Archive for Technology

“Hacking the Naked Princess” – latest chapters are in print in 2600 Magazine (Summer 2018)

Get Part 13: Volume 35, #2 (Summer 2018) to read the continuation of Dev Manny’s newest case, “Hacking the Naked Princess”.

Here are all published issues where you can get the story so far:

Part 1: Volume 29, #2 (Summer 2012)
Part 2: Volume 29, #4 (Winter 2012-2013)
Part 3: Volume 30, #2 (Summer 2013)
Part 4: Volume 30, #4 (Winter 2013)
Part 5: Volume 31, #2 (Summer 2014)
Part 6: Volume 31, #4 (Winter 2014-2015)
Part 7: Volume 32, #2 (Summer 2015)
Part 8: Volume 32, #4 (Winter 2015-2016)

Part 9: Volume 33, #2 (Summer 2016)
Part 10: Volume 33, #4 (Winter 2016-2017)
Part 11: Volume 34, #2 (Summer 2017)
Part 12: Volume 34, #4 (Winter 2017-2018)
Part 13: Volume 35, #2 (Summer 2018)

Future chapters will be serialized in 2600 in every other issue.

2600 Magazine is available in many bookstores, including Barnes & Noble. Individual issues can be purchased at the above links.

“Hacking the Naked Princess” – latest chapters are in print in 2600 Magazine

Get Part 10: Volume 33, #4 (Winter 2016-2017) to read the continuation of Dev Manny’s newest case, “Hacking the Naked Princess”.

Here are the back issues where you can get the rest of the story:

Part 1: Volume 29, #2 (Summer 2012)
Part 2: Volume 29, #4 (Winter 2012-2013)
Part 3: Volume 30, #2 (Summer 2013)
Part 4: Volume 30, #4 (Winter 2013)
Part 5: Volume 31, #2 (Summer 2014)
Part 6: Volume 31, #4 (Winter 2014-2015)
Part 7: Volume 32, #2 (Summer 2015)
Part 8: Volume 32, #4 (Winter 2015-2016)

Part 9: Volume 33, #2 (Summer 2016)
Part 10: Volume 33, #4 (Winter 2016-2017)

Future chapters will be serialized in 2600 in every other issue.

2600 Magazine is available in many bookstores, including Barnes & Noble. Individual issues can be purchased at the above links.

“Hacking the Naked Princess” – latest chapters are in print in 2600 Magazine

Get Part 9: Volume 33, #2 (Summer 2016) to read the continuation of Dev Manny’s newest case, “Hacking the Naked Princess”.

Here are the back issues where you can get the rest of the story:

Part 1: Volume 29, #2 (Summer 2012)
Part 2: Volume 29, #4 (Winter 2012-2013)
Part 3: Volume 30, #2 (Summer 2013)
Part 4: Volume 30, #4 (Winter 2013)
Part 5: Volume 31, #2 (Summer 2014)
Part 6: Volume 31, #4 (Winter 2014-2015)
Part 7: Volume 32, #2 (Summer 2015)
Part 8: Volume 32, #4 (Winter 2015-2016)

Part 9: Volume 33, #2 (Summer 2016)

Future chapters will be serialized in 2600 in every other issue.

2600 Magazine is available in many bookstores, including Barnes & Noble. Individual issues can be purchased at the above links.

“Hacking the Naked Princess” – latest chapters are in print in 2600 Magazine

Get Part 8: Volume 32, #4 (Winter 2015-2016) to read the continuation of Dev Manny’s newest case, “Hacking the Naked Princess”.

Here are the back issues where you can get the rest of the story:

Part 1: Volume 29, #2 (Summer 2012)
Part 2: Volume 29, #4 (Winter 2012-2013)
Part 3: Volume 30, #2 (Summer 2013)
Part 4: Volume 30, #4 (Winter 2013)
Part 5: Volume 31, #2 (Summer 2014)
Part 6: Volume 31, #4 (Winter 2014-2015)
Part 7: Volume 32, #2 (Summer 2015)
Part 8: Volume 32, #4 (Winter 2015-2016)

 

Future chapters will be serialized in 2600 in every other issue.

2600 Magazine is available in many bookstores, including Barnes & Noble. Individual issues can be purchased at the above links.

“Hacking the Naked Princess” – latest chapters are in print in 2600 Magazine

Get Part 7: Volume 32, #2 (Summer 2015) to read the continuation of Dev Manny’s newest case, “Hacking the Naked Princess”.

Here are the back issues where you can get the rest of the story:

Part 1: Volume 29, #2 (Summer 2012)
Part 2: Volume 29, #4 (Winter 2012-2013)
Part 3: Volume 30, #2 (Summer 2013)
Part 4: Volume 30, #4 (Winter 2013)
Part 5: Volume 31, #2 (Summer 2014)
Part 6: Volume 31, #4 (Winter 2014-2015)
Part 7: Volume 32, #2 (Summer 2015)

 

Future chapters will be serialized in 2600 in every other issue.

2600 Magazine is available in many bookstores, including Barnes & Noble. Individual issues can be purchased at the above links.

Bits and bytes look like such sweet music

Very Appreciated Reader Ethan alerts me to a cool project:

Hey Andy, I’m a big fan of your books, and just wanted to let you know of a fun little project I just did inspired by “Superliminal”. An assignment for my literature of science fiction class was to create a visual representation of a scifi concept, with several options. I opted for artificial and post-human life forms, which transhuman learning falls under. My original plan was to make a video game, but running out of time I was flipping through my sci fi books, and yours popped out. So, I wrote a little PHP script to convert a file of a known size into a PNG containing one greyscale pixel per 128 bits (take the head two hex digits). Anyways, I had a lot of fun with the project and thought you may like to see the result. The following is an MP3 version of Lorde’s “Royals” translated into PNG (again, only using 256 colors, since the full 340,282,366,920,938,463,463,374,607,431,768,211,455 would have been too much):

Ethan, thanks for sending this in!

Non-inclusive reasons why this is cool:

1) If you’ve read my book “Superliminal“, you’ll recall one of the plot points has to do with this exact thing – embedding non-picture information into a picture. When I write, I don’t hold myself to “hard” science fiction – I knowingly cross the line to what is “science fantasy”. Ethan’s project is proof that at least some of what I wrote about is possible!

2) Ethan teaches us: Human communication isn’t just about using slang or video or paper or House Atreides battle language… One form of communication can be used to transmit information from another medium. Here we have an MP3 audio file (already translated from another medium) converted into a picture. Now, reading the above photo might be tough, but that’s what computers are for. And since technology will eventually merge with our bodies anyway, I fully expect that some day, humans will be able to look at the above picture, and have my “eyes” read the song, my “mouth” sing it, and my “ears” hear it.

Be thou human or machine
Gaze at the above picture

Some envision but static
But those few who see true, sooth… 

In their eyes glows the future

 

“Hacking the Naked Princess” – latest chapters are in print

Go get 2600 Volume 30, #2 (the Summer 2013 issue), and read the continuation of Dev’s newest case, “Hacking the Naked Princess”.

To date, here are the back issues where you can get the rest of the story:

Part 1: Volume 29, #2 (Summer 2012)

Part 2: Volume 29, #4 (Winter 2012-2013)

Part 3: Volume 30, #2 (Summer 2013) – (this is what just came out)

Future chapters will be serialized in 2600, probably every other issue.

 

 

2600 Magazine is available in many bookstores, including Barnes & Noble. Individual issues can be purchased at the above links.

“Hacking the Naked Princess” – A self-publishing experiment with 2600 magazine

I emailed 2600 magazine, and asked if they’d be interested in serializing the next Dev Manny book. They said okay, they’d at least be willing to try out a couple chapters. So, here we are: Go get 2600 Volume 29, #2 (the Summer 2012 issue), and read the start of Dev’s newest case, “Hacking the Naked Princess”.

As the 2600 editors said at the end of my story, this is a test: “Please let us know if you want to see more – or if you want us to stop. Write to letters@2600.com.” If the 2600 community doesn’t like the story, I’ll bow to the majority and Dev will walk alone. Otherwise, here’s hoping we can publish more with 2600. My thanks to the 2600 editors for taking the chance!

So why did I do this? The serialization concept sounds fine on paper (electronic or pulp), but it’s not used as much these days. It’s a concept that seems to have been more popular in the days of Heinlein and Asimov than in 2012. 

My decision to try publishing with 2600 was based on three ideas. First, I think the 2600 audience would be specifically interested in Dev. The first two chapters are the intro to the Dev Manny world, but later aspects of the story involve both a hacker community and the hacker mindset. Second, I wanted to see if a highly technical magazine would be interested in “geek fiction”. Just look at the article names surrounding the Dev Manny story, and you’ll get a feel for the quality and skillsets of 2600 writers and readers:

Third, thanks to 2600’s excellent copyright and content ownership policy, I can publish with them, and later can still use my work in other formats. In this case, I can serialize the book and then can later self-publish it.

This is a cool experiment with people I respect, and I am eager to see what happens next.

 

Self-publishing audiobooks: My experience with ACX

ACX, or the “Audiobook Creation Exchange”, is a company dedicated to the production of audiobooks. …Or perhaps “production” is the wrong word. But it wouldn’t look as smooth for the marketing copy to say “a crowdsourced program that puts authors in touch with audiobook readers, and vice versa, and provides a low-cost way of doing so”. 

In my case, I finished my book Dev Manny #1: Superliminal. I’d already published it as a paper book and ebook, and then I decided to try out ACX and publish it as an audiobook.

How does ACX work?

The process was easy: Upload a sample of the book for potential actors to read (I used the first chapter of the book), then describe what kind of voice and reader you’re looking for. You’ve got plenty of options – you can specify various accents, ages, and traits like “comic timing”.

Here’s what I specified what I was looking for in my “Superliminal” narrator:

Once I specified what I was looking for, my next step was to wait. In this case, it wasn’t for very long: Within a day or so I had three auditions for the voice of Dev Manny!

Then it was up to me to pick the one I liked best, and work with the narrator to get the voice just the way I wanted it. Then I set up a contract with them (this was brokered by ACX). This is where ACX shines, because while authors can pay narrators for their time (starting at around $200 per hour, and I would keep all royalities), authors can alternatively pay nothing up front, and split the audiobook royalties 50/50 with the narrator. This last option is what I did.

After that, the narrator does the rest of the work in the process of physically narrating the book and editing that effort. After another approval process from me, ACX took over, then placed the audiobook in Amazon, Audible.com, and the iTunes Store.

Is ACX worth it?

In my case, yes. ACX is great. Thanks to ACX, I have a great-sounding audiobook available of my work for a very low cost, and sales/distribution/royalties are handled for me. I’m very happy with the results.

I have only one complaint about ACX, and it’s small: At the time of this writing, they do not support direct deposit of royalty funds. Once your royalty balance hits $50, they mail out a check. ACX is partnered with Amazon – you actually use your Amazon ID to sign on to the service. Other Amazon services and partners support direct deposit (like KDP, CreateSpace and crowdSPRING), and it would be more convenient if ACX supported this too, but they don’t.

Special thanks to Charles Bice, the guy you hear narrating “Superliminal”. I’m proud and impressed that Dev Manny has such a cool voice. Check out Bice’s work – he’s narrated and written many other books.

I’ve been happy enough with ACX that I’m doing it again – my book “Waking the Dreamer” is going through ACX audiobook production right now!

Self-published video marketing: Make cheap and free video ads with Animoto

Animoto is a video creation service: Pick a theme, a few pictures, music and text. The service will take your preferences and blend them together into a video. You can download the video (as an MP4 or DVD image) and upload that to services like YouTube. Which is exactly what I did.

It’s a subscription service, but don’t let that intimidate you: You can also subscribe, create and download your videos, then unsubscribe.

There is a free option, but I didn’t really like the result – you’re limited to 30 seconds of video and some options are disabled. (It actually turns out to be less than 30 seconds, since you’re also forced to have a couple-second Animoto ad at the end). If you pay for Animoto’s “Pro” account ($39), you can remove the Animoto branding and get a few other perks.

I’m very happy with Animoto’s Pro service, and will use it again for future books. For self-publishing, if you need a way to create a nice-looking, simple book trailer, you may want to check them out.

Below is what I created – I now have mini-trailers for both my Dev Manny and Transhuman series. The music and picture effects are from Animoto. The pictures and text are from me.

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