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Submission + - Giving Back to the Community (thomasaknight.com)

Synchis writes: Fantasy author Thomas A. Knight gets into the spirit of the season by giving the FOSS community a gift: putting his debut novel, The Time Weaver, up on Amazon for free from today until Christmas! For the next several days, you'll be able to pick up this novel 100% free (down from its normal price of $2.99). Knight uses 100% FOSS software in his writing, and wanted to give something back to the community that has done so much for the world. Merry Xmas!

Submission + - Ask Slashdot: IT Contractor? How's your health (insurance)

An anonymous reader writes: In the tech industry, as the economy continues its downturn, IT folks in my circles who were either laid off or let go are turning to contract work to pay their bills. Layoffs and a decline in tech jobs has affected older IT workers the most. Many of us find it more lucrative and enjoyable in the long run and leave the world of cubicles forever. However, there is much to be said for working for a large company or corporation, and health insurance is one of the benefits we value most.

But what happens to those who find themselves in this position at mid-career or later in life? Hopefully they have accumulated enough savings or have enough money in an HSA to survive a major medical emergency. Unfortunately, many do not and some find themselves in dire straits with their lives depending on others for help.

I have been working IT contracts mostly now for the past 11 years and I've done very well. I belong to a group insurance plan and the coverage is decent but as I get older, premiums and copays go up and coverage goes down. So I thought I would ask Slashdot. If you work contracts exclusively, what do you think is the best plan for insurance. Any preferences?

Comment [PSA] Helios Project Founder needs our help! (Score -1, Offtopic) 335

From his blog at http://linuxlock.blogspot.com/2012/08/this-is-where-we-are.html

Ken's cancer has just recently begun to spread to his right lymph node but his Oncologist has assured us that this is 80 percent curative if he gets the needed surgery in time.

Unfortunately, his 1100 dollar a month SSI disability disqualifies him for Medicaid care and the local county low-income insurance he was receiving. This leaves us with about 2 weeks to either raise enough money for at least the OR for the surgery (we are hopeful of finding a surgeon to do the work pro bono) or raise enough money for the entire procedure. We've spent hours upon hours researching and contacting the links some of you have provided but they are so limited in scope that 90 percent of them are not helpful at all.

We are looking at two weeks, maybe three before the cancer spreads past the point of surgery being an option. After that, we've been told just to make him as comfortable as possible until he passes. I'm not ready to accept that.

I have a blog post up here as well:


and there is an indieGoGO campaign going on here:


Comment Re:[PSA] Ken Starks of HeliOS fame has 2-3 weeks l (Score 1) 93

Ken actually had an offer from an off-shore surgeon to do the work pro-bono. Sadly, Ken's passport has expired, and the amount of time to get a new passport is prohibitive. We have 2-3 weeks at most to scrounge up the money for the surgery, after which the cancer will have spread too far to be operable. :(

Comment Re:Where do I donate ? (Score 1) 7

Sadly, no.

I'm the guy who set up the donation drive, and had to work within my means, which was basically using the paypal donation button, and later the IndieGoGo campaign.

If anyone in the community has the means to set something like this up, we need all the help we can get. This will save Ken's life if we can make it happen.


Submission + - A hero of Linux on his last leg of life - unless we help! (blogspot.com) 7

bastiji writes: "http://linuxlock.blogspot.com/2012/08/this-is-where-we-are.html

Ken Starks of HeliOS fame is down, but not out yet. His cancer is about to spread to a lethal condition, and only surgery can prevent it. Prevention is possible but due to the stupid healthcare system we have in this country, he can't afford it.

Read the link for the sordid details and do what you can to help someone who's helped thousands selflessly.

Here's another Slashdot link about him: https://linux.slashdot.org/story/08/12/10/001236/when-teachers-are-obstacles-to-linux-in-education"

Submission + - An IndieGoGo Campaign For Ken Starks (indiegogo.com)

Synchis writes: Ken Starks, of Helios Project and Reglue Fame, requires life saving surgery to remove his larynx and right lymph node, but is being denied because he has had his insurance coverage revoked. A few members of the community have put together an IndieGoGo Campaign to help raise the funds to cover this great man's medical expenses. We have about two weeks to save Ken's life.

Comment Re:And piracy stll goes on (Score 1) 288

Amazon already has a system in place to allow customers to redownload my book if I make a future revision. I've used it once to send out an update after a few minor mistakes made it through to the final release. I did a new revision and had Amazon notify all of my customers of the new version. Worked wonderfully.

And no DRM.

DRM is defective by design. It doesn't stop piracy. It only causes problems. As a rule, I don't enable DRM, ever.

Comment Ruggedized Cell Phone (Score 2) 126

I think it would likely be easier to find a ruggedized case for a popular cell phone than an eReader, and then you could load the eReader app of all the popular sites onto it. (Amazon, B&N, and Kobo all have Smartphone apps that work with their services)

I'm actually quite fond of reading on my cell phone. I carry it with me everywhere anyway, so any time I have a few seconds to read, I've got it out with a book open.

Comment Re:And piracy stll goes on (Score 2) 288

Book piracy is very much like Music Piracy.

You can't stop it, no matter how hard you try.

I don't enable DRM on my books. Why? Because DRM doesn't stop piracy. I don't *want* people to pirate my book, but I don't honestly believe there is a damn thing I could do about it if my book *did* get pirated.

The hope is that the exposure I gain from any kind of piracy will offset the piracy itself. Right? :)

Comment As an Indie Author Myself... (Score 4, Informative) 288

This really disappoints me. :(

I saw this coming when the site started circulating the facebook groups I'm involved in. In each case I explained how the site worked, and defended LendInk.com for what they were doing.

The knee-jerking that resulted in this sites shut down is a perfect exampled of what happens when a bunch of frustrated indie authors don't take the time to read or research a site before crying foul.


Submission + - Smashwords Caves to Censorship (the-digital-reader.com)

Synchis writes: "Smashwords, a popular portal for indy authors to self-publish their works, has been targetted by Paypal to remove certain objectionable content, "Or Else." Well, it looks like Smashwords has buckled under the pressure, and sent it's members a mass email letting them know that content described by Paypal to be objectionable will be removed. This is the worst kind of censorship."

Submission + - Interview: Author and Game Designer Jeff Grubb (thomasaknight.com)

Synchis writes: Fantasy Author Thomas A. Knight continues his 29-day blogfest today by posting a special interview with Author and Game Designer Jeff Grubb. Jeff has been involved in projects ranging from the original D&D Unearthed Arcana and Monster Manual II, to more recent games such as Guild Wars Nightfall, and is also the author of various novels set in DragonLance, Forgotten Realms, Magic: The Gathering, Warcraft, StarCraft and the Guild Wars shared universes.

Submission + - Gaming History and the People Who Made It (thomasaknight.com)

Synchis writes: "It's not very often that the world changes in a significant way. Often change is rejected, feared, and denied. That's just part of human nature. But some people throughout history defied this nature — innovators in an established industry, and pioneers of entirely new ones. Steve Jobs was one such visionary, whose contributions to the computing and entertainment industry were nothing short of monumental. Others have shared his place at this prestigious level of human accomplishment, though not all of them have been celebrated as widely as Jobs has.

So here is a list of six people who changed the gaming world. A celebration, if you will, of human accomplishment:"

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