Three authors, three hopes for the future of publishing

At the recent Comic-Con convention, one theme that came up on virtually every author panel was how much things are changing in the publishing industry. Three authors took the time to speak with me and share their hopes for the future of publishing.

Three authors, three examples of the disruption in publishing

At the recent Comic-Con convention, one theme that came up on virtually every panel was how much things are changing in the publishing industry. Three authors took the time to speak with me and share their views on the changing face of publishing.

Authonomy: Home for Writing Web Workers

Authonomy Home Page - Mozilla Firefox 3.1 Beta 1 (Build 20081007125523)One of the fancy terms that gets thrown around in Web 2.0 discussions is “disintermediation” – in other words, cutting out the middleman. Authonomy is a new site from Harper Collins that aims to do just that in the world of book publishing. If you’re a web worker with a book inside battling to get out – as so many of us are – it offers an alternative to the traditional ways of trying to break into publishing.
As anyone who has tried to get a book published knows, one of the biggest battles is to attract the attention of a publisher. If you don’t have some contacts on the editorial side, or a good agent, you can blindly send your manuscript around yourself – and likely it will sit in the “slush pile,” where, if you’re very lucky, someone might read it some day.
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Spore for Mac and Spore Origins for iPhone/iPod touch Released

Yesterday, the long awaited Spore was finally released here in the US.

Spore, a product of Sims mastermind Will Wright, has been in development for some 8 years with the public knowing about the game for about the last 3-4 years. The lengthy development time along with multiple release-date delays built up a huge amount of anticipation for the game.

Spore is a multi-genre “massively single-player online game” developed by Maxis and designed by Will Wright. It allows a player to control the evolution of a species from its beginnings as a unicellular organism, through development as an intelligent and social creature, to interstellar exploration as a spacefaring culture. It has drawn wide attention for its massive scope, and its use of open-ended gameplay and procedural generation. (Wikipedia)

In addition to the game itself, there is also an extensive online database of all the creatures users have created called Sporepedia. It currently has over 8.4 million user-created creatures. (If you have a Spore account and are logged in, feel free to check out my Spore profile.)

My initial impression of the game is that it is incredibly addictive and fun. There are a slew of complexities that make the game a different experience for every player and helps keep the game fresh. I’ve been playing the game on my MacBook Pro (2.33GHz Core 2 Duo, 3GB RAM). Initially the framerate on the game felt really slow so after reducing some of the graphic settings in the game everything felt incredibly smooth. It was a bit of a letdown that the game wouldn’t run at full graphic capacity on my MBP. I’ll be doing a full, in-depth review in the coming weeks on game play and performance.

Spore Origins

Last week, Spore Origins for regular iPods was released. And now, 5 days later, Spore Origins for the iPhone/iPod touch has been released and is available for purchase in the iTunes App Store for $9.99.

Spore Origins is essentially just the Cell Phase of the regular Spore game that consists of you, as a microbe, swimming around eating other creatures. You then upgrade/evolve your creature as you gain more DNA.

Overall gameplay is really smooth and the tilt control works better than I thought it would. It’s not an incredibly complex game but it’s still a lot of fun.

Have you played Spore or Spore Origins? What has been your initial impression as far as performance and game play goes?

Should Companies Quit “Murketing” Viral Videos?

Viral videos from giant corporations are a bit like a middle-aged vinyl salesman with a comb-over unsuccessfully trying to pick up 20-something babes at the club — then angrily denying that he’s embarrassed himself, even as they scatter.

The Wall Street Journal has a nice post-mortem on the potential brand damage done by BMW’s ill-conceived “Rampenfest” videos, supposedly a guerrilla-style documentary about a wacky Bavarian town trying to launch a BMW from a giant ramp, but really produced by an ad agency, GSD&M Idea City, to promote the upscale car corporation. Viewers started calling bull pretty early on, but the company refused to acknowledge its involvement, which only provoked more anger.

But is the PR damage as bad as the WSJ suggests? Read More about Should Companies Quit “Murketing” Viral Videos?

Flash memory from vending machines

Memory maker Kingston is borrowing a page from Japan and is deploying vending machines in airports in the US.  The machines will dispense SD cards and flash memory cards for travelers who remember they left the camera’s memory card at home.  Business travelers may be a target market for these machines too because everybody knows you can never have enough memory, right?

Kingston_vending_machine

(via EverythingUSB)