* Posts by Peladon

135 publicly visible posts • joined 13 Jan 2010


The secure mail dilemma: If it's useable, it's probably insecure


Re: Secure messages

And, of course, the Security Services never were in the business of clandestinely intercepting, opening, reading/ copying, re-sealing and sending on the type of instrument you describe. And your 'trusted third party' would never cooperate in such activities (even at the direction of the State). Ever. Like, never-ever.




The Idiot

Banknote campaigner's Twitter rape threats ordeal: Bloke, 21, cuffed


Re: All my banknotes...

If I may - I'll disagree :-).

Some, I believe, may consider the Eiffel Tower, the Parthenon, the Great Wall of China 'places of note'. And they were indeed 'attainments', if you will.

but, again if I may, I'll suggest Mount Everest is a thing of note - even though it is an accident of geography. That the Grand Canyon might also be considered in a similar light.

Is Queen Elizabeth II not 'of note' because her position (as opposed to anything anyone may or indeed may not think she has done through that position) is one of birth? I would suggest she is in fact 'of note'. In fact I'm fairly sure most places she turns up she's noticed. Or that 'note' is taken of her and her presence :-).

Of course, I'm probably wrong. After all, I'm...

The Idiot

Ex-prez Carter: 'America has no functioning democracy' with PRISM


Re: Dubya : "it's going to take awhile for the objective historians to show up"

Very few things happen at the right time, and the rest do not happen at all: the conscientious historian will correct these defects.

—Herodotus, The History of Herodotus

Isn't it amazing the way the future succeeds in creating an appropriate past?

—John Leonard

History. Just a big damn pot, and sometimes it needs stirring. Me? I'm a spoon.

—Jack Shadow

Microsoft waves goodbye to Small Business Server


Microsoft and Small Business Server. Adobe and - well, just about everything Adobe-ish. 'Come to the Cloud'! Don't give us a pint of blood today - you can have Our Wonderful Product for the low, low price of, um, half a pint (Terms and Conditions apply, and yes, we do mean half a pint a (insert time period here) for the rest of your natural). It's a bargain!

And that's before we get to things like Compliance, Privacy, Confidentiality (no - they're not the same thing :-P), sudden service closures due to market pressures - the list goes on.

Or it could. But I'll be good. _I_ won't, at least (blush).


The Yawhg vs XCOM: Enemy Unknown. How small devs can win against the big boys


Re: Indie is the only way

Without in any way wishing to derail the thread - or hijack it - a lot of this post (and it's one I agree with :-) ) can be applied to the Indie publishing (and to a degree self-publishing) industry. I'd go so far as to say it could apply to just about any activity involving Indie-type producers and marketers - film, music, and (yes :-P) books too.

In essence, the Indie companies have both less to lose (in terms of established market presence and revenue), more to lose (in terms of personal investment and passion), and more to gain (because they have little save the fluff and lint in their pockets, and a bank loan or a KickStarter fund). But that same passion gives them either an ability to take more risk, or the ability to believe in themselves sufficiently to not think of it as risk. And I'm really not sure which of those two approaches I admire more :-).

If the road to hell is paved with good intentions, then the road to mediocrity can be paved with safe repetition and good corporate fiscal care of shareholder risk (none of which is necessarily in itself a Bad Thing(tm)).

But that road is a lot less likely to take you to somewhere no-one has ever been before - good or bad :-).

Penguin chief: Apple's ebook plan 'dramatically changed' market


Re: At or below cost


And again, you're right. Because (to use my own case as an example of a possible more general pattern), I and my Publishers do pretty much all those things. And, as far as can be assessed, we get sales from all those things :-). Do I give copies away? Absolutely. Not too many - and 'too many' is as much about what the Publishers (to whom the books are, after all, under contract :-) ) think as about what I think. It's harder to hand out copies of e-books on trains and buses - but business cards with links printed on them work as well :-). And I recently was able to get agreement from both my Publishers to be able to host free, downloadable copies of my books on my own site - or rather, free almost-copies of my books. They're the real e-books, with the real covers - just only the first five or so chapters inside. And a link to where the full-fat version can be bought :-).

But the thing with a web site?

The thing with a web site, or at least one of them, i think, is that people hit a cover image first - before they get to words :-). And I know I have sales in no small degree just from those covers.

So yes - I'd say you're right. All the things you suggest can work, do work - and are used. But covers work too - so I'll still stand by my contention that the cost of a good cover isn't only relevant to paper books :-).

And, if I may, I'll continue to express my appreciation for and acceptance of your alternative view - and my thanks for it being here :-).


Re: At or below cost


And my thanks for the reply :-). And your point is, of course, not just valid but incredibly strong. Because (as all sorts of people in the Industry will tell anyone who asks :-P), 'word of mouth', recommendations from friends, and author familiarity are the strongest buy triggers there are.

But, if I may, I'll suggest even they have to start somewhere :-).

The first friend - the one who told the second friend, who told the third, who maybe told you? Why did _they_ pick up the book (heh - physically or otherwise :-) ).

The first time you read Author X? If it wasn't a recommendation - why was it? What was the trigger?

It _might_ have been the cover :-).

If I could get a hundred, a thousand people telling their friends to go read my release of, um, mumblety-mumble - I'd take it in a heart-beat :-). But if I can;t wave a magic wand and get that? If I can;t get a Tweet from Mr, Mrs or Ms Rich and Famous telling everyone to 'go buy this great book'? Well :-). I for sure won't be turning down the services of a great Cover Artist, to get a great first-impression image on Amazon.



Re: Reading between the lines



Yes, it's right that you need their skills in marketing and design so they should be selling that service to the author.


And 'vanity presses' have always done this. And the difference between a 'vanity press' and a 'Publishing as a service' type provider can be hard to identify.

Whether gatekeepers have value depends, by and large, on the public perception of the merit and honour of the gatekeeper. You can still find articles, and still find views being expressed, that 'self publishing is just like vanity publishing'. That 'self published books are generally <insert derogatory term of choice here>'. And while that view may or may not be true of the majority of self published work, and while that view might or might not transfer to work published through 'publishing as a service' providers is down to readers. But there is also a view that readers 'value' the result of gatekeeping - that a book released through a major gatekeeper has somehow more probability (in the reader's eyes) of being worth their buying power.

It's not that the publisher is the customer. But a good one knows the market as much as providing service - and by demonstrating effective risk management shows the value of acquiring the keys to their gate to an author.

Or maybe not. After all - I'm an Idiot :-).


Re: At or below cost



I'd submit, for your consideration, that paying a cover artist is purely a cost associated with the physical medium since ebooks don't have covers.


If I may, I'll differ. Er, lots :-).

Do e-books have a physical piece of card,, or more rigid sheet, with or without an image, intended to both protect the inner pages and, potentially, attract readers? Well, no. Right up to the 'potentially attract readers' thing :-).

If electronic files can be said to have pages, then e-books have pages. And they most certainly have image pages, often posted on vendor sites to attract potential readers, that can, I would suggest, be considered 'covers'. And even if they don't, and even if the Cover Artists who do my, um, not-really-covers-because-they're-not-physical aren't really 'Cover Artists' - I'm damn sure I'd not want to be without them :-).


Re: Reading between the lines

@Eponymous Cowherd


If authors want more of the pie they should look for less greedy publishers or do it themselves (easy with eBooks)


Heh. I'm not sure I'd agree with the 'easy' word. Though there's a big gap between 'easy to do' and 'easy to do well' (blush).

And I'm not even talking about the joys of editing, of cover art, of marketing - even just creating effective e-book files isn't something I'd call 'easy'. But yes - it can be learned. And yes - if authors want to go that route, they're going to have to learn it.

Or, like all the other bits I said I wouldn't mention - pay for the skills of someone who already did :-). Which is why even today, working with a good Indie Publisher can save a lot of learning pain :-)).

Oh - and no. I'm not, nor am I employed by, an Indie Publisher. But I surely appreciate what the ones who publish my own work bring to the table :-))).


Re: Reading between the lines

@Eponymous Cowherd:


eBook have less intrinsic value than paper books (can't sell them, loan them,)


Yes, I agree.

Oh - and no. I, um, don't (blush).

To clarify - it depends where you get the e-book. I could go even further and say - it depends where you _buy_ the e-book.

Even if we stick to the idea of not being (by some standards) Bad People(tm) and ripping off DRM, there are sources of legal supply that not only don't impose DRM in the first place, but don;t ask you to treat your purchase in any way differently than a purchase of a paper book. Indie publishers, larger publishers such as TOR - all they ask is that you treat it _just_like_a_paper_book - and don;t go making umpty-billion copies. While recognising they can;t actually stop you if that's what you choose to do.

So do e-books have less intrinsic value than paper books? I'll leave that to the reader - and where that reader finds their value. Heck, it might even be in the, um, story! :-)

Copyright minister admits: Google has better access to No. 10 than me


Re: You know that thing...


Oh, yes. I 'know that thing'. It's called 'being married'... (runs and hides in case, um, 'someone' is reading this :-P).

Government admits seizing two months of AP phone records


Re: @Peladon --"nobody died as a result of Nixon's"


With respect sir, the comment about deaths was in direct context of the comparison between Watergate and Benghazi. Not in respect of every action he ever took. However, if you choose to make that comparison, I suspect a case could be made that every US President in history has taken actions of some kind that resulted in the deaths of Americans, or that some Americans would, in both hindsight and their own views, consider treasonous.

The value of such a global conclusion is, to me at least, a little debatable. Of course - I'm an Idiot :-).


Re: @Peladon

@Tom 13 - And I don't necessarily disagree.

But for me, there is still the question of 'who decides if and when actions of this type should be taken - and why?'

If we accept that the government has that sole authority - @curly4 'They have the authority', and can utilise that authority prior to any press activity and in order to impede or punish such activity, there is nothing to say Richard Milhous couldn't have done the same, with the same authority. And Watergate could, under and utilising that authority, have been made to remain an obscure break in by persons unknown for reasons of little importance.

If we accept that a 'security breach' (your own comment) justifies actions of this type, then Felt committed such a breach. If we therefore accept that the press should have in some way refused to carry out the investigation and subsequent publicationh because such a breach was involved - we have the same result as in my previous paragraph.

The AP's records were apparently seized _after_ AP had cooperated with authorities ('At the request of the government, AP held off on publishing the story initially, after being warned it was a national security issue'). Apparently the AP only published when it appeared the only impediment was the government wanting to speak first ('but then declined to wait until the Obama administration had made an official statement on the matter').

Based on the presented data, I do not see anyone dying as a result of the AP's actions. I do not see the AP breaching any request based on national security. I do still see the records being seixzed - but tha'ts probably fine. After all, nobody would ever misuse them, would they?

Of course, I'm an Idiot....


Re: Anyone Else

Absolutely. And, of course, the guv'mint (any guv'mint - of any stripe or colour) must be permitted every available option to maintain the public view of their integrity, and to block the abominable and pernicious activity of the press.

Even now I can feel my desk being rapped by a certain Mr Nixon, applauding your support of his views of Messrs Woodward and Bernstein.

(Yes - I know. It's from Wikipedia. I'd apologise, but I probably woudn't mean it... :-P):


"Relying heavily upon anonymous sources, Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein uncovered information...

In one of their last meetings... Felt cautioned Woodward... not to trust their phone conversations to be secure...."

The UK's copyright landgrab: The FAQ


Re: International treaty vs national law


Ah, yes. The Berne convention. What will happen next? Maybe what happened already. And by already, I mean you might find US title 17 interesting. Or rather, Appendix K to US Title 17. Or rather, Section 2 of Appendix K of US Title 17. Or rather...

Oh, bugger it (sorry - my inner dwarf (blush)). In essence, the US decided that, sure. They'd signed Berne. But, like, they were only _kidding_. Because under Title 17, Beren is declared 'not self-enabling under the laws and constitution of the United States'. Which roughly translates as 'if you have a copyright under Berne, but not a copyright from the US, yah, boo, sucks'. OK - not totally. The US recognises the _copyright_ - just not any right of that copyright holder to pursue statutory damages or attorney fees in any action. Which pretty much means that trying to pursue any case will probably bankrupt you.

So being a signatory to Berne means - well, as much or as little as the signatory wants it to, it appears.

From US Title 17, Appendix K:

Sec. 2 · Declarations.

The Congress makes the following declarations:

(1) The Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works, signed at Berne, Switzerland, on September 9, 1886, and all acts, protocols, and revisions thereto (hereafter in this Act referred to as the “Berne Convention”) are not self-executing under the Constitution and laws of the United States.

(2) The obligations of the United States under the Berne Convention may be performed only pursuant to appropriate domestic law.

(3) The amendments made by this Act, together with the law as it exists on the date of the enactment of this Act, satisfy the obligations of the United States in adhering to the Berne Convention and no further rights or interests shall be recognized or created for that purpose.

Nearly a quarter of all books sold in US in 2012 were ebooks


Re: eBooks still have to make much progress before I prefer them

Without wanting to start sounding like a broken record... (blush):

Yes. If you buy an e-book from, say, Amazon you buy a licence to read that book. But if you bought, for example only, one of my books direct from one of my e-publishers, that's not what you get. What you get is a file. Or, in the case of the publisher I'm thinking of, a number of files. You get, for the one title, at the one _low_ small-publisher price:

A (title).prc file - in case you have a Kindle

A (title).epub file - in case you have some other e-reader

A (title).pdf file - in case you like PDFs

A (title).html file - so you can read it in a browser

And you get all of those files - as files - to keep, to give away - to do what you like with. No DRM, no access control - just the files.

Can this be abused? Can the files be copied, given away and kept at the same time, shared on streaming sites? Sure they can. Do I, or indeed my publishers want you to do those Bad Things(tm)? Nope. Not at all. But hell. We can't actually stop you anyway. Not if you want to badly enough. But we (my publishers and I) would quite like you to read them though. Well, my publishers want you to read all the other books they do by all the other writers as well. And, perhaps surprisingly, so do I :-).

So I have to question your assertion that 'e-books' only allow (1) and (2). To be honest - some do. Some don't. The choice, as they say on all the game-shows - is yours :-)).

The gaming habits of Reg readers revealed


Re: No suprises in any of that.

With respect, and without in any way contesting the percentage offered, there's likely to be a difference between PC gaming (single player, local, standalone) and PC gaming (multi-player, online).

As a rule, it's harder (not impossible - not that I'd know of course) to use a 'cracked copy' to play MMOs.

Account stealing, whether through password hacking or otherwise, is different. And likely has a different percentage.

Yes. I'm probably being picky (blush).

Is UK web speech regulated? No.10: Er. We’ll get back to you


With respect...

The US legal system has already, and on more than one occasion, demonstrated the degree to which the national designation (or otherwise) of a domain name can be set aside. They have given any legal authority with the inclination to take such steps a number of lessons in seizing domain names and servers.

You may, or may not, choose to believe non-US governments would choose, or be able, to follow similar paths. But if I may, I'll wonder if it might not turn out to be quite as simple as you suggest.

Of course, I'm probably wrong. After all, I'm an Idiot :-).

National Security Letters ruled unconstitutional


Re: Actually, No

While I do not in any way question your authority for your making such a statement, please cite your basis.

The judge in question may, or may not, after something called 'judicial process' (you may have heard of it) be over-ruled. However, said judge was appointed to her position based on, or at least probably based on in part, a combination of academic study, judicial experience and respect from her peers.

The authority behind your absolute statement that she is at fault is based... um... on.... er....?

If the statement was not, in fact, intended to be authoritative, the addition of 'I believe' at the beginning might be worth considering.

Er - or so I believe :-).

Attention, CIOs: Stop outsourcing or YOU will never retire


Is it the sand...

... or the desert?

There is, or may appear to be, a current trend among governments to extend 'working life'. To push back ages at which pensions can be taken, at which workers can retire.

Whether in IT or anything else, the job Person A is doing is not available to Person B, who sits under them on the employment ladder, or Person C who isn't yet employed. So if Person A has to work longer - because it is, apparently 'for their own good', then soemwhere there's a Person C who can't get a job. A young, just starting out Person C.

However attractive an industry may or may not be, the longer sad old gits like me are required to work, encouraged to work or simply can't afford _not_ working - the more Person Cs there are. Person Cs _not_ getting the qualifications or more importantly the experience and battle scars to _become_ sad old gits themselves.

Enhancing an industry's attractiveness is one thing. Having opportunities, and avoiding discouraging the creation of opportunities, to grow sad old gits is not likely to be conducive to having an extensive, skilled and sustainable 'new crop'.

Or at least - that's my view. But then I'm an Idiot :-). Or :-( - take your pick.

How UK gov's 'growth' measures are ALREADY killing the web


Lord Chris

May I suggest that, if said photographer is currently in business, there are clients who (for whatever reason) are in fact prepared to pay for his services, or the results of his activity?

While the techniques and technology you cite may in fact suit your specific needs, those clients, for reasons they find sufficient, do not choose to use them. They (currently) pay whatever his rates may be (and whether or not others not in fact clients think those rates appropriate) for the results of his work.

If those results (of his work) cease to be available, might it be possible the needs of those clients (not necessarily your needs or mine) will no longer be met? Alternatively, the perceived need may still be present, and the results of his work 'available'. But 'available' from 'suppliers' who did not carry out the work. 'Suppliers' who obtained his product under this legislation. And may offer those results at a price reflecting the amount of cost and effort they have in fact put in.

That is - bugger all, or a close approximation (sorry - my inner dwarf (blush)).

If in the absence of this legislation, he goes bust anyway, that's one thing. If he doesn't currently go bust, but in the presence of this legislation does so - might that be another thing entirely?


Alas, poor Yockabump...

Sigh. I can see it. I'm going to get banned if I'm not bl**dy careful (blush) :-P.

See that there hobby horse? Well, it's not really a hobby horse. It might be a sort of horse, because it's starting to feel sort-of dead. Even though I'm still flogging it. So maybe it's not a horse. Maybe it's a parrot.


Phew. There. got that off my chest. And, before anyone suggests it is, that isn't in any way intended to minimise or ignore the justified and, in my view at least, reasonable concerns of photographers.

But the Bill talks about 'copyright', 'copyright items' and 'orphan works'.

Yes, I'm going to mention the written word again. I'm sorry. Please forgive me. Or if you're not going to forgive me, try not to leave too many bruises. But I am. Going to mention it, I mean.

If people can, legally or otherwise, strip metadata from an image file, they can strip a copyright statement from a text presentation. Assuming it was there in the first place. Writers gain copyright in created work by the act of creation, whether they register that copyright or not. But even if they register it, some legislations don't require a copy of the created work to be filed. So let's imagine I write (possible humour and parody alert - I'm not claiming anything in respect of the following), say, 'Flea Fever':



I must go down to The Flea again

To the homely 'Flea and Fly'

And all I ask is a cold glass

With another by and by

And a long night

With an old friend

And a barmaid winking

And a warm glow

On the road home

And my own bed waiting


OK. So I'm not claiming it's very good :-P. And I apologise to the magnificent Mr Masefield. Genuinely. But...

Well, but. Imagine it really was mine. Yay me! I have copyright! But then imagine someone comes across this page. And they see SEA^H^H^H FLEA FEVER. And they think - hey! That might fit in my next mega-amazing anthology 'Words wot I writ!'

But it's words. No metadata. No copyright statement. No central registry where the work itself is stored, along with registrant data. not even one where it could be legally and verifiably stored at exorbitant registration costs. And evenif I register copyright, here in Canada (OK - I give in. I'm a writer. In Canada (blush)), copyright registration doesn't require a copy of the work to be sumbitted. So my registration of the poem SEA^H^H^H FLEA FEVER could be the title of anything at all. So they do the orphan search thing (mostly consisting of asking their mum if she knows who wrote it). And then...

Oh, the heck with it.


And yes. Photographs, and photographers are important. Very important. But the same dead parrot could, and maybe should, be beaten about other types of copyright 'thing'. Sometimes. Maybe. While still beating the parrot about images, other things could be mentioned as well. Maybe. Possibly.

Pretty please?

Trekkies detect Spock's Vulcan homeworld ORBITING PLUTO


Re: Vulcan

Sorry. Not boat. Ferry. Or as Charlie put it -

"It wasn't a bloody boat, you daft bugger. It was a bloody _ferry_! What do they teach kids these days? When I was a... well, whatever I was when I wasn't as old as I am now, well. And don't ask me about the idiot in the lion skin. Just.. just don't!"


Re: Vulcan

I had a quick word with Charlie, and this is what he told me:

"Vulcan? That's the bloody Romans, that is. Thievin' b*st*rds, they are. Stole Heffy lock, stock and burnin' forge. Even shifted him from Lemnos to bloody Etna. Etna! You should have heard him. Went on about it for bloody centuries, he did. Said you couldn't get decent multi-phasic pseudo particle reflux there to save your bloody life. No wonder he moved to Mount Ranier. And that whole chair thing? Well, it was all a misunderstanding. Hera was stompin' all over the shop, yellin' for someone to rope Heffy in to make her a new throne. Heffy just got a bit confused, was all."

Of course, you have to forgive Charlie. He's still trying to get over the time Leonardo Da Vinci tried to redesign his boat...

Black hat greed reducing software vulnerability report rate


Re: And perhaps...

No apology required, sir (or ma'am, as the anonymous case may be :-) ).

In any such circumstance, my general tendency is to assume I wrote something bloody^H^H^H^H^H^Y, er, ratted stupid :-). That's 'spending time with Editors', that is. After that, it sort of comes naturally (blush).


Re: And perhaps...


Heh. With respect (and genuine and sincere respect) - er, no.

I'm not saying that at all.

I'm suggesting that _maybe_ some companies out there are saying that. Or suggesting it. Or lobbying for new laws to make it so. And I'm _suggesting_ that those companies, if they're doing such things, should hardly be surprised if:

1: People report less security issues less often

2: Some people, being people, start accepting less, um, 'orthodox' offers of reward for information about the issues they may have found.

And I'm also suggesting, and only suggesting mind, since I don't want my own hinder parts subjected to the less than tender mercies of lawyers and judges, that it's those companies own bloody fault if one or both of the above take place in the future or are taking place now.

And I apologise for my lack of clarity if the above was not suitably expressed in my initial posting.


And perhaps...

... some of the trials and tribulations undergone by security researchers reporting or trying to report issues, and associated changes and proposed changes in law and regulation, might also have contributed to a reduction in reports.

Some companies appear to want to generate an environment where a security researcher can be penalised or prosecuted for even looking for vulnerabilities. Some companies also appear to want an environment where any attempt to publicise (whether to a wide or restrictied audience not limited solely to a specific company) can similarly lead to bad press and the joys of the court, and where any effort by such researchers to claim reward for their effort and findings is somehow translated into being a form of extortion. Perhaps a reduction in the number of reports may be, in part, attributed to the creation of such an environment.

And if the only reward available is one found on the dark side of the street - it may not be surprising if some people are tempted to take their first steps down those streets.

Or not. I'm probably talking total nonsense. After all, I'm an Idiot :-).

This week I have reading...


Well, I'm...

… probably prejudiced (blush). I tend to spend rather too much time re-reading (Editors sort of insist :-P), or looking at what I just wrote and wondering if I need therapy (the jury’s still out :-P ).

However, recently I have in fact been readin. Reading words wot I didn't actually write. Here are three of them. Well, not three words :-):

DOWN HOME – Gail Roughton


CHILDREN OF HAMELIN – Theresa Sinclair


BEAST OF BURDEN – Angela Robbins


Declaration of Interest: I know Ms Roughton and Ms Robbins, though I’ve never met either. Anti-Declaration: I bought and paid for copies of all three of the above without talking to any of the authors, and of my own choice and free will :-).

Without going into full review mode, DOWN HOME isn’t my usual Sci-Fi/ Fantasy side of the street. It’s a combination of Deep South flavour and mystery/ thriller type fare. But while (with apologies to Charlie Daniels) I don’t drive a pickup truck, I’m more than partial to a little fried chicken on occasion. Down Home provided it, if only metaphorically :-). I started reading it while fixing my rather sick PC, and realised a few hours later the damn machine still wasn’t fixed – but that I’d just read a pretty good book, so it wasn’t all bad :-).

CHILDREN OF HAMELIN is a little different. Actually, it's a lot different, or I found it so at least. I told someone recently I like writers who surprise me, and Ms Sinclair certainly managed that. Yes, it’s a re-telling of the Pied Piper story, but from a totally different perspective and with a remarkably strong Voice. And I was fine thinking that as I read it. Then the Lady Theresa did it to me. Having told me a tale I’d rather enjoyed, from an engaging point of view I hadn’t seen before, she switched my head-space over. She told it to me again – but from a totally different view. Books in first person aren’t uncommon. Books in two first-persons, showing the same events from the perspectives of two very different personalities, rather less so. For me, it worked. A lot :-).

And BEAST OF BURDEN. I don’t read a lot of YA (Young Adult) – but this one I read. It’s Ms Robbins first book, and it mixes Egyptian and Norse myth backgrounds. It’s YA, so there has to be a cute girl and guy who’s either cute or the one you hated not being when you were at school (depending on your gender and preferences). And yes, theyhave classic boy-girl conflicts. Heck, they fight like cat and dog. Which isn’t really that surprising, since one’s a werewolf (but there’s no Twilight here – and no vampires), and she’s a cougar, even if she’s a bit young for the role :-).

Heh. It’s OK. I’ll shut up now… and go read something else :-).

Higgs data shows alternate reality will SWALLOW UNIVERSE


Re: Alternative

Well, I'veonly got my Pocket Fowler (Oxford Fowler's Modern English Usage) here with me at work, but:


alternate, alternative

1 Both words are adjectives and nouns and come from Latin alternus meaning 'every second' and have had closely related meanings over several centuries of use.

Fowler does say that these days alternate as a noun is much less common, though more common in American English, though alternate as a noun meaning a variant was in use in the 18c.

Garner (Garner's Modern American Usage) is also OK with 'alternate' as both noun and adjective. For use as a noun:

alternate; alternative. A. As Nouns. Alternative is needed far more often than alternate.



Alternate = (1) something that proceeds by turns with another; or (2) one that substitutes for another.

The Chicago Manual of Style recognises bothuses as well:

"alternate, adj. & n.; alternative, adj. & n. Alternate implies (1) substitute for another {we took the alternate route} or (2) taking turns with another {her alternate chaired the meeting}. Alternative implies a choice between two or more things {I prefer the second alternative}."

OK. I'll shut up now. I've probably been doing too much editing :-). I'd better stop before we get into whether it's OK to start sentences with conjunctions (er - yes. It is. According to Garner, Fowler and Chicago anyway, and that's good enough for me and my Editors :-P).

Iceland thinks long and hard over extreme smut web ban law


Re: Nobody biting for this?

On the grounds that Mr (I'm assuming male) Jonfr's English is a ratted sight better than my Icelandic - er, no. Not me, anyway... :-).

Oracle wants another go at Google over Android Java copyrights


Re: You wouldn't steal a Harry Potter book...

Heh. Or even Wayne Kemp? :-)

And they even went right on and did it - so additional respect to Mr Bruce Fitzpatrick of Abernathy Auto Parts and Hilltop Auto Salvage... :-)).

Ebook price-fixing: Macmillan settles with DoJ, Apple fights on



Lord MrRtd

" Can I transfer from one ebook reader to another? What about drm? What about format compatibility with future software?"

As with many things - the answer tends to be 'it depends' :-).

If oyu buy from main-street, from the large publishers, DRM may be an issue. If you buy from some of the bigger online retailers, DRM may be an issue. You may, or may not be able to transfer books between devices (I mean legally. A discussion of other means is not one for a public plpace :-) ).

But that's main-street. Those are the big online retailers :-).

If you buy direct from many or indeed most Independant Publishers, it's a lot more likely DRM won't be present. For instance, one of my Publishers (for every book they sell) gives you (for a single purchase price a lot less than main-street):

A PDF of the book


a PRC (Kindle) of the book


an EPUB (Most e-readers that aren't Kindle) of the book


an HTML file of the book

And not one of the files has DRM.

does this mean it would be easy for you (if you bought one) to give it to 99999999999999999999999 of your friends for nothing?


It's both a risk the small publishers take - and a benefit they offer. How it's used (or indeed abused) is down to readers.

Would that maybe nudge you to give Independant Publishers a try sir? :-)


Re: Too expensive

Lord Henry

And (at the risk of repeating my getting repetetive :-P), there's my point. to a degree, at least :-).

I think I can safely say that the prices you're quoting here ($9.99, $12.99, or $14.99) are main-street, Big Five (or Big Six - it depends on how much you squint) prices. They're the prices you're paying for (and not in any way taking any shots at these authors - the names are for example only) John Grisham. For WEB Griffin. For... well, mostly they're the prices you'repaying for the names people know.

There's another market out there. I could say two markets - because there are differences between self-publishing and Independant Publishers (and not necessarily that one offers 'better' books than the other). But I can say both of them offer books at much less than the prices above.

Of course, whether they're any good is a value judgement for each reader. And hence finding out is, to a degree, a gamble. But so can buying from main-street be too... :-).

Thoughts? Comments?


Re: @peladon - that's not the point.

My thanks indeed sir (or indeed ma'am :-) ) for a reply I personally consider both well reasoned and interesting.

If I were to take the liberty of considering it an ongoing discussion (and I'm entirely comfortable if everybody else is bored already and would prefer me to shut up :-P), I'd probably start to get repetitive. Because while it is indeed true that main-street publications have all costs front loaded, it's a lot less true of the Independant Publisher and self-published market.

It's also true that market prices are generally fixed by what people will pay. That if people en-masse stopped buying main-street e-books at prices they consider 'inflated', something would change. I have no idea what, but something would. However - there is no current sign (in terms of reported sales) that 'people' are going to go down that route.

"Perhaps it'll no longer be possible for an 'artist' to live a lifetime off a few days work, perhaps would be writers should just accept that unless they can sell millions they should just give up or do it for fun!"

Heh. I'll bite my tongue at what is either an, um, 'interesting' view of how long it takes to produce a book or maybe a more deliberate button push :-). In either case, the second point is true. For the small market writer, writing 'for the money' is about the worst possible reason for writing at all. I'd go further and say 'if you need a reason to write, then writing's probably not for you', but then everyone knows I'm an Idiot :-). To misuse a quote from Barry B Longyear in 'City of Baraboo' - 'it's a disease' (blush).

May you continue to like reading books - and even find books worth your enjoyment :-).


Re: @peladon - that's not the point.

"When the eBook edition costs the same or more than the paperback, something is wrong."

The reality is that, where the author is big enough to have a Publisher who puts out both the e-book and a paper edition, a large number of people will in fact pay the same price for both.

Should they? Buggered if I know. I try to avoid deciding what other people should or ahould not do :-).

My point was that there are in fact markets where e-books exist for which there is _no_ paper edition. And that even though, in those markets, there are still costs to be recovered (some people I've spoken with have expressed views that there should in fact be no costs since 'it's just, like, a file on a server, innit?'), you can buy books in those markets for a lot less than paperback costs.

But people often won't. And, of course, I respect that choice. But to then claim e-books are over-priced, and lump them all in one basket seems, to my poor wit, a little less than fair :-).

Thoughts? Comments? (Yes - including 'you're a fat-head, Peladon - it's all good :-) )


Re: Sod the lot of them

"Despite the almost complete lack of printing costs, distribution costs, etc., etc., etc... the books should be priced for the lack of these costs, and thus portionally cheaper and those who want them in REAL paper, should have them priced accordingly, to include those costs."

OK. Declaration of interest.

I have been known to write a book. Or two. Or even... well, never mind. And I could say 'well, if you go to the Independant e-publishers, or even self-publishers, you can indeed find e-books at much lower costs. And some of them (no - I'm not saying mine - of course I'm not saying not-mine either :-P) are very good. Maybe even a lot of them.

But then people start saying the same types of thing. 'Yes, but they're all crap.' 'Yes, but none of them have even _seen_ an Editor. Well, crap is a value judgement. But as soon as you start adding in costs like that Editor (or more likely Editors) - you start getting back to similar costs to paper.

This is from the 'Editorial Freelancers Association (http://the-efa.org/res/rates.php). It's their current recommended rates for Editing services:


Common editorial rates —regardless of whether a project is flat rate or hourly— tend to fall within the ranges indicated below. These should be used only as a rough guideline; rates vary considerably depending on the nature of the work, the time frame of the assignment, the degree of special expertise required, and other factors. The industry standard for a manuscript page, however, is a firm 250 words.

Editing, basic copyediting 5-10 ms pgs/hr $30-40/hr

Editing, heavy copyediting 2–5 ms pgs/hr $40–50/hr

Editing, website copyediting $40-50/hr

Editing, developmental 1–5 pgs/hr $45–55/hr

Editing, substantive or line 1–6 ms pgs/hr $40–60/hr


Of course, not every small-market Editor will charge these rates. One Editor I've worked with personally fell flat on the floor gibbering when I showed them to her - because she would never charge anything that high. On the other hand, she works for one of my publishers, and rarely if ever does Freelance. So lets look at these rates,and take a novel, length 80,000 words.

At 250 words per 'page', our novel is 320 pages long. Let's assume we're going to want Content Editing and Line Editing. Content Editing and 'Developmental' Editing are close enough, so we'll use that for Content, and take mid-range numbers. We could sicuss the difference between 'Copyediting' and 'Line Editing', but for the purposes of the example I'll use 'Substantive or Line' Editing from the chart for Line Editing.


Copy Editing: 320 pages, 2.5 pages per hour, $50 per hour. 320 pages = 128 hours = $6,400

Line Editing: 320 pages, 3 pages per hour, $50 per hour. 320 pages = 106 and two thirds hours = $5,333

Total: $11,733

Riiiiiight .

Now. Don't get me wrong. Like I said, not every small market Editor, maybe not even close to every Editor will charge these. And don't get me even wrong-er. I would never under-value the, um, value of an Editor's services.

But if you use those services (or your publisher does), the costs still have to be recovered. And we haven;t even _touched_ Cover Art yet.

But you can still get Independantly e-published and self-published books for a fraction of the price of Big Five or Main-Street e-published. Who knows. You might even like it!

Ex-ICO: Draft EU privacy rules will turn every citizen 'into a liar'


Re: A paperwork delight

"The proposed rules are laden with paperwork and bureaucracy. So the good guys get the expense and hassle for no reason as they'd be complying anyway. And the bad guys will just continue to be bad guys - they're not going to document the fact."

I may, of course, be misinterpreting the intent of this statement. I am, after all, an Idiot :-). However, both specifically and in general I (personally and entirely of my own view, not intending any broad sweeping statement to which I assume or require others to comply or with which I expect them to agree or indeed disagree) have issues with the logic expressed.

I've seen similar points of view expressed in a number of fields. To pick one, deliberately selected with the purpose of being highly emotive, I've seen it expressed in the US debate over gun regulation. To paraphrase:

"Gun regulation is a Bad Thing(tm), because it only hurts law abiding folks, since Bad Guys(tm) will get hold of guns in Bad Ways(tm) anyway, so regulation is a waste of time. Oh, and Bad(tm)."

The same argument could be mounted against tax regulations:

"The excessive red tape and regulations place an unnecessary burden on law abiding and fair minded businessess, who will of course comply in any case because they're, like, Law Abiding(tm) and Fair Minded(tm). The businesses who aren't will just hire shster lawyers,and find ways of cheating. So the regulations are a waste of time."

In the absence of rules and regulations, there are none to break. So in such a situation there are in fact no Bad Guys(tm). In the presence of simply and briefly expressed regulations, there are too many ways of attempting to claim issues of interpretation, 'they didn't really mean that', or 'it doesn't apply to me'. As examples I could cite the various interpetations of 'Thou shalt not kill', or even the purpose and intent of the Second Amendment - but I left my asbestos underwear at home, so I won't. And I didn't, so there :-P.

I would suggest that any attempt to express a regulation sufficiently concisely and clearly to eliminate or at least minimise the potential to misinterpret, evade or otherwise stand aside from it is likely to carry with it what some might consider 'excessive red tape'. But at least it reduces the potential number of 'innocent' Robert Fords, however much some might think Jesse James deserved it.

Senator threatens FAA with legislation over in-flight fondleslabbing


Re: Problem solved?

Lord Cristoph

Perhaps I should clarify. I had hoped the Heisenberg reference would avoid the need to do so, but - well, apparently 'but'.

To base the justification for any action or inaction on a lack of certainty (as was the case in the post to which I so foolishlt responded) is flawed simply because ABSO-BLOODY-LUTELY NOTHING IS CERTAIN.

Likely? Possibly.

Probable? Maybe.

_Certain_? Er........

At no time did I suggest the risks associated with the actions I cited were in any way similar or equal. I was merely attempting (in a clearly poor way) to say that saying this or that should not be allwed because of some lack of 'certainty' was logically flawed.

I will now (probably and not certainly) drink some more scotch. Then, if I get lucky, I can be floored as well.


Re: Problem solved?

"We don't know for certain it's safe to allow you to get behind the wheel of that car, sir. So I'm afraid we can't let you."

"We don't know for certain it's safe to allow you to use that great big Henkel carving knife on that dead bird, sir. You might cut yourself. So I'm afraid we can't let you."

"We don't know for certain it's safe to allow you to (insert just about anything here). So I'm afraid..."

Mr Heisenberg is calling from the afterlife. He'd like to discuss this whole 'certainty' thing, and wants to ask why people are busy telling the universe to cease operating. For its own good, of course.

Pentagon hacker McKinnon will NOT be prosecuted in the UK


Re: No real bar to a trial in London

OK. So Wikipedia isn't exactly a gospel. And I am most certainly not a lawyer. And I don't even suggest that _had_the_case_gone_to_trial_ Mr M wouldn't at that point have been _found_ guilty. But:

"The Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms of the Council of Europe says (art. 6.2): "Everyone charged with a criminal offence shall be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law".... this assertion is iterated verbatim in Article 48 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union."

Was Mr M ever declared by a jury of his peers, after proper trial and process of law, to have been guilty? Was Mr M ever declared, by a Magistrate or Judge after proper trial and process of law, to have been guilty?

If not - it would appear his innocence must be presumed. Even if he was willing to present a guilty verdict, he was never given (to the best of my knowledge) that opportunity while under charge in a UK court.

Of course, the legislation might be such that it is outside the need for trial, and the offence one of absolute nature. As I said. I'm not a lawyer, so all I can claim is opinion - and I won't :-).


Re: No real bar to a trial in London

... and yes. I _do_ know how to spell British. And things like 'tried'. And had edit abiliiot... abaliet... abullytot...

Sigh. It's a long day - wherever the sun rises :-).


Re: No real bar to a trial in London

I don't know if a crime was committed - on Brisitsh soil or otherwise.

I may, of course, have opinions. But I was under the (perhaps mistaken) impression that assessing such matters, and the issuance of an authoritative opinion (for which I recognise mine most definitely does not qualify) as to whether a crime was in fact committed, and that persons X, Y or Z did or did not commit said crime was the jurisdiction (pun intended) of things called 'the Court Process' and 'Judges' - or sometimes 'Juries'.

Since no such 'Court Process' has as yet (to my knowledge) been carried out in the UK, though both the public and press have triedd really, really hard, and no such authoritative view issued (though I may be wrong), I'll return to my initial statements.

I don't know if a crime was committed. Though I may, of course, have opinions.

Tor node admin raided by cops appeals for help with legal bills


""I'm not unsympathetic to the fact that Tor gives a voice to oppressed groups and so on, but misuse is inevitable," Harley concluded."

"So how do we know he's really the saint he claims to be?

Looking a the photos and reading about his various co-located servers, he seems to have put a lot of kit into this .. Excuse me if I don't entirely believe this Good Samaritan story."

Guns can be misused. My opinions on such matters not being germane to the point, in those jurisdictions where gun ownership is legal, their potential for abuse is not held to the supplier's accountability.

Vehicles can be misused. If I see three cars parked in your driveway, how do I know you're not using them for improper purposes, you potential bank-robber, you?

The Internet can be (and is) abused and misused for various purposes. So should we close down all the ISPs, raid every server farm? I'm willing to bet such raids would find improper material in just6 about every one of them.

Yes, the comparisons are extreme. Yes, some people would potentially approve of a Code Napoleon (guilty until proven innocent). Apart from the big companies, of course. Obviously it wouldn't be fair to hold _them_ accountable to the same standards, right?

For the benefit of those who may choose to see it otherwise - the previous two sentences were in fact irony. Or sarcasm. Or artichokes. Or something.

Mr Harley is , of course, entitled to express his view. I would, however, question the value of poiting out that (insert random thing here) has the potential to be abused. And equally AC is entitled to his (or her) doubts as to Herr Weber's Samariten-ness or otherwise. But the extension of such logic would seem to place us all in the same dock.

Or, rather, it would to me. And I am, I believe, entitled to _my_ view also.

Major £30m cyberheist pulled off using MOBILE malware


May I propose...

... if someone hasn't beaten me to it already, a new version of Godwin's Law? It could run something like this:

"As an online technology discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Apple, Unix and/ or Windows approaches 1."

We could call it something like OSwin's Law.

E-reader demand slumps, slapped down by slates


Re: Or could it be....

"Oh, but that's entirely the point. Self-published books are generally dire. The problem goes further than just a lousy or at best mediocre author; a good book generally benefits hugely from a good editor."

And I would agree with you entirely :-).

And so do a large number of writers - self published and Independantly published.

Which is why most good (and there are places to look to help tell good from less good) Independant publishers employ editors (both Content and Line) - and no few self-published writers pay them themselves. Even though the investment is far from small, and the return highly unlikely to repay said investment. Because that's how those writers see it - investment.

However, yes. One of the problems really is not being able to easily tell in advance which books have undergone the process - and which haven't.

But as I said earlier - I am undoubtedly prejudiced, having just finished four rounds of Content Edits and another three of Line edits for, um, mumblety-mumble. Due out in...

Oh. Right. I'll shut up now :-).


Re: Or could it be....

... and if people's prime (or sole) reading requirement is for material by tent-pole release authors from major publishers, your point is entirely valid.

If, on the other hand, the scope of their requirements includes, or potentially includes, material from non big name authors and books from Independant publishers or self-publishing - not a cat in Hades chance. for a start, because paper versions of those books don't exist.

It's alright. I'll save you the time - I'll pre-offer the view held by some that some/ most/ all of the Independantly published or self-published material out there is rubbish/ low quality/ your cat could write better while asleep on your keyboard. And you are, of course, entitled to that view, and I do, of course, have to confess to some degree of self-interest :-).

But I've read books I considered less than perfect quality from big name authors. And I've read books from the Independant/ self published market that agrees with the above assessment - and books that don't. That were excellent reading material. And the gamble/ cost of finding out?

Very little.

If the only electronic books you want to read are those also available in paper form - that is a choice.

If you're prepared to explore some of the Independant electronic publishers, yes. Some of what you read you won't like. But there's a good chance, some you might. And you won;t go broke finding out.

And no. I'm not telling you who my publishers are - that's not why I'm here, or why I'm posting :-).

Home Sec: Let us have Snoop Charter or PEOPLE WILL DIE


One sometimes wonders if...

... politicians appointed to such posts all have some secret little book they read.

I've split off the last line for emphasis...


On January 19, 2010, (Canadian) Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced that Toews would replace Peter Van Loan as the new Public Safety Minister. In February 2012, as Minister, Toews introduced the Protecting Children from Internet Predators Act (also known as Bill C-30). If passed, the bill would grant police agencies expanded powers, mandate that internet service providers (ISPs) provide subscriber information without a warrant and compel providers to reveal information transmitted over their networks with a warrant.

When criticised about privacy concerns, Toews responded that people "can either stand with us or with the child pornographers."

Elon Musk envisions small town of vegetarians on Mars



... you have the right to form any opinion you choose of anyone? Because you base that opinion on a limited sub-set of predefined assumptions and guidelines?

I have not done, nor likely could ever do, what the man has done and caused to be done already. I try to avoid (on some occasions unsuccessfully) identifying anything not actually mammary tissue in the term you chose here - and (at the risk of being beaten about the head by my beloved) not even mammary tissue. To choose to do so is, I believe,your right.

When Elon Musk first started talking about building his own rockets, similar things were said. When Elon Musk first started talking about not just building them, but establishing their use and function as a commercial venture, similar things were said.

Perhaps irritatingly for those who said such things (and sadly, perhaps not) - the bugger went right on ahead and did it.

If it takes a Tit to think that way, to put those thoughts into action, and to go right ahead and achieve what he has achieved - even a rich Tit (though he had to be the person he is to get to be said rich Tit in the first place) - I can only wish I was such a Tit. Or that there were more such Tits among us.

Swollen SUPER-GIGANTO PLANET sighted in Andromeda


"A gigantic super-planet has been snapped by astroboffins orbiting the massive star Kappa Andromedae."

We have 'astro-boffins' orbiting Kappa Andromeda? Did I do a Rip van Winkle and just woke up? Can we go there too? Yay for progress! :-P.