Monthly Archives: December 2018

Doubt by C.E. Tobisman

Doubt (Caroline Auden, #1)Doubt by C.E. Tobisman
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Caroline is a black hat hacker turned lawyer. She’s hired as a new associate at a big corporate firm involved in a multi-state mass tort case against a big pharma company, similar to Grisham’s King of Torts or The Summons. The book is billed as a legal thriller, and it is that. It is also a murder mystery and sort of YA romance. As a retired lawyer, I can tell you she has captured the tension and thrill of appearing in a court for the first time, especially where it’s a federal court and millions of dollars ride on it. She shows the complexity and difficulties a lawyer faces in complying with all the court requirements and obtaining the necessary evidence to prove a case. I enjoyed that part. I’m not sure the average non-attorney reader would.

Where the book falls short is primarily in the characterizations of Caroline’s relationships with her family and her black hat past. Personal descriptions are also one-dimensional and hackneyed. The handsome male associate is constantly referred to as having broad shoulders and a cute dimple, or skin like satin. The opposing counsel representing the drug company defendant has a hook nose and scarecrow features with jagged furrows up his forehead. Really? Why not put a scythe in his hand and have him cackle “Bwah-hah-ha”? I have enough background in computers to know she does not write about the tech side very accurately, either. The ending is predictable and the big surprises at the end aren’t very surprising. For these reasons I can only give this two stars.

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Geocaching Growth in Silicon Valley 2000 – 2018

This video demonstrates how geocache growth has expanded in Silicon Valley since the inception of the sport in 2000. Each red square represents the creation of a geocache. They appear in the order they were placed. I used a data file generated by GSAK. It includes all geocaches I’ve hidden and all I’ve found, and nearly all active caches as of about 12/1/2018. You can tell by the cluster around Highways 280 and 85 that I live near there. Archived caches on the eastern half of the valley did not get included unless I found them, which is why the red is denser on the western side near me. A more accurate record would show the eastern half equally heavily populated.

The music is Chicken Chowder by the Ragtime Skedaddlers.

Changing book buying trends

I write mystery novels and self publish them. I’ve been doing this since 2011. You can click the link above to see my book promotional page. I’ve now written nine books. Although the volume of sales has increased fairly steadily, the method by which readers acquire my books has changed dramatically in recent years. Readers as a group do not buy as many books as they used to. Now they tend to borrow ebooks to read them much more than they did before. Authors can earn royalties with all these methods.

I believe this trend is consistent with similar consumer trends such as for cars, music, and computers. More people lease cars now or use Uber/Lyft than formerly and they use more online or cloud services and products than before like Pandora or iTunes or Netflix. People used to take pride in owning things – books, cars, music albums, movies, software. It’s a general trend now to pay only for the use of something rather than ownership. See the graph below of sales and borrows of my books.

My first book in 2011 was not published in paperback form until 2012. That book and all subsequent ones were available in both formats after that. As is evident, the borrowing trend is growing while the buying, especially of physical books, is declining. I’m not complaining about this, only noting it as interesting.

The graph is not completely accurate as it doesn’t include all my foreign sales or paperbacks I sold personally from my house or at events, but the trend is clear.