My "A Self Publishing Success Story" Talk from HOPE X

In this video from my hour long talk at the 2014 Hackers on Planet Earth (HOPE) X conference, I discuss how I came to self publish my book, Show Networks and Control Systems. I lay out the production techniques, marketing strategies and distribution methods I used, and explain where and how I made money using Amazon's Createspace and Kindle.

I have my wrapup of the whole conference here, and my last two talks from the last two HOPE conferences are up here ("The Weather is Not Boring) and here (Hacking for an Audience).

This video was extracted from the live stream generously sponsored by the Internet Society. Infocomm Las Vegas 2014 Show Control Case Studies and Geekout!

For the last several years, Jim Janninck of Timberspring and I have organized a free-to-all show control case study session followed by a geekout. This year, we’re back in Vegas for Infocomm 2014, and we have what looks to be four really interesting presentations!  

Our host this year will be Tommy Bridges of All Things Integrated, whose owner Bob Athey has graciously offered his facilities and is even supplying drinks, snacks and pizza!

The case studies will be Thursday, June 19th, 2014 from 6-8pm

ATI, 5275 Arville St, Suite 316, Las Vegas NV 89118  (Map here)


At 8:30 after the sessions  we will be playing Mini Golf (and drinking) at:  KISS by Monster Mini Golf 4503 Paradise Rd, Las Vegas NV 89169

Presentation Details/Detailed Schedule

(Presented in order of submission)

6:00pm: Field of Screams, Maryland

“Maryland's #1 multi-haunt featuring 4 terrifying haunted attractions”

“Maryland's #1 multi-haunt featuring 4 terrifying haunted attractions”

Presenters: Don Nolan and Ben Holmes, Venue Magic

A single VenueMagic SC+ installation was used at a central location to control all lighting, audio and effects for a haunted house (21 timelines running 14 zones with 35 lighting channels and 24 audio channels) and a haunted trail (26 timelines running 16 zones with 81 lighting channels and 24 channels of audio). There were also multiple trigger inputs for actors to cue effects.  Project included complete design of sound and lighting effects for each zone.  In addition to lighting, other effects included foggers, electrical spark unit and a CO2 valve (for an exploding caldron, which we also designed and constructed).  A trigger from the fire system stopped the show and raised the lights.

6:20: Questions/Changeover

6:30: Integrated Environmental Media System at Los Angeles Airport

Presenters: Alan Anderson and Stephan Villet, Smart Monkeys

The Integrated Environmental Media System (IEMS) has been designed to create both an unprecedented passenger experience and a new source of non-aeronautical revenues for LAX. The IEMS is supported by a state-of-the-art content delivery system, which blends AV, IT, Broadcast and Control technologies in an unprecedented way. An innovative approach to Show Control deployment is at the heart of this project that has received global attention as the most provocative example of a fully integrated, intelligent media environment.

6:50: Questions/Changeover

7:00: High Roller” Wheel

“Shining bright on the Las Vegas Strip, the 550-foot-tall High Roller is the world's largest observation wheel.”

“Shining bright on the Las Vegas Strip, the 550-foot-tall High Roller is the world's largest observation wheel.”

Presenters: Scott Harkless, Alcorn McBride and Kevin Ruud, Design Horizons

This brand new project posed many challenges for the design team with a system spread over a 550-foot tall wheel and a 30-minute ride. The programming was especially complex with 28 different timelines for the cabins running simultaneously.

7:20: Questions

7:30: End of Session

Updated June 13, 2014: The National Harbor presentation cancelled due to a presenter conflict.

8:30: Geekout at KISS Mini Golf!


Note: I will post any last minute changes to twitter.

Why I'm Shutting Down My Facebook Page


I've shot tens of thousands of photos in recent years, and I sell or license a few each year. But it's also always been a labor of love, and I post everything online somewhere; here on this blog, on Twitter, or on Google's Picasaweb/Google +, or on where I post my favorites. I limit my Facebook friends to people I actually know, but since so many people are there, last November I set up a public Facebook photography page (I wrote about it here), and started posting at least one photo there every day. It was really fun and gratifying, seeing the likes build up to almost 350, and watching the "reach" (how many people see the posts) increase along with the likes. 

But right around the time I set up that page, Facebook started throttling back the "organic" (unpaid) reach of posts on business pages. So now, unless I promote a post (pay), share it via my personal page, tag people (many of my photos don't have people), etc, then Facebook typically shows the photo to only about 10% of my likers (and Ad Week says the reach will eventually be forced down to 1-2%). 

Of course Facebook needs to make money, and even though my Facebook photography business page didn't lead to a single sale, I would gladly pay them $50 or $100 a year or something (as I do for my Smugmug photo portfolio page). But Facebook doesn't give me that option--they just ask me to pay $5 or $10 or $20/photo (post) to increase the reach, but that would be thousands of dollars a year just to deliver a free photo to people who already "like" my page. What's the point?

I'm not alone in this situation; Valleywag reports that Facebook is treating not for profits the same way as massive for-profit companies, and their reach has been similarly destroyed. And this policy can have serious consequences--I'm a weather geek, and Facebook is applying this same stupid policy to National Weather Service and similar Facebook pages, and the NWS issues serious weather information that can be life saving.  If you're a Facebook user, you may not even be aware of the changes--unless you go click the "Pages Feed" tab on the left of your personal feed you're likely missing all kinds of content from organizations that you liked.

So I have now started posting my daily photos publicly on my personal Facebook profile, and will be shutting down my business page soon. As I said, I only "friend" people I actually know, but you can "follow" my personal page to see my public postings--at least until Facebook decides you shouldn't. 

Update: When I first posted that I was shutting down my photo page, Facebook wouldn't let me sponsor that post because I made "improper" references to Facebook. But I posted the link to this blog entry on my page, and Facebook did let me sponsor that, and the results are kind of hilarious:

Update: This "I'm Shutting Down my Facebook Page" post is now the most popular ever--for $5 I got over a paid reach of over 1000, with more than 800 of those resulting from the payment.

Update May 12:  Here's what $5 buys you on Facebook.  Normally the reach would be about 20-30: