Wanderings

Anything you dream is fiction,
and anything you accomplish is science,
the whole history of mankind is nothing but science fiction.
- Ray Bradbury
August 31st, 2005

The Hand up at Aoife’s Kiss

My story “The Hand” is up at Aoife’s Kiss. A very weird story that I sent to Tyree just to be odd and the sucker bought it.






August 31st, 2005

AstoundingTales Fall 2005 is up

I loaded up Astounding Tales at 11:39 am. Enjoy!

Of particular interest is a page scanned from the 1930 Science Wonder Stories that has the winner of Hugo Gernsback’s 1929 story contest.






August 31st, 2005

Tech Blog URL change

I changed the URL of my New Tech Blog to www.blogseye.com. I had to do this for various reasons and I hope that I did not screw up my position in the search engines and it won’t cost me very much in lost revenue. Search engines tend to get confused by all of this and stop sending you traffic. The old URL goes back to pointing nowhere.






August 30th, 2005

Ward’s Fire

My brother Ward was topping off the tank in his John Deere tractor when he spilled some gas. He didn’t think anything of it, but when he started it up, the damn thing caught fire.

Ward singed his legs a little, and is upset that he lost the garage, the tractor, a $10,000 snowmobile and a bunch of tools. Thank God he’s not really hurt. It is only stuff, which can be replaced, but it’s a pain in the ass to have such bad luck.

He posted some pictures at a friend’s site, but the speed is so slow that you can’t see them.

I managed to get two pics before they locked up entirely. Click on the image to the large size

Front View

John Deere Tractor






August 28th, 2005

Third Year of Blogging Starts

This blog is two years old. Reading back over it, I’ve found lots of entries that I really enjoyed writing and many that were a waste of webspace. I hope to have another couple of years fun with this. I expect to retire in four or five years and I will try to sell my domains then and sit on a cliff in Maine and watch the ocean for 8 hours a day.

I chose today to start my Technical Tips for Webmasters blog. I will be updating that weekly with random stuff to make web pages better. The URL is www.altitudeunknown.com. This is one in a series of aviation URLs that I registered for Erica and she wants to do something with them someday. In the mean time, I am using it for the new blog.

Other news snippets:

I started listening to Heinlein’s Stranger in a Strange Land, yesterday. It has not been my favorite Heinlein for a while. It is the first novel where Heinlein starts to get real weird about sex. Still, in the beginning it uses the basic techno-thriller plot-line, and I am having a good time listening to it. I finally bought it because Amazon has cut the prices on their cassetes, including books on tape. I guess most cars have CDs now. Erica’s new Jeep has CD only and she can’t listen to any of the cassettes that she likes. My next car will have to have a cassette player – I have too much invested in books on tape.

I finished listening to Isaac Asimov’s Murder at the ABA on tape. Asimov has written a perfectly executed mystery novel. Perfect, just not very good. I will sell it on eBay unless a reader wants to borrow it.

www.rockfind has made $1.89 in 12 days. This is about 15 cents a day. These things rise exponentially over time, though. Another site, www.harplinks.com, got four clicks that paid $2 each. I need more clicks like that. I wish I knew what the keywords were.

I added a forum to harpamps.com. The chat room thing was a total waste of energy. I hope the forum works out. I will be seeding it today with questions and answers to get the ball rolling. Forums seem to get much of my traffic at other sites. Harpamps gets the most traffic of all my sites and I hope the forum will double it as well as double my income off the site.

Marjorie Brown, a high school clasmate of mine, is somewhere in New Orleans and I hope she is safe from hurricanes.






August 26th, 2005

The Official Website of Horror Writer/Artist Joseph Miles

This is here because if you google Joseph Miles you get the website of a prison inmate who is looking for sex when he gets out. The #1 spot was formerly held by Joe Miles, a horror writer.

I thought that I’d put a link to my fellow writer to help his google ratings. It is going to be hard catching up here. After all, everyone is interested in horny prison inmates and no one is really interested in horror writers, except other horror writers.

Please blog Joe’s link and think of it as a blow in the battle of Speculative Fiction vrs. the real world.

The Official Website of Horror Writer/Artist Joseph Miles






August 24th, 2005

Two Years of Blogging

On August 28, 2003 I created my first blog entry. I actually created several blogs, but I consolidated them into just this one over a year ago.

The first post is about the Tech Valley Fair, but the link is gone. It was an announcement for a technology fair up around Albany, NY and looked to be very interesting. I can’t find any information about it, but Union College held a Tech Valley Engineering Symposium last May.

Looking back, I have been very good about blogging something more or less interesting every week. Usually, I create two or three entries a week. My main interests are Computer Programming, Web development, Science Fiction Writing, and Blues music. I have also documented my walks around Rockland Lake and I weigh in at 25 pounds less than I did two years ago.

To mark the beginning of my third year of blogging, I will launch a new tech blog. I hope to make 52 (at least) entries – one a week. In each blog entry I will discuss some ideas that I have picked up by creating my own websites. I will discuss free tools that are easily added to web pages. I will try and discuss coding techniques and tips and tricks. I also want to talk a little about style. The blog will sometimes have coding examples in JavaScript, PHP, or Java with some HTML and CSS and XML thrown in. I am not a guru. I am a hacker and I like simple useful code. I hope that everything I do will be conducive to cut and paste, and will be immediately useful.

I am interested in marketing and affiliate programs as well as search engine optimizing. I hope to have 500 or so words each week and I will try to cover several different topics in each entry. I have sketched out a only dozen or so things that I can discuss, but I think I can keep it up for a year.

I have already started the new blog, but I am still tweaking the look and rewriting the home page. I will announce it on August 28, 2005.






August 22nd, 2005

Name-A-Galaxy

I did a quick once over to NameAGalaxy.com. I added google ads and I added the ability to alter a galaxy dedication after it has been created. A few people requested the ability to edit a galaxy. The old way, I used a flat file to store the data and it was not working well. I now use a database and I can edit stuff. I did not include a password in the database, so there is no security. Email address and galaxy id has to be enough.
I will watch this page for a while. It has been growing steadily. Unfortunately, the java website where it lives is not very stable. It crashes every few days.
I will try to get it boinboinged or slashdotted around thanksgiving. Hopefully this will make me a few dollars.
If you are interested, I have made sbout a dollar in 4 days on the rock and roll lyrics page between the amazon links and other ads. I hope this manages to grow.






August 22nd, 2005

The POD Business

Print-On-Demand (POD) is a way of publishing books that have limited appeal. Book publishers have to count on selling thousands of books to justify a print run so many authors are never published. POD is not quite a vanity press, but it is far from being published the old fashioned way.

The theory behind POD is that there are books that have the potential to sell hundreds of copies that are perfectly good books, but are too limited in audience for a regular publisher to invest in them. Speculative Fiction, especially, seems to be flooded with good books that no one is willing to buy. It makes sense to publish a collection of short stories using POD and hope that word of mouth and simple marketing will sell a few copies of the book.

Arthur Sanchez has put together a few anthologies this way and has had a limited success. Most copies are purchased by the author’s family and friends. Arthur is exceptional in that he gives the author’s their own copy as an advance against royalites. Most anthologies give out a PDF version of the book, which costs the publisher nothing.

The reason that I bring this up is that I am in a couple of anthologies that Arthur did not put together. I have yet to receive the first cent on these. The reason for this is that POD seems to be mostly a failure.

I received a sales report from one of these POD publishers that uses LULU to publish their POD anthologies and this is the bottom line:

Out of 8 anthologies that had sales, the average payout for a story was $1.97. As best that I can estimate, they sold 31 copies – a little less than 4 copies of each title.

It is either a massive failue of the publisher to market the books, or it is intrinsic to the POD system that speculative fiction anthologies just do not sell. I don’t think much was done to advertise the books, but in the April-June 2005, there was practically zero interest in the books, even from the authors.

I will not be participating in POD anotholgies in the future, unless Arthur is backing the venture.

Just as a note, the #1 book on LULU is about a breed of dogs. The top sellers are all how-to, computer manuals or textbooks for college courses. The first fiction book is down at #20.

I want to try POD publishing, but I will start with a how-to book, possibly how to publish a POD book.






August 17th, 2005

Rock and Roll Lyric site

I found a cache of 45,000 song lyrics. I combined that with an domain name that I wasn’t using and I wrote a program that created 45,000 web pages. I am now copying them to my new site Rock and Roll Lyrics at RockFind.com.

The concept here is Shelf Space. A new web page will get a few random hits, depending on the subject matter. Since I am creating 45,000 pages I should get many thousands of hits a day. The internet is so huge that I will ge getting spillover that might result in ad clicks. I have internet shelf space of 45,000 pages. It has to be good for something, even if nobody wants the product.

I am guessing that the click-through-rate will be less than 1% and that the earnings per thousand hits will be low – perhaps $1. But 45,000 pages might get random traffic of 20,000 hits a day. That’s about $20 a day. Impossible you say? After a year or so, as the links to the pages mature, I will be getting that much and more, I am sure.

I have search engine ads on one side and affiliate ads on the other side. The affiliate ads have not paid well in years, and the ads are fighting each other. I may try a different type of add for these pages.

The web pages are only about 32 megabytes, but FTP takes a long time to open and close files so I have been transferring songs for 2 days and I am only on the S’s.






August 14th, 2005

Rucker Birthday Party


I stopped by the Rucker’s House. Bob Rucker is an old friend and it was his father’s birthday.

Here are some Rucker Birthday Party Pictures.

I also put the album up at snapfish.com, which requires a registration. The advantage is that you can order prints of the pictures.

SnapFish Album.

I have a credit for 20 free prints at snapfish. If you want some pictures, just let me know and I’ll order them for you.






August 12th, 2005

Hoax, Richard Gere

Here are the pictures Richard Gere and the set of Hoax that I took with the disposable camera. The camera’s lense was off kilter so that it did not take pictures of what I was aiming at. The process produced grainy pictures and I am guessing that the software does a histogram equalization that winds up causing pixelation of darker parts of the picture. I had to throw out almost all of the interior shots.
I did not include the pictures of my coworkers that I took, but I will use these for blackmail.

You can read about “Hoax” here.

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August 11th, 2005

Richard Gere filming at my office

They are making a movie in the WestchesterGov office building. I forgot my digital camera so I bought a disposable camera at a bodega. Richard Gere is the star and they are shooting a scene at the front entrance. They will do another right outside the door to my office. I’ll have pictures here in a day or so.






August 11th, 2005

Blogging vrs. Politics

Over at the Making Light blog, there is some discussion about right wing bloggers trying to hijack a news story by blogging that it is a hoax. These are anti-blogs. Unfortunately, the story of James Tobin effort to block Democratic phone lines in New Hampshire is not a hoax. The republicans hired a firm to make hang up phone calls to the Democratic campaign headquarters, and Tobin has been indicted and the Republican party is paying for his defense.
I am doing my bit by anti-anti-blogging the story.
Google search results are often interpreted as truth. Technorati is tool for searching for net reality. This anti and anti-anti and anti-anti-anti stuff will throw a haze over what really happened. I am not sure now if my blog entry is part of the solution or part of the problem.