Universe Explodes!


Jim Baen's Universe magazine premieres this month.

The first issue includes stories by Greg Benford, Alan Dean Foster, Elizabeth Bear, John Ringo and John Barnes; classic fiction by Mark Twain; articles by Jim Baen, Eric Flint and Travis Taylor -- and many more.

Plus, there's a section of the magazine exclusively for stories from brand-new writers.

Issues will appear six times a year as ebooks, with each one available electronically in a variety of formats with no copy protection (no DRM). One of those formats intended for printing!


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cover of BoundaryBoundary

author: Eric Flint
Ryk E. Spoor
asin: 1416509321
binding: Hardcover
list price: $26.00 USD
amazon price: $26.00 USD

What is a paleontologist doing on Mars? Pushing her boundaries. . . .

A delightful romp through one possible very near future.

This book is definately more "hard sf" than either of these authors has done previously, and they are definately stretching their literary boundaries with it. However, if you enjoy hard sf stories, you'll probably like this one. I'm eagerly anticipating the next book in this series, Threshold.

Need to find an algorithm


I'm looking for an algoritm to help with the kiosk/point-of-sale project I'm working on.

I need to be able to allow customers to add an item to their order for free when they purchase a specific set of items.

Basically, a 'buy three get one free' scheme. Unfortunately, the requirements are such that the three items are not necessarily going to be the same thing.

If anyone has any ideas, let me know.

Shadow of Saganami

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cover of Shadow of SaganamiThe Shadow of Saganami (The Saganami Island)

author: David Weber
asin: 1416509291
binding: Mass Market Paperback
list price: $7.99 USD
amazon price: $7.99 USD

This is the first book in the second spin-off series in the Harrigton universe.

Despite all the eye-glazing political intrigue (which I'm not particulary fond of), there's still enough in the way of interesting interpersonal relationships and 'boots to the ground' action you've come to expect from the Harrington universe.

Planetary Defense

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cover of Planetary DefenseAn Introduction to Planetary Defense: A Study of Modern Warfare Applied to Extra-terrestrial Invasio

author: Travis S. Taylor
Bob Boan
R.C. Anding
T. Conley Powell
asin: 1581124473
binding: Paperback
list price: $34.95 USD
amazon price: $31.45 USD

An interesting foray into the what-ifs and why-fors of preparing for an extra-planetary attack of some sort or another.

This book not only delves into the hows and whys of a "classic" alien invasion (as seen in science fiction), but non-standard approaches that should be accounted for.

For example, the book also deals with: preparing for collisions with Near Earth Objects; preparations for civil defense, in the case of natural disaster; dealing with a resource depletion scenario of our own devising by reaching out to the stars.

I recommend this book to:
* Science fiction authors

Kildar (Ghost series)

cover of Kildar (Ghost series)Kildar

author: John Ringo
asin: 1416520643
binding: Hardcover
list price: $26.00 USD
amazon price: $26.00 USD

Problems, problems, problems! All Mike Harmon ever wanted to be was a SEAL. But after problems in the teams, college student was a decent second best. However, trouble seemed to follow him where he went. Now, after having angered every terrorist on Earth and at least five governments, buying a farm in a third world country was looking pretty good. Of course, nothing was ever simple. With Chechen terrorists knocking on the door and tenant farmers with a truly Byzantine culture, the question was whether he could drag the keldara into the 21st century before the Chechen put them back in the 6th. Kildar answers the question: Where would an international security specialist and former SEAL choose to retire-if he's going to buy the farm, it should be one with beautiful women and the best beer in the world. Valhalla on Earth complete with Vikings.

In the Company of Mind

cover of In the Company of MindIn The Company of Mind

author: Steven Piziks
asin: 067157776X
binding: Mass Market Paperback
list price: $6.99 USD
amazon price: $6.99

Lance Michaels Blackstone has it all: his own VR rig, a personal bodyguard, a luxurious mansion...and a horrific monster for a father. One of the richest men in the galaxy, Jonathan Blackstone is surely also one of the sickest. He has tortured and tormented his son all his life, even using him as a guinea pig in illegal medical experiments intended to "improve" him, to turn him into a son his father could love.

But Jonathan Blackstone is not capable of love, and Lance cannot be the son he wants. He hates and fears the father who abuses him, distrusts the mother who does not save him, and must somehow survive by his wits alone in the midst of apparent wealth and comfort. Even more confusing, he begins to lose large chunks of time, find objects in his room he never put there, and hear voices arguing inside his head. And then one of the voices speaks directly to him.... After Lance escapes his father's clutches, Blackstone does everything in his considerable power to get him back. Lance eludes him successfully for some time, coming to terms with his strange life, and capitalizing on the peculiarities that result from it. But when his mother and her friend are tricked into terrible danger, Lance is the only one who might save them. To do it, he must confront his nightmare past and face all the deep secrets buried in his mind.

Spam picking up again


Is this a seasonal thing? About a month ago, my daily email spams went from ~20 up to ~200.

Mind you, most of this is caught by various spam filters - some at the system level, and others at the client level, but still...

One I see happening more are 'bounce' spams -- that is, spam messages that are sent to one system with a forged 'from' email address, which is then caught by their spam filters, then 'bounced' to the address in the 'from' field.

System/email admins, please update your configurations -- If you have system-level spam filtering (and you should), set it up to reject spam messages at connect time.

Nothing to report

The biopsy returned negative. The only thing they could find was an 'intradermal nevus' -- which is medical doublespeak for 'mole'.

Of course, I wasn't expecting there to be anything.

Biopsy time -- Yaaay!

I have all these multicolored splotches all over my body, that I've had since childhood, being some hodgepodge of Northern European ancestry.

Last week, I noticed that one of them decided to get hard and lumpy on me (interesting, as there hasn't been any *sun* lately), so the doc and I decided "better safe than sorry, that sucker's gettin' removed."

So now I've got this 3/16" hole about 1/8" deep on my arm... It wouldn't stop bleeding by itself, so it got stitched closed.

At least the novocaine worked.