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August 31, 2007: The Digital Household License

In the wake of releasing my first ebook on Lulu yesterday, I've been thinking a lot about what sort of license I will be using to issue future titles. To get some perspective I've gone back to thinking about how print books are used, and how people are likely to want to store and manage their ebooks, once ebooks become a commonplace. (They're still very much a geek thing, really.)

One insight I had was this: Books drift around the house. While I was growing up I read my dad's books. My sister read mine. I read hers. Carol and I have never made any attempt to keep our libraries separate—though when you happen upon a book on orthopedic rehabilitation here, it's a good guess that Carol bought it and that I haven't read it. There are piles of books in odd places. This is the norm in households where readers live.

Ebooks will drift too. Geek households now have five or six computers, a couple of PDAs, a few smart phones, and here and there one of the fledgling ebook readers. Cheap Wi-Fi will allow files to wander among all of those devices, and wander they will. Big Media is all lathered up about that, but my reading of Fair Use tells me that it's not actionable, admitting up front that case law is still catching up with home networking and will be for years to come.

But hey, ebook drift is a good thing. You want other people to discover your stuff, and the influence of family is strong. So I created a prototype license modeled on the way books drift around the house: The Digital Household License. The gist of the license is that an ebook may be freely copied among all digital devices based under the same roof. It'll happen anyway, there's some upside to it, and attempting to rigidly enforce a "one device, one sale" interpretation of copyright within a household will only incite fury and make enemies.

Here's the relevant text from the readme file in "Whale Meat":

By purchasing this file you have acquired rights to its contents under the Copperwood Press Digital Household License. This license allows you to freely copy the file or files to any digital devices based in your household. This would include computers, PDAs, smart phones, ebook readers, audio/video players, or whatever other digital devices you may have in your home with the power to render the licensed files.

In simpler terms, this means that you may send the files across your home network, back them up, or share them with your spouse, your children, your parents or grandparents, as long as they live under the same roof with you. It does not mean that you cannot take the files out of your house, as long as the files are stored on devices that "live" in your household and are considered based there.

What we ask that you **not** do is share these files with people who do not live in your household. If you wish to anthologize the work or distribute it as part of an educational course, please contact Copperwood Press. Licenses are available very inexpensively for these purposes.

This license does not expire, and is not limited to the file formats delivered on purchase. You have the right (which is actually a Fair Use right guaranteed under Federal Law) to convert the files to formats that we either cannot deliver (for example, for exotic ebook readers) or which do not exist at this time.

This license is inheritable. We hope, in fact, that a century from now, someone in your direct line of descent will be reading these files on devices that we cannot yet imagine.

I'm still thinking about how to deal with resale, and may just have to trust people on it. Again, being a hardass is pointless.

People who know me will not be surprised that I will not, now or ever, include any kind of DRM in my digital publications. The problem small publishers face is not piracy, but being unable to rise out of the noise. Licensing is in many respects the least of our worries, but it's a base we have to cover, and this is how I intend to approach it.

August 30, 2007: A Story for a Dollar

I just uploaded a new Lulu project: "Whale Meat," an original fantasy novelette delivered in ebook form. Like most of what I'm doing on Lulu, it's an experiment: A story for a dollar. The deliverable is a ZIP file containing the story in several formats: RTF, TXT, PDF, HTM, and LIT. One of those formats should be readable on just about any device you could name.

The story itself is living evidence that I didn't take the advice of Harlan Ellison at Clarion back in 1973: Don't keep rewriting it! Write it, proof it, and sell it! Well. I wrote the story while I was still in college in 1974. I've been fooling with it now for 33 years. I gave it to a semiprozine back in 1981, rewrote it again in the late 1980s, another time in the early 1990s, and yet again this past year. I figured it was time to just cut clean and put it where people could get it, and in the process test the viability of the notion of selling short fiction "by the piece" in ebook form rather than in an anthology. For each sale, I get 80 cents, and Lulu gets 20 cents. I'm good with that.

The story itself is unlike anything I've ever done, and it's really the only fantasy story I've ever written that I would let someone else read. The idea came to me after I failed out of engineering school in 1970 after a single semester. I've always loved math, but I have a terrible time with arithmetic, and especially setting decimal points. So although I was poleaxed by the beauty of calculus, I had a terrible time applying the math to real projects, and understood very quickly that I was not engineer material. That said, I now present you with a calculus fantasy for a dollar.

August 29, 2007: Botnets and Web 2.0

It's nice, sometimes, to have the big guns like John Dvorak on your side. He doesn't much like the Web 2.0 fetish, as I don't, and never have. His point is one worth meditating on: Microsoft itself, the Big Kahuna, tripped over its own feet recently and lost the use of its WGA system for an entire day, infuriating millions of people and implying that many of them were software pirates when they are not.

In this case, the problem was a bug in WGA. However, like all server-side systems, WGA is vulnerable to DDoS attacks. I get twenty or thirty emails linking to some variant of the Storm Worm every day, and they are getting cleverer all the time. The botnets are growing, and virtually nothing is being done about it. It may be the case that nothing can be done about it.

Nobody knows how many bots are out there, and most client-side people don't care, because there's no downside for them personally. The bots are careful not to call attention to themselves, and don't noticeably degrade system performance. More is better here, for both the botmasters and for their feckless PC victims: The more bots you have at your command, the less each individual bot has to do to accomplish the botnet's mission, whatever it may be. Command ten million bots (and if that isn't possible now, it soon will be) and an individual machine only has to send a server request every few seconds for the botnet as a whole to render a server unusable. This looks so much like ordinary user activity that it would be difficult or impossible to spot an individual bot by examining what it requests. If more than one attack is underway at once, a clever botnet could rotate the server target among the individual bots so that it doesn't look like a user is requesting the same server every five seconds. The old botnets were cancers. The new ones are parasites, and becoming gentler and more careful parasites all the time. Future bots could become symbiotes, but that's another discussion, one I hesitate to take up here. (Got some great ideas for a Phil Sydney novel, though, assuming anybody remembers Phil Sydney.)

Microsoft should be glad that there's so much money in spam and penny stock scams. A 2008-class botnet could shut down WGA for as long as the botmasters might desire, for the pure spite of it—and still leave plenty of bot bandwidth for pushing penis pills. The same is true of any Web 2.0 site out there, including the biggies like GMail. Nobody's immune, and if there's any master plan for reducing or eliminating the power of botnets, I have yet to see it.

So while I use Web 2.0 apps here and there, I've made a conscious decision not to be dependent on them, especially for my paying tasks. They add numerous points of failure to a path that for many years has led from my keyboard and monitor to my hard drive and back. Some things may require a Web 2.0 architecture—social networking and online collaboration, as my recent research has been telling me—but beyond that, heh: I'll stick with the stuff sitting right here on my own desk, with the CDs on the shelf and spare parts in the closet.

August 25, 2007: vbDrupal

I support a small, semiprivate phpBB forum that has recently been under attack from user-list spammers, who register bogus users in the hope that search engines will spider user lists and raise the rankings of the Web stes cited in their bogus user profiles, which are almost invariably for porn and pills. I've turned on everything I can to discourage this, but phpBB moronically does not allow you to simply hide unvalidated users, so the craziness continues. And fairly recently, my hosting service disabled PHP exec(), rendering my two instances of the Gallery Web photo album unchangeable and thus useless. (Gallery uses exec() to call an external image processing package.)

So I've been sniffing around for alternatives, even if it means leaving my current hosting service for less paranoid pastures. The software doesn't have to be free, though it should not have delusions of "enterprise" pricing, heh. (I've always been willing to pay for software if it does what I want and isn't needlessly paranoid.) This may be an opportunity to (finally!) mount and use it for online SF workshopping, as I've wanted to do for years. What I'm looking for feature-wise is this:

  • An online threaded message board with effective comment and user list spammer control.
  • An online photo album.
  • Collaborative document editing.
  • A download area for documents and other files.
  • Static but fully formattable mini-Web pages allowing users to post bios and promote their work.
  • Built-in group chat for workshops.
  • The ability to make selected forums completely private and invisible to non-members.

The group chat can be done otherwise if necessary, but the rest is pretty core to the mission. I'm looking at a lot of different packages, but one that intrigues me is vbDrupal, a melding of the commercial forum package vBulletin (which I have visited and like a lot) and the open source Drupal content management sysyem. My question for this morning is: Has anybody here used either Drupal or vbDrupal, and if so, what do you think? Any other suggestions?

August 22, 2007: Odd Lots

  • The Vista network layer slowdown that's been observed while Vista is playing music may be no more than a change in software priority. See this article. (Thanks to Tim Goss for the pointer.) This leads to the question: Why can't Vista summon the power to both handle the network at full speed and play music at top fidelity? How and where is Vista wasting all those cycles?
  • Here is a marvelous photo-essay on "bubble cars," the tiny little cars that pop up on the scene from time to time (generally in Europe) and then vanish for reasons obscure. The smart car (which e.e. cummings would probably have loved, for its case and its oddness) is the latest to hit our shores, but it's an ancient tradition. Love those three-wheelers!
  • Pertinent to the above, the Dark Toasted Blend site is a surreal collection of the odd and the interesting, perfect for browsing on days when you're feeling under it and can't summon the energy to do anything useful. My current favorite (even more than the bubble car essay, but hey, I'm a book publisher!) is Unusual Books and Book Sculptures.
  • One thing that's gotten pretty high on my priority list to acquire and test is Crossover Linux from Codeweavers, a commercial framework for using Wine to run Windows apps on Linux. Supposedly it runs Visio well, and that's something I just have to see. Always interested in hearing reactions from people who have used it.
  • Most of you have now heard that somebody has done the painfully obvious and created a utility to correlate the IPs of people who are editing Wikipedia anonymously with the organizations that are listed as owning those IPs. All sorts of groups have been caught with their hands in the wiki jar, from the Vatican to the CIA to—gasp! How could it be?—the Democratic Party. From BBC News: "...a computer owned by the US Democratic Party was used to make changes to the site of right-wing talk show host Rush Limbaugh. The changes brand Mr Limbaugh as 'idiotic,' a 'racist', and a 'bigot'. An entry about his audience now reads: 'Most of them are legally retarded.' The IP address is registered in the name of the Democratic National Headquarters." How very mature. So...can we please eliminate Wikipedia anonymity now?

August 21, 2007: Why Vista?

Slashdot aggregated an item indicating that when you play audio files in Vista, network performance slows down. Nobody's quite sure what's happening, nor (more crucially) whether it's a bug—i.e., accidental—or a consequence of a feature. If the latter, the feature is likely to be DRM, and while I don't get frothy over DRM if it doesn't get in my way—I don't for the most part use DRMed content—this is a case where Vista may well penalize users across the board for the sake of DRM, whether users are accessing DRMed content or not.

All the more reason to ask: Why should any of us bother with Vista at all? I spent a couple of hours the other night poking at Vista on my brother-in-law Bill's new laptop. The system seemed sluggish to me, even though it was clearly burning cycles furiously and did its best to cause second-degree burns on my thighs. (Note to self: Don't use modern laptops in your underwear.) The mouse pointer stuttered, as it does on my Tablet PC. I don't recall ever seeing mouse stutter under Windows 2000, which I have used daily now for almost eight years.

What's the value-add, then? I saw nothing in the UI that seemed anything other than needlessly different from XP or 2000, and certainly nothing that made the "Vista experience" easier to grasp or accomplish. I've heard the argument that Vista protects stupid users from themselves—maybe, a little—and while there might be a slim sliver of truth in that, my suspicion is that Vista exists primarily to protect Microsoft, and through them Big Media, from their users.

No thanks. That's a war I won't take part in. I've become a little worried about what will be on my next laptop—it certainly won't be a Tablet PC, egad—but was heartened recently as a friend received a slightly broken 2 GHz laptop from a neighbor who would otherwise have put it out on the curb. He replaced the keyboard with a spare purchased on eBay, and then nuked XP Home and installed Windows 2000 from a generic boxed copy. All the drivers for the specialized laptop hardware were freely downloadable. Now he has a Win2K laptop, without crapware or DRM booby traps, that runs like lightning and will not turn on him. Given that I use my laptop basically for Web and email access on trips, I don't need state-of-the-art. And that assumes that the state-of-the-art has significantly advanced on MS operating systems since Win2K. I'm not sure it has. Win2K already has symmetric multiprocessor support. Does Vista do it better? Haven't heard—and how effectively can our apps take advantage of the four or more cores you can now get in retail machines? MIT recently turned loose a 64-core CPU, expressly to see what software architectures can do with that many cores. (My guess: Without radical re-thinking and complete re-coding, not very much.)

As time allows I'm going to get a Ubuntu Feisty Fawn partition on my SX270 lab machine and spend some quality time with it. A lot of Windows software runs under Linux via Wine, and I haven't played with Wine for several years. Time to get back to it. Failing that, Windows 2000 may eventually become a compatibility layer for me, running in a VM so that I can maintain my Visio 2000 drawings and my InDesign 2.0 layouts. Vista's most significant feature may be that it isn't necessary. Paths to whatever you need to do on X86 hardware probably exist elsewhere. Keep looking. I intend to.

August 19, 2007: Cisco's Mutilated Cables

I installed another pair of Linksys PLE200 Powerline netwoking adapters for Carol's sister a few days ago, and again (as I described in my entries for June 2-4, 2007) they worked right out of the box, in spite of the illiterate documentation and the moronically coded management utility. What is worthy of note this time (I overlooked it the first time) is the state of the two CAT5 patch cables included with the ~$200 PLK200 Powerline networking kit. Basically, they're mutilated.

One of the two patch cables is shown above. I hope everybody knows what's wrong here: You can't just hank up a CAT5 cable like it was a power cord and still call it a CAT5 cable with a straight face. Making tight 180° bends in the cable kinks the copper conductors and inserts impedence bumps—think of them as electron turbulence—at the kinks. This causes packet errors and hugely reduces the continuous bit rate at which the cable can operate.

It's worse yet when you consider that the PLE200 unit itself is designed to carry HD video over IP, and it thus asks a lot of its cables. If you intend to move video over your network, you should ideally use the newer, higher-bandwidth CAT5E cables, and keep the radius in any cable bends as broad as possible. I watched the guy who installed CAT5E throughout our house in 2003, and he was an artist: The cables turn gently wherever they turn, at radii that in many cases was 24" or more. (This is much easier to do when you can place cables before the drywall goes up!)

I've always liked Linksys gear, but my experiences recently have not been as good as they were three or four years ago. Cisco has since bought Linksys, and it boggles the mind to think that Cisco could be behind the kinds of carelessness I've seen in products I've installed over the last year or so. One hopes it's a coincidence—and next time I may try another vendor.

August 14, 2007: Wikipedia on Your Hard Drive

I remember hearing a couple of years ago that Wikipedia was available as a downloadable file (!!) and you could put it on your laptop. Got distracted and didn't pursue it, as my three-year-old Thinkpad was getting pretty full and time was (as usual) tight. So this morning I see an article aggregated on Slashdot about how to install Wikipedia locally—and indexing it so you can perform keyword searches.

Whoa. I sat back, and let it sink in.

There are some reasons not to do this—it takes a fair bit of time, some geeky and not-inconsiderable screwing-with-bits, and you lose the up-to-the-minute changes people are constantly making to the database—but when you're done, you can take Wikipedia out into the wilderness while you're researching the feeding habits of the lesser northern verkshquemy, and not have to lug a satellite system on your back.

The astonishing thing to me was the peripheral fact that all of Wikipedia can be crammed into a 3.9 GB download. Good god, I can put that on a thumb drive. (Ok, there's a catch: You don't get all the pictures. I haven't tried this yet; I'm not really sure if you get any.) You could certainly put it into one of the better ebook readers, and before very much longer, onto a smartphone.

I'm pretty much through boggling, but I'm also doubly certain that all this wringing-of-hands over things being "not notable" on Wikipedia is wasted, and mostly bogus. Prior to this morning, I would have guessed that Wikipedia took hundreds of gigabytes or worse. If the whole damned thing can fit on a thumb drive, flame wars about whether accurate material is notable or not notable is ridiculous, another form of fetishism, and probably just a power trip. Basically, throw it all in—let us sort it out.

August 12, 2007: I Am Not e. e. cummings

I am not e. e. cummings. For a few days in the spring of 1973 I thought I might be, and started writing little poems all in lower case. After I had the good sense to reread the poems, I stopped thinking that I was e. e. cummings. However, LiveJournal, as good as it is, thinks that I am e. e. cummings. Mr. Cummings didn't use capital letters a lot, but he didn't begrudge them to other people who struggled with issues like how to start a sentence about cummings without using a capital C at the beginning of the sentence.

So. I do not write poems all in lower case. I am not j. p. duntemann. I am not jeff duntemann. I am certainly not jeff_duntemann. My name is Jeff Duntemann. LiveJournal, however, forbids me to be Jeff Duntemann. It would allow me to be jduntemann, or jpduntemann, or grouchycontrarian. Because I need a good RSS-capable mirror for my primary journal site, I bought a LiveJournal account, and grumbled while begging the system's gracious permission to be jeff_duntemann, which is not my name and makes me look a variable in a bad C program.

And that brings me, by the way, to the point of this rant: Hey! You out there! Yeah, you, whoeverthehell wrote the username management code for LiveJournal, you are an inferior programmer! (And I'll bet I know what language you code in.) You are an adolescent, lower-case character fetishist with untreated pimples and an emotional age of about 15. So boy, I'm a-callin' you out. I dare you to stand up here and explain to us grown-ups why there cannot be upper-case characters in a LiveJournal username. Or that much-despised ASCII character 20H, which as a character-of-space ought to sue for discrimination under the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

And boy, I don't think you're man (or programmer) (or poet) enough to do it.

August 10, 2007: Gretchen's Home

Gretchen came home yesterday noonish, looking groggy but not in terrible discomfort. We sent her up to bed, where she stayed the rest of the day. She's in much better spirits today, and spent a good part of the afternoon down with us, watching Jeopardy with Bill Leininger and coaxing Katie Beth to behave. Katie has actually been almost unbelievably good—how many 9-month-olds sleep reliably through the night, from 10:30 PM until 7:30 or 8:00 AM the following morning?

Carol and I are bemused by the evolution of baby technology, even since the mid-1980s, which was the last time we paid much attention. (It's hard to believe that our nephews are now 22 and 24.) Gretchen has a thing called a "Diaper Genie," which is a very clever gizmo that amounts to a tall, slender wastebasket and a long, long plastic bag that unrolls axially (like a condom, though I hesitate to use the simile) and becomes a sausage skin with dirty diapers acting as sausage stuffing. You pick up the lid, drop a dirty diaper into the bag (pushing it down if necessary), and when you twist the lid it seals the dirty diaper into its own little plastic-bag sausage. Previously added diapers gather at the bottom of the device like a string of fat hot dogs, and are dumped regularly. Katie's bedroom thus does not smell of poopy diapers, and because her bedroom is right next to the guest room, Carol and I are good with that. Really good.

Katie's formula bottles are modular and easy to clean, with disposable linings. The formula itself is easy to deal with, with a little measuring scoop in every can. Two scoops powder, four ounces of water, shake well, and you're there. Her toys play synthesized music (classical, at that! She'll know "Carmen" before she can walk!) and her baby monitor works on 2.4 GHz. We can hear freight trains going by a few blocks away on the monitor before we hear them normally.

By contrast, I had a tin toy clock that played "Hickory Dockory Dock" when I turned a crank. (There was a rubber belt inside with nubs that plinked against a set of tuned steel fingers, as I discovered when the poor thing fell apart a few years later.) It played equally well if cranked in either direction, which is why I can still hum "Hickory Dockory Dock" backwards 52 years after last hearing it. My folks actually did have a baby monitor, which was a 2-tube intercom in a Bakelite cabinet that did not suffer roughhousing very well but survived in my posession (in several pieces) until we moved from Arizona in 2002. But diapers, eek! The less I can recall about dealing with diapers in the Fifties, the better I think I'll like it. (We found the diapers that Carol had worn in the early 1950s in a box in the basement of her mom's house this past spring. Squares of cloth. No tabs. And you had to wash them...)

Speaking of mutant sausages, Pete Albrecht sent me a link to the story about the Chicago police ticketing the Oscar Mayer Weinermobile.

August 8, 2007: If I Had a Billion, Part 5

(Continuing a thread I began in my July 13, 2007 entry.) A gratifying number of people who wrote to me indicated that they would fund research, in a lot of different areas. I'm for that; research is much less political than education, and much more can be done with less money. (Even a billion dollars would not allow me to buy Harvard and convert it into public housing, as much as I think that that would improve both higher education and public housing.)

So. Here's a notion for you: Establish a foundation with our billion that would fund the evolution of PC hardware, a PC OS, and PC programming toward parallelism, all on an open-source basis. My plan (call it Parallelogram) would be to start with Linux and re-think all pertinent components to make good use of at least eight cores, figuring that by the time the project matures enough to useful, Intel will be shoveling cores onto their dies like there ain't no tomorra.

A major emphasis in the project would be to anticipate exploits and design them out of the architecture. This is more than just forbidding the use of unbounded string functions (though that would be a good start) and would include a minicomputer-style "supercore" that performs supervisory functions from a memory space that is inaccessible to any user space. I don't see why the supervisor should not have its own memory stick on the mobo, nor even why it can't have a separate CPU, though I admit I'm getting a little out of my league in suggesting it.

It wouldn't be up to me anyway. With thirty million in annual revenue, I could hire a crew of superb programmers to crank code and a couple of genius-level guys like Michael Abrash and David Stafford to architect it and attack the hard problems. I would try to steal a few guys back from Microsoft, primarily Anders Heilsberg, whom I would task with creating a suitable parallel processor programming system.

Key to the effort would be a guy to manage the project from the top. Somebody like Dave Cutler would be my goal, understanding that managers sometimes have to be berserk hardasses to make difficult things happen. (Not everybody agrees that open-source projects need tough central management, but everything I've read suggests that they do. There would be no Linux without Linus.)

Hey, it's a game, OK? Stop rolling your eyes. But PC technology seems mired to me, and one reason it's mired is that hardware and software (primarily the OS) currently come from utterly different continents of the mind. The advent of multicore CPUs suggests that mobo-level hardware and its OS must evolve together, or one or two of your cores will end doing all your work while the rest twiddle their thumbs and generate heat. Apple does as well as they do because they can make hardware design decisions in light of software needs and limitations, and vise versa. I had an intuition years ago that hardware and software coevolve, and for that coevolution to go anywhere useful, the effort must be managed. That's what the Parallelogram Project would be about. My great fear is that a billion wouldn't be quite enough, but damn, I would give it my best shot, and succeed or fail, interesting things would happen.

August 6, 2007: Gretchen's OK

My sister Gretchen got out of surgery this afternoon, and while she's understandably groggy, she's in decent spirits and the outlook on all fronts is good. Many thanks to all who sent their prayers and good wishes. Katie Beth has been exceptionally well behaved, considering that her mom is away from her. On the other hand, it takes all three of us (Bill, Carol, and myself, plus earplugs) to change her diaper.

Bill will be back at work tomorrow, so Carol and I are going it solo for a good part of the day. Katie has taken a strong liking to Carol, and she doesn't cry quite so much anymore when I'm in her immediate vicinity. And she laughs when I make funny noises. I guess we're making progress.

More later.

August 5, 2007: Odd Lots

  • Don Lancaster wrote to say that Carl and Jerry were not the first to build a house-current hot-dog cooker. Don built a couple when he was in high school, and said that it was a pretty common school shop project in the shop books back in 1954.
  • On a recent "celebrity" episode of Jeopardy, a CNN news anchor did not know the question to the Final Jeopardy answer: "It's the permanent member country of the UN Security Council with the smallest land area." An actor (Harry Shearer?) knew the answer. A fashion designer said "My apartment" as a "witty" way of saying, "I have no clue." The CNN anchor had no clue either, (she said "France") but you and I might expect that she would know at least a little about current affairs. Fast forward to the recent DefCon, where NBC sent a beautiful blond reporter (looks just like a network cracker, right?) to act as a mole and try and get the goods for a TV special on hackers and hacking. They were on to her instantly, and basically humiliated both her and NBC. The punchline is something that all media people need to memorize as part of Journalism 101: "Don't screw around with people who are smarter than you." Which in this case (in light of my own personal experience with TV news people) would be most of them.
  • The HTML editor I'm looking for has to be utterly WYSIWYG—think InDesign for the Web—and my big surprise is that such are almost non-existent. This is a real puzzler; writing HTML markup from scratch is a mostly idiotic waste of time when what you're doing is tantamount to page layout. (Web sites with data-driven back ends are a different matter.) Dropping into an HTML line editor is something that I do now and then, but the bulk of my Web content consists of static collections of text boxes with an occasional image, and you shouldn't need to write HTML manually to do that.
  • Pertinent to the above: NVu came on the scene looking like a replacement for Dreamweaver 3 (which is what I have used since 1999 or so) but it hasn't seen a release in over two years and although there's been some (sparse) muttering from the author on his blog, from here it looks like it's been abandoned.
  • For you Compactron fans out there: I discovered that the 6J10/6Z10 tube consists of a 6BN6 gated beam detector plus the power pentode section of a 6T9. Circuits for the 6BN6 and the 6T9 are common, so you can stitch together a one-tube detector/audio module without circuits specific to the 6Z10. I intend to do this when I get back home and will report here.