ESPN 360 Infuriates

I have a vested interested in the outcome of the $50K HORSE event at the World Series of Poker. I have three guys from my Full Tilt Poker fantasy picks at the final table, and if they finish high or one of them wins the bracelet, I have a good shot at finishing in the top 100 overall. This qualifies you for goodies, so I’m invested. I went to ESPN360.com to watch the streaming and this is what I saw:

ESPN360.com is available at no charge to fans who receive their high-speed internet connection from an ESPN360.com affiliated internet service provider. ESPN360.com is also available to fans that access the internet from U.S. college campuses and U.S. military bases.

Your current computer network falls outside of these categories. Here’s how you can get access to ESPN360.com.

1. Switch to an ESPN360.com affiliated internet service provider or to contact your internet service provider and request ESPN360.com. Click here to enter your ZIP code and find out which providers in your area carry offer ESPN360.com

My response to all this: ESPN can kiss my ass. I’m not changing ISPs in order to accommodate their weirdness. If you want to stream the thing, stream the thing. Put ads across the screen and give it away. All you did was make me angry at the ESPN brand.

Not only that, it is inept as all hell. I have two cable internet choices, which puts me ahead of most of the country. I followed the link out of morbid curiosity to see if other providers had access. I clicked Time-Warner and they showed no access with a link for “request access to ESPN 360 from Time-Warner”. I clicked the one for HTC – “Horry Telephone Cooperative” and it sent me to the “Nebraska Telephone Cooperative”. Whoever keyed this in confused an “h” and an “n” somewhere. Brilliant. Now ESPN 360 isn’t merely scumbaggy but inept too. Nice.

More Heroes Con Wrapups

Me and Derek Coward

More Heroes Con wrapups come in. I’m glad I got to meet and hang out with Derek Coward. I was a little surprised that the show was not as explicitly social as many such gatherings. Had I known that you could get in with only a wrist band like a record show, I’d have brought my own name badge. I like to know who I’m talking to at these shows and I like them to know who I am.

It seems like Heroes is really a dealers room with a con outgrowth from there. That room is the beating heart of the show and while other things happen, they are not the main event. There are panels and programming but a fraction of what you’d expect from a SF convention with 10% of the attendees. I went to exactly one panel in my one day. Even with doing stuff all day to the point of exhaustion, I still didn’t get as much dealers room “digging through boxes for back issues” time as I wanted. It was kind of hilarious as I took my want list to a cramped 3/$1 dealer that every single guy (and they were all guys) stepping over each other and digging through had their own printout of issues they were looking for. It just made me realize that I was really and truly with my people. One guy had the best format I’ve ever seen. I might steal it for my list next year.

These observations are not a bad thing per se. This con is just different from others, long may it wave.

Here are some reactions from other people to this year:

  • Liz Baillie posts her wrapup of the convention, which is not so wildly positive as some. I bought some stuff from her so I did what I could to keep her in the black on the trip.
  • Tom Spurgeon interviews Dustin Harbin about organizing Heroes Con and this years outing specifically.
  • Alec Longstreth posts about his experience. I also got some of his stuff at the con and am looking forward to reading it.
  • Apparently they announced the formation of Rantz Hoseley’s Longbox Digital Comics project on Sunday after I left. I’m interested in seeing how this works. I’d be willing to use digital comics as my issue or two I try to see if I want to actually buy the paper version. I’m not sure if I’d ever buy them exclusively but I can see a place in my comics reading experience for digital comics.
  • Derek Coward records his thoughts on Heroes Con at Comic Book Noise.

I’m glad I went and I’m already looking forward to next year. Like I say “Happiness is a stack of comic books too big to carry.”

No Mr Bond, I Expect You To wp_die()!

After my argument with Alex King the other day where he defended his use of a “wp_die()” call from his WordPress plugin as being a completely appropriate thing for a plugin author to do, I got curious. I have 27 plugins on this blog, 12 active and 15 inactive. I deleted the two I had installed that Alex authored so they are not included in this count.

I did a grep on wp_die from my wp-content/plugins directory. I found 6 occurrences of it – 5 from Tantan Spam and 1 from WP DB Backup. Tantan spam is using it as the mechanism of comment spam fighting. When it has determined that the incoming comment has not proved to be from a legitimate commenter it uses wp_die to bail and not post the comment. WP DB Backup use it in the error handler when the type is “fatal”, which includes things like lacking permissions to write files or trying to download backups when not an admin user and such.

So, out of my 27 plugins only 2 use it at all and both of those are in specific transactions. I stand by my point that the use of wp_die for any plugin on an ordinary configuration error is wildly inappropriate. Because the routine that tried to load popularity contest’s configuration was ultimately called on every page load, this completely killed every single page of my blog. Alex continues to defend his code as standard procedure and the situation that I and others were in as “whacked out config” . It was the config his previous version of the plugin set up and ran with for over a year. I’m not really incensed about the error so much as the not caring, the blaming of us, refusing to accept that his logic was bad and his handling was worse, etc. Crowd Favorite is not currently my favorite, that’s for sure.

PS – All of this had me wondering exactly how hard it is to write WordPress plugins, so I fiddled with the Digest Post one to add admin pages and to get and write its options from the database. It’s not too difficult and is kind of fun. I emailed the author of that plugin and offered to either send him patches or take over as maintainer of it. We shall see.

Positive WordPress Plugin News

Last January, I tried an experiment over at Grand Strand Bloggers with the Digest Post plugin. I have a Yahoo Pipe that gathers together all of the RSS feeds for all of the blogs in the GSB blogroll. This plugin is supposed to take a feed and in automated fashion make a summary post of all the items in that feed. I set it up last January and it sorta kinda worked. It did actually collect the links and correctly create the post in fine fashion, it just didn’t fire off the way it was supposed to. I took the guts of it and rewrote it as an ecto plugin that I’ve been using (when I think about it) to do a semi-manual version of the same thing.

On Monday, I upgraded all my blogs to WordPress 2.8. I was shocked and pleasantly surprised when the Digest Post plugin actually fired Tuesday morning, making a big ass post. I was even more pleasantly surprised when it did it again today, and started up from the point the previous one had left off. At this point, I’m expecting a nice concise round up post every day with the previous 24 hours Grand Strand blog activity. That is just so nice that it might make me weep. Whatever in WordPress was making it fire between sporadically and never seems to have been fixed and now this is back on track. After the problems of the last few days, it’s nice to have a plugin I had written off spring to life and work better than ever.

Popularity Contest: WordPress Plugin Hall of Shame

Yesterday I had my first ever bad experience with a WordPress plugin auto-upgrade and it was really really bad. I did the auto-upgrade of the Popularity Contest plugin, first upgrade in a very long time. These upgrades have become so routine that I don’t much think twice about executing them any more. I clicked the link and BANG my blog stopped working. Completely. Totally. All pages, including the wp-admin pages, said:

Error: Popularity contest cannot be installed.

I had to move the plugin out of the directory in order to get anything to work again, then I had to clear my SuperCache as the non-functioning pages had been cached for some of them, like the all important front page.

This morning before work I took a few seconds to look at it, and I found some egregious code. The plugin has a get_settings() method which has this code (forgive the white space munging):

// If the DB tables are not in place, lets check to see if we can install
if (!count($settings)) {
// This checks to see if we need to install, then checks if we can install
// For the can install to work in MU the AKPC_MU_AUTOINSTALL variable must be set to 1
if (!$this->check_install() && $this->can_autoinstall()) {
$this->install();
}
$settings = $this->query_settings();

if (!count($settings)) {

// trigger_error('Popularity Contest Cannot Install', E_USER_WARNING);
wp_die('<b>Error:</b> Popularity contest cannot be installed.');
}
}

Now, this appears to have a couple of really bad problems. One, it is doing wp_die for a configuration problem! Seriously, WTF? I think that violates the contract between a plugin and the main WordPress process. If you have some sort of problem, die gracefully rather than just shutting down the whole blog. Second, it seems like my case will always trigger that die. The $settings array comes from:

select * from wp_ak_popularity_options;

I had the plugin previously installed so that it didn’t need to install but I was running all default options so that my wp_ak_popularity_options table was zero rows. At this point, the plugin decided that was such a bad problem that it needed to shut down all of WordPress including the wp-admin pages you would use to create those option records. Oh boy.

What I did to get back running was to comment out the wp_die line. At that point, the plugin actually installed and I was able to get to the settings page for it. I did a “Save” even though I had all default values just to get rows into that table. Now my table has 4 rows in it and presumably even if I do another automatic upgrade this one should keep working. This plugin is now on my watchlist, though. It’s burned me hard once.

I think for people having this problem just commenting out the wp_die line will get most or all of them back up and running. I’m not sure what the thinking was that went into this logic but it was a really terrible bit of thinking with really severe consequences. Not to the WordPress plugin author community: calling wp_die is really fricking serious. Don’t do it unless continuing to run will delete the blog. Otherwise handle your problems yourself.

Update: For bonus points in the version I have installed, the setup page gives you code to cut and paste into your template that doesn’t actually work. It tells you to use:

show_top_ranked_in_last_days($limit, $before, $after, $days = 45)

when in fact the actual function is:

akpc_most_popular_in_last_days()

The former is an internal one not available outside the plugin. The latter is the external API call that is available to your template.

Update 2: I’ve opted to remove the plugin as well as the WordPress Mobile Edition by the same guy. The author takes shutting down my blog too lightly, and defends this whole thing with “hey, it’s a beta so what do you expect?” I was installing via the Plugin GUI on my WP Admin page. If it was risky, I had no way of knowing that unless seeing a “b” in the version number was supposed to communicate that. Over on his plugin page, Alex King defends the use of the wp_die call as being reasonable. I don’t see that rendering the blog unusable is a reasonable way to deal with it, even if the configuration tables were missing. His code wasn’t even checking that, as it treated an empty table as the same as a not-created table. Bad juju.

Alex, thanks for your time in creating this plugin. I appreciate the use I got out of it for the time I did. However, my blog is important to me and I can’t have plugin upgrades shutting it down.

Heroes Con Wrapup

Here are some Heroes Con wrapups by people I hung out with: one from Andre and one from Derek. I’ve attended before but the last time was in 1991, so it’s almost like a brand new con to me. A few quick observations from my side:

  • In a lot of ways, it seemed less like a convention and more like a record show. It’s the only fannish con I can remember where you can get in without a nametag, only with a wristband. In certain ways, it feels like the record shows I used to go to in hotel ballrooms. Even when people had nametags, they were hard to read and about useless for conveying the basic information of “who is is person?”
  • The center of the con is the dealers room and everything else works out from there. There were panels but compared to similarly sized events, it was a tiny proportion. It’s all about the sketches and the books. That’s not a problem to me, but it is kind of different from most things I attend.
  • I want someone to draw me a cartoon with this as the caption: “Heroes Con 2009: Happiness is a stack of comics too big to carry!”
  • I was only at the show for Saturday and that wasn’t enough. We went to Carowinds Friday night. I think we could do the same thing but start one day earlier and it would be perfect. Maybe Friday when many folks are at work it would be easier to get autographs.
  • I tried my best to support indie artists. I bought stuff from Alec Longstreth and Liz Baillie and Little House Comics. I also bought a whole lot of 3/$1 and $0.50 comics from longboxes. As I trolled through them with my wish list printout, I’d look to my left and right and there were other guys all with computerized print lists checking off issues as they found them. This gave me inordinate joy, kind of like the bee girl at the end of the ” No Rain” video. I was with my people, even as we jostled each other and got in each other’s way.
  • The Hampton Inn seems like the place to stay. It was relatively cheap, only a block and a half away and pretty good. The pool was inside which bummed out people who had the plan of sunning by poolside. I know at least one pro was staying there because I saw him at the front desk on our way to dinner.
  • I had a great time. Next year I hope to partake of some of the night life and not be so exhausted the whole time. Staying an extra day would help a lot with that.

Learning from Kindlegate and Amazonfail

I ran across this article at Podcasting News which reference this original article about trying to get multiple copies of purchased eBooks on multiple Kindle readers. This is being dubbed “Kindlegate” apparently. At first I was confused as to how this was a DRM issue because it sounded like an access to download issue, until I realized the core of the problem was trying to get the same book served out encrypted to various Kindle IDs.

Both “Kindlegate” and “Amazonfail” have one big commonality. Both original raisers of these issues cite the initial response from front line customer support as if it were gospel and then take umbrage when later on company policy is stated to be different from that first response. I am shocked, shocked I say, that Skip from Mumbai or Chad from Guangzhou may not be clued in to the exact ins and outs of company policy. To think, the people whose primary advice is to reboot and reinstall the OS may lack critical information? The mind boggles.

I want to stress that I am not a Kindle or Amazon apologist. I think they are screwing up some basic things but a lot of this issue is pure expectation. It does not seem unreasonable to me that there is a limit to DRM serving out of a single purchased download to different IDs. If there is not, then one person can effectively buy one copy and then serve as an unauthorized middleman for an infinite number of other users if he is willing to take the effort and be a scumbag.

However, in a world where MobiDeDRM exists, I don’t think this is such a huge issue. I would have thought much harder about buying a Kindle had this tool not existed. In the cases where it matters to me, I do not strip the DRM and store it away because that would be wrong. For others who might want to have access to their purchased documents under any circumstance, I’d strongly recommend not seeking out that tool.

I’ll admit that I have a certain lack of empathy for this issue. Those affected tend to be the ones with multiple Kindles and/or multiple iPhones, aka people who are already gizmo loving spazmos with more money than sense and kind of up the curve from mainline users. If there is a standard procedure ala iTunes to say to Amazon “I know longer have device with ID XYZ, please remove it from my authorized list and increment my allowed downloads by one” then that seems like it would be reasonable for 99% of users. It certainly seems reasonable for me and my usage patterns.

And for the record, I’m sick of people saying the Kindle is a “closed system” just like I was sick about them saying the same for an iPod. Devices that allow you to put arbitrary files on them in variety of unprotected formats and use them at will cannot possibly be closed. At least 50% of the documents on my Kindle are ones that I downloaded for free from Project Gutenburg or got emailed as review copies or otherwise did not pay Amazon for. That doesn’t fit with my definition of “closed”. You can buy unencrypted books at Fictionwise or other places. In fact its reasonable to do as much shopping in places that sell unencrypted books as possible so you register with the business that a marketplace exists for such things. You are voting with your dollars, kids.

At Heroes Convention

I’m here in Charlotte a few blocks from the convention center. I’m looking forward to attending Heroes Convention tomorrow. They just had a piece on the con on the 11 PM local news that makes me even more anxious to get there. I brought my full want list of comics I’m looking for, a few issues of things to get signed, and a bunch of stickers and fliers for my various projects. I had considered bringing my Marantz but opted not to because I’m here for fun, not to work it. I do have many of my Reality Break business card and will be handing them out freely.

I know for sure that my friends Andre Pope, Kreg Steppe and Derek Coward will be attending tomorrow. I don’t know how many if any of my friends from Atlanta and Augusta comics fandom (many of whom I haven’t seen for 20+ years) will be there. If you will be there, say hi. I’m leaning my balance of convention travel more towards things like this than Podcast Expo type conferences. I’ll go to the comic podcaster panel tomorrow, get some comics signed, shop for comics until I can’t take it anymore and generally try to have a big time. I think we’ll pull it off too.

My Lunch Hour – 6/18/2009


My Lunch Hour – 6/18/2009
Originally uploaded by evilgenius

There is something truly truly wonderful about living and working in a place where going to the beach is such a simple operation that I can do it for 20 minutes at lunch time and that’s reasonable. This is a view of today’s lunch. I grew up in Nebraska and Kansas where the best we had for aquatic recreation was a reservoir dug out of the dirt by the Army Corp of Engineers, the same body of water that fed the irrigation system for the surrounding crop land.

Myrtle Beach and surrounding areas have a lot of problems, the city government’s current “war on tourism” not the least of them, but it sure does make me happy to have this available to me. Nothing like returning to your desk with salt water and traces of sand on your feet.

Continuing Coverage of the Death of Journalism

I find the current state of the news industry a fascinating thing to watch. In that way, it’s much like a 12 car pile-up or a dumpster fire.

Here are a few items on the subject that I have found highly interesting.

  • Dan Conover wrote a piece called The Newspaper Suicide Pact a few weeks ago, and it really seems to have gotten a lot of traction. It was even Boing Boinged a few weeks ago. I’ve wanted to talk to Dan about his experiences looking at the future of newspapers for the Charleston Post and Courier and then having all recommendations ignored. What I really like about this piece is that he points out a fact I think is really important. In all these pro-newspaper articles they are really arguing the positives for a newspaper industry that hasn’t existed for a long time. There are very few plucky rumpled beat reporters wearing out the shoe leather doing investigative reporting so if your argument for newspapers involves this sort of romantic self-image, it ain’t reality.
  • My AmigoFish recommendation feed dropped in this episode of the show Dave Winer and Jay Rosen do together called Rebooting the News. In it, Rosen discusses his “Church of the Savvy” analysis and I found it brilliant. I hope he writes it up soon so I can point to it. He points out that many current practitioners of journalism place their highest value on their own savviness, their own ability to be insiders and to understand the game. It really explains the mechanism for phenomena like the lousy process heavy horse race campaign reporting we get. The reporters don’t want to test the campaign claims against reality, they want to talk about “whether or not they will play with public” and whether they will “move the needle.” I thank Jay Rosen for giving me a cognitive framework for my disgust with the state of reporting. It doesn’t make it better, but it explains why it is this way.
  • Bruce Sterling blogs about this article in the New York TImes that covers the shocking news – shocking I say – that some blogs are started and then abandoned. The subtext is unmissable – “Look at these blogs that don’t even keep going! How can you even compare us to them?” When not giving itself a romanticized self-fluffing, the newspaper industry spends its time finding things to point to as being worse than it. Stay classy, New York Times! As much as people revere that paper, it means absolutely nothing to me in my life. I could care less if it stays afloat or sinks.

Elected Officials in my Family

My brother and his family are vacationing in town for a few days. We went out to dinner at Cheeseburger in Paradise and had a big old time. While we were there, my 6 year old niece had a silly spell. She was referring to Patrick from Spongebob Squarepants as “the mayor of Doofusville.” After a little pause, she said “You know what I am?” I asked the question and she answered proudly “I’m the mayor of Funkytown!” After we all managed to stop laughing, the discussion turned to the question of whether Emily would, in fact, take us to Funkytown on request. Results are still inconclusive.

Lloyd Kaufman on the Treatment

Lloyd Kaufman's Autograph

The other day I listened to the podcast version of Elvis Mitchell’s show The Treatment . It featured a great interview with a guy I met last year, Lloyd Kaufman. During this interview I thought he made an enormous amount of sense about the movie business and how it works and should work. At last year’s Dragon*Con he ad libbed a great ID for Good Clean Fun, and signed my copy of his DVD set on filmmaking Make Your Own Damn Movie. He was a lot of fun to be around and just in the few minutes I spent in his presence I enjoyed the hell out of it.

A few months ago on Good Clean Fun they showed Tromeo and Juliet. It was ridiculous and so bad it was enjoyable. The thing I truly admired about it was the sense of fun. Even when the effects were cheezy and the story insane, I got the feeling of everyone having fun. I find that inspirational. I have the DVD set I bought from his stand at Dragon*Con last year and I also bought the book All I Need to Know about Filmmaking I Learned from the Toxic Avenger. I might also get the book of Make Your Own Damn Movie!: Secrets of a Renegade Director and possibly also Direct Your Own Damn Movie! as a companion piece. For only ever seeing one of his films and that fairly, recentlyll Lloyd Kaufman may end up with a fair bit of my money, none of it for his narrative fiction films. He’s an inspiriation to me for film-making and I’m trying to channel some of his spirit to get off my ass and get to work on my side project. I’m burning summer here! Lloyd says to you me and everyone, get to work!

Jaunty Jackalope Ruined My Life

OK, maybe that title is dramatic. It did ruin the last two work weeks for me, though. Over Memorial Day weekend, I upgraded my work laptop from Kubuntu Hardy Heron to Jaunty Jackalope. That was a maneuver I instantly regretted when I got to work on Tuesday and my second monitor would not work no matter what I tried. As it turned out, this Kubuntu release had some known really bad problems for those poor souls (like me) that have the Intel video cards. My 3 year old Dell Inspiron 9400 has the Intel 945 GM. From Dapper Drake through Hardy Heron, this laptop has been a champ and even being 3 years old I like it just as much as the day I got it and have no particular desire to get a new one. With Jaunty though it sucked so bad it made me wish I had Windows on there.

As the weeks went by, the depth of problems grew worse. The response of everything was sluggish, from changing virtual desktops to changing windows. When Kopete popped up notifications of incoming IMs, they would never go away. Basically, everything about my job got harder and the productivity hit is measurable in my bug fixing velocity. Last Friday was the worst yet and I got so frustrated that given half a chance I’d have thrown this laptop out the window. I made the executive decision that no matter what, I was taking it home for the weekend and I was not bringing Jaunty back to work.

I downgraded to Kubuntu Intrepid, it didn’t appear to be that much better than Jaunty on my video card and I immediately rolled back to Hardy, the version that was on there 2 weeks ago. However, I couldn’t find my install CD so I just downloaded it again and burned a new CD. Because of a misclick, I realized 30 seconds after starting the installer that I had downloaded mainline Hardy, not the Kubuntu version. At this point I said “Screw it, let it ride.” I got up this morning, ran the package update to get the few hundred packages with updates since the ISO version and went to work. I moved my backed up home directory back to /home and logged out and in, and voila! All of my gnome preferences from a year ago when I left Gnome came right back. At this point I’m back in business and delighted to be able to span my external monitor.

Now, here’s the lesson I learned from the whole painful ordeal and how I’m going to go forward with it. This is a mission critical box for me, in that when it has problems the way I make my living has problems. I don’t want downtime on it and I don’t want to spend my weekdays putzing with it. I need rollbacks to be very quick operations. I supposed I could ghost and image and do things like that, but I thought of another way that I’m going to use.

This has an 80 G hard drive, which is plenty for what I use it for. Since most of my work involves logging into remote servers this laptop is really a fancy thin client. The next time I upgrade, I’m going to wipe the drive and repartion with this kind of scheme:

Partition Size in GB Mountpoint
#1 18 /home
#2 2 /boot
#3 20 /
#4 20 /last_os_version
#5 20 /second_to_last_os_version

Now, suppose I had Hardy on Partition #3 and Gutsy on #4 and Feisty on #5 before my recent upgrade. I would have installed Jaunty on Partition #5 and changed all the mount points accordingly. Then, when the upgrade went poorly I would have downgraded by changing all the mount points back to what I have listed above, changed the default kernel to the matching one and gone back on my merry way. I never have to worry about /home or /boot because they are on their own partitions. If my thought experiments hold true, then rolling back in the worst case is an easy couple minute process, not the multi-day ordeal I went through just now. Cool, no?

The Kindle Criticism I Reject Out Of Hand

Shortly I’m going to post my review of the Kindle. I had held off because I wanted to have actually read some books to completion on it. I’ve done all the major functions at this point. I’ve read books I’ve purchased from Amazon – both from the web page and directly from the device. I’ve read my own documents, I’ve read review copies I got in AZW format, ones that I’ve had to convert, etc. At this point, I’ve done most of what you can do.

Prior to writing that, I want to head off one criticism that I read or hear at least once in any discussion of the device. In any Kindle conversation that goes any length, in person or online, you are guaranteed to hear the statement “The Kindle doesn’t appeal to me. I just love paper books.” That’s an admirable outlook. Paper books need people to love them. I love books too, I have a house full of them and no intention of getting rid of them. However that’s a statement about you, not about the device and it is completely irrelevant.

I love horses. They are fine, majestic animals. However, I’m going to keep driving my car to work. I love vinyl albums but I’m going to keep my CDs and my MP3 player, and despite the fact that vinyl sounds superior I’ll keep buying MP3s from the Amazon music store. I think a pork butt that is smoked over mesquite for 24 hours is about as good as food gets, but I’m keeping my microwave.

Unless your bibliophilia is driven by pure collector mania, you are reading some of these books. The Kindle is a fine, convenient device for reading. It’s not something that will subsume all reading ever under any circumstance. It has its uses and affordances and strong points and weak points, just like anything.

If your big opening salvo against the Kindle is “I love paper books” don’t be surprised if I ignore you and your input. If your big criticism of eating hamburgers is that you love sushi, you’ll get the same reaction from me. If you can’t understand different things have different usage patterns and that one pattern doesn’t negate the others, we’re unlikely to have a basis for this conversation.

PS – As I am composing this post, I just heard Pat Conroy on TV saying very similar things to those I reject. He doesn’t understand why anyone would want to read on the Kindle. Simmer down Pat, it’s a lower friction way for people to pay you. Be magnanimous enough to let them pay you for your writing. I have no doubt that if you were saying this in 1939, you’d be decrying the uncivilized form factor of the paperback book because you just love your hardcovers.

A Heroes Con Publicity Offer to All

I’m going to attend Heroes Con in Charlotte in 2 weeks. I’m willing to make this offer to any podcaster or anyone with stuff to promote. Send me your flyers, stickers, postcards or whatever promotional material you have. I’ll take it to the convention and put it on the freebies table there. If there are any left over, I’ll take them to Dragon*Con in September and again, if there are leftovers I’ll take them to XCon Myrtle Beach in October. This offer will remain open until I get too much stuff to carry, if that ever happens.

If you are interested in having your stuff toted around, drop me an email to dslusher at gmail.com and I’ll hook you up with shipping information. The only thing I ask of people who want to take me up on this deal is to get going on it sooner than later. The two days before the con I’ll have plenty of my own details to deal with. I need to get everything I’m going to take with me in hand by Wednesday June 17th.

This whole deal is in honor of Kreg Steppe of Technorama, who last year was good enough to go to a Kinkos near the convention center, pick up my Reality Break flyers and then distribute them around. Thanks, Kreg. I’m just trying to spread that kind of love around.

New Reality Break Episode is Live

After a long drought, a new episode of Reality Break Podcast has been posted, this one with science fiction author and memoirist William Shunn. He was game enough to do this interview long before the series was going again and this conversation has sat in the can for a very long time. As he returns to podcasting his memoir The Accidental Terrorist, this interview gets a new shot at relevance.

I’ve been a fan of William Shunn’s writing for approaching two decades now, and really enjoyed the original podcast version of his memoir. Check out the interview and let me know what you think.