Happy New Year! I’ve decided to celebrate the end of 2012 by releasing my short story, Starfarer, for free! You can get it here. It’s available in every format imaginable (e-books, PDF, text, etc), all of them DRM-free!
Starfarer is a short story about an unusual first contact between Angie Coura, a woman from Earth who is on a long-range deep space sleeper ship heading towards a new colony, and an alien vessel.
Partway through the journey, Angie’s ship has a catastrophic encounter with the alien ship, which changes her life forever.
Starfarer is set in the same universe as my Masters Trilogy of novels: Edge of Infinity, Heart of the Maelstrom, and the upcoming (and I just now came up with the title for it) Beyond the Expanse.
I’m excited to announce that my second novel is now available for purchase on Amazon!
Continuing the story from Edge of Infinity, Heart of the Maelstrom follows the adventures of the crew of the space carrier Pegasus, as they come face to face with the enigmatic and ancient Masters. The Masters are far more advanced technologically than the humans or their allies, and the moment of first contact does not go well.
The story also follows a new (and my new favorite) character, Christopher Hunter, an English pastor whose simple life becomes a lot more complicated when he comes in direct contact with the Masters.
I’ve had a tremendous amount of fun writing the book, and I feel in the second novel I’m really starting to hit my stride as a fiction author. I am planning on starting to write the third (and final) installment in the Masters Trilogy early in 2013.
This is a recreation of the original article that was published at: http://jeremyreimer.com/postman/node/329
I have written two articles based on this data at Ars Technica:
Total Share: 30 years of personal computer market share figures - December 2005
From Altair to iPad: 35 years of personal computer market share - August 2012
(The second article also includes smartphone and tablet market share and compares them to the growth of the personal computer)
The first personal computer, the MITS Altair 8080, was released in 1975 and changed the world forever. A handful of geeks (Bill Gates included) saw this humble $395 kit as the beginning of something big... but nobody knew how big!
The Altair sold a few thousand units in 1975. Today, more than 300 million personal computers are sold each year! How did we get here, and which computer platforms were around for the journey? A lot of people who have come into personal computing recently do not know that there were once many different platforms-- a glance at a 1980 issue of Popular Computing revealed over 100 different manufacturers of incompatible brands!
The following graphs reveal some of the story, and show the incredible growth of the industry. They should also spark some memories of platforms gone by.
All figures in 1,000’s of units
Download the data in Excel format
Notes on sources
A bunch of stuff from the old jeremyreimer.com still hasn't been transferred over yet, but the main blog is (hopefully) working!
This new server is actually an Amazon EC2 instance I'm trying out. Yes, jeremyreimer.com is going into the cloud. Will we ever escape it? Who knows?
Further exciting updates as they come in!
This is a rendering of the Pegasus Carrier that I did in 3D Studio Max. This is the main ship in my Masters Trilogy of science-fiction novels.
Here's the view from underneath. You can see the massive heat shield that dominates the underside of the ship. This is necessary for the ship to survive the jump into hyperspace, which takes place close to the surface of a star.
I just saw this:
and I was like this:
Oh, not much.
Just commanded the Starship Enterprise.
This was taken at the PNE. My wife is handling Riker’s duties (she didn’t want to be Counsellor Troi-- who does?) and my brother-in-law is ably manning the science station. Or maybe it’s the weapons station. Or the security station. Well, it’s whatever the script needs it to be, okay?
This was part of the awesome Star Trek exhibit. It’s a full-size replica of the original bridge set, which was destroyed in the disappointing Generations movie. I also got to sit in Kirk’s original chair, which was pretty awesome.
EDIT: Okay here’s a pic of me in Kirk’s chair.
EDIT AGAIN: And here's the NCC-1701D's transporter room:
We are all told: "Don’t judge a book by its cover". Unfortunately, this is just another of the many lies that people propagate. Books ARE judged by their covers, and this is one area where independent authors are at a disadvantage compared to traditional publishers. Sure, it would be great to contract out to a real artist or graphic designer to make a stunning cover (and certainly better in the long run than letting a publisher do so in exchange for taking more of your royalty forever) but what if you don’t have the money? What if you are just starting out?
Well, it turns out that if you are short on money, there are actually lots of great tools that will let you produce a stunning book cover for free.
<h4>Start with a pencil sketch</h4>
Pen and pencil are as near to free as can be, and even in today’s digital age they are still an effective way to quickly sketch out a number of ideas. For my second novel, Heart of the Maelstrom, I had an idea of two figures in spacesuits looking out at an image of the Milky Way galaxy rising over a rocky landscape on a distant planet. The idea is one thing, but sketching it out makes it clear how it will come together. You can make a whole bunch of these sketches really quickly and refine them until you get what you want.
<h4>Need a landscape?</h4>
There is a great application called Flickr for some free background images that are licensed for commercial use.
<h4>Free 3D models</h4>
I needed an astronaut model in a spacesuit for my cover, but many sites offer only expensive paid models. NASA, however, had a page full of free models of all their satellites and space suits. I chose the Advanced Crew Escape Suite (ACES) which fit my story perfectly.
<h4>Free 3D rendering software</h4>
I have an old copy of 3D Studio Max from when I took an animation class, but there are free alternatives out there. One of the most popular is Blender, which has been used to make some stunning images and movies. Yes, Blender is a bit harder to learn than some commercial 3D packages, but remember, we are working from the assumption that we have little money to spare. If you have little money, you can use your own time instead.
<h4>Putting it all together</h4>
You need some 2D compositing software to put everything together and make it look good. One of the best free programs to do this is Paint.net, which does everything you need, including layers, lighting, filters, text, and so forth.
Many independent authors get the fonts wrong. The most common mistake is making either the title or the author’s name too large. There should be some whitespace around the title, and it is best to choose a font that isn’t too "thick" or fat. There are lots of free fonts out there. Choose something that is simple and not too fancy, but that isn’t Times New Roman or Arial. You don’t need to put your name in giant letters, either. Publishers selling books by famous authors sometimes do this for marketing purposes, but you aren’t there just yet. Keep your title larger than your name. If the text is hard to make out against the background, some judicious use of drop shadows can help.
For science-fiction titles, the Hubble photos are the best source for high-quality imagery, and they are free for the world to use. I took an image of a barred spiral galaxy as a stand-in for the Milky Way (which is also a barred spiral) and found a deep-field image to use as the
In the end, hopefully you have a great-looking cover image that you made for free or close to free! This is the end result for my upcoming novel Heart of the Maelstrom, the second book in the Master’s trilogy. Good luck!
Here's my pet peeve of the day: Blogs that say things like: "Find out the answer after the fold" or "More after the jump".
YOU ARE A WEB PAGE. THERE IS NO FOLD. THERE IS NO JUMP. If I want to continue reading, I will continue reading. Maybe I'll have to scroll down. If I care enough, I will. I've never once gone to a blog and thought to myself: "Well, this wasn't interesting enough to keep reading, but I have to find out what's after that jump!" What the hell is a jump, anyway?
Oh, you put a stupid ad to break up your content? Is that what you meant? Wow, I've almost lost interest in your page now. Oh look, there's the "Close" button on the tab. I wonder what happens if I press that?
It’s hard to believe the last time I did one of these articles was 2005, and since then not one but TWO new product categories have been introduced to the world.
I’m pretty happy with the way this article turned out, which is pretty much exactly how I wanted it: a nostalgia trip for the personal computer industry and a comparison with the new smartphone and tablet world.
Oh, here’s the link:
I'm a writer and occasional programmer. I write science fiction stories and novels.
I also write technology articles for Ars Technica.
I'm the creator of newLISP on Rockets, a web development framework and blog application.
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