Friday, March 22, 2013

My first novel. A story about a young man in a tribe of river people, trying to survive a harsh winter. Or a story about space colonies being built by drones, more colonies than people to live in them. Take your pick.

Science Fiction. Young Adult.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

I've been published. With an ISBN and everything. Two of my short stories were accepted into the first issue of The Journal for Social Era Knowledge.
I met someone on Google plus named Meg Tufano who was very interested in some of my short stories.

One story, Human is about what the world might be like for old people in a few short years.  How legality and law touches on every aspect of technology, and what is legal is not the same as what is possible, or ethical.

The other story also kind of focuses on that, but in a very different way. It's about a guy in his underwear at an airport. A little pot.

Monday, July 16, 2012

But it's all about the transition.

People are starting to understand what this whole post scarcity thing is all about. Stuff in the works RIGHT NOW is going to make people healthier, stuff cheaper, food better, energy more abundant, and a bunch of other very good things.

But. it's all about the transition.

It's all well and good that widgets and gizmo's are getting cheaper because robots are making them... but now people don't have jobs.

It's all well and good that health care is getting better... but we can't afford what we got  NOW.

It's all sorts of great that the internet is starting to show up everywhere...but the monthly fees to get it are killing us, and they want to charge by the megabyte?

It's fantastic that we can now feed the whole world, but a scary monopoly is trying to CHARGE us to do that, and corner the market on FOOD.

We got robots that can build houses now out of concrete, one 3d printed layer at a time... We have factories that can build manufactured homes at a rate of several an hour... but houses cost a third of your monthly salary for thirty years. And after that... property taxes change that to a fifth.

SURE stuff in the works will make all of these things so cheap to produce that they could give them away for free... but why would the people making these things want to do that?

As long as these things are coming at us top down... that is, someone gets a good idea, forms a company, makes a product and sells it for PROFIT.... This is the way its got to be. Like it or not.

The transition is going to be painful. Capitalists will wonder why no one is buying their stuff, because they don't realize they got rid of all the jobs of the people who wanted to BUY their stuff.


What if instead, the guys without a job got together, and built a wireless mesh network so they could get the internet (or a version of it) for free?

What if they owned 3d printers capable of making more 3d printers? or at least a great deal of the parts. And then used those to make robots?

What if they got together, and used those robots and each other to make one hell of a garden? the kind of garden that can feed thirty people?

What if they had solar panels, windmills, and water purifiers on their apartment building... Things they installed themselves that makes that building efficient enough for the ten families that live there to no longer need to pay for water, or power?

What if a neighborhood got together, and REALLY started to communicate again... swapping what they needed with each other.. helping however they could? Trading from their garden with other gardens... building with their printers and giving their stuff to other people around them....

What happens when instead of top down... we built this all bottom up?

Well yeah, it won't be perfect. It's gonna be messy.

 Egos and greed will get in the way, people will hoard, mistakes will be made, some of them costly mistakes.

It will be ugly. and makeshift, and cobbled together.... duct tape and wd40, sweat and dust. But it will be ours. 

And the stuff this iteration makes will be used to make better versions of the next iteration. Better robots will take out the sweat. Better 3d printers will remove the duct tape, Clever solutions removing the dirt, the greed, the egos...

well, maybe not the egos.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The future will be clever, and we will build it.

There is a trend brewing... and I'm following it as closely as I can.

Techshops are allowing people access to very expensive tools that used to be impossible to touch unless you had the backing of a powerful company. Focusing on professionals who rent time on these machines with a monthly fee sort of business arrangement.

Fab labs are doing the same thing, with a more educational and academic lens.

Hackerspaces do it in an informal and organic sort of way, essentially a social club for people to make stuff and explore technology.

What they all have in common is a way to gather ordinary people up to invent stuff that did not exist before. They all assist in one form or another a person in realizing his inventive dream... the time of the lone inventor hiding in his garage,  and after years of toil creating something amazing are gone... collaboration and feedback are changing that from years.... to days.

Websites, like Quirky are encouraging and supporting inventions and product design on a consistently high quality, amazingly organized and efficient basis.

These services have already caused innovation to explode... and we haven't even begun to see the amazing sort of things that will emerge from them.

The future is going to be clever, and its going to be built by us, one good idea at a time.

(Update) I'm now ready to start creating a business plan to create my own version of this... something non-profit, focused on both education and entrepreneur, teaching people how they can make what they need themeselves, or at least get expert help in doing so.

Startup 101

So last night I went to another cocktail party. Well specifically I went to an event called Startup 101... This time in Bellevue Washington, at a wine bar. About fifty to a hundred people.

The event was straightforward, first there was a sign up area, then a speech from someone who was a successful entrepreneur, hor d'oeuvres were set up, a lot of nice cheeses, followed by a meet and greet. it was clear that it was a mix of people like me, First timers with no idea what they were doing, and old timers that had a clear agenda.

I discovered a lot of things.

First, yeah, I have no business plan... what I have is a vision. I know what I want.

They want to know what it costs, how long it will take, what the initial layout is going to be, what revenue streams are coming back, and how many customers will I have before money starts coming in before going out. As I talked to people, I watched their faces fall when they realized how green I really am at this. I was talking “How cool would it be” and they were talking “How much will it cost.”

If I wrote a program that counted words being spoken in that room and made it into a word cloud... Money would be the largest, and dead set in the center. And rightly so... THIS is the environment where people with money make decisions on where to spend it. And people without money give their pitches to them.

I now know I’m not ready for this. I need to write up some solid proposals, flesh out some real costs, work out a real business plan. I need to know how much approximately my equipment is going to cost, how large a space I’m going to need, what my weekly expenses will be and how the hell I make those expenses dwindle while the profits come in.

I’m pretty sure I’m going to end up going non-profit on the tech shop... but even so, I’m gonna need those numbers.

Second, I can’t take the environment very long. At least in a shop, nobody minds if you wear noise canceling headphones.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Meet and Greet

So tonight I did something outside my normal comfort zone...

I went to a cocktail party.
I got invited to a meet and greet by someone I know online, A social gathering of people looking to connect. I wasn’t sure why I was invited. But I was.

I’ve been thinking about running a tech shop forever, I know exactly what I want.. .  I’m starting to get serious about it... so what the hell.

Maybe I can find out how to do the business side of this... talk to someone who understands and can point out the pitfalls that will almost certainly be there.

My problem was that I knew this would be a Non-Nerd event. No one would be impressed if I showed up in a tee shirt that said “Stand back, I’m going to try science”.  There would be business suits and cocktail dresses. If I start talking about 3d printers and fab labs...people would have absolutely no idea what I was talking about.. And if I start getting excited and go into one of my stream of consciousness ADD rants. Unlike my usual gatherings, It would not be considered normal or socially accepted behaviour. How does a geek who hangs around geeks constantly, talk to non-geeks without a keyboard to buffer?

So I put on a clean shirt. Tucked it in and de-rumpled my attire, and drove to Downtown Seattle.

Didn’t take long to find it. The Amber was the name of the bar where this was being held (the “e” spelled backwards on the sign). Another thing I don’t do much is bars... outside of the AFK tavern in Everett (very much by for and about gamer geeks), or a small party at someone’s house, I rarely drink.

And this place was clearly a bit more upscale than I’m used to. Pretty girls in little black dresses bringing drinks and passing out hor dourves lots of people standing around and talking loudly enough that it has its own background reverb thing going... Like that echo phone mcguffin  from Batman The Dark Knight, I bet with two microphones a laptop, and a good oscilloscope I could map that room in decent detail from backscatter sound alone.

I spent a few minutes thinking about that when someone came up to me and pointed out I didn’t have a name tag. I could go get them over on the other side of the room  by the fireplace... where all the people were..

Something I noticed immediately, waiting politely for someone to notice you want to move past them doesn’t work at a cocktail party. Instead, this waiting is considered an invitation to strike up a conversation. It took an hour  to make it to the table. put on a name tag, and make it back to the bar. In that time I met a person writing a novel, an architectural consultant  a hair stylist, an intellectual property lawyer, an investment banker, a licensing attorney, an investment advisor and a couple business consultants. All very cool and interesting people.

Each conversation started with  something like “So what do you do?” followed by me giving a short spiel about how a tech shop is “sort of like a gym membership where instead of working out, you are making stuff, and I’d be the guy supplying and maintaining the tools, as well as teaching how to use them... with a big focus on computer assisted design stuff like 3d printers, five axis routers, laser cutters and embroidery machines”

All of them seemed genuinely interested in helping me. pointing out resources they had that I might be interested in, and asking for contact information so they could put me in touch with people they know.

They then would all give me their business card, and I’d accept it politely, and then have to explain that I don’t HAVE a business card...  (so before I wrote this, I ordered some business card paper for my printer... I’ll have some business cards this time next week.)

I think  that I might now be a LOT closer than I thought to getting my  tech shop off the ground.

I’m writing this as a way for me  to organize my thoughts, I want to blog about every detail of this Tech Shop dream. So I have a record of what does and does not work. So I can get advice from people who read this, and hopefully so I can help other people create their own tech shops, whether I succeed or fail.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

His one chance

"Determine where the secondary controls are on your model of vehicle. It should be beneath the speed indicator"

John Donny looked at the instructions again. It had been hard for him to get these. He glanced up at his car controls, something he hadn't done much.... Ahhh, found the speed indicator. It's showing "124.3mph/230km"... Huh. he thought idly... we still measure miles on these things? He looked at the dashboard again, frowning. There’s the air conditioning stuff, and the music settings, privacy, viewscreen projector, the chair heat and massage, the netpad...

Wow. lots of things up here... He'd been so used to using his command voice, he'd forgotten you could do this all by touch...  He had to have touch for this, though. the paper made it clear you couldn't do it the easy way.

"Secondary Controls... secondary controls..." He muttered under his breath. It's been years since he even really looked at the panel. His car heard him muttering, and to be helpful enlarged and circled the button he sought on the dashboard screen. John’s eyes widened, and his mouth shut tight.. I've got to be more careful, he thought to himself, trying not to even sub-vocalize. He knew this was it, his one chance.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Late to the Party

First, the base.

Lana carefully applied the cream to her face, neck and arms.... she'd be wearing long pants, so nothing for her legs today. The base is always where you start... coats over the pores so it can wick any moisture and oils away from the powder. It also gives it a good connective medium. Default is always white... makes it easy to tell if you miss a spot... It goes clear when you tap the control to it.

"Honey! where's my other jumpsuit?"  Jack yelled from the other room...
Lana sighed. Some things never change. "You threw it at the cleaner a week ago. It's clean and hung in the back, exactly where its supposed to be!"
"Ahh. found it!" Lana could hear him struggling into it. "How's the time?"
"We are doing fine."

Thursday, February 9, 2012


Brother Jack Toblin frowned down at his report. "No no no no." he muttered, barely audibly, "That won't work at all." With a flick of his fingers the letters on the page began to vanish. Half the page's writing was gone before a gesture stopped the erasure. He scratched his temple with the nubbin of his quill. The ink stains from the many other times he had done this, leaving a tiny cartographer's map on his balding forehead, travelling the paths of his frustration. 

And then, for a candle's age, the only sound was his pen on parchment. Finally he stopped, and set down the quill. He lifted the parchment and read aloud.

"From Brother Jack Toblin, Order of St. Thomas, Chapter of Mysteries. To be sent to Father Patrick Miller, Order of St Thomas, Megalos Volume of Records

Father Miller, you asked us to determine if a true dragon was living in the Moors. I can confirm these stories."

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

So I've decided to change the focus of my blog.

So I've decided to change the focus of my blog.

All the cool "look what I found" stuff I am now posting on google+

Search for my name there and add me to your circles... I get more feedback there, and generally have a chance to actually have a dialog about whatever cool thing it was I thought was neat enough to share.

My own stuff. Stuff I wrote myself... I'm going to start putting here, and THEN sharing to G+, facebook etc.

I've got some projects I'm working on.

Like creating a young adult storygame/short story anthology based on a magical mall I created.

I am currently expanding on it while removing references to the role playing game I originally created it for. I'm also calling for  people who want to participate... writers, rpg enthusiasts, Fan fic people, artists, and it wouldn't hurt to have a few editors to correct typos and mistakes, (heh, mostly mine)

I don't THINK it will make any money, but I do plan to eventually publish collections of short stories based upon what we do there. If it DOES make money, I plan to be fair and share.

If you are interested in joining this, send me your email address and I'll add that to the shared google doc that explains it all.