Deirdre Saoirse Moen

Sounds Like Weird

SFWA Active and Associate Membership Will Be Available to Indies

03 February 2015

sfwa-indies-bphSFWA, the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, has just changed their membership rules. There will be some speedbumps, as this is a major structural change.
Effective March 1, both indie and small press authors will be eligible for SFWA’s Active and Associate memberships.
For Active (full) membership:

  • One novel-length work for which the author’s earned at least $3,000; or
  • At least 10,000 words of shorter work for which the author’s earned at least 6 cents/word.

For Associate membership:

  • At least 1,000 words of shorter fiction for which the author’s earned at least 6 cents/word.

And then there are those of us bound to break the system because we’re already associates, but before the 6 cents a word went into effect.

Not Just for Gearheads

SF/F is a bigger tent than you might think. If you write a number of romance genres (e.g., paranormal romance), you’re also arguably writing SF/F.
I look forward to our Amish science fiction writer members.
More details here.

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Principles of Determining Geolocation

02 February 2015

[![Photo by Aurélien Bellanger](/images/2015/02/photo-1417870839255-a23faa90c6b0-700-700x467.jpeg)](/images/2015/02/photo-1417870839255-a23faa90c6b0-700.jpeg)Photo by [Aurélien Bellanger](

In 2004-2005, I worked for Quova as a Network Geography Analyst.
As a practical matter, given that MLB was one of our largest customers at the time, this meant that we fielded complaints for people who were locked out of viewing baseball games where they should not have been, and a good chunk of my job was investigating those complaints.
This is intended for a mixed-level audience, so I’m going to skip deep nuance and detail. ## Simple Explanation

  1. When you connect to the internet, whether through cable, your cell phone, whatever, you’re assigned an IP address, where IP stands for Internet Protocol. At the point in time you connect, your IP address has a fixed location in physical space: wherever you happen to be.
  2. Your device connects to another, upstream device, and depending upon where you want to go, it connects to a series of other devices until it arrives at your intended destination (say, Google’s web server). Each of those devices has an IP address, and each of those IP addresses has a fixed location in physical space.
  3. If you ask for a traceroute from a command line, it’ll tell you what series of hops it goes through to get from point A (you) to point B (where you want to go).
    $ traceroute
    traceroute to (, 64 hops max, 52 byte packets

    1. ( 10.938 ms 1.183 ms 1.032 ms
    2. ( 51.874 ms 52.194 ms 51.948 ms
    3. ( 61.865 ms 57.246 ms 64.077 ms
    4. ( 52.671 ms 51.958 ms 55.120 ms
    5. ( 56.400 ms ( 54.772 ms ( 54.420 ms
    6. ( 54.663 ms 54.480 ms 94.454 ms

    The first is my internal IP address. The second is our gateway address. The third is our provider’s demarc with their upstream. The fourth is where it enters Google’s servers.

  4. Network administrators, to make their lives easier, often label those intermediary hops with names. This is not required. Often those names have geocoding information. These are often names of cities, airport codes, weather station codes, neighborhood names, apartment complex names—all kinds of things. In, “pao” is Palo Alto, California, which has an airport IATA code of PAO.
  5. If you’re very lucky, you will have a traceroute that shows very little router delay (like one hop in my example above). Then you can use actual physics to tell you where it must be in relation to the adjacent hop.
    Light (and electricity) travels 300,000 km/sec, or 186,000 miles/sec. Per millisecond, 300 km or 186 miles. It’s easier to multiply by 300 than 186 in my head, so I’ve typically stayed metric at this point, but I’ll give both. Besides, it just sounds cool to drop millilightseconds in a conversation.
    See that last hop? 54.420 -> 54.480 (using minimum to minimum)? That’s 6 hundredths of a millisecond, meaning the laws of physics say the packet traveled a maximum of 18 km or 11.2 miles.
    Except traceroute measures time there and back, so the real numbers are 9 km or 5.6 miles.
    Is it in Palo Alto? The end location is 1.808 ms from the stated Palo Alto location, which means it’s at most 262.35 km or 168.25 miles from Palo Alto. So almost certainly SF Bay Metro with some lag. This is where repetitive traceroutes at different times from different locations would be helpful. (I’d expect the location to be Mountain View, California, which is the city south of Palo Alto, and also Google’s HQ.)

That’s the Basics. Really.

So the real trick to geolocation is to have as many knowns as possible. This means having server space on fast networks around the world, being able to triangulate in on locations of interest, and getting different results over time.
You can read more about using millilightseconds in this humorous story of network diagnosis.
This four-part series about traceroute is quite good, and covers some of the wrinkles.

My Own Little Experience

I mentioned this on Twitter at the time it happened.
There are some interesting nuances here:

  1. I don’t have a user called admin, but that’s the default super user in WordPress.
  2. If you do a whois on that IP address, you’ll note it’s assigned to T-Mobile:
    NetRange: –
    NetName: TMO9
    Organization: T-Mobile USA, Inc. (TMOBI)
    Real hackers trying to crack into your web site will not be using mobile as a rule. This was personal, not a doorknocker.
  3. At the time, it showed up as being in LA. Once you get a dynamically-assigned IP address, such as a mobile address, to a metro area, there’s no guarantee you’ll get closer than that.
  4. [I note that this screenshot shows 1) T-Mo; 2) LA](, and my breakin attempt was [a couple of hours after this was posted]( Obviously, no proof, yada yada. Just: correlation.

Update to this section, May 2015: It turns out, and I’m thankful for this, that there is a far more ordinary explanation for what happened. I can’t prove it’s what happened in December, but it did happen last week. In January 2014, Rick and I were traveling and would be in some of the remotest parts of the world (in fact, we spent three days out of satellite range of Internet, believe it or not). I gave admin credentials to a friend who lives in the LA area to blogsit and make sure any security updates got applied while we were gone. It turns out that, since saving that password, she’d switched her mobile device from Verizon to T-Mobile, and I’d since changed the admin username. She doesn’t use mobile data much, so it didn’t try to access my site for a long time (or frequently). And there you are.
My apologies to Jaid Black for the insinuation.
Also, a better security method for dealing with this issue is to make a second admin user. Doh.

Quick Geolocation for Mere Mortals

Use the GeoIP Tool website.

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Ellora's Cave: DA/JL's Witness List & the Mouthy Mockernut

01 February 2015

First, Courtney Milan has an update and gave a better non-technical distinction of Motion to Dismiss vs. Motion for Summary Judgment.
(It is true, I am trying to keep up with even the dry court minutiae.)

Defense Witness List

In that post, Courtney publishes Dear Author’s/Jane Litte’s witness list:

@PubNT Twitter account
The Pub Net Twitter account has made a series of statements on Twitter since the outset of this case, that are with obvious knowledge of the case at hand. The author behind this Twitter account will have additional information as to the operations of Ellora’s Cave.
Tina Engler
Tina Engler is the founder and head of Ellora’s Cave and will have information and knowledge pertaining to the financial viability of Ellora’s Cave, including the payment schedules of authors, editors, and cover artists affiliated with Ellora’s Cave.
Patty Marks
Patty Marks is the CEO of Ellora’s Cave and will have information and knowledge pertaining to the financial viability of Ellora’s Cave, including the payment schedules of authors, editors, and cover artists affiliated with Ellora’s Cave.
Susan Edwards
Susan Edwards, at all relevant times, was the COO of Ellora’s Cave and will have information and knowledge pertaining to the financial viability of Ellora’s Cave, including the payment schedules of authors, editors, and cover artists affiliated with Ellora’s Cave.
Raylene Gorlinksy
Raylene Gorlinksy is the Publisher of Ellora’s Cave and will have information and knowledge pertaining to the financial viability of Ellora’s Cave, including the payment schedules of authors, editors, and cover artists affiliated with Ellora’s Cave.
Whitney Mahlik
At all times relevant hereto, Whitney Mahlik was the Managing Editor of Ellora’s Cave and will have information and knowledge pertaining to the financial viability of Ellora’s Cave, including the payment schedules of authors, editors, and cover artists affiliated with Ellora’s Cave
Courtney Thomas

At all times relevant hereto, Courtney Thomas was the Chief Financial Officer of Ellora’s Cave and will have information and knowledge pertaining to the financial viability of Ellora’s Cave, including the payment schedules of authors, editors, and cover artists affiliated with Ellora’s Cave.
So, I’m guessing we’ll get to find out who the mouthy mockernut is after all. Popcorn, anyone?

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Stanford Through 2/8: Gilbert & Sullivan's Yeoman of the Guard

01 February 2015

Rick and I went to go see this charming production of Gilbert and Sullivan’s last operetta yesterday. Neither of us had ever seen it staged before, though we’d both heard the music.

Love, intrigue, and comedy are in the air in London in 1515! Sweet Phoebe Meryll loves Colonel Fairfax; Fairfax is utterly oblivious. Assistant Tormentor & Chief Jailer of the Tower of London, Wilfred, loves Phoebe; Phoebe finds him oafish and abhorrent. Jack the jester loves Elsie, the dancing girl; Elsie sees him more like a brother and colleague. Meanwhile, the Yeomen of the Guard love their peaceful job guarding the Tower of London…until their routine takes a topsy-turvy turn when a mysterious new soldier joins their regiment. With Colonel Fairfax accused of sorcery and sentenced to meet his doom at the headsman’s block, to whom will he turn for solace, a reprieve, or…short-lived matrimonial bliss? A rollicking musical tale of deception, devotion, duty, and (dare we say?) death, The Yeomen of the Guard is a show not to be missed!

Dates and Times

Friday, 2/6 at 8 pm
Saturday, 2/7 at 8 pm
Sunday, 2/8 at 2 pm
All performances will be fully staged with orchestra in Dinkelspiel Auditorium, located at 471 Lagunita Drive, Stanford, CA 94305.
Tickets: $20 General; $15 Seniors and Stanford staff/faculty with ID; $10 children and students w/ ID.
The Dinkelspiel Box Office opens 1 hour prior to show-time for same day sales and Will Call pickup. Please see a cast or staff member, call 650.725.2787, or visit the Stanford Ticket Office for advance ticket sales starting Wednesday, 1/28.

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Universal Blame Accepter T-Shirt

30 January 2015

Universal Blame Accepter T-Shirt
When someone edited John Scalzi’s Wikipedia article to include that he was a “universal blame accepter,” Scalzi tweeted:

To be clear, I TOTALLY OWN the “Universal Blame Accepter” title. Go on, blame me for anything! I can take it.

— John Scalzi (@scalzi) January 30, 2015

Now you can have your very own. IN ANY COLOR YOU WANT.
Except of course you want the RED SHIRT.
You know who to blame for that one.
Here’s the full art:
Buy this shirt at Redbubble.
Note: Redbubble uses American Apparel for their shirts. Available there in Unisex t-shirts, scoop neck, unisex tank tops, women’s t-shirt, v-neck, racerback tank, baseball 3/4 sleeve, long sleeve, organic t-shirt, organic women’s t-shirt, sweatshirt, pullover hoodie, and zipper hoodie.

Sneak Peak at Another Shirt

I’ve had this shirt done for a week, then came down with the flu before I could make all the ancillary art for other products. So, here’s the t-shirt.
It’s Always a Full Moon on the Internet at Redbubble.


For the Scalzi shirt (the other being a NASA photo and type only):
Fancy victorian frame from Cruzine Design.
I kept two of the typefaces Peter used in the frame design: the arched text is Goblin and the plainer text is Patua One. The swooshy type in the middle is Desire from Borges Lettering.

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I Found the Song!

29 January 2015

[![DJ, photo by Jacob Tyler Dunn](/images/2015/01/10361040_258240974299510_6506625981201335820_n-700x467.jpg)](/images/2015/01/10361040_258240974299510_6506625981201335820_n.jpg)DJ, photo by Jacob Tyler Dunn

Six months ago, I was in Phoenix for Overwerk, and I heard lots of interesting stuff.
The third DJ played something that stuck with me that I kept meaning to find. Rick reminded me of said song tonight when he and I were talking about the great MentalFloss piece about why clocks were set to 10:10 a little while ago, and I said that clocks were set to 10:10 to raise the little clock roof.

Then I thought of the song I hadn’t been able to find and was sad.
So I hunted that down and killed it. It’s available on iTunes, and probably other places, too.
(Note: 3 uses of the F word, all in the last minute of the song. However, it is a song called “Hurricane,” so “blow the fuckin’ roof off” seems appropriate, y’know?)

The video really captures the energy and feel of the large venue electronica stuff, though. It’s…well, more than a double espresso worth of energy, and I’m writing this at three in the morning.
Oh, almost forgot: artist bio page for Brass Knuckles and their web site. Also: twitter link for guest star Emir Duru.

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Update: Indie Hugo-Eligible Works

29 January 2015

[![Ice Flowers](/images/2015/01/FDE-IceFlowers-700-700x525.jpg)](/images/2015/01/FDE-IceFlowers-700.jpg)Ice Flowers, by [Thom Bouman](

Folks, I was really hoping that I’d have this by the 31st, but I’m going to need to slip a few days on that because I have the flu.
I’ve needed 12+ hours of sleep a day (one day, I slept 14-1/2 hours straight!), and I still have sooooooooo much to do it’s not funny. (Have you heard about my new t-shirts yet? No. I’ve been that busy.)
I’m changing my deadline to Feb 4th, but that’s assuming my sleep schedule gets less overwhelming.

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Ellora's Cave: TRO Officially Denied

28 January 2015

Today, the judge officially denied Plaintiff’s request for a Temporary Restraining Order, but not perhaps for the reason we’d hope:

The Court held a case management conference on January 26, 2015. During the proceeding, Plaintiffs confirmed that they do not intend to pursue the motion for temporary restraining order currently pending before this Court. As such, the motion for temporary restraining order filed on October 20, 2014 is hereby DENIED.

This had been hinted at by Plaintiff’s counsel in a footnote to EC/JJ’s reply to Defendants’ Opposition to Remand Motion on Nov 1. Bottom of p. 3:

Plaintiffs indicated that because the facts on the ground had changed, the urgency associated with a temporary restraining order had become attenuated and that a consolidation of the hearing with the final hearing on the merits under Rule 65(a)(2) would avoid 2 hearings, 2 trips for defense counsel and his client, 2 briefings, and twice the use of the Court’s time and resources.

If you ever need a great example of passive voice use and abuse? “Had become attenuated” is a beautiful one.

Joining of Parties Deadline Set

In the Case Management Doc:

The deadline for amending pleadings and adding parties: February 25, 2015.

So, we’ll just have to wait and see what’s going to happen there.

There’s a footnote in one of Randazza’s filings that always makes me smile given that this case is about erotic romance. Bottom of p. 9:

Indeed, the seminal case in American defamation law was based on a publication that contained many factual inaccuracies, but the overall gist of the publication was not defamatory. N.Y. Times Co. v. Sullivan, 376 U.S. 254 (1964).

Seminal derives, of course, from semen/seed.
I don’t know if that particular wordplay was intentional, but it does amuse me.

Ellora’s Cave Author Exodus Support Thread

The Ellora’s Cave Author Exodus Support Thread is located here.

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Ellora's Cave: Motions to Dismiss vs. Summary Judgment

24 January 2015

I’m not a lawyer (and this is not legal advice), but I’ll take a stab at the question.
Motions for Dismissal and Summary Judgment have one obvious thing in common: disposing of all or part of a case, but they are actually different.
From Wikipedia:

A “motion to dismiss” asks the court to decide that a claim, even if true as stated, is not one for which the law offers a legal remedy.


A “motion for summary judgment” asks the court to decide that the available evidence, even if taken in the light most favorable to the non-moving party, supports a ruling in favor of the moving party.

Potential Examples

A motion to dismiss first assumes the facts claimed in the claim are true, but irrelevant. A federal judge in Ohio with two companies in Ohio Plaintiffs vs. an Iowa individual and corporation could decide that there is no standing to sue over claims made about hypothetical shopping habits of a non-joined party that lived and shopped in California.
A motion for summary judgment assumes the facts are interpreted as favorable as possible to the opposing party, but that even that means the mover is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Let’s say that California party is joined and in a relevant jurisdiction, and the claim is about whether or not said party bought a house, and whether what defendant said about the alleged purchase constituted defamation. The judge could rule that saying someone bought a house when they leased it isn’t inherently defamatory, and the facts of the case, taken together with the law, don’t support a claim of defamation. Hence, summary judgment.

Courtney Milan’s Explanation

[Courtney Milan has a clearer non-technical explanation in this post.

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RIP: Eric P. Scott

24 January 2015

Eric P. Scott was a bay area fan and open source enthusiast who died recently, apparently related to his ongoing heart problems.
One of the peculiarities of Eric P. Scott is the frequency that we’d wind up on the same plane with him. It didn’t matter if we were heading to Calgary or Seattle or some other random convention—he’d wind up on the same flight.
True, we usually fly out of SFO, as did he. True, we often fly United, as did he. He became a United million miler when it was far easier to do, then health problems (more the financial complications of same) limited his ability to travel. Still, there were usually enough flights that we could easily have picked different ones from each other. We just didn’t happen to.
He’d sometimes show up at our house on a Cabal night, talking about Linux with whomever else happened to show up.
We’d see him at random Linux and open source events, too.
For me, he was always a mixed bag: some days, I’d have incredibly long, cool conversations with him, and other days he would be so frustrating I wanted to scream. Even though those days happened, I always looked forward to seeing him.
It’s very weird thinking I’ll never get that privilege again.
See also: File 770 and Chaz Boston Baden. His own LJ is here.

Graphics Credits

I’d been meaning to design a banner graphic for memorials. I’d recently gotten a bunch of layer styles, and used the Frozen style from here. I altered the outer glow to be a little darker and half as thick. Somehow, using a text style associated with an sf/f film seems fitting for eps.
Font is Desire from Borges Lettering, corners from Make Media, and the glitter layer on the corners is also from Make Media.

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