Archive for November, 2005

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November 30, 2005

What’s this – blogging every day?? We’ll see how long it lasts.

Today I received my 8th PostCrossing card, my first from the UK, and also the first I got from a guy. Johan and I were discussing how come there seemed to be mostly female participants in the project, at least from the cards I’ve received; granted, I’ve sent to a few male recipients, but to three times as many women. Who knows. In any case, I’ve now got cards from Germany, Austria, Portugal, Finland, the US, the Netherlands and the UK, and sent cards to Brazil, Switzerland, Finland, the US, Portugal and Spain. Here’s a graphical representation of my sent and received cards (sent cards have red lines, received cards blue lines)

Yes, it does get expensiveish after a while, but I’m still at the gosh wow yay fun! stage.

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November 29, 2005

It is that time of year, again, and I signed up for it, again. Last year I got a Glen Cook and a David Crystal, the year before I got two Arthur Ransome novels… I have been spoilt!

I refer, of course, to Secret Santa, where you receive gifts from your Amazon Wishlist (mine is linked over there to the left!) and send something to somebody else, from their list. I remember a couple of years ago trying to explain to some people that no, it is not a zero-sum game, it’s not the same as buying yourself something from your own list. Of course you’ll get something you want and that you explicitely asked for, that’s why you have it on your list – but the whole point is getting surprised by which item the secret Santa picks! And of course getting to pick something for somebody else, that you know they want. It’s not a zero-sum game – more like a win-win situation.

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November 28, 2005

Edith Sandberg passed away on Nov 1, 2005. She was 101. The funeral was last Friday; it is not a tragedy when a very old person dies, but nonetheless it is sad, and pretty much impossible to understand when somebody who has always been there, isn’t. The last time I saw her was on Oct 4, when she turned 101. She talked about how lucky she was, to have relatives and friends visiting so she never had to feel alone, and how she still had her eyesight and hearing and what a blessing that was. She looked tired, though.

My sisters and I, and our respective husbands, sang at the funeral: Eggehorn’s Var Inte Rädd and Westley’s Lead Me Lord (in Swedish). My voice didn’t like it much, but it felt like a good thing to do all the same, and it was appreciated by the other funeral guests, too.

On Saturday and Sunday, however, I couldn’t sing. So there was no Christmas Oratory for me this year, which also made me quite sad. I’d been looking forward to it.

Happier times ahead, however. It’s finally FINALLY snowed properly, and it will soon be Lucia (my voice will have to be ok by then!) – and I’m writing this in the light of the single candle of the first of Advent.

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November 28, 2005

A graphic designer is me!

Well, no. That’s a talent I don’t have at all, nor do I have an education in the graphic arts. What I do have is Photoshop and a plugin making it possible to save PS documents as .ico files. And 20 minutes’ worth of doodling resulted in a favicon, as seen in the URL bar. It isn’t professional, but it is 100% my own work. Wheee!

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November 23, 2005

It is odd, for it is so utterly irrational, but I really can’t stop digging in this.

A few years ago, a few people interested in boosting one author’s sales started writing lots of glowing reviews of his work. The author in question has never been accepted by a publisher, and publishes his own work at a small press publishing house. The review campaign was very blatantly carried out, to the point where several people remarked on it, here is one comment, and here another one. (Follow those two links – they will explain the background.) In both cases, the author of the comment was suddenly and unpleasantly reminded of the story a few weeks ago. David Langford got his web archive removed after Glasgow University took fright by a vague email from somebody claiming to be a lawyer, and Stephen Leigh was himself contacted by the same pretend lawyer. Rather unpleasant stuff, and this is why I don’t want to write the author’s name in this blog.

In the years between, the review campaigns have continued. Those reviews I’ve seen that appear honest give his work very poor reviews indeed, and the author is largely unknown, I have never seen his books being sold at sf conventions, for instance. That could just be because I didn’t know the name until reading about the fraud, though.

Anyway, that is all just background. What is odd is not the man’s, or his publisher’s, or maybe even a small group of fanatic readers’ attempts to raise the sales by dishonest methods. People are what they are after all. No, but I get this urge to go to Amazon.com* myself and start writing scathingly bad reviews of the author’s work. Even though I’ve never read them, and I don’t expect I ever will. Really, how does it impact my life if people buy the books by this man? It’s not as if that will make Lynn Flewelling or Steven Brust or Jane Yolen, to name but three genuinely good authors whose books I love, disappear from the shelves. The rational thing would be to read the reports, shake my head and forget about it. But as I say, I’m morbidly fascinated by this whole thing and just can’t stop digging.

No, I haven’t written any bad reviews, of course not. I wouldn’t be surprised if, by now, some of the really negative words are as fake as the really positive words, however. People being what they are.

*Amazon.com, online bookseller, where customers can write reviews and rate books using a five-star rating system. Books with a high rating will show as recommendations, I think, and so be more likely to sell then low-rated books, all else being equal.

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November 20, 2005

Néablog News:

I have a RSS feed. I’ve had an Atom feed for months, but RSS is more universal and I’ve just been to lazy to fix it. But now I have one, thanks to FeedBurner.

If you have no idea what the above means, don’t worry. It ain’t going to change anything about the site, it just means that people can subscribe to the contents of this blog, using special RSS software, and be notified when it updates without having to come to the page and check.

The RSS feed URL is http://feeds.feedburner.com/neablog .

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November 20, 2005

I’ve been keeping Néablog, off and on, since April 2002. (Check the archives to the right if you don’t believe me.) When I started, it felt a bit as if I was a lemming, jumping on a train that pretty much everybody had already embarked long ago.

The first years, I was slightly active in the Swedish weblog movement (well, maybe not a movement for that implies an organization with an agenda and a goal. The network of Swedish bloggers, perhaps) which included central people like Erik Stattin, Bengt O Karlsson and David Pettersson (who has since changed his name). Annica Tiger is arguably one of the most active bloggers in Swedish today, and she’s been at it since 1997 for goodness’ sake – I’ve never really read her blog but I don’t think it’s ever been inactive. Weblogs.se started in 2002, I believe – or did it already exist before I started blogging? My memory is a bit hazy. In any case, that was a great resource for finding, reading, bookmarking and recommending Swedish blogs, and it existed for several years before it had to be discontinued in mid-2004 for reasons of economy. These days, it’s Sweblogs.com instead, though I’ve never really familiarised myself with that site.

My point? That it is beyond ridiculous when media writes about weblogs as a phenomenon that cropped up in 2005.