Saturday 27 November 2010

The next internet billionaire

How many accounts do you have online?

Email, shopping, blogging, Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, everything under the sun...

In fact, every time you wish to purchase something online from a company you haven't used before you have to create an account with them, with a new account name and password, before you can complete your purchase.

If you are anything like me you have gazillions of passwords and you can't keep track of them any more. Worse still, maybe you use the same, easily memorable password everywhere you go. Not good!

The problems with this are:
- You have more accounts you can keep track of
- In order to be secure you have more passwords than you can keep track of
- Every time you want to do something you have to sign on, and remember the account name and the password you used
- You lose track of who you have dealt with and where your internet interests lie

So... What's the solution?

Well, here's a business idea. Has anyone noticed how wealthy the creators of Facebook, Twitter, Amazon and Ebay have become? Well, what we now need is something new that provides us with a completely personal internet experience.

We need a web site - Let's call it OnePass - that, amongst other things, allows us to register every site on which we have an account, so that when we long on to OnePass we're automatically logged on to all of our accounts. Of course it does more than that...

OnePass will provide me with a view on the Internet that is completely configurable by me, so that it looks the way I need for how my mind works. It presents all my rss feeds, news sites, social networking sites, blogs, shopping sites and everything else on a news-like front end that I design. It is not hard to set up or to design how information is presented.

When I want to shop at a new internet store, then here's where it gets good. The OnePass management will establish an open interface, and a market position such that internet vendors have it in their interest to subscribe to the OnePass interface. Thus, when I shop at a new site, as long as I am logged onto OnePass, I can purchase from them without a new user account.

There are lots of other details that OnePass needs to handle. Bookmarks need to be a thing of the past. When I bookmark a site it might fall into several categories, and OnePass will let me attach the same site, with one link, to my Music category, my News category, my Favourite People category and any other categories I've thought up that it fits. That way, I can navigate through my own view of the internet in a way that fits my mindset.

And that's the objective of OnePass. I can, over time, build up my own personal experience of the internet without constraining myself to not see the rest, but in a way that tailors it to my needs.

Maybe OnePass is not an adequate name. After all it needs to provide more than a single sign-on for all my internet interests. What it does, over and above that, is to take my pick of the internet and present it to me in a way that fits in with how my mind works.

Maybe OneMind would be better.

I would love to see someone create this web site. I hereby donate this idea to whoever wants to use it. If you are successful, then all I ask is that you remember me (financially, of course) to whatever degree you think is warrented

Thursday 25 November 2010

NaNoWriMo Winning Post

Well, here it is. Today is the day when they open up the validation for winners of NaNo, and I've uploaded my novel. It was validated at about 800 words less than the word count, which was a bigger discrepancy than I expected, but I'm still ahead of the necessary word count of 50,000.

What an amazing feeling! For the first time, I have written a complete novel. Admittedly it is only a first draft and there's a lot of work to be done on it, but nonetheless, it is complete as a first draft.

I rather think it's time to celebrate!

Sunday 21 November 2010

What have you learned from NaNoWriMo?

I have entered the National Novel Writing Month for the first time this year. The challenge is to write a 50,000 word novel in the 30 days of November.

Frankly, I was intimidated by the whole prospect. I had not heard of NaNoWriMo until about a week before November 1st and I decided to enter for it a couple of days later. That left me with only a few days to plan, so I used them well.

I figured that I'd need some idea of what to write, so I arbitrarily divided the story into 20 chapters of 2500 words each. I used a story idea I had been nurturing for a while and I wrote a one or two paragraph chapter synopsis for each of the 20 chapters.

Then on 1st November the madness started. I had no idea whether I could reasonably expect to finish on time, so I piled into it with gusto, making as quick progress as I could. This is where I found rule 1. Don't edit as you go. If I had allowed myself to pour over what I had writen I would still be struggling at about 2000 words. I had to allow myself to say "Not now. I'll come back and edit that later..." That was the hardest part.

The next thing I found was that my chapter synopses varied from woefully inadequate to barely adequate. I had chosen two POV characters and each chapter synopsis stated whose POV I should use, and contained some statement about the chapter content.

In some cases the synopsis didn't really have any actual action, so it was rather hard to eke 2500 words out, and others had about enough action content that I could do so without too much hardship.

The next thing I learned is that a 50,000 word novel is really short. When a chapter has 'padding' that fills out the character of the story rather than moving the action from point A to point B, it's not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, it seems to have some considerable scope for enhancing the work.

So... Boff is okay? No, or at least, not necessarily. What seems to work is boff that fills out the story and gives a more three dimensional portrayal of the characters. What doesn't seem to work is boff that just fills space. Not too surprising really.

I found myself learning about character development. Each of the main characters in the story had their own particular quirks and peculiarities, and I had to be consistent about those. That's not as easy as it sounds. Also, some of the characters are noticeably changed by the events of the story. That needs to come out in the action and dialogue, not by just telling the reader they have changed. An interesting challenge, but one that is easier in practise than might seem when just contemplating the prospect.

These are just some of the things I have learned from my NaNoWriMo experience. As it happened I finished my book at just under 53,000 words after 15 days. I was over the moon at achieving this, and it is the first time in my life that I have completed a first draft of a book length work of fiction - albeit a short 50,000 word book.

So, what has your experience been so far?

Sunday 31 October 2010


The time has come. Starting tomorrow, along with a huge number of other people throughout the world I will get started on the challenge of writing a 50,000 word novel in 30 days. At the end of November it will all be over.

The event is the National Novel Writing Month, known as NaNoWriMo. If you're interested to find out more about NaNoWriMo, then take a look at Maybe you'd like to give it a try?

Friday 22 October 2010

Fireside Park

I am posting to this new blog in the blissful knowledge that although it is here, online and available to all, it will almost certainly be read by almost nobody... Almost.

If only one person reads this post then the nobody becomes somebody and if that somebody leaves a comment then I shall even know they were here.

So, who am I and why am I writing this blog? Well, it's not the time for a biography, but suffice to say I am in my fifties and I have been around the block a few times. I've spent a lifetime working in R&D and engineering in the aerospace, defence and transit industries, and I have spent more than two decades making and repairing stringed instruments.

I have also committed pen to paper, on and off, for a number of years. I have written fiction and non-fiction books and vast quantities of technical documentation. As the years have gone by, I've realised that I enjoy writing, and that when I can get my thoughts straight I actually have something interesting to say. That's what I'm here for.

So here we are. A stroll in the park brought to your fireside.