Still a week and change left in this month, but that’s okay. This is the big block we have to hack to rubble, one hefty swing at a time. The year starts with the toughest challenge around here - not the lies of March or the fickle giggles of April, but this. One solid month of ice. For most of January it’s been warm, but this morning I looked at the temps from the external sensors (okay, the remote station that feeds the temp to the device on the wall, but it sounds cooler to say “external sensors”) and told daughter to wear a hat this morning.

“I have my hood,” I said.

“Look at the temperature.”


It was eight. Below. If the dog puts his nose against the metal gazebo, it stays there. Or would it? I’ve never seen a dog stuck to a pole. Given their love of interrogating the scents on streetlights and fire hydrants, and the moist nature of their noses, it would seem you’d see stuck dogs all the time in winter. If a dog did get stuck, he’d try to retreat, then experience pain, and stop. Repeat. Then look up at owner. Can you do something? I’ll bet that’s exactly how it works. Dogs can’t figure something out, they look at you. That’s quite remarkable, no? Doesn’t it mean they are recognizing a level of ability greater than their own? Sure, it’s borrowed from the whole Door Thing, which you can do and they can’t, but there’s still a leap from one situation to the other.



More to come. Any ideas?


I’ve been playing with Apple’s iBooks Author program, and it’s pretty sweet. It has a condition that will drive some people mad: you can’t use the output with anything but the Apple store. IT CONTROLS YOUR CONTENT.

Okay; don’t use it.

Problem solved. Right? So I’ll have to make two, perhaps three versions of the books - one for the iBooks store, one for Amazon, and a plain-vanilla pdf I can sell myself. Think of it: you have a Square card reader for your phone. You’re talking to someone, and thy say they’d like to read your books. So you say “I can sell you one right now,” and they whip out their card, you swipe it, and email the book right there from your phone. The future! The reality: it’s incredibly uncomfortable because the other person was just being polite, and you had to force the issue. On the other hand, you made a sale.

Think about this. Old world: you wrote the book on a typewriter that required backspacing and daubing the paper with paint to make a correction. You edited that manuscript, typed it up again, sent it to a company in New York. Maybe they read it. Maybe they didn’t. If they did, maybe they bought it; most likely, they didn’t. If they bought it, then it would be published, eventually, and maybe someone would review it; most likely, they wouldn’t. Publicity? No. Publicity is reserved for authors who have already sold lots of books. Then it comes out, and sits in stores, until it goes away, and then it’s gone forever.

But now, to quote Outer Limits, we control the horizontal; we control the vertical. I can carry around my entire back catalog on a small slab in my pocket and sell it and beam it. This brings up problems, as this thread on Ricochet revealed; there are people who think they have the right to distribute your work to whomever they like, because they bought it, and information should be free. Or at least the cost should be determined by the natural forces of the universe, unencumbered by copyright law. I have no patience with these people. As one of them said: I sold him the work, so why shouldn’t he be able to put it up on a website for others to read? It’s like having a book on a coffee table, and if someone comes in the front door and sits down and reads it, that’s not theft.

Yes, that’s a perfect metaphor. In the real world, people put a book on the table, leave the door open, and think it’s perfectly ordinary when a stranger comes in and sits down to read the book. The person who made this analogy said there was no difference between lending the book to a friend and letting millions read it on his site online, because HE BOUGHT IT. So he would also be happy with a line of people nine miles long, waiting to come in his house, and read the book? No, they can read it all at once. So the house is filled with people all looking at the same book. Don’t turn the page! I’m not done yet! Yes, that’s an intellectually air-tight defense.

As I said: you own the book, but not the contents, the story, the sequences of words, the plot, the characters. You own the container. Saying you own the distribution rights because you own a copy is like saying “I bought a DVD of Star Wars, and therefore I own the Millennium Falcon.”

Reformatted and rewritten with new content, a treat from last year’s BleatPlus: Wisconsin Dells travel brochures, now in the ever-growing Miscellany section.. HERE! Enjoy, and I'll see you Monday.

(I just have to say: this was one of my favorite Bleat designs ever. This is why I dumped WordPress.)




blog comments powered by Disqus