Stuck in Password Hell

Ah dad...

It has to be the most common annoyance experienced by users of technology everywhere.  As soon as you want to partake in the pleasures and treasures of modern comforts, a password is required.  For every frigging thing.

Where did they get my list of passwords from? Where did they get my list of passwords from?

A password is required if you want to buy stuff, read stuff, access stuff, post stuff, play stuff, write stuff, approve stuff, release stuff.  A password is even required if you just want to retrieve your own goddamn stuff.  You end up with a thousand different places where you need to type in those eight crucial characters.

The problem is an obvious one:  What normal human being has the ability to remember all the different passwords that is required for daily functioning?

No one, I tell ya.  Not one single person.  (And Spock is not a person.)

The reality is that most people simply pick one.  A password for everything.  One word that rule them…

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Bloggers, Are You at Risk?

Fellow Nanos, we have begun.  Not every writer does well with this sort of pressure, and it remains to be seen whether I will . . . or not.

I came across an article by Kay Day at The Writer magazine, who always has something interesting to say about writing on the web and how the web affects the rest of us.  This time she posts on the government’s new interest on blogs and advertising.  If you have advertisers on yours, give book reviews or even post comments to someone’s monetary advantage, beware.

“It was only a matter of time before watchdog organizations and the government took an interest in blogs. And if you’re doing paid reviews for products or services, you should adopt a low-risk position. Disclose what you’re doing. The Federal Trade Commission is expanding the agency’s interest in blogs and other advertising media on the Web with a sharp eye on endorsements and testimonials. The National Advertising Review Council (NARC) is doing the same. But the issues go beyond the mommy blogger who praises a toy brand after she received a free sample.

“If you blog, even if you don’t write paid reviews, regulations will affect you. So it’s important to protect yourself from a liability standpoint. For starters, if you have third party advertising on your Web site, place a notice telling your visitors they leave your site for another if they click on the ad. Make the reader aware the destination may have a different standard for recording private information.

“If you are writing paid reviews, disclose your arrangement to the reader. Otherwise you are in violation of the FTC’s guides on Endorsements and Testimonials.”

This was to be expected, as someone takes advantage of every new thing, and there is always that bad apple that makes it difficult for the rest of us.  The larger the community, the more opportunity for those rotten apples and the more of them.  So we give our collective sighs, follow the new rules and move on.

Thoughts on NaNoWriMo

I have been going back through my files (mostly from Writer’s Magazine) and rereading Robert Owen Butler, From Where You Dream in preparation for NaNoWriMo.  Here is what I have found:

  • I will write first thing in the morning for two hours, before I am bombarded with all the words, other’s words, life’s everyday stuff, while I am still partially in the dream state, so I can more easily get to that intuitive place of true emotion and imagination.
  • Write every day.
  • Be fearless.
  • Some beginnings:  a line (poems, billboards, conversation you hear), a list (Who is making it?  Why?), a title (Does it suggest a theme?  Character?  Place?), a character, a situation (Is it troubling?  Does it make you wonder?), an event, an image, a subject (a drought, a flood, grade school), an oddity.
  • Get unstuck:  Write a scene where the character enters a new place.  Bring in a minor character.  Write a monologue for a character you would like to know more about.  You don’t have to write in order of your story.  Write a group of crucial scenes.
  • More getting unstuck:  Free-write on an emotion, a character, a place.  Free associate on a word, a character’s name, a place.  Write a list of possible character choices in a particular situation.  Why that choice?  Have another character make a declarative statement about your main character – does it surprise you? There is less chance of getting stuck if you write every day.
  • Trust in the writing process. The first draft is exploration and discovery.  It is an adventurous journey you begin not knowing where you will end up.  I read this by John Dufresne, and got even more excited:
  • “You have nothing to prove in the first draft, nothing to defend, everything to imagine.  . . .  You write the draft in order to read what you have written and to determine what you still have to say. . . . You may have a destination in mind, and you may well set off in that direction, but what you encounter along the way will likely alter your course.  This uncertainty, though daunting, is crucial to the writing process.  It allows for, even encourages, revelation and surprise, while it prevents the manipulation of character or plot to suit a preconceived, and usually ill-conceived, notion of what the story must be.  In writing the first draft, you begin to work through all the uncertainty and advance toward meaning.”
  • You may remove words, sentences, paragraphs, chapters in the second draft, but nothing is ever wasted.

The purpose of the first draft is not to get it right, but to get it written. John Dufresne wrote that, and he has completed two story collections, three novels and a book on fiction writing.  www.johndufresne.com.

Have fun on your journey, everyone.  I plan to have fun on mine.

The Book is Dead

“There are also the people who say, quite rightly, that writing and publishing a “real” book is still the big dream, and people will keep chasing that dream no matter how much we all argue that the book is dead, that times have changed, that no one reads any more, etc.”

This excerpt is taken from Jane Friedman’s blog (Writer’s Digest), and I suggest you read the rest of her post here.

I realize I am not posting what I said was next, but I have been reading so much about the future of publishing all over the web, that I thought writers ought to be aware of what is going on out there in the publishing world.  The state of the economy is only making the transition to digital publishing happen sooner rather than later.  Here is what I have been discovering:

It is cheaper for a reader to buy a digital book than a printed one.  That is a fact.  People in third world countries, people with less than many of us in developed countries, are getting access to the web and to the ability to read digital books.

It is also cheaper for publishers to publish digitally.  The quality of the writing of digital works has improved.  Many magazines that publish only on the web are getting as much respect as anything published on paper.

Barnes & Noble has just developed their own digital reader with more books available than Kindle.  Apple has announced their development of a digital book reader.

We are in a major transition period of which you must be aware if you want to publish.  If you are writing a novel, short stories or poetry, you cannot ignore the web or eBooks.  This includes marketing yourself and your writing.

Stay tune.