Monday, 3 May 2004
10:25 - May will be a month of very short and sporadic posts. I was scheduled to reach 100% completion on the new book last Friday, and I'm nowhere near finished yet. Of course, adding the SFF chapter is what really put me behind. So it's heads-down work between now and the time I get it finished.
To add to my workload, I'm proposing yet another new specialized PC hardware hacks book to O'Reilly, and they're interested in doing it. Assuming I can get the current book finished by 31 May, and assuming we can get the contract details for the new book hammered out between now and then, I should be starting the new book on or about 1 June. I have the months of June, July, and August to get that book finished, so it'll be a very intense three months. O'Reilly wants the book to be a mid-November title, which means I have to have the thing complete no later than the end of August to mid-September.
That also means I won't be able to start work on the fourth edition of PC Hardware in a Nutshell until at least September (assuming I don't sign yet another new book), which in turn puts PCHiaN, 4E as a 2005 title. It looks like I'm going to be one busy author between now and sometime in the indefinite future. Which is good.
Tuesday, 4 May 2004
I was sixteen years old the day it happened. That day, the government irretrievably and completely lost my trust, as it did that of many, perhaps most, of my generation. Whatever one's position on the war--I supported it--murdering unarmed and peaceful American college students was an action from which the government could never recover. Until that day, most Americans believed and trusted their government. Since that day, well, let's just say that most Americans no longer believe what the government tells them or trusts it to do the right thing. As Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young said, "Soldiers are gunning us down." Us.
9:13 - Well, things have changed again. Now it looks as though I'll be doing the 4th edition of PC Hardware in a Nutshell after I finish the current book but before I do the other book.
And, speaking of the current book, I proposed something to O'Reilly yesterday, and it looks as though they want to do it. It isn't a sure thing yet, but I'm pretty sure we're going to hold a drawing for a free review copies of the new book, and perhaps O'Reilly t-shirts. Anyone who subscribes to my sites will be eligible for the drawing. I have no idea how many copies of the book O'Reilly plans to give away. It could be five or it could be fifty, but I suspect it'll be a pretty large number.
The reason we want to do this is that reviews on Amazon.com have a great impact on how quickly a book gets traction and how long the momentum continues. Even people who plan to buy the book elsewhere often check the Amazon reviews first. The easiest way to get a lot of Amazon reviews up quickly is to get a lot of review copies into the hands of reviewers. (Well, some authors post their own reviews on Amazon under false names, but we won't go there...).
So, the idea is that O'Reilly will ship each winner a copy of the book hot off the press. The winner's only obligation is to read the book and post a review of it on Amazon.com as soon as possible. Note that I very carefully didn't say "a favorable review" or "a five-star review". We won't go there, either. Obviously, I expect that most of my subscribers will like the book, but I want to emphasize that we are in no way soliciting only favorable reviews.
As to the mechanics, it'll depend on how many review copies O'Reilly decides to pass out and how many of my subscribers express an interest. If more people are interested than are books available, as I expect there will be, I'll hold a drawing some time well before the pub date and notify the people who've won.
I'll have more details about this later. As of now, I don't even know the pub date for the book. Heck, I haven't even finished writing it yet, and then there'll be some time needed to produce the book, print it, and get it ready for distribution. I'll keep everyone posted about progress.
Wednesday, 5 May 2004
12:47 - Churning away on administrative stuff today, primarily a detailed TOC for the next rev of PC Hardware in a Nutshell, which is likely to end up being PC Hardware in a Coconut Shell.
I've gotten about 40 responses to my post yesterday about review copies of the new book. My original plan was to hold a drawing if the number of people who wanted a review copy exceeded the number available, I think O'Reilly might be willing to send out 50 review copies to my subscribers, but probably not more. That means if you're registered at this point, your chances of getting a review copy are pretty good unless I get a slew of additional people signing up. So, if you're a subscriber and haven't registered, now is the time to do it.
To do so, send an email to bpp-drawing (at) ttgnet (dot) com, and include the following information:
O'Reilly hasn't mentioned t-shirts again, so I'm not sure if they plan to give those away as well or not.
Thursday, 6 May 2004
10:16 - I submitted my preliminary TOC yesterday, so it's back to work on the current book, which is known, as all books are at this stage, as "The Book That Will Not Die".
I was exchanging email with a friend this morning, and he commented in passing,
To which I replied:
Yes. I suspect some head has to roll, and the female general responsible isn't high enough.
Perhaps I'm missing the "humanity gene", or perhaps it's my Scots blood, but I see nothing wrong with torturing prisoners under appropriate circumstances. The key question is whether one has reason to believe that the prisoner has important information that's verifiable.
It's pretty useless to torture for unverifiable information, because the prisoner will say anything to make the pain stop. But for verifiable information, such as where a bomb is hidden, torturing makes sense to me. Why should we shrink at causing pain to an enemy prisoner, when the alternative is something bad happening to our guys that we could have prevented by using torture?
I also think torture should be used in cases like that little girl who was snatched and murdered a couple months ago. They had a suspect in custody, they were as close to 100% certain as it's possible to be that he was the one who snatched her. He knew where she was, and the cops had no idea if she was dead yet or not. For all they knew, he might have buried her alive with an air tube or had her locked up at some isolated cabin where she was starving to death. Under those circumstances, I think torture makes sense. Although I personally find the idea of torturing someone distasteful--I dislike screaming--I'd certainly be willing to do it myself under those circumstances.
As to the abuse of prisoners (you really can't call it torture), I think that was stupid thing to do. Either kill them or let them be. I would have punished appropriately those who actually carried out the abuse and their superiors who were aware or should have been aware of what was going on. For the actual abusers, I'd bust them one grade and sentence them to 30 days of administrative punishment. For their officers, I'd reduce them in grade, send them to the most miserable assignments available, and make it clear that their careers were over so they might as well resign.
That only for senseless abuse, of course. Those who torture prisoners with a valid goal, such as discovering arms caches or plans for attacks on US forces, should be commended rather than punished.
And, lest we forget, there's big difference between pissing on a prisoner and feeding a prisoner feet-first into a log chipper, which is what Saddam and his sons did for entertainment.
Friday, 7 May 2004
Saturday, 8 May 2004
9:46 - We transitioned to a new server this weekend. Rocket, our former server, began rebooting spontaneously. The folks at the co-hosting company couldn't figure out what was wrong, so they ended up replacing the server. The new server, zidane, is now up and working properly. Everything including web sites, mail, and messageboards has been moved over to it. Greg and Brian set the DNS TTL to 5 minutes before they made the transition, so most DNS servers should be resolving the new host properly by now. Thanks to Greg Lincoln and Brian Bilbrey, who worked like yeomen to get the migration accomplished over the weekend.
As far as we know, no mail was lost, but it's possible that a few messages ended up in the bit bucket. If you sent me something in the last couple of days that you expected an answer to and you haven't received one, please resend it.
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