Category Archives: Random

This time twenty years ago…

Towards the end of the 1990s people started to get worried that the world would descend into chaos when the clock ticked over into the year 2000. There was concern that computers wouldn’t be able to cope with the new date, and – basically – that society would collapse.

This computer drama was called the Millennium Bug, or Y2K.

Some of the more paranoid people in the world started preparing for a dystopian future, and some even moved into compounds.

Below is a newspaper article from the United States on this day twenty years ago.

Click here to read the whole piece.

couple-ready-to-cope-with-dreaded-y2k-bug

Fearing an apocalypse over the Millennium Bug requires some of the same lack of faith in government as with other survivalists’ concerns. It carries a fear that the masses in the cities won’t hang together but instead will reveal their worst if things really do get desperate. The new survivalists are people who don’t want to take that gamble when spokespeople for public utilities, banks or other entities try to assuage concerns about the Millennium Bug with the calm words, “We’re working on it.”

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Wintertime!

We’re halfway though winter here in Australia, so it’s pretty weird reading all these posts online about summer heatwaves!

Here in Canberra we have a sort of winter festival in the city centre, including a temporary ice skating rink.

Here’s a shot from last year:

Ice_skating_in_Garema_Place_in_Canberra,_July_2017Ice skating in Gareme Place in Canberra, July 2017 Australia Winter

Happy Birthday, Oksana!

Oksana_Chusovitina_2001_Uzbekistan_stamp gymnastics gymnast

Happy forty-third birthday to Oksana Chusovitina, who has had the most incredible gymnastics career of any girl or woman to ever compete in the sport.

Born into the Soviet Union, she also competed for the Commonwealth of Independent States, Uzbekistan, and Germany.

Over a career spanning nearly thirty years, she has won World and Olympic gold, become a mother, and worked as a coach.

She’s ageless and incredible despite hardships, and if she was from a country like the United States, everybody would know her name.

Everybody SHOULD know her name.

R.I.P. Errol Pickford

Errol Pickford as The Bluebird in The Sleeping Beauty © Leslie Spatt Royal Ballet Royal Opera House

In The Sleeping Beauty.

Australian-born ballet star Errol Pickford, who was a principal with Britain’s Royal Ballet, has died at only fifty-one years of age.

Pickford, famous for his performances in The Sleeping Beauty and Don Quixote, also danced with the West Australian Ballet after leaving Britain.

Bigger than Soccer

Boycott russia world cup 2018

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With the football World Cup beginning today, please take some time to remember the millions of Ukrainians and Syrians suffering because of host country Russia’s current actions, the thousands killed in Russian attacks, and all of the political prisoners trapped in inhumane conditions.

There are things in the world we should prioritise over sport.

Cheating in Kindle Unlimited

There’s been a lot of drama in the publishing world recently, and one of the biggest stories at the moment is about the authors in the Kindle Unlimited program who are cheating the system to take money from honest authors.

In order to make MUCH more money than they’ve actually earned these people manipulate unsuspecting readers into helping them, and very few people seem to be aware what is going on.

Here’s how it works:

#1 Kindle Unlimited is a book subscription service. Customers pay a fee each month and have access to numerous ebooks that are exclusively on Amazon.

#2 Authors aren’t paid by book borrows, but by how many pages are read. That means they only get paid for twenty pages if the reader goes no further than that, as long as the reader doesn’t click through to the end (e.g. to rate the book).

algorithms-1641857_1920 pie chart book stuffing kindle unlimited cheating scammers

In theory, authors are paid for equal work.

#3 Scammers try every trick there is to make their readers go to the end of the book. This includes adding links at the front to make readers jump to the end.

pie-36268_1280 pie chart book stuffing kindle unlimited cheating scammers

In reality, it looks more like this.

#4 The more pages readers skip over, the more the “authors” are paid. And so they “stuff” many other, previously-released books and other random content into the one book. It doesn’t matter if it ever gets read; it just matters that people click through it so they can make more money from it.

#5 This is 100% against the Kindle Unlimited Terms of Service. There is not meant to be more than 10% of bonus material in a Kindle Unlimited book, but some of these cheaters have extra stuffing in there that makes up 80 or 90% of the book.

And it is SO bad because:

#6 All authors are paid out of the same pot of money. They get paid based on the % of page reads, and so authors who’ve tricked people into flicking through literally thousands of extra pages are taking income away from authors who don’t cheat.

#7 Very few authors in this world make much money, but some of these book stuffers are making a fortune by scamming everyone.

#8 Now, finally – because people have started reporting the scammers – some of the worst offenders have been removed from Amazon in recent days, and they’re complaining loudly, all over the internet. They have their fan club members out complaining, too.

#9 At the moment, these scammers are playing the victim in the situation. THEY’RE NOT. They are complaining about loss of income, and saying ridiculous things like, ‘How will I feed my family now?!’

What they don’t mention is that they’ve been STEALING from other authors for years. Not once did they care how other authors would feed their families.

Don’t fall for the sob stories.

 

How you can help stop these unethical authors:

#1 DO NOT, under any circumstances, skip through to the end of a stuffed book.

#2 And DO NOT, under any circumstances, click on suspicious links within the contents or the book’s text.

#3 And… DO NOT, under any circumstances, click to the end of the book in order to rate or report it. Even if you intend to stop the scammers by reviewing or reporting, if you’ve gone to the end, you’ve just paid the thieves and stolen from honest authors anyway.

If you want to review etc., go to your computer or tablet and log on to Amazon there.

#4 And – finally –  nothing will change unless these people are REPORTED.

At the moment the worst of the book stuffing is taking place in the romance genre because it’s so big and lucrative. However, some of these so-called authors are listing their books in every category under the sun in order to trick more readers.

Queen’s Birthday Holiday

Today in Canberra we celebrate the Queen’s Birthday (which means it’s a public holiday), even though her real birthday is in April. For generations now, the British Monarch has celebrated a pretend birthday during the Northern Hemisphere summer. Unfortunately for us in the Southern Hemisphere, it means our holiday is in winter!

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Queen Elizabeth_II_greets_NASA_GSFC_employees,_May_8,_2007_edit

It’s Winter!

Okay, so unless you live somewhere like the Snowy Mountains, your chances of seeing snow in Australia this winter are zero, but it is winter here now! While everyone online is discussing beach holidays, and sites like Goodreads are sending me summer reading recommendations, things are a little different Down Under.

Kanangra-Boyd National Park, NSW, Australia.

Kanangra_winter_wonderlandKanangra road at the Boyd River Campground, Kanangra-Boyd National Park, NSW, Australia.

Reconciliation Day

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Today Canberra becomes the first place in Australia to host a public holiday for Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders. Reconciliation Day replaces the Family and Community Day holiday, which replaced the Melbourne Cup holiday before that.

Dear Authors…

Please stop trying to trademark common English words! Trademarking a word and then forcing other authors to stop using it is selfish and just plain wrong.

Now there’s an author trying to trademark the word FOREVER, and it’s appalling.

Nobody owns the word, and nobody should want to steal it from other authors.

If there IS one person in the world who might make a claim on it, surely it’s Judy Blume with her 1970s classic YA book!

Judy Blume FOrever Young Adult Romance Vintage