Sunday, March 17, 2013

Selected Links & Things

Here are some links that you may find of interest from the past few weeks. My apologies that these haven't been posted in a more timely fashion, but other priorities blah, blah, blah.

Courtesy of Quote-Unquote Apps (@qapps), we have a new version of the Courier Prime font, IBM's classic public domain typeface, which has been redesigned to look good in print and on-screen. So if you still use Courier Prime (I'm a Times Roman kinda guy, myself) for your manuscripts, you'll want to check this out. Easy-to-install for both PCs and Macs; instructions included. (via

Mary Doria Russell is the author of the well-known 1996 alien contact/Jesuits in space novel The Sparrow and its sequel Children of God, and most recently Doc, a novel of "Doc" Holliday and Wyatt Earp. On the Washington Post Book Blog, Mary shares her story with columnist Ron Charles (@RonCharles) on the "perils (and rewards) of being a midlist novelist": "Just as her new novel, Doc, was being released in 2011, she got word that her publisher [Random House] was not interested in any more books from her."

What if you could buy your way onto the New York Times bestseller list? Think it's impossible? Not if you have enough money, as detailed by one author's experience in's "Here's How You Buy Your Way Onto The New York Times Bestsellers List." ResultSource, a San Diego-based marketing consultancy, specializes in getting books onto bestseller lists, assuming you have $200,000-plus to invest. The author in question couldn't afford the NYT, so he settled for the Wall Street Journal's list. Life's tough, aint' it?

"How I made $2,000 in 7 days launching my ebook." Programmer Josh Earl, author of Sublime Productivity: Code Like a Pro with Today's Premier Text Editor ebook, writes: "The book is growing steadily, and with it, a sense of panic: What happens when I’m done? My entire promotional strategy consists of pushing the publish button! I’m a programmer, not a sales wizard. Marketing seems like black magic. The thought of my hard work going to waste makes me sick." (via Hacker News)

Digital Book World (@digibookworld) has an excerpt from a new book on publishing by former Apple guru Guy Kawasaki; the book is entitled APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur-How to Publish a Book. The section "Appearance Is Everything" covers such topics as: Front Matter; Ebook Front Matter; Organization Name; Blurb Overload; Gaffes; and Crappy Interior Design. Authors, even those not self-publishing, would be wise to read this excerpt, if not the entire book, which includes manuscript and text formatting in the "Gaffes" section.

The Original Hacker's Dictionary: "Many years after the original book went out of print, Eric Raymond picked it up, updated it and republished it as the New Hacker's Dictionary. Unfortunately, in the process, he essentially destroyed what held it together, in various ways: first, by changing its emphasis from Lisp-based to UNIX-based (blithely ignoring the distinctly anti-UNIX aspects of the LISP culture celebrated in the original); second, by watering down what was otherwise the fairly undiluted record of a single cultural group through this kind of mixing; and third, by adding in all sorts of terms which are 'jargon' only in the sense that they're technical. This page, however, is pretty much the original, snarfed from MIT-AI around 1988." (via Hacker News)

"Aaron Hillel Swartz (November 8, 1986 – January 11, 2013) was an American computer programmer, writer, political organizer and Internet activist." At least that's what Wikipedia opens with, when you search for "Aaron Swartz." But Aaron was so much more: as a teenager he helped develop the RSS feed, which has been in the tech news lately as Google prepares to shut down its Google Reader service. Aaron also helped develop the Creative Commons licensing, which many have used to publish their work openly on the internet. Facing years of incarceration from an overzealous prosecutor, Aaron committed suicide on January 11. I'll leave you to decide the rights and wrongs of the case (a quick Google search will yield plenty of results). Aaron Swartz's weblog, Raw Thought, has been preserved for free download as PDF, mobi, and epub files. (via Hacker News) Here's an excerpt:
I’m not such a nuisance to the world, and the kick I get out of living can, I suppose, justify the impositions I make on it. But when life isn’t so fun, well, then I start to wonder. What’s the point of going on if it’s just trouble for us both? My friends will miss me, I am told. . . . But even so, I feel reticent. Even among my closest friends, I still feel like something of an imposition, and the slightest shock, the slightest hint that I’m correct, sends me scurrying back into my hole. (2007)

From The National Security Archive: "The Zero Dark Thirty File -- Lifting the Government's Shroud Over the Mission That Killed Osama bin Laden." Twenty-two files including photos, letters, and details on the mission that brought down bin Laden.

And lastly, in 1942 LIFE magazine sent Margaret Bourke-White, America’s first accredited woman photographer during WWII, to spend time with the now legendary VIII Bomber Command in England. During her assignment, she managed to snap a series of color photographs, many of which never actually made it to her feature article. Over 70 years later, LIFE has finally released these unpublished color photos. (via - @io9)

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