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User Journal

Journal Journal: Aphelion SciFi Fantasy Horror Poetry Webzine in 2013!

Okay, here we go!

I shall post a promotional piece for the Science Fiction - Fantasy - Horror - Poetry webzine Aphelion.

It's been around since 1997. However we gradually lost the "regular" posters through attrition and we haven't undertaken much marketing at all. This post is "semi-unauthorized" aka ad-hoc.

This campaign:
You're one of two crews I would like to encourage to join and post a note about at least a couple of stories! They do have a focus on newer and developing writers, so go REAL EASY on the comments - if you see something that a writer could have improved, PLEASE work REAL HARD to soft-ball it!

As part of a bit of backstory that we don't need to visit here, in this somewhat fragile year it's important to get a couple of really nice newcomers, because there is a potential bit of culture clash. They do not have the Anonymous Coward theme with all that entails, nor are they in tune with our top 10 "inside jokes" such as Frosty Ps0t, You Insensitive Clod, In Soviet Russia, and many types of posts that dance around the Funny-Flamebait line here. Also be very careful with the FTFY and Grammar posts. It's true Mechanics do have a place in writing, but the usage tone culture here of those posts is generally too aggressive for Aphelion.

But y'all have modded me up a bunch of times, so I must have been interesting a few times at least, so let's really get all you geniuses to go give them the best ya got, 'cause you're all smarter than me!

This is the only High Volume promo web post I am doing right now, because it's one of only a few sites I have followed for all these years (somewhere about 8!), so I don't feel it's much to ask one Journal post to grab some of you who have been feeding me Chocolate Donut +1 upmods all these years.

I would love to get _____ number of really enthused new visitors who plan to stay for at least a few months. For a site the size of Slashdot, we'll get a decent few at a minimum, and if we have the cure for the Woes when y'all don't like This Hour's Story, we might get a lot! Let's go all KickStarter-y with some fun milestones.
17 - Just because I like the number 17, and the lowest non-insulting goal.
25 - Round Number
32 - How could we not include this one!?
50 - Round Number
64 - Another obvious one
75 - Round Number
But then it gets a bit scarce, until ...
100 - Round Number
128 - The Comp Numbers will get a bit thin in a min
200 - Round Number
256 - QuarterFinal Compy number
500 - Stretch Goal Round Number
512 - Stretch Goal Compy
1000 - Last Round Number
1024 - Last Compy number

I have no right to expect more than that so I'll start to reign all this in soon!

For you login-metrics fans, they put in an aggressive anti-spam measure in this year, but please don't go all Gamey on me and try to break it! It's meant for 4th rate twerps who went all CopyPasta at the Ragu Factory. Just play nice. But do holler to me if it causes any of you actual trouble getting in, and I'll give you a Secret Decoder ByteCoin. Signed by the Retired Lieutenant Taco Vendor from down the street. Or something.

The Lead intro page: - typically a graphic that changes for each issue
They do a "Flip" where the current month issue is on a "hardlocked" set of links by story/item category such as Short Stories. So if you get busy, and want to go back next month, they'll be gone (temporarily!) and replaced by the new issue. There's a big topic in Archives, but that's another day.

The intro Editorial by the senior editor:

Short Stories:


"Features:" - most usually an instructional article on writing but a few other things sometimes

I would appreciate it if interested people would drop a note here too, just to close the loop so I both know who is headed over there, but also for the data check of that signup-test.

On the first two posts over there (because any single one might vanish from visibility because I am turbo posting this week!) to mention that me, Tao sent you from Slashdot. Plus it's an excuse to Cross Brand and all those other fun business terms! Go Slashdot! (Hi Dice!)

Watch the horde of smart people show up and impress the hell out of them!


Obligatory disclosures etc.
I am the Archives Editor over there, a position which involves fluidly evolving things generally oriented around fiddling with info about the magazine issues, rather than actually writing stories for them.

I apologize for the "soft links" because I don't know how to make them Clickable. But then I told ya y'all were smarter than I am!

User Journal

Journal Journal: NDAA Canary

Similar to the Warrant Canary, it may make sense for someone to create an "NDAA Canary", where it sends individuals an email once a day that each individual must respond to. Perhaps just by clicking a link in the email; or, perhaps by entering "something you know" so that it is less likely to be spoofed. Then, when citizens start disappearing into Guantanamo or wherever, we will be able to know about it even if they are unable to discuss it (through geography, or via gag order).

User Journal

Journal Journal: WTF 1

Why the fuck can't I read the posts that I have created? Slashdot having a bad day? Here's the error I'm getting:

Error 503 Service Unavailable Service Unavailable Guru Meditation: XID: 2024519708 Varnish cache server

User Journal

Journal Journal: Changing the signature again, and stupid programming tricks 3

Old signature: The MIC is in charge; it doesn't matter who the meat votes in.
Wake up! It's 1984. - Oingo Boingo, 1983

New signature: Something positive, for a change.

Stupid programming tricks: the "Write in Journal" button is at the bottom of the page. There's new fancy Ajaxian code to auto-load new items when the user scrolls to the bottom of the page. So, the ability to click that button is a lot like those old annoyance applications with "click the button" which moved around the screen as the mouse got close to it.

In closing: WTF, why aren't my <p> tags working when I preview? This is wall-of-text! Oh well, the info is the important part, but presentation is also useful...

User Journal

Journal Journal: Changing .sig 2

Today is 2010-04-25 SUN, and I'm changing my .sig. Since this changes all previous posts to have the new .sig, my older one disappears, and I liked it and may bring it back if I survive the onslaught of religious oppression that must follow my new .sig. So, here it was:

Science controls nature; religion controls humans.

Wake up! It's 1984. - Oingo Boingo, 1983

And for posterity, here's the new one:

New sig 2010-04-25 SUN: The period at the end of this sentence represents Mohammed --> .

This is a reaction to the South Park death threats.


Journal Journal: Nature of mind

One day science will confirm the primacy of what you might call "pure awareness" as the foundation of the material universe. For my part, it will make this feeling of "being" seem more valid. It will dispel just a little of the mystery as to why my visual experience all seems to happen simultaneously, even though there is no one point where it all comes together in space. It all comes together in time, and somehow this arrangement of neurons - or more fundamentally, beings called neutrons, positrons, electrons... - somehow it translates into the experience of seeing - and making sense of it happens only after the seeing occurs. The seeing itself is not made sense of, it is merely accepted.

My question about your idea and my idea of consciousness is, if all we are is information processors, there is no need for there to be the residue of this visual experience, but it so happens that there is. Whether or not I pay attention to the lady in the green dress across the room, she is in my field. It may be said "I do not consciously see her" but this can't be true. She is there, in my experience. Information about her is not being incorporated and analyzed into my pictorial understanding of the world -- the map I was assigned to make at some point in the past.

And so we don't really bother to see the map either, and yet like the visual field it is there nevertheless like the corkboard collage of a madman, being experienced as a mirror image of the present moment. The mirror guides the dispensation of chemicals into blood, brain, and the environment: adrenaline, serotonin, pheromones. The pupils dilate to allow in more light, and as a sign of our disposition. The body stiffens or loosens.

Person to person we end up relating map to map, mirror to mirror. This hall of mirrors is the meeting place of people and nations. We need to acknowledge this in a common space.

My mirror, gleaned from a typically strangled life, stands as my guard on the window of reality, and lends me expectations, fears, concerns. The whole notion that "I am Scott" and that "this is my life" and every other aggregate concept I hold about men and women, old and young, mad and sane, and on and on vies for attention in every moment.

But back to the imminent experience of seeing. The imminent experience of hearing. There are Zen koans intended to crack these open for us, to demonstrate the difference between experience and interpretation. Meditation sets aside the senses and leaves you resting in the thinking mind - which in me is prone to drown out the present far too often.

There is no obligation in every moment to adhere to the being of one's socially-constructed self, and for those who take to solitary pursuits like boating, hiking, and even computing, there is joy to be found in immersing oneself in the act of acting natural, accomplishing larger goals by momentary steps.

In this visual culture one may as well be obsessed with the present act of seeing. Seeing - simply observed - leads directly to the realization of whose eyes we are seeing with, and how those eyes illuminate not only the so-called external world, but the whole universe within.


Journal Journal: Another major music store offers unrestricted MP3s

When I started the RealNetworks Rhapsody software this morning, I discovered a cause for some celebration by anybody who supports DRM-free music purchases: the Rhapsody store is now offering some unrestricted MP3 downloads. At present only about 5000 albums (roughly 50000 songs) are available, but that is just an initial offer - I haven't even found an announcement anywhere - and they claim to be working to increase the number of MP3 tracks available.

The MP3s are encoded at 256kbps, and cost no more than the standard DRM-crippled music (which is also 256kbps) at 89c/song for subscribing members, or 99c/song for non-subscribers (the subscription gives the ability to listen to streamed music on demand, starting at $13/month). Prices are US dollars, and I don't know whether the service is available internationally.

The bad news: downloading the music requires running the Rhapsody player software (version 4, just released) and at present it's only available on Windows. Online streaming is available to other OSes through (works in Firefox, via a plugin) but the cross-platform Real Player software cannot access the music store, and last I tried it wouldn't run in wine.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Democracy is a sheep and two wolves 1

>Democracy is a sheep and two wolves deciding what to have for lunch. Freedom is a well armed sheep contesting the issue.

I fear it's more like, "Democracy is 48 sheep and 52 wolves deciding what to have for lunch. Well armed sheep contesting the issue is, 'traitorous liberal domestic terrorism.'"

User Journal

Journal Journal: Terry Pratchett Friends

Anyone who references a Terry Pratchett quote will become a Friend.

Today I friended two people: ConceptJunkie for referencing Ankh-Morpork, and leonbrooks for referencing Nisodemus from Diggers.

I just finished most of his catalog and need more!

User Journal

Journal Journal: I friended my freaks 1

I just friended my freaks. I only had three of them, but I'd like to know what the people who dislike me are saying. It's a pity that the system doesn't give better feedback, like, "Why are these people upset with me? What exactly did I say to cause them to pull the trigger?"

That, and the old saying "Keep your friends close and your enemies closer."

But I'm more interested in what they're saying; if they're bigots or technophobes/luddites or humorless, or if they're just trying out the interface and freaking by accident, or if they're just like me and spend just a couple hours a day and want to see good stuff during that short time. Although I tend toward the carrot more than the stick: I have zero foes, but many friends. And everyone who fans me becomes my friend. It may take a while as I don't check it daily, more like monthly. But when I do, I bring everyone in so I can see what they're saying. I keep my threshhold at 3, but I +1 Funny and some other stuff so if you're making a joke, chances are I'll see it.

At any rate, shouts out to my freaks and hopefully I can turn you into fans! And if not, it's all good anyway. This is the Internet! ;-)

User Journal

Journal Journal: With our help, SCO will soon become a "Bunch of Assholes" 1

I just changed my .sig at the suggestion of a responder to one of my posts (I've somehow gotten more prolific lately, which is odd because I'm working 70+ hour weeks and have so little free time; I guess it's the lacking social life that helps in this regard).

My new sig states "Bunch of Assholes" which is a link to The idea behind this (the post I responded to) was that Google spiders Slashdot, and ranks based on how many pages link to a certain site (PageRank), so the more people who link the phrase "Bunch of Assholes" to SCO, the quicker it'll bubble up in the search ranks and turn up when someone searches for "Bunch of Assholes."

At the time I posted it, SCO was nowhere on the first page of search results (searching with quotes or without). They still aren't, but it's only been a couple days. Won't you join me? (Post a reply if you do.)

Thanks to the 120-char limit, I had to shrink my original .sig but it still makes some sense (Homer's insights are great). Hope this new year's better for you than the last year, especially if you're in IT (I'm working and haven't been for over a year -- woohoo!).

The Almighty Buck

Journal Journal: Submission: Has anyone tried the "debt elimination" companie 2

I just submitted the following to Ask Slashdot:

There is a service which purports to eliminate your debt because banks are violating Federal regulations when they issue credit cards. The sales pitch states that all you have to do is write a letter asking them to clarify their compliance with these laws, and they have 90 days to answer or your debt is eliminated.

They then said most banks will write back without answering the inquiry, stating that "you signed the forms, you owe us the money" but they didn't answer the actual question, so you write another letter asking them to clarify and they have an additional 90 days.

They state that you will become debt-free in 6-10 months, and that they've helped 20,000 people do this in the past 5 years. The cost is $2,995 for $40k of debt, and $995 for each $30k of debt above that (so to eliminate $130k of debt, it would cost $995 x 3 + $2995 = $5,980).

This is not a small amount of money, and although they have a money-back guarantee (which they said nobody has ever taken them up on, i.e. they have 100% satisfied customers), I am very skeptical and would like to know if anyone has heard of this, used it, or knows definitely that it's a scam.

They have a few websites with more information: a sparsely-detailed site, a site with more details and links, and a link to the parent company.

I am seriously considering bankruptcy (as I'm sure many of us are after the dot-com crash), and if this "too-good-to-be-true" process actually works then it'll save my credit from being torn to shreds. (They'll also help you fix your credit when you're done.)

User Journal

Journal Journal: Futurama is being canceled! 1

(A record of my submission.)

Fox put this great show in a terrible spot and pre-empted it with the end of football games. Any wonder it's going away? The article is here and the fan club page is here.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Rejection

2003-07-23 16:23:16 Humor: "KILLKILLKILL -- The SCO Group" (articles,humor) (rejected)

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