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June 29, 2005

Odds and Ends

In my post Three Nerds in a Tub I managed to predict the past.  I prophesied that someday ships would automatically broadcast their GPS-derived positions and other information in a form that can be displayed on radar.  If I had caught up on Sail Magazine before blogging, I would have known about Automatic Identity System (AIS) which broadcasts “ship’s name, course, speed, rate of turn and much more…” McCurdo Pains Wessex is one company which offers it.

Bad enough not to have the latest toys but worse not to even know about them.

Speaking of toys, Roomba has disappeared.  I didn’t mean to be prophetic when I blogged that our robotic vacuum cleaner is hard to find if you don’t hear his last pathetic beep as he runs out of power.  Well, now we can’t find him anywhere in our pretty simple house.  We did find a pornographic DVD presumably from a former occupant in a hitherto unknown recess but no Roomba unless he managed to morph.

Of course the dogs could have eaten him or the three laws forced him to self-destruct.

I’m flattered by the number of requests I get to listen to the inventions and plans of innovators and entrepreneurs and to give some advice.  Usually these seekers of dubious wisdom are those who read my blog.  I have to follow my own advice that free consulting is bad both for the consultant and the consultee.  Sometimes I haven’t written back or not responded promptly because it’s awkward to say “pay me and I’ll listen to you” and I apologize for that.  I hate people who don’t answer email.  But Fractals of Change is the only free advice I offer.

I received some very good advice from Andy Kessler whose books I love to read.  He told me I would get lots of qualified responses if I advertised for an editor of historical murder mysteries on craigslist.  He was right; it’s going to be hard to choose from the well-qualified people who responded.  I’m also looking for a “a product manager” for my to-be-self-published novel.  That’s probably not the right title but I’d like to find someone with experience promoting and marketing mysteries – especially experience using the Internet for promotion.

Book distribution hasn’t gone electronic as fast as music and other content even though creating an e-book is pretty simple.  Books are still read at the three “b”s – bed, beach, and bathroom.  Some people object to computers in bed and computers object to sand in their keyboards.  I spend a lot of my waking hours in front of a computer but that’s not where I do my recreational reading.  Could be I’m just old.  Or it could be that we always needed a device to listen to music or watch a video so substituting one electronic device for another is a much more natural step than putting down the comfortable old book and picking up some kind of e-tablet instead.

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