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Comment: Re:There's something touching about that comment (Score 2) 102

by hey! (#47500515) Attached to: "Intelligent" Avatars Poised To Manage Airline Check-In

It's not the human *touch* that people crave in a complicated interaction with a system. It's human *versatility*.

Thus more personnel does no good, if those personnel are rigidly controlled, lack information to advise or authority to act. The fact that they're also expected to be jolly and upbeat as they follow their rigid and unyielding rules only turns the interaction with them into a travesty of a social interaction.

What would work better is a well-designed check-in system that handles routine situations nearly all the time, along with a few personnel who have the training and authority to solve any passenger problems that come up.

Comment: Re: The issue is big publishing (Score 2) 191

by hey! (#47493819) Attached to: Amazon Isn't Killing Writing, the Market Is

I can only go with the experience of my friends, who've gone both routes successfully.

It's true that traditional publishers expect mid-list authors to shoulder most of the promotion efforts these days. I never said they didn't. Fiction authors are now expected to maintain a platform, which used to be a non-fiction thing. Certainly traditional publishers have become more predatory and less supportive than they were twenty years ago. I don't have an inside track on why that is, but I suspect there are several causes. One is that POD allows publishers to make an reliable though modest profit from their mid-list authors, which ironically makes them more risk averse. But publishers still provide production and editing services on a MS that'd cost you maybe ten thousand dollars if you were contracting those services out. They also get your book in bricks-and-mortar bookstores, which is a bridge too far for most indy authors, even the successful ones.

A lot of the bad feeling that publishers get from indy authors comes from two sources. First, a long history with rejection. Second the lack of respect indy authors get relative to traditionally published authors. We can see it in this discussion elsewhere, where one poster puts "authors" in quotes when referring to indy authors. And it's easy to see why because most indy authors just aren't good enough to get traditionally published. *Some* indy authors put out a product that's every bit as good as the mid-list authors from the big publishing houses, but most just dump their terrible manuscripts on Amazon with a clip-art cover and no copy editing, much less developmental editing.

The statistic that most indy authors make their investment back plus 40% didn't impress me, because (a) that counts the author's labor as free and (b) most indy authors don't invest much cash in their projects. The percentage of indy authors that clear, say, five thousand dollars in profit are very small.

It's not that indy publishing doesn't have its points, and my traditionally published friends are certainly thinking about dipping their toe in the water. But it's not as cheap as it looks if you want a comparable product, and you give up certain things. I was in Manhattan recently and went to the 5th Avenue branch of the NYPL. My traditionally published friends' books were either on the shelves our out circulating. The NYPL had *none* of my indy author friends' books, even though at least one of them has made the New York Times best seller list.

Comment: Re:The issue is big publishing (Score 1) 191

by hey! (#47492489) Attached to: Amazon Isn't Killing Writing, the Market Is

I don't think it's as simple as Amazon is good or Amazon is evil. Amazon is powerful, and that needs watching.

Now I have a number writer friends, one of whom is published both with traditional imprints like TOR and with Amazon's new in-house publishing imprints. She has good things to say about Amazon's imprints, but one thing you have to take into account is that nobody will stock your book *but* Amazon if you publish with them. That's giving up a lot, so they treat authors reasonably well. But that doesn't mean the corporation actually cares about authors. Amazon needs reliable mid-list authors to make their publishing ventures a success, and by cutting out the middleman can afford generous royalties. But if Amazon succeeds in putting a stake in the heart of traditional publishing, I wouldn't care to speculate on what will happen to authors.

Nor should what traditional publishers do for authors be underestimated. I have friends who are successful indy writers, but it's not like being a writer, it's more like running a small publishing house yourself. They hire story editors, copy editors and artists, and manage promotion and publicity. It's a lot of work; that plus actually writing pretty much precludes a day job. It's not for everyone.

It's a lot like being an engineer. Engineers are smart people who usually have a lot of insight into the companies they work for, but that doesn't mean that most engineers want to run businesses. Some do, but most would rather have other people take care of that stuff so they can concentrate on what they feel they're best at.

Many writers choose the indy market because it's the only way they'll ever get published. They just dump their manuscript on the market without editing, design or promotion and hope for the best. They rarely succeed. Others choose the indy route because they thrive on running and controlling their own small business, the way some engineers step naturally into the role of entrepreneur. They're well positioned for the future. But most writers need support to reach their full potential.

Comment: Re:Mispelling in Headline... (Score 1) 41

by hey! (#47466965) Attached to: Breaches Exposed 22.8 Million Personal Records of New Yorkers

It's actually 'Breeches' and now we finally know Step 2.

Years ago, when static electricity was bad news for computers, I had the idea for a "data processing shoe" that would have a little conductive ribbon that would drag along the floor and ground out static electricity. Such a thing is of course no longer needed, but given the apparent popularity of data breeches these days maybe the concept could be resurrected as a fashion statement.

Comment: Re:Study first, then appeal (Score 1) 67

by Zordak (#47457689) Attached to: Court Rejects Fox's Attempt to Use Aereo Ruling Against Dish's Hopper

Essentially the judge points out that a different case requires a different trial. This also means more arguments to study for appealing the Aereo ruling. If Dish's lawyers poke holes in Fox's arguments that led to the Aereo ruling, those arguments are fair game for Aereo's lawyers to use if they're applicable.

I think you misunderstand the "Supreme" part of the "Supreme Court," and the legal doctrine of res judicata.

Comment: Re:Yay big government! (Score 1) 310

This is the other kneejerk response to any suggestion of reduced government spending that needs to die forever.

1 - How about we cut government spending in some are other than the tiny percentage spent on protecting people against corporate abuse?

2 - We have a system in place for this. The problem with it is not that it's underfunded, but that it's been corrupted by the very corporations it tries to regulate! Arguably, stuff like the DMCA shows that more harm than good is done in some areas, thanks to this. This is perhaps the most serious problem in internal politics in America today but it's not in any way a funding problem.

And you just disproved your thesis. The end result of a body that regulates a business sector is always that the regulators get in bed with the people they're supposedly regulating and work together to erect barriers to entry into their cozy little oligopoly. Throwing more money at them will not fix the problem.

Comment: adopt a 1950's standard of living. (Score 1) 389

by ProfBooty (#47418671) Attached to: Blueprints For Taming the Climate Crisis

Probably because we spend more than before?

Productivity is way up since the 1950s. If you were to live according to a 1950's lifestyle including miles driven, size of home, vacation travel, amount of times going out to eat, drop internet, CATV, cell phones etc, you could save an enormous amount of money. Invest it in some index funds or take a dividend growth approproach and you would be pretty rich.

Time to take stock. Go home with some office supplies.

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