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Comment Technology and Evolution (Score 1) 192

I'm in the process of trying to self-publish some short stories now. The old way of doing this was to find a magazine or anthology related to short works - most of which are extinct today. Like Wikipedia killed Britannica and Encarta, the flood of free quality content today is killing the traditional ways of becoming renown. Trouble is there is so much (and more crud) its getting harder to find - drowning in entropy. The bigger shops like Amazon have done a good job on Kindle Direct Publishing, but the problem is it only seems to work for established authors. And its a fractured market. Even with the Kindle App, a lot of people won't use it... so as a self-publisher you've got to explore other publishing media too (like Kobo, B&N [that doesn't support Canadian authors], iBooks [that requires a Mac and multiple publish steps], and Google Play books [that is so awkward to use many people don't bother]. A publish, stream service kind of makes sense. Writers are burned by royalties anyway. (
Amazon - 30% for under $1. Kobo is 45%. And who would pay $1 for a short story when they can buy a novel for a $1? Or even get something free. The price is becoming less meaningful. Amazon will still likely push work through the service that is promoted - leaving out self publishers.

Shameless plug: I'm blogging about my experiences trying these things here (

Submission + - Memoires of a Self-Loathing IT Professional (

micromuncher writes: Hello editors; I would like to publish my real life inspired memoires of working in tech for 25 years. Really, I am very curious to see if the "short story" is truly dead and see if a nobody author like myself can use self publishing media to tell the story. I plan to write about 20 short, episodic stories (about 6-10 pages each) about the insanity I've experienced in IT. I can send the first two if you like for review. I also am starting a blog about the experience; how I've attempted to publish on Amazon/Kindle direct publishing, Apple iBooks, and KOBO. How I am marketing with $0. And the success (most likely epic fail) of it all.

Thanks for your time.

bswieser at gmail dot com

Comment Bacteria evolve faster... (Score 1) 174

Students of genetics know that organisms with short life spans and simpler structures evolve much quicker that complex organisms.

A while back I had an idea to modify saccharomyces cerevisiae to include code for generating ligninase, xylanase, and cellulase. This would allow me to brew alcohol from wood etc. Presently the enzymes are harvested from aspergillus niger. Production and recovery are expensive.

So in comes a brewing bacteria that can "liquify wood." Wait. What if this bacteria were released into the environment in an uncontrolled fasion? What if it mutates? Wouldn't the result be catastrophic?

Comment evil bob (Score 1) 191

Bob, clippy, and any other gadget that imposes its will upon you by default is a bad idea. People hate being told what to do, especially when something grabs UI focus from you and makes a non-modal process a modal one. Rule No. 1 of UI design is let the user focus on the task. Distracting the user... what were they thinking? I have years of pent up Clippy hatred because my Office technology is stuck at 97 and 2000 (by choice.) First thing I always get to do is try and recall how to turn them off. BOB IS ABOMINATION! Please let it die. Take WGA next.

Comment disk2vhd (Score 2, Informative) 356

This was a god send to me, after VMWare Converter could not/would not convert a machine of mine, even after registry and driver cleaning, it just failed near the end without a meaningful error message in the log.

I used disk2vhd, booted up the image in VirtualBox, and bingo - working image.

Comment Re:Selling horse that doesn't look too good (Score 1) 483

I'm very happy to hear it. Once upon a time I worked for a company that kept metrics on all its projects, and we (developers) used these metrics to validate our time estimates. We didn't measure current projects in % done; we measured by function point achieved. Sounds similar to what you mention. It was one of the most stress free times in my life, as they also had effective change management. These things are counter to the manifesto.

Comment Selling horse that doesn't look too good (Score 1) 483

Some would recognize this as farmer speak for selling a blind horse, and after RTFM, where refactoring and work and revising guesses, the article called "Unskilled and Unaware" comes to mind. This article's basic premise is that people who are clueless tend to overestimate their ability.

In the old days, and with most engineering disciplines, costing is a quantified, factored skill. It is not an art. People with a great deal of experience, or whom have access to metrics, can cost building billion dollar chemical plants with reasonable error rates. It all comes down to experience, or metrics in another form.

First, you record how long it takes you to do something, and how complex it was, and how much risk there was. This knowledge can be used and applied to even unrelated projects. The biggest excuse I hear in software development is that we can't cost this because we haven't done it before. Bullshit. Remember design patterns? Someone has done it before. And it doesn't take much to figure out that something you are doing is either highly complex (and arguably requiring decomposition), or highly risky, and then cost it appropriately.

Then for those high risk items, apply a strategy like rapid prototyping, or spiral software (risk based) development practices.

Bullshit to the quality vs functionality argument too. The triangle of cost vs quality vs time or function does not take into account any of the elements for succesful project delivery, like experienced management, experienced leads, a positive working environment (read no asshole driven development), and people that actually think management is mo betta than leadership.

Rant off.

Comment backward-a55 (Score 1) 301

Your executive (or usually the administrative secretaries) should communicate to you what they want. If they are not giving you an indication of the metrics they want, and they're leaving it to you, then you have the danger of boring them with useless and irrelevant information. Not repeating the 30k feet, brief, don't use IT speak comments; you likely want to engage someone close to them to figure out what metrics you gather, or can gather, and which are actually meaningful from the BI view. Oddly, information by itself is useless. Let me explain... I work for big oil/gas company (doing corporate reporting). One thing I provide is spill reports. They use this to scorecard divisions (for bonuses). But the information itself isn't very useful, because it doesn't say what products are spilled (specifically sometimes huge numbers come out re fresh water spills, and these are reportable to govt., but not as dangerous as sour gas...). The divisional guys get really annoyed because they're compared to previous years (so its spilled volume over time), and they really want me to speciate by operation or commodity, but I can't because the executive committee in charge doesn't care. They want ONE line item for an overall metric in one area of the business. So to reiterate, its really important to talk with them or someone close to them to figure out what is useful and what the "destination" is. Process improvement? Health check? Benefits/bonuses? Lots of categories to chose from.

Comment StarTrekify my Life (Score 1) 899

I would like to have...
1) a cell phone that looks like a TOS communicator (one vaporphone was the Sona Mobile themed phone)
2) a micro-lab that looks like a TOS tricorder (hell, I'd be happy with GPS, temperature, and humidity sensors in a stylish box)
3) a laser pointer that looks like a TOS phaser (that would absolutely get attention in meetings)

Cool and useful science toys.

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