Monthly Archives: May 2010

SuperMegaNet Softcovers, Over and Out. Oh, and Zombies.

The Horde T-shirt

No, the above picture has nothing to do with my main blog post. It’s just a really wicked zombie T-shirt design by Aled Lewis that caught my eye over at Threadless.com.

Some sad news (or happy news, if you’re an Ernie-hater): The limited edition softcovers of SuperMegaNet Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 are now sold out. I’ll probably combine them into a large omnibus thingie later on, when there’s enough material for a good ~200 pages. At least then it’ll warrant the higher cost of a paperback. In the meantime, the e-book versions can be had for a dollar a piece, if you download from Scribd or Smashwords. The Amazon.com versions are still $2.00. Dunno what’s going on there.

And now I’m off to continue my work creeping into unsuspecting group photos:

The Oatmeal Man cast & crew...and some guy with glasses

Popular or Free?

Amazon is segregating its Kindle bestseller list:

A representative at [Amazon.com] has confirmed that the company will be splitting its Kindle bestseller list, creating one list for paid books and another for free titles. The date for the switch is vague—the rep would only say it will happen in “a few weeks”—but the switch will certainly be noticed.

This is newsworthy because, as of the article’s writing, the top ten Kindle bestsellers listed are actually free downloads. The obvious question(s): Are these e-books popular because of their intrinsic value or because they’re free, and, if they’re free, do they belong on a list of bestsellers? Or would it indeed be more appropriate to have freebies tucked away on their own list? My feeling on the matter: yes. Give ’em their own list. Comments on literary racism aside, bestseller lists, while certainly indicative of a book’s popularity, are primarily intended to reflect sales. It’s a retailer thing. “Mine’s bigger than yours.” And so forth.

I sense Amazon.com is worrying here that consumers will mistake downloads for sales—which is silly, because in either case, high numbers equals popularity equals a higher likelihood of sales (reader tries a freebie by an author he’s never read, likes it, and scours Amazon’s site for other titles by the same author, free or price-tagged). “But why are certain titles being downloaded so often?” an Amazonian rep might ask. “Is it because they’re popular, or because they’re free?” Well, duh. It’s a little from column A, a little from column B, isn’t it? People like free shit. People also like free shit that’s well-written by a familiar author. And when shit’s anti-free, but is well-written by a familiar author…people like it.

So, here’s to lists, the creation of, the splitting of, the proliferation of via maniacal, genetically-modified, cybernetic list-sorting corn stalks. After Amazon moves its free bestsellers over to “Most Downloaded” (or whatever they’re going to call the new list), will they further refine things to separate books with covers depicting scantily-clad men / women from those that have more placid designs? Stay tuned.

Science Cookies!

Gel Electrophoresis Cookies...um...yum?

Today is Cookie Day with the family. No, really. I’m doing Scottish shortbread; my sister’s doing sweet potato sandies (she’s such a show-off). Naturally, my thoughts have turned to how I, a simple wannabe baker, can use my Googled recipes to help promote various scientific techniques—which is why Ms. Humble’s Not So Humble Pie blog caught my attention:

…the markers on my cookies are completely random DNA gibberish of course. I’d love to do these and replicate actual microbiology gels.

She’s such a geek. And I love her for it. Her gel electrophoresis (how lab coat guys and gals separate or sort out certain microscopic bits, if I’m not mistaken) sugar cookies look darned delectable. Just so you know, they’re merely cosmetically modeled after the electrophoresis process, and not actually created in an agarose-filled box. That would make them considerably less yummy. And don’t worry: the cookies don’t require any science. Only almond extract if you want that distinctive flavor. I actually knew that before reading Ms. Humble’s suggestion, thank you very much.

(Check out those bitchin’ Wii controller cookies. Sweet. Literally!)

The Geek Alphabet

K is for Keyboard

Geeks Are Sexy has posted The Geek Alphabet. My favorite letter would be K, of course, because letters E, M, P, W, and most certainly Z (Zork!) are impossible without it. If I have any beefs with the alphabet, it would probably be the fact that S is for science and not Star Trek (though an away team is mentioned at the start). Otherwise very l33t. ;)

I’m Not Unemployed. I’m NSFW.

I'm Not Unemployed. I'm NSFW.

One of the jokes I tell people after eight years working for myself as a webcartoonist is that I’m probably not able to work a normal job anymore. Eight hours a day with a break for lunch? The ability to blame other people for my mistakes? Does not compute! (and I do not commute)

That’s Richard Stevens on doing T-shirts to celebrate eight years of being self-employed. I’m getting one. Lord knows I need to maintain a sense of humor and pride about the whole self-publishing thing. It’s been the hardest, scariest thing I’ve ever done. And it’s also been the most rewarding, though that doesn’t always translate into dollars or sexy babes. Mostly it’s me meeting someone at a party and getting a weird look when I mention that I’m a writer. Or it’s me choosing “unemployed” whenever I fill out the occupation section of any given form. They all list every job in the world except for “writer.” Or flair bartender. Eff that. I’m not unemployed, I’m NSFW.

(FYI, if you want the T-shirt, you should know that Richard is doing this as a limited run that ends May 31, 2010.)

Really Weird Game Controllers

An unfortunate accessory injured in the Great Game Console War

An unfortunate accessory injured in the Great Game Console War

It just so happened I was watching the Angry Video Game Nerd’s rant regarding the Atari 5200 when I spotted this blog entry in my feed reader this afternoon. There are some really, really weird video game accessories out there.

Like this one:

The Dream Machine: for when you just don't feel like dating women anymore

The Dream Machine: for when you just don't feel like dating women anymore

The interesting thing about this one is the pic itself. The perspective is all wrong. What kind of effed up house does this family live in? Apparently, when turned on, the Dream Machine can warp reality as well as repel twelve different kinds of coolness.

It’s not all bad news, though:

The perfect controller

The perfect controller

Some designs are simply flawless. ;)