22 April 2006

Fat, Drunk and Stupid is No Way to...

Okay, I can't speak for the first two in this case, but (as long as I'm quoting it correctly) I do love that line.

[Hopefully I'm not violating any copyright laws by posting it]

So, I imagine that many have already been clued in to the latest young author who decided to take upon herself to self-publish a piece of Star Wars fanfic.

[Note: I imagine it's only a matter of time before Amazon figures out that they really don't want to bend over for the lawyers of George Lucas and take down the page.]

[Additional Note: Not having read the book, I can only go by one of the comments that the poor author apparently confuses Star Wars and Star Trek icons. Poor thing.]

So, aside from the blatant violation of copyright (which the author has reportedly blown off because the book was only for distribution to friends and family [Hello, genius! Amazon.com????]), there's a bigger issue at hand.


No, I've never (as far as I recall while sober) written fanfic, but it's everywhere online. Who knows, there may even be Aston West fanfic out there somewhere. But, for the most part, it goes unpunished because people write it for themselves (and other fanfic writers, I presume). This author had the audacity to try and sell it (near 300 pages for $20...still cheaper than a PublishAmerica offering).

Now, the question I have is simple: What would have happened in this case if the author had simply offered the piece up as a free e-book? Perhaps via her website (which has since been taken down, presumably by the Lucas juggernaut)? Perhaps via Lulu?

Considering the amount of fanfic out there, I don't imagine most of it gets much attention for its blatant copyright violation. So, what is the magic "go" point at which the lawyers began to play the Jaws theme song (uh oh, copyright violation in progress)?

12 April 2006

It Doesn't Get Much Better Than This...

I knew there was a reason I liked space travel so much. My ship is relatively easy to fix. Everything in its place, everything easy to get to. Most of the time, things work for a long time (unless someone messes with the systems)

With the way they build cars (most notably, the Chevy Cavalier, circa 1997), is it any wonder that GM keeps laying people off on its way out of business?

Of course, ever since it was bought used around 6 years ago, it's been nothing but trouble, so I've heard. The really disturbing part is that even going through numerous repairs, it's still been cheaper than buying something new.

04 April 2006

The New Math, Part Two?

So, I'd say I'm fairly intelligent when it comes to math (even by Earth standards), but I have a feeling my powers are going to be for naught, because obviously math as Earth knows it has changed.

A friend recently re-financed his home (on a daily interest system) and set it up on automatic biweekly payments. Well, as happens whenever money is involved, someone screwed up.

So, get your pencils, your paper, and your calculators ready, because this will be a toughie...

One payment was made 14 days after the last.

Another payment was made 14 days after that one.

So, one would think that the principal/interest split on the second payment (amounts don't matter) would have ended up more for principal, less for interest, right?

(For those still back at "Where's my calculator?!?" your balance would be lower on the second payment, and thus the interest would be less, at least it used to be)

But yet, the interest was not just more, but so much more that it cut the principal payment to a quarter of what it should have been.

Repeated attempts have been made to convince the bank in question that they're mistaken (even though they've attempted to justify the interest unsuccessfully on multiple occassions), but yet nothing has come of it.

I guess the next step for my friend is to contact federal authorities, as I imagine financial fraud is still a crime...

Unless, of course, the math rules have really changed...

Aston West
bank interest
home loans