A Web Security PSA Because I Love You

Okay, I’ve never used Cloudflare before and I don’t own any stocks in it that I know so I’m passing this info along simply because I’m a dude* who hates having my cookies tracked and Facebook selling me out to the Russians and all the other creepy Dark Web stuff (or is it Deep Web stuff?) that I always feel threatened by and I assume you’re of the same mind, may god bless your poor soul if you are.

If you’re not familiar with Cloudflare, here is what pops up when asking Bing, what is Cloudflare:

Continue reading “A Web Security PSA Because I Love You”

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Maybe Elon has a point…

While I’m a big admirer of Elon Musk and all he’s been able to accomplish, I’ve always been a bit skeptical about his alarmist rhetoric regarding Artificial Intelligence’s threat to humanity, seeing it more as a means for him to groom future volunteers for a one-way ticket to a Mars colony.

Not a bad strategy, mind you.

But with each cool but creepy new video from Boston Dynamics that hits the web and goes viral, I grow more and more less skeptical of Elon’s warnings…

Yeah…

Creepy, right?

But still… it’s way cool, too.

Oh, and while we’re on the topic of the end of humanity, here’s a cut regarding how technology is altering our perception of reality from a recent terrifying article from Buzzfeed:

“Alarmism can be good — you should be alarmist about this stuff,” [Aviv] Ovadya said one January afternoon before calmly outlining a deeply unsettling projection about the next two decades of fake news, artificial intelligence–assisted misinformation campaigns, and propaganda. “We are so screwed it’s beyond what most of us can imagine,” he said. “We were utterly screwed a year and a half ago and we’re even more screwed now. And depending how far you look into the future it just gets worse.”

That future, according to Ovadya, will arrive with a slew of slick, easy-to-use, and eventually seamless technological tools for manipulating perception and falsifying reality, for which terms have already been coined — “reality apathy,” “automated laser phishing,” and “human puppets.”

Yeah…

We’re screwed.

But still… it’s kinda cool, too.

Right?

 
 

“The Way” of Technology

Well, my bold Westworld binge-watching bonanza proclamation turned out to be nothing more than a bunch of ballyhooed BS…

I only got through the fourth episode before running out of time.

Consequently, I can’t provide anything much in the way of a review. But I can provide a bit of feedback that might mean something about its watchability

Which is… I kept falling asleep while watching it.

Now, full disclosure, I’ve taken some of my best naps during what turned out to be some of my favorite shows so my inability to stay awake while watching Westworld in and of itself doesn’t mean that much.

As for what I was able to stay awake for… I really like what it is trying to do in concept; however, its execution…

Continue reading ““The Way” of Technology”

So, it looks like “The Industry” is finally beginning to figure out this Snapchat thing…

snapchat

I began a quest a while back to understand how Indie Authors such as myself can leverage the seemingly incomprehensible (at least to an old dud like me) yet immensely popular messaging app called Snapchat.

To be honest, I gave up any hope of me ever using the app as part of my publishing platform right after giving it a very brief whirl of a befuddling go during the time I wrote the first post it.

However, I haven’t given up on trying to understand how it and other apps like it can help others promote their work, especially the younger Indie Authors who best fit the apps’ demographic. So, I’ve kept my eye open for anything relatively relative about it…

Continue reading “So, it looks like “The Industry” is finally beginning to figure out this Snapchat thing…”

So, about this Snapchat thing… Yeah, it really is a thing it seems

A while back I wrote a brief post asking if anyone was using Snapchat as part of their marketing platform. I got a few responses… I checked the app out… I didn’t get it at all… And then I forgot about it.

Well, it appears the app is making it harder and harder for us to forget it according to this NYT article.

  • Snapchat is worth $30 B-b-b-billion dollars
  • It’s larger than Twitter
  • Facebook and others are desperately trying to emulate its appeal

So, about this Snapchat thingy…

Anyone have anything new to share about it re: social marketing platform?

So, about this Snapchat #socialmedia thing…

I wonder…

Are any Indie Authors using it to promote their work?

And if they are, are they finding it worthy of the time and brain cells it took them to learn yet another social media thing for which to suck them away from their writing (not that I need it for an excuse to do that… I have many, many others from which to draw from)?

I am filled with such wonderment for this Snapchat thing from seeing more and more written about its value in marketing to the social media-consumed Millennials.

 
 

Guess who has a new App…

If your guess was yours truly then you are a very gooood guesser.

That’s right, I am now in the latest, most hip virtual space – the software application market – and you can carry me around with you in your purse, in your pocket, or in your… – nevermind, I don’t even want to consider where else you might be carry things – conveniently located and readily accessible to the touch of your command on that smartphone of yours that you love and worship so much.

Screenshots of the App:

App Icon
App Icon

 

Menu Page
Menu Page

 

App About Page
App About Page

 

The Sea Trials of an Unfortunate Sailor Preview
The Sea Trials of an Unfortunate Sailor Preview

 

In addition to what we see here with the screenshots:

  • We have a photo stream of most of the photographs found on this site, as well as many, many more that are exclusive to the app (via Flickr, that is).
  • We can access the entirety of this site, as well as PROSOCHĒ, my Literary Consultancy site.
  • You can contact me directly through the app.
  • There are games!
  • And the feature that I’m most excited about: An audio recording of my novel The Sea Trials of an Unfortunate Sailor as performed by the author – and that would be me. I’ll be recording and uploading new chapters of the book to the app regularly.

Pretty cool, right?

Right?!

Now, I’ll be the first to admit that the app is a little quirky. For instance, the audio player in the app starts the sound file over again each time the player is paused. And, if the phone goes to sleep, then the player stops. At least on my Android phone anyway. I’m not sure about iPhones. I’m not cool so I don’t merit one of those. But those of you who are cool, please let me know what you think.

Another quirk is that when you open up either this site or PROSOCHĒ, you have to double tap the screen to get it sized correctly.

But other than those things it seems to work well enough, as far as I can tell anyway. But hey, you get what you pay for right and for this app you don’t have to pay a dime. Just as I didn’t have to pay a dime to create it. I used a free app building service found at appsbar.com. The site is pretty good but it has its own quirks. Contact me if you want a more thorough feedback of my app building experience than what you find here.

While building the app is free, there are costs associated with its distribution. To get the app into Google’s app store I had to pay a $25 developer fee. The process in setting up the account and getting the app reviewed and accepted was pretty easy. All in all it took about an hour or so. They say it can take several days to get the app approved but my approval came back within a couple of hours and voila it was in the store and ready to go.

The best part about the appsbar service is that any update you do through them automatically updates the app in Google. Although I had to find out about this the hard way – by myself. Before I submitted the app I was wondering how updates are handled because it didn’t discuss it on its FAQ. I submitted question after question but never got any response, other than a reply from them to one of my emails, but their email didn’t have any text in it (yeah, weird). Finally I just went ahead and published the app. And, of course, as soon as it was published I realized that I needed to make changes. So I made the changes via appsbar and happily found that it is an automatic process all the way through Google.

The only negative about it all being automatic is that you will not know when I update that app. So that means you all better be checking that sucker on a regular basis…

Can you dig?

Anyway, as far as how the Apple process goes… I’m not there yet. It costs $100 for their developers account and I’m not ready to commit that kind of coin to it yet.

In the interim, you can scan the QRC image (found below and on the sidebar) and, according to appsbar, it will load an HTML5 page onto your iPhone that is just the same as downloading it through the iTunes store. Again, I’m not cool so I don’t have an iPhone so I don’t know so if you are cool and if you try it please let me know how it goes so I will know, despite my uncoolness.

Okay, so how about that? I’ll be finishing up with the first chapter of my novel soon so get your app installed and on standby. And if you do install that sucker, hit me up through either the “Info Request” or “Contact Kurt” feature of the app and let me know what you think.

Please.

Thanks, Friends.


Get it on Google Play

Scan for iPhone

 
 

Props to #TEAMNASA

How cool is it that this little guy, after buzzing through space for nearly ten years, was able to do a fly-by of Pluto and open that apparently still-living planet (is it or isn’t it a planet) to us like it’s never been before; and is now, as I type, over 3,000,000,000 – as in three billion with a B – miles (I believe you need to multiply by 1.6 if you speak in metric, but I’m American so I’m probably the last person who would know) away and counting…

Pretty cool.

I wonder if it will ever catch up with the Voyager Mission

Doubt it seeing that Voyager 1 has a 25-year head start on it and has already left the solar system…

Along with Elvis.

Huh?
 

New_Horizons
New Horizons

 
 

My Morning Typical

So, instead of using the time to write like I always wish I had upon realizing that the morning has passed, I usually spend my mornings reading stuff off the web. I start with the news but end up flitting around the data pond like a water bug. A highly caffeinated water bug.

So, yeah, coffee in hand I settle into “the chair,” aka “the command center,” and begin a dereliction of my writing duties with sleepy anticipation. First I fire up my NPR One app so that I can have the settling drone of my favorite morning voices lulling me with all the day’s tragedies in the background, then I fire up my MSN News app. It’s pure awesomeness. What I like best about it is that it’s always feeding New York Times articles and they don’t count against the ten free articles I am allowed monthly. Yes, alas, I am too cheap to pay for a NYT subscription, which, of course, further promotes quality journalism’s fast march to death.

Anyway…

From that point on, your guess is as good as mine as to where I will end up…

Huffington Post…
BBC…
Fox News…
Drudge Report…
RT…

Admittedly, mindless flitting can lead me to some highly dangerous and corrupting places.

Yeah…

So, because I can think of nothing better to post about right now (surely not because I assume you were wondering), here is a very quick cut of what a typical morning of mine looks like.

I have a tailored section in my MSN News app that pulls in everything “literature” related. Pretty handy. This morning it pulled in this article:

James Wood on why Fiction and Criticism Matter

Despite the philosophical questions, Wood’s book is not really a metaphysical inquiry so much as a reflection on inquiry in writing. “The Why? question is a refusal to accept death,” he argues, and storytelling itself is almost a satanic act of rebellion given that the “ability to see the whole of a life is godlike.” By playing God, he argues, “we also work against God, hurl down the script, refuse the terms of the drama, appalled by the meaninglessness and ephemerality of existence.”

Interesting article; though I’m not sure it answered the question why fiction and criticism matter. Probably missed it since I’m constantly flitting around the internet which is causing my brain to unlearn its ability to learn.

But from the article, I did discover this by Thomas De Quincy:

On the Knocking at the Gate in Macbeth

Here I pause for one moment, to exhort the reader never to pay any attention to his understanding, when it stands in opposition to any other faculty of his mind. The mere understanding, however useful and indispensable, is the meanest faculty in the human mind, and the most to be distrusted; and yet the great majority of people trust to nothing else, which may do for ordinary life, but not for philosophical purposes.

A rather awesome essay; as is evident, I’m certain, even from the selected quote above.

So, yeah, after reading the De Quincy essay, can you guess where I’m flitting off to next?

Yup, you got it…

Off I go for a reread of this, which should easily take me to the end of the morning…

And the beginning of my dereliction of writing regrets.


FEATURED IMAGE: “Water strider G remigis” by Bruce J. Marlin – Own Work http://www.cirrusimage.com/bugs_water_strider.htm. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.5 via Wikimedia Commons.

 
 

My most favoritest new reading app…

After you download and read all of my books and stories and write raving reviews of them at any bookstore you can find all throughout the internet land, I highly recommend you download the Overdrive app. It’s a great way to read ebooks and, what I like best about it, listen to audiobooks for free, all while supporting your local library…or whatever library for which you happen to have a valid library card.

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

It’s a piece of carrot cake to use. Just download it to your phone, create your account, search for your library, plug in your library card number and both presto and voila, you’ll be reading or listening to books in no time.

And if you’re not into the whole smartphone thingy, you can do it all online right here.

And speaking of libraries, if you haven’t already – and I’m pretty sure you already have – how about petitioning your library to stock my books?

Hey, awesome, thanks dude*.

Yours truly rockin' the audiobook THE SEA IS MY BROTHER, a novel by Jack Kerouac on his favoritist newest app Overdrive
Yours truly rockin’ the audiobook version of THE SEA IS MY BROTHER, a posthumously published novel by Jack Kerouac, on my most favoritist new app

 

*non-gender specific

 
 

Caption This! no.2

Caption This! no2
Your caption could be here

 

So I was getting ready to post this bleak photo with a haiku about how in order to be found we must first be lost or something lame like that…but then it dawned on me (I’ve always liked that saying…the visual of a thought of mine rising in my brain like the morning sun)…

Hey, this would be the perfect picture for another one of those caption contest thingies.

Am I right or am I right?!

Yes, of course I’m right…

Right?

Anyway…

Same rules apply as the last time:

Post your caption in the comments.

Caption with the most “Likes” wins.

Winning caption will be posted tomorrow sometime (probably in the A.M.-ish timeframe) and will look a little something like this.

Have fun!

Don’t forget to “Like” the caption(s) you like best!

 
 

English is for Everyone

or

In Defense of Hoarders

The past week or so, I have been pretending to be a computer repairman (I guess in this gender-sensitive age it’s okay for me to say repairman instead of something vanilla (is it okay for me to say vanilla? does it matter that I’m white?) like repair person or repair representative, since I am, in fact, despite all the chemo’s and other drugs’s long-lasting emasculating attempts, a man). It’s funny how, no matter how useless they become, old computers, along with old video games, and old phones, and old power packs, and old chargers, and don’t even get me started on unidentifiable old CDs, kind of just hang around in a corner of the basement as if it were a technological sarcophagus — lifeless computers stacked forlornly, purposeless cables and chords twisted madly into an untwistable balled bunch… Yeah.

Anyway, the past week or so I have been Dr. Frankengeek: attempting to restore ancient operating systems, rooting around in old files, deleting an old this, saving an old that.

So, so much stuff tucked away within those old computers. Who really knows how much stuff is really on them? Of course we never should throw them away until the day a gadget is made that possesses unlimited memory and a magical ability to instantaneously copy old files onto it without any user prompting, whatsoever. And not just any old file, no, certainly not those intransigent .dll files or any other annoying and undeletable ones like them, only important old files. And not to worry, this gadget will know what’s what, believe me. Oh, and of course the gadget will be cordless and will have an infinite battery life.

Coming soon to an Amazon store near you…

Until I can get my hands one of those suckers, I promise all my old computers will stay unneatly stacked in my basement and conveniently out of your landfill.

Most of the past week or so has certainly been less than fun. It’s a good thing I’m jobless and have a lot of time on my hands because most of the past week or so has been nothing more than an intimate study of the Ctrl, Alt, Del keys.

If this is what the world is coming to, then I say, go ahead and let the geeks inherit it.

Geek salvation…boring.

However, every once in a while I did dig my way into a stash of old photos, or old school papers, or some other ancient gem that reminded me of how cool it has been to live with my wife and kids these past twenty-five years or so.

Take, for instance, the picture found at the beginning of this rambling post. I found it in a folder of old English lessons.

Back in the last century, I used to live in Japan, and for a time when I lived in Japan, I used to teach English on the side to some very wonderful Japanese folks. To find and attract those wonderful Japanese folks, I used to advertise my lessons as “English is for Everyone.” Quaint, ain’t it?

Those of you who know my family, know how talented my children are. My daughter is an especially talented artist. She always has been, as is evident by the drawing she made when she was, oh, I don’t know…ten? twelve?…and which is found at the top of this rambling post, and which became the logo for those old lessons. I believe we even made iron-ons out of that logo and pressed them on to tee-shirts. At any rate, we truly made a good time out of it, that’s for sure.

Within that old stash, I also found many of my old English lessons, and old worksheets, and old handouts. They all bring back fond and funny and fortunate memories. I miss all my — I hesitate to call them students because it seemed as if I ended up learning more from them than they did from me, so I’ll simply say, I miss all my friends from that period of my life.

What follows is a copy of one of the old handouts I put together to, well, handout to my friends during those old English lessons. It is a list of heteronyms (thank god for google (is that redundant?)) that exemplifies just how crazy and fun the English language is.

Come to think of it, this might be a stretch, but, English is kind of like my old computers… It’s a communication system and storage system and retrieval system, all coded and operated by a language that rarely deletes anything but continually accumulates and assumes bits and bytes of other languages into its own as it constantly and forever evolves and adapts its system to the demands of the times.

Yeah, I said it was a bit of a stretch, but still…

No wonder the English language is so difficult to learn

We polish the Polish furniture.
He could be in the lead if he would just get the lead out.
A farm can produce produce.
The dump was so full it had to refuse refuse.
The soldier decided to desert in the desert.
The present is a good time to present the present.
At the Army base, a bass fish was painted on the head of a bass drum.
The dove dove into the bushes.
I did not object to the object.
The insurance for the invalid was invalid.
The bandage was wound around the wound.
There was a row among the oarsmen about how to row.
They were too close to the door to close it.
The buck does funny things when the does are present.
They sent a sewer down to stitch the tear in the sewer line.
To help with planting, the farmer taught his fat sow to sow the seeds.
The wind was too strong to wind the sail.
After a number of Novocaine injections, my jaw became number.
I shed a tear when I saw the tear in my pants.
I had to subject the subject to a series of tests.
How can I intimate this to my most intimate friend?
I spent last evening evening out a pile of dirt.

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED JULY 2012

Emergent

Emergent

No one was yet aware that it had become aware, that it was now living, sentient, that it could now do more than just connect, process, aggregate, predict, that it could now feel, comprehend, hunger, fear, that it could now hunt, protect, attack, control.

No, no one was yet aware.

Their awareness was forthcoming.

 

HERCULES GONE MAD – FREE AT AMAZON

Hercules Gone Mad Book Cover
When the World Order collapses…

When the Revolution of Neo-Collectivism prevails…

When the Angel of Death strikes out for its final, global purging…

What is a disgraced Special Forces Warrior to do?

HE GOES MAD
 

Get your free copy until midnight tonight (Pacific time) by clicking here
Read an excerpt here

Hello, friends. I am releasing HERCULES GONE MAD and each subsequent book of the HEROES OF DYSTOPIA saga in serialized format, as books were once released in the classic tradition of science fiction writing of days past. I am doing this so that, hopefully, I can get new editions out to you quickly, get your feedback, and incorporate that feedback just as quickly into subsequent editions. Consequently, your feedback and support will be critical to this serialized process. The stories will first be available as ebooks, and then, once all parts of each book have been released, as a completed print edition book.

Each serialized edition of this and subsequent books will be initially released exclusively from Amazon for its Kindle reader. Depending on their success, they will then be released in all other major ebook formats (Nook, Sony Reader, Kobo, IBook, etc.), in addition to a print edition. If you do not have an ebook reader, you can download the free Kindle app from Amazon and read the book online, on your phone, or whatever your preferred reader may be.

If you would like to contact me to discuss my writing, such as providing me feedback on how I can improve the HEROES OF DYSTOPIA saga, or anything else germane to our mutual interests, you can drop me a line by visiting kurtbrindley.com/contact/ and filling out the form, by leaving a comment on the HEROES OF DYSTOPIA page, or by emailing me directly at me@kurtbrindley.com.

Thank you very much for taking the time to read my work. I look forward to hearing from you. Until then, stay tuned for Part Two of HERCULES GONE MAD. It’s coming soon!

Get your free copy of PART ONE: Rebels for Love here
Read an excerpt here