Saturday, December 31, 2022

Swamp Castle - Closing Comments

I talk about my experience with the writing track at SFWA and World Con 2011.

Check out this episode!

Thursday, December 29, 2022

[Script] The Sins of Silicon Valley - Act 2, Scene 6 - The Most Evil Company In The World

 Scene 6 - The Most Evil Company in the World

VO: We could talk a lot more about how Evil Amazon is….but we all know you’re here for the star of our show

[Elon Musk with a stupid smille comes sliding on to the stage]

VO: No, not you

[Gengis Khan slides on.]

VO: No.


VO: No

[Rockfeller, Margaret Thatcher, Bush, Reagan, Trump, Henry the Eighth]

VO: No no no no no no, the most EVIL Person in the world who owns the most evil company in the world

[Mark Zuckerberg slides to the center of the stage]

Audience Side Effect: oooooooooooooooooooooh

[Screen shifts to a Facebook Logo]

VO: Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence yes?  Well just why is Facebook the most evil company in the world? More evil than all these guys

[Screen shows East India Company, IBM, Microsoft, Google, Amazon and Apple all come on to the screen]

VO: Put together

[Logos come together and forms Facebook Logo]

VO: Several years ago, there was a movie that did a better job than we ever could that told the origin of facebook

[Screen shows images of the Social Network]

VO: The Social Network by Aaron Sorkin.  (Read Quickly) TLDR, Once upon a time, there was an amoral but adorkable guy named Mark Zuckerberg who had a solid idea, you know, for kids, no wrong movie, to take MySpace and increase it to steroids because he couldnt get a data and saw people and friendships as commodities and so it started as the facebook for collage (to get dates) and it was really super successful and everyone started using it so you could friend your mom, your roommate, your sisters cousins former roommate and even people who were absolutely nothing and smart people told Mark to learn the lesson of Steve Jobs and lock the company stock up so no one could ever steal it from him and so he stole Facebook 1.0 from the bros who helped bring us Bitcoin and Cryptofascism and made Facebook 2.0 which is one of the largest most powerful companies in the world and Mark lived happily ever after and Mark won and yaaaay Mark and everyone loves Mark because they love the facebook right? YAAAAY MARK.

Screen Goes Dark.

VO: Ahem.  Anyway.

Tuesday, December 27, 2022

[Script] The Sins of Silicon Valley - Act 2 - Scene 5 - Jar Jar Bezos

 [Scene] Musical score starts, Images of warehouses and lemonaid interspersed with smiling employees and lemons and lemonade and if possible pouring lemonade.

VO: One upon a time

There was a man Bezos

And he started a company 

Called Amazon 

That made electronic books for pesos

It burned up 

Most of the good bookstores

And left us Barnes and Noble

And turned the publishing industry

Into a pile of rubble

But then Jeff slowly changed

It to an everything store

He saw what Walmart did

And knew he wanted more

So bit by bit 

He changed amazon

Into a mighty beast

And made his own workers

Finger who was valued least

Suicide prevention 

Then became a thing in tech

Token pretense to worker health

Was the least they could do Heck

They coordinated to their devs all down

To make sure their takehome pay

Was aligned across the industry

And the worker got no say

Then he built warehouses

All across the land

Where you had to work your most

And each break was timed

If you took to long you would be toast

So to ensure your alacrity

We quietly do recommend 

You use a jar for your -

Saturday, December 24, 2022

Swamp Castle - Unfood

Freight is trapped on a ship designed for weight loss and while he can eat illusionary food to pass the time, his body needs a minimum caloric intake to survive.  Body horror and definite trigger warning as he does what it takes to survive.  Author's commentary and series conclusion the week after this.

Check out this episode!

Thursday, December 22, 2022


 That moment when you are 9000 words from finishing the first of a five book series (and it is your best to date) but you are still and 8 out of 10 writer vs 9 out of 10 poet...

And that every minute you write Armor of Stone you could be writing the Queen in Blue....

Saturday, December 17, 2022

Swamp Castle - Dietötungderkünstlermachtdasglücklichekleinebäumemitdemglücklichenkleinenschnurrbartenstein

Franz tells his younger self to kill a Time Traveling Goebels who is going to hire him in the future.  Franz does this but his problems only start then.  

Check out this episode!

Thursday, December 15, 2022

[Script] Grenademan Vs The Zombies - Act 1, Scene 3

 Scene 3 

Back at the bunker, Ashley and Kevin enter the stage with Doc, Barbara and Smite.

Kevin: Hey Doc, we got here as soon as we could.

Ashley: What’s up?

(beat) Everyone looks at Ashley in an awkward silence.

Doc: Anyway…yeah, we might have all done something really dumb.

Kevin: Define dumb.

Doc: Jarvi might have learned to do some real magic.

Kevin: Seriously? This isn’t a practical joke is it?

Barbara: (Motioning to the dead bodies) Does this LOOK like a joke?

Ashley: Jesus, they smell.

Smite: Dead bodies tend to do that.

Doc: Right, so real magic might mean Jarvi was serious about the Zombie apocalypse

Smite: I don’t get you.

Kevin: Dude, remember, Jarvi is insane.

Ashley: And creepy.  Do you remember the way he stared at me at game night?

Doc: We’re getting off track.

Kevin: Maybe we should have invested in his start up. That’s really what this is about.

Barbara: Fuck that little fuck.  Some of us don’t have disposable income like that.

Smite: I know I don’t.

Doc: We’re getting off track.

Kevin: Define ‘on track’ in a situation like this Doc?

Tuesday, December 13, 2022

[Script] Grenademan Vs the Zombies - Act 1, Scene 2

 Grenademan is in the void, blank between worlds.

Narrator: (Off State) Between the worlds came a champion.  Jarvi didn’t know it yet, but he was enlisted in a powerful proxy contest between two great powers, Order and Chaos, gaming against each other from world to world and age to age.

Order: Frank Noble, you have agreed to be my champion.


Order: I can literally read your mind, your ‘secret identity’ is meaningless to me.  I have a destination for you.


Order: Forces of Chaos in this case are indeed quite evil by your standards.  Your mission is to protect the humans known as the Band of the Orc’s heads; peers in their own game group who have wagered life and death with each other in the old way.  My brother and I approve.


Order: See that you do…(voice fades) See that you do.

Saturday, December 10, 2022

Swamp Castle - Curse Breaker

A young woman helps her father build air rifles that will end the curse planted by fire mages that makes guns illegal.

Check out this episode!

Thursday, December 8, 2022

[Script] Grenademan Vs the Zombies - Act 1, Scene 1 - Continued

 Doc: That’s not the point.

Jarvi: What is the point then?

Doc: You dug up a bunch of dead bodies and laid them out on my property.

Jarvi: I did NOT dig up-

Smite: Come off it.

Jarvi: Pay up.  

Doc: Did they get into the bunker?

Jarvi: No.

Doc: Then I don’t see what there is to talk about.  He picks up the phone and says, “You guys won’t believe what Jarvi did.”

Jarvi: I can’t believe you think I just dug them up.

Smite: Jarvi, you would do ANYTHING to prove you’re right.

Jarvi: I AM right.

Smite: No you aren’t.

Doc: (on phone) Yeah, the whole hill is covered with bodies.

Barbara: I can’t believe you did this to my aunt.

Jarvi: I didn’t DO anything to her, she was just there when I cast the spell.

Smite: Shut up

Jarvi: Make me.  Come over here and make me, assault.

Smite: I will piglet.

Jarvi’s eyes glow and he floats up into the air a moment as wind rushes the stage.

Jarvi: You and what army.  

Smite: You think I’m intimidated by a wire and a few cheap tricks? 

Doc: Now….hold on a second here Smite.

Smite: Double or nothing.

Jarvi: What?

Smite: You heard me, DOUBLE OR NOTHING.  You say we can’t survive the zombie apocalypse? Double or nothing.

Jarvi: I accept

Barbs: Now wait just a second.

Doc: Stop this Jarvi.  Right now.

Jarvi: Do you all accept?

Doc: I do.

Smite: I do

Barbs: What are you all talking about? (picks up the phone) Hello police?

Doc (on the phone) You guys agree as well? (beat) Yeah, they’re in.  Now cut the crap Jarvi.

Jarvi: Your terms are…accepted.

Lights dim.

Jarvi leaves.

Lights go up.

There is silence from the group.  (Beat)

Doc: (On the phone) You guys better get down here….

Tuesday, December 6, 2022

[Script[ Grenademan Vs the Zombies - Act 1, Scene 1 Continued

 Doc, Barb and Smite emerge from the bunker.

Doc: That was refreshing

Smite: Nothing like a good night’s sleep

Barb: The damn song is stuck in my head

Smite: Sorry not sorry

Jarvi: How in the hell could you people ignore the pounding on the door?

Doc: Very carefully with ear plugs (beat).. what the fuck is this?

Smite: Pretty nice fx but not worth the budget

Barb: that my AUNT?

Doc: (checks a body) You dug up REAL dead bodies Jarvi? We need to call the police

Jarvi: I didn't dig up anything I used real magic

Smite: Yeah right

Jarvi: Want me to prove it doughboy?

Doc: Calm down, Jarvi no one is calling you a liar but the dead bodies are a step too far

Jarvi: Where else am I supposed to get real zombies from?

Saturday, December 3, 2022

Swamp Castle - Mr Hamburger

Ham didnt understand why he was being tried thousands of years in the future for eating a hamburger.  He was some kind of symbol and the penalty for failure was death.  Only the trial in this case was more bizarre and personal than he could imagine.

Check out this episode!

Thursday, December 1, 2022

[Script] Grenademan Vs The Zombies - Act 1, Scene 1

 Scene: A large bunker door is built into the side of a hill.  JARVI shows up at the edge and begins chanting.

Voice Over:  Like most things surrounding an apocalyptic event, the world ended on a bet.  Funny thing about wagers though.  To some, a wager is as serious as a riddle.  Humans spin oaths, wagers and random riddles about like they are nothing.  But there are older beings and older powers that take such things immensely seriously.

Jarvi: You said that you could survive a zombie apocalypse.  You said put or shut up.  Well, now you’ll all see!

Jarvi begins chanting and there is thunder and lightning and the undead arrive on the stage and wander to the door.

Jarvi: $2000 you said Doc.  You showed me your little bunker and offered me an out saying I’d have to prove that you couldn’t.  Well I am.  With ACTUAL ZOMBIES! 

Zombie begin to pound on the door.

Jarvi pulls out a Napkin and reads, “Be it hereby witnessed by the undersigned that The Band of the Grey Orc’s Head does wager Jarmos Almandine that within 30 days they can construct a shelter of sufficient strength to survive a Zombie Apocalypse.   The wager shall consist of $2000.  Judgment shall be rendered on impartial evidence alone without speculation.”

Jarvi: You want evidence Doc? I’ll give you EVIDENCE.

(beat, Zombies pound)

Jarvi: What they actual fuck? How can they not be freaked out right now?  

Cautiously, Jarvi goes up to the door and listens as the Zombies part for him.

Here’s the story

Of a Lovely Lady

That was bringing up 

Three very lovely girls…

Jarvi: TELEVISION?  You think you can ignore me so easily! Minions, take out that generator.  Take out the wires and the batteries on their little bunker.  We’ll see how well they weather the madness of actual madness IN THE DARK.

Zombies move to obey.

Jarvi: That should teach them.  Wait, what time is it.  No, it CANT be near sunlight already! No! NONONONONONO!

The sun rises, the zombies collapse around the bunker door.

Saturday, November 26, 2022

Swamp Castle - Waiting for the Monsters to Die

Madlan investigates the death of a man who had been keeping the most hated people on Earth alive while the rest of humanity waits for these people to die so the aliens will let them join the greater Galactic Community.

Check out this episode!

Thursday, November 24, 2022

Dad vs Dnd

 For the record, Army of Fire is in my DND setting "The Fate of Inglemia" as mentioned before.

I did do something in my Dad's setting "The river of light" on drivethrurpg.

One letter, honest mistake but my novel is in my setting :)

Sunday, November 20, 2022

Social Media

I meant what I said and said what I meant

The twitter is dead, long live the mastadon


also insta Ricks447

Saturday, November 19, 2022

Micronation - Chapter 20 & Epilogue - End Game

Chester makes a final sacrifice to save Hler from the rampaging world powers bent on its destruction.

Check out this episode!

Saturday, November 12, 2022

Swamp Castle - Mr Missile and Molly

An earlier draft of Mr Missile and Molly (previously read as a standalone podcast episode) including commentary about why this earlier draft didnt work.  Mr. Missile is a sapient missile decommissioned and put into a human body.  He tries to fit in.

Check out this episode!

Saturday, November 5, 2022

Micronation - Chapter 19 - Reckoning

The Gang of Four reunite under tense circumstances.  Chester finally gets the chance he has been looking for and unleashes one meme to rule them all.

Check out this episode!

Saturday, October 29, 2022

Before the Coup - Active Resistance

You wanna LARP Wolverines against the most powerful weapon in the history of mankind? You wanna be Batman? Well there are some obstacles you should know about.  Star Wars references are abundant.  Vote like your like depends on it....because it does.

Check out this episode!

Saturday, October 22, 2022

Before the Coup - Passive Resistance

Practical Advice on preparing to be a passive resister to the coup.  Includes protesting, preparation for protesting, protecting books and movies from the regime, creating an underground railroad (and how not to get caught), and being a witness for the tribunals when the regime falls.  Be the quiet ghost against fascism.

Check out this episode!

Saturday, October 15, 2022

Before the Coup - Run Rabbit Run

This podcast episode is practical advice for those who realize the coup attempt is inevitable and plan to flee the United States.  When do you go? What do you need to do get a visa? Where will you go? How much do you need to save ahead of time?

Check out this episode!

Saturday, October 8, 2022

Before the Coup - How Not To Hide

Practical advice and understanding for those who are considering hiding from the MAGA regime that will result if the inevitable coup attempt is successful.

Check out this episode!

Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Emmit's Corner - Blaspheme for Blaspheme

Blaspheme for Blaspheme, Me Myself and Not I, No it Doesnt, My Lunatic Uncle, For Want of a Nail, Covenant at Gunpoint, Maybe

Check out this episode!

Saturday, October 1, 2022

Before the Coup - A Declaration of War

A new series discussing practical preparation for the coming coup.  The next four episodes involve practical advice for how to prepare based on your strategy; Hide, Run, Passively Resist, Actively Resist.  This episode is much more simple; it makes the simple case of why the coup is inevitable.  It isn't known if it will be successful; nor when, but it is ABSOLUTELY inevitable that it will happen again because a sufficient effort is not being made to change the root causes of the risk.

Check out this episode!

Friday, September 30, 2022

The Story of Terra

 by Rhombus Ticks

The poorly educated assume that the worlds were created by the Fae.  The Fae did create some worlds, but not all the worlds and not all the Earths.  Those were aligned by powers greater than they, and they are greater than the Disney creations you see in movies.  There are Greater Fae and Lesser Fae and a whole spectrum in between.  But this is not the story of Fae.

It is the story of why Terra is not a place where Stories are Told.

Once upon a time, there were four worlds on a compass set by the Fae; 

Earth, where stories are told.

Terra, where stories happen.

Gaea, where Gods make belief real.

Mana, where belief makes Gods real.

There is a reason that the worlds are like this, but no one ever wondered why that was.  Few even asked.  There is a reason.  Let me tell you what it was.

Once upon a time, there was a human by the name of TC who was broken by evil men; determined to write but unable to do so.  When a strong will strikes a strong soul, even a wounded one, creates an unstoppable force meets an immovable object.  And so the soul shattered into seven parts; and the part that wrote stories drifted away to a place called Terra; a place where stories happen.

And he met a man named Rhombus Ticks, who thought he was merely a tour guide to the Bridge to Anywhere deep in the swamps of Louisiana.   And Rhombus offered to write for him instead, and so he astrally projected to Earth and wrote stories.

Which set up the curious situation that a human could influence his own world, by telling stories through another.  And safeguards that had been set in place were now suddenly bypassed.  Humans had occasionally gone from Terra to Earth or Earth to Terra back and forth; but the rules still applied to those humans.  

It so happened that despite being an absolutely terrible writer, TC had a particular strength of belief, that all things everywhere were possible; which when combined with someone who had talent like Rhombus meant that suddenly....suddenly many interesting things were possible.

That story is still being written.

Many stories are being written.  More stories are being written.  More stories will always be written.  For there are infinite Terras, Infinite Earths, Infinite Gaias, Infinite Manas.  But there is only one Terra of the Compass points, that ripples to all the others. 

Once upon a time, there was a story about a man who who abused magic and story so much that it offended Rhombus to no end.  So for the first time, Rbombus realized the power he had, and abused it just as much as the man who was a fool had been.  So he wrote a story.

A story about Terra.

And since Terra was a place where stories happen, then the story happened.

Because he wrote it.

And so in world where magic was possible, stories happened.

In a world where magic was hidden and in the cracks of the world, stories are told.

And this is why magic on Earth lies in the shadows. And why stories on Terra are shadows of other places unless told in the lives of those who live there.

Such is the nature of time, belief and being.

You can believe it, or consider it just a story.  But the words say what they say, and the worlds are the way that they are.

And the stories were much happily ever after after that; for even the darker ones were not violations unto themselves.  Except of course for the small handful that were, but even those had their defenders.

Even those had their defenders.

The End. 

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Emmit's Corner - My Octopus Lover

If I were You, Pay to Play, Reset the Police, My Octopus Lover, Precious Bodily Fluids, Deliberations, The Trial of a God, 

Check out this episode!

Saturday, September 24, 2022

Swamp Castle - Gatekeeper

Hastur had a tough job to do, working for the Interdimensional Immigration Service determining whether witches, gnomes and enchanted teapots get into the USA (Unicorns get in automatically).  Then he is given an ominous warning and must solve it using the main skill he has; beuracracy.

Check out this episode!

Thursday, September 22, 2022

[Script] The Sins of Silicon Valley - Act 2, Scene 4

 [Images of Garage and Happy Google]

VO: Once upon a time, two friends started a little company in a garage, but they wisely learned the lessons of technology companies in the past and made a simple motto, “Don’t Be Evil.”  They had a simple idea, figure out how to rank web results by when people made hyperlinks.  And it worked.  Before, the internet was basically a card catalog (like Yahoo) and they made the worlds first search engine.  And the company had a simple way to make money; just charge for ads based on the results.  For a long time, the company grew and grew and they had tons of cool ideas and offered lots of free things like email, and documents, and phone calls, and chat bots and on and on and on; so much so that people loved it and used it.  Sure, google took tat data and used it to improve their search engines, but they were the good guys, so it was OK.  And google grew more, and more and more and offered more cool ideas like balloons that let people talk to each other, and super intelligent AI to help make their search engines work and self driving cars.  Google called these crazy projects moonshots, and it was built right into the company charter that they could do that, and eventually the two friends got bored, got another CEO and walked away to live happily ever after doing cool things like building flying cars.

[Images of Sundar Pichai]

VO: But the company was still around.  And it was making a lot of money.  Someone had to run it.  Along comes Sundar Pichai, who has a slightly different vision; call him crazy, but he decided that a company designed to make money organizing the world’s data, was going to make a lot of money.  And oh GOD, did they make a lot of money.  First, Google made the android phone which became much more popular than Apple, and they gave it away for free.  Of course, to use it, you had pay google for services that were more and more mandatory and eventually if you wanted to do ANYTHING on the opensource apple phone, you had to pay Google.  

[Images of the EU and android, Dont be Evil covered with a little slime]

VO: So there were some lawsuits from the EU which doesnt have anti trust that is quite as pathetic as the US.  And then Google had someone steal a lot of their self driving code, but they made a nice side deal with Uber to get that back and kept working on it slowly but surely.  They might have used their lawyers a little aggressively to get ahead, but hey, they were still the cool company right?

[Images of Apple Company Store, Don’t be evil has a bit more slime]

VO: They thought apple had a good thing going on and so they charged the developers some money as well, for thirty percent, there’s a lawsuit about that.

[Images of Sex Managers and other things with Dont Be eventually blotted out with slime]

VO: Then there were some complaints about sexual harassment and the company made that go away.   And then they were involved in anti union activities and illegal collusion with other companies to fuck over their pay rate.   And then they entered into a duopoly with the most evil company in the world on Advertising where they had a symbiotic relationship.  And in 2020 they were accused also of being involved with the Xinjiang region but Google assures you that is a nice liberal company even though in 2018 they formally removed that pesky ‘Dont be Evil’.  

[Images of Sex Robots]

VO: Google is among the most intelligent companies in the world at AI research.  Recently, they fired a researcher who spoke up about unethical google behavior, so of course the company fired her.  There were protests from the employees, but gone were the days of the open collaboration between employees and management.  Old habits die hard and Google is now looking at doing business with China and the US military.  Now that Alphabet doesnt have to worry about its brand due to its monopoly power and thorough bribery on congress, they can do what they want, which is acquire as much data as possible with as little accountability as possible.  But hey, remember when they used to be cool? Remember all that free stuff they gave you? Trust them.


Tuesday, September 20, 2022

[Script] The Sins of Silicon Valley - Act 2, Scene 3 - Continued

 [Image of 19th Century Coal Companies]

VO: In the late 19th century, Robber Barons got this nifty little idea to put all their employees in a village where they owned the houses, the stores and the means of production; so while technically the employees weren’t slaves they paid the employees in company monopoly money which meant that not only did their employees work for effectively nothing but slowly took on debt.  The song ‘16 Tons’ was made popular because it highlighted what an extremely gross abuse of power this was.

[Images of Walled Gardens and Alice and Wonderland]

VO: Apple has continued its love of walled Gardens by charging a third of all the income an app developer makes in order to work on their platform.  Google does the same things and other companies including Microsoft and Sony are starting to take notice, but Apple claims it needs to take this money in order to offer proper safeguards for their environment.  Then again, given that apple has made over 700 billion dollars in profits in the last 10 years, maybe they can afford to be a little less greedy.  

[Images of Epic Games and Fortnight]

VO: Epic Games, the creators of the rando themed shootem up game Fortnight finally lost it with Apple and took them to court where all kinds of interesting details came up in discovery.  Apple’s response to Epic setting up a payment method outside of Apple? They removed Epic from their appstore.  At Apple, you buy from the company store, or you buy a new phone.

[Images of Locked Warehouses and Fires]

VO: Apple is also notorious for using locked contracts with their vendors but they are more notorious for working conditions in China where the iPhone is made.  FoxConn had several employees on suicide watch just to keep them from killing themselves.  They had an ACTUAL company store scenario with employees having to spend half their paychecks just to work in the lovely Apple sweatshop environments.  In 2007, Apple, realizing that this was not a good look for the company, started a monitoring program.  Of course, three years later, workers were dying due to a cleaner used on the screens in a similar manner to the Radium girls who painted watches in the 1930’s.  Four years later, the BBC did an expose wherein Apple still hadnt fixed the problem.  Apple, obviously, denied these allegations as it also denies allegations that it is using slave labor in the federally sanctioned region of the Ughyrs which lobbiests from Apple tried to weaken as much as possible.

Saturday, September 17, 2022

Micronation - Chapter 18 - Memememememe

Amberlove is rescued by a flood of tiny little cars that also take her on a (larger) car chase.

Check out this episode!

Thursday, September 15, 2022

[Script] The Sins of Silicon Valley - Act 2, Scene 3 - Apple

 Scene 3 - Apple - The Company Store

[Images of Ihappiness and Apple]

VO: Ah apple, the darling of the tech world.  When you think of slick, when you think of cool and how it intersects with tech, you think of Apple.  iPhones, iPods, Macs, iPads; Apple makes it smaller, smoother faster better.  It is no accident that it does this.  Apple is something called a Walled Garden.  What does that mean?

[Image of Steve Jobs, Hedge Mazes and Gardens]

VO: Back in the day, the founder of the company, Steve Jobs, had a vision that you can see in the movie of the same name.  He wanted a seamless customer experience where Apple controlled the user experience and the quality thereof; Apple made the hardware and apple made the software.  Back in the day, Apple did both and Microsoft made the hardware and operating system but allowed others to make hardware and software that were compatible.  The phrase PC Compatible was how Microsoft won the first round of the tech wars since at one point Apple and Microsoft were giant rivals, but this open system allowed Microsoft an edge.

[Image of Year by Year PC vs Apple size share]

VO: But year on year, Microsoft kept getting bigger and bigger and Apple was left in the dust. Oh, Apple had some die hard customers; artists, creatives, musicians and it had a highly effective in with schools in an attempt to get kids to be loyal to apple products in the next generation.  While it didn’t work with personal computers, it did pay off in the long run.

[Image of the Ipod]

VO: Steve Jobs was foolishly expelled from the Apple board where he did all kinds of things on the side including help found a little company you might have heard of called Pixar.  And when he came back, he remade the walkman as a slick sexy project called the Ipod.  But that wasn’t enough, he had changed the world once with the Mac, so he decided to do it again with the Smart Phone.  The iphone changed how we interacted with our phones and the internet in general.  It was a genius move and earned Steve Jobs a well deserved reputation as a creative visionary genius.

Only there were problems.

Wednesday, September 14, 2022


 I have reactivated my twitter account (@Rticks)


Tuesday, September 13, 2022

[Script] The Sins of Silicon Valley - Act 2, Scene 2

 Fade In: Microsoft - The First Horseman

[Images of Bill Gates, and Microsoft]

Fade Out

VO: Microsoft was started in a garage in 1972.  They are literally the first horsemen; the first start up and the model that set the pattern for the rest; Five Horseman, Microsoft, Facebook, Google, Apple and Amazon have come to totally dominate our world and economy today.  Microsoft grew from two people to thousands and now has an annual income well north of a hundred billion dollars.   They started small; little advances here and there like BASIC and ASCII, but their real break came with the creation of DOS, Disk Operating System.  Now, allegedly, Microsoft copied this code from CP/M (allegedly) and then IBM gave Microsoft a sweet deal.  In 1990, back when the federal government actually did things, it investigated microsoft for collusion with IBM, but by then the genie was out of the bottle and the company was worth billions upon billions of dollars.

[Images of Computers]

VO: There was a war, early on between Apple and Microsoft, but Microsoft opened its system to allow others to make hardware and software, whereas apple took the ‘walled garden’ path that is reflected in its war with Google today.  But Microsoft started a lot of sketchy behavior right off the bat.  Since Microsoft was in the majority of computers, if they decided that they wanted into a market; that was the end of things.  The two most notorious examples of this were in word processing where Microsoft signed the death warrant of the highly popular Word Perfect, and the first (and highly valuable) browser Netscape with the kludgy and easy to hack Internet Explorer.  Microsoft not only made it the default browser on every windows PC, they did all kinds of quiet things in the background to ensure that it didn't work as well as Internet Explorer.

[Images of Clinton and investigations]

VO: But Microsoft did this again and again; small start ups would come up with a product and microsoft would crush them by building something in the operating system, a competing process or doing something called Vaporwear, where they would release a hypothetical program that never actually got release, but the mere hint that they might do it caused competitors to run away screaming and investors to think twice.  Eventually enough people got sick of this that Microsoft was taken to court by the FTC.  There was a lot of back and forth, but Microsoft had very clever lawyers and kept dodging around laws and regulations (which set the pattern followed by all the tech companies) until their violations finally got so egregious that the Department of Justice and 18 states took them to court and got a consent decree forcing them to stop the nonsense of jamming their product down everyone’s throat.

[Images of bars and chains]

VO And it hit the tech world like a sledge hammer.  For a while, a short while, tech companies started trying to obey the law.  Google notoriously chose their first motto “Dont Be Evil” so that they would be everything Microsoft wasn’t (we’ll see how long that lasted later) but while every company wanted to be Microsoft in economic size, none of them wanted to be perceived as the bad guy so a number of very slick, very sophisticated advertising campaigns took place to clean up the valley’s image.

[Image of other companies passing microsoft by with phones and platforms]

VO Microsoft did what it always did; tried to move into new platforms, but when Bill Gates retired and with the consent decree, Microsoft became more conservative.  They were the aging lion in the tech jungle, and they lost out in social media, they lost out in online sales, they lost out mobile devices (the windows phone was an unmitigated disaster) and the lesson that Microsoft learned from this was that they needed to be more aggressive, but also bide their time and see if the government isnt looking.  From time to time, Microsoft has still rolled out features that are mandatory, like that ad and status screen you see pop up, or do little things in the Windows store like make decisions about whether open source is available.  Recently, they formed an alliance with facebook to agree on standards for a new virtual universe (and we’ll get to that later) but the clear take away is that Microsoft is still this big, stable blue chip company like IBM and like IBM, they have allowed their past controversies to slide away mostly forgotten.

Monday, September 12, 2022

Project Nimby Tour

 Half of the new chap book I am creating is going to be on several serialized outlets.  It will be sold absolutely last on Amazon.  I am releasing one at a time.

Here is the first.

Saturday, September 10, 2022

Swamp Castle - The Architect of Cool

A mysterious human disrupts daily life in an alien marketplace to benefit all of humanity and the local Warden is determined to find out why.

Check out this episode!

Thursday, September 8, 2022

[Script] The Sins of Silicon Valley - Act 2, Scene 1 - Continued

 [Images of the Nuremberg trials]

VO: Historians unfamiliar with the topic are often astonished at the sheer breadth of the records kept by the Nazi party.  Part of the records kept included punch cards used for every single concentration camp that helped them track their prisoners.  But the contribution by IBM was more insidious than this; because the legitimate census by the Weimar Republic was used by the Nazi party to help determine who was qualified to be rounded up, put on a rail car and sent to the industrial death camps of the holocost.  Other efforts in history have resulted in as much or more death, but nothing compares to the cold industrial slaughter of non combattants than the efforts of the Nazis during WWII..and IBM helped them.

[Images of German IBM]

VO: Note, that this is not a case of IBM having their corporate offices and equipment nationalized by the Nazis.  Nor was it a case of mere questionable sympathizes like many rich wealthy Americans such as Ford who later whole heartedly helped the Allies in America.   No, IBM had a corporate branch in Germany and that company completely helped the regime in every way possible.  One can argue that the American company had no power to stop their German branch except…there are no records of them even trying.  Indeed, the official company line is that there are not enough records or details at the time to know one way or another.  Note, that this is a company that helped keep records in an industrial and mechanical fashion.  The exact amount of money that IBM earned working with the Nazi government is not entirely clear, but the company has paid over seven billion in settlements without admitting guilt.

[Images of the 1950’s and 1960’s IBM]

VO: After the war, IBM went on to become the go to word for industrial computers.  Before Microsoft, the very image of a cutting edge technology company was IBM.  They grew in wealth, power, prestige and stability with important contracts with major companies and governments all over the world.  While their efforts in WW2 with the germans didnt become widespread to the public until more than 50 years later; the company knew and the government knew and felt no need to reign the company in.  How much then, must we wonder about what the modern day technology behemoths are actually up to? Despite the internet, despite lessons learned about watching these companies, is what we know of their sins only the tip of the iceberg?