Darren Barefoot
Darren Barefoot


Thinking Chaos, Thinking Fences

This is for those who descend into the code
and make their room a fridge for Superman

Thursday, May 01, 2003

In a innovative crime prevention strategy, West Midlands police are apparently going to deploy cardboard cut-outs of themselves:

The figures will be placed in crime hotspots around Rowley Regis, concentrating on the areas of Springfield, Brickhouse and Rowley. Inspector Denise Clarke said: "This is an innovative approach at Old Hill but is only one tactic in a series of current activity under way, focussed on combating crime in the area.

'While cynics may question the usefulness of cardboard cut outs, there is undoubtedly a psychological perception of a visible police presence.'

How long will it be before we see one of these on eBay?

As a side note, many of the police in Ireland and the UK wear these bright yellow jackets. However, in Ireland, lots of other professions--city workers, construction crews, cyclists--wear these jackets as well. Doesn't that reduce the effectiveness of these jackets as a uniform? Aren't they better off sticking with the snazzy blue outfit?

9:13:28 PM    

A fascinating article on Kuro5hin by Roger Williams about open sourcing his science fiction novel. Basically, he released his novel for free online with very little fanfare (well, a couple of hits on Slashdot and BoingBoing ain't bad, but there wasn't a marketing effort, per se). He estimates that he had 5000 to 10,000 readers--people who actually viewed most or all of pages of his novel (which, as he points out, is more information than you from the purchase-and-leave bookstore model. Do the people who buy your book actually read it?). He wasn't overly aggressive in soliciting donations, but he had a 'virtual tip jar' and, so far, he's made US $810. I figure if he exerted some marketing effort and was more forthright about asking for cash, he might get to $2000 pretty easily.

In comparison, a lucky first time novelist might get a US $5000 advance and sell out his or her run of 5000 books. Others would see less than that and sell fewer copies. In truth, this self-publishing freeware model isn't a bad one. I haven't read his novel, so I don't know whether it would merit dead tree publication or not. Regardless, this guy's put in the effort to write a book, and he wants people to read it. Lots of people have, and he's made a little money out of it. Frankly, I think that's a lot closer to the Star Trek utopian model than book tours, miserly publishers and five cents (or whatever) on the dollar.

This story reminded me of Courtney Love's polemic that was published in Salon: 'I know my place. I'm a waiter. I'm in the service industry. I live on tips.'

Of course, these numbers don't compare to the much-read Andrew Sullivan, who held a 'Pledge Week' and netted $80,000 inside ten days. Yowza.

9:04:43 AM    

© Copyright 2003 Darren Barefoot.



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