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Tuesday, October 21 2014 @ 10:19 PM CDT

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The Alexandria Project, Chap. 2: The Plot Thickens

Alexandria Project (a Cyber Thriller)

Three years ago I began to post The Alexandria Project as a serial here at the Standards Blog.  I'll post the first few chapters again over the next few weeks for those that missed it the first time (the first chapter is here). Better yet, you can find the extensively rewritten final version in eBook (for just $2.99) and print versions at all the usual outlets (find the links here).

Lethalman (c) 2009 Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0Frank wondered how long his phone had been buzzing.  He was about to turn it off when he saw that it was his daughter Marla calling.

“Hi Kid,” he said, “Listen...”

His daughter jumped in.  “Hey, Dad, thanks for picking up.  I considered worrying about you for a second, and then figured you’d never really jump out the window – you’re only on the second floor, after all, and broken bones don’t solve anything.  I mean, you’re just much too logical not to think of that.  

“So how’s your big morning-after-the-night-before coming along?

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Adventures in Self-Publishing: Is Paying for Book Promotion Worth it?

Adventures in Self-Publishing

 Have you discovered The Alexandria Project?

One of the more difficult issues the author of a self-published book faces is whether to pay others to help promote their book. Broadly speaking, such services fall into three categories: creating sales materials (postcards, posters, press releases), reaching out to influencers (reviewers, bloggers and interviewers) and direct selling (via mailings, social media and advertising). Most print on demand (POD) publishers offer at least the first, some provide the second, and a few may provide some of the third.

Assistance with sales collateral such as postcards, posters and the like makes sense, if you actually intend to use them. But what of the other services, which tend to be very expensive? Are they worth it or not?

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The Alexandria Project, Chap. 1: Meet Frank

Alexandria Project (a Cyber Thriller)

It was three years ago today that I began to post The Alexandria Project as a serial here at the Standards Blog.  An explanatory post ran a couple of days earlier.   One purpose of writing the book was to highlight how vulnerable we are to cyberattack, and sad to say, we haven't made any real progress in protecting ourselves in the time that's passed since then, although the consequences of a disastrous attack continue to increase.

As you can see from the counter above, over 15,000 people read that first installment, and thousands followed it through to its conclusion. I'll post the first few chapters again over the next few weeks for those that missed it the first time, and you can find links here  to buy the extensively rewritten final version in eBook and print versions at all the usual outlets.

Courtesy Guillaume Paumier, CCA3.0 UnportedLate in the afternoon of December 11, 2010 a large panel truck backed up to a chain link fence topped with concertina wire in a run-down section of Richmond, Virginia. The words “Lowell Wholesale Paper Goods” were spread across the sides of the truck, as well as  the back of the gray coveralls worn by the truck’s driver, Jack Davis.

Jumping down from behind the wheel, Davis entered a number on the battered keypad set on a steel post rising from the cracked pavement, and a section of the fence began to clank slowly to one side. A moment later, and he had backed the truck up flush against the loading dock of the nondescript warehouse inside. By the time he was done, the fence had closed behind him.

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DOJ and USPTO join FTC in urging Caution before Granting SEP Injunctions

Intellectual property Rights

Courtesy of Wikimedia CommonsYesterday the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) and the U.S. Patent Trademark Office (USPTO) united in issuing a rare joint policy statement on Remedies for Standards-Essential Patents Subject to Voluntary F/RAND Commitments. As the title suggests, the policy focuses on those patent claims that would be necessarily infringed by the implementation of a standard (so-called standards essential patents, or “SEPs”), where the owner of the claims has pledged to make the claims available on “fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory” (or “F/RAND”) terms. More specifically, the policy statement addresses the question of whether, and if so when, the owner of SEPs should be entitled to ask the International Trade Commission (ITC) for an injunction to bar the importation of products implementing the standard in question.

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Google Agrees to Negotiate Before Seeking Injunction Relief in Connection with "Standards Essential Patents" (Updated)

Intellectual property Rights


Check out my new Author's Blog: Tales of Adversego

The big news in the tech world yesterday was the announcement by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) that it was terminating its review of Google’s business practices without requiring significant changes to the search giant’s advertising practices. While that facet of the story has been extensively covered in many other venues, another important aspect of the FTC’s settlement has received little attention – Google’s agreement to enter into binding arbitration with implementers objecting to its offered license terms. Only if the would-be license refused to enter arbitration, or refuses to honor the arbitrators decision, can can Google seek injunctive relief in the future in connection with any “standards essential patents” (SEPs) that it owns.

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My New Author Blog: "Tales of Adversego"

Adventures in Self-Publishing

Well, I finally took the plunge. Every book marketing guide you'll find tells you that you have, have, HAVE to build a Web site to support your book. I've resisted doing so for a year now, because I'm not sure that I really see the point. After all, an Amazon page can carry all of the basic information and reviews, and if you do a good job adding content to that resource, what else does a reader need? And exactly how, by the way, is a reader likely to ever find your site, anyway, since the Amazon, B&N and other pages for your book will always out-rank it?

The obvious answer is that you have to continue to provide enough content at your book site to provide an incentive for people to keep visiting it. And that content has to be of sufficient value that they'll want to see the latest things you have to say. Having launched this site, I know how much work that can be - and I had the advantage of addressing a narrow, rather arcane topic, which made it easier to gain some visibility.

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Smashwords' Big Year (and what it means for authors)

Adventures in Self-Publishing

If you haven't checked in on eBook publisher Smashwords (SW) lately, you're in for a surprise. The little business that Mark Coker started five years ago is now the biggest publisher of eBooks around. And you don't have to take his word for it - a Bowker press release in October reached the same conclusion.

So how big is big? According to a year-end blog entry by Coker, big is big, not just in numbers of titles, but in year over year growth. This year, the Smashwords author count jumped from 34,000 to 58,600, and the titles in the SW catalog leaped from 92,000 to 190,600. Eye-popping numbers like that would be the envy of any venture capitalist, but Coker has pulled this off without dipping into that well at all. Amazingly enough, he's also done it with only 19 employees (up from 13 at the end of last year, and only 3 in 2010).

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(The Return of) Adventures in Self-Publishing

Adventures in Self-Publishing


Bust of Janus/Vatican - Courtesy of Longbow4u and the Wikimedia Commons2012 has marked another memorable year in the transformation of the book publishing industry. The Federal Trade Commission forced Apple and all but one of the involved major publishers to abandon their eBook pricing. The Fifty Shades of Gray brand expanded to become (of course) a trilogy, and that franchise has now sold more paperback copies faster than any book to date – over 65 million copies in 37 countries. And the last person on earth that had not yet authored a self-published book announced the release of “My Little Ponies and Me – an inspiring tale of betrayal, forgiveness and ultimate redemption.”

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What Does 'Open' Mean?

Open Source/Open Standards

 Have you discovered The Alexandria Project?

Daniel in the Lion's Den; Rubens; c. 1615, courtesy of Krscal and the Wkimedia CommonsIf you are a regular reader of this blog, you probably have an interest in 'openness' of some kind: open standards and open source software most likely, but you may also feel strongly about openness in other technology-enabled areas, like open data or open government - or openness as a guiding principle, no matter what the digital terrain. And if your interest has taken you into the debates that surround any of these types of openness, you're probably also aware that openness is a term that not everyone defines the same way, or across all situations.

The debate over what 'openness' should mean in the standards arena has been around for a long time - perhaps as long as a hundred years. But in order to understand the current debate, it's important to realize that we are in phase two of that dialogue. 

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The U.K. Cabinet Office Solves the Open Standards Policy Conundrum

Intellectual property Rights

 Have you discovered The Alexandria Project?

Governments certainly have more than enough to concern themselves with these days – financial crises, natural disasters and terrorism, to name just a few. Given that’s the case, it’s surprising that so many are finding the time to worry about what kind of standards the products and services they purchase comply with. But they are.

That’s the case in the EU, where the final terms of version 2.0 of the European Interoperability Framework (EIF) were the subject of heated debate, resulting in a watered down definition of what should be regarded as acceptable standards for use in enabling communications between EU member nations. It’s also the case within those EU member states that are considering adopting definitions similar to the original formulation that appeared in the original, 2004 version of the EIF.