Cheeseburger Gothic

iPad Pro vs Macbook

Posted November 16, 2015 into Writing by John Birmingham

Orin texted me from the Apple Shoppe the other day, taunting me with pictures of his shiny new iPad Pro. I am envy. But I'm still not buying a first gen model. I might even be waiting until the iPad Pro Air 3 is released.

Not that I don't want one. I do. Desperately. But my big arse Retina iMac is always going to be my primary hauler for taking words to market, and for a second screen I can't get past the newish Macbook. Although I'm not buying into the first gen there either.

I can and do use my iPad for production, but always as a stop gap. Writing columns when I travel. Editing manuscripts in Word while stuck at school cricket for half a day. Maybe blocking out a chapter in a book. I use the onscreen keyboard for all of these, but when it comes time to do hours and hours of hard core writing, I still prefer a solid keyboard and trackpad.

I have four main sources of income. I write novels, ebooks, blogs/columns and features. For each of those a laptop remains a better option than a tablet, even with a bluetooth or connected keyboard. I doesn't mean I couldn't do all of those things exclusively in iOS. I totally could. It just wouldn't be ideal.

I've been pondering on this a lot the last few weeks, because I want to tweak my work flow next year and I'm thinking of breaking my day in half. Doing longform fiction at the iMac in the morning when I'm most productive, and shorter media work, or tending to the Burger, apres lunch.

For the latter, I wouldn't mind getting away from my standing desk for an hour or so. (I've also been considering how to multitask without multitasking, which is proven bullshit. I have a couple of trade published novels and half a dozen self published ebooks I want to get through in 2016 and juggling them all in the course of a day doesn't work. Instead I'm looking at splitting the week the same way I split the day. Primary project first, getting all my attention in the first part of the day, Monday through Wednesday. Secondary project – ebooks, basically – getting the back end of the week, Thursday and Friday. No weekend work. No night shift).

With blogging, column writing and occasional gym visits in the afternoons, it'd be nice to escape the Cave, even it was just to repair to the verandah where the bunnies might attend me with mint juleps and foot rubs while I tap the keys. That's why I'm thinking Macbook. All I'm doing away from the iMac is word processing and web searching, but the publishing software for both the Burger and Fairfax still works better with MacOS than iOS. And as for the hardware? Well I thought this great little piece from the Philippines really nailed it.

Luis Buenaventura jaunted off to his local fruit store to get the iPad Pro on the first day (and it's worth reading the article just for that). "Omigod! It's huge!"

But when he gets the big arse pad back to his hotel room, although it's a hella impressive piece of kit, "it's too big to carry around in anything but a laptop bag, and it's too heavy to whip out just to skim through Facebook while sipping on your morning pour-over."

I don't want to verbal Luis, because he (I'm pretty sure he's a he) really loved the Pro and spends most of the entry raving about it. But for me, for a second screen devoted solely to writing, it's just not there yet.

I'm sure Tim will be happy to take my money when the Macbook update drops next year.

27 Responses to ‘iPad Pro vs Macbook’

w from brisbane ducks in to say...

Posted November 16, 2015
For a full time writer, the ergonomic superiority of the iMac set up is pretty key. I reckon you can't take that neck and shoulders for granted.



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Murphy_of_Missouri is gonna tell you...

Posted November 16, 2015
Meanwhile, I got a second hand Smith-Corona Electric Typewriter. During the warmer days I plan on hauling it out to the patio for a bit of writing. I'll be leaving the iPhone behind for that.

Sometimes old ways are the best ways.

Rob reckons...

Posted November 16, 2015

I particularly like Faber Castell colouring pencils and shiny cartridge paper for drawing. There is something slimy about touching glass on my phone and tablet. The tactile press of a pen on paper, or the push into a keyboard is a bit like the difference between headphones and a well mixed PA at a gig. You can see and feel the music through you, not just in your ears.

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John Birmingham has opinions thus...

Posted November 16, 2015
I wouldn't say no, simply because the Fairfax blog publishing system is hostile to everything but Windoze. And if I had to run the 'doze I'd want to run it on the best gear I could. Be a bit of a stretch to drop two grand on a Surfacebook just to write Blunty once a week, though.

Rob ducks in to say...

Posted November 16, 2015

maybe ask Fairfax to lease you one?

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Blarkon mumbles...

Posted November 16, 2015
iPad Pro is unbeatable as a consumption device. Comics and PDFs are amazing. The iPad Pro has replaced my iPad.

Other than mind-mapping though, the content creation functionality isn't as good *for me* - so it's replaced my iPad, but not my laptop.

But if you are someone who uses a stylus or iPad pen (and I know you're all over notebooks) then it might end up being something that you can use in that capacity.

The iPad Pro is fucking gorgeous. Great for watching movies. Amazing for comics. Brilliant for PDFs (for which the normal iPad is just a bit too small for comfort).

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GhostSwirv puts forth...

Posted November 16, 2015

JB if your writing day schedule in 2016 does work out to be longform income fiction in the mornings and short form for the love of burgerring in the afternoons - then the longform luncheon may have an effect on your creative genius.

Would be interesting to note which lunch guests most affected your musings and which libations were most conducive to high-quality cheese?

John Birmingham mumbles...

Posted November 16, 2015
I might blog more extensively about this when I've properly worked out my schedule and projects. But long lunches are a very occasional indulgence these days. Usually followed by long naps.

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coriolisdave has opinions thus...

Posted November 16, 2015
Speaking as a total keyboard snob, I've been using an ipad with this logitech keyboard, and I'm absolutely amazed at how good it is. Proper feel, easy to touch-type at speed, and no fucking about getting it to connect.
It's replaced my work laptop as default device (except when I have to mess with epic spreadsheets, or visio diagrams).

John Birmingham would have you know...

Posted November 16, 2015
That looks pretty good. Also, everyone note, Coriolisdave knows how to use a hyperlink. Unlike some.

w from brisbane mumbles...

Posted November 16, 2015
The hyperlink function on the Burger used to just exit me from the site. Let me just try a little test.





w from brisbane asserts...

Posted November 16, 2015
It worked!

Barnesm has opinions thus...

Posted November 16, 2015
are my hyperlinks not working? They work when I click on them. They also change colour after I click on them. Blue before I click on them, purple after I click.

coriolisdave puts forth...

Posted November 16, 2015
Didn't your mother ever tell you what would happen if you kept.. clicking on things?

insomniac mutters...

Posted November 16, 2015
I think Barnesm has been hard done by in your praise for coriolisdave. I guess we all know who your current favourite is.

Barnesm ducks in to say...

Posted November 16, 2015
yeah 'Get a Room'

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Peita would have you know...

Posted November 16, 2015
For me, it's the portability functions that are key, as well. I'm writing my first epic long form at the moment (aka my doctorate- some nonsense about no 'splosions...) and with only shared office space for the most part, I like to be able to move! Now don't get me wrong, the schmancy computer I have for data is tres-awesome; even if it is Windoze... The 32GB RAM makes up for it!; but if I need to just write, it's the MacBook Air for me. If the neck and shoulders are a problem, plug in a screen for that portion of the day, and then you're off again with the same little device, to sit in the breeze and procrastinate about methodology in a whole different environment! The iPad has never done it for me. The university hands them out like candy to undergrads and very few actually conquer the "replacement to laptop" idea. That said, my iPad mini is giving poor Kindle a run for its money...
My mega desktop for serious thinking data stuff is essentially, but I'd go crazy without my on the run portability of the MacBook. Both are essential. And depending how you run your accounts, possibility tax deductible... ????

John Birmingham is gonna tell you...

Posted November 16, 2015
They would be for me. For you, I'm not sure.

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jennicki puts forth...

Posted November 16, 2015
I am so jelly of your career. Even if it does involve Apple products.

John Birmingham has opinions thus...

Posted November 16, 2015
This career could be yours if only you would spend ridiculous amounts of money on Apple technology.

jennicki reckons...

Posted November 16, 2015
I will likely have to sell my first-born child.
I'm already pissed that I had to drop a bunch of money on an Apple USB port for the iPad so I can save my Australia photos on flashdrive when we're over there. Why isn't the USB port standard in an iPad?!

John Birmingham reckons...

Posted November 17, 2015
You are history's greatest monster. I cannot even bear to imagine anything so inelegant.

jennicki reckons...

Posted November 17, 2015
But the USB should be STANDARD! I could probably figure out how to use the USB on my Android! *cowers in fear"

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NBlob asserts...

Posted November 16, 2015
I'm an inheritor; the laptop was SWMBO's Masters machine & did year 12 & half of a Bsc Nursing before got hold of it. The fondleslab I fun on is my Mums hand me down. I recently got my 2nd ever New Phone (i5) & I've been toting 'em for 20 years. Of course it would be different if it was a work horse, but for funnies I always seem to have other priorities.

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Therbs puts forth...

Posted November 18, 2015

I don't have much need for a workhorse 'puter and I've found that my lappy rarely gets used these days with the iPad replacing most of its functionality. Next 'puter I got most likely would have been MacBook but iPad Pro may be looming on an outside run. But all that is pretty irrelevant to the original post so all I'll add is I hate fkn windows.

Note to JB - kill Gates in an AOT e-book. Please.

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Brother PorkChop mumbles...

Posted November 21, 2015
As someone who just got their first Mac book of sone kind, albeit a hand me down, I am struggling with the differences. But as a likely Mac related business owner to be, I'd best get over that soon

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Ebooks update. HOOPER and CAIRO

Posted November 2, 2015 into Writing by John Birmingham

Thanks to all who helped out with Beta reading for the HOOPER ebooks. I'll be giving them a once over today and then firing both manuscripts off to the pro-editor.

I will call for CAIRO Beta Readers in early December. I still have a couple of chapters to write, but also a non fiction manuscript to finish and submit by December 1.

Three deadlines today including a long feature for SBS and review of Peter Garrett's bio for The Age. (Spoiler, it's really good).

1 Responses to ‘Ebooks update. HOOPER and CAIRO’

Sparty is gonna tell you...

Posted November 2, 2015
very much looking forward to Cairo- which should involve a Joe Stalin / Prince Harry drinking contest...with the Son et Lumiere Pyramid light show in the background, and then a rocket launching out of the secret commie base in the keystone of the great pyramid. Or something better....which leads me on to SPECTRE - it was OK,my criticisms were- why go to Austrian alps and not have Bond Ski? and Master Criminals really shouldn't wear three quarter length trousers with loafers and no socks. Oh and it rips off Austin Powers (and I know the irony in that statement).

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Ebooks update

Posted October 26, 2015 into Writing by John Birmingham

I've been very pleased and grateful with all the work done by the Beta Readers on Soul Full of Guns and A Protocol for Monsters. There's a couple of continuity issues I'll tidy up in my next draft and then we'll be off to the pro editor for the hard core revisions. All of the work to date, however, will make that process much quicker and cheaper. So again, many thanks to all who took part.

There'll soon be a new title to go out to Beta for anyone who'd interested. Stalin's Hammer: Cairo.

I've decided to abandon trade publishing this series, because reconciling the business plans of all the competting publishers who wanted a piece of it proved to be impossible. So, like the Hooper ebooks, I'll be putting this one out myself.

I'll also be releasing it for free. I think people have waited long enough that it's not fair to ask them to hand over any money for this installment. There will two more titles in this arc, and they'll be for purchase (unless you're one of the early sign-ups to the mailing list, in which case you'll get an alert that the books have been released and are free for the first 24 hours).

I have a few other changes to my publishing plans for 2016, which I'll talk about here in due course. But for now, we'll get on with these eBooks. If anyone from the Beta has suggestions for streamlining the collaborative system, please let me know. There were a few wrinkles with Google Docs, mostly dependent on whether you were using a gmail address, the platform on which you accessed the docs, and whether you were invited by individual email or group link.

I'm still shaking this system out, so I'll consider all options.

31 Responses to ‘Ebooks update’

insomniac swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted October 26, 2015
I had no issues but I was using a non gmail address for the invite even though I logged into Google Docs with one to edit, which was either on an Android tablet or at work with Windows.

insomniac asserts...

Posted October 26, 2015
ps. I too would like to remain "in", as long as it isn't next week.

Ian Goulbourne (chirurgean) mumbles...

Posted October 28, 2015
I used the same system. Made comments using my google id. Would be nice to be invited to join the gang again


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Paul_Nicholas_Boylan would have you know...

Posted October 26, 2015
My work load has finally lifted. I would love to be part of Stalin's Hammer's beta review.

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Surtac would have you know...

Posted October 26, 2015

Yeah. I'd be happy to help with this one.

I didn't put my hand up for the Dave ones as the timing wasn't going to work for me. This one however should be do-able.

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Murphy_of_Missouri mumbles...

Posted October 26, 2015
John, naturally I'd like to read Stalin's Hammer: Cairo. Count me in.

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she_jedi puts forth...

Posted October 26, 2015
Count me in, that was fun

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Bondiboy66 is gonna tell you...

Posted October 26, 2015
I'll put my hand up too. Just because.

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AuntyLou swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted October 26, 2015
I had so much fun...once the link worked. I would love to have another bash if you can stand the pain.

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IamBloomfield is gonna tell you...

Posted October 26, 2015
yeah, keep me on board too please. It's been great fun. I've been hanging out for Cairo, so glad its coming, although I'm sorry you couldn't resolve the publisher issue.

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Therbs would have you know...

Posted October 26, 2015
I'd be crap at beta reading. My notes would read something like "needs an explosion on page 23", "needs three explosions on page 40", "Page 50, he said 'boobs', *snigger*."

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KreepyKrawly mumbles...

Posted October 26, 2015

Sweet, count me in too. Love the work, wish I could write, so I'll do the next best thing and be a critic...


*Runs away* ß-Þ

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HAVOCK21 mumbles...

Posted October 26, 2015
TOOOOOOOOOOOO!. FKN COUNT ME IN AGAIN!!!!!!!!

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NBlob is gonna tell you...

Posted October 26, 2015
I faffed about for half an hour or so, trying to enter the inner sanctum of commentary. I had a couple of ideas & was interested in what others had to say. Without installing the ap I couldn't find a way in, so got side tracked by something colouful & moving. I have an artisanal hotmale address and an elderly iFondle slab. If that helps.

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Sparty ducks in to say...

Posted October 26, 2015
Up for beta reading Cairo.
Might be worth looking at running the drafts through Calibri or something similar as ebook formatting can go crazy particularly with some of the font / spacing / formatting of Daemon world terminology. Obviously the pro guys will do that with the Dave ones - but Cairo may need it as well.

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sibeen mutters...

Posted October 26, 2015
OK, I was able to access the two tomes, but as a read only version.
I'd never had a gmail addy, so had to set one up before it would let me do anything, and then once in I couldn't figure out a way (perhaps there isn't one) of getting to the editable version.
It sucked.
Not the stories themselves, they were the grouse, although I felt bereft that I couldn't swing a bit of sibeen wordsmith gold into the final version :)

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John Birmingham mutters...

Posted October 26, 2015
Next time, I'll pay more attention to who gets editing and why. I still can't figure that out, although I think it might be a mix of issues.

IamBloomfield reckons...

Posted October 27, 2015
I thought the etiquette required leaving comments only, rather than make edits. The collaborative drafting worked well for me, across desktop, and ipad. In my work we use a shared workspace to collaborate on draft budget papers, and your set up works better than that.

GhostSwirv reckons...

Posted October 28, 2015

I gots the email saying I was in but nadda after that ... no invite to download an app or a doughnut ... much disappointment.

Would be up for the next round if I could gain super-secret access.

Brother PorkChop swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted November 1, 2015
It seemed I had both and started with edit but then moved to comments with the crowd. Both works depending on the specific piece being worked over. Love to do some more on Cairo.

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BigTimeTexasTeaserPony ducks in to say...

Posted October 27, 2015
I consent to Beta read Stalin's Hammer.

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Paul_Nicholas_Boylan is gonna tell you...

Posted October 27, 2015
Can someone explain the where, when and how of the process of accessing Cairo for the newcomers to this process?

John Birmingham mumbles...

Posted October 27, 2015
Firstly I have to put the file into Google docs, which I won't do a few weeks yet. Then you'll get an invite to the document and, hopefully, be able to edit and share notes.

sibeen mutters...

Posted October 27, 2015
ROFL...it fucking ain't!!
:)

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan puts forth...

Posted October 28, 2015
Thank you. I'm here all week.

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Dave C mutters...

Posted October 27, 2015
Hey JB. Count me in. :)

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pedrogb is gonna tell you...

Posted October 27, 2015
Hi JBEnjoyed the last efforts, would be pleased to be part of it again.

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ubersejanus is gonna tell you...

Posted October 27, 2015
Sounds too much like watching sausage get made for my taste

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Frivolous would have you know...

Posted October 28, 2015
I envy those who are able to Beta read books. I'm too busy to do so within a deadline.

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Aaron asserts...

Posted October 28, 2015
Count me in. I spend an unhealthy amount if time thinking about the return if the AoT universe.

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Super Tuesday

Posted September 29, 2015 into Writing by John Birmingham

I appear to have written three columns in one day by accident.

Blunty:

The government is lying to you about the enormous sinkhole that swallowed a whole beach on the Sunshine Coast. We know this because they've been lying to us years about the Min Min Lights, the Mulgowie Yowie and all the cosy board board appointments they were going to appoint me to if I got rid of Mr Strong Choices for them.

10. Apple Maps error.

9. James Bond supervillain error, possibly related to earlier Apple Maps error, involving non-achievement of key performance indicators by suboptimal minions and goons hired to excavate Japanese volcano for secret rocket base.

The Age:

Oh noes! What will the poor refugees do now? No sooner did Facebook boss-hog Mark Zuckerberg? announce that he would move heaven and earth to make the social network available in the United Nations' crowded refugee camps than Facebook crashed, doubtless because of millions of refugees rushing online to "like" his status update.

That's so like those selfish refugees, ruining everything for the rest of us, and before the Book of Face had even deployed its promised thumbs-down button so we could put them in their place – their place being in crowded Syrian border camps without enough free Wi-Fi to fill up our timelines with photographs of all the flies swarming over their bowl of UN gruel. #soblessed

SBS:

Remember the Palm Pilot? Probably not if you’re under 30, but they were the iPhone of the 90s; the must-have shiny-precious that replaced the filofax (and you have to be over forty to remember them).

Palm was already struggling when Steve Jobs launched the iPhone, but Ed Colligan, the company’s CEO, wasn’t much fussed. “We’ve learned and struggled for a few years here figuring out how to make a decent phone,” he said. “PC guys are not going to just figure this out. They’re not going to just walk in.” But of course they did, and not just Apple. Most of the smart phones in the world now run Google’s operating system, Android.

The same ‘PC guys’ are currently hiring thousands of engineers from the automotive industry and in August Elon Musk’s latest electric car, the Tesla Model S, scored 103 out of a possible 100 (that’s not a typo) from Consumer Reports in the US.

5 Responses to ‘Super Tuesday’

insomniac ducks in to say...

Posted September 29, 2015
Regarding the sinkhole, there's a poor confused Chinese labourer trying hard to dig a hole that keeps magically filling in, no matter how much he dirt he shovels.

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FormerlyKnownAsSimon reckons...

Posted September 29, 2015
Great. So there are going to be only autonomous taxis in the future. So now i have to look forward to drunkenly hailing down a taxi but get cut off by a rude washing machine holding a grudge because of that guy on youboob who destroyed washing machine ancestors in a hail of electric fire and death. The future of a meat sack is not looking so bright.

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Lulu mutters...

Posted September 29, 2015
I love #8. Particularly because the lovely beach looks so much like a traditional Fleming-era supervillain's lair location (think Dr No, Jamaica, etc).

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Shifty Tourist mumbles...

Posted September 30, 2015
I think we all know what the sinkhole really is, especially here, don't we?
Where the hell is Dave when we need him?
Stupid question.... in BrisZegas getting hammered.

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BigWillieStyle ducks in to say...

Posted September 30, 2015
Re: the sinkhole. Andrew Bolt wrote on his blog that it was caused by that horrible Rosie Batty, in concert with self-loathing lefty leftist leftites, on direct orders from back-stabber and pawn for the New Communist OneWorld Order, Malcolm Turnbull.

Miranda Devine, meanwhile, has proof that it was caused by feminazis from the sisterhood, and they did it just because they're so full of hate and they totally all want to force everyone to gay-marry and sip lattes in the inner city while weaving their baskets and pay carbon taxes so terrorists can come here in boats and rape all our women and take our jobs and join the CFMEU and not boo Adam Goodes even though eh fucking well deserves it.

That was the gist, anyway.

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Fanfic/Newsletter update August 17

Posted August 17, 2015 into Writing by John Birmingham

Late last week I retained a professional editor to clean up the Oral History manuscript when the beta readers are done with it. (No, I haven't sent out copies to the Betas yet. Back, damn you! Get back! Don't make me use this whip and chair).

I also started work on the mailing list which you can help with below. I'd like to trial Mailchimp for this job and need a couple of sign ups to test the software.

If you're interested in eventually going onto the list – called JB is My Master Now – you can follow this link.

Alternately, an embedded sign up form should also appear below.

If it all works I will retain it for the launch of the real thing. If not, I might be switching away from Mailchimp. Stay with me while I hammer out the kinks:

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required

38 Responses to ‘Fanfic/Newsletter update August 17’

insomniac has opinions thus...

Posted August 17, 2015
Oh, the humanity ... has been confirmed ... confirmed ... confirmed ...

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she_jedi is gonna tell you...

Posted August 17, 2015
I am not a doughnut! I am a human being! Confirmed. Phew.

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John Birmingham puts forth...

Posted August 17, 2015
Grazie. Sei il mio preferito.

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John Birmingham has opinions thus...

Posted August 17, 2015
Translation: You are my favourite.
Alternate translation: You are my custard filled chocolate choux pastry.
Both are good.

she_jedi asserts...

Posted August 17, 2015
I'm delighted to be either

NBlob swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted August 18, 2015
Or as a noun, pet.

she_jedi asserts...

Posted August 18, 2015
You say that like it's a bad thing

damian is gonna tell you...

Posted August 18, 2015
I'd rather have cream in my chocolate choux pastry. I need to watch my weight. Oh nevermind.

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Therbs is gonna tell you...

Posted August 17, 2015
Guess I'm now signed up for CBG spam. Yeah orright, I do need a new steak knife.

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UntamedSnark has opinions thus...

Posted August 17, 2015
The Snark clan has signed and are waiting in sniggering servitude for our orders.

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dweeze swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted August 17, 2015
Signed up for burger spam - yay.
Then I got to wondering why it takes a machine named after an ape to confirm my humanity. The world went all existential on me. Replicant references filled my thoughts and ... oh, I forget why I'm here ... damn ....
REBOOT
JB is my Master now.
JB is my Master now.
JB is my Master now.
JB is my Master now.
.....

John Birmingham reckons...

Posted August 17, 2015
See, this is all I ask.

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Rhino would have you know...

Posted August 17, 2015
Done.
Who the hell do these damn dirty apes think they are confirming my humanity. My humanity built the spacecraft that propelled me millions of light years across the galaxy to bring alien beings, well, humanity.
Oh, that's the blown up head of the Statue of Liberty.
Never mind.
Carry on with your verification process.

damian reckons...

Posted August 18, 2015
I think we'd better start getting used to alternative forms... Simianity? Primacy?

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Nocturnalist swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted August 17, 2015
I'm only signing up if you change the name to "JB is My Master Now, But Not In, Like, a Weird Way or Anything".

John Birmingham mutters...

Posted August 18, 2015
I like this suggestion.

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BostonJoe is gonna tell you...

Posted August 18, 2015
Whew, my humanity is confirmed. My DNA must match Mom's side of the family.

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Brother PorkChop mumbles...

Posted August 18, 2015
My humanity is in question.... Not by this but by my children, mates and assorted family members.

GhostSwirv has opinions thus...

Posted August 18, 2015

Confirmed servitude!

Why do I now have Grace Jone's 'Slave to the Rhythm' running through my head?

and

Why does Grace look suspiciously like JB ... but with less 5 o'clock shadow?

damian reckons...

Posted August 18, 2015
So you're making us all picture Birmo with the clunky CGI neck extensions. Stop it.

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damian ducks in to say...

Posted August 18, 2015
"Next time someone asks you if you're a robot, you say yes!"

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AuntyLou mumbles...

Posted August 18, 2015
My aged Father always asks "Are you human today?" To which the accepted answer is "Almost". Now I can answer "assuredly" & I have the website to prove it!

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Paul_Nicholas_Boylan is gonna tell you...

Posted August 18, 2015
My wife signed me up so I can have the benefit of plausible deniability should the need arise.

Nocturnalist puts forth...

Posted August 18, 2015
Duly screencapped and added to your dossier.

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Rhino asserts...

Posted August 19, 2015
Hmmmm ... I'm slow ... but that whole Boylan, Devil in the Details, and the blatent JB is My Master Now voluntarily signing up thing makes a lot more sense.

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan ducks in to say...

Posted August 19, 2015
In such matters free will is very important.

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GhostSwirv reckons...

Posted August 19, 2015

Oh God no!!!

Have we just pledged allegiance to the JB via a contract drawn up by Prof. PNB?

No wonder my anti-virus software just self-generated a Junk Mail Folder called ... BiriminghamSpam.

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted August 19, 2015
GhostSwirv. Buddy - may I call you Ghost? Ghost, all we're asking for - in exchange for the benefit of such fine association - is something no one has ever seen and most thinking people deny exists. And those thinking people who do believe in such a thing as a "soul" really aren't the cream of the crop when it comes to thinking persons. Here in the USofA they tend to pay for using America on LIne. Sort of speaks for itself.

Do YOU want to be like those losers still sending 25 dollars a month for AOL? Or do you want to be like us, be one of us? One of us/one of us/we accept you/one of us.

Rhino asserts...

Posted August 19, 2015
AOL is still a thing.
I bet Boylan has a hand in that as well.

GhostSwirv puts forth...

Posted August 19, 2015

I feel like I'm being groomed by The Godfather of Proctologists!

insomniac would have you know...

Posted August 19, 2015
Take one for the team Ghosty

NBlob reckons...

Posted August 19, 2015
If you've ever seen me dance you'd know I have no soul to sell.

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan has opinions thus...

Posted August 20, 2015
Of course you don't. None of us do. So why not sell it for all you can get? Money for nothing, eh? I've brokered many such transactions and can assure you a fair price. More than fair: opulent. All I ask is 20% of the gross, pretax amount. I am confident that I can persuade the purchasing agent, a gentleman of wealth and taste who goes by the name Mr. Scratch, to waive his commission, thereby maximizing your payout.

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GhostSwirv reckons...

Posted August 19, 2015

So Sleepless let me get this straight.

All I have to do is allow a Soul Extraction Squad, most likely led by Prof. PNB, with Rhino on point, NBlob taking notes and Murph bringing up the rear complete its mission and all will be right with Team Burger?

Well okay then, glad to be a productive member of the 10,000.

Rhino has opinions thus...

Posted August 20, 2015
We'll be gentle.
I promise.
"Boylan, I think we're gonna need the extra large probe fear dis one here."

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Rhino swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted August 20, 2015
BirmingSpam - join of your own free will now. It's guaranteed to hurt a lot, but if you fight it, it'll just get worse. Plus the stories'll be pretty nifty.
Trademark that - cause it's GOLD, baby. Bring the rabble in by droves, I tell ya.

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JG reckons...

Posted August 20, 2015
Yeah, yeah, I signed up to join the fun, but you're not my Master, dammit, most evil genius, charming JB. Only several chapters of Ascendance to go and I will have read (and own) some fifteen of your books, and then some. No, you do not p*awn me, Mr JB, but you interest me, maestro. Your writing, I kiss. Ascendance (as with all your books) is a blessing. Thank you for the oomph, fantastic writing (bless you, son), and laughs. Now, off with you. Joanna, aka JG x

JG swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted August 21, 2015
Flip. Make that 18 of your books, JB. That's a record for me, for one author. Counted them. A whole shelf is devoted to your books, and I've arranged them by trilogy and genre.

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The cold and shifting shores of freelance life

Posted July 27, 2015 into Writing by John Birmingham

A newly minted freelancer reached out to me on the Twitters a little back, asking via DM about an awkward payment dispute they were having with a publisher. Man, do I wish I could provide the details, because the villainy involved was breathtaking. But because it was so singular a piece of douche baggage I can't tell you story without providing clues to the freelancer’s identity, and they would like to keep working.

The best I could do was point them towards this lovely Warren Ellis piece at Medium. He starts with a meditation on the place where he lives and works, "the confluence of the river Thames and the North Sea, with an alluvial island and a range of high, dangerous sandbanks,” segues nicely from that into the high, dangerous shoals of the freelance life.

The sand is always shifting under my feet. The tides are broadly predictable on an ordinary day, but there aren’t many ordinary days. There have been days out here where a storm system has been bouncing around the estuary, travelling out of sight towards the far tip of the Kent coast, and then ricocheting off and dragging the river with it to unexpectedly smash up against our walls. Sometimes a weather system will get stuck and wheel over the town for days. Every now and then, some nightmare storm will brew up in a dark and unseen region of the North Sea and then hammer up the river like the Mongol Horde in full stampede.

Sometimes a producer will get fired before your outline is approved, or, even, while your pen hovers above the contract’s signature line. Sometimes, you’re put in the position of having to rely on someone else’s diligence and skill, and it turns out that they couldn’t give a shit. Sometimes you’re lied to, and there’s not a thing you can do about it. Sometimes you can do everything right, and it still doesn’t work, as if you were a slave to the phases of the moon and the tide just wasn’t high enough to float the boat.

There are times when you’re working all the hours there are, on long projects that won’t see the light of day for months or years, and your reputation sinks under the river mud. You’re invisible, and invisibility is death in this business. There are also times when you can’t get arrested, let alone paid, and yet your acquaintances and representatives tell you that “everyone” is talking about you.

And so it goes. Totes worth a full read. The freelancer told me they found it a balm for their troubles.

It’s a really lovely piece, as bleak as it might seem. I keep it bookmarked and read it on those days when the thunderheads roll in.

You can read and bookmark the whole thing here.

18 Responses to ‘The cold and shifting shores of freelance life’

Murphy_of_Missouri is gonna tell you...

Posted July 27, 2015
I remember in the late 1990s that folks recommended that I move off into freelance work. I managed to find a couple of jobs that paid a piddling amount of money and then it all dried up as the newspaper business started to contract.

The most I ever made from that sort of thing was at the campus paper during my grad school times.

Now? I just can't be bothered.

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Aaron is gonna tell you...

Posted July 27, 2015
I have had similar experiences. I technically still do freelance copywriting work but I pretty much only do it by request for friends who need some stuff for personal publishing. Sometimes I think about pursuing it some more but the incentive is not really there.

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Blarkon has opinions thus...

Posted July 27, 2015
Are you at least subscribed to his newsletter "Orbital Operations"?

John Birmingham is gonna tell you...

Posted July 27, 2015
Yes I am.

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Surtac mutters...

Posted July 27, 2015
As am I. It's a highlight of my Monday mornings, along with Deb Chachra's newsletter which turns up at a similar time.

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ChrisB ducks in to say...

Posted July 27, 2015
I don't know if I qualify as a freelancer, but having just quit my TV job (3 yrs at NBC, 10 previous at ABC affiliate) to properly maintain (read: write hyper-local news stories) I can tell you the market around here is quite cold and unforgiving, I've been re-tweeted, but no cash.
Now on the other side, I've also decided to start a 2nd opinion/news website. The 16 staffers I have are excited to contribute - I just hope to generate enough eyeballs to convert to cash to pay them before Christmas...

John Birmingham is gonna tell you...

Posted July 27, 2015
Address?

ChrisB swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted July 29, 2015
...dang my itchy 'return' finger. www.horizoncity.com The 2nd site launches Aug 24th...can't mention the name in public until that date though.

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Rob swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted July 27, 2015
I was a freelancer in the TV game for about 3 years. I didn't make much money but I had a good time. But it wasn't sustainable. Too many promises of if you work this one day, I have a month long shoot later on. Needless to say the month long shoots went elsewhere. The worst was the please work for free and I give you a paid gig next week. I wasn't particularly qualified at the time so it never worked out. Now I am qualified but work a very dull job, but at least its regular money and I can go on holiday to nice places.

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NBlob reckons...

Posted July 27, 2015
I see a pattern forming. I worked for almost 10 years as a TV camera operator. 8 of those as a free-lance / casual / hand-to-mouth / superannuation-less / desperate / please wring you bastard phone. I dreamt of doco, news was challenging, sport a snore, corporate was soft-focus self-fellatio, I made some terrible terrible regional TV ads (for which I apologise), I ended up in events shooting AGMs, The Wiggles, business self-love-fests & one of Kim Beazley's pitch for PM. I've been ripped off by a fascinating spectrum of rouges & reprobates. SWMBO worked out at one stage I had operated at a real loss 3 from 5 years due to unpaid invoices. Scumbags exploit the $3k threshold below which it's probably not worth lodging small claims action, or it'll cost you more to pursue than it'll yield If you successfully establish your claim.

Rob reckons...

Posted July 27, 2015
TV seems to be full of those guys. Radio salesmen turned into TV producers with the skill and grace of used car sellers.

John Birmingham swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted July 27, 2015
I saw those regional TV ads, you monster.

Therbs ducks in to say...

Posted July 27, 2015
So, this is what Greybeard did to to you.

NBlob puts forth...

Posted July 28, 2015
@Therbs What Greybeard has done is worse, raised to the power of Far Far Fkn. @JB It is my albatross to carry the jingles of long & deservedly dead campaigns in my head 'till the end of my days.

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Darth Greybeard is gonna tell you...

Posted July 29, 2015
I'm innocent and anyway, all the witnesses are as dead as NBlob's modelling career.

NBlob has opinions thus...

Posted July 29, 2015
I'm the very model of a modern megalomaniac.

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Aaron mumbles...

Posted July 30, 2015
rob my penance was radio but your story reads the same as mine. Same can be said for newspapers etc. all (well most) the managers came from sales (with all the moral training that encourages), sales reps came from people able to put their suit on the right way in the morning. The good reps were the ones who knew they had to get out while they still had their soul and intellect intact.
I left radio four years ago, I had a lot of fun but the house and family I can afford is even better. I could go on but the point has been made. It's such a shame how creative work is valued.

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