Gamification? One challenge with all of these monitoring devices is keeping people engaged for longer than the excitement of a new whiz-bang electronic device can last. Also, the challenge is that these devices become less useful as the behavior they seek to modify takes hold. To keep relevant and engaging, device makers have created fancy data interfaces, social connections, and, even gamification.
Gamification is the idea that adding game elements, such as badges, achievement awards, cheering, or leaderboards, makes an activity more engaging. And there might be cases where gamification might make something more engaging, though I can’t see how managing migraines can be turned into a game.
Back to our toothbrush.
Justifying ends and means
The toothbrush system awards folks on how much and how long they brush their teeth.
This brings me to my first concern: be careful what you measure. Is there a correlation between good oral health and frequency and length of brushing? Sure, there is some correlation, but when do diminishing returns kick in? Sure, brushing after meals is good. But if you reward someone for frequency and duration of brushing, how long until someone is brushing all the time just to get achievement awards? Yes, kids can be obsessive like that. [And that music the kid listens to for as long as they brush? Watch them try to play the same tune for a very long time, constantly brushing without stop.]
This brings me to my second concern: why can’t good health be the reward? I understand that we want to reward good behavior, but how can we do that without gimmiky gaming badges and awards, especially when it has something to do with our health? To me, any health program that tries to modify behavior should do it through promoting good behavior rather than conditioning the behavior through non-related rewards. This goes for a diet (learning how to eat right, not just lose weight) or a toothbrush (learning proper oral hygiene, not gaming a system).
This brings me to my third concern: coupons. Really? What I didn’t say is that the toothbrush users will also be rewarded with coupons. And coupons just rub me the wrong way. For one, the connection between coupons and tooth brushing doesn’t seem clear to me. Also, and back to the previous two concerns, are we trying to devise a nifty coupon-generating device or are we trying to instill good brushing habit and proper oral hygiene?
How devices help I totally think the use of an electronic toothbrush can be quite beneficial to promoting proper oral health. As part of a system of periodic check-ups, proper eating, and flossing, brushing is important. And tracking brushing might be good for educating children, tracking and correlating usage patterns with dental or oral outcomes, or even for seniors to keep track of the last time they brushed.
To be fair, the toothbrush makers do a good job of pointing all this out. But none of these really should require coupons or achievement badges to get folks to do it. Heck, so many of us already brush our teeth daily without coupons or awards. Simply wanting to avoid bad dentist visits and halitosis are good motivators, too. So, perhaps a bit of measurement can help folks who are a bit on the slack side. But in the end, it’s good health we want, not a clockwork orange coupon-clipper with shiny teeth.
What do you think? Am I being a frump?
[Thank you @changeist for unknowingly providing the spark to write this.]
One of my favorite radio stations in the Boston area, Phoenix WFNX 101.7, died an inglorious death last year. But, like the phoenix, it rose from its ashes as a live streaming radio station, supported by Boston.com (my home page for 10+ years). Now called RBdC (Radio Boston.com) it has multiple ways to access the radio stream. One of them is, of course, a mobile app.
While the idea of a digital-only local radio station is fantastic, I was a bit disappointed that the mobile app missed a few tricks. It failed to take advantage of the mobile modality (what I sometimes call the “mobile lifestyle”), and seems to act like some PC app.
Let me show you.
Main screen – what’s missing?
The one major major omission that stands out like a big thumbs-up is a “Like” button. One of the benefits of a streaming station is the ability to collect data on the listeners – when, where, how long, who. But something that is even better, is that a music player is a feedback conduit. Sure, they could track how many tracks are purchased or shared, but I think they would get a ton of valuable data with a “Like” button. That would give feedback to the DJs on what is resonating with listeners – and of course, that data would be sliced and diced based on who is listening, when, where, and how long.
RBdC, use this app as a data collection tool to not only improve your station, but provide valuable data to your advertisers. And, no, you don’t really need to get creepy about it. There’s a ton of usage data (plus the “Like”) that you can collect that isn’t a violation of privacy.
Now imagine if all ads (and interstitials) also had their graphic and folks could “Like” them? Take that back to your advertisers.
[Gah, listening right now and so want to fave a tune. Great radio station as always, and I want to tell you so!]
The only other comment I have on the main screen is that ton of white space. Why haven’t they used that whole space for the song graphic? What is that upper open space going to be used for?
This ain’t your grandfathers radio I think it’s great that I can see what songs have played before. But why can’t I jump backwards and start the stream earlier? And where’s the pause button? As this is a stream, let me interact non-real-time, non-linearly with the station. Give me the ability to jump back or pause the stream. I know that this might be an issue with ads (ok, so don’t give me a FF button). But at least let me enter the stream at different points. One use would simply be that I see a song I love in the back stream or I want to replay it. Please?
And this is an app on a phone, so there will be many interruptions. I’d be pissed if I was into a tune and then got a call and missed most of the tune.
Also, as this is on a phone, why are the only options to share email or Facebook? What about text message (or Twitter for that matter)? I could text (tweet) a link to the song to a friend and the link opens up their RBdC app on their phone (and it starts at the beginning of the song) so they can hear the song as well and share the experience with me (if they didn’t have the app, it opens up the store to download it – spread that usage!).
Do my ears deceive me?
One last thing: I’ve used other streaming music apps, such as iHeartRadio and Pandora. The quality of the music on those apps is really rich and good on my phone. I feel that the audio quality RBdC app is just OK. I don’t think it’s using the full bandwidth it could use to stream music. Indeed, the science of streaming audio is ancient and I expect the quality of the audio to be the max the pipe can provide. Considering that my kids and I never use the radio in the car, blasting streaming tunes driving 8065mph down the highway with full, rich audio, over 3G, I think RBdC could do the same.
I’m not writing this to poop on RBdC. They deserve a special place in the Boston music scene pantheon, both pre-break up and now as carrying the torch of alternative music in an age of pop-ification and homogenization of radio and TV music.
This exercise was simply to point simple ways a mobile app can take advantage of mobile and not just be a port of a desktop experience into a small screen. It frustrates me to no end when folks think a phone is a small computer. No, you need to understand the mobile lifestyle.
This isn’t 2005. It’s a very different world from what I wrote about at the start of this blog. The users, networks, and phones are way more sophisticated. So, I expect way more.
For those who know me, I haven’t spoken about mobile in a while (the therapist asked me to avoid it). But lately at work (around healthcare and life sciences) mobile has been smacking me in the face, so that part of my brain woke up and I’m back to mobile (to quote a famous mobile genius “Because I can’t shut-up”.). Expect more rantings in future.
[Argh! RadioBdC, another string of f-ing awesome tunes you're playing in my head and I can't tell you. You guys are great and I want you to know!]
Do you have an app that misses a few key mobile-savvy features?
I’ve been meaning to comment on App.net, a new for-fee social networking service. To me, it seems that App.net is trying to build an alternative social web – one where the users are not the product and the service isn’t built for advertisers to mine.
Is this a Shadow Web? Is this the first step to taking back the Cloud (here are my rantson this)? Can this blossom into a peer-to-peer social networking system where the apps live on the edge, the data belongs to the user, and where some third-person (aka the advertiser) isn’t mining all you do for their own benefit (and not yours)?
Glenn Fleishman, from TidBITS, has a great long article on App.net, explaining what it is, what it is trying to achieve, and listing some things that could be built upon it (see below). It’s an exciting list.
App.net also isn’t restricting itself to being just like Twitter in terms of features. There’s a lot of room to grow, including messages longer than 256 characters and more interesting relationships among those messages. Feedback from paying users and early developers will certainly shape the kind of features App.net offers as well. Here are a few early ideas for systems that could use App.net’s infrastructure:
Build a private text-messaging system like iMessage that uses standard Jabber (XMPP) protocols to create a gateway to work with the Messages app and other chat systems.
Provide a kind of spam-free verified short email system among one’s social graph through email plug-ins that would show incoming messages and allow messages to be interleaved with regular email.
Offer RSS feeds of all the URLs noted by those you follow, those who follow you, public lists, and other groups.
Provide ebook annotation, in which notes could be added to books and automatically synced using EPUB and PDF software that relied on App.net for social relationships, message storage, and message notification.
For computer-to-computer interaction, offer an alternative to HTTP, proprietary software, or email. Lightweight “listening” modules and libraries could use App.net as the backbone for sending automated messages, keeping them persistent for later review, queuing them in the event of network or server outages on the ends, and notifying humans of problems or status.
What do you think of App.net? Is this one more attempt by folks who want to keep the Internet open and useful for all? How can this fail? How can this succeed?
Last Christmas-time, I was driving to go get my parents (they live a few states away) and was listening to a Science Friday about Mars. The guest was an advocate for human travel to Mars and mentioned how much it would cost to get there. I don’t know if Ira or the guest mentioned it, but I realized that the cost of the trip, spread over a 5 year program, was on the same order as a blockbuster Hollywood movie.
I immediately dictated an outline story for my entry into NaNoWriMo 2012 (I had recently completed NaNoWriMo 2011). The story would be about a Hollywood producer making a multi-year, multi-movie, reality-TV, and ancillary products production that would follow selection, training, and trip of a crew, the construction of the spacecraft, and other exciting thrills of a novel. [Though, like my other two novels and anthology of short stories, it probably won't be published beyond a personal copy from Lulu.com.]
Over the intervening months, the outline had become heftier and heftier, so I decided to forgo NaNoWriMo and, last Wednesday, I put down the opening scene. [Usually, my stories bounce around my head for a while, different key scenes developing and begging for attention, until the opening scene gels and demands to be written. It all then flows from that opening.]
Today, I wanted to look up again the current estimates of a manned trip to Mars. An, lo!, I found an organization that indeed is thinking of a commercially-funded Mars mission with funding from a reality-TV show (records indicate the announcement was 01 June 2012).
Human settlement of Mars in 2023
Mars One will take humanity to Mars in 2023, to establish the foundation of a permanent settlement from which we will prosper, learn, and grow. Before the first crew lands, Mars One will have established a habitable, sustainable settlement designed to receive new astronauts every two years. To accomplish this, Mars One has developed a precise, realistic plan based entirely upon existing technologies. It is both economically and logistically feasible, in motion through the aggregation of existing suppliers and experts in space exploration.We invite you to participate in this journey, by sharing our vision with your friends, by supporting our effort, and perhaps, by becoming the next Mars astronaut yourself.
Ideas are not unique
I’m not saying the brilliance here is on par with Leibnitz and Newton inventing calculus at the same time, but it’s one more of my examples that if you have an idea, it’s highly likely someone else does too. The key thing, of course, is all in the execution. Indeed, I’ve had many great ideas that I’ve seen come into being a few years later. By someone else. By someone more driven and talented.
OK, I never intended to actually drive a Mars program, but, to write the fiction, I’ve done a lot of thinking about it. And, of course, the way I see my story unfolding has the liberty of fiction, for me to craft the storyline in a way that reality doesn’t necessarily allow.
I wish the MarsOne folks the best of luck. I do think I’ll continue with the storyline, though the thrill of mixing reality-TV funding with a Mars mission has lost its shine a bit. Nonetheless, the story is calling me to write it, and there are lots of twists and turns that I know will not be part of the MarsOne story, so it’ll still be a fun story to tell.
Now is the time
What is true, though, is that I need to get this damned story off my chest, fast, now the MarsOne is making their mark. [And thank you, MarsOne, for some additional ideas for me to consider in my story.]
As for you, if you have an idea you believe in, do it NOW, post haste, toot sweet. Because there is someone out there with the same goddamn idea, and if you do nothing, they will get all the credit. Even if you planned it all out 6 months or 6 years before them.
Do you have a similar story of a well thought out plan that someone else executes on?
I wasn’t so sure how to describe Treato. It’s really interesting – mixing semantic analysis, social media, medical records, and analysis – Treato is really the next level of how consumers research diseases.
The image to the right is one that came from searching for Lyme disease.
I am not sure how they assemble that graphic, but I guess it’s a mixture of curation (plainly telling the system the usual drugs) and seeing what folks report they took (by combing the web). [Aside: It seems to be just listing the most used drugs (and knowing how the disease is treated, it looks like that to me). I wonder if there's enough data for them to actually rank the drugs based on favorable outcomes, too. Outcomes analytics is where my head is always at, these days.]
Treato says they identified “over 160,000 English language websites, containing user-generated-content about medications and symptoms.” And that they “have searched and mapped thousands of these sites and indexed over 1 billion posts, covering well over 11,000 drug brands.” And they “have organized and analyzed this vast amount of data to create statistically proven insights about every aspect of medication use” [from their About page.]
I am not sure if they do this, but I’d like to see Treato applying their engine to sites like Patients Like Me, or 23 and Me, where there is an even richer set of data connecting people, disease, and outcomes.
And I am not sure, but they say the throw in patient records from HMOs, which I guess must mean claims data (which one can buy). But it would be cool if they could also mine medical record notes as well. They have the tech to do it, it’s just a matter of pointing their analytics tools to a new source (hm, what about Practice Fusion?).
I’m always thinking of how to extract meaning from medical records. So, Treato blows my mind.
Do you know of any other consumer disease research tools as sophisticated as Treato?
Hm, I wonder if they have enough to model trends, `a la Google Flu Trends, and then predict out-breaks? And it would be cool if Treato published a Health of the Nation – sort of like a Google Zeitgeist – of what is searched for and trends in diseases. I don’t think I’ve seen anything like that. Perhaps the CDC has something like this? For sure Treato is sitting on meaningful data they could use for this report. What do you think?
When I was at SXSW, I spent most of my time at either Big Data or Healthcare sessions. The interesting thing is that the Big Data sessions always devolved to talking about healthcare and the healthcare sessions always spoke about Big Data.
One aspect of the fusion of big data and healthcare that kept coming up was personal health monitoring. And since SXSW I have spoken and listened to a few folks (@dpatil, @rodrigoATCG, @nagle5000, @syntheticzero, and Sanjiv Shah) exploring measurement, self-analysis, and health devices.
Back in 2004-05, I worked on a product called Lifeblog – it collected all your SMS, MMS, photos, and videos into a timeline on your PC. It was way advanced for its time, and pointed to a future where we would cache our life’s stream of data. Working on that set me off thinking of sensors, lifestreaming, visualization of personal data (one set of discussions around visualizing recorded mobile phone usage data involved a colleague who left Nokia to set up @futureful – yes Nokia dabbled in this space once), my vision for what was supposed to be Ovi, my interest in lifestream aggregation, and a dotted line all the way to me getting involved in Big Data and Healthcare and Life Sciences in my role at IBM.
So, what do I see today in terms of these personal health devices?
At HIMSS in February, a big healthcare IT event, there was a whole section promoted by Qualcomm that was about mobile health measurement devices, such as the Asthmopolis inhaler sensor, and many mobile cardiac monitors. Also, there is a strong move (disclaimer, IBM is a big promoter) of the Patient Centered Medical Home (PCMH), which calls for sensors to provide independence to the patient, care to be provided outside the clinic, and constant monitoring for adverse events.
Nike Fuel was all over SXSW, and FitBit is expanding their their product portfolio. IBM is involved in the (young-mom) activity monitor BodyMedia. And here’s an article of the VC behind the gamified (shudder) heart monitor, Basis. And 23andMe’s Linda Avey (@lindaavey) started up a company (with Mitsu Hideishi, @syntheticzero) called Curious, specifically to explore how to make personal health data available to the (non Quantified Self) masses.
And of course, I don’t need to go into the amazing things happening in the Quantified Self world. Here’s an exciting post of a recent meet up. Look at all the projects!
More recently (and what triggered this post) is the news (link via @erigentry) that FourSquare founder, Naveen Selvadurai, is getting into health monitoring. Nothing captures the attention more of investors than some successful entrepreneur entering a new field that most mainstream folks have not thought of.
Innovation from the outside
One thing that hit me is that whatever arises from the fusion of Big Data and personal health measurement, it will come from outside the healthcare industry. Part of that is because in the healthcare industry, they are thinking of hospitals, chronic conditions, FDA, reimbursements, privacy, and so forth. Too much baggage, I think.
I had hoped that payers would see the importance of tracking health outside the clinic, especially for incentives or rebates on paying for care. My thought now is that they will end up buying someone rather than building something.
Which leads me to my realization that folks outside the industry have none of that baggage, have oodles of experience in consumer web services and data visualization, and, perhaps most importantly, view these devices as curious toys that are begging to be played with in interesting and novel ways.
But the challenge is not to alienate the non-techies who are interested in keeping an eye on their health, but are not as driven as the usual QSer. QSers are the bleeding edge of all this. My brainwave here and excitement is how to being this to the rest of us, making the ideas of QS more mainstream.
“It is NOT about the data but how it inspires”
This quote is from Rodrigo Martinez (@rodrigoATCG) from the IDEO healthcare practice. It dovetails nicely with a comment from DJ Patil (@dpatil) that, “OK, so my super intelligent scale tells me I’m fat. But I can see that looking in the mirror.”
“Inspire” is what I’d expect from an IDEO designer, and that’s fine. But for me, it’s really about motivation – how to stay interested in my health, effect the changes that need to be done, and be proud of my accomplishments. I don’t think “gamification” (as in badges and levels) is the answer (and I find it a bit tacky). I think there are more positive ways to motivate people – competition, social pressure, monetary incentives (and of course, I’d love to see the health plans get involved – even perhaps mandating).
What behaviors are we trying to promote by making this data visible to people? And, more importantly for anything that tries to optimize a parameter, what should we measure? Obviously the parameters we measure should represent something we wish to modify (isn’t the whole point about modifying a behavior to maintain or improve health?).
What do you think? Next Monday, I’ll be in Minneapolis participating in a predictive analytics event. I’ll be part of an executive roundtable, a breakout session on predictive analytics, and a general audience talk on the Predictive Power of Big Data Analytics in Healthcare. One thing I will touch on is the fusion of Big Data and personal health monitoring (another reason for this post). I’m sure I’ll get a lot of feedback on this topic – the event host is a device manufacturer with some monitoring devices of their own.
I also wanted to point out that IBM, my employer, published last year an excellent report on “liberating the information seeker” and The Future of Connected Devices (download PDF). I highly suggest you read it if you’re interested in this space.
So, what do you think? Do you use any of these devices, even just a heart rate monitor while running? A pedometer? What do you think will be the way we bridge the intense measuring world of the quantified self to a user of a device who just needs a little help to stay healthy?
Of course, this post is about devices and personal health. I see some interesting opportunities with personal medical records. But that’s a different aspect of Big Data and healthcare and best left for a different post.
I’ll leave you with a video of a well-used healthcare monitoring example at IBM – the Data Baby. Read the case study too (PDF). Disclaimer, I am part of the team that sells the streaming analytics product used for this project.
Image from dpstyles™ (There’s a weird cognection behind this image: I searched for CC images of Nike Fuel on Flickr and came up with this one, which I thought was pretty cool. When I looked at the other images, I realized this was Dennis Crowley’s stream. This post was triggered by a the Selvadurai news item mentioned above. Weird.)
“Researchers have documented repeated evolution in other organisms, but the sticklebacks are unique because the freshwater transition has occurred so many times. “Sticklebacks have been a phenomenal system for understanding rapid evolution,” says evolutionary biologist Erica Bree Rosenblum of the University of California, Berkeley, who wasn’t involved in the study. “This paper shows that repeated evolution can occur by ‘reusing’ the same genetic mechanisms over and over again.”"
This quote is from a review in Science of a Nature paper where stickleback fish genomes were sequenced and compared. The catch is, the stickleback fish used to be a sea fish until glaciers melted 10,000 years ago and left many stranded in freshwater lakes and streams.
What then happened is that the freshwater sticklebacks all had to evolve to survive in the freshwater.
What is interesting, is that it’s clear that all of these fish evolved the same adaptations. And now there is genetic evidence that most of these independent changes were in the same places of the genome in each of these freshwater fish.
While this has been seen in other organisms, the stickleback provide an experiment where this has happened multiple times, showing “repeated evolution can occur by ‘reusing’ the same genetic mechanisms over and over again.”
Adjacent possibles I am not surprised.
I picked up a term from futurist Paul Saffo, “adjacent possible” (I use it a lot to point out interesting things in evolution). Applied to evolution, it means an organism can really only sample the possible mutation paths that are adjacent to its current make-up. An organism cannot evolve from bacteria to bird in one move, much like “you can’t get there from here” in one move. In both cases, each step must be an adjacent possible step.
In this case, all the sticklebacks had similar adjacent possible ways to adjust to freshwater living. So they were constrained by their genome. But also, the environment exerted similar pressures, so the adjacent possible were further constrained.
The sticklebacks all had to make the same choices, with the same starting material, to adapt to the same environment.
“The main difference from eukaryotes is that prokaryotic reproduction is independent of DNA acquisition and recombination. Instead, DNA is obtained from fragmented chromosomes obtained via parasexual means (that is, without reproduction). These mechanisms of DNA exchange are not restricted to gene exchange within species, and therefore traits can and do come from highly divergent organisms. For example, imagine that acacia trees could exchange DNA with lions and that the resulting new tree developed “limbs” that allowed them to attack grazing giraffes. This is in a sense what prokaryotes do all the time.”
I am fascinated by horizontal gene transfer, whereby microbes from different species share genetic information. Species, as we all learn, are defined by not being able to exchange genetic information and produce fertile offspring.
Of course, microbes flaunt this rule.
The prevalence of gene transfer, where bacteria of different species exchange genetic information, blurs the boundaries between “species”. I remember listening to Penny Chisholm talk to Ira Flatow about Parachlorococcus and redefining what we call a species of microbes, which she called “genomic variants.”
The quote above is from a review of an article in Science that examines speciation in marine bacteria. It discusses how the investigators found prevalent horizontal gene transfer. But the cool thing, as I understand it, was that many of the same genes were being captured by bacteria in the same ecological niche.
In short, the environment is selecting for horizontally transferred genes to be conserved. These genes are not transmitted through organisms in the same species, but all of the bacteria are being selected to keep these transferred genes. In short, many of the genes from a population do not have a common ancestor (as in, cells dividing and propagating genes that way).
Even cooler, an analogue has been seen in prokaryotes, in a sense. Darwin’s finches all share genetic information through the usual repeated back-crossing between species, but ” the characters defining their ecological niche appear to be maintained through selection.”
So I guess we are talking about genomic variants, but not necessarily variants with the same ancestor – the ecological niche selects for that genomic variant, which has a collection of genes from the mother cell (ancestor) and from other cells (horizontal gene transfer)
“In conclusion, a time window exists that enables the artificial colonization of GF mice by a single oral dose of caecal content, which may modify the future immune phenotype of the host. Moreover, delayed microbial colonization of the gut causes permanent changes in the immune system.”
Ok. So there’s mounting evidence that rapid colonization of the gut of neonates is important to immune development. Next step is to translate that into real medical therapies. There are immune and gut diseases that afflict newborns (also, in many cases, newborns are bombarded by antibiotics at this crucial time) – what have we learned to make them healthier and also ensure that their immune system develops properly?
“Finally, the text still requires context. As publishers spin up their digital and print-on-demand backlists, more and more is published with less and less context. These efforts amount to land-grabs and rights-squatting, without adding value. Works without TOCs, indexes, author bios, footnotes. Placing work in context is one of publishers’ primary tasks, stretching out to commissioning introductions, assembling background material, supporting biographies and critical studies. Design belongs here too: good book design, appropriate book design, as important now as it has ever been.
“Velocity, depth, breadth. These are the dimensions we can add to books, that are the gifts of a digital age, not gimmicks, glossy presentation and media-catching stunts.”
What I like about James Bridle is that he’s in love with books and is able to bridge the bits and atoms worlds, translating and informing in both directions.
One thing about me I don’t talk about much: I have an obsession with writing. And not the kind that you’ve read from me – websites, blogs, and the like. I’ve been actually writing stories, sketching narratives, jotting down snippets on and off for 30 years.
Of course, I’ve been writing online for almost 20 of those years. And, while James (in the article quoted above) does not think that is publishing, I do. Of a sort. On the level of bulletins and pamphlets of old.
At the same time, I absolutely agree with him that it’s not Publishing, capital P.
I am of the camp that thinks there’s a need for editors and publishers who, as James says above, provide context. Partly there’s the culling the chaff and bad writing, pointing out what’s valuable and well-written, no different than how we tend towards online publications that eloquently point us to what’s interesting and worth our attention.
But, James points out further that Publishers wrap text in a rich layer of context to enhance the text. So true. So necessary.
I have posted some of my short stories here (see Narratives tab above), but have never felt complete (I have two novels and a few dozen short stories). A large part of me wants to see the stories in print, in a physical book (meh, Kindle?), for folks to flip through, fondle, read without having to know me. Yeah, good old-fashioned traditional Publishing.
Services like LuLu emboldened me to head down the path of just publishing it myself, but I know in my bones that I want an experienced editor to read my book, make it better (this is what editors do), and give it to a Publisher who can give it a design, context, audience access, and have it rub elbows with other books. No I am not looking for fame or fortune, just that I publish a wholesome book that I will be proud of.
I’ve known this all these years, and every time I put my novel or short stories into a book format (and go through the contortions of endless editing, layouts, design decisions), I am reminded that the mechanics and business of Publishing is not going away any time soon. [UPDATE: No sooner had I posted this I saw a tweet that pointed to this article "Publishing is no longer a job or an industry — it’s a button" which takes another tack to say Publishing is dead and Publishing is necessary - well, parts are dead and other parts are necessary. Basically, the same thing James says and I comment on.]
It’s hard work.
And LuLu knows that – check out all the Publishing services they offer á la carte.
Another hat-tip to James, I recently made a travel guide for my wife – travel guide, tips, language guide, photos, some fun things, and so forth. I cleaned up and formatted the text, added photos, laid it out, added a TOC (an index would have killed me), personalized it a bit. LuLu was just my printer. And it was great to not really have to worry about the copyrights. Only thing, it cost more to ship it than to print it (I shipped it fast – couldn’t wait to see it). Ugh. Atoms still have to be moved.