Cheeseburger Gothic

Raising the dead for profit

Posted May 6, 2016 into Science and Tech by John Birmingham

Philadelphia-based biotech company Bioquark, Inc. has been granted approval from an Institutional Review Board at the National Institutes of Health to complete a clinical trial of a drug to wake the dead.

Seems legit. Can't imagine a downside to messing with powers beyond our control.

11 Responses to ‘Raising the dead for profit’

FormerlyKnownAsSimon ducks in to say...

Posted May 6, 2016
Please let the first person this is successful on be a comedian whose first words are "Brainnnsss"

Quickly followed by "just kidding! just kidding! put down the chair. Jeez i feel like shit what happened to me?"

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Dave W is gonna tell you...

Posted May 6, 2016
The good news is that, if I've learnt anything from the zombie genre, there will be one scientist who worked on this but transferred over to Honolulu six months before the outbreak and because of her work with Bioquark we won't know whether she's a goodie or a baddie, but we suspect that she has developed a vaccine for the survivors.

Oh, and those survivors will have interminable journey from the region of the initial outbreak to Honolulu.

But at least in real life we'll know that it was those crazy people at Bioquark who started the whole mess.

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GhostSwirv has opinions thus...

Posted May 6, 2016

Bioquark isn't a subsidiary of Cyberdyne Systems by any chance?

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SG has opinions thus...

Posted May 6, 2016
Check out Ressurection Inc by K.J. Anderson

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WA n'ker has opinions thus...

Posted May 6, 2016
Is it effective on cremated remains?
Uncle Malcolm would probably buy some.

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Therbs has opinions thus...

Posted May 6, 2016
Six drops of the essence of terror, five drops of sinister sauce ...

Barnesm has opinions thus...

Posted May 7, 2016
'whoops too much'

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pi reckons...

Posted May 6, 2016
We ALL know how this is going to end.

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pi ducks in to say...

Posted May 6, 2016
Totally OT, but if you haven't read this investigative journalist piece on the man who wrote trucrypt... It really is amazing stuff. Truly breath-taking.

https://mastermind.atavist.com/he-always-had-a-dark-side

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Rhino mumbles...

Posted May 7, 2016
OK, I'll go for the obvious: Hmmmm, I wonder if this would work on (insert name of living politician, living boring person, etc., here).

I was going to say something about Havok ... but then realized that they are probably using a serum derived from his adrenal gland for this stuff.

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Barnesm mutters...

Posted May 7, 2016
so new hangover cure.

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Japan Times on sub deal

Posted May 2, 2016 into Science and Tech by John Birmingham

A tip o' the propellor beanie to Guru Bob for this link to a pretty good Japan Times piece on how the Japanese lost the bid to build the RAN's submarines when they started off with the inside running.

In February 2015, Abbott called his “best friend in Asia,” as he had previously described Abe, to tell him about the new bidding process. Abe sympathized and said he would do his best to comply, two sources with knowledge of the conversation said.

Yet, convinced the deal was still in the bag, Japan’s bidding group dithered.

“Even though we were in the competition we acted as though nothing had changed,” said one Japanese government source involved in the bid. “We thought we had already won, so why do anything to rock the boat?”

The Japanese did not attend a conference for the Future Submarines project in March, failing to understand the importance of the crucial lobbying event and leaving the field to their German and French rivals, sources on the Japanese bidding team said.

Japan’s belated attempt to engage with potential local suppliers at a follow up event in August 2015 went badly.

Companies complained Tokyo was unwilling to discuss substantive deals. Having only ever sold arms to Japan’s military because of a decades-old ban on exports that Abe lifted in 2014, neither MHI nor KHI had any Australian military industrial partners.

And unlike France and Germany, which quickly committed to building the submarines in Australia, Japan initially only said it would follow the bidding rules, which required building in Australia as just one of three options.

“The Japanese had been invited in on a handshake deal and were left trying to compete in an international competition having no experience in doing such a thing,” an Australian defense industry source said.

By September 2015, Japan’s key ally Abbott had been deposed by Malcolm Turnbull, blowing the competition wide open.

Full report is here and worth a look.

7 Responses to ‘Japan Times on sub deal’

DiddyWrote puts forth...

Posted May 3, 2016
The question to ask, is why was it a handshake deal in the first place?

http://www.aspistrategist.org.au/turning-japanese/

dweeze swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted May 3, 2016
...because Captain Tones was (is?) an idiot and the Japanese didn't see that clearly enough.

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HAVOCK21 swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted May 3, 2016
Plenty og captains calls get made. its just the severity of the fk up or really whether or not it is a fk up, and also that the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

I wonder if its better to HAVE a decision that NOT have a decision, given the decision has been waiting to be decided for some fkn time and the list of culprits is rather long and large.

As for the choice, well its a good one IMHO. Even if it does mean we get a frog boat.

But here is the kicker, that a rather large amount are NOT aware of:

USN Virginia Class SSN utilises PUMP JET PROPULSION SYSTEM

RN Astute CLASS SSN utilises PUMP JET PROPULSION SYSTEM

FROG SSN BARRACUDA CLASS Utilises PUMP JET PROPULSION SYSTEM.

All the other screaming about combat systems and the US not supplying etc is pure bullshit.

Im not keen on forward tube launched TLAMS or similar via the tubes, vert cells would have been much better.


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NBlob swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted May 3, 2016
Still think we could have all the nice things for $50 BILLION.

HAVOCK21 would have you know...

Posted May 3, 2016
yeah, but subs are sexy...and we could do a bit of whale research for ya!

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GhostSwirv is gonna tell you...

Posted May 5, 2016
HAVOC21, When you say 'whale research' it sounds more like the whole exercise is really about spying on MAGMA displacement or sperm whales & humpbacks cavorting or even 'caterpillar drives' trying to nut out why Sean's accent is different to Sam's.

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HAVOCK21 puts forth...

Posted May 5, 2016
I would be I aint got enough hair!

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The Kindle Oasis. A strategic review

Posted April 19, 2016 into Science and Tech by John Birmingham

The new Kindle Oasis is a very slick looking piece of kit. It looks like it came from the future, even though we’ve been surrounded by e-readers and tablets for nearly a decade now. It’s also expensive. Really expensive compared to the entry-level Kindles which Amazon supports with advertising. How expensive is the new Kindle, which remains, remember, a single use device? It will cost you more than an iPad Mini 2.

Amazon is infamously secretive about sales figures, algorithms, everything. But I think I can detect a few moving shadows in the dark. For a couple of years now the Beast of Bezos has been downplaying the role and importance of free books. When Amazon first opened the floodgates of self publishing it put the frighteners on the old school publishing houses by flooding the market with hundreds of thousands of free and super cheap books by previously unpublished authors. It started the first self publishing gold rush, which Amazon being Amazon smashed flat couple of years later with a few tweaks to the algorithm.

Without getting into the weeds on the topic, free and even cheap is a lot less important these days. Partly that’s because the e-reader market has matured. The Kindle won. The iPad remains an powerful irritant. Kobo limps along behind them. (Although I do like their waterproof model). The early adapters who bought all of those clunky, early model Kindles also bought dozens, even hundreds of titles each to fill them up. Free and cheap were hugely important in building that market. Now, not so much. E-readers have become a commodity, a loss leader for Amazon. Jeff Bezos has said as much in an interview with the BBC.

As the technology matured, so did the demographic using it. An average Kindle user in 2016 is nothing like the free-seeking binge reader of 2010. They might buy half a dozen titles over the course of a year, making them less price sensitive than somebody downloading more than 100 books in the same period.

I think this latest Kindle, the Oasis, is meant for them.

For myself, however, it raises interesting questions about how much I can ask people to pay for books when I finally start releasing them retail, rather than giving them away. The books I release independently are never going to cost as much as the books I do with my trade publishers. But they’re not all going to be free or super cheap either. I have to be able to pay editors, artists, type setters and so on.

As I said the other day, I’m not just a writer now, I’m a publisher. And I find these questions fascinating.

21 Responses to ‘The Kindle Oasis. A strategic review’

Surtac mutters...

Posted April 19, 2016

Yep. What I said on the Book of Farce already.

As a reader who has long been intrigued by the mysteries of publishing, I have always found such questions fascinating.

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Therbs mutters...

Posted April 19, 2016

Costs more than an iPad mini? Fuggedaboutit, I'd take the mini every time. The Fire works well enough for me for book reading. And I've found it doesn't crap itself if a few drops of beer are spilt on it.

As for pricing eBooks and based on a quick squiz at Amazon I reckon $10 - $13 range seems to be the range for decent scribbling. Sits about right with me.

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moz is allegedly literate mutters...

Posted April 19, 2016
As it happens I've just bought the Kobo glowaterproof thing, and it's quite excellent. It replaces the previous Kobo, which was not quite drop-resistant enough to last more than 3 years. The previous one had the possible advantage that I could open it up and clone the micro-SD card inside onto a bigger one, revealing that the Kobo library software did not like (very strongly did not like) having 2000+ epub files on board. My current habit is to read and delete, rather than stockpiling books on the device.

Pricing... I dunno, I like the $5/book sort of level and I really like the N-book series for less than $5xN but mostly I really, really dislike two things. One, ebooks that are not available. Stross is particularly bad about this, regularly advertising specials and new releases that "may reach Australia eventually" but never at the advertised price (the one that sticks is two quid becoming $AUS12.99 six months later). Second, books that I can only rent. You seem better about this, but if there's one thing Amazon has taught me, it's that DRM and WiFi-only connectivity are not acceptable. I will load unprotected epubs onto my device via USB or uSD, or I will not buy the device, and if I can't buy unprotected epub, I can't buy.

According to Fictionwise I spent over $US1000 in the three years or so I was allowed to buy from them, at about $US6/book. That seemed fair enough to me. But I suspect it's biased by my subscriptions to Asimov's and F&SF pushing the price per item down (remember when they still sold magazine subscriptions rather than only single issues?).

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Blarkon asserts...

Posted April 19, 2016
Club Birmo. Nominal fee. "Free" ebooks and short stories whilst member of said club. People that are not members of Club Birmo instead pay retail for same ebooks several months after club members have access. Special newsletter. Signing up gets you a special members only book that is never released to the public. Books could be serialized to ensure a drip feed of material. Would require having some stuff in the stash to start with while you get rolling.

John Birmingham reckons...

Posted April 20, 2016
I've thought about this, but I have to bring the readers to me, or the club. They're already browsing Amazon etc. It could be a plan for the medium term however, once I've settled down the new model.

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JG asserts...

Posted April 19, 2016
I hope the Kindle screens are brighter than they used to be. I was given my sister's old 2011 or 2012 Kindle and it's very dim. Might be a Kindle Touch (grey bezel). Will have to get a clip-on light. Think I could get used to ebooks,but on a nicer ereader.Hopefully, recent Kindles have a built-in backlight and a whiter backgroundwith greater contrast between text and page.
Anyway, my dim Kindle didn't stop me from devouring ten chapters of Cairo yesterday. Ripping, JB.

moz is allegedly literate ducks in to say...

Posted April 19, 2016
Both my Kobo's go scary bright, and I generally run them at the lowest setting (1%) and wish they'd go lower. I also wish they had a set of red LEDs for reading at night, but mostly just that the brightness scale was properly logarithmic so I could make the thing dim enough. The latest one definitely has a "torch" mode...why anyone would want to point that at their eyes I don't know. But it's e-ink, you could always buy a head torch and read using that.

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Marccarno reckons...

Posted April 19, 2016
Apologies for the above Post from the Cairo thread, for some reason my tablet decided to paste a previous Post when I wanted to add to this thread :-(
Anyway, my quick 10p. I'm minded to say that single use devices were always a marketing tactic and I loved the Kindle when it first came out but..... I'd liken owning a Kindle Oasis to being a person who, in 1995, decided that buying a dedicated word processor was a better deal than buying a Pc. There comes a tipping point where a dedicated device is absolutely redundant in Comparison to a general purpose, multi-use device (ok, there will always be a specialist 1% but that's exactly who they are - and you don't build a mass-market business model on 1%).
As for the trends around eBook pricing, they are far more disturbing and remind me of the mistakes several of the music industry Giants made during the painful Tranformation of the music business model (an ongoing phenomena). So, the emergence of the £9.99 and £12.99 eBook is absolutely farcical - I have even seen eBooks priced higher than their paperback equivalent. Now, I will not be buying general fiction for £12.99 when I know I can get the pulp version for £7.99 - and I speak as someone who does buy approx 100 novels/year and happily pays for them.
So, the music industry got greedy and music is now massively 'free' with pretty much the industry holding on by its spotifying/iTunes-ing fingertips. Almost everyone I know who doesn't have an iDevice just downloads music for free and most of those folks look at me strangely at my "old fashioned" approach of busying everything through iTunes.
Even Amazon may find that if they collaborate with the publishing industry to reset prices higher than mass-public expectations then the so-called eBook paradigm can shift again just as quickly - they should ask Sony/EMI/et-al.

sibeen ducks in to say...

Posted April 20, 2016
<h3 style="transition: all 0.1s ease; font-size: 18px; margin: -4px 0px 0px 40px; font-weight: 400; font-stretch: normal; line-height: normal; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">Marccarno, you shouldn't be apologising, rather you should be demanding a retraction of the new story; or at least a major fucking editing of the last few pages. It's the only right thing to do.</h3>

I think I'll start a petition, or a hunger strike, or something.

John Birmingham swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted April 20, 2016
S'okay. I've moved it to the appropriate thread.

John Birmingham swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted April 20, 2016
Re, pricing. I've been watching the prices points set by the major publishers for new works. They seem to average out at $12-13 for mass market release, going as high as $24 for the digital equivalent of a new trade paperback format. I just don't see it working. I have a rough rule of thumb for ebooks. One dollar for every ten thousand words, up to a ceiling of... well, I don't know yet. But nowhere near the $12-13. I'd have to offer some very special extras for that.

Slippy puts forth...

Posted April 22, 2016
Really? $1 for 10,000 words per download? That's hard graft.
I don't understand this at all, but I think the youtube heroes might offer some evidence about what is happening. They build a base of subscribers who like the antics etc. and then 'somehow' get paid. The part I don't understand is how they get paid and become wealthy.
As for market data, I have all the devices and still mostly read non-work stuff on my iphone 6 5.5. Just to reach into my backpack and pull out the kindle to start reading a novel seems too much effort. Laziness is the key.

John Birmingham would have you know...

Posted April 24, 2016
Slippy, $1 for 10K words would be very hard graft if you were only selling those words once. But I sell them many times over.

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Barnesm would have you know...

Posted April 20, 2016

DAMMIT. I finally replaced my first generation kindle, received as a Christmas present back in 2010 then last Christmas I was gifted a brand new Kindle Whitepaper a brilliant piece of reading tech. I think it was based on recommendations I read about it here.

Now there is a new kindle available. I look at the latest model in another six years.

The first e-book I downloaded was a few one. Mellvile's Moby Dick as germane to the discussion a lot of free texts were available for me from the out of copywrite classics which allowed me to have a lot of books I could read on my kindle.

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Lulu would have you know...

Posted April 20, 2016
I did a quick survey (i.e. furtive looking) at the people on my PT trip to work this morning, & there seem to be very few people with either iPads or e-readers. Most people were on their phones (calls, texts, FB, emails, games etc). I only noticed a couple with screens big enough to be iPad/tablet; they were actually outnumbered by people reading dead-tree books.

John Birmingham is gonna tell you...

Posted April 20, 2016
That probably explains why my iBooks download stats are unusually high. People are reading on their phones. The numbers are skewed enough that I'm considering giving Apple an exclusivity window on later releases in return for some promo payback.

she_jedi ducks in to say...

Posted April 20, 2016
Yep, I read on the iPad at home, but now that I have an iPhone 6 the screen is big enough to warrant comfortably reading a book if I'm out and about. I felt like a right knob reading on the iPad in public when I first got it, and when I discovered that I could read on the iPhone 5 without causing an aneurysm I immediately switched to that for public reading.
As well as iBooks I have the Kindle app on the phone and iPad, but iBooks is my preferred reading app. I will upload DRM free books, or buy them through the store. These days I get Kindle books only if Amazon has a particularly attractive discount on a specific book that I'd have to pay full price for in iBooks.

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Surtac is gonna tell you...

Posted April 20, 2016

Just did some data analysis on my Amazon kindle purchases over the last 6 months and thought you might find the data useful.

Out of 52 books, 33 were fiction and 19 non-fiction. Average (mean) price was $7.10, median price was $6.99. Only 14 books were $10 or above and 8 of those were non-fiction.


John Birmingham mumbles...

Posted April 20, 2016
Thanks Tac. That is useful.

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Dirk mutters...

Posted April 20, 2016
Well JB, economics 1 oh 1 time then.
Let's break it up into biteabel chunks:

Cost: add the next items
x editing
x cover design
x type setting
x wear and tear on computers
x travel and research cost
x communication costs
x accountants and legal
x marketing (time on facebook, interviews, banners, site etc.)
x setup costs for next book (investment)

Profit margin:
so your wife and kids don't have to "find other sources of income"

Projected sales:
Divide that by a number of copies you intend to sell and subtract 20%. Take Rome for example as a benchmark.

Example:
$ 1000 editing
$ 500 cover design
$ 500 type setting
$ 700 wear and tear and 230V on computers
$ 1000 travel and research cost
$ 500 communication costs
$ 2000 accountants and legal
$ 500 marketing (time on facebook, interviews, banners, site etc.)
$ 1000 setup costs for next book (investment)

Sub total $ 7700 in this example (but you know your actual figures)

Profit margin: so your wife and kids don't have to "find other sources of income"

Let say you publish 3 books a year and want to make $ 50.000 before taxes. So every book has to generate $17.333

So your a book would cost $ 25.000 (7.700 + 17.333).

Let say you want sell 5.000 copies of each book (so the benchmark is 4.000 copies), sell them at $ 6,25 + VAT average and you will break-even.

Sell more and it adds $ 6.25 per book to your income/investment chest for other books. So do serialization/other languages (have that done by publishers though)/print/movie and TV rights. But those are extra's and are extra windfall.

Have a chat though with someone who knows the Aussi tax system. Here in Europe the cost you make for making stuff (including VAT) is tax deductible, and as an entrepreneur you get extra allowances etc.

Dirk is gonna tell you...

Posted April 20, 2016
NB: don't forget about this neither: https://www.plrinternational.com/established/plradministrators/australia.htm

won't yield millions but hey, it will bring your gold plated hovercraft a little closer ...

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Truly concealed carry

Posted March 21, 2016 into Science and Tech by John Birmingham

A dip o' the propellor beanie to GuruBob for the the link to this piece of kit, a smart phone that transforms into a gun.

Well, actually, it's not a smart phone, it just looks like one. But it's the sort of thing I can imagine a 21C character like Julia Duffy carrying in her lady bag.

Maybe for WW 3.1 next year.

From the product page at IdealConceal.com:

"Small enough in stature to fit in your pocket, the pistol folds into an inconspicuous smartphone when in safety mode. Flipping off the safety, however, transforms this small carry into a fully functional pistol. The mechanics of the pistol allow for a lightweight one-piece design that boasts trouble-free operation with a hammerless control for maximum safety, high velocity, and accuracy. The piece also comes equipped with a flashlight and laser."

12 Responses to ‘Truly concealed carry’

Murphy_of_Missouri swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted March 21, 2016
The one Jules is carrying is probably a smart phone AND a gun.

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Surtac has opinions thus...

Posted March 21, 2016

Interesting coincidence.

Warren Ellis was talking just a month or so back in his newsletter about 'weapons research which led me to a really odd little handgun called the Taurus Curve.'

I have to ask though: would Jules be happy carrying something she might get confused with something else (like her actual phone) in her go bag when reaching for it in a hurry?


Murphy_of_Missouri reckons...

Posted March 21, 2016
Jules doesn't strike me as the type to confuse one with the other.

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SZF puts forth...

Posted March 21, 2016
iDerringer 2.0?

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Barnesm has opinions thus...

Posted March 21, 2016

I think a consummate professional tends to choose the best tool for there work, these hybrids have to compromise to achieve the multiple functions.

It why you don't see chefs use pocket knives or professional photographers use phone cameras or human beings use bing.

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Barnesm swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted March 21, 2016
I prefer something like the Magpul FMG-9

Peter in the bleachers mumbles...

Posted March 21, 2016
You would need a bigger handbag!

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Aaron ducks in to say...

Posted March 21, 2016
Bing is great, it brings up my search for google in no time.

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Tweaks is gonna tell you...

Posted March 21, 2016
Great concept, but I think that is all it is. I've e-mailed a couple of times-but recieved no reply. I have the feeling this is just some Uni design project, with the website still hosted so people can farm karma on reddit :/

GhostSwirv is gonna tell you...

Posted March 23, 2016
Oh nose Tweaks you've stumbled into a DARPA honeytrap!

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Don Bagert asserts...

Posted March 23, 2016
Wait, so the next AoT series will be WW 3.1, 3.2, etc.? I guess that's not surprising, but I still hadn't seen it before.

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Adam Denny swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted March 23, 2016
Yeah, it looks like a sweet Uni design project.
Can't wait to read AoT 3.1

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The calming sounds of rain in a cafe by the sea, in a barnyard as a blue whale drives a train in outer space.

Posted March 11, 2016 into Science and Tech by John Birmingham

I've long used an app called Coffitivity to recreate the muted buzz of a cafe in my office. It's weird, but it works. With a bit of well chosen music you could be anywhere. It helps keep the insects from crawling under my skin as I sit at home, day after day, watching the slow pulsing of the walls as they breathe.

But fuck Coffitivity. Now I haz Noizio!

Not just a cafe, but all sorts of cool ambient sounds. From whales to trains to outer fucking space. You can play them singly, or all together, which I don't recommend.

Best of all, and kind of oddly, because it's so damn good, the app is free.

17 Responses to ‘The calming sounds of rain in a cafe by the sea, in a barnyard as a blue whale drives a train in outer space. ’

Nocturnalist swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted March 11, 2016
"Rain in a cafe by the sea, in a barnyard as a blue whale drives a train in outer space" should be the brief for your next cover art.

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insomniac puts forth...

Posted March 11, 2016
This fits in nicely with my theory on brain consciousness. Basically you are filling up your conscious brain with something mindnumbing, thus allowing your subconscious brain to do its stuff. I think it drowns out the everyday stuff that might otherwise be distracting you from writing.

DarrenBloomfield reckons...

Posted March 12, 2016
I listened to a science podcast recently about "what is happening when an elite athlete chokes" - basically the science of choking (in any domain, not just sport)
And yeah, it is essentially that the person gets trapped into doing consciously what they normally do unconsciously. Once a skill is so ingrained as to be best done unconsciously (think driving a car) - it sucks to then be doing it with conscious thought.
Maybe golfers should play this app to make the cut?

w from brisbane asserts...

Posted March 12, 2016
You could argue that the droning ambient sounds that provide comfort are a bit like the sounds of the womb.

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NBlob reckons...

Posted March 11, 2016
Dude I know drives a desk in his back bedroom. He avoids cabin fever with a 50" portal to elsewhere. A dedicated TV that streams web cam dejour, Canadian eagles roosting, Bahamas fish-cam, Moscow traffic, most beaches between Fraser Island and Lennox Head and my favourite, the view down from the forward copola on the ISS. Over the last 2 years or so HD has reached effective saturation.

Halwes reckons...

Posted March 12, 2016
Dude? God help me

NBlob has opinions thus...

Posted March 12, 2016
Ok, sorry. "A chap I know."

Halwes reckons...

Posted March 12, 2016
A bit uncalled for on my part comrade however when the democratic socialists start Americanising our language I realise that we're stuffed.

NBlob reckons...

Posted March 12, 2016
No problem, but while we are pedanting, I think it's AmericaniZing.
Nyuk Nuuk nyuk

Halwes swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted March 13, 2016
I bet your missus thinks you're hilarious. She must laugh and laugh

NBlob would have you know...

Posted March 15, 2016
Spooky, it's like you know us.

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asmith1024 would have you know...

Posted March 11, 2016
We are living in our own science fiction.

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Barnesm would have you know...

Posted March 12, 2016
I want the ambient noise of inside a small spacecraft, like Serenity.

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HAVOCK21 mumbles...

Posted March 12, 2016
fkn pussies.
I was thinking more like. Opening day salvo ( actually nightish) for El Alimain mixed with Spandau snarls ( MG42 ) and 25mm pum pum, with maybe a faint hint of Robert Duval and some chopper sounds. Now that I think some more, maybe bbatle cries and quotes raining in the backgrond. Rusty in Glad, Mel in blue face paint, arnie
fk the whale shit and BARNES...>FKN SPACECRAFT FFASAKES!

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JG mumbles...

Posted March 13, 2016
Cool. I like how you can combine noises (eg rain, thunder, cafe chatter and the clink of china). The accents aren't annoying, although they could add the odd Australian in. Listening to the sound of rain and birds outside. There goes a kookaburra. I love rainy days. Wish I could delete traffic noise in the real world, although the swoosh of tyres on wet roads is alright. Speaking of apps, anyone know of any good free photo editing apps? I enjoy nature photography and creating photo art with some of it. I'm trying Pixlr at the moment.

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Analog Penetration mumbles...

Posted March 13, 2016
Sounds like something I've got.
A seamless, unending stream of detuned 8kHz sine wave from the moment I wake up to when I fall asleep. It has never needed rebooting, recharging or updating. In fact it's been running for decades with zero down time.
You can keep yer high-falootin' app. It's good ol' fashioned tinnitus for me.

insomniac would have you know...

Posted March 13, 2016
I think I might be married to something similar.

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Please do not insert that goose quill in my bottom

Posted March 2, 2016 into Science and Tech by John Birmingham

Wrote this for my bro's site.

Apple does not advise you stick the primary wing feather of a large bird into your iPhone, but the US Government is insisting on doing just that anyway. It won’t be good for your phone. The All Writs Act, the nail-studded legislative club with which the FBI intends to beat Cupertino into submission, was written before electricity was even a thing.

In those days, the US Supreme Court did all of its work with giant goose quill pens. In one of those strange anachronisms which so delight lawyers, twenty goose quill pens — neatly laid out like the crossed bones of a pirate flag — are still placed at the four counsel tables in front of the full bench of the Court every hearing day.

Apple’s lawyers will undoubtedly souvenir a couple for themselves when they go all the way to the Supremes to protect your phone from the FBI’s figurative but pointy goose quill. The Feebs have been planning to jab Tim Cook like this for years.

Read the rest over at Which-50.

7 Responses to ‘Please do not insert that goose quill in my bottom’

Therbs has opinions thus...

Posted March 2, 2016
Terrorists are becoming the sole reason control freaks use for wanting access to EVERYTHING we say, email, tweet, post, write, paint, act, film, sing, sculpt, photograph or leave at the bottom of a toilet bowl. The latter would be fine if they were doing bowel cancer screening but the rest? "Nah, mate, nah." (quote from "Roy" Symonds declining the call for a third run off an on drive during his 279 run partnership with Haydos in the 2006 Boxing Day Test against the Poms).

pi has opinions thus...

Posted March 2, 2016
Sole reason? Oh no... let's not forget child pornography and drugs.

We have to think of the children.

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Blarkon would have you know...

Posted March 2, 2016
Warrant Free Zones will be awesome. Data can be hidden from anyone. Good luck proving that that old priest has a hard drive full of Smurf Porn when he can access it over an unbreakable encrypted VPN and can store it on an unbreakably encrypted hard disk drive. You can't see what he downloaded even when he's downloading it.
The next Al Capone won't go down for tax evasion if no one can access his records. Keep everything encrypted. A decade from now there will be little digital evidence of anything. 's going to be impossible to convict people when all documentary evidence is protected by unbreakable mathematics what suits libertarian paranoia and Silicon Valley Oligarch's bottom wallets.
Of course this is really about helping out all those freedom fighters that are fighting corrupt governments and stuff like that. Because that's who all these technologies are being built for right? 's like owning a pew pew. 's not about shooting people. 's about stopping repressive wossnames.

NBlob would have you know...

Posted March 2, 2016
What's in it for a Lizard Emporer for Ifruit to write a code to hack some dead maddies phone?

Blarkon has opinions thus...

Posted March 3, 2016
The vast majority of times that law enforcement needs access to the content of digital devices is for catching the mundane criminals that populate jails.

In a couple of years, because some nerds in the valley decided it would be cool, this will no longer be possible.

A debate needs to be had - what are the benefits of having these devices in everyone's hands (no one really makes a great argument why the average punter needs crypto that can keep out the government - just some hypotheticals about people living in the sort of dystopic cyberpunk societies that a number of computer nerds secretly want to live in because they read Snow Crash or saw The Matrix at an impressionable age) and what are the drawbacks?

Crypto is great when it's at the home security system level, but may have some unintended consequences if everyone has the "impenetrable fortress level" crypto.

Lobes swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted March 4, 2016
Some of us actually do live in a dystopic society and don't want the half-arsed corrupt national security services to have access to our thoughts and communications. Its fine to say "oh but the FBI only want to catch Terrorists/kid fiddlers/al capone" but once the genie is out of the bottle he will be granting wishes to everyone with a penchant and not just the FBI good guys.

Its not just a matter of political freedom either, this will have wide ranging commercial implications. When some corrupt hack in a NatSec IT department sells off the iphone jaibreak code to my commercial competitors it wont be long before theyre reading my emails and sliding into my client list with marginally better offers, hell, lets be real here, I'd even consider doing it myself.

If the FBI want to catch bad guys they should get off their fat arses and do some real detective work with all the hard work and risks that it entails and not compromise the rest of us just to save themselves time and money.

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DarrenBloomfield is gonna tell you...

Posted March 2, 2016
That's a cool stylus though.

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