Tweaking the Wetmachine Shop

With help of master wetmechanic Gary, I’ve moved to a “shopping cart” thingy for selling my books here on Wetmachine. In related news, about which I’ll be blogging soon, is that I’ve decided to stop giving away PDF versions of my books. I’m selling them for $3 apiece now.

The shopping cart seems to choke on (physical) mailing addresses outside the USA, I’m unhappy to report. We’re working on getting that fixed, but in the meantime if you live outside the USA and would like to purchase any of the physical things in the shop, use the “Contact Us” form and we’ll figure out a way to do business.

In the simpler world of the “old style” Wetmachine, there was a hand-coded HTML form you could print out to buy books by check-in-the mail, and a hand-coded page for using paypal. Downloads of electronic copies were free. That approach was, frankly, a lot easier for me to deal with than this new shopping cart has been. Getting the shopping cart up and running has been a bit of a pain in the ass, frankly — and it’s not even fully functional yet.

But the world is changing. I now have four books for sale (one of them a pre-order) in several different formats of ebook. The combinatorics were already starting to get unmanageable. I certainly hope to have more and more things for sale in various formats soon (a fifth book, a sixth book, sweatshirts! coffee mugs! personalized Cadillac SUVs!–which would quickly make the combinatorics even worse– so a move to some kind of shopping cart approach was inevitable.

I’m not happy with the appearance of the shop nor with my own dilly-dallying: this should have been done months ago, and it ain’t nobody’s fault but mine.

My books Acts of the Apostles, Cheap Complex Devices and The Pains are still under Creative Commons License and you can find them elsewhere on the net. But on Wetmachine itself I’m going back to give away only sample chapters.

I’ll be blogging about my reasons for this “close the barn door after the cows are out” action in an upcoming post.

Meanwhile if you experience any problems with the wetmachineshop, please use the Contact Us form to let me know.

Wetmachine and dog walk into a bar. . .

So this guy walks into a bar with his dog. Puts the dog up on a barstool. Barkeep sez, “get that dog outta here.”

Guy sez, “Hey, this dog can talk.”
— “Go on.”
— “No really, he can talk. If he talks will you buy us a beer?”
— “Sure, if your dog can talk I’ll buy yz a beer.”
Dog don’t say nothin’. Pants, looks around, licks his balls.
–  “Get out.”
Guy sez, “You gotta ask him something!”

Barkeep thinks for a second. “OK. Who is the greatest baseball player of all time?”
Dog don’t say nothin. Keeps on saying nothin.

Barkeep throws the guy & dog out on their asses into the gutter.
Dog looks at the guy.

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Status report on Wetmachine crossover

Longtime readers of Wetmachine are aware that we’ve moved to a new blogging platform. This has been a pretty ambitious undertaking and we’ve hit a few snags. Among other things, it’s not possible, yet, to buy or read my books from the site, and our adverts are not working (not that you miss them, but we miss the little bit of revenue they bring). There are some aesthetic tweaks to the layout & rss feeds we’re working on, and a few other things.

Please bear with us. The migration is being handled by Wetmachine’s unsung & unpaid hero Gary Gray, and he’s got a lot on his plate (including small things like the proverbial day job). We’ll address the remaining issues as expeditiously as possible.

Meanwhile we certainly would appreciate any feedback on the new design, and bug reports are always welcome. You can leave them in the comments or use the “contact” form.

What's wrong with this fracking blog

One of the many things wrong with this fracking blog is that I don’t ever write anything interesting on it.

I do, however, have a plan to change that. I’m going to write something interesting real soon now, perhaps this weekend, if I get done putting away the Christmas stuff all over the living room (whatever Christmas stuff the dog has not yet destroyed, that is).

Also, there are many technology upgrades to the site that could be done to jazz it up all web 2.0 style, which upgrades Gary and Harold and I earnestly discussed in a hip coffee shop in Davis Square, Somerville, MA, on January 1 or 2 this year, when it was cold and slushy/icy outside and crowded inside with tattooed people. Although nothing has yet come of that earnest discussion, I did enjoy it very much, and it was fun to be the facilitator of the first in-the-meatspace encounter between longtime wetmachiners Gary and Harold. Perhaps something will come of that someday.

But on the the good news side of the ledger, my earnest entreaties have gotten Gary posting again about random shit (notice how I take credit for Gary’s contributions?), thereby helping to restore the proper Wetmachine balance between earnest stuff from Greg and Harold and random bullshit from other parties (with Stearns’s stuff being both earnest and random bullshit, a remarkable achievement).

But as for you, reader, you don’t help this fracking blog any by never leaving any comments & getting a discussion going. What the frack is up with that?

OK, I go now. But as a wise man said, stay tuned.

Blogroll amnesty day redux

As we did last year, we’ll join blogroll amnesty day again this year.

I will observe a modified limited hangout limit of 72 links in my blogroll, which number is arrived at arbitrarily, but intended to keep the thing manageable. My jubiliee policy is in effect from now until such time as the limit is reached.

If you would like to be added to my blogroll, add me to yours, and send me your listing in the form thus wise:


You can either leave your particulars in the comments, or send via email to

mail [at sign][the name of my blog] dot com

When the Germans bombed Peal Harbor

This is a speech I’m giving to myself, mostly, with regards to my literary career, and to my “real” career, and to my financial situation generally. (Longer version of this clip here.)

But I’m also giving it to y’all with regards to the weblog awards. Hey, I don’t mind seeing Wetmachine lose to Ars Technica. It would just be nice to lose by less than ten-to-one. There are still 8 hours left to vote. We have about 240 votes, and only need another 2,000 to get back in the game. So who’s with me? Yeargh!

Revolutions and Resolutions and Revolutions

I was reading once, I think it was in an article that Douglas Hofstadter (“Doug” to us intimates) wrote, in the New Yorker of all places, about the art of translating literature from one natural language to another. At least, I think it was Douglas Hoftstadter, but maybe that’s just my fixation shining through. Maybe the article was by Dan Hofstadter, or by somebody else altogether. Puns, of course, present a great challenge to translators, and I remember the clever instance sited therein: in a translation of Alice in Wonderland, a pun on “axes”, as in, the earth spins on its axes–speaking of axes, off with her head– was turned into a pun on revolutions: each day the earth makes a revolution– speaking of revolutions, off with her head. Now that I check my Project Gutenberg, however, I can find no such instance, so maybe, like Alice, I was dreaming.

But that’s got nothing to do with Wetmachine’s being a finalist in the 2008 Weblog Awards!
The 2008 Weblog Awards

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I just discovered that for about three months, maybe more, mail messages sent to webmaster @ $this-ahere-website and jsundman @ this-ahere-website, have been going directly into the bit recycling program. Those addresses should work now. In the very unlikely case that this pertains to you, please forgive, & if it’s still germane, resend.