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Saturday, November 01 2014 @ 03:17 AM CDT

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Interoperability, Standards and Market Power

Open Source/Open Standards

Have you discovered The Alexandria Project?

 
Flag of Europe, Courtesy WikipediaYesterday the European Commission issued a brief press release (reproduced below) announcing that it has opened a formal investigation:
 
...to assess whether The MathWorks Inc., a U.S.-based software company, has distorted competition in the market for the design of commercial control systems by preventing competitors from achieving interoperability with its products.
 
The press release states that the investigation was triggered by a complaint, but does not disclose which company alleged that it had been denied a license for reverse-engineering purposes.
 
This latest investigation arises in the context of a broad array of litigation, investigations and policy announcements in the EU focusing on the importance of standards in achieving interoperability, principally involving mobile device manufacturers and technology owners, such as Motorola Mobility and Samsung. It also highlights the different strategies that dominant companies may adopt in relation to market demands for interoperability, and also the divergent positions that U.S. and EU regulators sometimes take in response.
 

 

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The Lafayette Deception, Chap. 11: I Guess I've Just Got to be Frank with You

Lafayette Deception (a Cyber Thriller)

Have you discovered The Alexandria Project?

Okay, so maybe you haven't bought my book.  But that's not Frank's fault, so I couldn't just leave him stranded in the midwest, could I?

Courtesy WikipediaFrank shook his head in disbelief as he turned his radio off. Who could have predicted that talking heads on the evening news would ever look to Fidel Castro to provide a cogent assessment of an American primary season? Frank might be having a hard time starting a non-fiction book about cybersecurity, but thank goodness he hadn’t set out to write a satire about this bizarre election season. How would you parody a parody? All you could do would be to quote the actual candidates. Anyway, that wasn’t his problem.

What he was wrestling with at the moment was what to do when he got to Iowa. Heading to where the political action was had seemed like a great idea when he first turned east. It wasn’t until he crossed into Colorado that it occurred to him that a caucus state would offer next to no opportunities for a hacker to corrupt the voting results.

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Adventures in Self-Publishing, Chap. 12: What I Learned Along the Way

Adventures in Self-Publishing

Have you discovered The Alexandria Project?

This series highlights aspects of my experience self-publishing The Alexandria Project.   If you'd like to read the book this series is based on, you can read the first three chapters for free here (just click on the cover of the book). And you can read a new chapter of its sequel every Monday here. 

Greek coin with image of Janus, Courtesy Wikimedia CommonsWe’ve now gone through all the steps of self-publishing a book, so this week is summing up time: I’ll try and pull together the most important things I learned along the way, and especially those that I wished I’d known before I started. I hope to revise, expand and then self-publish this series at some point, just for the experience of doing a book entirely on my own, without a POD publisher. If so, you can expect to see more chapters pop up here from time to time as I work my way through that process.
 
So where to begin? Might as well go straight to the bottom line - or lines, in this case.

 

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Everything You Always Wanted to Know About FRAND (But didn’t know who to ask)

Open Source/Open Standards

Have you discovered The Alexandria Project?

 

The acronym “FRAND” is very much in the news today, and with good reason. The battle to control, or at least share in the bounty, of the mobile marketplace has motivated technology leviathans like Google, Samsung, Microsoft and Apple to bring every tool and weapon to the fore in order to avoid being left in the dust. So intense is the competition that not only standards, but the finer details relating to the pledging of patents to facilitate the implementation of standards, have become the subject of headlines in the technology press.
 
The purpose of this blog post is not to report on the skirmishing that is still ongoing, but to peel off and explain the multiple layers of nuance and tactical opportunity that underlie the seemingly simple concept of “FRAND.” How many layers? Let’s just say that you may lose count before we cover everything you need to know to make sense out of what is really going on behind the scenes.
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The Lafayette Deception - Intermission: The High Price of "Free"

Lafayette Deception (a Cyber Thriller)

Have you discovered The Alexandria Project?

Welcome to the sequel to The Alexandria Project, a cybersecurity thriller.  If you'd like to read the book this series is based on, you can read the first three chapters for free here (just click on the cover of the book). You can read a new chapter of The Lafayette Deception here every Monday.

Think_About_Balance, courtesy of  ikaxer/Wikimedia Commons, GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later versionAs you may have noticed, last Monday passed without my posting a new chapter of The Lafayette Deception. I’d like to explain why, and also invite you to reflect on the role that the consumer of creative work will play in the future of writing.

The fundamental question comes down to this: will writers be able to make a living in the future from their craft, and if not, what will the quality and variety of writing be like?
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Adventures in Self-Publishing, Chap. 11: How to Promote your Book (Part II)

Adventures in Self-Publishing

Have you discovered The Alexandria Project?

This series highlights aspects of my experience self-publishing The Alexandria Project.   If you'd like to read the book this series is based on, you can read the first three chapters for free here (just click on the cover of the book). And you can read a new chapter of its sequel every Monday here. 

Social Media Marketing, courtesy of Paola Peralta/Wikimedia Commons - Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 UnportedLast week we talked about the concepts and goals behind launching a book promotion campaign.  This week, we’ll get down in the weeds, and talk about the specific tactics you can use to spread the word.
 
The first thing to decide is whether you want to target brick and mortar, as well as on-line, channels of distribution. The reason is that while activities that target real stores will also help with your online sales, they tend to be much more time consuming, and usually require travel as well. Persuading individual book stores to carry your book also involves one-on-one selling (to the store owner or manager), while the pay off in sales per book store beyond your home town will likely be modest. The return on investment marketing directly to book stores is therefore low.

 

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Adventures in Self-Publishing, Chap. 10: How to Promote your Book (Part I)

Adventures in Self-Publishing

This series highlights aspects of my experience self-publishing The Alexandria Project.   If you'd like to read the book this series is based on, you can read the first three chapters for free here (just click on the cover of the book). And you can read a new chapter of its sequel every Monday here. 

Might as well come right out and say it. This is where the going gets tough. 

Up until now, everything about self-publishing has been pretty much under your control – what your book will be about, what it will look like, and how you’ll get it to market. But now, like Blanche Dubois in A Streetcar Named Desire, it’s time to learn that you can’t rely on the kindness of strangers. And that only in an Iowa imagined by Hollywood, if you build it, they will come.

So let’s talk about how you’ll go about getting those hard-hearted strangers to buy your book (or even download it for free, if that’s your choice), now that it’s up there for all to see at Amazon.
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The Lafayette Deception, Chap. 10: Vive la Revolución!

Lafayette Deception (a Cyber Thriller)

Welcome to the sequel to The Alexandria Project, a cybersecurity thriller.  If you'd like to read the book this series is based on, you can read the first three chapters for free here (just click on the cover of the book). You can read a new chapter of The Lafayette Deception here every Monday.

Courtesy Kamalnv/Wikimedia Commons - Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 UnportedFrank looked hungrily at the establishments on both sides of the main drag of Cedar City, Utah. He’d lost eighteen pounds, and it was payback time.

It had been early that morning, before sunrise, that he had left his campsite on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. Now it was almost Noon, and he was a third of the way through Utah and had waited long enough. Impatient drivers swung around him as he motored slowly up the street, compiling a mental list of every restaurant, bakery, ice cream store and other variety of food emporium he encountered along the way.
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Adventures in Self-Publishing, Chap. 9: How to Price your Book – and Does it Matter?

Adventures in Self-Publishing

This series highlights aspects of my experience self-publishing The Alexandria Project.   If you'd like to read the book this series is based on, you can read the first three chapters for free here (just click on the cover of the book). And you can read a new chapter of its sequel every Monday here.

Courtesy of Julien Jorge/Wikimedia Commons - GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or laterThis week we’ll talk about how to come up with the “right” price for your book in each of the formats in which you plan to make it available (eBook, soft, and/or hardcover).  By “right” price, I mean a price that will make more, rather than fewer, people actually buy your book. My challenge will be to convince you that the title you see above makes sense.

But first, let’s cover the basics – how the pricing process works, and the factors that may put a floor under your book price.

 

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The Lafayette Deception, Chap. 9: Time In and Time Out!

Lafayette Deception (a Cyber Thriller)

Welcome to the sequel to The Alexandria Project, a cybersecurity thriller.  If you'd like to read the book this series is based on, you can read the first three chapters for free here (just click on the cover of the book). You can read a new chapter of The Lafayette Deception here every Monday.

Church tower clock - from Tellin's Musée de la cloche et du carillon - Courtesy Nieuw/Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported“That’s right, Vicky. Simple as that. So can you guys take it from here?”

“Sure thing, Frank. No problem, and great work!”

In fact, it hadn’t been great work that had finally allowed him to crack the mystery of the flipping poll numbers. Just greater attention to detail. Once he had spotted the few extra bytes of code in the server’s time check code he knew that he’d found the chink in the system’s armor that the hacker had exploited. After that, it had been relatively easy to figure out what happened next.

Settling back in his chair, he stared out across the magnificent void of the Grand Canyon, and then smiled wryly. Not quite a perfect metaphor for his state of mind, but it would do. He felt good about cracking the problem he had been tasked to solve, yes, but now what? Suddenly he was at loose ends again, with nothing to fill his time except the fading goal of writing a book.