Do it yourself publlishing — R.W. Ridley style

Last week this fellow R.W. Ridley started following me on twitter after I tweeted about kindlizing The Pains. He’s a writer with a horror series called The Takers aimed at young adults. Turns out that like me, he’s a self-publisher. Like me, he’s won the Self-Published Book Award from Writer’s Digest magazine. Like me, he’s got a blog & is experimenting with kindle and various other ways of getting the word out. Unlike me, he seems to have good portions of his act together. For example his blog is streamed to his author page on Amazon. (How do he do that?) And he has a couple of other neat things, like a youtube video for his books. I have never met the fellow and haven’t read his books & so have no idea of how well he’s doing sales-wise and whether the books are any good. But I was impressed by this little audio book sample. It’s well read and well written and creepy, with nice sound effects. Check it out. And check out his website, there’s some other cool stuff there.

I also note with interest his blog posting about how this year print-on-demand titles outnumbered traditionally published titles. Wow. And then consider, there are lots of self-published books, like mine, that are not POD. (Mine are traditional offset books.) Things sure are changing in the publishing world. And so it goes and so it goes and so it goes, as the man said, but where it’s going, no one knows. . .

Spore video

There’s a nice video of Sims creator Will Wright explaining the new game he’s developing, called Spore. (An edited-down version of the video, concentrating on the game play, is here. (Thanks for the lead, John!)

Very cool stuff, and I think a nice addition to the set of collateral material that gets at some of the aspects of either Croquet or Brie. A very nicely done thing to compare against

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Touchability Cues

When I wrote “Touchability,” it had already been a while since a buddy had shown me a haptic mouse he was working on. For example, you could feel an actual bump when the mouse enters and leaves an object (a real version of what developers sometimes call rollover). Force feedback was such an obviously good thing that I didn’t even mention then the cool stuff that’s now happening in this area.

As much as I think physical touchability is good, I want to be clear that I want to make Croquet applications be emotionally touchable, too. I want to capture what it is that makes things seem (be?) real. Even without physical force feedback, it should still be fun to fondle stuff because of active visual and aural responses and good 3D design.

To be sure, I’d love to add to the effect with more sensory stimulus. There are huge possibilities, and I hope folks will explore them. This stuff is cool. There’s someone working on stereo display for Croquet. Others working on large screens in public spaces. I don’t doubt that we’ll see Croquet on small or cheap devices. There’s plenty of room for innovation.

Get out your markers

OpenLaszlo, the nifty, very nifty platform for making web applications that don’t suck (and little widgets too, like the link thingy over on the right side of this page) has got a little contest going: design a T-Shirt, win an iPod. If you have any design skill at all, you should enter. Why not? (I’m talking to you, Gary.)

And whether you have design skill or not, if you write code you should check out OpenLaszlo. It’s some cool stuff. And the documentation is great — lots of clear expository code, and live, running, you-can-edit-them-too code examples.

(Did I mention that I’m the OpenLaszlo doc guy?)