M Thomas Apple Author Page

Science fiction, actual science, history, and personal ranting about life, the universe, and everything

Tech visionaries are needed. Scientists are more important.

September 1, 2020
MThomas

I get the attraction of people like Steve Jobs and Elon Musk. They have big ideas. They’re enthusiastic, ecstatic, even. They’re great at simplifying difficult concepts and promoting tech to the lay person.

But they’re not creators. They’re “visionaries.”

I.e., salespersons.

Is that a bad thing? Of course not. I was in computer sales once. It was hard. Only the charismatic are good at it. But I didn’t have the knowledge and ability to make the products I was selling, let alone the power to innovate.

Sticking a chip in a person’s brain and sending thousands to the Moon or Mars sound cool. Possible, even.

But science isn’t sales. Someone might die.

Small difference.

We need visionaries, but scientists are more important. Maybe if they talked to each other…

https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-53987919

Japanese convenience store to implement VR robot service

July 6, 2020
MThomas

“Rather than turn Family Mart branches into essentially giant vending machines, where products are automatically replaced after a customer selects one for purchase, the plan is to use remote-control robots, operated by human beings using VR terminals at a separate location.”

Hmm. The real avatar?

Remote-control VR robots to start working in Japanese convenience stores this summer

SF/F Magazines Wait Out The Great Pause—Part 1

July 1, 2020
MThomas

So how are things over at major SF/F mags?

Part 1 of 2 (I guess).

From Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (so “major mags” means basically “only in ‘Merca,” I suppose 🤷‍♂️).

SF/F Magazines Wait Out The Great Pause—Part 1: Submissions & Supplies – SFWA
— Read on www.sfwa.org/2020/06/30/sf-f-magazines-wait-out-the-great-pause-part-1-submissions-supplies/

Super Bowl 2020: All the space-themed commercials

February 2, 2020
MThomas

“Being able to get humans on Mars and actually collecting one of these samples would be such an incredible moment, I would kind of hope it would almost bring us back to the moon days of everyone being glued to the TV.”

Um. Well. OK. TV is dead so we’ll all be watching it streamed on our smartphones, but the point is taken.

And how much did they pay for this? 💰 👽 📺

— Read on http://www.livescience.com/amp/super-bowl-space-commercials.html

Artificial intelligence-created medicine to be used on humans for first time

January 31, 2020
MThomas

“This year was the first to have an AI-designed drug, but by the end of the decade all new drugs could potentially be designed by AI.”

Philip K Dick would have had a field day with this. Imagine what will happen once we start ingesting nanobots…

I, for one, welcome our AI drug overlords.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-51315462

Richard Branson, Star Trek: Enterprise Called. They Want their Uniforms Back

October 18, 2019
MThomas

Actually, when I first read the real article title, I thought it said “space underwear.”

Under armour. Private space wear.

Seriously, is he getting ready for Space Reality TV or what?

hypebeast.com/2019/10/virgin-galactic-under-armour-private-astronauts-spacewear-news

Factories…In…Space…

October 13, 2019
MThomas

 

 “Once you’ve exploited the solar system, there’s nowhere left to go.”

Frankly, the idea that we puny humans could ever even begin to damage the solar system is laughable.

What would be more worrisome is who – or what – would be doing the work. Why hire people if you could make robots to do the work for you?

https://futurism.com/billionaires-dead-serious-space-factories?fbclid=IwAR1lizqBfz9yQ4zwcdPlHqr4DnWKvf_Me6exwewJ3sPrb2UTksz65YQM_eI

A brief rant about Netflix: No, that’s NOT what “original” means

August 6, 2019
MThomas

IMG_7075

This is not a complaint about Netflix in general (well, not necessarily, but anyway). Without Netflix, I might have gone, shall we say, a little…

img_2250

…this past winter. I’ve been working temporarily in Montréal, several thousands miles of miles apart from my family, and being able to watch movies and older TV shows has been a great escape from the depressing monotony of single life.

But I feel the need to tell Netflix that I do not appreciate their use of the word “original.” Continue Reading

Indie writers, Amazon is not your friend

June 26, 2019
MThomas

Amazon fakes

As if writers hadn’t already figured this out, Amazon really couldn’t care less about the books of yours they sell.

Notice I didn’t write “the books they sell for you.” Because they’re obviously not interested in you making any money. Not when they can allow random “companies” to download your manuscript, slap on their own label, and market it again as a “third party.”

 

Amazon takes a hands-off approach to what goes on in its bookstore, never checking the authenticity, much less the quality, of what it sells. It does not oversee the sellers who have flocked to its site in any organized way.

 

Naturally, the reason is that Amazon can’t be bothered policing illegal copies and illegal sales, since, in their minds, all’s fair in the Wild West of the Net.

fake!!

Even the technically legal copies that are for sale are often copies acquired from people who received copies for review. Which is why I no longer give out books for review (also, services like Goodreads started charging for the privilege of random strangers to steal your book and sell it to a third party).

AT-3rdparties.png

NONE of these “companies” wrote my book, and I did not give permission to ANY of them to resell my book. So why do they get to sell it for up to four times the price I set? Because Amazon doesn’t bother and couldn’t care less.

I used to wonder why my books often appeared in the “available from a third party” menu, with prices varying from twice to even five times the original amount. And why none of the “sales” from these copies showed up in my account. The answer is, of course, Amazon doesn’t really care who gets the royalty as long as they get their cut of the sale.

But we’re trapped, aren’t we? We can scream “fake!” and “unfair!” until we’re blue in the face. In the end, Amazon has grown in power to the extent that the entire world relies on it as a global distributor of, well, pretty much everything.

Except, of course, Amazon, itself, can’t be bothered shipping its own products these days. (More on that in a later post.)

Which is why I’ve started to port my books into other platforms such as Smashwords — but they’re all digital. It’s a shame, because I enjoy (and prefer) reading paper copies of books. But I know I will never be able to stop the Amazon Pirates from stealing my work and my friends’ work.

Shame on Amazon. And shame on all of us for going along with the system.

www.nytimes.com/2019/06/23/technology/amazon-domination-bookstore-books.html

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