Tag Archives: technology

Going On The Account: Really Got to Get Writing Now

Some of you are wondering if I’m still writing, since I don’t have  serialized long form commitment to feed.

Those of you who thought I wasn’t and decided to break out the good stuff to toast with, put the cork back in.  I ain’t gone yet here.

But I better hurry, now that someone’s developed a book-writing program for their computer that could give William S. Burroughs a run for the money.  Last thing I need is to be told that my job could be done for a lot cheaper by a computer…

…which may mean nothing if how much Paul Kemp and Michael Sullivan got paid for their fantasy works holds as the norm.  Yeah, there are businesses out there that might consider even these amounts to be an overhead that could be cut in the organization…

…but even if I never saw a dime directly from my work, just to get something more than two works for free out there; I’m especially thinking about it today, on another sad anniversary, another day that makes you ask if it had been you caught up at the Trade Center that moment, would what you did up to then have been enough, and was this enough…

…and if you can’t say yes, then it’s time to get to it.


Sorry, trying to fight maudlin with industrious; while life is always preferable to death, this may not be the best way to wage that struggle.

Lemme ask you all:  Given the need to buck up, how do you do it?  What do you do to snap out of it?

Really, let me know below, please…

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Going On The Account: Blogtober – Tooled Up

Blogtober, Day Twenty Four, and the hits keep right on coming.  I wish a few when they came would actually land somewhere near the target, but…

What I need is something that will help me target my writing better, something that gives me the means to get the pieces read by people, make them want to pass it along, spread my words like a pathogen infecting a population.

What I need now is, I need some kind of tool.  Had it not been for the tools I’ve had access to, I’d not have gotten this far, so why stop using them now…?

I did say earlier on that I would discuss having gotten a tablet recently.  For me, getting one required a bit of luck, the same product relied upon by all writers, entertainers, gamblers, criminals, and other such so dependent on it.  Without getting into too many embarrassing details,  Fortuna showed up like the host of Dialing for Dollars  calling my number, and I was able to give her the right answer when she asked.

(Yeah, I’m dating myself here, though the fact that the show gets name checked in Janis Joplin’s “Mercedes Benz” which I have done a capaella for a happy audience a few times, gives it a personal resonance with me; if you ever want to catch me sing, it’s usually part of my gig…)

How I ended up with it is not as important as what happened afterwards; there were suddenly a host of new options as far as my work flow and practices were concerned.  Whole new options, opening whole new vistas:

14th Street Station, IRT (4,5,6 Lines)

(Just imagine what kind of complete pain-in-the-ass I could turn into if I got a more serious camera…)

So, if I haven’t bored you away by now, the question you might be asking is, how did it make me feel having this?

As pleased as the last few times I had a new innovation to assist me:

There was the time I got a modem to hook up to the computer, which suddenly turned the box on my desk from a self-contained unit into a gateway to a wider world.

(And if you’re asking, “Wait, an external modem, what…?” then yes, I am dating myself yet again…)

There was the time I got the computer itself, which suddenly made the process so much easier when it came time to compile drafts, correct texts and do some of the spit and polish needed when you write.

And before that, getting my own typewriter, which meant not only was my output now legible, but it got finished way faster.

Stop asking just how old I am, you!

The main point here isn’t how I adopt to hardware, but the impressions gleamed from having had access to new tools that assist with the process.   Other writers and content providers must go through this as well, and some of them might even realize more daring possibilities than I have so far.

It’s like a personal Information Revolution every time something comes along that assist with the process, watching it take the output in a new direction, showing a new set of possibilities for what can be done with the material.  And even if the work would have been the same regardless of the means of production (the same way NEUROMANCER would have been the same had Gibson used a word process instead of a typewriter), the potential for getting it to a new set of eyes beyond the older channels available cannot be dismissed out of hand.  Going digital for most writers was like Martin Luther being introduced to Johannes Gutenberg; so much potential, so much promise…

One of the discoveries that came out of exposure to these new processes is the ability to dialog.  Which is my invitation to ask you, what have you found that changed your process?  What did you find that made things different for you, changed your game, made you rethink what you were doing?

And if you don’t have anything to offer, hey, I’m perfectly happy to keep the dialog going if you just want to ask any questions about anything.

Except for old I really am…


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Going On The Account: They Don’t Make the Future Like They Used To

The video above  was a capture of the experience of taking the Futurama ride (no, not that one..) at the General Motors Pavilion at the 1964 World’s Fair out in Flushing.

Where to begin…

There is a certain gee-wiz-gun-ho jingoism that strikes early 21st Century as odd as you watch this car company show you man’s expansion out to the moon, under the sea, through the rain forests and to the far-flung suburbs, all of this two years after Silent Spring was first published.  (And yes, they do say “man” throughout, as this takes place about a year after The Feminine Mystique hit the book stores…)  The idea of putting up finished sections of a road in the Amazon in a day and having underwater hotels discussed in the same breath as “the rich oil deposits of the continental shelves” (which seems ironic considering how some hotels got along with one offshore oil platform…) strikes us here in that future as odd.  It probably hits the GM board as “walk of shame” worthy, too considering what their current environmental outreach efforts look like now…

When you get beyond all that, there’s the old difference between how we used to look at the future then and now.  I’ve heard others talk about a “hopeful” view versus a “fearful” view, but I’m not sure that’s the proper distinction; it’s a lot easier to be “hopeful” than you might imagine, to simply believe that we will have our better natures assert themselves for a number of valid reasons, like self-preservation and being too damn lazy to not want to set us up on a cushy autopilot.  You believe that we all want to live and that we not have to get off our asses too often, then we will have our personal robots and flying cars; those drives got us iPads, after all…


Rather, the better way to look at it might be “certain” versus “ambivalent” views of future.  With a “certain” view, you can state that x+y=z, and that you just know things are going this way because it all makes sense from where you are.  Among the “ambivalent” group, you end up having to state IF_x_=_y_THEN_z_ELSE_RANDBETWEEN_(a,z), because there’s too much to consider, and among the wisest of us no willingness to state that absolutely everything has been considered.  Thus, it becomes easy to confuse a pessimist’s predictions with an ambivalent one, in that in both cases it’s too dark for the seer to make out the road ahead…


Which makes for a handier way to approach the GM show at the World’s Fair, and by extensions most World’s Fair presentations:  When you think you know what’s coming, maybe have a strong belief in what you think is coming,* then you stand out front and trumpet your vision with a smile.  When you have a few ideas that you think may be valid, you do something a little less ostentatious, like say upload a chapter a week with a blog to support it…



Now, before anyone assumes I’m trying to pass off “certain” as shorthand for “hopeful” and just saying that all “certain” assumptions about the future are thereby going to be wrong…


Y’know, for a bunch of corporate outreach spots on TV in1993, their percentage for successfully predicting the future is pretty damn high by now…





* I didn’t say the obvious, “what you’d like others to believe is coming,” because aside from being an entirely off-topic digression and the views of  a cynical SOB (which I tend to be guilty of), it may not be entirely at play here.  For all we know, the folks at GM putting Futurama together might have believed something like what they were showing us was likely, and that it was an inevitability that they hoped the company might get a piece of.  Not all marketing creates demand for products; sometimes it’s an appeal to have the consumer consider them when the time comes, a more, “me too please,” kind of appeal.  Much like the AT&T folks, who predicted a lot but didn’t get much of the branding recognition they thought would come their way; the personal assistant in those spots is a lot like Siri, who is not considered an AT&T product…

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