I'm writing this from my i-Pad, sitting outside waiting for the
charcoal to burn down in the grill. That's right, we are finally using
the new patio for the first time! I'm quite excited about that! Spring
has finally arrived in Georgia. The pollen count is already off the
charts, but that is just life in the country for you. Never a dull
There! The coals are ready, at last. I'll just put the burgers on
and come back... Oh! These are some good-looking burgers. Bratwurst,
too. Looks like I have a few minutes before I need to turn anything.
Yesterday I was in the monthly chat for the Larry Niven e-mail list.
Just before everything got started in the chat, someone congratulated
me on completing the manuscript for the Mare Inebrium short story
collection that I've been working so hard to finish. While I was
explaining it to a few of the list members who didn't know about it,
Larry himself came in and congratulated me! I was quite boosted by the
experience, as you can imagine.
As the chat itself got underway, the group cast about for a topic
that we hadn't already talked to death. D.J. Rout, Aphelion's newest
Mare Inebrium author and fellow Niven List member, suggested a story
idea that Larry got excited about. If you see the news of a new Draco
Tavern story coming out, it might just be that very one. So keep a
sharp eye out for that announcement next year. Don't ever let anyone
tell you that Aphelion writers can't change the world! We can, and do,
Indirectly, that very exchange gave me this topic for my editorial.
Namely, chat rooms and why I am sad that they aren't as common as once
they were. You see, back in the early 2000s, perhaps 2002 or so,
someone thought it would be fun to crash every IRC chat server that
they could gain access to, using what was known at the time as a "Bot
Net." That is, some huge number of virus-infected computers that the
villain had gained control over. This- person, shall we say, instructed
their army of zombie computers to tie up every access point that the
chat room users needed to join chat networks and talk with their online
friends. The network servers became overloaded, everyone attempting to
use the service was cut off from the net, and the unprincipled bugger
behind the attack surely giggled themselves into a coma over the havoc
that they had wrought. The owners of the chat servers attempted to
wrest control of their computers back from the bot net, but by the time
the good guys had regained control, almost all of their regular
customers had given up in disgust at being unable to use what they had
been so frequently used to availing themselves thereof. In short,
people gave up on chat because they were having so much trouble
connecting to a service that had been freely available before. These
hackers killed chat, for a great huge number of ordinary people. Oh,
some people attempted to move to networks that were better protected
from attacks. Others tried to rebuild the channels of communication
that the hackers had compromised. To no avail. Most chat users had gone
on to other things like Private Messaging, and Flash-based chat
applets, and smaller, privately-owned chat server networks. The damage
had been done. Chat, as we frequent users knew it at the time, had
joined the Dodo and the Passenger Pigeon in extinction. Which was a
very dark day, indeed. Aphelion was itself affected, since there were
several of us who frequented the networks that had suffered.
But we eventually found a way to continue communicating with one
another in groups. We adapted, we survived, and eventually we regrew
our lost circles of friends. Some friends we never did find again, but
we did try. And all our suffering was caused by some bozo, or group of
like-minded bozos who thought that it would give them some sort of
"coolness factor" to mess with the rest of the online community. Sad,
really. I sometimes wonder how nasty their lives must have been for
disrupting world-wide communications to have looked like a fun thing to
Time and technology do keep marching on. Every new cyber-threat is
eventually met with a deterrent. But how many stories never got written
because the putative writers never got to brainstorm their ideas with
their online friends? What new adventures of new heroes never came to
be because of some hackers deciding to crash the chat networks? The
world will never know, and that makes me sad. I wanted to read those
stories! Now, I won't get the chance.
First off, if you do the Facebook thing, feel free to join us on the
Aphelion page there. The link is Aphelion Webzine.
As an aside, the Editorial Mafia and I have found Facebook to be useful
while we transition between e-mailing lists. Given our different
locations and schedules, it's come in handy as a way to discuss
production details of new issues. Sometimes there are several of us
using Facebook at the same time, so it's almost like the old chat room
Music Page This is my promo page here at Aphelion. All the links
below, and more information about the albums, are located here.
Bank On A Learning Curve CD on the Create Space
website. My first
album, with a wide range of styles and genres, covering the past three
years of my working with the MAGIX Music Maker programs.
Helping CD on the Create Space website. My second album,
as wide a range of different musical styles, showing just how much I've
learned in the past three years.
Page on the Bandcamp website. Digital downloads of the albums,
or each individual song if you prefer it that way. Just click on the
album cover thumbnails and you'll see a list of each song on the album.
Next to the song titles are links to read the liner notes, or to
download the individual song. You can listen to each song for free.
There is also a link to download each entire album at one go. I cannot
say enough about Bandcamp! This is an amazing website. I have Rob, and
many other friends, to thank for finally talking me into checking it
Here are some links to pages I have up promoting my music. When my
book comes out I'll add those links to the promotion page, too. So far,
there are links on that page to the Create Space Preview songs, the
Create Space page for each album, the Amazon.com listings, and the link
to the digital downloads page.
And here's a link to my Sound Cloud page:
Dan's Sound Cloud
Page where all my music has been stored for your free listening
pleasure. These are not as high a quality recordings as the ones on the
CDs or on Bandcamp. But SoundCloud does have the virtue of having
everything collected together in one place.
Check those links out, buy a CD or download if you like what you
hear. And once again, thank you for your time,
Dan all my music has been stored for your free listening pleasure.
These are not as high a quality recordings as the ones on the CDs or on
Bandcamp. But SoundCloud does have the virtue of having everything
collected together in one place.
Check those links out, buy a CD or download if you like what
you hear. And once again, thank you for your time,
ON THE COVER
Title: Heavyweight Stars Light
Up Nebula NGC 6357
Photo Credit: NASA, ESA, and J. Maíz Apellániz (Instituto de
Astrofísica de Andalucía, Spain) STScI