Yesterday was the big day – fifteen months after tapping out the first few words of my latest satirical, political, cybersecurity thriller, I uploaded the files for Frank Adversego’s third world-saving adventure. This time around, the villains are an ISIS-like terrorist group that’s been even more successful at gaining ground in the Mideast.
Now they threaten to bring the Western world to its knees. Like the first two books, everything in the book is technically accurate and could actually happen. Frankly (no pun intended), this book scares the hell out of me. The reason? There seems to me to be little doubt that some day, perhaps as early as tomorrow, just such an attack will actually be launched.
According to Donald Trump, "the US Presidential Election is rigged!" That's a bit disingenuous coming from The Donald, given that if it's being hacked by anyone, the evidence is that it's being hacked by the Russians. And not for the benefit of Clinton, either. But just how realistic could such a claim be?
Experts agree that trying to pull off such a feat by traditional means (i.e., getting people to vote more than once) is not only not happening, but not even feasible to pull off in sufficient numbers to influence anything but the very closest of elections. But how about if you were to hack the election electronically? How hard would that be?
To the dismay of the Republican leadership but the delight of his core supporters, Donald J. Trump today announced that he had, in fact, sexually assaulted each of the women who has come forward in the last several days. "And not just them, folks," the Republican nominee for president said, "lots more – a huge number more. We’re talking hundreds – maybe thousands. There’s no way I can keep track."
Last week I posted a review of Dangerous, the latest book by mutli-genre author Ian Probert, concluding, “The result is a unique combination of themes and insights that does not attempt to reach any pat solution or heart-warming resolution. Instead, we leave the author and the boxers he has profiled the way we found them – damaged by their life experiences and making the best of the hard-won lessons they have learned along the way, but still entranced by the sport that has by turns served them so well and so dangerously.” This week, I’m following with an interview with the author, in which he tells us how and why the book came about.
It can be a struggle to reconcile the need to be creative and the need to be disciplined and to set standards when writing a book. Often, the balance of efficiency and spontaneity will be determined by the circumstances under which we write. Strict deadlines necessitate efficient writing processes, whereas passion projects can operate under a looser timeline. Regardless of your purpose for writing, it is difficult to argue against the benefits of streamlining your self-publishing process and increasing your efficiency. You stand to save time which eventually leads to financial savings through increased productivity and greater output.
I'm pleased to report that I've finished my last draft of the third book in the Frank Adversego thriller series. It's now in the capable hands of a half dozen Friends of Frank who have kindly agreed to be beta readers. Pre-launch ("beta") readers are a huge asset for to authors, helping them catch not just typos, but all the other sorts of gremlins that can be hard for an author to ferret out and banish because the author has become to immersed in the text to spot them.
One of the big political stories this week is that experts believe that Russia has hacked the Democratic National Committee’s servers in an effort to help Trump win the presidential election. Today, security expert Bruce Schneier went further, in an editorial in the Washington Post, suggesting that Putin’s next move may be to exploit the woefully inadequate security of US voting machines to hack the election itself.
That’s a warning worth heeding, because the possibility is all too real. So far, though, no one has focused on another vulnerability that may have already been exploited as the first step towards stealing the election. That’s surprising, because the hack is so obvious.
Well, that's a blog title I never expected to use here.
Back in 2003, over 800 blog posts ago, I decided to launch something I called the Standards Blog. Not surprisingly, it focused mostly on the development, implementation and importance of open standards. But I also wrote about other areas of open collaboration, such as open data, open research, and of course, open source software. Over time, there were more and more stories about open source worth writing, as well as pieces on the sometimes tricky intersection of open standards and open source.
In principle, every author (self published or otherwise) should be in favor of diversity and competition in the book distribution marketplace. The reason? Because competition in any area of commerce fosters continuing innovation, more choices, and more price competition. Unfortunately, sometimes a competitive marketplace turns into a monopolized one. When that happens, idealism may have to take a back seat to pragmatism, and an author may have to just make the best of what she’s got.