I Eat Salmon Ice Cream

There’s about sixty hours to go on the Prohibition Orcs kickstarter. I haven’t done the math yet, because the campaign is not over yet and I don’t have money in hand, but it appears that I’ll net about as much on this Kickstarter as I would selling the books to a midsized publisher.

The Kickstarter is undoubtedly a huge amount of work. But it’s less mental labor than selling the books to a publisher, negotiating a contract, and interfacing with that publisher’s staff to shepherd them into print.

I’m calling this a win. Plus, a sane normal publisher won’t give me fancy leather covers.

Yes, this post is here to remind followers that the campaign is about to end and you should back now if you’re going to. I also wanted to mention my live reading of the PO tale Woolen Torment.

And finally, the subject of this post.

One of the Kickstarter stretch goals was recipes. A “friend” of mine saw that and decided he would contribute, by making orcish ice cream. Four different kinds. I tried them. On camera. Live. For your amusement. Content warnings for phrases like “punt it into the Sun” and “lick the bottom of the rat cage.”


I feel compelled to share this. After all, many of my readers love to watch me suffer.

Leather Book Covers?

Over in OpenBSD Mastery: Filesystems land, I spent yesterday writing about dumpfs and how modern UFS respects disk geometry. (It doesn’t, except when it does.)

Over in Kickstarter land, I got a sample over the Orcibus’ leather cover.

It’s magnificent. Fortunately, because it’s $200.

I’m contemplating offering a leather cover when I do the OMF Kickstarter.

Gut reaction, of course, is that this would be stupid. Nobody wants a fancy tech book. But I thought nobody would want a hardcover tech book, yet folks buy them. Must ponder.

No matter what, though, I needed to show this off.

Halfway Through the Orc Kickstarter

I hoped that the Prohibition Orcs Kickstarter would break $5k in thirty days. That would give me the complete custom covers, and let me publish my Dream Orc Books.

Instead, it’s over $8k in less than half that time. This is the most I have ever been paid for a work of fiction, and it’s not even out yet. (Lifetime sales on some novels are higher, I’m sure, but I don’t have the accounting software to figure that out. Nobody does.)

It’s also following the same trend as the Badgers kickstarter: busy for ten days, pretty flat for ten, and a last minute surge over the final ten days. I might make the next one only twenty days, to see if I can cut out the sagging middle. Pretty sure it won’t actually work that way, but this is all an experiment and nobody knows anything, so why not?

I’m especially surprised that so many folks are buying the leather-covered Orcibus.

As part of the Kickstarter, I also recorded me reading Woolen Torment, in its entirety. Yes, yes, I have a face for radio and a voice for print, but it’s a thing.

I’ll say it now: my guess for the finish is about $10k.

If the Kickstarter hits the $25k stretch goal, however, I will get my first ever tattoo. A few of my readers who are especially interested in me experiencing pain and scarring would like me to have a tattoo. I figure this goal is low enough to encourage those folks to shill the campaign to others–after all, it’s nearly realistic!–while being high enough to keep my hide intact. But they’ll enjoy threatening my pasty complexion with color, so it’s all good. Here’s the black and white art that will be engraved on the orc-hide Orcibus, and maaaaybe on my hide.

Yes, Mha the orcess is crazy romantic.

Sixteen days left if you want any of the exclusive rewards. Or, just wait until it goes in my bookstore. Whatever.

Prohibition Orcs Kickstarter now live!

At long last, I’m publishing a collection of Prohibition Orcs tales and a full-length PO novel. I’m using a Kickstarter to fund the initial expenses, so that I can afford custom art and a few extras.

If you’re a Patronizer, you’ll automatically get books as per your patronage level. If you want the fancy but expensive Orcibus bound in authentic orc leather, you’ll have to get it through the Kickstarter I’m afraid.

Once the books go live, the individual chapbooks will go out of print. Grab them now if you want them.

Penguicon 2022 Schedule and Books

The folks at Penguicon have released the schedule to presenters. It’s not public yet–it will be soon, promise!–but here’s my little slice of it.

4pm: DNSSEC in 2022 (presentation)
5pm: Covid and Creativity (panel)

11am: Trad vs Indie Publishing (panel)
12pm: Writing Workshop: Setting as Characterization (workshop, 2 hours)
3pm: Self-Publishing in 2022 (panel or AMA, there’s confusion)
4pm: Reading (with GoH JD DeLuzio)
5pm: TLS in 2022 (presentation)
6pm: Writer’s Block bookstore (staff, hangout)

12pm: Writer’s Block Bookstore (staff, hangout)

It might change. Things happen. But this is where you’ll find me.

The other question folks have is: will my books be there? Of course. The bookstore will have git commit murder, git sync murder, and Cash Flow for Creators. I could only pick three, and those seemed like the broadest interest. (I’m not knocking Penguicon for only taking three titles, I’m grateful they are taking any.

I’ll have a few copies each of these with me:

SSH Mastery
DNSSEC Mastery 2nd ed
Sudo Mastery 2nd ed
PAM Mastery
Ed Mastery
SNMP Mastery
The Networknomicon
TLS Mastery
Domesticate Your Badgers
Absolute FreeBSD 3rd ed

Immortal Clay
Kipuka Blues
Butterfly Stomp Waltz
Terrapin Sky Tango
Hydrogen Sleets
Aidan Redding Against the Universe
Savaged by Systemd (extra expensive if you make me touch it)
assorted chapbooks (all $5)

Might be paperback or hardcover. First come, first served. I don’t plan to restock until after covid.

Hope to see you there!

Kickstarter and Blockchain

The fact that I don’t support and won’t use environmentally disastrous cryptocurrency and distributed blockchains is not a secret. I’ve also said that I plan to start using Kickstarter more often. Kickstarter has said they have a blockchain strategy. Are my stances contradictory?

Not yet, but they might be in the future.

One of the many annoying things about large companies are the busybodies who don’t really know the company’s business or how the trade works, but have leverage and demand that the firm be buzzword-compliant. These busybodies include but are not limited to investors, brokers, and auditors.

“Blockchain” and “cryptocurrency” are buzzwords. Busybodies are demanding that all their firms have strategies for them.

When a busybody demands you become buzzword-compliant with something that’s irrelevant to your business, what do you do?

The first step is to see if you’re already technically buzzword compliant. Do you have an existing system or product that fits that buzzword?

About ten years ago, systems that let you identify and track intruders were big news. I was in a meeting where an important client asked if we had that ability. My employer had no intrusion detection system. Most of the corporate hosts had to reside on the public Internet, without even an external packet filter. We had invested zero in dedicated intrusion analysis capability.

Nevertheless, I answered “yes.” Truthfully.

I had not installed our flow sensors for the primary purpose of identifying intrusions, but I certainly used them as such. The boss picked up on it and said, “We employ the man who literally wrote the book on the topic.” The client shut up and moved on. Zero-effort buzzword compliance, there.

Suppose you don’t have an existing system that fits the buzzword? Further, suppose that the buzzword is utterly irrelevant to your business but the busybodies demand that you have a strategy for that buzzword? You engage in Performative Buzzword Compliance.

Figure out the minimum amount of effort that you can spend on the buzzword, and the minimum amount of resources you can “invest” in it. Take an employee who is temporarily dysfunctional because they’ve been diagnosed with cancer or have a newborn or care more about their side gig writing than your stupid job. Tell them to spend one hour a week keeping up on the tech and brainstorming what the company might do with it.

This lets you perform Performative Buzzword Compliance. You publicly issue:

  1. A press release
  2. A FAQ about your efforts.
  3. A statement that you have dedicated staff to the task.
  4. If the buzzword is actively harmful, all of these must address the harm and state that your approach will negate those harmful effects.
  5. A vague lie that it will revolutionize your business.

You tell your busybodies that you have a buzzword strategy.

And you move on.

I am not authoritatively declaring that Kickstarter has done this. I have no inside knowledge.

I will say that Kickstarter’s public statements show all the signs of Performative Buzzword Compliance.

They have a press release and a FAQ. They’ve said folks are working on this. The FAQ says that their blockchain is special, and won’t destroy the planet.

The last point is the most important here. When Kickstarter said that they were starting a blockchain project, the general reaction among users was “why?” Kickstarter’s FAQ lists the problems their blockchain will help with, and most of them are not technical problems with Kickstarter itself. Yes, rewards can be delayed. That sucks. Blockchain won’t help. Yes, spreading the word is hard. Blockchain won’t help with that either. And so on.

Can Kickstarter admit this? No. The first rule of performative compliance is you don’t admit you’re doing it.

But after decades in tech, my nose is highly attuned to performative compliance. This stinks of it.

Every company will have a blockchain strategy. Ford Motor Company has one, Fiat has one, and General Motors has one. Blockchain is wholly irrelevant in automotive, but the busybodies demand a strategy. Amazon’s blockchain strategy is to sell managed blockchain services–they know the tech is not useful to their business, but they’re gonna make money off the suckers and simultaneously satisfy the busybodies.

Don’t dismiss an organization for buzzword compliance.

See what they’re doing with the buzzword.

At this time, I see no sign that Kickstarter is actually doing blockchain. Like many businesses, they are miming blockchain.

Given current knowledge, I intend to run three Kickstarters in 2022. If Kickstarter’s blockchain strategy starts spewing carbon and heat, I will change my plans.

Software Recommendations

I’ve recently gotten a spate of emails asking what software stack I recommend. I suspect someone’s attempting an argument from authority, or trying to catch me contradicting something I said decades ago, or… or who knows what. I’ll be adding this to my FAQ, but here’s the long answer. Ahem:

Use whatever you think will work.

Software is terrible. Operating systems are worse. Some are worse than others.

I tend to put databases on ZFS, because databases are even more terrible and I want automatic snapshots. But: jails or chroots? Pffft. Everything is terrible. Choose your doom.

What do I recommend? I recommend abandoning technology, moving to a colder climate that won’t be flooded as the oceans rise, and dedicating yourself to improving the soil as you learn to farm enough to feed yourselves and those you love. Or, if that’s not your style, stop wasting more electricity than many countries to perform useless computations for deflationary pseudomoney. I solidly recommend that.