By Grabthar’s Hammer!! Are you still visiting this site? I thought I’d let everyone know I’ve moved on to a new site! How did this oversight happen? How could you have missed it? How did things go so horribly wrong?!?
Probably my fault.
This site has been moved to StevenLyleJordan.blog. Please visit me there and catch up on what you’ve missed!
I recently started using the ebook lending section of my local libraries, and in doing so made an interesting discovery. Having downloaded a book file, I quickly realised that I couldn’t read it, because it was the wrong file format. I read ebooks on a Kindle Fire, which uses Amazon’s exclusive .mobi format, whereas the library books were in the .epub format used by all other e-readers.
In retrospect, it should have been obvious that the library would use epub files. After all, a publicly funded service wasn’t going to use a proprietary file format that only works with one brand of e-readers, even a brand that has two-thirds of the market share. In Britain at least, public services are still meant to be about accessibility and providing an even playing field for different suppliers. And in keeping with that ethos, there was a way around my file format problem, through…
Brooke Warner is publisher of She Writes Press and founder of Warner Coaching Inc. In this article, she calls out the openly and blatantly discriminatory practices against independent publishers in the established book industry, and the disservice being done to all of us.
As a country, we grapple with more than our share of discrimination challenges–where people of color, LGBTQ folks, and people with disabilities (to call out only a few of the bigger groups) feel its blow every single day. And while it’s frustrating at best, and often devastating, at least there’s a dialogue about it, and at least you can find outrage if you’re looking for it.
In book publishing, however, there’s a sanctioned discrimination against authors who subsidize their own work, and if people even bother to acknowledge it, few seem to be outraged. It’s upsetting because publishing folks are generally pretty liberal people–not the kind to condone discrimination in any form. Discrimination, however, is at its worst and most insidious when it’s sanctioned–and exacerbated when the perpetrators are justifying it as okay, business as usual, and just the way things are.
Last weekend I came across a series of blog posts by author Delilah S. Dawson about author self-promotion; and, as an author who has been trying to crack self-promotion for years, naturally I decided to read her posts. I started with Please shut up: Why self-promotion as an author doesn’t work, and without recapping everything in there, I’ll just say my takeaway was that Delilah’s secret to writing success boils down to one thing.
I mean, we really do. But to a recent Treehugger article advocating commuting by bicycle as a form of stress-relieving exercise, many bike commuters (me included) responded with warnings about the seriously stressful rides they endure to get to work and back.
Though the responses at the Treehugger site were light, the responses on Treehugger’s Facebook page were more illuminating. Riders complained about anti-bike car drivers, bad roads, lack of bike lanes or road-sharing arrangements, and lack of office clean-up facilities (or just plain hard weather) as highly-stressful biking realities. Continue reading
Ginni Rometty, the chairman and CEO of IBM, spoke about the future of artificial intelligence at the World of Watson event, designed to showcase the “ecosystem” of innovation happening around Watson, IBM’s signature artificial-intelligence system.
“In the future, every decision that mankind makes is going to be informed by a cognitive system like Watson,” she said; “and our lives will be better for it.”
Business Insider calls it a “bold prediction.” But I think we can go one better:
In the future, mankind’s most important decisions will be made by informed, cognitive systems like Watson, and our lives will be better for it.Continue reading
First, the full disclosure: I was a Radio Shack aficionado. I loved the place. Growing up, I used to visit my local store in Wheaton, weekly at least, to buy self-assembly electronics kits, shop for electronics parts, buy books on electronics, buy radios, tape recorders, speakers, battery chargers, my first PDA (Radio Shack’s rebranded Casio Zoomer), and just check out the cool stuff everywhere. I used to joke that any small town my family visited wasn’t civilized unless it had a Radio Shack in it. (“Look, there’s the Radio Shack! It’s a real town, all right!”)
My love of electronics and computers came from Radio Shack. My serious consideration of getting an electrical engineering degree came from my association with the Shack (boy, how I wish I’d figured out how to follow that through!).
Now, I don’t visit Radio Shacks often… and neither does anyone else. Which is why the original owners declared bankruptcy, the chain has just been sold in auction to another company, and its future as a store and chain is very much up in the air.
What is not up in the air is this: Radio Shack’s original purpose—as a place for America’s electronics enthusiasts and hobbyists to buy, build and learn about radios, electronics and other related gear—has effectively come to an end. The American DIY electronics era, and its designated street-corner shrine, is done. Continue reading
I’m in a bit of a conundrum, here; so I thought I’d just write out what I’m conundrumming about, to see if it’ll help me un-conun… dr… um…
Basically, I’m trying to decide whether to attend the 1-day UpublishU conference at the BEA Book Expo at the end of May. And right now, I’m having a very hard time justifying the trip. Continue reading
Ever stop to think about humans’ state of affairs with artificial intelligence (A.I.)? It’s a lot like a girl who’s fallen in love with a charming, attractive man who is also a serial killer: She is aware that he is dangerous, maybe even lethal; but she forces herself to love him anyway, trusting that her faith in his inner goodness will win out in the end and not leave her in a shallow grave in little, hacked-up pieces.
Or, rather, that’s how our relationship with A.I. could be; in actual fact, we stay with A.I. because we need its help, but we expect it’s going to turn and hack us up any second now. Continue reading
Verdant Skies was partly inspired by data on the Yellowstone Caldera, the buried supervolcano in the Wyoming-Idaho-Montana area which, ifwhen it erupts, could create an ecological disaster akin to the process which accelerated the end of the Dinosaurs.
Now University of Utah seismologists have discovered even more detail about the caldera, including a magna pocket below the known pocket and five times larger. No, it doesn’t make the threat of an eruption more imminent; but it does mean that an eruption could be much, much worse than previously assumed. See more at the link.