Updates Re Servers and Virtual Citizenship

This is just a quick note to update you about a few things on the D. Frank Green.com website.

I have not posted in some time as I have been busy writing for my day job. It’s a heck of a thing when you have to work for a living.

The ideas are piling up one by one in my to write-list, and one of these days I will get back to it.  This note is simply to tell you several things.

The Website Has Moved

The website has been moved to a bigger and faster host. The server is now located in the United Kingdom and the hosting company is based in Bulgaria.

That does not change anything on the front end of the website, but it is significantly faster than my previous host.

The look and feel of the website has also just been upgraded.

 Virtual Citizenship

As an aside, the world of computing and virtual life is changing drastically. For example, you can become a virtual citizen of Estonia and the benefits of this have to do with taxation. Here’s a link you may find interesting.

I think this is a very interesting idea, and quite possibly a future model for online life.

Short Stories

I hope to be back posting short stories in the near future, but I make no promises as it’s summertime and if you’d don’t enjoy it when it arrives in Canada, the winter seems extremely long and bleak.  That’s all by way of saying there is “dock time” and time to lay back and recharge the batteries.

 

Thanks for reading, you can find other writers notebook posts here.

 

 

Maybe Sex Robots Will Make Men, Not Women, Obsolete

Dear Friends.

Every now and then I try to share a few of the many articles that pass my desk about future tech. It’s fascinating stuff indeed and I could spend days reading about what different countries and researchers are doing.

Having said that, I’m not at all sure I want too much more tech in my life. I don’t know about you but the more I have, the more complicated life tends to get. And I find myself deleting apps, simplifying my daily routines and deleting the many news feeds I really don’t read.

Mind you, I also got a VR headset for Christmas so…..  Yeah, the kid in me can’t resist something bright, new and shiny. I’ll get back to you with how much I really wind up using it.

 

Alexa, What Are You Doing with My Family’s Personal Info?

I don’t have any smart devices in our home because I’m still not convinced I want/need them in any reasonable way.  My only experience with them was over dinner in a friend’s home, one of them started talking. It was responding to something said in the conversation even though it hadn’t been aimed at it.  “Always listening” just creeps me out and here’s another take on this from Scientific American.

Read it here.

This Neural NetThis This Neural Network Built by Japanese Researchers Can ‘Read Minds’

Now, this is a bit creepy too.  The new technique, dubbed “deep image reconstruction,” moves beyond binary pixels, giving researchers the ability to decode images that have multiple layers of color and structure.”

Read it here.

The Age of Em

I have not read this book but I did watch the videos on this page and they were enough for me.  The age of em is basically the theory by some computer AI people that the first really smart robots will be human brain emulations or “ems.”  Fascinating thoughts.

Read it here.

Can AI Diagnose Your Health?

Here’s Another Sci Am article worth reading about how AI Deep Learning examines retinal scans to predict different health states and how it processes health scans.

Read it here.

Maybe Sex Robots Will Make Men, Not Women, Obsolete

And finally, you may recall a note about sex robots and AI from a few months ago where you might marry a robot.  Well…. Here’s another look at sex robots that might make men obsolete.  Me? I know better than to get into this debate but you…

Read it here.

 Thanks for reading.

Author Report December 2017 A Year in Review

This is the semi-regular update on the behind-the-scenes stuff that often amuses readers.  I haven’t done an update since August so I’m calling this one, the first annual roundup.

Mailing List:

I cleaned out the mailing list two weeks ago to reduce the total subscription level to 300.  Approximately 50 of the new readers downloading the ebook really weren’t interested in reading other things I write –  and hadn’t opened a newsletter since the download. (Likely going to the spam or “to never read” folder) 🙂

There’s little sense in me paying to send out stories if they’re not reading them so…

Thanks for reading. 🙂

#####

Some tech upgrades hit both my desk and this list and blah, blah, blah.

Having deleted two paragraphs above this line, I asked myself, In this day of constant tech upgrades, who really gives a damn.

Think about one thing though.  The average app is updated every 30 days. That means within a very short time, the cell phone you carry around with you isn’t anything like the one you started with.

You have to constantly learn new things to keep up to date with all the tech in your life and the notion of being a lifelong learner isn’t fiction – it’s a reality in our world.

Bottom line: Those who would ignore research that contradicts their political beliefs, would freeze the world so it never changes, or try to turn the clock back to a mythical better time – in tech or politics or ???   These folks just aren’t paying attention.

I can still remember hearing the great Satchel Paige  saying in a pep talk he gave in Toronto when I was a teenager, “Never look back – they might be gaining.  I’ve thought about that a lot in relation to tech and politics and …   Well, I’ve thought about it a lot.

And blah, blah, blah….

(Who is this guy blathering on anyway?) 😉

#####

Short Stories

I hope you read the email describing how to use your “email preferences” at the bottom of every email.

Click “update email preferences” Click the box that says “short stories”.  Close the window.

You’ll get a short story delivered to your inbox once a week until the entire backlist is sent. At that point, you’ll get every new story as they’re published.

Updates From Previous Notes

Dictating (DragonNaturallySpeaking)   I waver back and forth on this. I’m supposed to dive right in, throw away the keyboards and just go with dictating.  That didn’t work for me (or maybe I gave up too early or maybe I’m too….)

I’m still doing some things on the keyboard and some things with the Dragon.

I could analyze this for the next 2000 words and neither of us would be any further ahead.

Cleaning Out

In the last two months, I’ve killed two of my websites/blogs. They were either not making any money or they were distracting me from the things I truly wanted to write.

This website/writing at DFrankGreen.com will continue for the foreseeable future as I still have things I want to say here.

Book Sales

Trickling.  I surely won’t become immensely wealthy on those first three ebooks. 😉  But then again, I really didn’t expect to.  (To be sure, it would have been nice but …)

The Existing Books

The links are here. And, all are available on Kindle Unlimited.

2047
Flee or Kill
Future Forward
The Wild Hunt and Other Short Stories

New Project

I’m about 10,000 words into a new ebook/extended story and having some fun times with it.   I’m considering how best to share that with you.  That’s a new year problem/solution.

And That

Pretty much sums up the year. It was a year of surprises, of great swings in life and work.

Things The Need Noting

Of noting, I’m blessed with a great family, a life-partner who understands and supports my crazed writerly life and friends who manage to not comment (at least to my face) about the latest idea I’ve adopted.

Thanks for sticking around this year. I’ll have more for you early in the New Year.

Author Report for August 2017

In this report, I’d like to start out by saying I ran into a minor health problem, some torn retinas that were repaired with laser surgery. Because of this, restrictions on my activity included: not reading or being involved in anything that would jar my eyes. I can report there is a significant amount of crap on AmazonVideo and the Canadian CraveTV.
I’m slowly getting back into it now, moving through the old email files and trying to catch up.

NOTE re this email: I’ve just set the system to “full feed” which means you get every story/article delivered in full to your inbox. You don’t have to visit the site to read them. BUT – I just threw this switch this week and the system may send out more than one article in this first email. In all future emails, you should only get the newly published ones. 

Welcome

Over 300 of you have just joined this list, and I hope you find something of interest in the stories that I share. As always, I welcome your comments and emails and will do my best to respond.
I may have made some mistakes when I added your emails to the list. Because I have just switched the list to MailerLite away from Mailchimp, some of you may not have received all the followup downloads. Here’s a quick download link in case you were one of those who didn’t receive the links.
## 2047 The Beginnings
## Flee or Kill

Note to anyone reading this post online – you can get your own copies of this by subscribing to this site.

The last ebook in the series – Future Forward  is on Amazon at a whopping $0.99

Stories

I’m still posting short stories and the links are here.   
You will get a full feed of all new stories moving forward.

Dictation

DragonNaturallySpeaking and I are getting used to each other and I’m slowly learning how to dictate stories instead of writing them.  This report was  dictated and then edited.  And yes, I miss some of the mistakes but I’m getting better at catching them (practice makes perfect).

So what’s new?

Full Feed

Moving forward, you’ll get automatic emails with the full content in the email and not just the lead paragraph. If I have it set up correctly, this should be the example for all future email. This means you don’t have to go and visit the website to read the stories that I will be publishing soon.  See note above about this first email though.

New Ebooks and Subjects

As many of you know, the first trilogy was completed and I have started to examine other areas of interest.
And yes, I am working on some concepts –
I intend to have some short stories up soon as prequels.

The podcast

In reviewing all of the writing that I do – whether that’s fiction or nonfiction – over the past month, I had some hard decisions to make.
One of those decisions concerned the podcast and the reality of both the time it took to create the podcast and how much work I was willing to do to promote, and make it work as an author platform.
The bottom line is that I decided the podcast took up too much time that I could spend writing. The podcast will not be updated, the account was closed down and Apple will in the fullness of time delete it from their library.

My Personal “Creators” Blog

Some of you may find my writer’s blog of interest. It wanders all over the content map depending on what catches my fancy.
Check it out here.  http://douglas-green.com
Thanks for reading
Frank

Author report July 2017


This has been one of those good news – bad news kinds of months. The good news is that I have all three of my first e-books up and published, including having put new covers, and descriptions into the e-retailers. The second part is that I have started Amazon ads for all four of the existing e-books.

Downloads

The downloads of the free e-book 2047 have not been outstanding but have been consistent. There were approximately 63 downloads of 2047 last month.

Out Of My System

All three of these e-books can be classified as dystopian fiction, and having written all three of them I seem to have gotten that out of my system. While I am no more optimistic about the environmental future of this world than I was when I started writing the e-books, I have a sense that I’ve said my piece and I have no more drive or interest in writing about the fall of humanity.
Or, to be more precise I have no interest in writing about the fall of our current culture due to environmental problems.
I’ve chosen the next few topics and in doing so I’m returning to the roots of my personal interests in the world around me. Without being specific about the nature of the stories, or the stories themselves, let me just say that I have a half bookcase full of Celtic related mythology, archaeology, and stories.

Newsletter readers

We’re holding at 57. I had a few subscribe this month and a few unsubscribe, and that balanced at all out.
While I’d like to have been able to say I had huge increases in subscribers, I’m delighted that the majority of existing readers stayed.
While it’s not of concern to subscribers, those of you with mailing lists might be interested in the email provider Mailerlite. I moved this list to that email provider and I’m delighted with how easy it is to use, and how helpful and fast the support system is.

Podcast Updates

I have actually returned to making podcasts, uploading several stories to the distribution system on iTunes.
I eliminated several steps in the production. This means there is no more introductory music or fancy fadeout notes, or anything else other than me speaking. I still run it through Auphonic to even out the sound but no other systems are used to make it “prettier”.
At some point, I may return to the music but for the moment the incredible amount of time that I’ve saved doing it is worth more to me than having something that’s a lot smoother and prettier.
The downloads, or those listening, are still small with between 1 to 5 downloads of each podcast every week. Some might ask whether this is worth the work, but for me it’s an enjoyable part of my production. I’ll get back to you if I change my mind on this.

Learning To Dictate

I am slowly but surely learning how to use a dictation system to produce my writing. This is significantly faster than typing although there is a learning curve with using the software.
I wasn’t aware that there are two schools of thought when it comes to using dictation software.

  • The first school, says that you want to create content and train the dictation software as you go. So another words once you finish dictating, you then use the software to go back and correct the work.
  • The second school says that you simply dictate. You do not insert punctuation, corrections, or anything else. You then copy the dictation to your word processor, start weeding, editing, and making it all work properly as you go through the rough words. At the end of the dictated work, you have finished the story and you publish it.

The second school mostly uses an outside recorder such as an iPhone, to record the original dictation. This is then transcribed using the software and then the editing process begins.
I am mostly using the first system as I composed this in my head for publishing on the blog. But I confess I’m incredibly intrigued with the second system for when it comes to telling stories. I’m going to have to get back to you on which system works best for me.

Interesting Month

It’s been an interesting month in my publishing world. Most of the interest has been garnered on the gardening side of things, but I confess the fiction side as occupied its own time as I worked out some of the smaller nitpicking details of fiction publishing.

Self publishing is very much like a swimming duck. You know there’s a lot going on underwater and that critter is paddling like hell, but from the top it simply looks like they’re gliding along.

What can you expect going forward

I think you’ll start to see some of the Celtic stories begin to appear on the website and on the podcast. I’m going to explore the entire genre to see where I best fit.

Summary

It’s been a great month of learning, of dealing with all the myriad components of self-publishing, and quite frankly, of taking some time off to enjoy both the gardens and the waterfront of our home.
Thanks for reading, I’ll be back to you quite soon with some new stories.

Can Technology Rescue Seeing and Believing Or Is Truth Dead?

 

Poe’s famous line of “Believe only half of what you see and nothing that you hear,” may have had a point at the time but it’s now time to rethink his original position.

In short, “don’t believe a damn thing unless you were there and even then, be suspicious of your memory.”

What a way to live!
Let’s examine the current state of the art. This isn’t science fiction or fantasy, it’s here now and being unleashed.
And no matter what “Fake News” is being bandied about in American politics, we’ve just scratched the surface.

Faking A Voice

Well, yes but how can they really fake somebody’s voice? You can tell the difference between fake and real. Right?  OK then, here’s a company that’s about to prove you wrong.  Understand this is at the demo level and hasn’t yet hit the market or perfection.
But how far out can it be?

Faking An Image Of Somebody Talking

You mean you haven’t seen a cgi (computer generated imagery) movie yet? Seriously, with a decent skill level and software anybody can be seen to say anything.

It’s Now Simple

Combine the fake voice-sound and the cgi-video and you have…
That’s the world we’re headed towards at the speed of technological intrusion.

And if I can think about it, there’s a backroom political operative that’s planning on doing it.

But Here Come The White Hats

When it comes to voice recognition, there are white hats among us. One group at M.I.T. is working with technology to assist those with social recognition skill issues.  Those are good people.
And then there are these folks who’ve already recognized the negative issues around fake voices and fake news and are working on a system that will help you identify fake voices.

This Is Your Very Real Future

I’ve been working on some new stories and somehow my ideas and thoughts carelessly wandered  down this rabbit hole of voice recognition.

  • Given accurate voice synthesis such as Lyrebird, how do you tell the real from the fake moving forward?
  • How do you make decisions about future policies and political leadership when this technology exists and is likely to be used by the opposition.
  • Not only are we in a “he-said, she-said” kind of info-war, we’re in a technological battle to identify or at the very least, label your opponent as having used “fake” data.

I can hear you saying, “This is terrible but it really doesn’t apply to me in my personal life.”

This is clearly a problem for anybody in a leadership position at the moment but it doesn’t take much imagination to ask what would happen if somebody mimicked your voice in a conversation with a banker or spouse.

Now that I have your attention.  This is me speaking to you and not some robot.
Yet.