Tag Archives: internet

I’mHappyNow.com

imhappynow

This week Selfpublishbooks.ie sat down with Diarmuid Hudner, author of Imhappynow.com, a story of three young people who come together to overcome being bullied through the website of the same name, a site free to access here. I asked Diarmuid if he has always been writing:

“I have been writing since I was very young. I used to write poetry for a local newspaper from around the age of 15. I wanted to study English at University but at that time in Ireland it was very difficult to find any job and I ended up studying business and going abroad afterwards. I have always regretted it because it took me nearly 15 years to get back to doing what I always knew I should be doing. But I kept my hand in by writing articles for financial magazines like Investment Week and Money Marketing.”

Imhappynow.com is a huge success, as signified by Diarmuid’s upcoming radio interviews and global audience. I asked him to give a brief introduction to the book. How long was it in the works? How did it begin?

“This book is a very different move for me,” Diarmuid says, “I had just finished another book called When Leaves are Falling, which was a historical fiction novel and was already half way through a World War I book when the idea for this one came into my head. I couldn’t seem to get rid of it so I stopped what I was at and started ImHappyNow.com. I had it sitting on the shelf for a year before I decided I better start doing something about it.

“I must have been born old because I love all the historical fiction classics like Jane Austen’s books,” he says, “I find them very romantic and chivalrous. I’d live back in that time if I could!! Probably though the book that made me decide to be a writer was F Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. It was able to capture the whole era of the “roaring twenties” and I loved some of the lines he had: ‘When he kissed this girl he knew his mind would never romp again like the mind of God.’ Nobody writes like that anymore.”

It seems Diarmuid has always loved writing: “For some reason it always put me at ease,” he says, “I’m a bit of a loner too so it suits my disposition!! I tend to actually write poetry for “kicks” but would never consider myself a poet. I started actually by writing a screenplay as I never thought I’d have the patience to write a novel but once I started it came naturally enough. Fear is the biggest thing that holds us back I think. Sometimes you have to just jump and hope you remembered to bring a parachute!”

I asked Diamuid what he enjoyed writing the most in Imhappynow.com and why: “I enjoyed the self reflection that was needed in order to write this type of book which was difficult in its own way. I had to question myself alot about how I was living my life and the level of happiness I had or hoped to have. It deals with some very raw issues such as bullying, alcoholism, suicide and self harming so it was traumatic in its own way. It’s actually a very simple message that you and only you are in charge of your own happiness.

“Meeting people with very different kinds of problems from self harmers to those who had attempted suicide was also a great learning curve for me and the realisation that fundamentally we all think the same and are searching for the same thing. Probably the biggest plus of the whole experience was to actually make the fiction book a reality by developing a website called Imhappynow.com to offer hope to anyone who is finding things a little difficult by seeing that they are not alone.”

Diarmuid explained that he had to carefully search the market before choosing self-publishing:

“I was Chairman of the Doneraile Literary & Arts Festival and I was running some workshops and began talking to more and more people who had gone down the self-publishing route. I have learned from my days in business that the market always decides and self-publishing has arisen from the traditional publishing world becoming a very closed sector. I looked at the statistics and weighed everything up before I decided to go down this route. It was daunting as I had two offers from publishers to publish my book but decided to self publish anyway as I felt I was more in control. Twenty percent of the top ten bestsellers last year were self published so it has established itself in its own right.

“It was daunting at first but I took very much a business approach to it. I researched the companies who were in the industry, got quotes and examples of their work etc. It is important to keep in mind that they are not editors or marketers of your book. That is up to you so you really have to work out whether you want to make your book commercial or not. If so then you have to figure out the process of achieving that. I think you get what you put into it but if the desire is there then help seems to appear.”

I asked Diarmuid how he found the finished product from Selfpublishbooks.ie – was it as he had imagined?

“I was hugely impressed by Selfpublishbooks.ie and the lady, Sharon, that I was dealing with there. She was very efficient, helpful, informative and professional. She must also be very patient as I can be a bit of a pain to deal with I’d say!! The graphic designer, Shelley O’Reilly, was excellent too in taking the concept of my book and making it a reality. Overall I would highly recommend Selfpublishing.ie and will be back to them with my second book.”

What’s next for Diarmuid? “Well I’m developing the website imhappynow.com which goes in tandem with this book at the moment so that’s keeping me busy. I have another book finished, When Leaves are Falling, which is more of a Jane Austen-type book and more natural to my writing style I think. I half to begin the painful job of editing that which is a “cobweb growing over face” experience but it has to be done. I have to finish the World War I book and then I might do a follow up to this one so no holidays again for me this year!”

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The 10 best words the internet has given English

From hashtags to LOLs to Cupertinos and Scunthorpe problems, Tom Chatfield picks the most interesting neologisms drawn from the digital world

(Reblogged in full from The Guardian)

My book Netymology: A Linguistic Celebration of the Digital World is about the stories behind new words. I’ve been an etymology addict since I was a teenager, and especially love unpicking technological words.

It’s a great reminder of how messily human the stories behind even our sleekest creations are – not to mention delightful curiosities in their own right.

1. Avatars

This word for our digital incarnations has a marvellously mystical origin, beginning with the Sanskrit term avatara, describing the descent of a god from the heavens into earthly form. Arriving in English in the late 18th century, via Hindi, the term largely preserved its mystical meaning until Neal Stephenson’s 1992 novel Snow Crash first popularised it in a technological sense.

Fusing notions of virtual world-building and incarnation, it’s the perfect emblem of computers as a portal to a new species of experience.

2. Hashtags

In 1920s America, the # sign served as a shorthand for weight in pounds (and they still call it the pound sign). It was first brought to a wider public thanks to its adoption by telephone engineers at Bell Labs in the 1960s as the generic function symbol on their new touch-tone phones – and if you’re looking to sound clever, you could call it an “octothorpe“, the tongue-in-cheek term coined at Bell to describe it. It’s on Twitter, though, that hashtags have really come into their own, serving as a kind of function code for social interaction #ifyoulikethatkindofthing.

3. Scunthorpe problems

Computing can be as much combat as collaboration between people and machines, and the Scunthorpe problem is a perfect example. Entirely innocent words can fall victim to machine filth-filters thanks to unfortunate sequences of letters within them – and, in Scunthrope’s case, it’s the second to fifth letters that create the difficulty. The effect was labelled in honour of the town in 1996, when AOL temporarily prevented any Scunthorpe residents from creating user accounts; but those who live in Penistone, South Yorkshire – or people with surnames like Cockburn – may be equally familiar with algorithms’ censorious tendencies.

4. Trolling

Although the archetypical emblem of an online troll is of a grinning bogeyman, the word can be traced back to the Old French verb troller, meaning to wander around while hunting. “Trolling” entered English around 1600 as a description of fishing by trailing bait around a body of water, and it was this idea of baiting the unwitting that led to the idea of online “trolling”, where experienced net users would simulate naivety in order ensnare the naive. The noun “troll”, meanwhile, does refer to a wide class of monstrous Nordic creatures: a sense that has dovetailed neatly with the increasingly viciously art of trolling.

5. Memes

Richard Dawkins coined the term “meme” in his 1976 book The Selfish Gene as a shortening of the Ancient Greek term mimeme (“an imitated thing”). He designed his new word to sound like “gene”, signifying a unit of cultural transmission. Little did he know that his term would become one of the most iconic of online phenomena, embodying the capacity of the internet to itself act as a kind of gene-pool for thoughts and beliefs – and for infectious, endlessly ingenious slices of time-wasting.

6. Spam

The most enduring gift of British comedy series Monty Python’s Flying Circus may prove to be a digital one: the term “spam”. The key episode, first broadcast in 1970, featured a sketch called “SPAM“: the brand name used since 1937 by the Hormel Foods Corporation as a contraction of the phrase spiced ham. Set in a cafe where almost every single item on the menu featured spam, the sketch culminated in a chorus of Viking warriors drowning everyone else’s voices out by chanting the word “spam”.  A satirical indictment of British culinary monotony, it took on a second life during the early 1980s, when those who wished to derail early online discussions copied out the same words repeatedly in order to clog up a debate. Inspired by Python, the word spam proved a popular way of doing this. “Spamming” came to describe any process of drowning out “real” content – and the rest is repetitive history.

7. LOLs

If you type “LOL” or “lol”, you’re not literally “laughing out loud”. You’re offering a kind of stage direction: dramatizing the process of typing. It sounds simple, but this is part of a radical change in language. For the first time in history, we’re conducting conversations through written words (or, more precisely, through typing onto screens). And in the process we’re expending immense effort on making words and symbols express the emotional range of face-to-face interactions. Yet it’s all, also, performance; a careful crafting of appearances that can bear little resemblance to reality.

8. Meh

There’s a special place in my heart for the supremely useful three letters of “meh”, which express an almost infinitely flexible contemporary species of indifference. In its basic exclamatory form, it suggests something along the lines of “OK, whatever”. As an adjective, it takes on a more ineffable flavour: “it was all very meh”. You can even use it as a noun: “I stand by my meh.” Apparently first recorded in a 1995 episode of The Simpsons, some theories trace meh back to the disdainful Yiddish term mnyeh. Its ascent towards canonical status, though, embodies a thoroughly digital breed of boredom.

9. Cupertinos

Also known as “auto-correct errors”, a Cupertino error occurs when your computer thinks it knows what you’re trying to say better than you do. The name comes from an early spell checker program, which knew the word Cupertino – the Californian city where Apple has its headquarters – but not the word “cooperation”. All the cooperations in a document might thus be automatically “corrected” into Cupertinos. Courtesy of smartphones, Cupertinos today are a richer field than ever – a personal favourite being my last phone’s determination to transform “Facebook” into “ravenous”.

10. Geeks

“Geek” arrived in English from Low German, in which a geck denoted a crazy person; in travelling circuses, the geek show traditionally involved a performer biting off the heads of live chickens. By 1952, the sense of a freakishly adept technology enthusiast had appeared in science fiction maestro Robert Heinlein’s short story “The Year of the Jackpot” (“the poor geek!” being the phrase) – and by the 1980s it had become a common label for socially awkward children obsessed with new technological devices. As this generation of tech-savvy youngsters provided the first generation of internet millionaires, and then billionaires, the unthinkable happened: geeks became cool (not to mention chic) – and ready to inherit the earth.

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Print Irish

9A00-Print-Irish-225x300
In this difficult economy, governments are putting ever more emphasis on supporting local business as a means to overall recovery. But that is not the only reason the Print Irish campaign is running.

The Print Irish Objectives

  •  Secure local industry and jobs in the print and packaging sector.
  •  Inform the general public that a product has been printed in Ireland.
  • Combat the issue of print being produced non-domestically.
  • Generate awareness that Irish print is focused on service and quality.
  • Create a value system so customers in Ireland are supportive of the Irish print industry going forward.
  • Promote jobs within the industry and encourage new consumers of print, to support Irish industry.

This campaign is a brand new initiative that aims towards putting a public face on the Irish printing industry. Printing in more recent years has become to be viewed as a somewhat generic service. Little thought is given to the thousands of jobs the printing industry supports and the high quality, good value service provided by a technology driven, high skilled indigenous workforce.

Just as the Intel Inside campaign transformed Intel from yet another semi-conductor manufacturer to a criteria of selection for computer hardware, the Print Irish campaign aims to encourage the Irish marketplace to support their own fellow workers and identify print that has originated on home soil.

What does Print Irish do for the Irish publishing sector?

It unites the Irish printing industry under one common flag. It also contributes to an industry war chest, enabling the Irish print and packaging sector to market itself more effectively and pool its collective resources for the greater good. It carries the Print Irish identity on your goods in order to demonstrate your commitment to Irish goods, services and manufacturing. It clearly differentiates between domestic suppliers of print and non-domestic suppliers of print. More to the point, it enables the 19,000 employees in 700 printing companies throughout Ireland to demonstrate their commitment to those companies who buy Irish print.

How does Selfpublishbooks.ie fit in?

As an independent publisher based in Cork, Ireland, Selfpublishbooks.ie offers a simple and cost effective means for authors to make the leap from file to printed book. With high standards of production and keen attention to detail, Selfpublishbooks.ie guarantees a high-quality product that is reliable, practical and local.

Print quality, print Irish.

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Twitter launches new publishing platform: Medium

Since the internet first appeared just two decades ago, some things haven’t evolved as much as we would have expected.

Twitter co-founders Evan Williams and Biz Stone, seeing that the internet has more potential that is yet unexplored, have launched a new publishing platform called Medium.

“Lots of services have successfully lowered the bar for sharing information, but there’s been less progress toward raising the quality of what’s produced” say the co-founders, “While it’s great that you can be a one-person media company, it’d be even better if there were more ways you could work with others. And in many ways, the web is still mimicking print concepts, while not even catching up to it in terms of layout, design, and clarity of experience.

“We haven’t even scratched the surface of what our smart devices and our networks that connect most of the planet might enable.

“Posting on Medium (not yet open to everyone) is elegant and easy, and you can do so without the burden of becoming a blogger or worrying about developing an audience. All posts are organized into ‘collections’, which are defined by a theme and a template.

“Our philosophy is that quality begets quality, so we will grow Medium smartly, ensuring that our platform is valuable to everyone in this increasingly mobile, connected, and noisy world.”

To join Medium you must have a Twitter account and allow Medium to update your profile and post Tweets for you.

GalleyCat has compiled all the information you need to know about Medium:

1. Follow this link to sign up–you will need a Twitter account.

2. You can read posts, but you can’t create new posts yet. Here’s more: “Posting is limited to a small invited list of friends and family, which we’ll be expanding rapidly—soon, to those who have registered, so if you are interested please do so.”

3. Explore The Writer’s Room, a collection created by journalist and author Steven Johnson to share “Tools And Strategies For A Writing Life.”

4. Twitter co-creator Biz Stone created a collection writing about different projects that his company has helped support.

5. Follow Medium on Twitter to watch the network evolve.

 

Meanwhile, here are a few Medium collections you can check out:

Been There. Loved That.

Look What I Made

The Writer’s Room

The Obvious Collection

Follow @medium on Twitter for more updates and reply there with your feedback.

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