Weekly Links 20081123

Writing

James Van Pelt talks about whether you should write for the market or not.  I agree with him.

Time was, bad writers wrote bad query letters. Like the Washington Generals of exhibition basketball, these writers hammed up—telegraphed, shall we say—their lack of talent and know-how. They typed their queries on law office stationery; they cold-called your office, asking for the “submissions director” (later referring to this phone call in the letter, as if it had been for both parties a singularly memorable event); they mailed their queries to outdated addresses culled from the 1997 edition of Writers Marketplace; they sent head shots; their return address was a prison; they wrote longhand in red crayon on college-ruled paper. Bad had a look; bad was obvious.

To be an amateur in the original sense of the word simply means to do something for love, though our culture has added the rider, “not for pay.” An amateur writer, then, is generally taken to mean one who’s not paid for her efforts.

In the beginning of every story, the writer makes a promise to the reader. The writer must deliver on that promise by the end of the story. It’s what the reader expects–and it’s what the reader deserves.

Technology

This is from Tor.com, who got it from Engadget.  Really cool Minority Report type interfaces.

NASA has successfully tested the first deep space communications network modeled on the Internet. Working as part of a NASA-wide team, engineers from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., used software called Disruption-Tolerant Networking, or DTN, to transmit dozens of space images to and from a NASA science spacecraft located about 20 million miles from Earth.

Misc

One of my favourite authors is hosting a 17-part half-hour documentary series for Canada’s Vision TV entitled Supernatural Investigator. It premieres Tuesday, January 27, 2009, at 10:30 p.m. Eastern Time, and runs every week until Tuesday, May 19, 2009.

Computers

I remember when entire computer companies were started in a guys garage, by two people.  Now the world is thrilled that a lone developer can create a nifty game.

I wrote a nifty entertainment system for my vehicle… multiple displays so the kids could watch a show while I listened to music.  All the kinda stuff.  I switched to Windows so I could get a working GPS.  Figures.  Here’s an article about ‘pimping’ you car with Linux.

Communicating your clients is a necessary evil of contract web development, design, programming, writing, or any other freelance art form. Some clients are great — they communicate what they need very clearly from the get-go and things go smoothly from spec through to delivery. Others, though, will make you want to pull out your hair in frustration. This round up of ten must have web-based tools below will help you communicate with either type of client, and generally make things easier on you and help you keep your sanity.

Science

I know my brain seem to be alot slower now than when I was young.  Here’s how to keep your brain young!

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