Something Worse Than Family Not Buying Your Book

goodreads-7327881When Friends and Family Lie About Buying Your Book
‘Well, it happened again. An author accused us of not paying royalties on friends and family book sales…that never occurred. He was unable to provide copies of receipts from the loved ones he claimed had purchased his book. In addition, he refused to provide any information about the purchases, nor the buyers, nor the stores where the purchases had (not) occurred. Even though he had zero receipts, and even though he didn’t forward any correspondence to me from those individuals, and even though he could not or would not give information about even one “missing” sale, he insisted I get the money from Ingram for the (non-existent) sales anyway…’
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The Reader Privacy Act Vetoed
NJ Gov. Christie Vetoes Reader Privacy Act, Asks for Stronger, Narrower Law
‘As previously reported in The Digital Reader, the bill passed in September by wide margins in both houses of the New Jersey State Legislature and would have codified the right to read ebooks without letting the government and everybody else knowing about it.

‘I wrote about some problems I saw with the bill. Based on a California law focused on law enforcement, the proposed NJ law added civil penalties on booksellers who disclosed the personal information of users without a court order. As I understood it, the bill could have prevented online booksellers from participating in ad networks (they all do!).

‘Governor Christie’s veto statement pointed out more problems. The proposed law didn’t explicitly prevent the government from asking for personal reading data, it just made it against the law for a bookseller to comply. So, for example, a local sheriff could still ask Amazon for a list of people in his town reading an incriminating book. If Amazon answered, somehow the reader would have to:…’
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For Publishers, Chat Apps Could Soon Be the Next Facebook
Why Chat Apps May Be the Next Big Driver of Referral Traffic
‘Think all of your social traffic is coming from Facebook and Twitter? Think again. Nieman Journalism Lab just shared a case study about the impact of chat apps—and it may just shed some light on your “dark social” traffic.

‘The mobile messaging app is proving itself to be much more than a free way to text. Nieman Lab reported media outlets like BBC are embracing WhatsApp as a viable platform for sharing news, calling it and its ilk “mobile-first social media sites.” BuzzFeed and Shazam have added a WhatsApp share button to their mobile sites, and earlier this year, BuzzFeed revealed it was getting more taps from its WhatsApp button than from its Twitter button…’
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Source of Great Writers: Real-life Private Eye

twitter-B1h4DGuCAAAPfsZ.jpg largeBlack Man Secretly Helped Great Crime Writers
Ever noticed the character names Sam Spade and Philip Marlowe in crime fiction? The names Sam and Marlowe was a code for Samuel Marlowe who was a real black private detective and a source for Chandler and Hammett.

‘…Marlowe, she said, was the city’s first licensed black private detective. He shadowed lives, took care of secrets, knew his way around Tinseltown. Ransil dropped the names of some Hollywood heavies — Clark Gable, Jean Harlow, Howard Hughes.

‘But it got better. Marlowe knew hard-boiled writers Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett, she said.

‘The private eye had written them after reading their early stories in the pulp magazine Black Mask to say their fictional gumshoes were doing it all wrong. They began writing regularly, or so her story went. The authors relied on Marlowe for writing advice, and in the case of Chandler, some real-life detective work…’
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The Hard Truth About Kill Fees
‘…Had it been a less timely feature, I would’ve been okay asking for the extension. Instead, I submitted a draft, seriously stretching the limited information I had to work with. The editor responded with an edit memo—not an actual edit—saying the story had interesting bits but was missing the mark: It was too introductory for their audience, needed a buzzier lede, and required a bit of restructuring. That’s when I realized I hadn’t completely understood the assignment. We both should have verified we were on the same page beforehand. I focused heavily on the development of the models and why they were so important. He felt their readers already understood the importance and that I could’ve skip those sections. The next draft came closer, but still not close enough. He wanted a tighter focus and more details, and didn’t think he’d have enough time to help get it where he wanted. He then offered a kill fee, graciously attaching the edits he had made thus far…’
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Verb Mistakes #1: Didn’t With Conditional
‘One type of conditional sentence refers to a situation in the past that might have happened, but didn’t. The speaker is speculating about what might have happened if things had been different. In this type of sentence, the verb in the “if clause” will be in the past perfect tense, and the main clause will contain the modal would or could.

‘Note: The past perfect tense uses had + a past participle. For example, “had gone.”

‘A common error is to use a didn’t construction in the “if clause.”…’
Here are some examples

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The First Online Animation Program

coreldraw-imagesIn 1989, there was already a graphic design program before the Internet came into being. So it’s not surprising that it was also the first program animators used for designing and creating.

‘When we introduced CorelDRAW in 1989, we knew we had something special on our hands. With the first graphics software for the Windows® platform, Corel changed the way people express and share ideas—and users have been trusting their ideas to Corel products ever since…’
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Incredible Corel Painting Timelapse: A Woman’s Life
‘This is an astonishing time lapse of a constantly-evolving digital painting produced with Corel Painter 11 software by Korean illustrator, Seok Jeong Hyeon (“Stonehouse”) which depicts the image of a woman, developing from infancy to old age, displaying his mind-boggling skill in this medium…’
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The Value of the Ungoogleable
‘In this magnificent Design Matters conversation with Debbie Millman, Ben Schott — who identifies neither with being a writer nor with being a designer but describes himself instead as “a writer who uses design and a designer who uses word” — shares the unlikely, remarkably heartening story of his success. Folded into it are Schott’s reflections on how his father’s obscure scientific papers on the history of the footnote shaped his miscellaneous mind, what Virginia Woolf can teach us about the secret of great design and craftsmanship, and why the art of finding the ungoogleable is of ever-increasing value today…’

“…The point was not to get stuff that was out there — it was trying to find things that no one else had talked about. Which is increasingly hard, by the way — to find stuff that is ungoogleable.” -Schott
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Three Dos and Don’ts After You Get a Bad Performance Review
‘Performance reviews are already stressful, but when you get sat down and told that you’re not doing so hot, it’s even worse. Here are three things you should do after your assessment and three things you shouldn’t.

‘A bad performance review can send you in a downward spiral—especially if you feel like it’s inaccurate—but there are still a few good ways keep your head up and move forward. Carolyn O’Hara at the Harvard Business Review recommends you keep these principles in mind:..’
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How Publishers & Copyright Gave Amazon The Very Power That Publishers Now Hate
‘We’ve been meaning to weigh in some more on the whole Amazon/Hachette battle, because lot of misinformation has been spewed around (including by Paul Krugman). Unfortunately there have just been too many other things to cover and we haven’t had the time to do a more thorough piece. However, Tim Lee, over at Vox, has a good short piece detailing how many of the publishers’ problems are really because of copyright law and the stupid DRM that the publishers themselves demanded — and which now gives Amazon its power over them in the market. The issue? The DMCA and the fact that Section 1201 makes it illegal to circumvent any DRM (even if for non-infringing purposes). End result, all those books on Amazon are stuck on Amazon.

‘The thing is, none of this is even remotely surprising. Almost six years ago, we warned book publishers of this exact scenario. This wasn’t hard to predict, because the same damn thing had happened in music, before Apple finally dumped its music DRM. But no one listens to us…’
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How About a Fact-checking App for Articles?

blogs.rrc-Truth-MythSome computers like IBM’s Watson can store millions of facts and that’s a fact. If Watson could do that, it’s so believable that it could also check if articles are factual and do not contain false ‘facts’.

Free Journalism Ethics Hotline
‘The Society for Professional Journalists just revised its code of ethics for the first time in 18 years for the digital age, and the Online News Association is crowdsourcing a project that allows journalists to build individual codes of ethics on the premise that one standardized code can no longer represent everyone.

‘Lodged in between these contrasting initiatives is a question about whether more standardized ethics codes have become stale in a fast-paced media environment where the working conditions for journalists are ever-changing. Or, do they in fact represent much-needed, objective fix points in a fluid world where far too much is already relative and individual?…’
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A Novel and Forbidden Collaboration Through the Net in Tibet
‘Five years in the making, solely through online communication, a unique music collaboration between a Tibetan musician in exile and a Tibetan poet inside Tibet, was finally released internationally in July 2013.

‘The first collaboration of its kind, the song Lam La Che is an example of how the internet allows Tibetans in exile and Tibetans inside Tibet to reach across borders to not only communicate, but also collaborate.

‘Tibetan musicians making pro-Tibetan art inside Tibet risk censorship and imprisonment for their work. Tibetans diaspora musicians can produce art freely but know that their work might not reach Tibetans living under Chinese control…’
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Following Political Pressure, Citizen-Led Rural Libraries Shut Down in China
‘China’s rural areas don’t receive the same education resources that the country’s wealthier urban centers do. This gap is a widely acknowledged problem, and many organizations have been established to improve the facilities in rural China and ensure that the students there aren’t left behind.

‘However, Chinese authorities don’t exactly welcome citizen-led initiatives with open arms, and recently an independent library project called China Rural Library (CRL) was forced to close due to political pressure…’
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Why investigative journalism is so important

Originally posted on Plato on-line:

salon.com-greenwald_snowden_poitras-620x412‘Bloggers appear to have filled a void particularly in political commentary. A key difference between bloggers and traditional media is that bloggers have little or no reputational risk or editorial objectivity in what they comment on.

‘Apart from libel laws they are largely free to say what they want with little commercial constraint.

‘But real investigative journalism is crucial to a well-functioning democracy. Unfortunately it is a costly endeavour for media outlets struggling to survive. This leads to a tendency towards descriptive reporting rather than investigation. This reduces the accountability of politicians and other powerful entities in our society…’
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Why The Poor Pay $1,400 for Old iPads
‘Would you pay $1,439.28 for an early model iPad? Some who can’t afford it do. In some ways, the predatory lending to the poor that threw America into a tailspin in 2006 has moved on to smaller items like iPads and couches…

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Cartoon Network Seeks Filipino 3D Artists

wikipedia-indexIn 1993 when 3D animation isn’t popular yet, Walt Disney subcontracts our office Tokyo Animation in Manila. Lion King was just one of the movies we created scenes of.

‘Silas Hickey, Cartoon Network’s creative director for animation development in Asia Pacific, said the country is loaded with skilled animators in 3D.

‘“We do a lot of lab work in the Philippines because a lot of people love to draw. You are much aware that Johnny Bravo was developed by a Filipino artist based in the United States,” he said during his talk with Top Draw Animation Inc. animators and students held at Tektite Tower, Pasig City.

“’We want to grow the next generation of storytellers in Asia Pacific,” Hickey pointed out…’
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The Abusive Campaign of Gamergate
Lazy coverage of Gamergate is only feeding this abusive campaign
‘Gamergate’s self-image of itself as ‘crusaders for ethics’ isn’t supported by its actions, so the media should stop describing it as such

‘For any traditional protest movement, a front-page story in America’s leading newspaper linking it with death threats, harassment and terror threats should be a death knell.

‘But this may not be the case for “#gamergate”, an online movement started in August as a harassment campaign against a little-known indie game developer which has now widened to include nearly all games industry feminists as its target…’
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This Artist Is Also a Robot
‘Between 2004 and 2008, I worked as a video editor in Hollywood. This description comes with plenty of qualifiers: It wasn’t a job with any artistry or excitement (it was, as I described it to curious/confused parties back then, “industrial editing”). The motto of the company I worked for was “Know Better,” and its logo looked eerily like an Illuminati eye; it sold itself as a way for corporations/PR companies/freelancing-citizens-full-of-vanity to amass knowledge about their place in the business world through the monitoring of media. To do this, it recorded TV and radio broadcasts from around the country, and resold commercial-free chunks of said broadcasts to the as-yet uninformed. Need to see how your opposition is being perceived by CNBC’s Jim Cramer? We got what you need. Want a shot of you catching that foul ball at the game? Give us a call…’
theawl

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The Four Psychological Functions of Great Literature

brainpickings-books‘The question of what reading does for the human soul is an eternal one and its answer largely ineffable, but this hasn’t stopped minds big and small from tussling with it — we have Kafka’s exquisite letter to his childhood friend, Maurice Sendak’s visual manifestos for the joy of reading, and even my own answer to a nine-year-old girl’s question about why we have books today.

‘In this wonderful animated essay, they extol the value of books in expanding our circle of empathy, validating and ennobling our inner life, and fortifying us against the paralyzing fear of failure…’
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Is H.P. Lovecraft’s Legacy Tainted?
‘Laura Miller recently wrote about the backlash in a piece for Salon.com. She says that objections to the use of Lovecraft as the face of the award began to surface when Nigerian-American writer Nnedi Okorafor, who won the WFA for best novel in 2011 for Who Fears Death, wrote a blog post about her discomfort with the trophy after she read a racist poem that Lovecraft wrote in 1912.

‘The issue this raises for fans of Lovecraft or any other artist is how much you can separate the artist and their beliefs from their work. Miller says many fandoms struggle with this when something unflattering is revealed about someone they admire…’
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Do Writers Need Media Training‏?
‘In September, Charles Bethea wrote an article for The Freelancer titled “I Went on Good Morning America, and It Was Far from Lights, Camera, Action.” Bethea’s piece was entertaining, to be sure, as he peeled back the curtain on what happens when the broadcast media interviews a journalist who isn’t used to being on camera. According to his account, the overall experience wasn’t great.

‘In my opinion, two words could have changed everything for Bethea: media training.

‘Media training helps you, the writer, transition from the interviewer to the interviewee by teaching you new skills that boost your confidence once the cameras start rolling. I would know—I’ve received media training, and now I train others. Getting help in this arena is probably more common than you’d think…’
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Remember ‘No Child Left Behind’? So what happened?
The Bill was signed into law in January 2002 by George W. Bush, with the liberal lion of the Senate, Ted Kennedy, by his side.

‘The law set a simple if daunting goal: All of the nation’s students would perform at grade level on state tests. Every single one. 100 percent. Or as the name of the law put it, there would be No Child Left Behind.

‘So here it is, 12 years later, 2014. And the law, NCLB, is still in effect. All children, under federal law, are supposed to be at grade level…’
Spoiler alert: They’re not.

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