Second Class Supers Kickstarter Success

So, by now you have all hopefully seen that the Kickstarter that Annie and I ran for Second Class Supers was successful. We were basically (I’ll explain that later) able to raise our $2750 minimum. As such, we will be able to afford the resources needed to complete our novel around this Christmas.

We haven’t received our funding from Kickstarter yet, as it hasn’t been the full two weeks of business days yet, but as soon as we do, we will go full tilt on the project and complete it. We have a long road ahead of us to get it done on time, but I am still confident that it can be done.

For those interested in stats, ten backers made up half of the funds needed for the project. We received sixty-four backers for our project. We had two dropped backers due to Amazon not being able to process their credit cards. Not sure why, but that’s how it worked out. The drops were fairly large, and actually will put us under our goal, but still in the realm of affordability.

There were some people that missed the window with backing the Kickstarter, but those that have reached out have been told that they will be able to buy a copy from us when the book is ready. Of course this means they won’t get any backer rewards, but that’s not why most people backed anyways, right?

We are probably a third of the way through our second edit, and we have a long way to go on that, but with Annie and I both working on it, I know we can crush it pretty quick. Our first draft was fairly clean, especially later in the story as we got our groove and figured things out. We have beta readers giving us feedback on things, and I’m very excited about getting this book done, and potentially starting a second with my wife.

Thank you again to everyone that supported our Kickstarter. I’ll keep you in the loop about how things are going, and I’ll be developing SecondClassSupers.com more soon so that we have a central place for all book news and developments!

My New Job: Web Producer at 10up

So, I recently started a new job, and I wanted to take a moment to talk about it. I am the new web producer at 10up, one of the largest WordPress focused agencies that I know of.

I am working for one of the largest teams, and my role is to support the senior web strategist on my team. It is a role that I’ve never taken on before, but one that I hope I’m sufficiently prepared for. Recently, I came across some advice that companies should hire people for roles that they are only seventy percent ready for, so that they have room to grow, and while I’ve taken on roles with more responsibilities, I’m enjoying the challenges with my new position at 10up.

I look forward to discussing my position more, and I hope that this job fits me well and I’m there for a long time. I’m definitely tired of floating around, unsure of where I belong. Wish me luck!

Moving Again

Before October 1st, Annie and I need to move again. We’ve only been in the house we’ve been renting since March, and feel like we just finished unpacking, only to have to pack again. When we rented the place, we knew there was a possibility this could happen, but we hoped we would be able to stay longer.

Unfortunately, the fall isn’t the greatest time to be moving in Georgetown. There are few options, and even fewer that will meet our needs in terms of price or space. Annie and I have had heated discussions about our options and what we are going to do next. This will be my twenty-first move, a few more and I feel like I deserve some kind of metal.

I don’t know what is going to happen for Annie and I, but we are exploring our options as fast as we can. Here’s hoping…

Second Class Supers Kickstarter Update

A huge thank you to everyone that has taken the time to support the Second Class Supers Kickstarter. There are 18 days to go as of this post, and we are at 54% of the way to our goal. We need to raise less than $1300 more until we reach our goal of $2750 and can afford to get our novel edited and published. I am very excited about this opportunity, and can’t explain how much I appreciate the support Annie and I have received.

KickTraq, a service I’m using to monitor how the campaign is going, says we need to bring in $70 per day to succeed at this point. It is a lofty goal, but I hope it can be met.

Second Class Supers -- Kicktraq Mini

Most of the funds contributed have been through family and friends, with only a small bit coming from the rest of the Kickstarter community. Most of what I’ve read has said that there will be a small upswell of support again near the end, and I’m hopeful that’ll be the case. I’m continuing to try to find time to promote the Kickstarter without being too annoying. While I don’t have the social capital that I used to have, I still feel confident that this goal is attainable.

Thank you again to everyone that has supported us, and those that plan on supporting us. We really appreciate it!

Reddit Writing Prompts – Quick Short Stories

So, recently on Reddit, I responded to some quick prompts and created some short stories. Here they are for your enjoyment/amusement.

[WP] The US in the year 2050. Every citizen (except the rich) must serve a mandatory month in prison, in order to recompense for crimes they must’ve committed but that Police failed to discover.

My mom had told me about the Gate when I was a child. The Gate is a ten story tall building, almost a city block wide and mounted on multiple huge tank treads. Constantly protected and watched by dozens of armed guards, it moves outwards at the end of each month. And as it moves, it is connected to an ever widening wall.

She never explained to me why the wall exists, or why, each month, the Gate moves outwards from the center of the city, expanding Det, where I was born, by a few city blocks, but today, it is scheduled to move again, and I am going to escape.

I had heard from various others that the world outside Det was beautiful, filled with trees, machines that give out food, and streets not covered in garbage. I had also heard that it was safe. Unlike Det, it was a place where parents weren’t killed for a few batteries and a small package of beef jerky.

I figured that I could slip between the cracks before the new wall was locked in place. I had been planning for months, timing the guards and their reactions. A few others had tried to escape, but all of them were caught, shot on sight. I had the advantage of being younger than anyone else that I had seen so far, and I hoped the guards wouldn’t notice a child.

The entire city trembled as the Gate cycled up its engines. Slowly, I moved into position and tried to stay out of their sight-lines. The guards stood ready, but as the Gate moved, the only thing that could be heard was the squeaking of the metal treads as they moved.

Dust kicked up as the machines started to move the wall into place, and I sprinted towards the small slit that I knew existed. It was going to be gone in a moment, but I knew that if I didn’t slow down, I could make it through.

My arm slammed against the Gate, tearing my already patchwork shirt to pieces, and slicing into my skin. Covering the wound, I stumbled forward, passing through the last of the dust cloud, I looked out into the world beyond the wall.

A long street, filled on either side with buildings, much like those in Det, stretched along down a hill. At the bottom of the hill was something I instantly recognized. I had seen it all my life. It was another Gate, attached to another wall, spanning outwards as far as I could see. It surrounded another city that looked very similar to my own.

[WP] The year is 2075. Google is an integral part of every facet of life. One morning, nothing turns on.

I knew there was something wrong before I even moved. The normal hum, resonating through my apartment was absent. My mind still foggy, I tried to recall when I last experienced a power outage. Out of habit, I tried to queue up the information, but nothing came back. The Google Overlay wasn’t active.

Sitting up in my bed, I looked around. Light was leaking around the blackout blinds, coverings that were supposed to automatically open an hour before I was to get ready for work. “Google. Open the blinds.” I knew nothing was going to happen, and the deafening silence confirmed it. Rising to manually open the blinds myself, I saw that the streets below were still.

A loud banging echoed through my apartment. It caught me off guard, but as I walked out of my bedroom, I realized it was coming from my front door. “Yes?” I shouted, my voice rough, not lubricated yet by my morning coffee.

A female voice, muffled by the near soundproof door, responded, “I don’t know what to do. Nothing is working!”

I could hear how scared she was, but I didn’t share her concern. Looking around my apartment, there weren’t any advertisements, no extra information, and best of all, no noise. “I am sure it will be resolved soon. Just go back to your apartment and wait it out.” It was though a weight had been lifted off my shoulders. A feeling of euphoria started growing as I realized that I was free.

“Do you know what’s going on?” The female voice whispered loudly through the door.

Her question startled me, but the desperation in her voice required an answer, though I really didn’t care why nothing was working. “No, I don’t have any more information than you.”

“Okay,” she squeaked, her voice trailing off as she likely walked back to her apartment.

Taking a seat in my recliner, I tried to fight the worry that any second, it would all come pouring back. The endless notifications related to new e-mails and text messages, a timer in the corner of my vision as each piece of my schedule ticked by, and the constant watchful eye from Google as I took each step in my life. I felt like I could finally think for myself. But what does being free from technology really mean? I wished I could search Google to find out.

Kickstarting Second Class Supers – Day One

This blog post is being written as things happen.

There is definitely a high as we push the button to go live. I’m nervous that no one is going to help back our project.

Getting to this point has been crazy. I’ve spent numerous hours building out the project page, having people review it and making tweaks to it. I contemplated having a video versus not having one, and was still going back and forth on it as we launched the project.

I took ample advantage of the great cover design that Leo Black made for us, building it into various graphics all over our project.

Annie and I got on Facebook and promoted the launch of the Kickstarter campaign. I also went to Reddit, Google+ and even LinkedIN to try to garner some support. As the first few pledges came in, I started to feel super excited. The nerves started to disappear and the full wave of excitement was all that I could feel. Continue reading

Predicting the Tesla Model 3

Tesla has confirmed that their “low cost” sedan will be named the Model 3. So we will have the Model S, Model X and the Model III (3). Many people are already making comments about the letters and numbers chosen, though it would have been more explicit if it had been called the Model E (for economic of course).

Based on what I’ve seen with other electric cars, and what Tesla has done before, I am going to make some fun predictions about what the Model III will be like.

  • Probably around $40,000 CAN Base
  • 300KM Range
  • Maybe a more hatchback design like the Nissan Leaf?
  • Smaller trunk and frunk than the S
  • Seats five
  • 17” Touchscreen (Same as the Model S)
  • No sunroof on base models
  • 18” Wheels standard
  • 0-60 in 6.5 seconds
  • Lifetime access to Supercharging Stations ($3000 option)

Of course, I would love if Tesla was able to get a longer range than 300KM, but the biggest issue stopping them from dropping the price on their cars is the battery technology cost. Even with Tesla building a new factory to build batteries efficiently and cheaply, I think the battery cost will still be a stumbling block. They’ll likely put a 40kWh or 60kWH battery in it, and through weight optimizations, and feature reductions, they’ll be able to get the 300KM range from the vehicle.

I would love to see them include Supercharging for free in all of their vehicles, but even the base model Tesla S has this service as an option rather than just included in the price. I think the interior of the Model III will be very similar, though even less refined than the Model S. One of the big changes I think we will see in the Model S after the Model 3 is out is a revamp of the Model S interior to be more comparable to the luxury sedan models that they are competing against.

The 2015 Nissan Leaf is priced at $32,000 base price, so while I don’t think Tesla will be able to beat that price, I think they’ll come close. Elon Musk has been saying that he’d like to be in the $30-$35K range, but I don’t see that happening at the start.

I really feel like the Model III should be designed with battery swapping being how “refilling” the car happens, instead of trying to push more current faster into the batteries. I know that Tesla has talked about battery swapping programs on the highways at their supercharger stations, but I’m not sure if they’ve ever gone forward with this idea. Would people be willing to pay seventy-five percent of what a gasoline car pays to swap their near empty battery for a full one? I don’t know. There are so many logistical issues with battery swapping, but the concept still seems ideal, especially because we are getting closer to the end of the base range anxiety argument, and more focused on the recharge time for electric vehicles.

My hope is that Annie and I will be in a space to pick up this vehicle if it becomes a reality. With a reasonably short daily commute, and most longer visiting trips within the range of the car, it seems like it could be a great option for us. The lack of constant repairs and maintenance due to the simplification of the electric car platform, and the escape of our dependence on gasoline both have me very excited.

I can’t wait to see what happens next in this space. I feel like the future of cars is just around the corner, and I’d still put my money on Tesla getting there first.

I Don’t Know Much About Bikes

I would really like to get set-up with a bike to use during the summer to get around, but I realized that I don’t know much about bikes. I’ve purchased mountain bikes before at Wal-Mart and Canadian Tire, only to be displeased with them after a short period of time thanks to weak components, noisy parts, or a less than fun ride feeling.

I’ve been wanting a bike for some time now, and money has been the big thing holding me back. Pricing for bikes, that I’ve been looking at, range from a fifty dollar used bike to a fifteen hundred dollar new bike with some sort of bells and whistles (no actual bells seem to be included on most bikes though).

I don’t understand what I should be looking for.

This is the first time that I finally understand that there are both different tire sizes and different frame sizes. The frame has to fit me, and at six feet, two inches, I need a rather large one. The tires are different sizes based on need or use, so I don’t need the biggest tires, but it also probably wouldn’t benefit me to roll around on twenty inch tires. Most of this knowledge has come from watching eBike videos on YouTube the past several months.

I know I need a comfortable seat, but that’s like picking a car because of its colour alone. I can swap the seat to be whatever I want without too much difficulty, and have done so before in a previous purchase. There are so many specifications to look at when purchasing a bike, and I don’t even know what type I need. If I’m not riding on trails or mountains, then would I want some kind of city bike? I know I don’t like the thin tires on some of the bikes out there, so maybe some kind of hybrid? I would like a comfortable riding position, so would I look at a comfort cruiser? I guess…

I’ve also been offered some bikes from family, which is awesome, but I don’t want to accept ownership over them unless they are decent enough for me to use. I’ve read about people getting bikes and then replacing parts on it to make it more useful and effective, but I’m not sure if that’s something beyond my skill and expertise. I might be interested in building my own bike, and figuring things out as I go, but could I maintain interest in a project like that through to completion? Would I buy tools specifically for swapping parts on a bike? I don’t know…

I know that I like biking, and that I used to do it all the time as a teen. I had a bike back when I lived in Walkerton, and enjoyed it. I know that I don’t have the budget to go crazy and spend thousands of dollars on a custom fit, perfect bike with top of the line components. I also don’t know where it is most important to spend the most amount of money on a bike.

At the end of this whole process, I’m left confused and frustrated. I fall back on either considering something mid-priced from Canadian Tire and hoping for the best or taking in one of the bikes that others in the family don’t want and hopefully being able to use and enjoy it.

What Happened to Blog Ranking

With Google’s PageRank not a hugely touted way of valuing blogs, and now Technorati killing off its ranking system, how are we going to compare and contrast two blogs in an easy to understand way? Are twitter and Facebook followers and fans the new metric by which we evaluate popularity? Do you have to be an SEO guru with access to applications that can dig around and compare keyword rankings for terms? Does anyone publicly show their traffic stats anymore?

I really used to enjoy looking at the rankings of different sites. I remember at one point, when I was building Extra for Every Publisher, I was on a top list for “Make Money Online” blogs and worked really hard to climb that list. The competition factor was a super useful motivator.

There was also bragging rights in being highly ranked on Technorati. I remember a few years back, all kinds of sites were showing off how they ranked in the various blog index sections that Technorati had.

It just seems very strange to me that we don’t have more ways to easily monitor and track the growth or decline of a blogs popularity. But that’s probably just me.