Links For March 2021

Here are a few interesting links for early 2021

World wide web inventor Tim Berners-Lee takes on Google, Facebook, Amazon to fix the internet. Being a bit paranoid about Facebook and the other big tech companies, I’m a huge fan of implementing a system such as this. But the big aggregators (Facebook, Google etc) aren’t going to be pleased. If you think Facebook is angry because Apple has a new feature that allows you to determine if Facebook can track you – you ain’t seen nothing when they figure out they can’t collect any data.

If you’ve been watching “The Dig” you may be interested in the real story

Some readers may remember the Daghdha. Here’s the story. He is one of my favourite mythological characters and he’ll be back in a variety of guises sooner or later.

This U.S. Admiral thinks atomic warfare is still quite possible. Well sure it’s possible – it’s one empire trying to hold on and another trying to expand. If you haven’t been reading about what’s happening in the Far East with weapons deployment on both sides, let me simply say it’s a bit scary.

OK, many folks have permanently moved out of the city to the country to avoid COVID. Is this permanent and what does this mean? Hmm, I moved out about 50 years ago and it meant sanity to me. LOL. Would you leave the city or suburbs for the country? Tell me why in the comments.

From the “Really?” department. They’re teaching spinach how to communicate with email There may be hope for some folks I know after all. But Popeye is likely to be very disturbed.

An Unplanned October Update

Dear Reader:

I decided a full cleanup of my office and the filing system was a perfect task.

You know what that means don’t you?

I have paper everywhere. Some of the shredded files, stuffed in green garbage bags, have been taken to the compost pile and yet, countless tiny scraps are embedded in my office carpet.  I have created a mess of epic proportions and there is no end in sight as I write this note.

I have books, literally thousands of books. Some are old favorites and others collectibles that are well over 150 years old. The double-shelved overflow in my office goes downstairs to a room lined with bookshelves.

I  noted these things this morning while I was searching for my Dictionary of Imaginary Places (yes, there really is such a book) these downstair shelves were beginning to be double stacked as well.

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This is the long lead up to a decision I made this morning and why I really needed that dictionary.

A creators life is rather “interesting” now, and in the midst of the ongoing culture wars, I’m being proactive.

Even though I grew up in a Scot’s household (my mother was born in Aberdeen Scotland) and we spent a great deal of time with my Scottish grandparents – indeed lived with them for a while- I am proudly Canadian.

Being Canadian, and writing a book about a UK cultural icon leaves me open to charges of cultural appropriation. So as much as I grew up with these stories and love them, I’m being proactive.

The Merlin books have been unpublished at Amazon and stories on the website removed. I have completed several searches on my website to remove any links or references to these stories.

That is the long story about why I needed my “Dictionary of Imaginary Places”. 

What’s Next?

My next series of fantasy stories are going to be based somewhere where there are no appropriation issues – and this is yet to be decided. 

I have absolutely no idea how that’s going to turn out or what I’m going to write about. But yes, magic and magical beings are springing to life in my mind and I’ll share those with you when I get them all sorted out.

Thanks for reading folks – we do indeed live in in interesting times and I’m doing my best.

Take care out there and be kind to each other.

D

What Are You Doing To Make It More Human?


Sunny, cold mornings in the midst of summer don’t stir memories as do the fires of fall or the stirrings of early spring.  Fall days bring reminders of chores to be done, of days lost to staring at computer screens and trying to make some sense of the world. The spring days brings a renewed sense of hope and fresh air to my world.

I sit trying to understand a world where the old ways have begun to accelerate their demise – cracked in the world wars of the last century, and the incessant smaller conflicts. Chunks of our humanity have been removed in the technology explosion of the late century, the chip-driven, world we live in is far removed from those days of slow Sundays and pleasant parks.

It is a walled world; a world of fear on one side with immense but unusable power and the pounding of the mass outside the gates looking on.  Gates don’t last forever, particularly electronic ones, and this one is crumbling under the pressure.  There is a rush to get in on the final days of the empire – to get enough to protect oneself and family and to grab a taste of the good life while it still exists in all its excessive glory.

I don’t remember mornings like this from my childhood. I was blessed in that my childhood was gloriously normal, spent doing childhood things like building tree houses and fording swamps on the way to conquest and adventure.

It’s all a blur of things that children find important – that the neighbor farmer shot a crow every year and hung the carcass in one of the fruit trees to keep the crows away from the corn.  That his wife was up every morning at sunrise to weed the endless rows of vegetables by hand – one elbow on her knee supporting herself as she bent over pulling weed after weed from the spotless fields of plants.  Of carrying water from their well to our house before my dad dug our well by hand. Of my brother falling, fracturing his skull but living for another 30 years and being so proud of his bandage-hat. The horseshoe scar was a forever-reminder of that adventure.

I remember hot days beside the swimming pool playground (it cost a quarter to go swimming – big money in those days) and we’d sometimes swim in the pool and sometimes swim in the creek beside it.  The creek had currents to float on (until you hit the shallows and bumped painfully across the rocks) and the pool was chlorine crystal-clear to hurt your eyes.

I remember those days and marvel at the end of them; lost in the progress of the chip. And I mourn that lost innocence.

But the wonder of these days entrances me.

  • How fast we all move.
  • How far our horizons could be.
  • What separations we’ve created in our lives and societies.

If the printing press brought on a hundred years of civil unrest in politics, religion and society, how long will this computer impact last?

And more to the point, who will survive afterwards? And what will this world look like?

Even more to the point, what are you doing to make it more human?

Here’s Why I Needed A New Storyboard

When you need to write a big story, you need a good storyboard

It seems as if it’s been quite a while since I posted here. I’ve been working in several other genres and getting some projects launched and cleaned up.

But there’s this story that’s been gnawing away at my mind, never quite coming together and never quite right, but always there. And then, this weekend amidst a rare May snowstorm, the idea crystallized. And now I know what I want to write. (It may have been one of the few really good things to come out of a May snowstorm.)

I started the storyboard (below) this weekend to bring the story to the visual arena and pin down some of the key points.

The storyboard is a chunk of blue, rigid foam house insulation I screwed to the wall. The pink note-card at the top says, “Take the big steps!” as a warning to be big and bold and make the story the same way.

In the middle, the blue cards have characters and suggestions for plot.

The small single blue card at the bottom is the story ending. And yes, you write the end at the beginning so you know where your story has to end up.

I rather like this ending – it’s been one of the most consistent parts of the story since the story introduced itself to me. It also promises more stories on this theme.

My Writer’s Storyboard

As soon as I get a bit further along, I’ll introduce you to a few of the story line and characters (maybe in a new bit of software I’m messing about with that might be perfect for this purpose.)

Cryptocurrency and Block Chains Are Being Hacked

Here are a few notes that crossed my desk. You may find them interesting.

Cryptocurrency being hacked

So you think cryptocurrency isn’t hackable. Think again. Turns out “hackers have stolen nearly $2 billion in cryptocurrency since the start of 2017, with sophisticated cybercrime organizations increasingly getting in on the act.” says MIT’s Tech Review Magazine.

Privately funded spaceship to moon

The first privately funded spacecraft is set to go to the moon. (Feb 21,2019) I’ll watch for announcements of results and post those here as well. Click here to read the announcement 

A quick reminder that if you’ve purchased an ebook of mine go to the retailer (likely Amazon) and update it. When you do that, you’ll see a link at the end of the book. Follow that link for even more stories!

Smart Cities Without Infrastructure

This is a bit dense, and small print but it’s interesting how some cities are starting to sort out what they need to do in the future. For example, as most people adopt cell phones, the need for cabling/poles etc disappears. You can read the entire article -and more like it – here

Thanks for reading.