kaigou: And now I, chaos butterfly, shall flap my wings and destroy the world! (2 chaos butterfly)
[Note: get a drink and have a seat. This is almost up to my usual levels of longwindedness, but this time, I do have a point! Other than the one on the top of my head.]

I came across an insightful comment the other day while researching, and the comment resonated with me strongly in light of the requirements compiling I was tackling at the same time.

"If you're not paying for it, you're not the customer; you're the product being sold." -- blue_beetle

Think about that for a bit, but first I want to run past everyone some of the thoughts bouncing in my head as a result of researching Delicious, Diigo, Pinboard, and various other (past and present) bookmarking applications. One particular journal entry (from 2008) compares Delicious and Diigo, though I'll rephrase some of the author's conclusions, since I think he got his main summary backwards. Here's the basis of his argument, thought:
Delicious, an original web 2.0 company, still has “user-generated” as its core raison d’être. Diigo has the later-stage web 2.0 philosophy of being a “social network”.

In essence (and to undo the backwards of his summary): Delicious is grounded in using content to find users, while Diigo emphasizes using users to find content. Somehow, I'm not surprised that so far, of the folks replying to my informal poll, that most of you have indicated that you follow the content and then, as a secondary step, discover like-minded users -- seeing how many of you have said you preferred old!delicious and don't like or care for the diigo approach.

Granted, these two things (users, content) are intertwined: you find a tag you want to follow, you start seeing the same names pop up, you realize the same people are marking things you're also liking, and you may switch your focus from the tag to the user, in hopes they'll lead you to even better stuff.

Here's the crux, though: what is the actual product?

This shit ain't free, y'know. Servers and storage and developers and designers don't just grow on trees. It's got to be paid for, either in cash or in kind or in stock or in some way, but usually cash since most landlords & mortgage companies don't accept vegetables, these days. If you see a product that you can consume, and it's free, someone paid for it. Maybe not you, but someone: NSTaaFL, after all.

Let me step back here, to the days when I first found an investor, wrote a business plan, and opened a bookstore... and other commentary about the dot-com and post-dot-com business models. )

More thoughts later. For now, it's your turn.
kaigou: this is what I do, darling (Default)
To really get why this past week had its moment of OH GOD I GET IT NAOW, I need to backtrack and first explain about my mother and the medical records clerks in Montgomery Alabama. Every transfer meant going on-base in August for the usual school physical-check-up thing that you have to do when entering a new school system. And that meant going to the medical building and the medical records office, where Mom would fill out a request slip so the clerks could retrieve our records. Something like that.

Those records (from what I recall) are stored in two general collections: one for active duty military, the other for retired military. So when the clerk accepts your records request slip, the first question the clerk asks is, "active duty or retired?" Except when we were in Montgomery, the clerk didn't ask that. I was nine at the time, so my mom had just turned 30... and I recall distinctly (thanks to my mother's tone of voice and the look on her face) when the clerk accepted the paper and simply asked, "retired?"

My mother's smile was cold enough and sharp enough to cut diamonds when she replied, "active duty."

The saga of not-needing-bifocals THANK YOU VERY MUCH, new eye prescription, a slight tangent into what astigmatism is, and a final celebration that naturally involves power tools BECAUSE MOAR POWER WAAAHHH. )

On that note, there's a chapter of Koji Ma Oshi upcoming, thanks to [livejournal.com profile] sharibet. (And a short story of whatever [livejournal.com profile] hinotori wants, and another for [personal profile] clarentine.) If I make it through a day without a headache, I'll consider that a good sign & will start writing, since that's at least a half-day at the computer and a bit more for polishing before posting. Fingers crossed my eyes'll be completely adjusted to new scrip in the next few days. There! Something to look forward to.

erm, assuming I don't get so happy with now-working power tools that I cut anything off. GUH. I don't even want to think about it. that I get distracted by the shiny and spend the next week doing cabinetry. *cough*
kaigou: this is what I do, darling (fixing to get organized)
Here's how you figure it, or at least, here's the math I've been doing for the past however long. Basic amounts, interest, terms, and whatnot have been adjusted to be equivalent to original; insurance can vary so widely let's just call that even between old & new, since you'd have to pay it anyway.

2-yr old VW Golf, pristine condition, 22K miles: $16K
12-yr old VW Golf, in pretty good condition, 180K miles: $3K

comparison behind the cut. )
kaigou: this is what I do, darling (A1] disgruntled)
or filed a claim, or seen a doctor, or wanted insurance and not had it, here's a real eye-opener.


It's an interview with Wendell Potter, a former VP for Cigna (medical health insurance company), talking frankly about how the health insurance industry works. Some of it is pretty chilling, and some of it's crazy-making, and you may end up angry and frustrated at the end, but it's information we really need to disperse as much as possible. People need to know this stuff, and not let the big corporations -- who stand to gain profit on the backs of ill folks -- run us over any longer.

NOTE: the one-hour interview is apolitical. Just FYI.
kaigou: this is what I do, darling (A2] start drinking heavily)
So here's the deal behind the last post, with context. Have a seat. This might take a bit, but believe me, it's amusing enough. (Or is, if you're me.)

Awhile back I joined a number of comms on LJ while trying to track down some of the more obscure fan-translated manga out there. I'd search for what I wanted, maybe check each comm every few days to every other week or so, and the rest of the time none of them show up on my daily flist. (That flist is long enough already, without high-traffic comms making it worse.)

[Note: I am not even getting into the legalities of translations and copyrights in this post. I can, if you're wondering, since I did look them up, but that's beside the point for this rant.]

At some point, I opened one comm to see what was new, and what did I see but at the very top a post about -- and link to a mediafire download for -- an ebook. Not a fan-translated manga, not a raw/original-language manga, but an American e-publishing company's ebook, written by an American author, and one whose work I've enjoyed and support. (And you know who you are, my dear, so have a drink and relax, this story's got a happy ending.) Well, mystified as to what an English-language, clearly-copyrighted work was doing being traded in a manga forum, I went looking at the tags -- and lo and behold, there's not just one or two authors that have slipped into the middle of a manga-trading community.

No, more like seventy authors -- and for a lot of those authors, the comm's trading their entire body of work. Two titles. Three. Five. Entire series: seven titles, ten titles, more. If on average every author had around four titles, and let's say the average price might be around $5, that's fourteen hundred dollars worth of ebooks listed. For free download.

Perhaps I should also mention: this is all listed a comm with more than three thousand members.

Potential losses? Oh, in the area of about four million two hundred thousand dollars.

Flabbergasted doesn't really begin to cover it. )

Dear author: I adore your work, but please to stop enabling the cabbages in the audience, mmkay?

Dear LJ: you still suck. Even when you don't do anything at all. Sometimes, especially when you don't do anything at all.

Dear mod: this is a bucket of ice water, this is your head, this is your head in a bucket of ice water.


with slight footnote. )
kaigou: this is what I do, darling (W] live and learn)
If you figure unions have had their days and come and gone, well, think again. Every single day you work, you're going to experience at least two benefits, and probably more than that, that you're getting thanks to a union.

If you like getting a half-hour for lunch every day, thank a union.

If you're glad your employer can't make you work 10 to 16 hour days, 6 days a week, thank a union.

If you think an 8-hour days for 5 days a week is a sane limit (and enjoy weekends), thank a union.

If you like getting time-and-a-half when you do have to work overtime, thank a union.

If you're under 16 and don't like the idea of being worked until you literally pass out, thank a union.

If you're black and appreciate getting the same pay a white person would get doing the same job, thank a union.

If you're a woman and appreciate getting the same pay a man would get doing the same job, thank a union.

If you're hispanic and appreciate getting the same pay a white person would get doing the same job, thank a union.

If you're over 40 and glad that a company can't deny you health benefits because of your age, thank a union.

If you're over 40 and it matters to you that you be offered the same training options and advancement as younger employees, thank a union.

If it matters to you that your employer can't pay you $1.50 an hour or some equally unlivable low wage, thank a union.

If you attended a public secondary school, thank a union.

And ten more reasons... ) Now that we have that clear, here's a rudimentary overview of the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA): the current system vs the proposed changes, pluses & minuses... ) ...and a short history example of what our forefathers and foremothers went through to get us these benefits. )

Unions are the workers, and if we as worker bees can be productive, safe, well-treated, respected, and paid a fair and livable wage, this will benefit the companies in the end, just as much, because we are the companies, too.

Last, a few words before opening to comments. )

Lastly, from emptywheel, Flight 1549: this miracle brought to you by America's unions.
kaigou: this is what I do, darling (Default)
About that previous post on ebooks and POD and technological possibilities for the publishing world, a few things of note.

One, there's iTunes new idea for DRM-free files: instead of locking the files, your name & email are encoded into the file when you purchase it. )

Meanwhile, in a blog post on Galley Cat, there's what purports to be an explanation of why ebooks cost so much (as much as pbooks, or more). Let's see. )

NY publishing houses don't ever claim they can make a movie out of your book, and they don't try, because it's not their industry: when are they gonna realize that epublishing is just as alien to them as movies?
kaigou: this is what I do, darling (A2] start drinking heavily)

[I went back and added to the other posts so it's clearer, but this is because I know Mikke'll probably miss those from being swamped, and this way she'll see what I meant. Or, uhm, something. IT MAKES SENSE TO ME, OKAY?]
kaigou: this is what I do, darling (W] iguana greeting)
continuation of first part

As [livejournal.com profile] rezendi pointed out in comments to last post, 'long-tail' as 'moneymaker' has apparently been dropped, and as I replied, I find it rather amusing. I think people jumped on it, seeing 'moneymaker' as 'woo hoo more bucks!' when if you look at the example at the start of previous post, one book a week is going to take about, uhm, two years to match what was sold in the first six weeks. Yes, it's a moneymaker... technically. The issue isn't whether it's a get-rich-method, so much as whether it's a consistent seller, which is a far more preferable lizard-tail -- from the bookstore point of view -- than anything else. Authors may go crazy at the idea of selling only a book a week but that "yep, sold another one this week, too," is a bookstore's bread and butter, baby.

Which is to say: I'm going with the notion of a LIZARD, instead. Still same great visual, but without that confusing pop-internet terminology that's giving some folks hives. (Sorry.) For the bookstore version of a lizarding: it's not in a specific single title. It's in all the titles that do not turn over in the space of one month. That's the true lizard [long tail], from a seller's perspective.

Here's my idea of innovation, though it comes from the bookseller side: I'd say, take the dumpy igauna bookstore of the Cerberus ilk, and super-glue it to the library's skeletal chameleon, and then run that result through the internet cloning machine -- now with Netflix commentary. )

Because lizard GOOD.
kaigou: this is what I do, darling (A2] want a revolution)
revised to remove confusing terminology that had some folks balking.

Dear Author recent post covered a lot, but missed a crucial detail. In talking about the publishing industry's byzantine and neolithic (wow, there's a combination) business model, and especially in comparisons to netflix, must address LIZARDS.

For awhile, the net was all agog over the notion of a 'long tail': at the onset of a new item's introduction, the sales should be pretty high for X amount of time, and then those sales taper off. The longer that tapering lasts, the longer the 'tail' of the sales. If, as [name I can't even recall right this minute and should damnit] first noted, you do the math, you might eventually figure out that a long tail, if stretched long enough, could end up equal to (or at least rivaling?) the original burst of, uhm, roundbody sales.

Pretend you sell 100 units every week in the first six weeks. After that, just to pull random numbers, let's say it drops by 1/2 each week until you get down to the actual tail, where the minimum would be (duh) 1 unit per week. Behind this cut are a lot of business basics, bookstore generalities, and what Borders did that's so epic fail. )

I had meant to talk about the lizard-tail, but I'll do that next -- it just seemed like (or maybe it's my bias) that unless folks understand how the bookstore industry nuts & bolts things, then it wouldn't make sense how to go about lizarding things. Although that's possibly also because I don't have more than a general clue how publishing works, but I do have a grasp on how bookstores work, so I'm going to naturally approach any solutions from the POV of whether it would be help/harm to bookstores.

goto part two
kaigou: this is what I do, darling (Default)
ETA NOTE: yes, yes, yes, I know the legality already, and I understand that there are "people out there" who would gladly send of eighty PDF-copies to various broke friends. That's not really my issue, nor the real point of my rant, otaykthx.

When I purchase a book, it's a fair possibility that down the road I will GIVE THIS BOOK AWAY. ... with a slight segue into What's Pissing Me Off Right Now About Scanlation Groups. )

This credit thing's gotta work both ways. That goes for the ebook publishers -- who need to recognize that I can feasibly hand over a copy of my purchased book, regardless of format, to someone else and never read it again myself, and that this option is one of the reasons I purchase books rather than just check them out from the library. And that also goes for the scanlators -- who need to realize that if you want me to respect the work you've done, then don't throw it in my face that you'll commandeer someone else's work, without credit at all, for the purposes of your own hypocritical reminders to me that I should never ever distribute your work without crediting you.

Yeah, right. I got yer freaking credit RIGHT HERE, baby.
kaigou: this is what I do, darling (walmart no go)
First, I think it must be the tape measure. Really. I measured the distance from fridge shelf to ceiling at least three times, and was reasonably satisfied that two 30" high cabinets would come no closer than 4" to the ceiling, enough room for a strip of drywall, the moulding, blah blah blah.

Err, NO.

Starting with cabinetry, and moving into bedframes: how much would you pay? ) Odd, how our psyches comprehend the value and price of things.
kaigou: this is what I do, darling (source code)
Oh, man, do I feel like an idiot. Yesterday had a great interview, and clearly the manager adored me, but I waffled when we spoke at the end -- I didn't expect her to broach the subject of pay scale, not while I was still processing whether the intangibles of the job were worth less cash-in-hand. Naturally, today my mother calls out of the blue. I told her about the interview and my internal waffling over possible job with pay cut, and she says, "you do realize... don't you... that the conversion rate between contract position to employee position is thirty percent?"

So, I ran the numbers. And I'm listing them here because I know there are younger women on my flist, and you're going to be educated and armed, whether you like it or not. Sit still! You WILL be informed! )
kaigou: this is what I do, darling (organizing)
[livejournal.com profile] anghara has posted a response to [livejournal.com profile] mistborn's comments about authors, royalties, and the importance of purchasing hardbacks. I get all this, honestly I do; I used to look at hardbacks and think, okay, 40% from the cover price of a $20 book goes to me, and that's a lot more than 40% off the cover price of a $10 book or $5 book...

However, I just couldn't let that sit. I get that the royalties are quicker to earn out if you make more money off the hardback, but I'm also thinking of my own wallet, and how much money I have, and how far it goes. So I ran a few numbers, based on Alma's explanation of her own contracts (which, I might add, are probably still far better than the usual peons, seeing how she's got a long publishing history and more clout than she'll admit, because she's like that). So I went looking for the break-even points between the three options.

A hardback book, at $25, will earn the author:
$12,500 for the 1st 5K sold, at 10% royalties
$15,625 for the 2nd 5K sold, at 12.5% royalties
at 10K sold: author earns $28,125; avg $2.81 per
total spent by readers: $250,000.

A trade paperback, at $16, will earn the author:
$9,375 for 1st 5K sold, at 7.5% royalties
$9,375 for 2nd 5K sold, at 7.5% royalties
$9,375 for 3rd 5K sold, at 7.5% royalties
at 15K sold: author earns $28,125; $1.20 per
total spent by readers: $240,000.

A mass market, at $7, will earn the author:
$2,800 for the 1st 5K sold, at 8% royalties
$2,800 for the 2nd 5K sold, at 8% royalties
...and so on up to:
$2,800 for the 10th 5K sold, at 8% royalties
at 50,215 sold, author earns $28,120; $0.56 per
total spent by readers: $351,505.

Feel free to draw your own conclusions. I know what I'm thinking.
kaigou: this is what I do, darling (Default)
10 Feb - edited with corrections/clarifications from Habibti.

part one: social security redux )


kaigou: this is what I do, darling (Default)
锴 angry fishtrap 狗

to remember

"When you make the finding yourself— even if you're the last person on Earth to see the light— you'll never forget it." —Carl Sagan

October 2016

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