Titan – excerpt

Below is a small snippet of the book I will never finish…. Let me know what you think. Of course its a SciFi book, what else would I write about. I just write for fun so be gentle.


Titan – Search

There was a time when days like this were welcome, that time was long past. He could still remember them, sitting by the window, reading a good book. But there was no time for that anymore. His first objective today was to find her. There was no telling how long it would take or what he would do if he did. It wasn’t like he could just walk outside and start yelling out her name. His display showed the rain outside to be forty percent acidic and the rad levels had spiked overnight when the storm moved in. Despite all the efforts in the last twenty years the transformation was still an unsteady process.

After getting his gear on and checking the storm patterns in his display he stepped outside and headed down the street. He could see other people milling about in there homes, some even heading out in the weather as well. Even with a storm this size people still had to get food, head to work. Some things will never change he guessed. While wondering how long people had been chasing this routine he managed to stop and look down each ally way, into the windows of each shop. Would there come a day when mankind could just live, without all the complications. What would a dogs life be like or a birds for that matter.

There were bags of trash lining each separation of homes and the rain was starting to melt through. When this was over he would have to take this up with sanitation. If the rains became anymore acidic it would eat through all the recyclable materials in town. As he made his way into the central market he could hear the transit tubes roaring ahead. There was no stopping the daily ritual, even in this place, in this weather.

What worried him most was the time, there was never enough. She should have arrived on yesterdays first tube. He had waited for the second, then the third, before he knew it the last one of the day had come and gone and there was no sign of her. He would have to take the first one out this morning and head into the city. During the transit he would trace her last few calls, locate each one within the grid and try to pick up any other bread crumbs she may have left. She wasn’t answering her display, that part had not started to worry him until late in the day yesterday. The tubes were about the only place on Titan were connections were spotty for calls. Data never seemed to be  problem which worried him even more. She could have easily sent a text only message, but even his had gone unanswered.

While he had his display tracking the last three calls and building a que of possible routes he glanced out the tube at the ocean. For the last twenty years the ocean had slowly been changing from a sheet of frozen methane with a liquid underneath to a nice green slush of semi-frozen algae. The green stuff was eating away at the methane and slowly building up carbon dioxide and oxygen. There was enough to breathe the air now but there was also a nasty side effect. When the algae died off it combined with the liquid methane and created a toxic gas that collected in the clouds. This in turn gave them the acidic rain. The temperatures were still way to cold for the average human to survive. Only those with specific gene therapies could handle up to negative 300 below. The terrain outside went black as they entered the hillside, it snapped him away from the glass.

The display had been blinking, trying in vane to get his attention. There were three possible places to start his search and the last one sent a chill down his spine, the elevator. There was no reason for her to be anywhere near it. There was only one thing to do, start with the first location and move methodically to the next. In his gut he knew were he would wind up.

Marcus owned the small cafe on the first level of the Mecor building, her last call had come from here. It was a spot they stopped at frequently when in the city, as regulars Marcus had said already confirmed she was there the other day, even remembered that she sat at the counter instead of the usual spot. There had been two other girls with her, much younger, one heavy and one thin. Thats was all the info that Marcus could remember, it was three days ago. As he strolled in and glanced around at each guest he noticed two baristas working the line and Marcus talking to a local fuzz.

No one would ever call them fuzz to there face, even though they liked the term. There face plates were designed to hide there identity and mask there voice, making there features blurred and there speech deep and off in a way that unnerved anyone. He filtered out all the back ground noise and sat down in a booth. They were talking about two missing girls, one was very heavy, that was there only descriptive. It was a hard one to miss, food here was plentiful but the meds everyone had to take to keep the rads at bay meant it was almost impossible to gain weight. If you managed to pay for the genetics needed to make rads a non issue, the side effect was a much higher metabolism. All this meant was that there were no heavy people on Titan, she wasn’t from here and had not been here long, less than year.

He had his display order a tall peppermint mocha, extra shot. Back home he would have made it a skinny, she would have made him anyway. Searching the elevator records his display gave him fourteen possible matches of a heavier set women. The range was from yesterday back one year from today. It was to many to pick through. The fuzz would have already done this and the fact that they were here in person talking to Marcus, not good. They would be recording or streaming his responses, facial ticks, respiratory cues, body temperature and half a dozen other tells. What he couldn’t figure was if there was anything for him to tell, he would have told him already.

Outside the rain had stopped and for a moment he imagined seeing a blue sky when the clouds parted. The clouds were thick here and would keep getting thicker. There was no telling how warm they could actually get Titan, no matter, the warmer it gets the more gas is released from the ground. One possible scenario was that we would get a tan colored sky on the side facing Saturn with an endless deep orange night on the other. The light from the sun would never be enough no matter how much of the haze was removed.

It would be something to see one day, to look up as the sky opened for the first time. The rings would be the first you noticed here, a huge boomerang shape in the sky with Saturn shining and spinning behind. The light from Saturn would seem blinding as first, hard to get used to actually. Then the first real night would come as Titan swung behind its parent for a full fifteen days and twenty two hours. They may be able to breathe the air even now, but they would always need greenhouses for the food.

The fuzz were finishing there interview with Marcus when his attention came back from the window. The coffee was nice and hot on his lips, the sting still on his tongue when he got up and walked over. Marcus gave hime a nod and headed to the back room. He never skipped a beat just followed him right in. He did notice that one of the fuzz stopped at the door and made a scan of him, as if just noticing that there was some one else in the cafe.

“Ray, wondered when you would stop in, good timing by the way.” Marcus said as he pulled out a blue and switched it on.

“Why would they come here?” Ray asked as he took a seat across the small room from Marcus.

Their conversation only lasted about five minutes when his display lit up again. It notified him that the heavier set lady had come down the elevator yesterday but had also taken it up three days ago.

“Did the fuzz have a name on the heavier set woman or her partner?”

“Nope, no name, but hey had a photo. Just sent it.” With a flick of his eye, Marcus’s display sent up the last incoming message, from the fuzz named Ricardo, and forwarded it on to Ray.

It took his display a few seconds but there was a match. How could someone go up the elevator, come back down two days later and the fuzz not have a name?

“Marcus, I know you have a copy, no more stalling me, I watched you lie to the fuzz, they didn’t know it. They will figure that out in few hours after some one looks at there recording.

“Its illegal to tap into surveillance and keep copies, even as shop owners man. Why would I risk my license for…”

He cut him off mid sentence, pulled out his small pistol and used it to scratch his temple. He made a grimace as if he had just heard the most absurd joke. Then starred straight at Marcus, right in the eyes. Marcus had known Ray for about four years now and apparently had never been able to figure him out. He could see in his eyes he did now. No matter what happened now, Marcus would cooperate.


New Years Resolution

Well I was going to make a list for my New Years Resolutions. Then I read that 98% of people break there’s in the first month. I would love to among the 2% of folks who actually stick to there’s. So here is my list…

Why the Wii U is an epic fail, how Apple TV wins

So the Wii U is out and on the shelves ahead of the Christmas rush and out way ahead of the next Playstation and XBox. While the quick jump and arguably gimmicky setup for the Wii will help Nintendo with a quick sales boost, it will not last. In fact when Sony and Microsoft finally roll out there updates next year we will quickly see that the console wars are over, dead in fact. The surprising thing is that all three were actually beat a long time ago.

Apple has this little toy project they call AppleTV. It’s a small set top box that basically ports your iTunes library to your TV. Nothing real special about it. In fact it just recently was updated to include things like Netflix, Hulu and your photostream. So what makes it a console killer? Of all things, your phone is what makes it the little monster in the room. Let me explain in detail.

With the massive number of iOS devices in people’s hands now, thats iPhones, iPads, iPod Touch and the nearer iPad mini. More people have access to games, even free games, movies, TV shows and You Tube at there finger tips than any other device combined. Yes, more than Android! In the Steve Jobs autobiography a quote from Steve himself said he had unlocked the secret to the TV market. Now Steve is a smart guy, and Apple is a very thoughtful company. Common sense tells you they are not going to make TV’s, the margins just don’t work for what Apple expects. They also can not and will not get the kind of deals they won’t from studios to turn each one into a separate app purchase, with Apple taking 30% of each app sold. So what can they do? As we have seen there stock price has stalled, investors seem to think Apple can not get any bigger. Here is where the little monster enters.

Apple will not release a TV next year, what they will release will be an iOS update to 7. It won’t be anything as sexy as the iPhone 5, in fact there may only be slight spec bumps for the iPhone and iPad next year. The big kicker will be the AppleTV update, with a new version that looks more like a Mac mini, what’s a Mac Mini you ask? It’s another little brick that Apple sells, although its as strong as a desktop and almost fits in your hand. It doesn’t even come with a monitor. Pair it with a TV, and iOS, controlled by your iPhone, iPad, iPod or iPad mini and now you have something. Take every app in the App Store, sling it to the TV and use your device as the remote. Who needs a console? I believe this will be the next big push for Apple, once the have it finished, the Studios will be lining up to ask for deals for there content. They will come to Apple and they will be happy to do it.



Facebook Pages Manager

Facebook released a new free app in Apples App store today. Facebook Pages Manager tries to bring admin functions to the mobile arena. While I do admin 5 pages currently i never really found the Facebook app itself to be a problem. About the only thing you don’t have access to is the insights info. While this is useful, it’s always a day or two behind today! That’s make it useless in the mobile arena. So why couldn’t they do this inside the app to start with? I think I know the answer. Facebook itself needs a massive coding overhaul in order to serve up data quickly on the mobile platforms. Let’s face it, the Facebook app itself is clunky, slow and unreliable. Guess what? So is the new pages app. After my first 5 minutes with it I doubt I’ll use it again. It dropped three posts, having to re type them each time. Which is already slow, double entry kills you. I do like one thing about it, it allows you to see new likes in real time, easily. Again though, this should all be in the main app. Along with there messenger app, but that’s another post.


Facebook Faces the music

FB-NasdaqYeah they had one of those days, the Facebook IPO was a bust. So much so that Nasdaq made it the first officially sponsored IPO bust by giving money back to investors! For all the things that could have happened here, this is it. What ever happened to setting the bar low so that people flock over it and build a frenzy? Why is that lowly me is the only one (or the first one anyway) to be saying this! They should have started at 25 and let it rip, same amount of money would have been raised and everyone would call it a success. It’s this little thing called supply and demand, Zuck and company should have looked that up before hand.


Easy steps for your Social Media Plan

  • Set Goals. Be specific, and make sure the goals are attainable and tie into your overall company goals. It is important to know what you are attempting to achieve, in order to know how social media can help you.
  • Do your homework. Determine which social media sites will work for you, and how they can be best used. Create a list of potential social media platforms, and then assess their relevancy for business by searching keywords and seeing where your competitors are succeeding. Identify your target audience, and meet them where they are in the online world.
  • Create a list of relevant contacts and content. Subscribe to blogs in your industry, so that you can determine the thought leaders, and decide which content is successful. Make connections by following conversations, and relationships will begin to form naturally.
  • Begin developing relationships. Join conversations, leave comments on blogs, participate in Twitter chats and join pertinent groups. Networking should be a major part of your social media business plan, because a strong network is the key to social media success.
  • Strengthen your network in person. As tempting as it may be to hide behind an online presence, face-to-face is still the most effective way to connect. Participate in offline events to learn more about your industry, while strengthening your connections with your online network.
  • Measure your success. Frequently review your list of stated objectives and determine whether you are reaching your goals. Note your number of Facebook Likes or Twitter followers, check to see how much of your feedback is positive, and see how much traffic is being driven to your website and blog. One benefit of social media is that your success is measurable and clear. A variety of online tools can help assess your progress; for example, YouTube analytics can give you a very real picture of the audience for your video content, so that you can amend your content if you need to, in order to reach your target market.
  • Adapt and improve. Your social media business plan is only as strong as its results. Be prepared to develop new strategies, as you become aware of what is working and what is not.

I dream of electric sheep

I am having one of those mornings, you know the ones that start with, what the hell am I doing with my life, kind of mornings. I used to have big dreams, big plans, too many in fact. The list was endless, everything from actor, singer/songwriter, astronaut, etc.. Who didn’t have those big dreams? I am in my mid 30’s now and while most, if not all of those dreams are gone, I still have a short list. I don’t think I am alone in this, it seems that most of my friends have either forgotten or just stopped talking about their list. When I mention I still want to write a book, or make an app for the iPad, they seem stunned. As if still having those thoughts was kind of childish.

I know I am a bigger geek than I lead on. I watch re-runs of Star Trek episodes almost daily. When I decide on the movie to watch it is certainly some sci-fi movie that I have to beg my wife to watch with me. To her credit she did enjoy the 2009 Star Trek movie, can not wait until 2013 when the sequel comes out! I follow a few blogs of people who actually go to Star Trek conventions and dress the part to! I am not sure I would, but I secretly want to. Hell I want to learn Klingon! If you don’t know what this, you’re not as nerdy as me. Anyway, I have stopped and started writing the same book so many times over the last ten years that I would need to start all over again when ever I want to pick it up. Maybe that’s what has happened, we got too tired to keep up with our dreams.

Maybe we just got focused on one; the car, the house, the wife or the kids. I have two girls, they’re the most incredible part of my life. I remember sitting for hours with my wife in the car, in her parents driveway. We would talk about having kids and hearing the pitter patter of little feet. At that time in our lives it had a romantic quality to it. To be fair it has lost some that, but it’s still the best. I would never say I have stopped dreaming because of my kids, but they have changed because of them. The dreams I have today are still the same, they are for them now. I was reminded of that this morning after my shower, my littlest one Isabella, came in and wanted to put the shaving cream on my face. She is 4 and still thinks that dad is the greatest man who ever lived. I guess my dream now is make sure that I can live up to hers now.

PS. I still want to write that book…

iOS needs help

So I am watching my little 4 year old play some games on my iPad 2. While I do have some restrictions enabled, like no ability to delete, I don’t have any way to keep her from launching certain apps. Yes, I know there is a way to hide them when restrictions are on, but have you ever really used that? It sucks to say the least. Apple needs to invest about 10,000 of there 100 billion dollars in cash in improving iOS parental controls. Everything needs a major update here. Think about how many adults are buying iPads and iPhones. Now think about how many kids will inherent last years model! Of the 3 million new iPads sold in the last 4 days, how many of those people have kids and already had an iPad 2? If we assume that half already had an iPad (low number probably), and that half of those people did not sell there iPad 2 to fund the purchase, that’s 750,000 people. If we say that 10 percent of those folks have kids, that’s 75,000 kids who now have an iPad 2 as a toy. That’s just the last 4 days people. Now
thank about what they do with it. Can they get online, open your email, delete photos from photo stream. Or add ones like this.