Sunday, August 31, 2008

Free eBook: Dr. Weston A. Price

At Project Gutenberg Australia, they have Nutrition and Physical Degeneration Dr. Weston A. Price. Subtitled, A Comparison of Primitive and Modern Diets and Their Effects, it's guaranteed to be unlike any other book you've ever read.

It's only available as on-screen HTML. But don't worry about that for now. What I want you to do is scroll down and stop and see and read all 100+ of the photographs. Such as these two:

Click = big

You'll want to read it. It's a masterpiece.

I previously mentioned this book in Your Gums Can Kill You.

Nanotechnology Toothpaste?

Yeah, WTF? When the term "nanotechnology" is used, I think nanites. Little biomechanical buggers programmed to carry out a basic task then self-destruct and exit via urination.

In chemistry, it has another meaning.

And that's apparently the one used to tout Swissdent, an allegedly-gentle daily-use whitening toothpaste:
The invention: Nanoxyd®

In the development of the active substance Nanoxyd® Dr. Velkoborsky used state-of-the-art technologies.
‘The tinier the active substance used, the easier it gets into places where it is intended to develop its effect.’

The calcium peroxide used in miniature form even penetrates into the tiniest of gaps and the interdental spaces, ensuring effective bleaching. Thanks to nano technology, SWISSDENT is able to generate an ideal result for your teeth with a small amount of bleach (0.1%), also permitting an extremely gentle and soft use. All Swissdent products have been clinically tested and can be used daily like conventional toothpaste.

Apparently, some of these will be using a dental remineralization technology called NovaMin. (There's an impressive photo demo there.)
NovaMin represents a breakthrough in oral healthcare with superior tooth remineralization technology, nourishing your teeth with essential minerals in their rare ionic form, and supercharging the natural tooth remineralization that keeps your teeth looking and feeling healthy.

NovaMin is a made from the same bioactive material used in the most advanced bone regeneration material, which is available only to surgeons and has been used in over a million successful surgeries. This material has now been adapted for use in everyday oral care products to revitalize your teeth - producing teeth that are less sensitive, cleaner, whiter and healthier than possible with old technologies like fluoride.

Apparently one of this NovaMin-containing products has been marketed in the U.S. under the name Oravive.

NovaMin is apparently based on Bioglass.

Reference: Closing In On Telomerase

Landmark study opens door to new cancer, aging treatments
Researchers have attempted for more than a decade to find drugs that shut down telomerase — widely considered the No. 1 target for the development of new cancer treatments — but have been hampered in large part by a lack of knowledge of the enzyme's structure.

The findings, published online August 31 in Nature, should help researchers in their efforts to design effective telomerase inhibitors, says Emmanuel Skordalakes, Ph.D., assistant professor in Wistar's Gene Expression and Regulation Program, who led the study.

"Telomerase is an ideal target for chemotherapy because it is active in almost all human tumors, but inactive in most normal cells," Skordalakes says. "That means a drug that deactivates telomerase would likely work against all cancers, with few side effects."

Previously here:

Reference: Telomerase-Cortisol Connection
Reference: Neu5Ac And Neu5Gc

Rhonda Byrne's Law Of Greedy Attraction

The secret of Rhonda's success
[Rhonda Byrne's] lawyers had just sued two of the very people who were instrumental in launching her book and film The Secret to phenomenal success. Drew Heriot, the Australian director of the movie, and Dan Hollings, an Arizona internet consultant whose “viral marketing” helped propel Byrne to global fame via Oprah, had both been demanding that Byrne pay them a share of the estimated $US300 million ($340 million) revenue they claim she’d promised them. In the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving, Byrne’s lawyers had counter-attacked by launching legal actions against both men in jurisdictions far from their homes, a tactic one judge has since described as vexatious and harassing.

This is no surprise.

-- via Get Happy, Be Happy, Stay Happy

Previously here:

Quote: Rob May
Self-Confidence Vs. Self-Delusion
Defensive Pessimism: Part Of The Real Secret

At the old blog:

Redundant Search Terms
The Secret: I Can’t Finish Reading It!
The Secret: OMG! NYPL Has It For Me!
The Secret: Another Bit Of The Real Secret
Quote Of The Day
Another Note About The Secret: Victor Hugo
The Secret: Don’t Be A Sucker
This Is One Part Of The Secret — The Real Secret
Last Night I Saw The Secret On DVD
The Secret Is That They Count On You To Be Stupid
The Secret: Suckers!
The Secret: Law Of (Mal-)Attraction
More On The Secret

Sweden: Jumbo Jet Hostel

Jumbo jet hostel rolls into place near Arlanda
The opening of the world’s first jumbo jet youth hostel moved step closer on Thursday when a Boeing 747 was towed a few kilometres from Stockholm’s Arlanda airport.

I wonder what the inside will look like. I also wonder how many toilets and showers it will have -- and what the air quality will be like.

The $2.00 Portrait Project

The $2.00 Portrait Project (Flickr)
Earlier this week I decided that I was going to start a new project. I'm calling the project $2 portraits and the project works like this. From this week going forward until the day that I die I am going to offer $2 to anyone who asks me for money in exchange for their portrait. While I'm taking their portrait I'm going to ask their name and try to learn a little bit about them. I plan on doing this for the rest of my life -- assuming that I can afford to.

To make things easier I'm putting $2 in reserve money in a special place in my wallet so that even if I don't have change I will always have the $2 to hand over.

In part I'm undertaking this project because I realize that I've been avoiding people asking me for money. My biggest motivation behind this project however is simply that I think human interaction is a good thing. I'm not doing this to exploit homeless people or show how hard and bad life can be. I'm doing this because I want to celebrate other human beings as human beings and I think that this commercial transaction gives us an opportunity to engage and interact on a more human level... and I also think that I can take a pretty decent portrait.

-- via grow-a-brain

Blog Notes: Bookmark Resectioning

The Bookmarks page was becoming difficult to edit so I broke it into two sections:

Linked To

That second page is waaay overdue in being updated and I might never get it up to date by the time this blog is euthanized on the last day of this year.

Bookmarks now better reflects the interests of this blog, with a reduction in gadget news. More fine-tuning still needs to be done.

Today's Must-Read: New Orleans

As a second terrifying storm bears down on it, it's important to remember the effects of the first one are not yet over.

New Orleans Is An American City
New Orleans is an American city. Her porches fly American flags, just like porches in Peoria. Each morning her children say the Pledge of Allegiance, just like children in Boise.

-- via Warren Ellis

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Gerry Anderson: Thunderbirds, Next Generation?

The Sun's headline -- though slapped with Exclusive! -- is rather premature:

Thunderbirds are back!
Creator Gerry Anderson told TV Biz he was in talks to buy back the show rights from ITV, 32 years after it was axed.

But he is considering ditching the iconic marionettes for computer-generated imagery (CGI). Gerry, 79, said: “I’d do a series of tests.

“One would be in keeping the same characters but making the series in CGI, making everything photo-real.”

But the Tracy family and pals like Brains and Lady Penelope may stay as puppets, modified by computer wizardry for hi-tech action scenes with the Thunderbirds fleet.

Gerry said: “Another way would be to make the puppets in CGI in a way that they looked exactly as they did in the original show.

“They would be able to do everything a human being can do so the action would be much more exciting.”

I think everyone who is in love with the series would chant, "Puppets! Puppets! Puppets!"

However, in that BBC 4 radio interview, Gerry termed them "goddamn puppets."

He was never fond of them due to their movement limitations and other problems they caused during production (imagine having to wait for a string to be redone or strings to be unsnagged!).

I've addressed the issue of a remake earlier, here: BBC Four: All About Thunderbirds.

There have already been three CGI Thunderbirds attempts:

The Original Thunderbirds Atrocity -- allegedly all-CGI, it's just All Wrong.

Someone At Carlton Must Pay For This Atrocity -- Brains is used in an ad. This is a mixture of puppetry (string and rod) and CGI. It just makes me queasy every time I watch it.

Thunderbirds Used In New UK TV Ad -- this is difficult to analyze. There is CGI in it, but still frames would lead one to believe there are actual marionettes. However, the strings could be fake, added digitally in post!

There is much more I want to write about this, but it's a very big thing.

If Gerry Anderson or someone who knows him should come across this post, the one thing I absolutely must say right now is this:


I am not making this up. Look who is on Twitter:

And look what he’s tweeted:

Click = big

Die And Burn In Hell AGAIN, Microsoft

Going through past posts, I came across one from February 4, 2008: Marvel Comics: Some Great Vids

These are hi-res videos that at the time I was able to play full screen with absolutely breathtaking fluid motion.

Today, I can barely get slideshow-like performance out of the player-sized version.

All thanks to those smug bastards at Microsoft.

Die and burn in Hell, you bastards!

Some Gerry Anderson Items

Here is a set of 133 Flickr photos showing the astounding miniature work of the Century 21 Studio modelmakers. Run it as a slideshow for the full jaw-dropping effect. That is what the future should look like!

On ebay, the head of Mike Mercury:

I'm not providing a link because at posting time the auction ends imminently (and no, dammit, I'm not bidding -- but would if I could!). And it's a replica, not the original head.

Next, hear Gerry Anderson speak!

Here is the link to that page.

And finally, some amazing CGI animation of Skydiver from UFO. The vid is a bit of an ad for some DVDs the guy has done, but that's at the end. In the meantime, marvel at this great work:

Sky Diver attack by UFOs and INVADER
Sky Diver was always such a cool vehicle. But did you ever wonder how Sky One docked with the sub? Well ... this sequence depicts that operation and what happens when the Sky Diver encounters UFOs under the water. But the saucers are not alone. They're accompanied by a UFO from our 1991 film INVADER. INVADER is available on DVD through Lions Gate Entertainment. We animated and built all of the objects except for the beautiful Sky One which was built by Don Showalter.

Previously here:

Supermarionation Is Not Easy
Gerry Anderson’s Doppelganger
Video: IBM 75
R.I.P.: David Mitton
Enhanced Gerry Anderson
A Must For Gerry Anderson Fans
Gerry Anderson’s UFO
Rare 1960s TV: Space Patrol
The Original Thunderbirds Atrocity
Someone At Carlton Must Pay For This Atrocity
Jane Merrow Is On YouTube!
Joe 90 TV Theme: Magical Re-Creation
Thunderbirds: Terror In New York City
Gerry Anderson’s Eternity
Better Than Space:1999!
Via WordPress Search, #3
Reference: Anime Tropes
Thunderbirds: Simulated Tanker Rescue
Sylvia Anderson Interview
Digital Water
Fireball XL5: Directing By Alan Pattillo
Some Barry Gray To Boost Brain Cells
Stage6: Star Fleet AKA X-Bomber
Stage6: New Captain Scarlet
Stage6: Rare Space:1999 Footage
Stage6: Into Infinity
Turn Up Your Speakers For Barry Gray
Star Wars Spin-Off Goes CGI
Tell Them, Wil!
Marvel Comics: Some Great Vids
Gerry Anderson Supermarionation TV Ad
Joost: Stand By For Action!
Interster Still M.I.A.
BBC Four: All About Thunderbirds

Friday, August 29, 2008

Twittersnipes: August 29, 2008 (Part Two)

Twittersnipes: The “snipe” as in “sniper.” Tweets that hit me like bullets. (Or that I blast others with!)

Books 1.0

Dutton Signs Major Multimedia Trilogy
Dutton has laid out big money for what it's dubbing a "digi-novel" by the creator of the C.S.I. television franchise. The Penguin imprint paid millions for a multimedia three-book series from Anthony Zuiker that, at its centerpiece, features a mystery novel which will send readers to a Web site with companion footage relating to the plot.

"Digi-novel" = printed book for which you have to go to a computer to call up the interstitial material. Hey, what happened to that "You can curl up in bed with a book" crap? Sounds like you'll have to get out of bed for this one.

Keep kidding yourself, silly rabbit.


With Weak First Half, RH has “Much Catching Up to Do”
Sales for e-books are already more than double the total for all of 2007, although Dohle acknowledged they still represent only a tiny source of revenue.

That's a worthless, ambiguous sentence. We're near month nine in 2008. So what is the actual rate of sales acceleration? Did sales cross the double mark back in June? April? July?
Reviewing RH’s other worldwide operations, Dohle said Random House Group UK outperformed the marketplace, and added that the group will role out its e-publishing program next month in connection with the debut there of the Sony Reader.

Go Sony Reader.

-- via BookSquare

Free Crime Fiction: Plots With Guns #3

Blistering skin, hurricane warnings, and melted ice cream all over the concrete. Despite the sun and the waves, summer can be ugly, too. Sublimely ugly. Just like the eight new stories in the Summer 2008 issue of PLOTS WITH GUNS, now live online.

Plots With Guns #3

Takiji Kobayashi: Writer's Revenge

Japan: Marxist book turns bestseller 79 years on
A 79-year-old tale of rebellion among a fishing boat crew has become an unlikely summer hit among young Japanese people facing economic decline and rising poverty. Sales of Kani Kosen (The Crab Ship) have soared, keeping it at or near the top of bestseller lists since May, an unheard of achievement for such an earnest work.

Written by Takiji Kobayashi in 1929, the novel quickly became Japan's answer to The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists, Robert Tressell's critique of capitalism. But Kobayashi paid for his radicalism in 1933 when he was tortured to death by the secret police at the age of 29.

Emphasis added by me.

That is why Apple's banning mattered.

Yet there are assholes who sit in the comfort of their fucking homes typing masturbatory copy for gadgets who think writing is, like, nothing.

No one will break down your door because you didn't like the latest gadget.

Free Speech TV: Ralph Nader In Denver

Go to the WordPress blog to see it.

Murderdrome: Eleven Years Old!

Update: And yet another twist. The comic was originally done in 2005! See the Comment here.

There's another twist to the Murderdrome comic book that was banned by Apple.

A Commenter with the handle FishKill stated:
Just done a bit of poking around the net with Murderdrome, and the story isn’t a new one.

Murderdrome was originally penciled by Simon Penter back in 1997. You can see his artwork here:

So this is nothing new, just a new medium for distribution. The bloody story is over 11 years old.

And he is correct! See the 1997 2005 version here.

Previously here:

Print: Dying. And The Net: No Future?
Apple Forfeits eBooks By Banning A Comic Book!

Twittersnipes: August 29, 2008 (Part One)

Plus ...


Fox News: Look! It’s the Anti-Christ!

Probably our next President.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Attention Sony! DO IT!!

eBooks volume 3: What is the right price for a device that holds 100s of books?

How can a company like Asus come along and create the Asus EeePC and put to shame companies that tower over it?

It is within Sony's power to do the same for eBooks!

This should be ninety-dollar dollars!

Do it! Do it!!
Kutaragi demanded: “Please make a decision!”

Unable to control his fury, Ohga replied, “lf you really mean it, prove to me that it’s possible.” Then he formed a fist, pounded on the desk, and shouted: “DO IT!”

– Revolutionaries at Sony: The Making of the Sony Playstation and the Visionaries Who Conquered the World of Video Games by Reiji Asakura, pg. 37

Sony is not a stupid company! I'm certain there are geniuses there who can come up with a very clever way to make this happen!

Make it happen!

Do it!!

OMFGZZ!!!1 Sony's Stringer Has Heard Of eBooks!

WELT Exclusive Interview
Future of Sony Ericsson uncertain
Sony Chief Executive Officer Sir Howard Stringer speaks to DIE WELT about competitors, consumer behavior, Google's lessons and a difficult year with Ericsson.
Everyone out there is a predator – Canon with its cameras, Amazon with the electronic book, and Samsung, which is drafting reams of documents on how to beat us.

Emphasis added by me.

Now, has he heard of the Sony Reader specifically? And does he use it?

And if he's seen the abominable Kindle, why the hell hasn't the Reader gone wireless?

Previously here: (Stringer)

Sony Fumbles Its eBook Reader
Sony, The New Titanic?
Sony’s In Worse Shape Than I Thought
Ken Kutaragi: Your Vindication Nears!
What’s Going On With Sony And Its Reader?

Amazon: New Kindles? We Never Said That!

The Nathan Thurm Effect is on!

Amazon tells Quisling New York Times reporter Brad Stone, in a column titled Extinguish the Rumors: No New Amazon Kindle This Year:
There’s a lot of rumor and speculation about the Kindle. One thing I can tell you for sure is that there will be no new version of the Kindle this year. A new version is possible sometime next year at the earliest.

Over at Teleread, David Rothman wonders if the hard rumors of an impending new model introduction have invoked the Osborne Effect and killed existing Kindle clearance sales.

If what Amazon has stated is true, the Sony Reader -- which to remind everyone can now read public library eBooks -- just took one step back from its Kindle-dug grave.

And it's still in a hot-to-trot red too ...

One Writer Reveals Her Kindle Royalties

This Time Next Year We’ll Be Millionaires!
No, I haven’t suddenly gone into the business of flogging dodgy goods off a pitch at the market, nor will I be claiming that said goods have fallen off the back of a lorry either. But I did take a little peek at my Amazon Kindle books royalties for my M. S. Valentine novels and wah-hey - I’m now up to thirty bucks! (And yes, that’s in U.S. greenbacks.) Okay, I realise this might only get me a couple of foot-long sandwiches at Subway with a bit left over for a trip to Starbucks, but this could be a nice little earner, as Del Boy would say.

For those of you who haven’t read my previous blog post on the subject (”Is the Print Book Destined For Death”), my very first Amazon Kindle book The Captivity of Celia was published a few weeks ago, and since then the entire catalogue of my out-of-print M. S. Valentine erotic novels have been re-issued on this platform. I’m so impressed with the Kindle’s ease of use and potential for growth that I’m now looking into putting together a special collection of my short stories and having it sold via Kindle. This electronic reader is growing in popularity, and I’ve no doubt Amazon will develop a version compatible in other markets, such as the U.K. and Europe.

This is the first time I've personally seen an author disclose Kindle eBook sales. I'm unclear here as to why she's claiming the figure as "royalties," however, since she's the publisher.

Is there any sort of forum where writers are swapping this news?

Any writers out there who care to disclose here in Comments?

Does anyone have any census of how many writers are self-publishing through the Kindle Store?

Apple Trademark: iTunes Plus

This was published for opposition August 26, 2008. Reformatted from the USPTO TESS database entry.

Word Mark

Goods and Services
IC 035. US 100 101 102. G & S: Retail store services in the field of entertainment, namely, audio, audiovisual, music, multimedia and video content and related merchandise, provided via the internet and other computer and electronic communication networks

IC 038. US 100 101 104. G & S: Telecommunication services, namely, electronic transmission of streamed and downloadable audio and video files and movies via computer and other communications networks; dissemination of movies, music and video information via an internet-based database; providing on-line chat rooms, bulletin boards and community forums for the transmission of messages among computer users concerning entertainment, music, concerts, videos, radio, television, film, news, sports, games and cultural events; web casting services; provision of connectivity services and access to electronic communications networks, for transmission or reception of audio, video, movies and/or multimedia content

IC 042. US 100 101. G & S: Providing on-line facilities, via global computer network, to enable users to program audio, video, movies, text and other multimedia content; Providing search engines for obtaining data via communications networks; providing temporary use of on-line non-downloadable software to enable users to program audio, video, movies, text and other multimedia content; Internet services, namely, creating indexes of information, sites and other resources available on global computer networks for others; searching, browsing and retrieving information, sites, and other resources available on global computer networks and other communication networks for others

Standard Characters Claimed

Mark Drawing Code

Serial Number

Filing Date
November 16, 2007

Current Filing Basis

Original Filing Basis

Published for Opposition
August 26, 2008


Attorney of Record
Lisa G. Widup

Priority Date
May 21, 2007

Prior Registrations
2653465;2993227;3213164;AND OTHERS

Type of Mark


Live/Dead Indicator

Distinctiveness Limitation Statement
as to "ITUNES"

Previously here:

Apple iTunes (Store) Trademark Evolution
I Get Busted!
Some Unusual Apple Trademarks
Apple Has Trademarked A Date
Apple Owns The Mobile Me Trademark

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Christopher Fowler Gets His Byline

What it was:


What it now is:

See how dangerous I am? I follow-up. Perhaps not promptly, but the gears do grind to an inevitable re-inspection.

Thanks to Suzi Feay, who is probably single-handedly holding together crumbling England.

Previously here:

Bryant & May To Continue!!
So Who Wrote This Then?
Writer Christopher Fowler Is Blogging!
Christopher Fowler Cover Development
Christopher Fowler’s New Digs
Doctor Who: Turn Left
Christopher Fowler: March 2009
Christopher Fowler: Read His Books
What I Look Forward To In 2008

Print: Dying. And The Net: No Future?

Mariotti Abruptly Quits Sun-Times
Star Sports Columnist Says He Wanted Out Before Newspapers Die Out
CHICAGO (CBS) ― In a bombshell announcement in the world of sports journalism, star columnist Jay Mariotti has abruptly resigned from the Chicago Sun-Times.

Mariotti told the Chicago Tribune he decided to quit after covering the Olympics in Beijing because newspapers are in serious trouble, and he did not want to go down with the ship.

"I'm a competitor and I get the sense this marketplace doesn't compete," he said in the Tribune story. "Everyone is hanging on for dear life at both papers.

"To see what has happened in this business. … I don't want to go down with it."

Ordinarily, I would have been pleased to see someone in that field acknowledge the truth.

However, given Apple's banning of a comic book yesterday, I have to ask: Where does he expect the future to be?

If ISPs such as Time-Warner and Comcast have their way, everyone will be subjected to bandwidth caps: 50Gb or less per month. How willing are people going to be to "surf" the Net to look for material they don't already know? How many links will go unclicked because people won't know if they'll open up a slim all-text page or a ginormous multi-megabyte page filled with Flash banners and autoplay video ads?

If companies such as Apple have their way, they will stand between everyone and those who provide what is generally given the lawyerly term "content." Who are the gatekeepers to the iPhone and the Android OS phone and whatever other devices come tethered to a ready-made "app store?" Will those gatekeepers have political and corporate prejudices that will suppress the distribution of eBooks and articles and videos they deem unworthy? Will they set themselves up as Nannies or Critics, thinking their vision represents what's "good" for other people?

Too many of the Comments I've seen over Apple's banning of Murderdrome clearly indicate a lack of thought. The issue is dismissed as if it was a property rights case with, "Well, it's Apple's store and they can do what they want."

The issue is the strangulation of distribution and the shredding of free expression.

Unlike the music at the iTunes Store, there is no other way to transmit applications to an iPhone except through Apple as Judge and Jury. (To those who cite jailbreaking, good luck with risking your device. The general public is not so brave.) We've already seen what Apple has done with that power when the matter is a comic book. What will it do with regular all-text eBooks? What will it do with compilations of articles from political journals it disagrees with? With albums of photographs it doesn't like? Go into any bookstore and there will be something someone will find objectionable. That's the price of free expression.

I've stated long ago that Apple should be thinking long-term and planning for the day when the iTunes Store is a widespread platform that any vendor can tap into. Apple can sell the system software, the necessary support, maybe even the server hardware. But Apple can otherwise stay out of the way of judging material that is offered for sale. I think Apple has to learn the lesson that Microsoft is bitterly learning right now: You can't have all the money.

That goes for every major company in the tech and publishing fields.

Which still leaves us with the question: Where does he expect the future to be?

David Rothman over at Teleread has been arguing for years for a standard eBook file format that is device independent.
Looking beyond Apple, such situations are a perfect reason why the e-book world shouldn’t build itself around one particular company—not Amazon, not Google, not anyone. And it’s also a reason for e-book standards. Please. The closer you link content to particular companies, the more potential choke holds for governments and pressure groups to use.

That argument takes on a new gravity today. The entire book publishing world is reading about Apple's actions.

Rothman's plea is especially important as the eBook world waits to see what Amazon's new models of Kindle will be like. Remember: Those eBooks purchased from the Kindle Store can be used only on a Kindle. (The same is true for the Sony Reader -- although its eBooks can also be read on the desktop -- but I have to admit that with new Kindles coming, a tipping point is approaching that could leave Sony a tech casualty. So the Kindle could wind up equaling the term "eBook.") And Amazon, like any company sitting on a corner of a market, can change the rules at any time. The future could see the end of easy self-publishing for the Kindle, locking out writers not tied to corporate publishing contracts, further eroding free expression.

No publisher, no writer, no filmmaker should be denied access to a marketplace that has traditionally been free and open. The rules of the game should not change because electrons are being distributed instead of atoms. Free expression should not be limited to a few tech company gatekeepers who have managed to -- and here's a key word -- temporarily corner a market.

We have the Internet as the standard of a free marketplace, perhaps the purest exemplification of free expression in all of human history. Everything can get on and people are free to avoid what they don't want to see (which oftentimes includes this blog!).

Why should we have to settle for anything less because telephones have become portable computers and books are becoming electronic?

The battle for the future is being fought. And like the first shot fired at Lexington and Concord, it just might have actually begun for real yesterday: with a comic book!

Apple And A Tale Of Two Bannings

How ironic this is, just twenty-four hours later!

Apple has had a TV ad for the iPhone banned in England for making claims that are unsubstantiated by end-user real-life experience.

Just yesterday, it was Apple who was doing the banning:

While the English Advertising Standards Authority adjudicated a technical issue and could render a black-or-white decision, Apple's stance in banning a comic book has yet to be merited.

For those who need the details of Apple's banning, see yesterday's post: Apple Forfeits eBooks By Banning A Comic Book!

Apple's woes are not yet over, when it comes to advertising claims. As I've posted earlier, there is a huge discrepancy over what is advertised and displayed in TV ads as an example of YouTube playback and the reality of that experience under 3G reception. As I wrote earlier:
If this is the new shape of YouTube on iPhone, Apple has just opened itself up to getting sued by Attorneys General all across this country. You can’t go around showing crystal clear video in TV ads as an example of YouTube and then substitute it with that crap! That’s clear bait and switch as well as misrepresentation and outright fraud.

Apple, our troops in Iraq have an expression for the tsunami that's heading your way: Embrace the Suck.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Apple Forfeits eBooks By Banning A Comic Book!

Apple, please do not do eBooks.

Because you've just shown that you can't handle comic books!

Recently I raved about a revolutionary new program called Comic Reader. This program was to be used to premiere a comic book called Murderdrome.

From the title alone, you expect it not to be all bunnies and unicorns and rainbows.

But this is a comic book. A work of drawing and word balloons. It is imaginary. It is fiction.

It was submitted to the Apple App Store and the publishers received notice that it was being rejected for violating terms of the Software Developer Kit which states:
Applications must not contain any obscene, pornographic, offensive or defamatory content or materials of any kind (text, graphics, images, photographs, etc.), or other content or materials that in Apple's reasonable judgement may be found objectionable by iPhone or iPod touch users.

Well now wait a minute here.

Murderdrome is not an "application," Comic Reader is. Murderdrome is content that can be read via the Comic Reader application.

Murderdrome is a book.

Apple has just banned a book.

I've been one of the earliest and loudest advocates for Apple to enter eBooks (see For The Record: Apple and eBooks). I believed that Apple would legitimize them in a way the Sony Reader hasn't and go beyond the minor ripple Amazon's Kindle has managed to create. With a base of millions and millions of potential reading devices out there -- iPhone and iPod Touch -- Apple would have an advantage no other company has yet enjoyed.

But now Apple has acted in a manner that is absolutely toxic to the process of publishing.

Infurious Comics, to plead its case, has eschewed the income they would have derived from selling the first issue of Murderdrome by placing the entire collection of panels on their site for everyone to read for free. Go look at it. Right now. Then come back.

Several issues and questions here.

1) mj just this week pointed out an entire list of movies that Apple currently offers without any ratings attached to them. One of these movies I think most people will be familiar with: Reservoir Dogs. Remember that shocking scene with the cop tied to a chair being worked over by one of the criminals with a straight razor? Apple offers that with no rating advisory.

Here, look. This is the American iTunes Store listing for Reservoir Dogs:

Click = big

There is no rating.

And oh yes, I'm going to stick it right in your face, that scene. Because you need it for comparison purposes later on. So watch it right now.

2) Here is the listing for one of the other movies people who bought Reservoir Dogs also got, Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels:

Click = big

Notice the rating?

Someone could argue, "Well, it's an oversight." But how long has this alleged "oversight" been going on? I don't know if the iTunes Store can restrict purchases based on age, but if they can, hey, this -- and the entire list mj has posted -- has somehow slipped through. That's a pretty big slip-through!

3) Back to Reservoir Dogs again. I'm certain 99.9% of the people reading this blog are familiar with The Simpsons. And with the cartoon-within-the-cartoon Itchy & Scratchy. But how many will recall that Itchy & Scratchy did Reservoir Dogs? Yep, here it is:

That went out as general-audience entertainment here in America. I don't think it got anything other than a TV-G (General Audiences) rating. Yet it illustrates a dismembering and a beheading!

Oh, you argue, it's just a cartoon!

So is Murderdrome! These are two of the worst panels in it:

The difference between Murderdrome and The Simpsons: Murderdrome is not presenting anything as comedy. Its explicitness is to drive home a point: the brutality of the system in which the prisoners have been placed to compete. It is a futuristic gladiator competition. (I'm not privy to the entire story; all I've seen is what everyone has seen, but I'd bet real money that ensuing chapters will be making points about punishment, justice, and character that you won't find in Itchy & Scratchy!)

4) If Apple's move is designed to "protect the children," then Apple doesn't know what "the children" are up to these days. Look at this:

Hello. The kid has a gun. And how is it he's imitating a scene from a movie he is prohibited from seeing by its rating? Apple, could he have seen it via the iTunes Store?

5) How cognizant is Apple of the general-audience pop culture out there? Here is a compilation of Itchy & Scratchy:

Just how much brutality has been shown on The Simpsons? I go to the authority: South Park.

Click = big

Here's a description of an episode carried on the iTunes Store:

Apple banning the Murderdrome comic book does not bode well for Apple possibly handling eBooks in the future.

6) What would it do when presented with crime fiction? What would it do when presented with the four books of Derek Raymond's Factory series? Apple doesn't know what it's in for. Here's writer James Sallis to give them a peek in a Boston Globe column he wrote: Derek Raymond: A writer who went down into darkness.

7) Who at Apple has been set up to vet material? Specifically, why was Murderdrome vetted as an application and not as a publication? Apple has a Books category in the App Store. That's where Murderdrome should have been placed.

8) Does this Appointed Guardian at Apple have any idea how comic books have progressed? They're no longer this:

Even that Appointed Guardian at Apple must have heard there's a big movie coming out next year called Watchmen. It's based on a comic book. What would Apple have done if Watchmen had been submitted to it today, with it being a brand-new thing without the history and status it now enjoys? Would the Appointed Guardian have objected to the violence? Like this scene:

Oh, but wait. Apple actually offers a version of the comic book Watchmen!

Click = big

It's under TV Shows! How does that happen?

It's evident that Apple has yet to sort out what its stance is on several issues. Properly rating movies, for one thing. How to handle publications that are wrapped in applications. The left hand of one part of the iTunes Store knowing what the right hand is being asked to approve for the App Store.

These are issues that have to be sorted out right now. Aside from Murderdrome, there is another publisher about to offer comic books on the App Store: iVerse. They have to be wondering what Apple's standards precisely are. I have to wonder now if Apple's banning of Murderdrome has a sent chilling shot across their bow.

Every single writer in the world is watching you right now, Apple.

Your problems with MobileMe and iPhone 3G reception issues are minor compared to this.

eBooks are the future. You are at the nexus of downloadable content and millions of consumers. Are you telling all of us that you intend to stand between us and every possible publication, permitting only your vision of the future to be offered for sale?

If that's going to be the case, you've just handed the eBook ball to Google and Android.

And Jeff Bezos over at Amazon must be breathing a great sigh of relief right now too -- when he isn't busy laughing at you.

As for me and every other writer who's been waiting for you to jump into eBooks and free us from an industry frozen in the 19th-century, let's just say we are not pleased.

And you absolutely do not want to displease writers, Apple. No, you do not.

Related coverage elsewhere:

Murderdrome BANNED by Apple
They Ban Comics, Don’t They?
Lying in the Gutters Volume 2 Column 172 (scroll down)

Monday, August 25, 2008

Twittersnipes: August 25, 2008

Twittersnipes: The “snipe” as in “sniper.” Tweets that hit me like bullets.

Click to enlarge or see them full-size at the Wordpress blog.

Quote: Writer Neal Stephenson

Novelist Neal Stephenson Once Again Proves He's the King of the Worlds
I was sort of going for broke with Snow Crash. I had tried to write stuff that was more conventional and that would be appealing to a large audience, and it didn't work. I figured I would just go for broke, write something really weird, and not be so worried about whether it was a good career move or not.

Interesting In New York City

Interesting comes to New York City Septmeber 13, 2008.

The site is Flash video heavy -- with those frikkin Vimeo vids that Microsoft anonymous upgrades have sabotaged for me! -- so I'm pointing to the less Flash-heavy About page (which also has one autoplay Vimeo, dammit!).

-- via Russell (no, not that one) Davies

Obama Vs. McCain: Thought Processes

A scenario in which each considers to tell of his affection for a member of the opposite sex.

Obama: Should I tell her I love her? Do I love her? What does that mean? And if I tell her I love her, what if she rejects me? But wait, what if she loves me too? Would she think I wanted to marry her? Would I want to marry her? What would that mean? I don't even know if she has brothers or sisters. What if they're weird? And what if she wants children? Do I want children? Can she have children? Can I have children? What if we both can't have children? What if we both can have children? What would those children be like? How many children would she want?

Woman: I love you, Obama.

Obama: Oh my god, she just said she loves me. What does that mean? Should I tell her I love her? Do I love her? What does that mean? And if I tell her I love her, would she think I wanted to marry her? Would I want to marry her? What would that mean? I don't even know if she has brothers or sisters. What if they're weird? And what if she wants children? Do I want children? Can she have children? Can I have children? What if we both can't have children? What if we both can have children? What would those children be like? How many children would she want?

Meanwhile ...

McCain: I love you.

Woman: Ew, no.

McCain: Oh, okay. Next!

Yo, Obama: Those Eggs Ain't Hatched, Turkey

HuffPo, of all people, says 'Obama can't win'
4) 'Everybody' believes Obama is going to win. Especially Obama.

This is ALWAYS dangerous. 'Everybody' thought stocks could only rise in early 2000. 'Everybody' thought there was no way to lose money in real estate a few years ago. 'Everybody' thought the idea of a successful terrorist attack on the World Trade Center was ridiculous in 1993. 'Everybody' thought the Red Sox would just fold as usual against the Yankees in 2005.

Beware of what 'everybody' believes.


Do you think Oprah should help him get a TV talk show or can he manage that on his own?

Previously here:

Reference: Presidential Candidate Skeletons
The Video Will Surface. I Am Patient.
Jive-Ass Turkey Picks Jive-Ass Plagiarist
Scholars Ponder Bible Typos
NOW Would You Vote For Ralph Nader?
Focus On The Family: Busted!
Obama Vs. Nader: Politician Vs. Man
What Planet Is Obama From?
Obama Goes Into Whore Mode
Obama Will Lose. And Might Already Have.
Obama-Nader 2008? Never, I Say!
Jive-Ass Turkey
And People Are Going To Vote For This Eejit?
The Trinity Of Hell
Why Democrats Lose
Pastor Manning Asks A Valid Obama Question
Follow-Up To That Obama Video Post
“He Was Born Trash,” Pastor Says Of Obama
In The Meantime … Some Anti-Obama
Blow Soda Out Your Nose With These
Something More Not To Like About This Election
Presidential Campaign V.D.
Something Is Just Plain Screwy Here
Barack Obama: Whose Money Is This?

Blog Notes: 200K+ Views

At the WordPress blog:

At least one pair of eyes won't be back.

How many others have I damaged? Send me pictures of your eyes!

More Comic Books For iPhone

iVerse Comic Reader App Demo

Now there are two apps called Comic Reader. That's not good.

As you can see from the video for this one, it seems to be landscape-only as well as basically a slide show program. No Table of Contents, no pop-up options, no nothing.

My advice?

Dump it. License the first Comic Reader and use that.

iVerse Comics site

Previously here:

iPhone Comic Book Reading Site!
eBook Breakthrough For iPhone Comics!
Japanese Manga Comes To The iPhone
Comic Books (Almost) Come To iPhone

Writer John Scalzi On Free (To Read) Writing

On Writing For “Free”
In any event, when we are all arguing about free fiction online, let’s remember that “free” does not have to equal “unpaid.” It hasn’t been for me; I’m not sure why it has to be assumed it will be for others.

Severe irony alert!

Reference: Presidential Candidate Skeletons

Over at SHAMblog, I've upset (as usual!) several people with my "I'm voting for Nader!" schtick (as usual!) and one of them posted a link to this site:

The Skeleton Closet
All the Dirt on All the Candidates for President --Since 1995-- Because character DOES matter.

Oh, there's plenty there about Ralph Nader.

And John McCain.

Very, very strangely, little about Barack Obama, which leads the site to wonder:
No one's sure what stuff he ISN'T telling us though.

See, that's my fundamental problem with him. He seems overtly shifty. In that Rick Warren fixed sit-down, his replicant-ness was in full swing. It's as if the guy was running Presidential Program A and simply outputting the text files from it. He seems inhuman. And that lack of depth isn't a lack of depth, I think. I see it as a very clever shielding mechanism to deflect interest from him. I also think he doesn't measure up to the Presidency (well, what the Presidency should be). Lastly, I think he's hiding essential parts of his temperament from us and I think he's one of those people who epitomizes the saying, "There's no there, there." I've encountered his type before. Beware!

You may scream in the Comments now.

Brave Move For Happy Hour Is 9 To 5 Book

You won't see exactly that when going to the site. I reformatted the hell out of the screensnap for my blog's column width.

Unlike the timid "experiment" from HarperCollins, this guy has put the entire book online to be read for free.

It's what I said: Writers Don’t Fear The Future: Publishers Do!

I'd like to see a lower price for the PDF and maybe even some other file formats (such as Sony Reader and Amazon Kindle), but I understand this is a business-oriented book, so get that Suit money.

Good luck. I hope it works out well for you.

-- via Twitter from top_book

Iron Lady Thatcher: Dementia

Britain's "Iron Lady" Thatcher has dementia: daughter
LONDON (Reuters) - Former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher -- once known as one of the world's most formidable political minds -- has been suffering from dementia for the past seven years, according to her daughter, Carol.

Carol Thatcher tells in her memoirs of how her 82-year-old mother, nicknamed the "Iron Lady" for her tough reputation, often struggles to remember things and repeats questions.

In a memoir serialized in the Mail on Sunday newspaper, her daughter paints a picture of a very different woman from the political heavyweight who strutted the world stage in the 1980s.

"The woman who had dominated discussions for so long could no longer lead debates or keep up with the thread of a drinks-party conversation," she wrote.

"On bad days, she could hardly remember the beginning of a sentence by the time she got to the end."

I disliked her politics greatly, but loved her. She had backbone!

With all of these announced cases, I'd really like to know if Simvastatin is in the mix. How many years and how many more people will suffer before the connection is widespread and can be ruled out?

I'm still having intermittent days when I have to discard lengthy posts because the words get lost in distant mist.

Previously here:

Writer Terry Pratchett Has Alzheimer’s
Statin Drugs: Brain Changes?
Statin Drugs: What You Must Know
Was My Brain Screaming To Itself?
Statin Drugs And Ersatz Alzheimer’s
Statin Drugs: More Fraud
James Kendrick Describes His Stroke
Statin Drugs: Two Notes
Statin Drugs: No Blood
Statin Drugs: Does V.P. Dick Cheney Take One?
Statin Drugs: Jarvik Ads Withdrawn
Statin Drugs: More Better!
Statin Drugs: Pain For Nothing
Statin Drugs: Survey
Simvastatin Made Me Insane
Simvastatin: This Happened To Me Too!
Simvastatin Vs. My Mind
Stopping My Statin
Give Me Back My Mind!

The Mystery Of Oscar Mike

"Oscar Mike" is the leading search term today bringing people to this blog.



So I asked on Twitter what the term meant and scratched told me it's used a lot in the HBO series Generation Kill and probably means "On the Move."

He was right.

Here's a list of Iraqi theater military terms: Iraq’s battlefield slang
Oscar Mike: On the move (Marine lingo).

I love these:
Echelons above reality: Higher headquarters where no one has an idea about what is really happening.

Embrace the suck: Phrase heard in OIF1 (the original Operation Iraqi Freedom force). Translation: The situation is bad, but deal with it.

Geardo: Derogatory term for the guy who has to have all the latest and greatest gear on his uniform, even though he does not know how to use it.

Groundhog Day: Every day of your tour in Iraq.

Johnny Jihad: Slang for a Muslim or Muslim combatant.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

They Don't Write These Anymore

That was too hilarious not to steal!

More very, very strange -- and funny -- gay paperback covers at Gay on the Range! (Really, that's the frikkin name! And it's the name of one of the books too!)

-- via growabrain

Writer Stieg Larsson

Nobel a likely no-no for Sweden's king of crime fiction
The Swedish Academy, which awards the Nobel Prize in Literature, has not yet asked my opinion. But when they do, I'll advise the distinguished committee that the world's most prestigious literary award for 2008 should go to Stieg Larsson.

It is remotely possible that they won't heed my advice. For starters, they'd have to take the highly unusual measure of awarding it posthumously. The Swedish author died of a heart attack in 2004, aged 50, shortly before his Millennium Trilogy became a worldwide phenomenon.

Reviewers throw around epithets such as "masterpiece," "the total detective novel" and "a major literary work." The French translator compared Millennium to Balzac's Human Comedy. In Denmark, the first volume has outsold all other books bar the Bible. Will Larsson catch up with God? It's not out of the question.

The hype is justified. I opened the first book, "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo," and did not come up for air for 500 pages. Career tip: Do not start reading on Sunday night. Before you know it the clock says 7 a.m. and you realize with shock that you are going to arrive late for your 8 a.m. meeting unshowered and with bloodshot eyes.

Emphasis added by me.

This is for crime fiction?!

I must read this. I hadn't heard of any of this until now.

Jesus Saves, But Satan Collects Interest!

The God Of Money
[A]n associate pastor of a Presbyterian church declared that God is a Capitalist.

The Precog Blog: Part Three Is Up!

Too many typos, but I liked it.

Previously here:

Free Short Story: The Precog Blog

Hell Winter Gets Closer, Faster!

There is no direct link, just this general one, but this is from the story.

Up North may see patchy frost tonight
Here's some news you probably hoped you wouldn't hear for another four months.

The National Weather Service says areas of northeast Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin could see patchy frost this weekend. That's right, patchy frost in August.

The weather agency says clear skies could allow temperatures to dip into the low to mid-30s late tonight into early Monday.

A meteorlogist poo-poos it, saying they had 20s at this time in 2004.

Don't believe him. Hell Winter is coming!

Previously here:

Winter 2008: The Big Freeze

iPhone Comic Book Reading Site!

Whoa! I never expected something like this! iPhone Comic Book Reader

-- via ispy1964's LiveJournal

Bryant & May To Continue!!

Bryant & May is a fantastic detective series from the superb writer Christopher Fowler (whose work I've been interested in since the 1980s).

The sixth book in the time-interleaving and -interlocking series was to be the end. After The Victoria Vanishes, no more.

Cue my spirit being crushed!

But today Christopher Fowler has announced there will be a seventh book:
Well, the sixth and final book came out in the UK, the votes are in, the publishers have put their heads together, I’ve thought about it carefully and now it’s official.

Bryant & May are going on.

It'll be called Bryant & May On The Loose.

Cue my spirit being revived!

Here in America, all the Bryant & May series will be re-released in trade paperbacks. Unfortunately, I dislike the covers:

Even the hardcover for the sixth is getting that (mal)treatment:

(This one was supposed to be out in July. The publisher's website now says October! No wonder I couldn't find it in stores!)

Really, someone needs to be flogged for those appalling covers!

Anyway, all the rest of you now have to run out and snatch up the five books to be prepared for the sixth and seventh!

And yes, they are (and will be) in e (waiting for #6).

See Christopher Fowler's eBook status at The eBook Test blog.

Previously here:

So Who Wrote This Then?
Writer Christopher Fowler Is Blogging!
Christopher Fowler Cover Development
Christopher Fowler’s New Digs
Doctor Who: Turn Left
Christopher Fowler: March 2009
Christopher Fowler: Read His Books
What I Look Forward To In 2008

I Watch & Tweet The Rick Warren Obama-McCain Thing

It wasn't until Steve Salerno mentioned it that I even knew there was some sort of (un)debate that happened with Obama and McCain.

I had no interest in seeing it because Nader has my vote.

But then I posted about Peggy Noonan's column today in the Wall Street Journal and that whetted my appetite. She really made it sound like a freakout.

So I had to see it and I'm sure all in violation of the DMCA, it was up to view without ad breaks on YouTube.

I will not embed it here.

I watched all of it and subjected everyone on Twitter to a running scathing commentary on it.

And oh, at the end, I embed a YouTube of a scandal.

Go to the WordPress blog to read the rest.