Friday, September 01, 2006
It's time for a little guest post from Germany -- thanks, Google, for inviting me over! I'm the author of a blog on Google (Google Blogoscoped), and this year I've written a book called 55 Ways to Have Fun With Google. In it, I present Google-related riddles, games, cartoons, search tips, stories, and miscellaneous insights (no programming skills needed -- and most of the time, you don't need to be close to a computer, either).
You'll learn about such things as the giant Japanese Google painting, the man who traveled the world looking for Googlewhacks, advanced tips for Google-searching, how Google News can screw up in funny ways, or the Google Image prediction trick. There's a great German word for this -- "Wunderkammer," a cabinet of curiosities.
The book is self-published with Lulu.com, an interesting service. Basically, Lulu allows you to upload your Microsoft Word or OpenOffice Writer file along with your cover, and then convert it to a print-on-demand book. If you pay a little extra, your book will also appear on Amazon. The process ain't free of headaches but I gotta say, it's worth it. Lulu will also make sure the book's findable through Google Book Search.
Self-publishing is already an interesting experiment on its own, but I chose to take an alternative route with copyright as well. 55 Ways can be copied, remixed and shared under a Creative Commons license, and the full text is available as a free download. People have already converted it to websites, and there's a group effort going on to translate the full book into Chinese! Some people told me making the book available for free will stop people from buying the "offline" version ... well, here's your chance to prove them wrong :)