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Comment Re:Seklild Rderaes (Score 1) 420

What's interesting is that when you take those words out of context, as you just did, I could no longer easily recognize them, which implies that the shape-matching has a contextual aspect to it, at least for me. It seems my mind predicts what words are likely to come next, which makes the letter-jumble less important.

Comment Re:Thanks for the list of artists to boycott (Score 1) 123

Only addressing this AC to mention an extra point - even negative reviews directly on a book would be more helpful than none. Something your friends should keep in mind if they are interested in helping you succeed.:)

[To directly address the AC "criticism," what mistakes there are in spelling or grammar in any of my books/stories (you don't say which one you're referring to) are intentional. The most interesting real criticism I've gotten from a couple dozen actual readers (I did say I've been doing this for years, and my lack of success on the Kindle front is not really relevant here) is that my Fourwar story contained too much profanity for their tastes and could I please remove it so they could pass it to person X or Y.:P Which says to me that there are two primary problems with my story - one, the audience is not that big to begin with compared to, say, a romance novel, and two, the existing audience is slashed because of moral issues like the profanity. Something else for would-be writers to keep in mind, and again, these are more marketing issues than they are technical.]

Comment Re:Thanks for the list of artists to boycott (Score 2) 123

And the signal-to-noise ratio is extremely high.

I'm by no means defending the status quo, but having produced music and books which have been freely available for years, I've learned one thing. Marketing is a major hurdle that any independent content producer will have to learn to do effectively in order to make money. The barriers to entry have been lowered, and that has introduced a flood of competition, so that it's extremely difficult to find an audience even at a price of "free" without resorting to tactics that I personally find objectionable (spamming your products all over every available form with a "submit" button that you can find seems to be the best way to be successful as far as I can tell, apart from having already high-profile friends to do word-of-mouth/reviews for you -- that and writing books that explain "how to get rich quick by selling books on the internet." ;) ). Anecdotally, I've had one of my novels on Kindle for months now at various price points, and I've sold a grand total of two copies, both in the first week to people I know, and I've gone the usual Twitter/Goodreads/etc. promotional routes without any "success." I suspect that, discounting luck, it would require me to physically go promote it at various conventions/stores/etc. in order to make much more headway.

So while I agree with you that you certainly can make money online, just the fact that the barriers have been lowered isn't sufficient. Be prepared to throw in a lot of time trying to figure out ways to attract even a bit of attention for your work - if you aren't a good marketer, then it's down to luck, and relying on luck is a good way to stay broke.:) The positive thing is, it seems like if you aren't an A-list novelist anyway, this would be the expected course of action even through a traditional publishing route, since I hear that they only bother actually promoting the ones that have an already-quantifiable ROI. I don't think you (or I) are losing anything at all by pursuing the self-publishing route.:)

Comment Re:Competition (Score 1) 342

As someone who has written a couple of novels and has them available both on Amazon and as free downloads...you're absolutely correct.

I get a certain amount of downloads of the free copies of my novel every month; I can't say for certain that real people are downloading them as opposed to search engines or bots, since my stats-tracking software (awstats) isn't really that specific and I'm too busy to bother poring through apache logs, but I'm guessing it's the latter. I've had one of my novels available on Amazon since late July, and I've sold a total of 2 copies, both to people I know. I've tried three different price points, and followed all of the "recommended" advice in terms of twitter, Goodreads, blogging, etc., and this has had zero impact on sales.

The short of it is, as an unknown author, people simply won't take the "risk" of spending the time on my novels even at a price of "free." And to be honest, I don't really blame them. I'd have a hard time justifying reading something from an unknown author myself, without some body of reviews or high-profile recommendations to fall back on. This is, of course, a giant catch-22: you can't really get non-purchasers or non-readers to review books they haven't read, it's hard to find reviewers willing to review your work if you are unknown, and readers won't buy your unreviewed novel (or even bother to read it for free), much less contribute their own reviews. I think it also doesn't help that I write stories in genres (primarily SFF) that are not thrillers or romance; the readership in those genres seems to be a bit less selective and more willing to take chances (or perhaps have more time to risk, I'm not entirely sure), if anecdotes from authors like John Locke and Amanda Hocking are any indication.

That said, I still don't feel any desire to cave and go the traditional publishing route. From all the information I can gather, you're just as unlikely to succeed there, and luck (and your own unassisted self-promotion) will play just as big a part in your results as if you just bypass the existing publishing industry completely.

Side note: for readers who don't know, Amazon uses a tiered royalty system where you can only get 70% royalties if your book is priced no lower than $2.99 USD. If you price it at $0.99 USD, you will get approximately $0.35 for each copy you sell, minus a bandwidth charge dependent on the size of your book. The price point seems to be irrelevant in your book's success, as far as I can tell; I've sold no copies at $0.99, $2.99, or $4.99 other than the two copies I initially sold to a couple of people in my immediate social network.

Comment Re:Apps (Score 1) 213

This. I use the incognito mode in Chrome to run my personal account and the main window to run my work account. Makes it pretty easy to use two at the same time, although incognito windows seem to share sessions so you can't run more than two just by opening extra incognito windows.

Incognito is also useful in development, when you want to log in as some test user to a system and then clear the cookies but be able to stay logged in as an admin user at the same time. Pretty much any case where you might want two sets of cookies, it comes in handy...

Comment Not a body double... (Score 1) 295

If you google around for "Skinny Steve", it turns out that they just edited his body to look smaller - he did his own movement for the "skinny" scenes because the directors couldn't find a double who moved similarly enough. Sample source: http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/43825044/ns/today-entertainment/t/brawny-captain-america-saved-skinny-steve/

Comment Re:A worthy effort (Score 1) 295

Er, my mistake, chess is not yet solved. But in any case, I think the evidence strongly suggests that with perfect play, white wins, and certainly my experience indicates that memorizing opening play leads to a degree of advantage that means you can't really seriously play the game without bothering to spend significant amounts of time memorizing. If it's your thing, go ahead, but I just got bored.

Comment Re:A worthy effort (Score 0) 295

Chess IS solved. That is indisputable. Otherwise, having some experience of the game myself, I decided long ago that it's dull. Once you master basic tactical play, then the game typically falls to whoever has the most extensive opening book memorization. Once I reached the stage where I could compete with 2000-ranked players, beating them if they slipped up on their openings (which occurred when I reached only about 1450 myself), I realized quickly that the memorization factor was the primary differentiator and I lost interest in the game entirely. Try go - it's a much better game, in my opinion, and requires much more imagination (and probably a higher IQ to play successfully) than chess.

Comment Re:And Up the Food Chain? (Score 3, Informative) 229

There is a journal article which discusses the acetaminophen toxicity in snakes and lizards. Apparently there are two theories - glutathione depletion leading to hepatic necrosis as you mentioned, or methemoglobinemia, which is apparently a condition where normal oxygen-carrying hemoglobin is replaced by methemoglobin, which does not carry oxygen and effectively causes death due to cellular oxgyen deprivation (I wonder if this would explain the findings of clear fluid in the lungs/trachea of the snakes/lizards they tested this on?). I'm not a doctor or a chemist, by the way, just found it interesting.

Comment Re:Wikileaks? (Score 1) 502

:)

So that's why I did a google search before posting here, and came up with various non-official websites saying more-or-less the same thing, plus there was this little blurb posted on the Twitter WikiLeaks profile on the 17th:

Real change begins Monday in the WashPost. By the years end, a reformation. Lights on. Rats out. 1:57 PM Jul 17th via HTC Peep

I think it's a reasonable thing to wonder.:) Of course, Wikileaks could have simply had advance notice of the story and nothing to do with its content.

Databases

Good Database Design Books? 291

OneC0de writes "I am the Director of IT for a small/medium sized marketing company, where I personally write the code that runs our applications. We use a variety of technology at our office, the majority of which rely on MS-SQL and MySQL databases. I am familiar with tables, SQL queries, and have a general understanding of how the SQL databases work. What I'm looking for is a good book, particularly a newer book, to explain general database design techniques, and maybe explain some relational tables. We have some tables that have million of rows, and I'd like to know the best method of designing these tables."

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