A Response for Modelmaker

Yesterday our friend Modelmaker posted to his blog about e-book pricing (http://www.pensbykris.com/ponderings/?p=155). I was going to leave a response there, but I’m running into some odd issues with doing so (his WP blog wants me to log in to leave a comment, but it won’t accept my free WP login, and I don’t see a way to create one for his blog), so I’ll post my comments here.

First up, Modelmaker said “I would guess (I have done no research) that the profit margin on an ebook is MUCH higher than the printed version.”

From what I’ve read, mostly during the Amazon/MacMillan spat, the cost differential between paper and ebooks is in the 20-25% range: the cost of paper, printing/binding, and warehousing/shipping is something the big publishers have been dealing with for a very long time, and so they’ve figured out how to get it down to a surprisingly (to me) small fraction of the total.

Why would a publisher charge $2 more for an ebook than a paper book? Because the market will bear it – or at least they think it will.

Although some of us geeks have been reading ebooks for a decade (Project Gutenberg on my Palm Pilot…), in terms of the mass market and the general public the ebook market is a fairly new thing. Both sides are still trying to figure this new thing out. As such, publishers and distributors* are trying different price points to see where on the curve the optimum is.

To break it down to the simplest interpretation: If the majority of ebook purchasers won’t buy ebooks that are more expensive than paper, ebook prices will end up below paper. If the majority are like me, who don’t compare to paper prices and just go by “looks reasonable”, ebook prices may end up being higher than paper books.  Where will prices end up?  My WAG is that the market will settle down to a model where ebooks are around hardback price on first release, eventually dropping to about paperback price.

My profit margin on belts is greater than that on pouches. Should I drop the prices on belts so that they match the profit margin of pouches?

* People knowledgeable about the industry say that Amazon is more interested in selling Kindles than ebooks, and so are willing to sell ebooks at a loss in order to drive Kindle sales.

Spam spam spam spam

Getting a definite spike it trackback/pingback spam today. It’s mostly on older posts, so I’ve updated comment settings so comments are closed for posts older than 14 days. I’m not sure if that affects trackbacks, but we’ll give it a try. You real people will understand, I think.

Sucked in by Google+

Yes, the shiny new Google+ Beta caught me and sucked me in and now I’m a happy G+ user.

I love the fact that it got over the whole “friending” paradigm and starts you out with “Family”, “Friends”, “Acquaintances”, and “Following” circles.  I’ve got people in various circles who I never had on LJ or FB, because I can put them in circles based on how interested I’m likely to be in their posts.  I’m hoping Google eventually adds ticky-boxes so you can see the feeds from multiple circles at once, but in the meantime making redundant/inclusive/meta circles is reasonably straightforward.

I’ve never been much of a Facebook fan, my alter-ego only uses it to keep up with what a limited number of people are up to.

Twitter never really interested me.  I’ve looked at Twitter feeds a couple times, and . . . meh.

I initially bailed from LJ in large part because  the official LJ mobile app was almost unspeakably bad, I couldn’t find a 3rd-party app that was any better, Blogger wasn’t much better, but WP had promise.  Since then, LJ seems to have become more prone to outages and hard-to-connect days, even apart from the current DDoS attack.  Never felt like going to Dreamwidth or whatever the LJ-clone is.

So, this blog has been getting ignored for a bit.  OTOH, G+ doesn’t have tagging (which sounds like a “yet” situation).  And although some longer posts are starting to show up, it’s not clear if that’ll become within the realm of normal, or if it’ll even out at more-than-Twitter, less than LJ/WP.  We’ll see.

MuseCon has also, not surprisingly, sucked up a certain number of brain cells.  Starts a week from tomorrow, eek!  I really must get flyers for 2012 put together.  Yes, G+ readers may remember that I said that a few days ago, but Tuesday night I had a WindyCon meeting, and last night was VS, plus I didn’t get upstairs to my laptop.

Ron updated his desktop to OSX Lion Server.  And Adobe CS4 WhateverBundle doesn’t quite play nice with Lion. At first I couldn’t do anything at all in InDesign, but after we let the machine run overnight and count all its fingers and toes Ron reports CS4 programs are behaving better.  Anyway, I’m not ugrading my laptop until either (1) there’s patches to make CS4 and Lion play nice thoroughly, or (2) we upgrade to CS5.5, and I’m happy its stable (I’m seeing indications that it may not quite be playing nice yet either, but as the current release I’m betting it gets patched soonest).

The reason for this paranoia is because of Windycon.  The weekend after MuseCon I’ll be doing the Windycon progress report.  That’s mid-August.  The first Windycon program book content deadline is in the first half of September.  So being without InDesign until, say, November is Right Out.

Just looked at my Harper Student ID, which is what’s on file with “The Academic Superstore” to get student discount prices, and it expires August 18th.  MuseCon is definitely going to be a drain on the budget for the first half of August, and that’ll probably spill over until the second half, so not likely to upgrade to CS5.5 before it expires.

OTOH, yesterday I e-mailed the instructor I had for my GRA 101 and 102 classes and pretty much point-blank asked if she thought I’d learn anything in the 200-level Page Layout class, or if I’d be bored.  Again.  I’d like to take the Portfolio class, but I don’t have one of the prerequisites, which isn’t offered as an evening class this fall.  I also asked if I could get a syllabus for the prereq class so I could evaluate my likely boredom quotient and/or ruminate on asking the department head if I can get out of it.

Anyway, I think I’m probably going to be taking something this fall, if not Page Layout maybe an Illustrator, Photoshop, or Photography class, and if so the student discount thing is covered again.  And that student discount is hefty, worth more than the cost of tuition & fees for a class.

I think Eowyn’s eyesight has degraded.  She has trouble finding  her way around the piles of dirt, etc. that are in the back yard to the back porch steps once it’s getting dark.  She didn’t notice oyster crackers I tossed to her when distracted by stealing Elrond’s, but it didn’t take her long to find them after, and she still watches things, so it’s probably the kind of thing where she was human she’d just be needing (new) glasses.

With all the thunderstorms lately Courage, the Cowardly Dog, aka Elrond, is getting a little bit spoiled about sleeping with Ron.  I tried to get him to come up and snuggle me last night, but he wanted Ron.

Where Were We Again?


Aah yes, Wednesday and the ants and a belated birthday dinner for X2.  Dinner was at Sushi Asahi.  I had Beef TeriMaki, which is thin slices of lightly-seared beef draped over California Roll, and a Vegetable Roll.  Some of the vegemals in it were Japanese and unknown to me, but strange veggies are less intimidating than strange seafood.  Both rolls were very good. Robin had a Mongolian Roll, the exact composition of which I forget, but which he and Ron both really liked.  Robin also liked the whatever of a slice of raw mackerel draped over rice.  He likes more strongly-flavored fish for that kind of thing.  Ron had the YumYum Roll, which was Mongolian Roll without another layer of (battered fried) fish and sauce, among other things.  Yummy dinner all around.


Diatomaceous Earth was procured and liberally applied along the joint between the house and the front stoop.  Had to re-vaccumn and re-Simple Green by the door, but I think the D. earth may be starting to work.

Other Local Wildlife

Several mornings last week I heard a very noisy bird calling, I thought it might be a raptor of some kind.  Saturday it called almost continually all day long (which I think is going to be another whole post in itself).  In the afternoon I finally was looking up when it was flying over, and it was a raptor, grey and white.  We consulted our big Sibley guide and did some poking, and I called a local wildlife rehab.  Probably a recently-fledged youngster bitching at Mom and Dad to feed it.  Since it was flying and and just kvetching a lot, nothing to do.  The parents could have been hanging around it, and we just didn’t see them.  Heard it some yesterday, but not this morning, but I wasn’t outside very long, and the storm was blowing in.  Crossing my fingers Mr. Noisy Hawk is figuring out how to feed himself.


Xap, X1, X2, and The Tall Young Dane were over yesterday afternoon for Black-Book Palladium.  Ok, fine “The Palladium Fantasy Role-Playing Game”.  When I started playing the cover of the book was almost completely black and it was the only RPG Palladium had put out.  Hence in our house it’s still often called Black-Book.  Anyhoo, it was fun, although warm and sticky.  I was playing both Dallas (a pirate), and Yenta (a psychic healer), and was told I had to have a visual signal for who I was, Yenta’s accent was not enough (understandable, when I am getting into Yenta-speak is being very easy to be continuing always with it).  So I had Robin get me one of my tie-dyed bandanas.  Very appropriate that I wore a babushka as Yenta.  Even if the character is a young Kankoran (fox-like bipedal humanoid), not a little old Jewish matchmaker.  Which reminds me, we need to sit the Tall Young Dane down to watch Fiddler on the Roof.  And Arsenic and Old Lace.

Why yes, that last paragraph did wander all over, didn’t it?!

MuseCon Program Book

Got 2 of my 3 sets of edits to the MuseCon program book entered.  Got the third from Xap yesterday, should be able to get that in tonight.  I also got my last significant bit of missing content, an ad for another convention.  Good thing, the current  plan is to get it to the printer Wednesday.

Bloggy Things

Joined/set up Google+ Friday.  I like it muuuuch better than FaceBook.  Not perfect (I’d like to sort my stream by date, please), and this morning I posted a link to comments about significant rights concerns for pro photographers and the like;  but I really the simple method of sorting people into circles (groupings – friends, family, etc.), seeing posts from only people in a group, and setting your post to one or more groups or everybody.  I’m not deluded enough to think that privacy is utterly and completely secure, but it’s good enough for what I forsee posting there.

Which is, pretty much, FaceBook/Twitter-ish short bits, not the type of longer blather I tend to post here.   I probably should go post a pointer on LJ on how to find me.  My LJ activity is pretty much read-only, this blog has definitely replaced it.

Vidiocy (from: Vidiot, or Video-Idiot)

I’d been eyeballying “Sherlock”, the new BBC TV series incarnation of Sherlock Holmes set in modern day for a while, and we finally picked up the first season a week or so ago, and finally-finally watched the first episode, “A Study in Pink” last night.  Ripping good fun!  Ron and I both really like it, Ron commented he’s sorry he resisted getting it for so long (I didn’t think it was resistance, just other things looking more interesting).  This morning we suggested to Robin that he’d enjoy it too.

Also working on the fourth season of Eureka.  Ron put an episode on while we took a dinner break during gaming, and unfortunately it was a time-plot episode, and not easy to explain all the whos and whats.  Even so, X1 was intrigued and borrowed season 1.

Weather Woes

Eowyn is not coping at all well with heat any more. She goes outside for a few minutes, and is then right back inside in front of a fan. Big difference from her solar-powered-dog days when would go out on the hottest summer days and bake herself.  She Did Not Approve of the humans hogging the fans during gaming yesterday.  But she did approve of snack-sharing (fruits and veggies, very little junk food).

Robin has to do a project for Driver’s Ed (the hell?), a 5-minute presentation and couple-page paper, due tomorrow; so I set him up with a new account on my laptop (his old one had been blown away for various reasons), and he’s been told to take the dogs up to our room today.  I don’t think that’s going to be a problem.

Hmm.  I think I may get cold-dinner food on the way home tonight.  Brats just aren’t calling to me considering the temperature/humidity forecasts I’ve heard.

In Conclusion

Other than the next post, about what we spent most of Saturday on, I think that brings us up to date.

Spammers, and more (possibly) interesting stuff

I haven’t noticed an up-tick in e-mail spam since that whole Epsilon e-mail address theft.  Comment spam both here and on LJ seems to be up, though.  Could be coincidence, of course, but it is annoying.  Since about that time I’m getting about one per day slipping through the automated filters.  I just shut down comments on one older entry here that several of the comments that got through the filter were to.  OTOH, compared to what the spam filters catch, only a tiny fraction is making it through, so I probably shouldn’t grumble.

In other news, we have a Robin nesting in the dwarf apple tree out front.  At least that’s what Ron, human-Robin, and the UPS guy say.  I couldn’t see the nest this morning, but I wasn’t getting too close, either.

Returned my overly large tote bag last night.  Clerk confirmed that it was, indeed, a large bag, not a medium.  I couldn’t decide between an medium or a small bag, so I got both.  Open-top, they didn’t have any zip-top in the store.  Today I used the small one for Ron’s kilt hose and the iPad (it’s a bit bigger than the bag I’ve been using), and used the medium for my lunch.  The medium is a bit big for lunch.  I may have to get another small one for a lunch bag, the kilt hose seem happy in the small one, and I’ve got at least two more pairs to go…  No, not an excuse for more bag shopping, no, NO!  I deny it!

Started drawing the lot, house, porches, etc. in CAD last night.  Rough start, but I’m getting quicker.  It would help if the (expletive) house was square to the (expletive) lot.  Then I wouldn’t have to draw each thing then (expletive) rotate it.  (which is easier than drawing it (expletive) cattywampus to start with).  No, it isn’t very far out of (expletive) square, but I’m too much of an (expletive) perfectionist/engineer to ignore it.  At least the house is square to itself.  Layers are turning out, not surprisingly, to be A Good Thing.  I forsee having very many of them by the time I finish.

Both of Ron’s kilt hose are at least halfway through the calf increases.  I’m beginning to worry that I won’t see the off-white yarn before I need it.  Then again, mid-week knitting tends to be less productive than during the weekend.

Roundup of Teh Stoopid

  • If you want me to look at a map, don’t send it as a PowerPoint file.
  • If you want me to buy your hardware, it needs to work for more than a few months, not spontaneously break as it sits overnight (external battery/case for iPhone).
  • I’m sorry that some other section of Significantly Large Agency is not answering their phones, but there is nothing I can do to make them change their behavior, nor is there any way for me to solve your problem or answer your question.
  • No, I had no intention of driving my son to school in honor of the first day.  It’s the same school, bus stop, and bus time as the last two years, he’ll manage just fine.
  • We were informed today that we no longer have a choice of calendar style.  The only available option is designed to sit on a desk, and is astoundingly unsuited for use by field personnel.
  • That amalmamation of sand, gravel, and pavement you’re standing in the middle of is called a “driveway”.  As the name implies, people like to use it to drive on.  Now can you move so I can do that?
  • Your utterly failed attempt at a relevant comment that just-so-happens to contain a link does not amuse me.  Spam is not hard to recognize when it flails around gasping and wheezing pitifully for me to KILL IT, KILL IT NOW.

Post #500 – Yet Still Another Weekend Report-ish Thing, Again

Wow.  500 blog posts, counting all the ones imported from LJ.

I wasn’t too badly behaved at Stitches on Saturday.   For the most part I didn’t look at/for sock yarn, which helped.  I had Kumihimo on the brain, it’s been percolating around since being near M. teaching the basics at MuseCon.  I found a couple skeins of silk – one varigated, one complementary solid; and a big skein of something thick and thin with sparkles, I think rayon and wool.  Also for braiding, I need to get some coordinating yellow cotton, which I’ll go to I’d Rather be Kntitting for.  I also got a foam kumihimo disc, and a couple books that go with it, of necklaces.   Finally, I got myself a pair of Hand-Eze-type gloves, with extra wrist support.  I picked up a few business cards and flyers, maybe a half-dozen.

When I got home I was hot and sticky and going to take a bath, except that Robin was moping around because his RTV silicone had gone off in the year or so since purchase, and so couldn’t be used to make a mold of some miniature pieces.  So after a little while in front of the gale-force fan I took him down to DesPlaines Hobbies for a new batch.

After that I got my visit with Mr. Bathtub.  Eventually Ron got home from the CapriCon meeting, and we ended up going out for dinner at Toreo.  I blame it on Alton Brown’s flat meat episode of Good Eats.  Every time we watch it we end up wanting chicken-fried steak.  The Bistec Milanesia at Toreo doesn’t have sawmill gravy, but it is a very satisfying piece of breaded, fried tender steak.   And I have no objection to skirt steak.

Robin’s price for the trip to DesPlaines Hobby was to dig out my maurdai and the wooden box I store kumihimo paraphanalia in and use to bring the marudai up to an appropriate height for sitting-on-couch use.  I managed to figure out the braid Robin started mumble months and months ago, and finished it off Sunday.  It was an oops adaptation of another braid, so yesterday I made notes on what it was.   I had several yards left over from that braid, and so I started another simple one to use it up.

Sunday Ron and I went down to Calumet Photo where Ron drooled over LensBaby goodies.

Last night was my first Graphic Arts 101 class.  So far it’s very much baby steps, but I think I will learn things by the time it’s over.  The labs have nice iMacs, but they’re dual-boot and for this class we’re supposed to use Windows (because a certain fraction of industry uses Windows).  We also are to use Quark Xpress, because it’s also in somewhat common use in industry.  Last night’s lab was to make a table tent sign with our name.  See above re: baby steps, even with software that was brand new to me.

Although there are a fair number of kids in the class (who can not possiblybe old enough to be college students!  Honestly, who let the rug rats out?!?)  Ahem, sorry, don’t meant to be agist, clearly I am a dinosaur, gronk gronk . . .

Anyway, I’m not the only older-than-teen or twenty-something in class.  I think I am probably the second-oldest.  The instructor’s child starts kindegarten today, so I suspect I’m older than the instructor, but not  ridiculously so.

Fillings today went fairly smoothly.  Turned out to be three teeth worked on, following discovery of a couple cavities on last week’s x-rays.  I was brave and foolish and said yes I was up to having all of them done in one swell foop.   Dr. Toto did have to go back and give me more anasthetic in one area, but it didn’t take major histrionics on my part.  I don’t think enough to set my phobia recovery back significantly, either.

My jaw (minor/mild TMJ) was not happy by the end, but is getting better.  And the numbness is still persisting in my face over the lower jaw on one side, although I think it may be sufficiently worn off to eat safely.   One of the teeth filled today is also cracked, and may need a crown in the future, but Dr. Toto has hopes the filling material will do the trick.  That tooth hadn’t bothered me at all, which he says is encouraging for the filling being sufficient repair.

Back to kumihimo: should finish my little chunk of use-up-leftover-yarn braid tonight, then I think I’ll have Robin dig out my barstool marudai, so I can finish up the braid I started on it mumble months ago, and free up the tama (bobbins) thus engaged.  Still haven’t decided exactly what braid I want to do with my pretty silk, probably should do that Real Soon Now.

I did set up the foam disk on Saturday night and did some braiding on it.  I prefer an actual marudai, but I see the advantages of a foam disk both for portabilitly and for beginners – low cost entry, no slippage of threads/bobbins,  etc.  I’ll probably keep mine for instructional use.

Oooh, *That* Was Easy

All my LiveJournal posts imported, with tags and comments, and the friend-locked ones are now password-protected.  It took less than 5 minutes.  I don’t see a quick and easy way to mass-categorize the LJ imports, but no biggie.

Have I mentioned recently that I’m really liking WordPress?

We Have Blogs

Ron has successfully installed WordPress on our website.

My blog can be found here. (unless you’re already here reading it here…because I’m going to copy this over to LJ).

Given the simplicity of using WordPress, and having my data under my control, I’m probably going to stop using my LJ and Blogger accounts. I won’t shut down my LJ account completely, since Google Reader won’t, AFAIK, pick up friends-locked entries.

Ron’s already pulled our picture blog posts into
his new WP blog.

In all likelihood we’ll also be shifting the Otter Necessities blog over to WP on our own hosting, too.

Not sure if I’m going to import my LJ. Probably, and I’ll probably also leave them up at LJ.

I think I mentioned this before, but I consider FaceBook to be mainly for reading what others post, with occasional fluffy comments of my own. Given FB’s apparent attitude toward giving out user’s information (which I’ve minimized in my own case), that’s unlikely to change.

I think there’s a way to limit access to entries here along the lines of the LJ friends-lock. I’ll update when I figure it out.

Probable Move to WordPress

Both Blogger and LiveJournal are unwieldy to post to from my iPhone, worse with posting pictures, and neither offer mobile views or offer a mobile posting app that dosen’t use text-messaging. Therefore, I’m giving WordPress a try.

That said, on with the post that started this odyssey:

I’m very good at killing house plants, especially at home. But I do have one little succulent at work that’s surviving. It’s been in need of more space for an emberassingly long while, but I finally took care of that this morning.

Although I couldn’t find a pot I liked in stores, it turned out we had a perfectly servicable one at home. We were out of cactus/succulent potting mix (Robin has several,although IIRC the ridiculously-tall Lithops died), so I faked it with sand, mushroom compost, and top-dressing gravel. I even gave it a good layer of top dressing with said gravel.

(good, copy & paste work, now how about posting pictures…cool! Would probably have been even simpler if I’d read directions!)