Archive for November, 2011

Happy Nigel Tufnel Day!

Friday, November 11th, 2011

I hope you’re celebrating both Veterans Day and Nigel Tufnel Day (11/11/11) today. Tonight I will be celebrating by viewing the historical documents.

It was slightly difficult to find an embeddable version:

And now the obligatory video of “Stonehenge”:

A New Google Irritation

Thursday, November 10th, 2011

1. Search for something in Google.
2. At the top of the search results page, click on “News.”
3. Instead of showing the news results on your search term, as it did every single day up until now, it blanks the search field and just show you a regular search page, rather than carrying over the term you just searched for.

Why, Google? Why you gotta play me like that?

(Note that I refrain from listing irritating Facebook changes, since those seem to occur every single day…)

Scary Bunnies: Missed a Couple

Monday, November 7th, 2011

When I did my my scary bunny roundup, I managed to miss these gems from this Ghost Theory page on creepy old photos:

Other creepy images on that page include this jolly old Santa Claus who only wants to EAT YOUR SOUL:

On the other hand, I call Shenanigans on this one:

And this one (too large to embed) looks like an album cover shoot.

A Frozen Pizza Home Run

Monday, November 7th, 2011

I don’t tend to buy frozen pizza (for a lot of reasons), but I did recently pick up a Home Run Inn Meat Lovers Pizza at Central Market when I went there for salsa fixing. Though it does cost more than average (about $7.50), it turned out to be significantly better than your average DiGiorno’s/Red Baron/Tombstone “premium” meat pizza, with both better meat and a better crust. Anyway, if you’re near a Central Market and have a hankering for pizza, you could do worse…

Edison’s Frankenstein

Saturday, November 5th, 2011

Did you know that the first first filmed version of Frankenstein was not the James Whale movie, but a 1910 Edison studios film?

Though full of the hokey melodramatic tropes of early silent cinema, it actually follows the basic plot of the Mary Shelly novel more closely than the Whale movie, at least up until the happy (and vaguely slipstreamy) ending. The creation of the monster scene uses not one, but two special effects: running the film backwards and at high speed. I’m sure it blew people’s minds in 1910.

Random Internet Images That Amuse Me

Friday, November 4th, 2011

Instead of actual content…

(Hat tip: Gail Carriger‘s Facebook page.)

Hephaestus Books: A Different Kind of Ripoff

Friday, November 4th, 2011

Jerry Pournelle and C. J. Cherryh have been among the first to report on the nefarious activities of Hephaestus Books, which seems to be publishing omnibus editions of hundreds or thousands of books which they haven’t bothered to obtain the rights for. I say “seems,” because a closer look shows that Hephaestus Books does seen to be ripping people off, but it’s the readers and buyers rather than the authors.

Since Jerry helped sound the alarm, let’s take this collection, titled Novels By Jerry Pournelle, including: The Legacy Of Heorot, The Mote In God’s Eye, The Gripping Hand, Footfall, Inferno (novel), Fallen Angels … Starswarm, Higher Education over at Amazon as an example. The text description reads:

Hephaestus Books represents a new publishing paradigm, allowing disparate content sources to be curated into cohesive, relevant, and informative books. To date, this content has been curated from Wikipedia articles and images under Creative Commons licensing, although as Hephaestus Books continues to increase in scope and dimension, more licensed and public domain content is being added. We believe books such as this represent a new and exciting lexicon in the sharing of human knowledge. This particular book is a collaboration focused on Novels by Jerry Pournelle.

The fact that the book length is a mere 82 pages should confirm that all the novels listed in the title are not in fact present.

So: They’re content scrapers, grabbing anything they can grab off the Internet (it looks like most of their content is scrapped off Wikipedia) and slapping it between two covers as a print-on-demand (POD) book. This is bad and dubiously legal practice, but their primary sin seems to be false advertising, since their “book” titles deceptively suggest that you’re buying an omnibus edition of fiction rather than a collection of stuff you can read for free on the Internet.

Personally, if I were in charge of Amazon or Barnes & Noble, I’d pull all the Hephaestus Books titles due to their dishonest tactics and customer dissatisfaction anyway. (I don’t think even my insane Jack Vance collector friends will be picking up this.) But from my cursory glance, it’s readers, not authors, who are the ones being ripped off.

(Hat tip: Instapundit.)