Selling Your Shorts All By Your Lonesome

And no, I don’t mean pants. People! Honestly. This is a serious blog. I use swears sometimes.

Introduction

Books are complicated beasts. Books need legitimacy, and legitimacy is an ISBN. That’s a way for people to order your book. It files you in the Great Big Library in the Cloud.

There’s no such unique code for short fiction, and short fiction (in my inexpert opinion) languishes in the digital era. Amazon is making a push for it with their StoryFront imprint, which assigns each story an ASIN (Amazon Standard Identification Number), a number which is of no interest or use to anyone else. Worse, they treat short stories like novel length works, providing tremendously useful information such as the number of ‘Print Pages’ for each story. Amazon doesn’t take this shit seriously and I’m tired of it.

Anyway, since I’m nobody, I decided I would simply take my own published fiction for which I had publishing rights, and produce the stories as ePubs. (This would work for poems, too, to an even lesser degree. Depressing, when you think about it really.)

Having taken on this burden, I began an exciting journey, one I have chronicled here for you in many parts. The first part begins here.

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I love Hue – A Requirements Specification (Addendum to the Hue Review)

[Update Feb 15, 2014: As time has progressed most of this specification is now redundant. The Hue doesn’t yet manage animations on the Bridge, and I’m not sure it will in the near future, but the rest of it is pretty thorough. I’ll leave this article up for historical purposes, but beware it’s mostly redundant now]

[Update Late 2013: I’ve been poking through the Hue API and it seems a lot of this is possible through the 1.1 version of the API. I will be investigating and seeing if I can make my own controller app]

After writing my extensive Hue review, I couldn’t help but think of what I wanted out of my system, so I came up with this list.

This is a public list of requirements for a useful Hue system. Any developers are welcome to take this list and use it as a feature set checklist for any program they are developing to control the Hue. If you do, and you find this list helpful, it would be nice if you acknowledged my contribution somewhere. Also, if you develop anything that does the majority of these things, please let me know so that I can GIVE YOU MY FUCKING MONEY.

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It’s not Me, It’s Hue (The Hue Review, Part 2)

[Update! As of early January 2014, I have added a follow up review here]

[Update! If you just want to buy the best Hue controller app for iOS, get iConnectHue and don’t look back. I wouldn’t use my Hue system without it.]

In part 1 I revealed the Secrets They Won’t Tell Hue and some of the things that I like about Hue. Here I show my personal unboxing journey, some applications I’m using, and my stunning conclusion.

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It’s not Me, It’s Hue (The Hue Review, Part 1)

[Update! As of early January 2014, I have added a follow up review here]

[Update! If you just want to buy the best Hue controller app for iOS, get iConnectHue and don’t look back. I wouldn’t use my Hue system without it.]

Overhue

This is an account of my experience with the Philips Hue. It is my review, or my re-Hue, if you will. There are so many puns I could’ve used to title this article, but I think the one I ultimately chose sums up my nightmarish experience. There may be some occasional swears in here, too. Also, I will endeavour to create a Hue pun pretty much at every opportunity.

Caveat: I don’t really know how the Bridge and Bulbs work, I’m just guessing based on a little bit of knowledge and my experience with Sonos. Feel free to correct me in the comments, or share your own experiences!

So happy together...

Imagine me and Hue, so happy together…

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Numenera – The Nightmare Switch Gameplay – Part 4/4 – Wrap Up

Back to Part 3

Lessons Learned

  • If you are playing a one-off session, the party has no incentive to hoard their XP, and so will use it to reroll or stop your GM Intrusion, so take that into account.
  • We rolled no 1s during our game, so no free intrusions this time.
  • Combat is fast and quick. By not making it a focus of the game, and by explicitly not paying XP out for combat, you as GM won’t feel the need to make combat pivotal to your session. Sessions don’t lead up to and climax with combat. If the players massacre your monsters, you don’t lose hours of preparation, they just get on with their adventure. Had combat been more of a focus, I might not have let the players talk their way out of the entire adventure by convincing the margr chieftain to release the replacement part.
  • This entire adventure played out the way it did entirely because of a lucky combination of 4 random cyphers (semi-random: I vetted the card combinations before handing them out, but only for whether or not I thought it was a cool power or not) as well as Gabriel’s oddity and focus: a pill to let the characters negotiate with the margr, which they could get back after leaving it in town by using an injectable teleporter and a remote tracking device, with a fourth cypher that let them move the Giant Metal Cross around in the air for extra impressiveness. Added to that was a single power wielded by one of the characters, who also happened to be trained in persuasive speech. Very specific combination!
  • Don’t fret if the characters break right through one of your obstacles, be it combat or by skipping a huge chunk of the adventure. They’re having fun, you can always throw a spanner in the works using GM intrusion, and eventually the tables will turn against them.

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Numenera – The Nightmare Switch Gameplay – Part 3/4 – The Adventure Continues

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The Adventure Continues

The party had some downtime while the quarry mistress headed off to organise the travel arrangements, and so Gabriel, Acrophelia and Arrowtail went for a walk through town, respectively healing, guarding and pickpocketing the tired townsfolk. Chronus went back to the ship where he convinced Deymish to walk up to the tower and again try to make entry. Hataniah refused them again, saying they should come back in the morning. Chronus apologised to Deymish for dragging him all the way to the tower, then returned to his friends to report the news that the tower was still inaccessible.

By this time the town’s steeds were ready. The party gathered their equipment, mounted the aneen and headed north out of the city. They were told the margr would roam the deserts at night, and they would be travelling at night, but this didn’t dissuade them. I suspect the nightmare visions scared them so much they didn’t want to attempt to sleep in the city and surrounds even once.

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Numenera – The Nightmare Switch Gameplay – Part 2/4 – The Adventure Begins

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The Adventure Begins

And so our party found itself on Deymish’s ship, with 3 crewmen, passing through the Seshar region, which consists of huge artificial canals cut in straight lines through burning desert terrain patrolled by roaming margr tribes. Deymish was urgently shipping three crates to the Redstone clave of Aeon Priests, for reasons unknown.

It’s important to note that as part of character creation I handed out mostly random cyphers to each of the characters, to their limit. Although I can’t remember the specifics of each, the important cyphers will rear their heads in this adventure, I promise you.

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Numenera – The Nightmare Switch Gameplay – Part 1/4 – Overview

Heads Up

This post will contain spoilers for players wanting to play the Nightmare Switch adventure. It also assumes a basic understanding of the Numenera game system, which is called the Cypher System. If you are going to play the Nightmare Switch intro adventure, you should probably read this afterwards to avoid any spoilers. If you don’t know anything about Numenera or the game system it runs on, you can probably still get something out of these posts, although a quick overview at that last link will prime you.

The total article is almost 8,000 words long, so I’ve split it into 4 parts, the Overview and Introduction, The Adventure Begins, The Adventure Continues, and Wrap Up.

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Shouldn’t you be writing another book or something, you lazy fuck? (HT: @horrorshowflick)

Yet another article on the perils of procrastination? Or merely an opportunity to throw in some alliteration? And then a rhyme?

Got a nice little story you’re working on there, hmmm?

It seems these days there are a billion distractions that look like writing. The core mantra of writing is ‘just write’, which means, oddly enough, that at every opportunity you should write. Yet we’re not always in the mood; you see, we might have convinced ourselves we ought to wait for the muse to take us. And sometimes the muse is addicted to Twitter or other social media, because we can tell ourselves we’re doing other things.

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[Fiction] Diary Found in an Empty Fridge

Work enjoys sending out interesting Friday afternoon ‘clean the fridge’ reminders. This week I offered to write something in the style of H.P. Lovecraft, and the marketing department styled it up on fake paper. I share it here for your enjoyment. There is a longer version but the essence is contained within. Read on and enjoy this light farce.

FridgeDiary

Text

Diary Found in an Empty Fridge

Monday

Dear diary, I realise I may never return to my loved ones in my quest for the Lost Lunch. Legend has it that it lies somewhere in the Metroplex fridges.  God only knows what indescribable items that were once food I may find on my journey. May He have mercy on my soul.

Tuesday

I camped by the fridges last night. My sleep was undisturbed, thankfully. I fear though that something broke free in the night. There is a strange smell in my encampment, a faint smear on the ground that might be Thai green curry. Had something seen me? I could discern nothing out of place amidst the bedewed milk bottles and plastic bags.

Wednesday

It happened again last night. I tried to stay awake, but I drifted off and woke with more tracks about me. Something is growing inside those containers. No sightings of Lost Lunch so far.

Thursday

I forget why I came here. I fear I am going mad.

Friday

I woke tonight and found myself standing as if in a trance in front of the larger fridge, door open. My arms were stretched into that treacherous forest of bags and containers and then I felt myself stepping forward!

It has become too much. I am packing my encampment up. There is something in here, something mouldy and ancient and … the smells cloud my judgement.

I will gird myself this afternoon and clear it out, every last bag and container, righteous or corrupt, owned or abandoned. I leave only this diary as a warning for future generations.

Don’t mourn me. The corruption growing inside these fridges will be gone, once and for all, by 4:30pm.