that includes some of my own kosmik karmik philosophy. Or if not philosophy, at least data points. The story, which is true, is mildly pornographic, so if you don’t like that kind of thing, don’t click the link. Anyway I like it, so maybe you will too.

    In the “update” department, I hope to soon undertake a few improvements to this site. I’ll post a few more chapters from “The Pains,” and I’ll make it easier to find, read, and order my books. There will be better, and easier to find, information about each of the primary wetmachiners, (me, Harold, Howard and Gary) and perhaps some more “Web 2.0” style goodness. If you have any suggestions or requests, please pass them on, either in the comments or in mail to “mail” at this website.

    Posted in My Thoughts Exactly, Wetmachine site news | Also tagged , | Comments closed

    My Thoughts Exactly

    Mail at wetmachine

    Our mail is discombobulated, so anything sent with an @wetmachine.com address is not getting though. We’re working to fix the problem. Apologies.

    Posted in My Thoughts Exactly, Wetmachine site news | Also 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!

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

    My Thoughts Exactly

    It's beginning to look a lot like Winter Gift Exchange Pretext, and everywhere you go. . .

    Hello-hoh-hoh my little friends! Well it’s that “Happy Holidays” time of year, when folks of good cheer put up the Happy Holidays tree and light the Happy Holidays menorah and go shopping for gifts appropriate to the the function of acknowledging and cementing social relationships that are primarily based on kinship or affection! I love this time of year! Why, just this past weekend my own dear spouse and offspring unit #3 spent two solid days baking Happy Holidays cookies while I dug out the boxes of pagan light-capturing-and-reflecting baubles from their storage spot under the stairs ! Talk abut a cozy scene! And then yesterday it snowed. “I’m dreaming of a White Winter Gift Exchange Pretext” indeed!

    In that spirit, let me do a little “Santa’s helper” bit and be so bold as to point out that nothing will brighten up your favorite technoparanoiac’s Winter Gift Exchange Pretext morning more than gift-wrapped, signed copies (more is better than fewer) of my famous , astounding, ultimate hacker, bioparanoid, did I say geeky novel Acts of the Apostles and the metafictional marvel Cheap Complex Devices? You can purchase them from Amazon — but Amazon’s supply is running low and might not be replenished in time for Flying Spahetti Monster day, (or whatever day you celebrate in your house). Why not be sure and order directly from me? (Besides, I make more money this way).

    Of if you want to skip the books for whatever reason and just give me a gift to express your gratitude for my hosting Tales of the Sausage Factory, Inventing the Future, and random stuff from the rest of the wetmachiners, include our own Cowboy Neal, Gary Gray, why, just click on the “Give Me Money” button to the left. Or put a check in the mail! That works too. Please understand that selling my books is the way I pay for hosting this site, so if you dig wetmachine I would certainly appreciate the help — not to mention that the books are actually good.

    And I’ll be there for Winter Gift Exchange Pretext, if only in my dreams.

    Read More »

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

    My Thoughts Exactly

    Croquet and OpenLaszlo: Plans for World Domination

    Howard Stearns’s post, below, about How Croquet will Take Over the Universe (Bwah-hah-hah) got me thinking about OpenLaszlo and our own plans to take over the, um, er, well, our plans for success.

    Laszlo Systems, Inc, signs my paycheck, but 90% of what I do for that check is related to OpenLaszlo, the “Rich Internet Application” platform that is given away for free. Just as Howard suggests, Laszlo Systems makes its money by selling applications and services on top of the platform, not from selling the platform itself. Laszlo Mail is the first such product, and others are under development. The OpenLaszlo platform, which Laszlo Systems Inc subsidizes to the tune of several full-time developers and one full-time documentation guy, generates exactly zero dollars for the company.

    Laszlo Systems, Inc, is a startup in which I have a relative pantload of stock options. So I want Laszlo Systems, Inc, to succeed, which means that Laszlo has to convince deep-pocketed customers to buy Laszlo applications. In order for Laszlo applications to be acceptable to potential customers, the customers must be convinced that the underlying technology is sound and that it will be around for the long haul. That implies that OpenLaszlo must be seen to be thriving. There must exist a rich ecology of corporations that have a financial interest in keeping OpenLaszlo healthy.

    Trust is the substrate upon which the open source ecology can grow. The best way to ensure that trust, of course, it to make OpenLaszlo really, truly open; to make it abundantly clear to potential developers that Laszlo Systems is not self-dealing, not trying to control the platform for its own benefit.

    Laszlo is the fourth startup I’ve worked at. I ain’t rich yet, and I ain’t getting any younger. So I want *this* to be the one we get right. Wetmachiners Howard, Gary and I all worked for, and got virtually incinerated by, Curl, which, like Laszlo and Croquet, developed a potentially web-transforming technology. Alas for us, Curl screwed the pooch, as they say; it pissed away all the opportunity that that technology could have given them (us) by messing up this fundamental process that Howard wrote about.

    Read More »

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

    My Thoughts Exactly

    Nanoscopic sorrows and joys, and a real world Feynman Nine

    Well it hurt my pride I must thay, *sniff* *sniff*, that the Martha’s Vineyard Book Festival declined my 11th hour suggestion that they include me in their illustrious roster at the Gala Event which is to take place this Sunday up at the Chilmark Community Center, otherwise known as “That dusty place up at Beetlebung Corner where they have the Monday night AA meeting.”

    Now, I know I’m no William Styron or David McCollough but give me a break. I’m certainly the most prominent geekoid technoparanoid miniaturist in Dukes County, and ought that not to count for something? “Maybe next year,” came the email at 12:37 this morning. Well, maybe next year to you too! That was my response as I waited for that coffee to finish perking as I read my mail this morning.

    Normally I would take this kind of snub in stride but I had been kinda hoping to move a box or two of books, as I could use the grocery money not to mention that precious cubic footage in the shed where the inventory is kept.

    But now let’s look on the bright side of my nanoscopic writerly fame!

    Read More »

    Posted in My Thoughts Exactly, Writing | Also tagged | Comments closed
    • Connect With Us

      Follow Wetmachine on Twitter!

    Username
    Password

    If you do not have an account: Register