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Advertising gone wrong

I know, it's not that important, but after seeing it at least twenty times now, I got a bit annoyed. For at least a week, this ad is currently running on this blog via Adwords/Adsense:

It is german, and reads translated:
Line 1

And adsense being adsense, I've seen this ad on other websites now as well. Someone should probably tell the poor guys of Biotherm.com that they are currently wasting their money on a wrongly entered ad? I hope they didn't pay an expensive ad agency for advertising that way :)

How much do you earn writing a book?

I recently saw an interview with a successful german book author (don't remember his name), who was just opening a shop (I think for shoes?) in his local city. The interviewer asked him about his success, and why he is opening this shoe shop, if he hasn't earned enough with his two very successful books so far. The author looked angrily at the interviewer and said:

"Do you think I could live from my two books? Of course not."

The interviewer then was a bit confused, but I understood this man: The book I wrote costs around 14 euro, and I get 50 cent of each sale, after taxes. That means I need to sell 24000 books a year in oder to earn the Austrian minimum wage. For independent book authors, selling even 1000 books a year is considered a huge success. So without the backing of a publisher with a huge marketing budget, you will never ever reach this value.

Let's assume you wrote a bestseller anyway. The problem is that the term 'Bestseller' is not even defined, it's more of a marketing term. Some people say a Bestseller is once you sold 100.000 copies, so let's take that. You write a book which sells for 14 euros and you get 1 euro from this per sale. After taxes, that's about 50.000 euro you get from your bestseller, in total. You can live on that for one or two years, but that's it. You will not become rich, unless you write a top bestseller like Harry Potter. But that's a bit unrealistic.

It's sad that it's like that, I think a lot more people would write and create interesting books if they could make a living from it. The problem is still that the publishers are taking most of your money without actually doing a lot for this, just like in the music industry. But with eBooks rising, it might get a bit better soon.

Shameless plug: you can get my book in the shops below: It's written in german, and a nice science fiction novel in an end time scenario:
Die Wiederentdeckung der Erde on Amazon.de
Die Wiederentdeckung der Erde on Amazon.co.uk
Die Wiederentdeckung der Erde on Amazon.com
Die Wiederentdeckung der Erde on Buch24.de
Die Wiederentdeckung der Erde on BookDepository.co.uk

I don't earn much if you buy it, but it feels good if at least some people read it :)

Dancing Bunnies or Why I'm not going to use signed installers

Recently, developers noticed that Microsoft introduced a new 'feature' in Internet Explorer 9, named 'Smart Screen Filter'. In most cases, it manifests as annoying and scary looking popups which appear after you downloaded some program from the Internet, telling you that this particular program is evil. This 'smart' screen filter simply checks if the binary has been signed, and if not, it apparently checks if the program is very, very popular at least. If both of this isn't true, and this is the case for 90% of all programs, it tells the user that the program is probably harmful. For people downloading my WebGL 3D editor CopperCube, it looks for example like this (german version):

If you want to run the just downloaded installer, you need to click through two very scary popups, and they even try to hide this option for you, putting the 'run anyway' option under the obscure 'Actions' button.
So, as developer who wants people to actually use my software, the only apparent way to circumvent this harassment is to buy a certificate (usually this costs 100$ dollar a year and involves some senseless bureaucratic phone calling) and sign the binaries with it. Of course, for the end user, this doesn't change anything, there is no reason why a malware or virus developer couldn't do this as well. And unsurprisingly, most people searching for Smart Screen Filter in Google, are apparently looking to 'turn off' and 'disable' this thing. :)

But in contrast to some fellow developers, I'm not going to anything about it. Here is why:
This new filter currently annoys the crap out of the users. Instead of trusting IE9, telling them that the program they downloaded is evil, they find ways to get the program anyway. Either they find the hidden option to run the program anyway, find ways to disable that filter, or they even simply start using another browser. Some users even sent me a support mail, asking me how to get the software, and they were happy to install Chrome after I told them to.

So as developer, instead of supporting this senseless security 'feature', I'm simply not using signed binaries and training people to ignore these warnings. It's the 'dancing bunnies' problem again: If people want to see it, they will get it, it doesn't matter if you throw obstacles and warnings to them. And it is good that way. If your operating system is designed to be able to harm itself, then fix your operating system, do not try to prevent the user installing stuff on it.

Thoughts about icon sizes

I just uploaded a new version of WebsitePainter, including some new nice features, but the first big visible change in that website editor is the new icon toolbar. Before, the editor used a standard, 16x16 toolbar, but now, I made this twice as big. Here is a comparison:

I really like the new toolbar: It wastes a bit more screen space, but it's now immediately clear what the buttons do, and they also look more nicer. On big screens with huge resolutions, the small icons were probably even not very visible at all. Now, when looking at my other programs, like CopperCube, I don't really like those small icons anymore:

But the problem is, for such a complicated program as a 3D editor, you really need a lot of icons, and screen space is important. So I'm not sure if it would be useful to replace the toolbar in that editor in the same way. On the other side, it would be nice having some texts under all these icons in the 3d editor, it's difficult to know what the buttons do, especially if you are new to the program. Hm. What do you think?

Diablo 3 review

I'm probably a bit late, but finally, I've managed to play through Diablo 3. The game was nice, but it's not a particularly good diablo game, to be honest. It plays like Diablo 2, but without the fun. Blizzard obviously has decided to take all the character development out of the game, and replace it with items. The reason for this is obvious: Blizzard will earn money by this. (They have that Auction House where you can buy and sell items.)
There is no skill to choose, every character at the same level has the same powers. You cannot even decide what points to give to your character when leveling up. Hell, the game even makes it really difficult to find out at what level your character currently is at, while playing.
Too bad this nice game was destroyed by some stupid business decisions. I wouldn't say Diablo 3 isn't a good game, but it's definitely not as much fun as its predecessors at all. I guess Torchlight II will be more fun. But let's see.

Small discount for 3d models

If you are looking for 3d models and textures, readers of this blog and CopperCube users can get a 15% discount on 3dexport.com. Use the discount code 3de15off3 for this (expiration date: 12th July 2012). Have fun :)


The day has come where I worked through so many contracts, agreements, and licenses that I now am fluent in legalese. Yes, I don't seem to find any difference anymore between normal written text and stuff created by lawyers. I even can write this stuff on my own, and it reads completely complicated, meaningful and senseless at the same time, as it should be. Isn't this sad?
But wait, there is more: Not only have I done this stuff that often that I do now understand it in my native language, German, and Austrian (Austrian legalese is a bit different, and in most cases sounds more funny), no, I also do that in english. Really. That's really, really sad.