Monday, December 29, 2008

A Million Little Pieces of Bread Over the Fence

They just keep coming. First there was James Frey. You remember little Jimmy, don'tcha? Yeah, he was the one with the made-up book about his drug and alcohol experiences. You know, bloody and vomiting his guts out on an airplane. Frey always did have a line of b.s., but never could quite get it together as a novelist. For that matter, his b.s. wasn't all that close to the mark, either; anyone who's done hard time could tell he was lying by looking at him--or reading his books.

Besides all of which, his book was so poorly written that I could produce a better book by teaching a non-writer how to write. But he fooled the publisher, fooled Oprah, damaged the credibility of addiction recovery programs, and still has the money.

This month it's the Rosenblatts, with their fabricated tales of a Polish girl tossing bread and other goodies over a World War II concentration camp fence to a teenage boy ... the beginning of the perfect romance which goes on to have them meet by chance in New York years later and fall into predestined love. In addition to fooling the same publisher and Oprah once again, this one also damages the credibility of the Holocaust, according to the media.

Both books were exposed--but not before fooling Oprah and getting movie deals. Now I understand why Oprah decided there would be no more Oprah's Book Club. Between those and other recent fakes--among them the fabricated story of a white kid growing up in south-central Los Angeles and a fairy tale about a little girl rescued by wolves (a unified, transsexual Romulus and Remus?)--how can you believe anything you read?

Jimmy, Herm, Roma, Marg, Misha--where're your consciences? Just how many pounds did your respective editors and or ghosts sweat off in laboring to make your manuscripts presentable? And which of you pulled the old trick of getting shills to buy enough copies at bookstores around the country to force your title onto the bestseller lists?

What a bunch of useless clowns! Your trash sucked up money and attention that might have gone to authors of far more interesting--and true--memoirs.

Funny ... in all the uproar, nobody has brought up young Jayson, the New York Times reporter who faked sources and interviews. I imagine he's working on his life story; that should be a whopper!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Recent Reviews of On the Way to the Web

Here are a few recent reviews of On the Way to the Web
Practical PC Online
Tom Duff
Gregory Tucker

The Practical PC review is particularly interesting in that is the first I've read that emphasizes the international content of the book.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Presenting Bill Gates' Concise History of the Internet

“The Internet didn’t happen and didn’t happen and didn’t happen—and all of a sudden it really happened!”
--Bill Gates (on The Charlie Rose Show, December 22, 2008)

Monday, December 22, 2008

Why the World is Messed Up

The world is messed up because the members of the conspiracies who took over spend all their time planting hidden messages and symbols to tell us they run the world, instead of actually running things!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Online History: Prodigy, the Model 100, and Cloud Computing

Those of you who lived through or are interested in the early days of the Internet and online services like CompuServe, Dialog, Prodigy, etc., may be interested to know that I've posted some new history in the "Classics Rule" blog at

I'm doing a guest blogger spot and so far I've written two postings. The first is about "cloud computing" in the early 1980s with the TRS-80 Model 100. The second, posted today, tells the story of Prodigy, the online service that just didn't get it--a perfect illustrations of why it really isn't a good idea to try to regulate the Internet. This is original material, not taken from On the Way to the Web. Enjoy!

Why Computer Books Are Better Than Help Lines

Made a call to a computer software or hardware company's technical service/customer help line lately? If not, you know someone who has. And you know the complaints: hour-long waits, people whose English is difficult to understand, the frustration of dealing with someone who has no real knowledge and instead is reading to you from a list of canned responses--none of which have anything to do with your problem.

Tired of it all? Here's a thought: Instead of calling help lines buy a book! Or borrow it from your local library.

Imagine! All the answers you need to be an effective Excel user in one place, literally at your right hand. When you get lost trying to set tabs, margins and columns in Word, just flip through a few pages and the answers are there--in minutes rather than hours.

The odds are good that the book will be written by someone for whom English is not a second language. Some are, but that fact is not discernable once a skilled editor finishes with the manuscript. Either way, the books are almost guaranteed to be understandable.

Hm ... perhaps customer service people on the other side of the planet should consult computer books. Just a thought.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Another Excerpt from Blogging Heroes

Here's a free chapter from Blogging Heroes: the interview with Ina Steiner of AuctionBytes. Ina is a well-known figure in the online auction business. She keeps the auction public posted on just about everything that happens with eBay and other auction sites. Ina's blog and news service also covers support services such as sniping services, and major sellers.

More excerpts to come!

Friday, December 05, 2008

Excerpt from On the Way to the Web: Monetizing the Internet

Curious about Internet and online service history? Wonder how the leading-edge packet-switching technology of ARPAnet was transferred to the commercial world. Learn about it in this excerpt from On the Way to the Web: The Secret History of the Internet and Its Founders.

Hosted by the DigiBarn Computer Museum, the chapter describes the earliest "monetizing" of the online world. It shows how the first real information superhighway was created (and named), and shows how entreprenuers built enormously profitable online businesses without investing in computers, software, or content. This excerpt also details the earliest commercial online content!