December 16, 2012
November 17, 2012
Fair Warning: This segment and the next one of An Author’s Journey are going to wax a bit technical.
Robert A. Heinlein stated that “Once you reach Low-Earth-Orbit (LEO), you are halfway to any place else in our solar system.
Jerry Pournelle goes into much more detail on why this is a truism with his page on Getting to Space. http://www.jerrypournelle.com/reports/jerryp/gettospace.html
June 19, 2012
Last week, I posted a brief tutorial on how to use Audacity to create your own audiobooks. Now, I’ve decided to share some of my experiences during the creation of my latest project.
First, a little background… I’ve recorded some short tales and a friend’s poem in order to test and hone my skills. This process has taught me a few things.
#1 Use a decent microphone. I have been using the same $20 headset and boom mic combination that I’ve used for Skype. It works. But the sound quality is just not that good. A couple of week’s ago, I broke down and purchased a Blue Yeti.
#2 However long it takes you to read a chapter slowly and distinctly, translates to four to five times that long to create the final MP3. Yes. The post-edit process is time-consuming. Plan on it.
#3 I’ve started recording Shifter Born, the first book in my Shifter Series. I’m on chapter ten of thirteen. As I finish reading each chapter, I’m doing the basic noise-reduction and editing out the screwups. That’s it for now. I’m going to leave the rest of the post-production, such as adding spacing, music, titles, copyright, and overall level balancing… until all the chapters are in the can.
It’s just the start. Feel free to ask questions along the way.
May 9, 2011
This is a call for help to all the friends and fans of Joe Bethancourt.
As reported by Robert Zucker:
On Saturday, April 30th, Joe’s home in Phoenix was heavily damaged by fire. Joe, his wife Cher, their rescued animals and Joe’s instruments all made it out safely. The house will have to be completely rebuilt.
A Benefit Concert will be held on Saturday, May 14th from 1pm to 4pm in the Big Room at Fiddler’s Dream in Phoenix to help Joe and Cher with living expenses while the long and involved process of getting the house rebuilt takes place. Admission to the event will be a requested minimum donation of $10.
We need you, Arizona’s music community, to:
1. Volunteer to play 2-3 songs
2. Volunteer to help at the event
3. Tell all your fans that they should attend this event
4. Tell other musicians who have not received this e-mail about the event
ALL PROCEEDS from the event go to Joe and Cher Bethancourt. The folk’s at Fiddler’s Dream arranged for the room and AMAZ Radio will cover the cost of renting the room as a donation.
If you want to play or volunteer at the event, e-mail Mr. Zucker at email@example.com.
To make this event a success we need all of you to use your own promotional resources to spread the word and get your fans and friends to attend.
To those of you who are in the media and are receiving this note; please do what you can to get your media resources to help publicise this. Tell other people in the media about it. Mr. Zucker is available to answer questions from any media outlet.
Many have filked his tune, True Story, about the FBI investigation of the society in the 70s. I’m sharing this in my blog as he was a huge influence on myself and others in the early days of the S.C.A.
Ioseph of Locksley, mundanely known as Joe Bethancort..
Joe Bethancourt is an Arizona treasure. He is also a friend. Let’s show Joe and Cher that we are the friends and the music community they can count on in a time of need. Thanks for your help.
P.O. Box 1554
Queen Creek, Arizona 85142
May 7, 2011
I recently found a set of old cookbooks that are long out of print and out of copyright. I thought my fans might find them amusing.
I would love to hear from anyone who actually tries some of the recipes and will let us know what they think.
May 19, 2010
If you have any interest at all in creating independent video productions, then you need to check out this new group. By independent productions, I mean anything from a simple book trailer to a full-length movie.
The Creative Commons Film Group is dedicated to using Free and Open Source tools to help visual artists achieve their dreams. From the webpage:
“We want to bring together all the people that make movies so that they can help each other in a very helpful and friendly way.”
March 29, 2010
January 25, 2010
Like everyone who ever spends time surfing the net, I run into things that are really neat and I want to share with my friends. So, I’m going to start adding posts like this one. From now on, when you see the subject line NeatNetNews, the content will be a handful of links that may or may not be related, but which I found interesting. Just remember, your mileage may vary.
A neat idea from NASA: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rhpPhvWvLgk&feature=player_embedded
A model spaceship with history behind it: http://up-ship.com/blog/?p=5137
Some music and two great short stories by Frederick Pohl and read by Spider Robinson. It is a great way to kick back and enjoy an hour: http://cdn3.libsyn.com/spiderweb/SOTW053.mp3?nvb=20100125185016&nva=20100126190016&t=0ac0dc77806458a67d540
Current Energy Prices per Million BTU: http://alfin2100.blogspot.com/2010/01/cost-of-energy-comparison-per-million.html#links
January 23, 2010
My wife is not a computer geek. Neither is she an engineer, mechanic nor captain of industry. She is however, highly skilled at several crafts that leave me in awe.
Her day job is in a fabric and craft store. From experience, she can attest to the fact that the great majority of folks are friendly and considerate. Occasionally, one runs into a self-centered fool who has no concept of how the world really works.
The other day, a fellow showed her an old leather jacket with a damaged zipper. He had taken it to a tailor and was incensed that they wanted thirty-five dollars for labor plus the cost of a whole replacement zipper. Instead, he wanted to pay six dollars for an El Cheapo zipper and was proudly announcing he would toss an extra four bucks to my wife if she would hand-stitch it on for him. When she said that her schedule was too full to take on any new projects and that even if she did, her labor would cost at least thirty dollars, he stomped away in a huff. She learned later, that he had approached several other employees with the same offer and when he got nowhere, had stormed off in disgust.
Now granted, the guy was a fool, but similar incidents are way too common to be ignored.
I suggested that, when presented with such a demand in the future, she ask the person what they do for a living. Are they a doctor, lawyer, computer system administrator, mechanic or engineer? Chances are, they have some skill set that has cost them a great deal of time and money to acquire.
Just to give one, blue-collar example, a qualified auto mechanic needs at least a couple of years of experience and training. If you take your car for work in our area, the average small shop charges seventy to a hundred dollars an hour while a dealership charges no less than one hundred and twenty an hour. If you know how to replace an automotive waterpump, then you can pick one up at most parts houses and save yourself two hours of labor. If you don’t, then you have to pay someone with the training and experience to replace it for you. That is how the world works.
If you know how to replace a hard drive, update the RAM and install a new operating system in your computer, you can save yourself hundreds of dollars at a computer store. If not, then it is generally cheaper just to buy a new computer every three to five years. That is how the world works.
Which brings us back to the fool with the old leather coat. My wife has years of experience as a seamstress. She told me, that due to the type of zipper and backing materials, it would take between forty-five minutes and an hour of work, using a machine. If it was to be hand-sewn, then figure twice that amount of time.
He had mentioned that he could purchase a new jacket for a hundred bucks. It wasn’t worth spending almost half that to fix the old one. So, he was in effect, offering my wife and her friends somewhere around four or five dollars an hour (less than minimum wage) to perform a highly-skilled repair job that he was incapable of doing himself.
If the man had such knowledge and experience, he might get away with a six dollar zipper. If not, then forty bucks or so would be cheap. That is how the world works.
Just because someone doesn’t have a college degree or a string of initials after their name, doesn’t mean they are unintelligent or unskilled. Chances are, they have knowledge and skills you don’t. What is the price of training and experience beyond your own abilities?