Tuesday, January 17, 2012

E-Galley Giveaway

 I am giving away some secure e-galleys of DON'T EVER GET OLD through NetGalley.  To be eligible, just leave a comment on this post, OR tweet a link to any post on this blog you happen to think your followers might enjoy OR tweet at me that you want to be entered, and retweet anything from my Twitter feed, OR add DON'T EVER GET OLD on Goodreads.

The contest ends on February 1, so do this immediately!

I'll assign everyone a number and pick the winners using using Random.org and I'll give away 3 e-galleys of DON'T EVER GET OLD, but if I get up to 1000 followers on Twitter, or if 250 people add me on Goodreads by the end of the contest, I'll give away 5 of these e-galleys, and I'll also give away some muffins from Modern Muffin.  These are some seriously awesome muffins, and the book is pretty good, too. So tell all your friends about my Twitter feed, retweet my funniest tweets to your followers and make me famous.

NetGalley e-galleys are compatible with just about any e-reader, tablet or smartphone, and you can also read it on your PC if you don't have a reader.  If this goes well, I'll run more contests in the future, and give away some print galleys this way as well.

UPDATE: I just ran the Random.org number generator, and the numbers I'd attached to Mindi, Albert and Steph from Twitter came up.  So you get e-galleys. Congratulations.  I'll ask my marketing contact to get your e-mail addresses authorized, and you will be able to download your secure e-galleys to your computer, tablet or e-reader.  I am also having a copy sent to Rita Meade, who is a librarian and blogger and said she wanted one.

ANOTHER UPDATE: If you reach this page from Google, we are doing an giveaway for signed print ARCs through Goodreads. You can enter here:  http://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/21061-don-t-ever-get-old

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

I Need A Diet Soda That's Not For Women: A Personal Narrative

The other day, I was  hanging out in a vacant, foreclosed house, smashing holes in the fucking drywall with my goddamn forehead, when I happened to catch a look at my reflection in a nearby mirror.  That’s when I realized I’d gotten fat as shit.

I don’t know how the fuck I became such a porker.  I consume only high-octane extreme-sports food, such as Taco-Bell’s Double-Stuf Torpedito combo meal, King-Size Super-Spicy Slim-Jims, and Nacho-In-The–Face  Cheezy Doritos.  But, despite my carefully-calibrated athlete’s diet, my form is significantly softer and less-defined than one might expect, based on my intense, manly lifestyle.

I blame high-calorie sugar soda.  I chug a two-liter bottle of that shit to hydrate after I do my ten minute version of P90X on fast-forward, and then I usually pick up a 64-ounce Godzilla Gulp when I make my daily stop at the Exxon station to put another 30 gallons of super-premium in my Expedition.  Clearly, I need to stop doing that.

I’ll be damned, though, if I am going to drink some pussy-ass diet soda with dainty little bubbles and curlicue cursive lettering on the can. And I am sure as shit not going to drink water.  Have you seen water?  Water is clear, like the vodka drinks on “Sex And The City,” which I have never watched.   I don’t trust a clear drink.  A man’s beverage should be the same murky brown color as a mouthful of tobacco-spit.  If you drink water, you’d better stock up on tampons, because pretty soon, you’re gonna start bleeding out of your vagina.

I thought about drinking Gatorade, but it doesn’t seem like that will help much.  It turns out that Gatorade has almost as many calories as soda.  Plus, it tastes like fruit, which seems pretty gay to me.  That is not an appropriate beverage for a man.  A proper drink should put hair on a man’s scrotum, hair that he will leave ungroomed and unwashed, in a long, matted tangle, like God’s own beard.

Thank Christ for the rocket scientists at Dr. Pepper, who have developed a new man-soda called Dr. Pepper 10.  An extensive marketing campaign has persuaded me that this awesome low-calorie beverage is emphatically not for women.  This stuff comes in a can that’s the color of a gun, and it tastes like it feels to get punched in the face by an iceberg.

 At long last, I will be able to enjoy a beverage that doesn’t shatter my fragile perception of my own masculinity, and I will also be able to enjoy a view of my penis that is not fully occluded by the protrusion of my belly.  Fuckin’ A.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

How to keep people from pirating your book

Much has been written elsewhere about SOPA, the industry-driven and deeply misguided legislation that the media industry is trying to push through the US Congress.

I believe that legislation and litigation are absolutely useless at deterring piracy.  The Internet always finds a way around these things.  Online media piracy has been around for nearly as long as the Internet.  Industry groups like the RIAA and the MPAA classify downloading as theft, and disseminate marketing material urging this viewpoint onto the public.

But, despite their efforts, piracy continues relatively unchecked.  Years of efforts to convince the public that downloading is wrong have failed; in 2008, 95% of music downloads were illegal.  The results of this activity for the music industry have been devastating.  Sales volume has dropped by more than half over the last decade, because a huge percentage of the consumers who used to pay for music now get it for free.

People pirate media online when the pirate copies are easy to get and function identically to legal copies.  Efforts to make pirated media difficult to obtain always fail.  Therefore, the best way to deter piracy is to make pirated media less functional by excluding it from popular devices.

You can see the difference between a protected media format and an unprotected media format by looking at a single device, the iPhone.

Apple's music devices, dating back to the original iPod, have always been very welcoming to pirated music.  You can download a song and drop it right into your device through the iTunes software, and it plays.

This function was something of an unavoidable necessity for music.  Listeners had extensive collections of high-quality digital recordings on CD when the iPod devices first came out, and they had a reasonable expectation that they'd be able to move their CD music collections onto the new devices.  And since the CD format was developed before anyone knew about the Internet or digital piracy, CDs had minimal protections against getting ripped into unprotected MP3 formats and distributed online.  iTunes and Apple have no way of telling the difference between a file you've ripped from CDs you bought and a file you downloaded.

By contrast, it is extremely difficult to use pirated software applications on iOS devices.  There is only one point of access for software, and that is Apple's App Store.  If you download some illegal software for the iPhone, it's very difficult to make your phone run it.  If you have tech-savvy friends, you'll find that many of them download music illegally, but regularly pay for apps.

People don't feel that supporting app developers is a moral duty, while supporting musicians is not. People don't feel that the apps contain more value than the music.  If you could load your iPhone with pirate apps as easily as you could load it with pirate music, nobody would pay for apps.  But it's easy to pirate music and hard to pirate apps.

The same rule holds true with video game consoles; getting them to play pirate software is very difficult and often requires physical modifications to the hardware.  So most gamers buy their software legally.

Publishers need to be talking to e-reader vendors and tablet makers about how these devices will deal with e-book files that originate from places other than the stores affiliated with the apps.  Right now it's possible to read pirate books on a Kindle, but it's much more involved than loading a song onto an iPod.  It's important that these devices not be allowed, in the future, to read PDF files or other pirate formats like e-books, and that measures are kept in place to prevent purchased e-book files of being downloaded from the devices, stripped of DRM and shared online.