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"Murphy was an optimist!"

Dear Technical Writers September 22, 2007 6:25 am

Posted by Doug McCaughan in : Book / Magazine, Programming, Publishing, Technology
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If you are writing a reference manual on a programming language, please, I beg you, include "Hello World" in the index!

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What do I do? September 22, 2007 6:02 am

Posted by Doug McCaughan in : Book / Magazine, Daily Life, Programming, Publishing, Technology
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Yesterday I typed frantically for 20.5 hours straight. I am only going to count 12 hours of those since I broke for lunch and 3:30am to noon did include a lot of R&D. Let’s assume I type 60 words a minute. So 12 hours times 60 minutes equals 720 minutes. 720 minutes times 60 words = 43200 words.

The average length of a novel is 60000-100000 words. [Source]
65000+ [Source]
12,500; 15,000; 62,500; or 75,000 [Source]

So even if we cut my 43,200 words in half for 21,600 words it looks like I am well on my way to writing a novel in a day or two. Of course, we could add in the other 8.5 hours of typing for another 30,600 words plus the 43,200 totaling 73,800! A novel in a day! What does Stephen King make per book?

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Listen to those books June 8, 2007 10:12 am

Posted by Doug McCaughan in : Book / Magazine, Education, Health, Mental, Of Interest, Publishing
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Don’t have time to read? SimplyAudioBooks.com has a few free audiobooks to try out. Naturally, this is to encourage you to join their monthly subscription but even if you don’t join you can listen to some good works.

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The culprit is the people, not the state June 2, 2007 12:30 pm

Posted by Doug McCaughan in : Announcements, Book / Magazine, Of Interest, Philosophy, Politics, Publishing, Touchy Subjects, TV / Movies
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Ray Bradbury wants it understood that when he wrote [Fahrenheit 451] he was far more concerned with the dulling effects of TV on people than he was on the silencing effect of a heavy-handed government. While television has in fact superseded reading for some, at least we can be grateful that firemen still put out fires instead of start them. [Source]

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Dangerous Book for Boys May 24, 2007 5:47 am

Posted by Doug McCaughan in : Book / Magazine, Of Interest, Publishing
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I have multiple reasons for posting this link. The main one though is that it has been talked about so much and seems like such a cool book! It’s time to take the bubble wrap off our children!

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Time to Pimp My Wife December 5, 2006 3:26 pm

Posted by Doug McCaughan in : Amy, Book / Magazine, Cathy, Daily Life, Family, Publishing
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Go here and click the picture of Amy. Please vote for her.

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The Inheritance Books November 30, 2006 9:02 am

Posted by Doug McCaughan in : Book / Magazine, Of Interest, Publishing, Reviews, TV / Movies
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Christopher Paolini began writing Eragon when he graduated from high school at the age of 15. Eragon and the second book in the Inheritance series, Eldest, captivated me. I shunned responsibility to absorb chapter after chapter. Book 3 is scheduled to release Summer 2007. That will be a long wait! And I will have to fight Tommy for first read. Eragon the movie is airing its trailer now and will be in theaters on December 15, 2006.

Eragon is an epic story of a farm boy’s travels in a land with dragons, elves, dwarves, and humans ruled by an all powerful overlord complete with allegiances, underground resistances, ancient broken promises, and magic. The book is riveting with unexpected plot twists that wrench at your sympathies. I must balance that statement by pointing out at times I felt the story was somewhat formulaic as attempted to guess its direction; however, it never failed to disappoint. I give it a high recommendation and suggest reading the book before seeing the movie.


Yellow pages only gets to a few November 28, 2006 9:11 am

Posted by Doug McCaughan in : Book / Magazine, Of Interest, Publishing
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When I ran my Internet Service Provider business, I spent $12,000 a year on a full page yellow page ad. That ad generated more calls than any other advertising. In the end, all my business came word of mouth.

I learned something yesterday. As I drove out of the neighborhood, many of the houses had their new Yellow Pages directory. But not us. It did not take long to realize that the phone company is mad at us. See, after having the same phone number for 15 years, we decided to cut the umbilical cord and go mobile completely. It was scary because we were so accostumed to having that phone line which would ring throughout the house. We actually had two lines and could conference the calls together. We lost use of our fax machine in the process. Yesterday I would have liked to have received a fax but it was not necessary.

What did we lose in going completely mobile?

  1. We don’t get a phone book anymore.
  2. We are not in 411 directory assistance so it is more difficult to track us down.
  3. Solicitations and bill collection calls dropped significantly (at times Sears would call every 3 days because they are Satan’s spawn).
  4. We don’t pay $80 per month for a desk ornament.
  5. The younger children are having different phone experiences/lessons that the older children did. (But our phone lessons/manners/habits are significantly different that of our children…and think about our parents…I remember a party line but could you imagine your children using a party line?!) Oh, and the younger children do understand phones. Even the 17mth old uses the cell phone proficiently.
  6. It is slightly more difficult to track down a single person and sometimes takes calling multiple numbers to reach someone at the house.
  7. No more long distance bills!

Now, the publisher of the Yellow Pages and the phone company are not one in the same. They are in cahoots but the publisher of the Yellow Pages makes their money from ads and distribution. I think we are getting ready to witness a paradigm shift in the way phone books are distributed. First and foremost, we don’t use it because we either look online or send google a text message from our phone (Text "Borders, Knoxville, TN" to 46645 and watch the phone number and address pop up in seconds). Secondly, the publisher is going to realize that their distributions are dimensioning as the phone company gives them fewer and fewer land line addresses. Their ad selling point is "we deliver x number of books and your ad will be seen by those people." My bet is that before long we will see stacks of Yellow Pages books at the grocery store entrances being distributed for free to anyone that wants one.

I think another service cell phone companies need to offer (and maybe they do) is one number that rings multiple cell phones. That way we could give away a "family number" and when one cell answers all others stop ringing.

I before E except after C unless of course you are spelling proficiently.


Ebooks for Halloween October 27, 2006 7:59 am

Posted by Doug McCaughan in : Book / Magazine, Of Interest, Publishing, Touchy Subjects
, 2comments

Oh, I’m sorry. You call that Harvest Festival now don’t you. The thought of encouraging your children to partake of a Pagan celebration is a little a scary I suppose. Wait. Isn’t Halloween supposed to be scary?

The holiday was a day of religious festivities in various northern European Pagan traditions, until Pope Gregory III moved the old Christian feast of All Saints Day to November 1 to give Halloween a Christian interpretation. [Source]

Wasn’t another holiday rooted in Pagan tradition?

…winter festivals that are believed by some to have influenced Christmas include the pre-Christian festivals of Yule [1] and Saturnalia, and many of the traditions associated with the holiday have origins in these pagan winter celebrations. [Source]

Regardless, even if you are trying hard to use non-scary costumes and take your children only to the funny haunted houses, this is a time of year for scary stories. Google has made several available as ebooks. Enjoy!

Darkness falls across the land
The midnight hour is close at hand
Creatures crawl in search of blood
To terrorize y’awl’s neighborhood
And whosoever shall be found
Without the soul for getting down
Must stand and face the hounds of hell
And rot inside a corpse’s shell
The foulest stench is in the air
The funk of forty thousand years
And grizzly ghouls from every tomb
Are closing in to seal your doom
And though you fight to stay alive
Your body starts to shiver
For no mere mortal can resist
The evil of the thriller

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[Vincent Price] had a choice between taking a percentage of the album sales or $20.000. Price was well along in his career, so he took the $20,000. He was good-natured about it when Carson told him he could have made millions off of the royalties due to the vast number of copies sold even at that time. Price laughed heartily and said: "How well I know!"