ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Here's an article about how you don't really own ebooks

The problem is that this is fraud.  People think if they are clicking a "buy" button online, what they pay for belongs to them.  If someone then takes it away, they feel robbed, and rightly so.  Saying "buy" implies ownership of the product; it's a contract term.  If the fine print says "you don't really own this" then that deceives people, causing them to make different decisions, and the results can be negative.  This does not just harm Amazon's reputation; it damages the reputation of ebooks in general.  It makes customers feel that ebooks are unreliable, perhaps even undesirable; and that makes people less willing to pay for them.  This is an incentive to copy them from unofficial sources, because the authorities can't burgle what they don't even know you have.  It also makes life difficult for anyone who really IS selling ebooks on a "you pay me, and this thing belongs to you" basis.

Just in case you're wondering, that's me.  You pay me for an ebook, and that copy is yours, just as if you pay me for a paper book that I mail to you.  Robbing people's libraries is an abomination before the Lady.

And this is one of many reasons why I dislike ebooks, but even if I liked them for every other reason, such behavior would kill my interest dead, at least for anyone doing business on this basis.  It can be hard to tell who's playing straight and who's fraudulent, though, so a few bad experiences and the whole product line gets crossed off.  The risk isn't worth the reward.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Here's a look at book authors as product brands, and what contributes to success. 
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Here's a very thoughtful explanation of why robots will NOT get "smarter than humans" in the near future.  These are many of the same reasons I've been giving, arranged in clear and concise format.  This doesn't mean that artificial intelligence is impossible, just that we aren't as close as some people think, and there are still some major obstacles to solve.

On the other hoof, the potential for sentience follows the infrastructure.  If we start building machines with the physical  complexity akin to a human brain, then we're creating an environment that could  host a complex mind.  At that point it becomes possible, however distantly, whether we intend it or not -- just because life is mightily creative stuff.  We could wind up with an infant AI where nobody expected one.  I suspect the results would be bad, because humans still haven't figured out how to treat each other decently on a consistent basis, let alone the first of a new species with no legal protections.
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More and more online booksellers are practicing censorship.   This directly harms writers by preventing them from selling their work; it directly harms readers by preventing people from spending their money as they see fit.  

Some people say that this doesn't count as "real" censorship because it's done by corporations rather than government.  But it has exactly the same effect on your ability to write, read, sell, and buy what you choose.  Look around.  Corporations are doing a lot of destructive things that the government was forbidden to do because those cause problems, only nobody forbade corporations because nobody thought that businesses would ever have  the power to do government-type things.  Now they do, and it's a disaster.  

When a small business makes personalized decisions, it has a small impact; but when a megacorp does, it has a government-sized impact.  That makes it not okay anymore.  If you're going to function in an area where you control most or all of the market, then you have an obligation to serve ALL of that market, not cherry-pick just the customers you personally like and freeze out everyone else.

If you think this is only happening to erotica, it's not.  That's just a genre where it's relatively easy to catch people censoring content.  People who think that censorship is okay will manipulate everything according to their -- usually awful -- worldviews.  So there's probably censorship in other areas such as politics, religion, sexual health information, current events, etc.  It's a new bottleneck between creators and customers.

This is becoming a huge issue in books, videos, music, all kinds of cultural entertainment.  It's a problem with online money handlers who think that they have a right to tell you how you can spend your money.  Shopping in niche markets can be fun, but it's less efficient and effective than shopping in a few large places.  It wastes your time and causes you to miss some stuff that is available but out of easy reach.  

ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
 Here's a detailed discussion of author earnings in book publishing.  Ebooks and self-publishing make an excellent showing.
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[personal profile] magibrain has a bingo card generator for creative inspiration. You can use this to make customized cards using your favorite motifs, which you can play in [community profile] allbingo if you wish. The menu offers a whole bunch of premade prompt lists for plot, characterization, setting, etc. and there are also lists for non-writing things like music and art. (Some of these are ones that I made, which have been uploaded for everyone to enjoy.) Click the list(s) you want and the prompts appear in a box so you can edit them. You can also put in your own lists from scratch. The generator then produces a card complete with image and code.

This project now has a donate button at the bottom of the page. If you find the tool useful, please consider tipping the codewriter.

I think that the bingo card generator is a terrific addition to the "Other Project" category of crowdfunding. It's also one of several things I've seen recently that come from people writing code for fun to produce things helpful to other creative folks. This is a trend I'd like to see flourishing. Crowdfunding and crowdsourcing are already influences in the programming field. If we encourage this by promoting, using, and sponsoring the projects then we'll have a higher chance of getting more goodies.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
 Basically this is a digital costume for webcam.  It's a cool starting point, and may appeal to otherkin in particular.  One immediate drawback I noticed: the parabolic ears don't move with changing expressions.  Yes, that leaps out at me.  It's like having a human face whose mouth doesn't move.  I have probably panned more furry comics for that than every other flaw put together.
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This poem came out of the May 2013 [community profile] crowdfunding Creative Jam. It was inspired by a prompt from [personal profile] alexseanchai. It also fills the #1 Liminal slot in the [community profile] rainbowfic Moonlight list. This poem has been sponsored by Anthony & Shirley Barrette.


"Liminal Gifts"


Each new age awakens
new abilities within the human spirit --
someone must have been
the first to work fire magic,
air's original archer.
Someone learned to blend
the elements with pottery and smithcraft.

The earliest technomancers
had to invent their own medium,
creating computers and programs and cyberspace
from the spit and spark of electricity and dumb machines.

Only then could their creations begin to speak.
Only then could the technomancers begin to listen.
People called them "computer wizards"
out of blind ignorance,
but it was so.

Today, technomancy is just one more talent,
sprung up from handfuls of far-flung seeds
scattered across infant minds as children
grow up with wonders that their parents
could scarcely conceive.

They hold lightning in the palms of their hands
and whisper to it like an old friend,
familiar as any household servant,
like fire has become long since.

But never forget,
it is the liminal gifts
that light the way
into this brightening future,
the work of those who go first
and are thought mad.

* * *

Notes:

Technomancy is the junction between science and magic, using technology to work enchantments or vice versa.  Computers are really made of magic.  Technoshamanism adds a dimension of spirituality.  You can find books on technomagick.



ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)

This poem came out of the December 3, 2013 Poetry Fishbowl.  It was inspired by prompts from [livejournal.com profile] aldersprig and [livejournal.com profile] my_partner_doug.  It has been sponsored by [livejournal.com profile] janetmiles.

Read more... )

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Corporate censorship is becoming more of a problem.  (Link courtesy of my partner Doug.)  It prevents people from expressing themselves and from accessing the full range of available material.  It does no good for something to exist if people can't reach it.

There's a problem when corporations tell people what you can and can't do with your own money, and especially, when corporations are allowed to do things that the government is forbidden to do just because they aren't officially the government and nobody realized that corporations could gain  that kind of power.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
The use of "because" is evolving.  This is cool.

I am not convinced that it is behaving as a different part of speech, though.  I perceive this more as a deletion effect, omitting the preposition previously used with it: "I'm late because of the internet" --> "I'm late because internet."  It doesn't work the other way, keeping the preposition: *"I'm late of the internet."  
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Here's a thoughtful post about gender on forms. I love the idea of user-created tags. That would be both useful and inclusive.  Also it would stop mandating that a bunch of people lie all the time because their sex/gender is not a permitted option.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Make everything okay.

Looks like good sympathetic magic to me.  Probably works better for technomages.

Google

Oct. 26th, 2013 02:34 am
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
When Google Chrome first came out, I loved it.  Then they messed with it, shrinking features I used and adding stuff I didn't.  This annoyed me, but it was still the best search engine.  As Google has assimilated everything in sight, and grown more invasive of privacy, I have grown more and more disgruntled.  I am no longer a willing supporter.  I've started using other search engines when I can, although I still have to fall back on Google because it lists more things.  I've also cut way back on my use of all manner of "like this" features.  

But this is about how I feel now.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
 This app is designed to help people read online without skipping or repeating lines, useful if you have dyslexia or certain other challenges.  It uses color changes to mark the end and beginning of lines; rather clever.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
I'm noticing a pattern, and I wonder if anyone else feels the same way.  It goes like this ...

* I see a link about a movie or other product that interests me.  I click on it.

* The content has been removed, with a little note that says the copyright owner had it taken down.

* My interest in the product drops noticeably.  I am less likely to watch it or buy it later, even though I had previously liked it.  The original trailer or ad, by calling attention to its nonpresence, is actually unselling the product

I suspect that this may be more than an isolated incident.  Cyberspace culture really likes to recommend things to friends. Interfering with that process may undercut the want-buy-have cycle that companies seek to activate.  It would be interesting to design a study to test for this and see if it's a measurable effect.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Robot Turtles is a board game for young children and one older player.  It introduces the basics of computer programming. Yes, really.  It requires no reading!  Only one person needs to read the rules.  It's fun, it's different from most kiddie games, and it teaches something useful.  This project is already funded and well into its stretch goals, but you can still support it for the perks, to get a cool game for your little one(s), or just for the sake of saying "MOAR PLZ!" 

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