Thursday, September 22, 2011

Tab Clearing...

  • A review of pants that deserves a link, especially for using the word "gunwales".

  • I finally picked a team in the Kilted To Kick Cancer contest. The t-shirt in no way influenced my decision. Well, okay, maybe it did.

  • King Canute called. He said your stance on ebooks seemed familiar. (Sadly, I don't think public libraries, at least as I remember them from my youth, are much longer for this world, either.)

  • I see that SIG won the contract to supply sidearms to Food Court Team 6. Nice work, Ron Cohen; I love what you've done to another formerly respectable firearms business. Not many people can say that they've killed two whole gun companies in their lifetime. (Further, I can't believe American Handgunner put that abortion on their cover; I'm surprised Alex Hamilton and Clint Smith didn't resign their columns in disgust.)

  • That new Micro Uzi looks like a MAKO catalog threw up on it.


pdb said...

I got the same sinking feeling when I got the new American Rifleman. A fawning review of the Rossi Ranch Hand, the Bond Arms .410 derringer, and a glossy spread from Taurus about the Judges?

Sweet zombie Jesus, make it stop! If it wasn't for the cool article on NM Garands, I would have circle-filed it.

ps: Word Verification: derro. Screw you too, google.

Stretch said...

re SIG Charlie Foxtrot:
Peter Paul Mauser, Georg Luger and Carl Walther weep. And plot their revenge.

Tango Juliet said...

A 22 lb Sig!! Just what I needed!

Bubblehead Les. said...

Sigh! In this world full of "Plastic Fantastic Lovers," even Moisen-Nagants are looking better all the time. Excuse me, I have to go chase some kids off my lawn....

Just My 2¢ said...

Retired gunsmith MacGregor Scott used to have a word for that: BOPOS.
Bolt On Piece of... Stuff. Yeah. That's it.

What a piece of stuff.

"Suddenly, across the nations, millions of mall-ninjas squee’d in unison". ROFL. Use the DORK, Luke.

Jay G said...


No love for the Gadsden *or* "Join or Die"???

NotClauswitz said...

*Sigh* I wish Sig would hire someone with real, *artsy* type graphic design experience and get rid of the manager/pen-shuffler from Catalog City.
That's what our stuff started to look like when we were managed by the managers of Sky-Mall...

Brad K. said...

On ebooks,

I am waiting for the Chinese to issue a world challenge to hackers to be the first to beat Engineer Murphy to the 'cloud' registry of sold ebooks.

The first, or third, time that says, "Oops! We lost our records that you ever bought that book -- we are deleting them all, now, so you can establish a new, clean record that satisfies the courts, 'cause every publisher is suing our pants (kilts?) off." -- that may change a few people's minds about ebooks.

Remember back when so many useful and neat games were open source/available just because? Most have now been copyrighted and you get to pay for them.

I remember when going to school meant three or four pencils and a pad of paper. The lists parents have now cost a bunch more than that.

Keeping 'ownership' of ebooks, when they could so easily become 'why, we are just renting that to you, it only makes sense to reward authors (and publishers!) for every time you read the book! or page!'

And the scum-thieves haven't even begun to swipe readers for coveted high-demand ebooks.

Excuse me. I think I will go re-read my "Nerilka's Quest", signed by the author so that I recall the day in Mountain View, CA, when Anne McCaffrey came to call at Printer's Inc.

Jenny said...


Tams - So... when weapons have that guard that goes around the whole hand, instead of just the trigger - is there a reason for that? Or is it just to look like a Buck Rogers gun? Is there a realistic safety record difference between the designs?

Brad - fun! :)

Goober said...


I hate what mall ninjas have done to my hobby. What an impractical piece of crap.

Matthew said...

He off-handedly mentions Baen, but isn't that an author-positive future?

A guild of more-or-less like-minded authors who will collectively work with a given small publishing house (which can have low-overhead due to the magic elf boxes) to sell their voluntarily-branded product?

Let people's desire for the content help you develop the prices that both sides can live with.

It's not like I'm going to switch to "Author X" to save a buck or two when it comes to books. When you want gun-correct Monster Hunting only Correia and the other folks at Baen will do (as an example).

WV: burol - what bureaucrats do when you suggest they could be more helpful

Stingray said...

I am waiting for the Chinese to issue a world challenge to hackers to be the first to beat Engineer Murphy to the 'cloud' registry of sold ebooks.

And this would serve what purpose, exactly? Even if you take it as an act of economic sabotage, given the degree our economy is intertwined with theirs, what compelling interest do they have to start taking potshots at their own feet?

The first, or third, time that says, "Oops! We lost our records that you ever bought that book -- we are deleting them all, now, so you can establish a new, clean record that satisfies the courts, 'cause every publisher is suing our pants (kilts?) off."

Loosen up the tinfoil there Skippy. When Amazon got froggy over copies of, ironically, "1984" I seem to recall the backlash had them yelling "Do it to Julia!" in damn short order. On top of that, possession is nine tenths of the law. If you're that afraid that your ones and zeros will vanish in a puff of smoke by fiat, then when you purchase or obtain free ones and zeros, put them on a USB drive and hide it with the guns buried for when the commies come, and turn off the wi-fi on your reader and load them manually. I know it's all kinds of gauche to not use the fanciest whiz-bang way to Get Stuff possible, but if it's stupid and it works it ain't stupid.

wv: arifwqnv - the sound made by either end of the pro/anti ereader spectrum regarding the topic once you get a standard deviation or two out.

Stingray said...

Oh, and because I was too quick on the publish key, thanks for the linky-love Tam. The shirt was in no way a carefully considered targeted marketing decision, I swear. O:-)

Ken said...

I admit that I chose a Sony Reader in part because I wasn't interested in being tied to some retailer's perhaps quaint notions of DRM, but it's a moot point because all but three of my e-books are freebies from Mises, Gutenberg, or the Online Library of Liberty. The exceptions are Barnett's Restoring the Lost Constitution,, Landes's The Wealth and Poverty of Nations, and Tolkien's The Lay of Sigurd and Gudrun.

I'll miss the public liberry if it goes. For my money, it's one of the few things the state manages to do pretty doggone well. I suspect that has a lot to do with the line librarians, though. There's no substitute for believing in what you're doing.

Attila said...

Passed up a chance at a very cheap P226 this week. There's a reason I love me some police trade in and military surplus Sig pistols.

the pawnbroker said...

That's not a t-shirt...

*This* is a t-shirt!

Anonymous said...

RE: E-books

I suggest a "cost" vs. "value" problem. The cost to publish an e-book must be pretty close to $0.00. Indeed, one of the original selling points for e-books was that they WOULD be much cheaper than traditional hard- and paperbacks there was no need to kill actual trees, haul crates of books around the country, take up retail space, etc. To this day, I get outraged when I want to download a book and find that it's more than a couple of bucks. "YOU PROMISED ME IT'D BE CHEAP!!!!"

But what value has the book? How much is the author's time and creativity worth? How do we put a price on that?

Based on the article cited, Amazon has apparently decided that the answers are "None" and "Who cares?"

Too bad.

O' course, it may be that Amazon will be hoist on its own petard: since electronic publishing IS very cheap, what's to stop authors from publishing on their own websites? Who needs Amazon in that case?

Ian Argent said...

Baen's been making money enough to pay authors a pretty reasonable royalty check every cycle off of DRM-free ebooks for over a decade now (though by their own admission the first few years' profits would have bought a so-so steak dinner). The charge paperback prices for each book and remit paperback royalties and don't sweat the inevitable piracy; instead they save money on useless DRM.

I'm not worried about Amazon throwing a wobbler and deleting my ebooks, for I a) keep backups, and b) keep backups and c) don't pay money for DRM that cannot be removed.

The only problem with ebooks is Sturgeon's law. This is also the glory of ebooks.

WV: quactvol. The DRM I care about.

Canthros said...

docjim505: Per-unit costs of publishing an ebook should be lower than the per-unit costs of a dead tree edition. However, most of the fixed costs (editing, layout, etc) are still incurred in epublishing. Or so I remember Jerry Pournelle claiming earlier in the year. Whether this translates into reduced cost overall depends entirely on how much printing a run of a given book costs.

I share your frustration, though. It certainly seems like an ebook should be equally profitable to the seller, the publishing house, and the author while costing the consumer noticeably less than a mass market paperback. At the price of such a paperback, it seems like it ought to be a sure thing. Not being familiar with the publishing industry except by its products (i. e. books, and paranoid screeds about how epublishing will kill the radio star^Hauthor's livelihoods), I'm not at all sure how much a physical book actually costs its publisher.

I read another one of these explanations about how ebooks were losing publishers money, but I don't think the analysis in it was sound. The argument compared the price of an ebook to the wholesale price of a hardcover, which doesn't seem sound. ISTR the writer of that blog post was an author of a children's book and holder of a poli-sci degree, which may further indispose me to finding his math suspect.

global village idiot said...

I once met a Soldier in Iraq in 2005 who had an M4 with so much gadgetry attached that it not only weighed more than my M16A2/M203, it weighed as much as an M249 SAW.

I wonder what the MOS is for Mall Ninja. I know I put my copy of DA PAM 611-21 around here somewhere....

The Micro Uzi would only be cool if the weird "trigger guard" was fashioned to perform the same function as brass knuckles. It's a "trigger guard" in the same sense that a g-string is "clothing."

Bottom line, though, is that it looks like the thing the neighbor kid brought home from Toys 'R' Us yesterday.

Guns should look menacing, beautiful or both. A pump shotgun or Sten gun is menacing. A Savage Model 99 or a Charleville musket is beautiful. A Howdah is both.

New guns nowadays look like soulless sci-fi props.


P.S. Tam, I'm not sure if you know this, but I've been meaning to tell you this for a couple days. Under your "Stuff You Need" tab, thinks I need:
o Disney Princess Tea Party (Various Artists)
o Disney Princess Sing Along Songs (Artist not Provided)
o The Audacity to Win by David Plouffe

I have no idea how these things came to be there, but I find them funny in a way I can't quite put my finger on.

Brad K. said...

@ Stingray,

Maybe you are right. Maybe no hacker will ever conceive a notion to meddle with anything. And Murphy sure cannot happen.

I have computer games and compilers that I cannot use on my computer. They came on 5.25 inch floppies. I wrote web sites for years using Macromedia Homesite. Which was a real hassle, I had to go back to the 4.0 version and do the upgrades, again, with factory support when I traded computers or upgraded hard drives. Only Adobe doesn't answer the phone anymore.

One game, Might & Magic IV, goofed up my last computer so it wouldn't boot. I found a patch once that undid the dastardly deed. It won't run at all on my Windows 7 machine.

Now, someone could walk off with my books, or the house might burn around them. But otherwise, for the most part, they stay as useful as the last time I put each down. And that has been a lot longer for some of them than the life of digital media so far.

Ebooks in plain ascii? I got a few of those, and I don't worry about DRM changes, incompatibility, changing software standards and companies, etc.

For people that read a book and throw it out -- hey, Kindle, or any other media, that is tailor made for you. For those that want to re-read favored books over the years, I have my doubts that the industry cares to, or is able to, support that kind of use.

Ian Argent said...

Brad K: My house could burn down tomorrow and every one of my ebooks would survive in readable format.

I have files old enough to vote that are perfectly readable, sitting on my hard drive, despite that same drive being under a year old. (I actually checked that). I f I had been a little more diligent about opening the silly things and saving them in a new format, I have a couple of spreadsheets that are old enough to vote in the same directory, and I probably can still recover them if I really cared about Renegade Legion: Interceptor designs knocked off in study hall and math-checked in Quattro Pro.

I literally don't have the room to store any more paperbacks, much less hardcover books, certainly not in the volume I consume them. And there are some books that I would feel a little silly keeping (the death books, for one). An ereader in a ziplok bag is safer in the tub than any paper book.

There is a place for hardcopy. I have quite a number of RPG books in both formats and paper is easier to use. But It's a damn sight harder to carry around everything ever run off for Shadowrun or D&D, so I have both.

Unless Baen is not "in the industry" they sure as hell want to support my desire for non-DRM-laden ebooks. And have been doing so since 1999. Others are coming to the same conclusions - one of the interesting things about the RPG industry (WotC excluded and I wonder how much of that is Hasbro's idiocy) is that they are coming down on the side of "no DRM and ignore the piracy." We shall see what we shall see

Sure, I have software I cannot run, but

Mark Alger said...

Gunwales: would those be tactical cords? Cool, except for the "can hear you coming" part.


Anonymous said...

E-books are lovely (for some folks) but I suspect the brick and mortar library will stay around. I live in a pretty average place on the Great Plains. A lot of people here don't have the money for an e-reader or the necessary internet services. There are other services that the libraries here provide that e-books and the internet do not (yet) duplicate, lots of them related to education and reading.


Ian Argent said...

As much as Breda hates it, libraries will transition to free Internet cafes, and e-books are practically the platonic ideal of download now, and consume at leisure.