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David Fanning...
Posted: Fri Nov 05, 2010 12:58 am
 
Folks,

I've decided to try a little experiment in e-commerce.

I have made up my mind to spend the next year or so
producing a series of "Coyote Guides", based on the
trail guides I used on my hike this summer. I envision
4-5 smallish books on various topics of interest to
IDL programmers.

They are meant to be informal discussions of various
topics, with lots and lots of example code. They are
very personal and include my own biases, preferences,
blind spots, and dumb jokes. I'm sure not everyone is
going to fall in love with them. But if I manage to
pull it off, it will be like taking an intensive IDL
course from me.

The first book in the series and what I am working on
now is a Coyote Guide to Traditional IDL Graphics.
I wanted to start by working on something I was certain
was going to be a great commercial success. :-)

I have several chapters in the book "finished" in the
sense that I am sick to death of reading them and could
use some feedback from real users. I still consider these
in draft form, and there are certainly errors in every
one of these chapters. Probably not so much in the code,
as I test that extensively and use it to produce the
figures in the book (and there are a LOT of them!), but
there are errors in the text for sure. I just can't see
them anymore.

Nevertheless, I think there is a great deal of terrific
information in these chapters. Just to give you an example,
the line plot chapter in my last book was roughly about
10 pages. The line plot chapter in this book is 60 pages,
and it is probably not finished yet. Other graphics topics
have grown in similar proportion. I expect this book alone
might top out at 350-400 pages! I'm putting ALL my secrets
in there, as I plan to retire when this project is over and
drink pina colatas on the beach in Costa Rica.

So, on to my experiment. I don't have a job. I need some
cash. Tom Sawyer and his fence came to mind. :-)

Here is what I am doing. I am selling these draft chapters
on my store in PDF form for $5 each. If you mark up the
chapter and send it back to me with your comments and/or
you contact me with feedback about the chapter (and I really
prefer hard-hitting, constructive comments about the things
I've done wrong or the boneheaded mistakes I've made, rather
than about the stupendous improvement I've made to your
IDL productivity), then you will receive either a free
PDF version of the book when it is finished, or a 25% discount
on a hardcopy version of the book, plus full credit for all
the chapters you already paid for.

The comments have to be reasonably substantial. "I liked it,"
is probably not going to get you a free anything. :-)

In addition to the "costly" chapters, I've put a couple of
chapters on the store that you can download for free. For
example, the very important chapter on how to work with
color in IDL is there for free.

I am working on other chapters now, and I'll add them to
the store when I am finished with them and if this little
experiment seems to be going in a positive direction.

If you are interested, you can find the new chapters here:

http://www.dfanning.com/store/

As I am sure you know, this IDL newsgroup has always been an
essential part of my IDL education. Pretty much everything
I know about IDL I learned here, either by forcing myself
to answer questions or by paying attention to what the real
experts had to say. Your feedback and participation have
always have always been an enormous inspiration to me. My
sincerest thanks to all of you, as always.

Cheers,

David
--
David Fanning, Ph.D.
Fanning Software Consulting, Inc.
Coyote's Guide to IDL Programming: http://www.dfanning.com/
Sepore ma de ni thui. ("Perhaps thou speakest truth.")
 
David Fanning...
Posted: Fri Nov 05, 2010 1:07 am
 
David Fanning writes:

Quote:
Your feedback and participation have
always have always been an enormous inspiration to me.

As some of you have no doubt realized, I threw this
sentence in to get your editing skills revved up and
rolling! ;-)

Cheers,

David



--
David Fanning, Ph.D.
Fanning Software Consulting, Inc.
Coyote's Guide to IDL Programming: http://www.dfanning.com/
Sepore ma de ni thui. ("Perhaps thou speakest truth.")
 
Francis Burton...
Posted: Fri Nov 05, 2010 7:38 pm
 
In article <MPG.273ccc4730fb2270989844 at (no spam) news.giganews.com>,
David Fanning <news at (no spam) dfanning.com> wrote:
Quote:
I've decided to try a little experiment in e-commerce.
[...]

Great idea - I hope you get lots of sales and useful feedback.

One question though...

Does one have to have a PayPal account or FAX an order if the
basket contains items totalling $0.00 (i.e. the free samples)?

Francis
 
David Fanning...
Posted: Fri Nov 05, 2010 7:52 pm
 
Francis Burton writes:

Quote:
Great idea - I hope you get lots of sales and useful feedback.

One question though...

Does one have to have a PayPal account or FAX an order if the
basket contains items totalling $0.00 (i.e. the free samples)?

No. I've never sold "free" stuff on the store before,
so this is a bit of a learning experience for me, too. :-)

It looks like it works like this. You *can* use the PayPal
account if you have one. PayPal will charge you $0.00 and
send me confirmation that you have "paid" and the links
to the books are sent to you automatically.

If you choose the "FAX the Order Form" method of payment,
then I get the book order here (as I always do), but I have
to manually indicate you have "paid" to release the links
to you. This will result in a slight delay, because, well,
I am writing a book and not drooling over my e-mail to see
how much money I am making! I am trying to get to this as
fast as I can.

I'm not sure how well the experiment is proceeding. I'm
spending a LOT of time this morning processing free orders.
That's not *exactly* what I had in mind, but confirms my
belief that if you have great products there is never
any trouble giving it away for free. :-)

Cheers,

David


--
David Fanning, Ph.D.
Fanning Software Consulting, Inc.
Coyote's Guide to IDL Programming: http://www.dfanning.com/
Sepore ma de ni thui. ("Perhaps thou speakest truth.")
 
David Fanning...
Posted: Fri Nov 05, 2010 7:57 pm
 
David Fanning writes:

Quote:
I'm not sure how well the experiment is proceeding. I'm
spending a LOT of time this morning processing free orders.
That's not *exactly* what I had in mind, but confirms my
belief that if you have great products there is never
any trouble giving it away for free. Smile

By the way, if you order stuff you have to pay for in
addition to the "free" stuff, and you choose the Fax
Order Form method of payment, then I have to wait for
you to fax your payment information to me so I can
process it. I can't just release the free stuff on the
order. I have to release all of it or none of it. Sorry.

Cheers,

David


--
David Fanning, Ph.D.
Fanning Software Consulting, Inc.
Coyote's Guide to IDL Programming: http://www.dfanning.com/
Sepore ma de ni thui. ("Perhaps thou speakest truth.")
 
Paul van Delst...
Posted: Mon Nov 08, 2010 8:01 pm
 
Hi David,

I tried replying to the email associated with your post (news at dfanning dot com) but it was returned as undeliverable.

Anyway, when I tried to purchase your drafts (I think the line plot one), I couldn't get a secure connection. Upon
reloading it "became" secure for about a second until the page completed reloading and then became only partially secure.

Any ideas if this a problem on my end (I'm using firefox on linux) or yours (or the paypal thingo)?

cheers,

paulv

David Fanning wrote:
Quote:
Folks,

I've decided to try a little experiment in e-commerce.

I have made up my mind to spend the next year or so
producing a series of "Coyote Guides", based on the
trail guides I used on my hike this summer. I envision
4-5 smallish books on various topics of interest to
IDL programmers.

They are meant to be informal discussions of various
topics, with lots and lots of example code. They are
very personal and include my own biases, preferences,
blind spots, and dumb jokes. I'm sure not everyone is
going to fall in love with them. But if I manage to
pull it off, it will be like taking an intensive IDL
course from me.

The first book in the series and what I am working on
now is a Coyote Guide to Traditional IDL Graphics.
I wanted to start by working on something I was certain
was going to be a great commercial success. :-)

I have several chapters in the book "finished" in the
sense that I am sick to death of reading them and could
use some feedback from real users. I still consider these
in draft form, and there are certainly errors in every
one of these chapters. Probably not so much in the code,
as I test that extensively and use it to produce the
figures in the book (and there are a LOT of them!), but
there are errors in the text for sure. I just can't see
them anymore.

Nevertheless, I think there is a great deal of terrific
information in these chapters. Just to give you an example,
the line plot chapter in my last book was roughly about
10 pages. The line plot chapter in this book is 60 pages,
and it is probably not finished yet. Other graphics topics
have grown in similar proportion. I expect this book alone
might top out at 350-400 pages! I'm putting ALL my secrets
in there, as I plan to retire when this project is over and
drink pina colatas on the beach in Costa Rica.

So, on to my experiment. I don't have a job. I need some
cash. Tom Sawyer and his fence came to mind. :-)

Here is what I am doing. I am selling these draft chapters
on my store in PDF form for $5 each. If you mark up the
chapter and send it back to me with your comments and/or
you contact me with feedback about the chapter (and I really
prefer hard-hitting, constructive comments about the things
I've done wrong or the boneheaded mistakes I've made, rather
than about the stupendous improvement I've made to your
IDL productivity), then you will receive either a free
PDF version of the book when it is finished, or a 25% discount
on a hardcopy version of the book, plus full credit for all
the chapters you already paid for.

The comments have to be reasonably substantial. "I liked it,"
is probably not going to get you a free anything. :-)

In addition to the "costly" chapters, I've put a couple of
chapters on the store that you can download for free. For
example, the very important chapter on how to work with
color in IDL is there for free.

I am working on other chapters now, and I'll add them to
the store when I am finished with them and if this little
experiment seems to be going in a positive direction.

If you are interested, you can find the new chapters here:

http://www.dfanning.com/store/

As I am sure you know, this IDL newsgroup has always been an
essential part of my IDL education. Pretty much everything
I know about IDL I learned here, either by forcing myself
to answer questions or by paying attention to what the real
experts had to say. Your feedback and participation have
always have always been an enormous inspiration to me. My
sincerest thanks to all of you, as always.

Cheers,

David

 
David Fanning...
Posted: Mon Nov 08, 2010 8:15 pm
 
Paul van Delst writes:

Quote:
I tried replying to the email associated with your post (news at dfanning dot com) but it was returned as undeliverable.

Sorry, putting a real e-mail address in newsgroup articles
increased my spam mail 10-20 fold. :-(

I'm pretty easy to find. :-)

Quote:
Anyway, when I tried to purchase your drafts (I think the line plot one), I couldn't get a secure connection. Upon
reloading it "became" secure for about a second until the page completed reloading and then became only partially secure.

Any ideas if this a problem on my end (I'm using firefox on linux) or yours (or the paypal thingo)?

I've followed the PayPal directions explicitly. I think
the "unsecure" part of the page is my identifying text
and such. I believe ALL credit card information to be
completely secure. (One of the reasons I went to PayPal
as a credit card processor was that I wasn't certain of
my own ability to protect credit card information the
way I was doing this year's ago, before I set up the
current store.)

In any case, I have never heard of any credit card information
from any of my customers being compromised.

Even if you choose PayPal and decide for whatever reason
you don't feel comfortable going through with the transaction,
you can fax your credit card information to me and I'll
process it personally for you. As soon as I get confirmation
of the sale, I shred the faxes. The dog and I are the only
ones who ever see the fax, and I store NO credit card information
on-site or on my computer. Can't handle the responsibility. Smile

Cheers,

David
--
David Fanning, Ph.D.
Fanning Software Consulting, Inc.
Coyote's Guide to IDL Programming: http://www.dfanning.com/
Sepore ma de ni thui. ("Perhaps thou speakest truth.")
 
David Fanning...
Posted: Mon Nov 08, 2010 8:32 pm
 
David Fanning writes:

Quote:
Even if you choose PayPal and decide for whatever reason
you don't feel comfortable going through with the transaction,
you can fax your credit card information to me and I'll
process it personally for you

Incidentally, in case it is PayPal you fear for security
reasons, when I process a credit card personally, I use
another credit card processor to do so, not PayPal.
This is not because I distrust PayPal in any way. This is
just the first credit card processor I started with 15
years ago and I couldn't understand how to link this
processor with the store without paying someone to help
me.

Cheers,

David


--
David Fanning, Ph.D.
Fanning Software Consulting, Inc.
Coyote's Guide to IDL Programming: http://www.dfanning.com/
Sepore ma de ni thui. ("Perhaps thou speakest truth.")
 
Bruce Bowler...
Posted: Mon Nov 08, 2010 9:11 pm
 
On Mon, 08 Nov 2010 08:15:01 -0700, David Fanning set fingers to keyboard
and typed:

Quote:
The dog and I are
the only ones who ever see the fax

Can we trust the dog not to "share the wealth" Smile
 
David Fanning...
Posted: Mon Nov 08, 2010 9:43 pm
 
Bruce Bowler writes:

Quote:
Can we trust the dog not to "share the wealth" Smile

Yes. I made the mistake of giving her a treat once
when a fax came in. Now it's a miracle if I can
read the darn numbers on the fax through all the
slobber. I'm pretty sure this piece of paper can't
be passed on to anyone else. :-(

Cheers,

David


--
David Fanning, Ph.D.
Fanning Software Consulting, Inc.
Coyote's Guide to IDL Programming: http://www.dfanning.com/
Sepore ma de ni thui. ("Perhaps thou speakest truth.")
 
 
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