Posted Wednesday, March 19, 2008 4:43:57 PM by Jim Babbage
Some months ago, I wrote about my interest in a new audio book category, the podcast novel. These novels are similar to those movie serials of old (Flash Gordon, Lone Ranger), radio serials of not so old (The Shadow, Green Hornet) and TV mini-series of today. Their popularity has grown and many of the authors have earned a certain amount of fame (if not fortune) by writing and narrating their own books in serial form.
Some of these podcast novel authors are now going from cyberspace to the printed page! Yep, they're signing book deals for the novels they used to narrate for free. I think this is pretty cool.
Scott Sigler's sci-fi (and ultra violent) podcast novels can be subscribed to for free on iTunes, but he now has a book deal for the print release of his novel, Infected, coming out in April.
Seth Harwood's film noire private detective podcast novel, Jack Wakes Up is also now in print.
J.C. Hutchins, author of the Seventh Son Trilogy will see the first of the trilogy, Descent, hit the printed page this summer.
What I love about all this is how things got started; online, free, serialized but complete, versions of the books. These authors, and others, I am sure (I'm a sci-fi geek so my interest only extends so far, I admit), gained a following, a fan-base online and their hard work has paid off. It's a geat example of how new media is affecting the way things are done.
Check out iTunes or Podiobooks.com for a long list of podcast novels in a variety of genre's. Give yourself a break from the same old, same old on your iPod.
Personally, I'm hoping to dump a bunch of these onto Tom Green's iPod before our camping trip this August, and delete his Abba collection in the process . . .
Posted Thursday, March 13, 2008 7:22:55 PM by Paul Davis
Ok, I'm in Kansas and I thought we're pretty good with online business tech stuff - I have to file, monthly, on my income, etc. I can do this online which is quick, convenient and saved me a stamp and a check (EFT payment). Now, I'm no fan of taxes, but it is the law and not paying is more painful than paying, so I've been faithful to make the payments every month before the due date (errr.... on the due date) and get the yearly required paperwork in too. Each transaction has a confirmation ID and each monthly form is stored, electronically, on their site. I can see that I've paid for the entire 2007 year, have everything filed, etc...
However, today I get a call from the Kansas Department of Revenue - I wasn't there, so I call back when I get in. It is a long distance call and they are only open from 9am to 5pm. I have voip service, so I dial away. I'm put on hold. (insert elevator music here with brief interruptions telling me how important my call is to them...)
Mike answers the phone, I chat a little letting him know why I'm calling, give the case number and wait. He asks some questions to make sure I'm the right guy (you know, that hard to get information, like the address of my business...) - after he's certain I'm not some stranger calling to make good on a government debt for someone else, we proceed to figure out why they called....
"Sir, we don't have your filing for all of last quarter no the payment for the last quarter either"
I'm a little shocked, I know I paid, I saw the money leave my account, all he can tell me is I need to get the right paper work in. They do have my yearly, which has the exact details for my monthly, but we won't go there - having the government actually make the connection between the yearly and monthly reports is asking too much. I mutter something and then get off the phone. By this time, I've loaded up the Kansas on-line payment system and just got to the section about my payments. I call back.
May answers the phone. I give her the details like I did Mike. As we progress, I tell her I've got the electronic confirmation numbers for the payments. I give those to her. She says she sees them, but she can't open them (huh?) and tells me I'm late and fees are assessed , which I suspected, and that, if those were the reports, I'd need to call someone else to get it figured out. Oddly enough, they know I did make a payment and they know that the payment made matches the figure they said I didn't pay in December. Again, this is a leap they cannot grasp. I'm given another long distance number to call.
Kevin answers the phone. I tell him the issue and he's able to figure out that, yes, I did make the payments and yes, the confirmation numbers are for the transactions I said they were for and, yes I filed on time. However, he can't do anything about it. The money was credited to the first quarter 2008, mind you, we're not allowed to file for the first quarter until it is over which is in two weeks. I need to call someone else and, yes, it is a long distance number again. I need to call accounting and tell them that Kevin in the electronics division said it was OK and verified the payments (and since there is only one Kevin, I think they may check on that). See, someone in accounting mis-keyed the information in to the wrong area. Several thoughts went through my mind, but the ones I can print involve:
- Why am I fixing this problem? I did what I was supposed to do.
- Why can't the revenue department open the confirmed electronic transactions?
- Why can't Kevin call accounting himself and fix the issue?
- Why can't Kevin just fix it himself?
- Why couldn't May or Mike have called Kevin and then accounting to fix the issue?
- Why couldn't May or Mike have fixed this themselves?
- By the time this is done, I'll have spent more time resolving their foul up than the entire bill is worth
- When I screw up, as they thought and billed me for, I'm charged, who pays me for their screw ups?
In any case, I had to leave for an appointment before I could call accounting, something I'm "looking forward to" the same was you look forward to a root canal. Luckily, they will find in my favor and reverse the charges and all, but, man what a waste of time...