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Journalism

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17
Alyse
07-21-2006
05:02 PM ET (US)
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  Messages 16-14 deleted by author 07-21-2006 08:58 AM
13
Tony Q.
10-24-2003
12:16 AM ET (US)
After resigning from Shopper I ordered an Alphasmart Dana Wireless (PDF), as they've finally started shipping the European model. You can't run Half Life 2 on it, or play DVDs, but any subnotebook computer that's designed to be abused by toddlers, run for 25 hours on a single charge, is drop-tested off a building, weighs under 1 kilogram, and has WiFi has got be to useful for something.

The military, perhaps?
12
Charlie StrossPerson was signed in when posted
10-17-2003
04:39 PM ET (US)
They officially announced availability of the euro version of the Dana Wireless in the UK on Monday -- I ordered one the same day and now I'm waiting. (I'm not holding my breath; given the usual state of play for new gizmos from the US, it could take anything up to a month to show up.) Price is GBP 309+VAT, incidentally -- a bit more than the US price, but not the usual usurious 1:1 pound:dollar exchange ratio.

I'm also awaiting the Treo 600, which Orange said should be with me in 1-3 working days, as of yesterday :)
11
Martin SutherlandPerson was signed in when posted
10-16-2003
07:40 PM ET (US)
Wireless Dana, drool. I was looking at their web site just earlier today, and I couldn't see the European versions. Do you have to ask them extra nicely to get one?

Congratulations and good luck on going full time on the fiction, too!
10
Homo Gestalt
10-16-2003
08:14 AM ET (US)
Just wanted to echo your praise of taikonaut Yang Liwei and the Chinese space program. I note that the rocket (not the pod) was called Long March.
9
sharks
10-15-2003
05:16 AM ET (US)
NEWS FLASH: SCO sues Singularity: "It emerged from
the timeline we emerged from, so we own it!"

Congrats on full-time fiction career, Charlie.

-----sharks
8
Liam Proven
10-14-2003
09:21 AM ET (US)
Indeed, the end of an era, and the end of the best monthly Linux coverage in print in Britain. If I hadn't already got a Linux column in a Dennis mag, I'd punt for it myself. Sorry to hear you're moving on, but I understand why and hope the move's successful for you.
7
David Bell
10-14-2003
04:42 AM ET (US)
Me, I'm in the middle of quitting farming.

At least writing for Computer Shopper left money in your pocket. If you're rich enough to have a big enough farming operation (in the UK) to make a profit, you'd get a better income if you cashed up and invested in Premium Bonds.

At least you have your replacement income mapped out. Are any of the Linux-specific magazines still running, and still publishing the sort of stuff you want to write?
6
Itamar Shtull-Trauring
10-13-2003
06:17 PM ET (US)
I'm actually going the in opposite direction - starting to write technical content, for xml.com. Along with their sister site oreillynet.com, they seem to pay decently (US$350 for 1500 words - what's industry scale?), have interesting articles, and the people running it know what they're talking about. The editor for xml.com told me that "controversial topics helps get readers" regarding one of my proposals! So, there is still hope.

I haven't seen a decent consumer computer magazine for years, though... I remember enjoying Amiga Format, but I dunno if it was actually any good, I was rather young at the time.

I doubt anyone is going to complain about "Charlie Stross spending more time writing books" :)
5
Jamais CascioPerson was signed in when posted
10-13-2003
04:31 PM ET (US)
You made the right decision, Charlie. I know how difficult it is to do something like this -- I walked away from a Ph.D. program in Political Science a decade ago. It would have been less troublesome to stick around (I was doing well, but had no love for the work any longer). In the end, you need to do what's right, not what's simplest.
4
Neel Krishnaswami
10-12-2003
11:12 PM ET (US)
Actually, let me offer you my congratulations. One of my big life surprises was learning just how hard it is to gather the courage to leave a dead-end. The fact that you've done it (counts) three times over means you're doing pretty damn well.
3
Barry
10-12-2003
10:09 PM ET (US)
Charlie, about leaving computer journalism - look at the good side. You made some money, you did what you wanted for a while, it helped you with writing. And in the end, you got out with your self-respect, and didn't seem to get too badly burned by the dot-com crash.
2
Charlie StrossPerson was signed in when posted
10-12-2003
06:49 PM ET (US)
Content doesn't pay. At least, not on the net where people expect content to be free and resent being advertised at (especially as pop-ups and animations are so much more annoying than traditional ads in print media).

Add on top of that: the corporatization of the mass media has rendered it fundamentally less interesting to work in. Leaving aside niche markets like poetry and science fiction novels, most corporate communications tend towards the state of Stalinist party communiques -- which shouldn't be surprising, because most corporations are Stalinist mini-states floating within a sea of capitalist chaos, but it's annoying that they're so clueless in their relationship with the outside world that they behave just like totalitarian mini-states. We can see this in other forms of communication adopted by the modern corporation, from the SLAPP lawsuit to the DMCA threat directed at a student who exposes a copy prevention mechanism as being the Emperor's New Suit, avoidable by the judicious use of a shift key: but it's at its most obvious in their PR, and the type of people who climb the ladder of corporate publishing by glad-handing the advertisers and regurgitating their colourless pap are not the kind of people to realise that this just turns off their audience.

Gaah. I'm outa here -- that's a rant for another day.
1
Alex SteffenPerson was signed in when posted
10-12-2003
02:49 PM ET (US)
Hey Charlie. Sorry, but not suprised, to hear that you're resigning your column. Having spent 11 years freelancing for a living (including some time logged writing a column of my own), and having a great number of friends who freelance for a living, I can tell you that the trends you describe are by no means limited to trade journalism. Most everyone I know is moving out of journalism and into some other field.

What pains me is that it seems that more and more of the fine, independent voices in publishing are going silent. I hope that much of this thought will migrate to the web, but the web still doesn't have the cultural authority (or the budgets) that magazines have.

All that said, I couldn't be happier to hear that you're moving over to writing fiction full-time, and can't wait to read the stories you have to tell.

Good luck, man, and Godspeed.
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