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November 26, 2007

NEW  Kindle – Free Internet Browsing for Just $400

Both myblog, Fractals of Change, and my novel hackoff.com: an historic murder mystery set in the Internet bubble and rubble are available for Kindle, Amazon’s new e-book reader. These two reasons are enough for me to buy one even at the $400 pre-Christmas price; but there’s a third reason that might convince even non-authors: free Internet browsing.

You have to pay to subscribe to FOC ($.99/month) or to buy hackoff.com ($4.76) on Kindle in Kindle format although both are free on the web and even through the Kindle browser (see below). Fred Wilson hates this but it doesn’t bother me because the connectivity is free (once you buy the device). Usually you pay connect to the Internet and get the content free. This is another choice for readers.


In a New York Times article this morning, Saul Hansell quotes Amazon founder Jeff Bezos: “If you go back in time, the landscape is littered with the bodies of dead e-book readers.” Presumably Jeff means the devices and not the people who used them.

Obviously, Amazon means to succeed with this device despite the fact that other e-book devices have hardly taken the world by storm. It is different in at least one important way from its predecessors: it comes with a free wireless Internet connection via Sprint EVDO service (which Amazon calls Whispernet). Clearly, this connectivity is meant to make the device easy to use and written material easy to purchase. For comparison, an unlimited EVDO plan from Sprint costs $60/month but you don’t have to have an account with Sprint to use EVDO.

You can do more than just buy e-books or order from Amazon over this connection. Kindle includes a web browser. Unlimited use of this browser over Whispernet is free. Note: This isn’t absolutely clear from the Kindle documentation so I called Kindle support. “Yes,” the CSR said, “free,” and “yes, unlimited.”

From an author’s point of view, the inclusion of a browser is a breakthrough. My blog as well as the online editions of hackoff.com and The Interpreter’s Tale all include links which I think added to the stories but get lost in the paper editions. People already read blogs online, both because of timeliness and links. I’ll start reading books online when they are richer than paper books – that means links that work!

This isn’t full Internet access. There is limited e-mail available through which you can receive attachments which Amazon converts to Kindle format at $.10 for each conversion (or free if you email them to your non-Kindle email account). Other people you authorize (remember, you’re paying for the conversion) can also send you attachments. But this isn’t a Blackberry; you can’t do your regular email through it; you can only do email in the browser.

Other than downloading Kindle-compatible content and products from Audible.com, it doesn’t appear that you can do any other kinds of file transfer over the Internet connection. You can use the included USB cable, however, to transfer photos and music from your PC directly.

Even the browser isn’t fully featured. According to the User’s Guide: “Your Kindle comes with an Experimental application called Basic Web which is a Web browser that is optimized to read text-centric Web sites. It supports JavaScript, SSL and cookies but does not support media plug-ins (Flash, Shockwave, etc.) or Java applets.” That means no YouTube on your Kindle. Note: TechCrunch says that Kindle DOESN’T support JavaScript. I’m assuming they mean Java since web access these days is almost useless without JavaScript but don’t have a device so can’t be sure.

Depending on Sprint EVDO has its plusses and minuses: there is no searching for a hotspot as there would have been with WiFi and no worry about signing on to a WiFi service. On the other hand, Sprint EVDO isn’t everywhere in the US and is hardly anywhere outside the US. Amazon marketing says: “With Whispernet, you can be anywhere, think of a book, and get it in one minute. Similarly, your content automatically comes to you, wherever you are. Newspaper subscriptions are delivered wirelessly each morning. Most magazines arrive before they hit newsstands.” I buy the one minute; but “anywhere” is quite a stretch.

My bet, WiFi will be added soon. If people are going to use the live links, it won’t be satisfying to download where you have EVDO connectivity and then read offline. But WiFi is becoming pervasive in homes and hotels and’ll soon be in planes (I hope).

Maybe Kindle is the wave of the future for free web access. See this post.


August 08, 2007

NEW  BookTour.com

BookTour.com debuted recently as a web solution to a real world problem: book tours don’t work well (in fact, hardly work at all) except for very famous authors who probably don’t need them anyway. Appropriately, one of BookTour.com’s founders is Chris Anderson, editor of Wired Magazine and author of the Long Tail book and blog. Although his own book is at the head of the power curve, Chris understands the needs of the rest of us out on the long tail of the curve and the opportunities in serving those needs – that’s what his book and blog are all about.

From the about page of BookTour.com: “For authors, BookTour.com serves as a one-stop tool for book promotion, allowing authors at all levels of their careers to locate receptive live audiences. For readers and audiences, BookTour.com makes finding when a favorite author is coming to your town as easy as checking the weather.”

Full disclosure:  I was a pre-release author on BookTour.com and have a vested interest in seeing it succeed in its promotional aspirations.

Back in my father’s day, publishers arranged book tours for their authors. They didn’t do a great job of this except for their stars. Later authors turned to their own publicists to help with tours (I did that). Independent publicists seem to be able to get bookings but not to be able to drive enough local publicity or get the book stores to do enough promotion to draw crowds. If you have friends or relatives in a town, you can get turnout; if not, not. I sat in a coffee shop attached to a bookstore in Connecticut for an hour and a half making conversation with a very nice lady from the store and looking sadly at the pile of hackoff.com: an historic murder mystery set in the Internet bubble and rubble stacked nicely waiting to be signed. In my home town of Stowe, on the other hand, there was a very nice turnout at the library (Mary promoted that one).

Book tours can’t be justified by the number of books you sell while you’re there although selling signed books is an incidental benefit and helps cover the expenses. The purpose of book tours is to create buzz about your book a city at a time; ideally a stop in a city involves a couple of appearances and readings as well as some newspaper publicity and a stop at a couple of radio and/or TV stations. A single appearance at a single book store in a large town is likely wasted effort.

Since each author’s schedule appears on BookTour.com, readers can find out who’s coming when to their town; libraries and other venues can ask to be added when they know the author is going to be nearby; and we authors can fill our dance card and all those empty seats in front of the lectern. You can go to my page on the site (where you’ll find that I’m not currently touring) and invite me to come talk to your group or at your store. I won’t be able to honor all invitations but chances are I can come to some.
A nice new feature on BookTour allows you to automagically add all the authors whose books you've bought on Amazon to the list of authors whose nearby appearances you;d like to know about. However, only those authors currently signed up with BookTour.com get put on the list. You can delete any authors from this list whose books you didn't like and whom you don't want to listen to.

Computers, communication, and eventually the Internet created the long tail – the opportunity for niche products and non-hits to be available to those who want them; Chris Anderson calls this the endless shelf because there is no limit to shelf space in a virtual store while brick and mortar stores have to remove slow sellers from their finite shelves. What’s not so clear is how consumers find out about the niche products or even those that are not immediate hits; if it succeeds, BookTour.com’ll be part of the answer. It will succeed, ironically, if it becomes a hit and is THE marketplace where readers find touring authors and vice versa.

June 03, 2007


My novel hackoff.com: an historic murder mystery set in the Internet bubble and rubble is now available as an e-book from a number of online retailers affiliated with MobiPocket which is owned by Amazon.  This edition is suitable for downloading to book-reader devices, PDAs, and of course, computers.

hackoff.com was first released as a blook: a book serialized in the form of a blog. It’s still available for free viewing, subscribing to the serialization, downloading (as PDFs), or even podcast listening at www.hackoff.com. For those who like physical books which go to the beach (it is a mystery, after all), the hardcover edition is available from Amazon or by order from bookstores.

So why would you want to pay $5.95 to download what you could otherwise get for free?  If you’re happy with the blook edition or want the hardcover (also not free), you probably don’t want to buy the download. However, if you read on a PDA or a bookreader, this may be the edition for you. The technology supplied by MobiPocket means that the book formats itself for whatever device you read it on. Seems to work as far as I’ve been able to tell from the device emulators supplied to authors by MobiPocket.

For those who do download, please tell me what the experience is like from buying through reading.

Note to authors: You set the suggested selling price for your e-book.  Commissions are 50% of that suggested price (retailers can discount but can’t discount your royalty).  You get an additional 10% if the referral for the sale is by link from your website (there’s  a link in the right sidebar of Fractals of Change).  Another way to use the service is to sell your e-book directly from your own site, which I’m not doing..  If you do that, you pay them a 10% fee for the formatting an digital rights management (DRM).  BTW, DRM is mandatory or they won’t distribute.

MobiPocket sells through a large number of online retailers.  Unlike Amazon Shorts, they have a strong international presence and can sell where VAT collection is required.  No exclusivity is required; they are just another outlet.

If your book is a single Word file, PDF, or HTML document, conversion to ebook format with the free tools supplied by MobiPocket should be fairly easy. If you have fifteen big Word files too big for Word to combine without crashing, life is much more difficult. As usual Word, is somewhat problematic for conversion anyway.  I had to go through every converted chapter page by page and look for anomalies; some I needed to correct by hacking the html.  Yuk.  But probably could have corrected in Word IF I’d had only one document.

Check your illustrations as well.  JPEGs and GIFs should be scaled reasonably small because they’ll get scaled more to fit the various devices.

Support through the MobiPocket support forum is quite good. You can see the thread of help I got here.

New arrivals get highlighted.  There are email promotions to readers; haven’t figured out how to get into them yet, though. Guess I’ll ask in the forum.

May 20, 2007

NEW  New Work by Me Now Available

The Interpreter's Tale

Cover_2 The pickpockets of Barcelona are justly famed for their ability to extract whatever they want from anywhere; why are they suddenly stealing cheap cellphones in preference to laden purses? What does this have to do with Gaudi's fantastic unfinished cathedral, with mega-yachts, with the long-ago Caliphate, and modern-day terrorists? Interpol and their super-hacker consultant Dom Montain would like to know; so would the Romanian-born police interpreter Maria whose tale this is. If you read my novel hackoff.com, you already know Dom. Whether you read hackoff.com or not, I think you'll enjoy meeting Maria.

"The Interpreter's Tale" is a long short story. It was just released today as an Amazon Short.  You can buy it from Amazon for reading, printing, or downloading as a PDF for just 49 cents, the price of all Amazon Shorts.

Below is a teaser from the story.  However, I'm NOT planning to  run the whole thing as blog posts this time.  It'll cost you $.49 to find out how it ends.


Barcelona, not Madrid, was the leader’s first choice for an attack on Spain. It is well-known that he hates Barcelona, considers it the well-spring of Muslim humiliation which began with the Reconquista in 722AD, continued with the Crusades, and led to the current unsatisfactory state of the world.

Usually the leader’s first choice is what happens. But last time Allah did not will it so. The local cell in Barcelona was incompetent; that in Madrid excellent. As the leader feared, the Basques were first given credit for the attack; but this myth was soon dispelled. Spain, as he said it would, recognized their power and elected politicians committed to withdrawal from Iraq.

One does not question the decisions of the leader, even if one is respected enough to be in The Cave (The location of The Cave is always changing. Sometimes it in Afghanistan, sometimes in Pakistan; but it is always The Cave). If one is very respected, one may ask to be informed by what wisdom the leader has made his decision. One has asked to be enlightened of the wisdom by which a further attack on Spain is planned after the success of the operation in Madrid and the quick capitulation of the Spanish, Allah be praised.

“The Spanish are still infidels,” the leader reminds them. “They have troops in Afghanistan even though these troops are cowards who are prohibited by protocols from actually fighting. Their culture remains degenerate. They respect neither the Prophet nor those who worship him. There must be a clear lesson that partial capitulation will never be accepted nor will it be proof against our power.

“Allah willing,” he continues, “ a new time has come. The Caliphate will be restored. This time it will not succumb to the bickering and rivalries and impieties which led to the downfall of the old Caliphate. The world will be united in the one true faith as the Prophet tells us that it must be. It is our honor to be the means to this end. A new lesson is needed and, Allah willing, shall be delivered.” He turns in a way which indicates that this discussion is ended.

But then he turns back. “Certain mistakes were made in the last operation,” he says. “Our men were prepared to be martyrs but they did not have to be. Worse yet, some were captured before they could be martyred. Allah did not make them strong enough and the infidels learned much more than they should have. These mistakes must not be repeated.”

“What are those mistakes that we may avoid them in the next operation?”

“Those who have a need to know already do know. There is no need to spread the knowledge further.” He turns away again and this time the conversation really is over.


The rest of the story is here.

January 26, 2007

NEW  Book Tour – South Burlington, VT and Hanover, NH

Two weeks from tomorrow on Saturday, February 10, I’ll be at the Borders Express (formerly Waldenbooks) in University Mall, 55 Dorset Street, South Burlington, VT from noon to two.

On Saturday, March 24, I’ll be at the Dartmouth Bookstore, 33 South Main Street, Hanover, NH at 7PM.

At both places I’ll be reading from hackoff.com: an historic murder mystery set in the Internet bubble and rubble, signing copies, and glad to talk about the book, my blog Fractals of Change, or anything else you like.  Hope to see you at one of these places if you live here or are visiting for the now great skiing.

August 29, 2006

NEW  Book Reading in Philadelphia

I will be reading from hackoff.com and signing copies at Robin's Bookstore, 108 South 13th Street in Philadephia at 7PM on September 20th.  Robin's is Philadelphia's oldest independent bookstore and well worth a visit in its own right.  If you are anywhere near, please come join us.

Readers of Fractals of Change who'd like to talk about the blog instead of the book are very welcome as well.

My father, Bernard Evslin,  is from Philadelphia and his plays were first put on at the Hedgerow Theater nearby.  I'm looking forward to seeing family as well as meeting readers.

June 18, 2006

NEW  Book Tour

Just Books in Greenwich, Connecticut is sponsoring a get-together for me at Arcadia Coffee on Wednesday, June 28 at 7:30 PM.  Arcadia Coffee is at 28 Arcadia Road in Old Greenwich.  If you are going to be nearby, I’d like to meet you.  No reservations are required and it’s free.

I’ll sign books, of course, and talk about and read from hackoff.com: an historic murder mystery set in the Internet bubble and rubble; but I’d also enjoy meeting and talking to readers of Fractals of Change about any of the many subjects I’ve wandered though in this blog as well as life inside the Internet bubble. Arguments and suggestions welcome.

BTW, Arcadia Coffee and Just Books have an impressive series of events scheduled. If you live in Greenwich you probably already know that.

Hope to see you there.

May 01, 2006

NEW  The Voice of AOL and Me


I heard David Lawrence’s voice twice the other day.  The first time was when I was trying to help my mother get AOL on her Mac working with her new broadband connection.  David is the voice of AOL; not the “you’ve got mail” voice but the other one: the voice you hear when you call AOL tech support.  More on that below.

The second time I heard David’s voice was late at night east coast time while parked in a rest area on the Garden State Parkway in New Jersey.  We had an interview scheduled for his syndicated radio show and I ended up doing it on my cellphone from the parking lot.  I knew the interviewer’s voice sounded familiar but couldn’t figure out why.

The interview took all the non-commercial time in an hour of air time. Funny that I should have a better and more in depth interview about the book I wrote about life (and death) as a CEO than I ever did when I was CEO of a public company.  In hackoff.com, fictional CEO Larry Lazard does several interviews, all of them superficial and mostly off-topic.

My father, the writer, would probably say that an hour interview for me as an author as opposed to the four or five minutes I usually got as a CEO is the proper proportion. David Lawrence is a better interviewer than most and also knows his topic.  Besides being host of a mainly technical radio show, he is also the editor and narrator of the 10 Quick Step series of ebooks and audio books – many of which are on geeky subjects, an actor, and a voice-over professional.  A blogger, too, of course.

Cost you a quarter if you want to hear the whole interview.  David gave me permission to put up a couple of short clips free.  In this one he asks me what hackoff.com is about and in this one he asks me why, given that I’m somewhat known among geeky Internet CEOs, I felt I had to publicize my book by making it available free on the web.

Back to my mother’s Mac.  See, it’s old so it can’t have System X put on it.  So it can’t run Safari.  And the AOL browser will only say “you need to update your browser.”  Explorer version 5 which is on it can display some sites and not others – others include my blog Fractals of Change which I think my mother wants to read.  And Microsoft is no longer providing browser downloads for the Mac.

After I got through talking to David Lawrence, the voice of AOL, I did get through to tech support in relatively little time.  The robot would only interpret browser problem as a connectivity issue – not the problem – but finally got through to a real person.  Got disconnected once in the handoff from the  default Windows-savvy tech to the Mac-savvy tech but by then knew how to get through the robot pretty quickly.

Very sympathetic person explained that it’s all Apple’s fault; they like to upgrade stuff a lot.  So there is no working AOL browser for System 9.  And nothing else they can recommend. 

I’m using FeedBlitz to email my blog to my mother.  I still think she wants to read it.

April 04, 2006

NEW  hackoff.com Is Runner-Up for Lulu Blooker Award for Fiction

In the announcement, the judges said that hackoff.com "Vividly captures the spirit of online chatter and was well suited to serialization on a blog -- the form combined with the geeky subject matter and a cracking whodunnit make this book an excellent read for blook-fans."

The Lulu Blooker Award is given for books which, like hackoff.com, have appeared on blogs. The first prize winner in the fiction category was Four and Twenty Blackbirds by Cherie Priest whose website is http://wicked.wish.livejournal.com.

The Blooker Award and the coverage it got on BBC, in The Guardian, and in USA Today are evidence of the growing popularity of both blogs and books which appear on them.  But traditional books aren’t going away soon.  People who like to hold a book in their hands have been buying hackoff.com from Amazon and 800ceoread.  Even some people who read the online serialization here or listened to the podcasts are buying the hardcover as a gift.

I do think readers will expect to be able to sample books online before buying them. Amazon “Look Inside” does help but only after the hardcopy edition exists.  From an author’s point of view, this blook edition was like a beta release of software.  I got lots of good feedback that helped make the print edition better.And people have had fun with the collateral material online like the faux company website at http://www.hackoff.com/corp.

March 15, 2006

NEW  hackoff.com Is Released!

The hardcover edition of my novel hackoff.com: an historic murder mystery set in the Internet bubble and rubble is shipping (one day early - phew).  I saw the physical book for the first time last week when I went to the bindery in Grand Rapids, MI to sign the preordered copies.

Have to say it looked beautiful.  If you CAN judge a book by its cover, it’ll be a hit.  Thank for the physical book to cover designer Rodrigo Corral, publisher Kelly Evans, book designer Peter Holm, and editor Maya Bohnhoff.

You can order from Amazon or 800ceoread.  Or you can still read it free or listen to the podcasts at www.hackoff.com.

March 06, 2006

NEW  hackoff.com is a Finalist for the Lulu Blooker Award

Last week we got this welcome email about the Lulu Blooker award:

Dear Evslin,
It is my pleasure to inform you that your book "hackoff.com" has been selected for the short-list of titles being considered in the fiction category for the Lulu Blooker Prize. Only five of the titles submitted in this category have made the short-list, and you are in excellent company. The response to the world’s first literary prize for books based on blogs has been enthusiastic and widespread. Winners will be announced on April 3, 2006. This is an exciting time!
IMPORTANT NOTE: Having shared the good news, I must request that you keep this notification to yourself for a short time longer. The news about the short-list is embargoed until we formally announce it to the media on March 6, 2006. In other words, please don’t blog it!

Congratulations again on making a bit of literary history. Please don’t hesitate to call or email with questions.

Had to respect the embargo but now can bloast (boast on a blog) about it.

This Blooker prize is a good idea (in my biased view).  There are all kinds of prizes for books published by traditional publishers.  Prizes are one way that people choose what to read.  Self-published books aren’t eligible for most of the traditional prizes.  Lulu is a printer and distributor of self-published books (they did the galleys for hackoff.com but not the hardcover edition).  They are wisely helping to build a market for self-published books including prizes open to “blooks” whether printed by Lulu or not.

This is a big week for hackoff.com.  The printers are done! I’m flying to the bindery in Grand Rapids Wednesday to sign books for people who won signed copies in our contest or preordered from Amazon or 800ceoread.  (BTW, there’s still time to preorder and get a signed copy at no extra cost).  From there the books get shipped out to the resellers and should be sent to readers by the advertised publication date of March 15.

But you can still read or listen to hackoff.com free online or through RSS or email subscription. Just go to www.hackoff.com to get started.  That site is also being redesigned to make it easier both for newbies and returneees. Comments welcome.

March 04, 2006

NEW  hackoff.com on tour

The dotHill press blook tour recently made a stop at the site of poet Robert Bruce where Bruce interviews hackoff.com author Tom Evslin. You can read the whole interview here.

February 13, 2006

NEW  hackoff.com Text Serialization Complete

All the text and graphics for hackoff.com have now posted to the website.  If you haven't done so already, you can read the complete book there free either online or by downloading chapter PDFs

Podcast episodes are still being posted but you can start listening to the podcast and receive new episodes free as they are available or you can download the podcast with iTunes and load it to your iPod.

If you are one of the people who has been reading along, I hope you enjoyed hackoff.com.  If you did and would like to tell a friend about it, I’d appreciate it.  Clicking on this link is one way to do that.

You can also rate and/or review it on Amazon by clicking this link. When you get to Amazon, just click on the stars to rate and on the review link to review.  Of course, you can follow that same link to get to Amazon to buy a copy of hackoff.com either as a souvenir (I’m signing all copies purchased before the pub date of March 15) or as a gift for a friend.

Finally, if you’d like to get news about my next book, new editions of hackoff.com, and my upcoming online and offline book tours and do not already subscribe to hackoff.com news, click to subscribe by email or RSS.

Tom Evslin

February 07, 2006

NEW  Fun and Games (With Help from my Friends)

To some extent, life mirrors art in two podcast episodes from my novel, hackoff.com: an historic murder mystery set in the Internet bubble and rubble.  The players chose their roles.

The cast in alphabetical order is:  Matt Blumberg, Kelly Evans, Brad Feld, Stephanie Miller, and Fred Wilson.  Location is the Harvard Club in New York City.  This meeting is the negotiation between hackoff.com CEO Larry Lazard and his VCs over who gets to sell how many shares in the hackoff.com secondary – literally a decision in which hundreds of millions of dollars are at stake.  The time is early February, 2000.  The bubble is about to burst – but no one knows this yet.  Maybe it’ll go on forever.

Matt Blumberg, the real-life CEO of Return Path, plays fictional CEO Larry Lazard.  I wish I’d been as tough a negotiator during my business career as Matt plays Larry.  It’s everybody against him on the other team’s home field in this scene.  You’ll have to listen to see how it comes out.

dothHill press publisher Kelly Evans makes a cameo appearance as Larry’s wife, Louise Lazard.

Brad Feld in real life is a managing director of Mobius Venture Capital.  In real-life he sits on numerous corporate boards.  Here he plays VC Joseph Windaw of Windaw and Wallar Venture Capital; Joseph is a hackoff.com Board Member.  The Harvard Club is Joe’s home turf,  Despite being an MIT graduate, Brad pulls the role off fine.

Stephanie Miller is Vice President of Strategic Services at Return Path.  She plays Joanne Ankers, hackoff.com Board Member from Big Router Ventures, the venture arm of Big Router which has invested in hackoff.com.  Stephanie describes Joanne as “snarky” and play her that way to a T.

Fred Wilson is the managing partner of Union Square Ventures. At Flatiron Partners, he invested in my former company ITXC and was on the Board there.  For some reason he has identified with fictional VC Franklin Adams of ad Ventures since he read the first episodes of hackoff.com.  Franklin sprays when he talks which Fred doesn’t but they’re both very smart.

I’m grateful to all of them for taking time to record these episodes.  You can hear the first episode here and the second one here or download all the podcast episodes of hackoff.com from iTunes.

Technical notes:

We didn’t get together in a studio to do this; we used a combination of traditional and VoIP technology to get together virtually.  You’ll be able to tell that it isn’t a studio recording but it’s quite workable and the technology is improving rapidly.

We used a Skype-compatible conferencing service called Vapps to get us all together.  Kelly reports that they were extremely helpful in getting things setup even though they were only in Beta at the time.

Matt used Skype and a headset (Premium 350 USB headset by Logitech) to connect as did Kelly (“cheap Radio Shack model”), Fred (mic in IBM T43 ThinkPad) and I (mVox USB headset) .  Brad reports: “I tried with bluetooth headset via my ibm x41 laptop via skype over evdo.  Bahahahahaha - that sucked.” So Brad used T-Mobile on his SideKick mobile phone.  Stephanie had no mic on her Dell Latutude 510 so she was on a landline phone.

Vapps recorded the session and emailed it to Kelly who edits with Garage Band.  Because I always (well, almost always) have a plan B, I also recorded using Skype and clever software called Virtual Audio Cables.  If you want to do that, read this excellent writeup by Stuart Henshall. We ended up using clips from both recordings.

January 26, 2006

NEW  Guest Star in Podcast

Ex-CTO Daniel Burgin played hackoff.com CTO in episodes one and two of chapter 5 of the podcast edition of hackoff.com.  These episodes are Detective Mark Cohen's interview of Dom which is part of the investigation of CEO Larry Lazard's violent death.

Early critics praise Burgin's performance and say he did an excellent job of capturing the nuance of a hacker who is proud of his own prowess but frustrated at never getting proper credit for what he does.

Burgin is an entrepreneur in Boulder Colorado. His venture-funded company Finali Corporation was started in 1999 with a mission to create a better call center business model though consulting and a proprietary contact automation technology called netSage. In 2004 Finali was sold to Convergys Corporation, a Fortune 1000 company and the world's largest call center outsourcer. He is currently working on developing a new business idea and taking some time off to ski and mountain bike in beautiful Colorado with his two sons and his wife Drue.

Burgin's own blog is Free Association

NEW  PDFs Complete Through Chapter 14

The PDF for all of Chapter 14 has now been posted and is available for free download under a Creative Commons license here.

January 17, 2006

NEW  hackoff.com at 800ceoread

Many of you know 800ceoread as a great place to get business books.  Founder and CEO Jack Covert writes about his selections.  There’s a business book blog associated with the site. And now you can preorder hackoff.com: an historic murder mystery set in the Internet bubble and rubble there as well.

“Huh?” you ask.  “Isn’t hackoff.com fiction?  What’s it doing at 800ceoread?”

The disclaimer for the book says:

“This is a work of fiction.  All characters other than historical characters and all events other than historical events are fictional and any resemblance to actual characters and events is coincidental.”

And the disclaimer is true; the book IS fiction.  I hope people’ll read it because they like a good mystery and they enjoy the characters and their interaction, even their occasional sex.

Although the plot and the people are purely fictional, the backdrop of the story is constructed from my experience as a CEO of a bubble-era company.  Those times did happen and they were very strange.  There’s sure to be another bubble some day – perhaps we’re in the beginning stages of bubble 2.0 right now.  But each bubble from the tulip mania on is different.

I considered writing a non-fiction book about “my” bubble.  I do blog about it on Fractals of Change.  But some stories are best told as fiction.  I can tell you better what it was like to make a pitch to a manager of billion dollar mutual fund if I invent the manager and the fund and even the CEO and CFO doing the pitch.  Same thing with making or missing earning forecasts and doing an online analysts call to explain the numbers you made or didn’t make. 

Board meetings; negotiation with VCs; staff meetings; people obsessed with a soaring or swooning stock price; even hostile takeover attempts and the World Economic Forum in Davos – these could all be pretty dull if analyzed as non-fiction.  So I wrote a novel.

But it’s a business book, too.  That’s why I’m glad to have it at 800ceoread as well as Amazon and other places that people buy books.

Down to business, then: if you order hackoff.com BEFORE it’s publication date of March 15, I’ll sign your copy.  Got to be some reason for you to order early.

You can also read hackoff.com free at www.hackoff.com and now you can listen to the podcast free there or on iTunes as well.  You can read or listen online to see whether you want to buy the book.  You can read or listen online INSTEAD of paying for the book.  Up to you.

Some endnotes dividing truth from fiction in my account of 9/11 are here. Other endnotes are here.

NEW  Chapter 13 PDF now available

Chapter PDFs for hackoff.com are now complete through Chapter 13 which can be found here.

January 11, 2006

NEW  podcast edition now available

“Podcast” has been chosen as the Word of the Year by the editors of the New Oxford American Dictionary.  M. J. Rose, international bestselling author of The Delilah Effect and marketing guru, blogged: “More than 30 million people in the US have some kind of dedicated MP3 listening device including the almost 10 million iPods that have been sold… Our industry could use this medium to introduce more authors to more readers. Our industry could be proactive and innovative about audio.  So why is my iPod still bookless two weeks post Christmas?”

Well, we didn’t make it for Christmas but hackoff.com: an historic murder mystery set in the Internet bubble and rubble is now being serialized free as a podcast as well as in the text editions that many people have been reading.

If you absolutely can’t wait, you can listen to the first episode just by clicking here.

There are lots of ways to listen to the podcast.  You can go to www.hackoff.com and choose episodes one at a time from the table of contents.    Audio is now available for all the episodes in chapters one and two. More will be available as we make them.

If you use iTunes and want episodes on your iPod, click here to get them free through the Music Store.

You can also subscribe to the podcast and have episodes delivered by email to your mailbox (click here) or by RSS feed to your feedreader (click here).  Those of you who subscribe to the text serialization have told us that you like choice so we’ve implemented even more choice than we did with text.  Not only can you start with any episode but you can also decide how often you want new episodes delivered, even specify that you want new episodes only when you ask for them.  You can pause the serialization at any time if you fall behind or are traveling and resume it when you wish.

We will make these expanded choices available for text subscriptions, too, but haven’t done so yet.

I narrate most episodes.  However, just for fun, sometimes other people join me and play some of the characters.  In episodes two and three, for example, the very talented Terry White plays Donna Langhorne.

A PDF of the press release describing the release of the podcast edition is here.

Happy listening.

BTW, if you signed up for email delivery of the podcast on before Tuesday, January 10, at 4PM EST, we must ask you to re-sign up.  We had a bug we didn’t catch which resulted in these signups being ignored.  RSS signups and signups at other times are fine as far as we know.  If you do have any problems, please contact info@dothillpress.com.

January 07, 2006

NEW  Chapter 12 PDF now available

Chapter PDFs for hackoff.com are now complete through Chapter 12 which can be found here.

December 29, 2005

NEW  Chapter 11 PDF now available

Chapter PDFs for hackoff.com are now complete through Chapter 11 which can be found here.

Have a very happy New Year.

December 06, 2005

NEW  Talk with Experts

Last week Tom was interviewed on blook publishing by Denise Wakeman and Patsi Krakoff of buildabetterblog.com. Their interviews are hosted at www.conversationswithexperts.com which requires registration.

However, they kindly gave us a copy and it now posted here on our affiliated site www.dothillpress.com for unrestricted download and listening. It's long (54 minutes) but worth listening to if you are interested in the details of why we decided that making hackoff.com available free in blook (book on a blog) form prior to hardcover publication was a good idea and what we've learned along the way.

November 04, 2005

NEW  Pre-order Hardcover Edition and Get Signed Copy

Pre-order hackoff.com

The hardcover edition of hackoff.com is now available for pre-order from Amazon by clicking here. All Amazon pre-orders will be fufilled with a copy signed by the author at no extra charge. Your credit card wont be charged, of course, until the book actually ships.

You can also use this link to Amazon to write reviews of hackoff.com. Of course, hackoff.com is still available for free reading, downloading, or subscription here.

NEW  New Free Subscription Options Available for hackoff.com

It used to be that a subscription to hackoff.com had to start with the episode currently being published.  In other words, new subscribers started in the middle of the story.

Now new subscriptions - whether delivered by RSS or email - start by default with the first episode of Chapter 1 and can be started at any episode.  That latter feature is useful if you've been reading online and decide, after reading several episodes, that you'd rather subscribe starting with the first unread episode.  Click here for an RSS subscription and here for an email subscription.

Of course you still can read hackoff.com online by clicking here or download PDFs of entire chapters from the table of contents here.  And, of course, both of these options are still free.

November 02, 2005

NEW  Chapter 6 PDF now available

The complete Chapter 6 PDF is now available for free download under Creative Commons license here.

October 16, 2005

NEW  PDF of Chapter 4 Now available

Chapter 4 of hackoff.com is now available in PDF form here.

October 09, 2005

NEW  PDFs of Chapters 2 and 3 Now Available

For those of you who may prefer a somewhat more traditional format or want to catch up quickly on missed episodes, the complete text of chapter 2 of hackoff.com is now available in PDF format for free download here and chapter 3 is here.

You can subscribe to episodes via an RSS feed here or via email here.

October 02, 2005

NEW  New Publication Schedule

We have heard from many of you that you would like a more regular publication schedule. You've got it!

New episodes of hackoff.com will be posted every morning Eastern Standard Time. PDFs of completed chapters will be posted each Sunday. Chapter 2 is now available here.

Please continue to tell us what you like and what you don't like.

September 27, 2005

NEW  PDF of Chapter 1 Now Available

For those of you who may prefer a somewhat more traditional format, the complete text of chapter 1 of hackoff.com is now available in PDF format for free download here. You can subscribe to episodes via an RSS feed here or via email here.