Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The EFFector Newsletter (on Facebook Privacy... and more)

EFFector Vol. 23, No. 12  April 28, 2010

A Publication of the Electronic Frontier Foundation
ISSN 1062-9424

effector: n, Computer Sci. A device for producing a
desired change.

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In our 535th issue:

and EFF has created tools to help Facebook users protect
their information. One of the most radical changes is
"Instant Personalization," which gives other websites
(Yelp, Pandora, and Microsoft Docs, at the moment)
personal information from your Facebook profile as soon
as you visit their pages. Moreover, even if you opt out of
Instant Personalization, your friends can leak information
about you unless you block each application individually.

To completely opt out of Instant Personalization:

For more on Facebook's plans to make your information

MADE PUBLIC. While this is a definitive victory for the
countless activists who pressed for transparency, the
officially released text makes it crystal clear that our
worst fears about this international agreement are real:
ACTA is not just about counterfeiting. ACTA targets
citizens' ability to use the Internet to communicate,
collaborate and create, and it poses significant concerns
for citizens' privacy, freedom of expression and fair
use rights.

For EFF's preliminary analysis of the official ACTA text:

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EFF Updates

* Film Company Takes Down Hitler Parodies on YouTube
Countless video creators brought Internet fame to a
scene from the German film, The Downfall, by cleverly
subtitling an emotional rant by Hitler. Constatin Film,
the copyright owner, has blithely decided to wipe out
all the remix videos, fair use notwithstanding.

* Consumers International Video: When Copyright Goes Bad
The short film "When Copyright Goes Bad," featuring EFF
Senior Staff Attorney Fred von Lohmann, chronicles the
rise of copyright as a global consumer rights issue and
the ongoing fight for fairer copyright laws.

* 2010 Global IP Watchlist Promotes Access to Knowledge
Featuring significant contributions from EFF, the consumer
rights-focused document presents a detailed survey of
global copyright laws and their impact on citizens'
freedom to communicate, learn, and exchange information.

* Not-So-Gentle Persuasion: The Special 301 Report
For years, the Special 301 report gave US rightsholder
industries a way to intimidate other countries into
amping copyright laws. But for the first time in 2010,
groups interested in copyright reform were allowed to
submit comments -- will we see more balance?

* Site Shows Government Information and Takedown Requests
Google's Government Requests tool is a tremendously
important first step towards informing the public about
the extent to which governments around the world seek
information about them.

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~ EFF Profile: Protecting Freedom & Privacy
The SF Chronicle profiled EFF with an interview with
Executive Director Shari Steele.

~ Senator Schumer Takes on Facebook
Senator Chuck Schumer calls on the FTC to investigate
"major privacy concerns" raised by recent Facebook

~ Animator Nina Paley turns down Netflix Due to DRM
"DRM is designed to benefit Big Media conglomerates,
not artists."

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* Party in Vegas with EFF's DEF CON Getaway Contest

EFF wants to help you get to DEF CON 18 and party
in style!

Register for the DEF CON Getaway Fundraising Contest,
and receive a personalized referral link. Send the link
to your friends and family, and tell them why they should
support EFF. The contestant(s) to raise the most money
for EFF between now and June 30, 2010, will win:

- two DEF CON 18 Human badges;
- a standard room at the Riviera Hotel for the nights of
  July 29-31;
- two tickets to the Vegas 2.0 Party at the Top of the
  Riv on July 29;
- two tickets to the iSEC Partners Party, location and
  date TBD; and
- two badges to the Ninja Networks Party, location TBD,
  on July 31.

There are prizes for second and third place winners,
as well. Visit for more information
and official contest rules. Contact with
any questions. See you in Sin City!

* Help EFF Go to SouthEast LinuxFest!

EFF is looking for donations of airline miles, flight
vouchers, and hotel points for travel to SouthEast
LinuxFest in Spartanburg, SC, as well as other conferences
and speaking engagements. If you have enough airline miles
for a free ticket and would like to send an EFF staffer
to a conference, let us know, and we will help you with
the process of making the reservation. Please note that
at this time we are unable to combine miles from multiple
individuals. We are also looking for hotel rewards points
to help reduce our overall travel costs.

As a thanks for your donation, we can offer a free
membership and a mention in EFFector (if you'd
like). Please contact if you can help!

* "Life 2.0" at the San Francisco International Film Fest

EFF is proud to be a presenter of Life 2.0, directed
by Jason Spingarn-Koff, at the 53rd San Francisco
International Film Festival (April 22-May 6). EFF
consulted with the filmmakers during the making of
this film.

Documented both online and in the real world, Life 2.0
examines the effects both humorous and unnerving of the
virtual world Second Life by focusing on the lives of
its users and chronicling their successes, failures,
lives and loves.

Showings at the Sundance Kabuki Cinemas:
Friday, April 30 at 3:00 PM
Sunday, May 2 at 1:00 PM
Wednesday, May 5 at 9:15 PM

For more information on Life 2.0, visit

For tickets and more information on SFIFF53:

* EFF Seeking Staff Intellectual Property Attorney

Dream job alert:  EFF is seeking an intellectual property
staff attorney for its legal team. Responsibilities
include litigation, public speaking, media outreach,
plus legislative and regulatory advocacy, all in
connection with a variety of intellectual property and
high technology matters.

Qualified candidates should have at least four years of
legal experience, with knowledge in patent law and at
least one other IP specialty (copyright, trademark, trade
secret). Litigation experience is required, including
significant experience managing cases, both overall case
strategy and day-to-day projects and deadlines. Candidates
should have good communication skills and interest
in working with a team of highly motivated lawyers and
activists in a hard-working nonprofit environment. Strong
writing and analytical skills as well as the ability to be
self-motivated and focused are essential. Tech savvy
and familiarity with Internet civil liberties and high
tech public interest issues preferred. This position is
based in San Francisco.

Interested applicants should submit a resume, writing
sample, and references to

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* Administrivia

EFFector is published by:
The Electronic Frontier Foundation
454 Shotwell Street
San Francisco CA 94110-1914 USA
+1 415 436 9333 (voice)
+1 415 436 9993 (fax)

Richard Esguerra, EFF Activist

Membership & donation queries:

General EFF, legal, policy, or online resources queries:

Reproduction of this publication in electronic media is
encouraged. Signed articles do not necessarily represent
the views of EFF. To reproduce signed articles
individually, please contact the authors for their express

Press releases and EFF announcements & articles may be
reproduced individually at will.

Current and back issues of EFFector are available via the
Web at:

Monday, April 26, 2010

Forced Mate Review

I'd hardly call this link a "review", and the tags that the site has chosen mystify me. Nevertheless, I suspect that this is a new feature, and for my author friends --and reviewer friends-- who like to hang out on the cutting edge, this might be a site to watch.

Forced Mate Review

By the way, I was sorely tempted to comment on an ambiguous book title: Write A Romance Novel For Dummies. It's not quite so rude to readers when one sees the cover!

1st Turning Point » You’ve Got…Hate!…Mail

1st Turning Point » You’ve Got…Hate!…Mail

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Goodreads | Authors Without A Yacht (AWaY)

Tax time in America brings it home to many author just how much our income is affected by ebook piracy. One cannot even deduct uploads let alone downloads of illegally created copies of our books as "spillage" (which is what bookstore owners call shoplifted books).

Goodreads | Authors Without A Yacht (AWaY)

Some of us got together to create a social networking group to discuss piracy and share just how rampant the situation is.

"Authors Without A Yacht" is a group where book lovers can ask questions and receive honest answers from authors who are affected by piracy.

Most of us would be happy if we could afford a canoe from our book royalties. Readers keep us afloat, piracy and e-book file "sharing" is sinking us.

If you ask, we'll tell you where you can legally find our books for the best possible prices (usually libraries and used book stores), which online retailers are legitimate.

We'll tell you the tell-tale signs that a "free" book is probably stolen, and the trouble that downloading a bootleg could cause, and what to do to be safe... and much more.

Goodreads | Authors Without A Yacht (AWaY)

Please join the GoodReads group, and invite your friends.

And now for something completely different.

I'm one of the moderators of a GoodReads group called "Tips..." It's for authors only, and is all about sharing advice on promoting and marketing books.

One member requested a little brainstorming on how to position his book as a graduation gift. I obliged thusly (some remarks have been redacted):

..... it would be a really good idea to ask people .... to tag the book "graduation gift". I've just written it in for you, but you'll need a lot more write-ins before it gets on your main menu.

There are 823 rival tags of "Graduation Gift". 459 products are in the Graduation Gift community.

The top tagger is Linda Chai with 71 products tagged, but your most creative rival is probably Dahlia, because she is the only one with an atavar, and has tagged 49 times.

There is one discussion (only one!) and it is hardly scintillating.

42 Lists and guides (have you started a Listmania?) but no images!

You could own this Amazon Community. Get on the leader board by tagging 75 of your rivals starting with those that only have 1 vote/tag.


How's that?

My correspondent came back with another question about tagging, to which I replied:


People tag out of reciprocity. Also out of gratitude if you comment on their discussions in their Communities or blogs.

For instance, you could go to and comment on my guest Kelly A Harmon's guest post. (She's doing a blog tour and offering one prize over the course of the tour to one commenter, so commenters will be returning to my blog from her later blogs to leave some remark in hopes of winning.)

So, you visit my blog, and you leave a comment for Kelly... and ask if her book would make a great "graduation gift" and if so would history graduates enjoy it. When you sign in, you include your http TO YOUR AMAZON PAGE instead of to your website.

Maybe you add a sig line at the bottom of your comment
"MR 'graduation gift' expert"

Others see "graduation gift" and associate your name with it. The search engines eventually pick up your name in connection with "graduation gift".

Amazon communities are an untapped resource. Author friends, check it out. Really. You could start your own on almost any subject. There's even a "sperm donor" community!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Three cheers for Congressman Fleming

Congressman Fleming is encouraging people to go on his Website and Sign his petition (very simple - just a name and an email address).

I have just done just that at:

Please urge as many people as you can to do the same!  Congress should have to accept the same level of health care for themselves and their families as the rest of America.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

The Two “Secrets” of Being a Productive Writer (Guest Blog by Kelly A Harmon)

The Two “Secrets” of Being a Productive Writer

Kelly A. Harmon

Writers write. And no matter how much they produce: a hundred words a day, a thousand words a day, a novel in six weeks...nine times out of ten, if asked, they’ll tell you they wish they were more productive.

The fact is, we could all write more. But between email, the phone, and popping out to the Internet for a bit of research, all that productivity starts to wane. We try to multi-task, but concentrating on more than one thing at a time weakens our ability to do any one of them well.

No lie. Scientists have proven that multi-tasking is a fallacy.

I’m not talking about the trick of putting in a load of laundry and writing while it washes: that’s simply ordering your tasks in a manner which allows you to accomplish more. The fact is: first your put the laundry into the washer first, and then your write. You’re not really doing more than one thing at a time.

Consider a writer who sits down to write with a cup of tea at hand. He types a few words, maybe a few sentences, and then stops to take a drink. Did you hear the key word? He stopped. As soon as he reached for the cup, he was no longer writing.

Imagine how much time he loses when he answers a ringing phone or reads an email.

So the first “secret” of being a more productive writer is to just write. Focus on putting words on the page and ignore everything else until the writing is done (or you’ve reached your time limit, or your word goal, etc.). Just concentrate on one single task.

When you’re finished with that task, start the next. Finish it, then start the next. It’s called serial mono-tasking.

The second “secret” to being more productive is to keep more than one writing project in the hopper at a time. When you’re done with working on the novel, turn to a non-fiction article you’ve been wanting to write. When you tire of that, move on to the novella you’ve been toying with. Don’t just close up shop for the day when you’ve finished the task at hand. Keep moving. Always strive to do a bit more than is necessary. Push yourself to accomplish more.

As Johann Sebastian Bach said, “I was obliged to be industrious. Whoever is equally industrious will succeed equally well.”

So, in truth there are no secrets to being more productive: focus and hard work, which have been around forever, are the key.

A tale of murder, betrayal and comeuppance.

King Theodicar needed an heir. When his wife, Queen Piacenza, became pregnant, he’d hoped for a boy. His wife, along with her nurse, Salvagia, knew it wouldn’t be so: with each cast of the runes, Salvagia’s trusted divination tools yielded the same message: “A girl child must rule or the kingdom will fall to ruin.” The women were convinced that the child would be a girl.

When the queen finally gives birth, the nurse and the king are equally surprised. The king is faced with a terrible choice, and his decision will determine the fate of his kingdom. Will he choose wisely, or will he doom Borgund to ruin?

Excerpt One:

Theodicar looked down at the mewling infant in his arms, and felt the anger rise up. Even in death his wife defied him, the nurse ensuring her success. Women did not rule. He would not allow it. They had created a male child, and that child would take the throne upon his death.

“You can save the boy,” he said to Salvagia.

She slitted her eyes at him, her stare mutinous. Her words were loud and hard in the wake of Pia’s death. “I have the power to save one at the expense of the other, Sire. The girl is stronger. And eldest. She was born to rule.”

Theodicar watched the girl curl up in his arms, her birth fluids staining a brown patch on the dyed-yellow wool of his tunic. She burrowed into the crook of his elbow, trying to achieve the comfort of the womb.

“I will not hear those words again,” he said. “That absurd idea died with my wife. My son will rule.” He reached for the boy, thrusting the girl child back into the nurse’s hands. “There’s no need for a daughter. And no need for anyone to know of her.”

“So be it,” Salvagia said, wrapping the weary girl in a square of wool, covering her face. She reached for her basket.

“Kill her now,” said Theodicar.

Salvagia looked stricken.

“Sire, if we kill her now, she will be of no use to her brother. Once dead, the blood won’t flow, and we need her blood to strengthen his.

“Then drain her now,” he snapped. “I will not have her crying out when we call the witnesses back to cut the boy’s cord.”

I encourage you to follow Kelly A. Harmon's tour and comment; the more that readers comment, the better their chances of winning. The tour dates can be found here:

Interested in hosting Kelly on your blog?

Amber Polo's Why I Write Fantasy series

Amber Polo has lined up a number of my friends for fun, quick and quirky interviews. Maybe you'd like to check them all out?
Why I Write Fantasy interviews -
Past, Present and Future

February 26     Dana Davis, speculative fiction author and ghost buster
March 6           Mary Carrales, erotic romance author writes fantasy to explore wish fulfillment
March 12  Kate Robinson - Studying in mystical Wales , writer of slipstream fantasy
March 21  Kari Thomas, paranormal romance author, writes shifter fantasy because she’s insane (her words, not mine)
March 28  Kelley Heckart - Historical fantasy author, writes of Dark Age Scotland to escape complex modern world
April 4   Arlene Eisenbise, writer whose spirit guide (or muse) told her to write about Atlantis, the Maya, and the Hopi.
April 11 Kris Neri – has added unlikely supernatural characters to her mystery novels
April 18 Skhye Moncrief, research maven, writes time travel and cross-genre fantasy romance
April 25 Renee Wildes writes fantasy, action, romance, heroics and lots of critters
May 2 Gail Dayton writes fantasy, paranormal romance and steampunk
May 9 Brenna Lyons writes milieu-heavy dark fiction in 18 established worlds plus more
May 16 Hywala Lyn Looks at the difference between US and UK fantasy readers
May 23 Heather Kuehl Kick-butt action adventure fantasy
May 30 Rowena Cherry -heroes larger than life in every way
June 6 Pamela K. Kinney & Sapphire Philan – Double identity – Erotic romance, horror and ghostly non-fiction.

And more to come Jane Toombs, Mistress Rae, CK Green, and more...

Saturday, April 10, 2010

E-Reads: Publishing In the 21st Century » Blog Archiv » Google Blogger Shutdown Deadline Looms

E-Reads: Publishing In the 21st Century » Blog Archiv » Google Blogger Shutdown Deadline Looms

Why host a Blog Tour?

My blogging-author friends, have you have ever toyed with the idea of hosting guest authors?

If it seems like too much trouble to advertise for guests, post their posts, moderate the comments they receive (some of which will be very thinly veiled invitations to visit other sites), and generally keep an eye on things... you might be right.

On the other hand, there are tangible benefits in addition to the traffic from people who "discover" your blog because they are following the guest on her tour and may be hoping to maximize their chances of winning an online bookstore gift certificate.

Blog tour organizer goddessfish also offers a really good incentive to appropriate hosts: "Any month you host one of our authors on a virtual tour, you’ll receive 50% off of banner or book video creation from Goddess Fish! Are you a tour partner?"

Judy and Marianne do first rate book videos and banners. Imagine commissioning one of their book videos for $20 instead of $40

Like this:

On April 12 I shall be hosting dark fantasy author Kelly A Harmon for the day, as she inaugurates her "Blood Soup" blog tour. Please come back to check it out and leave an encouraging comment for Kelly (on Monday April 12th).

A tale of murder, betrayal and comeuppance.

King Theodicar of Borgund needed an heir. When his wife, Queen Piacenza, became pregnant, he’d hoped for a boy. His wife, along with her nurse, Salvagia, knew it wouldn’t be so: with each cast of the runes, Salvagia’s trusted divination tools yielded the same message: “A girl child must rule or the kingdom will fall to ruin.” The women were convinced that the child would be a girl.
When the queen finally gives birth, the nurse and the king are equally surprised. The king is faced with a terrible choice, and his decision will determine the fate of his kingdom. Will he choose wisely, or will he doom Borgund to ruin?

Meanwhile, if you might like to host Kelly A. Harmon (who has a number of interesting blog topics prepared) you could visit


to sign up as a potential host and choose a guest and a day.