Mad as Hell and Not Taking It Anymore

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Re: Mad as Hell and Not Taking It Anymore

Postby Guest » March 19th, 2002, 5:27 pm

I see both sides of this argument, but think I'll put my two cents in anyway. Many of the truly great minds in magic, especially close-up have been "non-pro's" and many of our pro's greatest work was created before they were known (for example Johnny Ace Palmer's FISM act) The fact that magicians are well known makes it easier to sell their advice/product, but it doesn't make their advise/product any better. I agree that there are a lot of magicians out there putting out lecture notes and many of them aren't worth the paper they're printed on (probably equal amounts pro and non-pro), but I don't think we should ever stifle anyones creative flow. Just because the first set stinks doesn't mean the second or third set will be bad. I think there is something to learn from everything, even if the lesson is how not to write up lecture notes. You need to buy a few lousy books, lecture notes, or tricks in your lifetime to give you a true appreciation for the great items on the market. I think the true lesson is to not get mad just get smart and learn from everything, the good and the bad. ;)
Cliff James

Brian Marks
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Re: Mad as Hell and Not Taking It Anymore

Postby Brian Marks » March 19th, 2002, 8:27 pm

Performing at conventions is not to test material but to build your reputatuion as someone who has something to write about. Reputation building at conventions would create interest in a book if your material is shown to be original and can be done in an entertaining way.

Convention audiences are audiences, you must still be able to entertain. We all know what we are getting in to at such events. You must prepare for such a crowd and perform well. If your smart, anything actually both original and good youll keep to yourself and not risk being ripped off.

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Re: Mad as Hell and Not Taking It Anymore

Postby Brian Marks » March 19th, 2002, 8:40 pm

Someone new to the magic scene? As in a beginner or someone who has become an expert at magic outside of the magic club/convention circles.

Someone new to magic has little or nothing to teach. No matter how clear they write, they nave nothing to say. What are they going to give an in depth look at scotch and soda? these people have little or knowledge of performing, history or techniques. Use your money to buy the Tarbell Series or Card College.

Someone who has developed a professional act outside of the club/convention circles may be an unknown but be able to make major contributions. Such people though usually avoid magic circles because they dont want to be known, ripped off or copied. If they do bless us with a book or lecture notes, I am sure we will all want to get our hands on it.

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Re: Mad as Hell and Not Taking It Anymore

Postby Jason England » April 5th, 2002, 3:59 pm

quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Originally posted by Jon Racherbaumer:
Unfortunately, there has yet to be a practical copy-protection system invented that cannot be cracked.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

It can formally be proven that such a thing does not exist. I spare you the proof.
The problem with copy-protection is the more they protect the more they are cumbersome for users.

Chris, I know that encryption exists that is unbreakable...why is it that no one will ever be able to apply this to a media system? I am interested in the formal proof.

Jason

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Re: Mad as Hell and Not Taking It Anymore

Postby CHRIS » April 5th, 2002, 6:57 pm

Originally posted by Jason England:
Chris, I know that encryption exists that is unbreakable...why is it that no one will ever be able to apply this to a media system? I am interested in the formal proof.
If I remember correctly already Alan Turing showed that. I would equally be interested in
your 'unbreakable' encryption.
But in any case, for the application in ebooks even a supposedly 'unbreakable' encryption doesn't solve the problem because the reader software must be able to decrypt the encoding to display the clear text. This means that you just need to crack the reader software which is much easier than a good encryption. Again, no 100% solution.

Chris.... Lybrary.com preserving magic one book at a time

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Re: Mad as Hell and Not Taking It Anymore

Postby Jason England » April 6th, 2002, 1:20 am

Well, there are several examples of unbreakable encryption schemes in existence. Perhaps the best known is a paper and pencil method that has been around since the 1920s known as the "one time pad cipher". It demands large amounts of random digits to utilize and has the weakness of key distribution, but if properly executed is truly unbreakable. The best one could do is generate every possible message of a given cipher's length...but now the problem becomes deciding which message is the correct one. In fact, even with today's supercomputers it is impossible. A message 50 spaces long would generate about 50^40 possible messages, assuming that all the letters, numbers, and punctuation were possible characters. Even calculating a nonillion possibilities every second, (that's a one with 30 zeros after it) it would take roughly 2883988780355556309979195403665.7 years to find all the possibilites (give or take a few days).

Obviously that last little factoid was in jest, (although it is the correct answer according to my computer's calculator) but it just goes to show how impossible cracking a one time pad cipher is. It just can't be done.

Additionally, until mathematicians come up with a way to factor truly huge numbers that are the product of two massive primes, commercial encryption programs like PGP will remain functionally unbreakable. That doesn't mean messages encrypted can't be read, but it does mean you have to do something other than crack the code itself. (Putting a gun to someone's head and demanding their passphrase might work...but that's not actually "breaking" the encryption!)

But I think it's generally foolish to make claims about the limitations of future technologies as you did. Who knows when someone might invent a system that "self destructs" electronically or otherwise as it is read. That would make it good for one viewing, before the reader has to obtain another copy legitimately.

Certainly I'm no expert...but it occurs to me that no one has to make a theoretically perfect system...they only need to make one that is so tough to make copies off of that it isn't financially feasible to do so. And then the piracy trade will virtually cease to exist, even if there do remain some die-hard techno-geek pirates out there who do it for kicks and not for cash.

Jason

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Re: Mad as Hell and Not Taking It Anymore

Postby CHRIS » April 6th, 2002, 3:31 am

Originally posted by Jason England:
In fact, even with today's supercomputers it is impossible. A message 50 spaces long would generate about 50^40 possible messages, assuming that all the letters, numbers, and punctuation were possible characters. Even calculating a nonillion possibilities every second, (that's a one with 30 zeros after it) it would take roughly 2883988780355556309979195403665.7 years to find all the possibilites (give or take a few days).
What you just wrote is NOT UNBREAKABLE. It is currently not possible. But there is no inherent reason why it shouldn't be able to break it. Computers get faster all the time. Quantum computers can solve the factoring problem of large numbers. Although I agree that it is practically impossible, this is not called unbreakable.

Originally posted by Jason England:

Additionally, until mathematicians come up with a way to factor truly huge numbers that are the product of two massive primes, commercial encryption programs like PGP will remain functionally unbreakable.
Several groups are spending large amounts of money to make quantum computers a reality to be able to factor huge numbers in matters of seconds.

Originally posted by Jason England:

Who knows when someone might invent a system that "self destructs" electronically or otherwise as it is read. That would make it good for one viewing, before the reader has to obtain another copy legitimately.
First, do you really think that anybody would buy something he can read only once? Would never sell. Second, in the digital world it is always possible to make a one-to-one copy of some file or data set without the file or data set knowing about it. It doesn't have self awareness. Then one just copies the one-time-view file and views it again and again and again. Actually very simple to break such a scheme.

Jason, many smart brains have tried to solve this issue. Fact is that even humongously wealthy companies like Microsoft have not been able to come up with a good copy protection scheme. Nobody has.

Originally posted by Jason England:

Certainly I'm no expert...but it occurs to me that no one has to make a theoretically perfect system...they only need to make one that is so tough to make copies off of that it isn't financially feasible to do so. And then the piracy trade will virtually cease to exist, even if there do remain some die-hard techno-geek pirates out there who do it for kicks and not for cash.
Don't forget that once a scheme is broken it is broken for good. It is a one time effort. I agree with you that a good protection which is practically unbreakable is a good thing and will improve matters. However, all the ones I have seen also mean significant curtailments for the customer. Which means less business. So one can choose, either no protection and some level of illegal activity, but otherwise very user friendly and thus good sales. Or lots of copy protections and tripple protections, which limit illegal activity, or even stop it in practical terms, but less business due to difficult and inconvenient usage.

Chris.... www.lybrary.com preserving magic one book at a time

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Re: Mad as Hell and Not Taking It Anymore

Postby Jason England » April 7th, 2002, 12:04 am

Chris, perhaps you didn't understand what I meant about massive amounts of permutations of a given message. What I was getting at is that current computers can't even generate all the possible permutations for a message of 50 characters long. But even if they COULD you would still have the problem of finding the correct message out of the 9 x 10^67 messages that you had generated. So, a one time pad cipher IS truly unbreakable. The best you can do is generate ALL possible messages of that length, and that just isn't practical given today's technology.

A quantum computer won't help you. It may generate all the messages, but it doesn't help you choose the right one out of the nearly infinite number that you would have listed before you.

As for the copying system...I was thinking of a system that embodied Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle...the mere act of viewing or reading the data changed it so that it was no longer useful.

Oh sure, as long as there are human beings around you may have guys transcribing books by hand...not much that can stop that. But wholesale bootlegging coming to an end sometime in the next 20 years is not necessarily impossible.

By the way, if and when a quantum computer is created, all the existing codes (except for the special ones like the one time pad cipher) would be instantly defeated by the raw speed of a quantum computer. But luckily for privacy advocates, the existence of a quantum computer means that code-MAKERS have won, not the code-BREAKERS. It has been demonstrated that a quantum computer allows for a different type of truly unbreakable code to be developed and implemented.

Check out Simon Singh's book, THE CODE BOOK for more information. His last chapter is all about what quantum computers will do for cryptology.

Very interesting stuff.

jason

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Re: Mad as Hell and Not Taking It Anymore

Postby CHRIS » April 7th, 2002, 3:47 am

Jason,

the bottom line is that all of these schemes do not solve the issue for ebooks because of the reader problem. The problem with Heissenberg is that it does not work in digital systems. It needs an analog one. And your pad cipher, as you mentioned, has a problem with the key distribution. So one needs to send the key with some other method which can be much easier broken. You are just shifting the problem from one area to the other.

Chris.... Lybrary.com preserving magic one book at a time

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Re: Mad as Hell and Not Taking It Anymore

Postby Tom Stone » April 9th, 2002, 4:28 am

Originally posted by Jason England:
Check out Simon Singh's book, THE CODE BOOK for more information.
A great book!
Why not take the hint from that book, and forget all the math and just write the things you want secure directly in the Navajo language? ;)

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Re: Mad as Hell and Not Taking It Anymore

Postby Pete McCabe » April 9th, 2002, 12:02 pm

Oh sure, Tom. Just because you're the only one who can speak Navajo. Then I'd need to ask you to read my own book back to me.

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Re: Mad as Hell and Not Taking It Anymore

Postby Dustin Stinett » April 10th, 2002, 12:04 am

To Jason & Chris:

Come on boys – fess up: These posts are out-takes from the movie Sneakers. Am I right?!?

Guest

Re: Mad as Hell and Not Taking It Anymore

Postby Guest » April 10th, 2002, 12:31 pm

Some very interesting stuff. I find it interesting that the discussion of what's wrong is undertaken with little as to what's right.

Then again, the topic admittedly started as a rant and made no bones about it.

I can completely sympathize with this thread...and I'm rather comforted that no one has cited my magazine as an example of what is wrong in publishing right now. Comforted because several of the participants in this thread are subscribers to AM/PM. So, in this case. silence is golden. ;) Comforted because AM/PM is really a reaction to several issues and or voids I found in magic literature of current. Some of those issues are exactly what you are talking about here.

DISCLAIMER: In its original form this post was a tangled web of the topic at hand (new publications and lecture notes) and an advertisement for AM/PM. I have tried to extract as much of the advertising copy as possible and deposit that under the topic of "Cutts' New Publication" in the Gossip and Rumors section.
Click here to go there now!

OK now back to the show.

I must say I have bought some real clunkers of lecture notes along with some real winners. I agree that discovering a jewel in the rough burried in a disaster of notes and scibbled illustration is a very rewarding experience...when it happens. Some of the worst notes are shining examples of what NOT to do. For these examples I have been as greatful sometimes as for the shining examples of good publishing.

One thing that marks a good publication is a valid purpose. Is it there to serve the magic community or just to publicise one's name or make a few bucks?

I felt an emptiness in the magic I performed years ago. I took a long search for some answers and found very great rewards for it. Now, as I delve into the subject with others I am reminded how valid the need for presentational teachings is. I am also rewarded to find those I respect and look up to in the magic community getting behind AM/PM. That is what tells me that I am publishing something that has meaning to the magicians, big and small, of the world.

Tom Cutts
Publisher, AM/PM
About Magic...Performing Magic

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Re: Mad as Hell and Not Taking It Anymore

Postby Pete McCabe » April 10th, 2002, 10:05 pm

Dustin Stinett:

Close. These posts are actually paragraphs cut from the book "Cryptonomicon" by Neal Stephenson.

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Re: Mad as Hell and Not Taking It Anymore

Postby Rick Maue » April 11th, 2002, 2:14 pm

Greetings,

I have been reading through this thread with great interest since my release "The Book Of HauntedMagick" is self-published. My reason for posting is to offer the thoughts that I had before I decided to release my material, and also the approach that I took once the process began.

Originally, I had no intention of writing a book. However, when my personal notes began to take shape (I was organizing my 35 years of notebooks, so I am not one of the "young bucks" that was referred to in a previous post), it was suggested by several people that I should release some of the items that I had created and/or adapted over the years. Being an unknown, I was convinced that such a project was not worthwhile. After all, who would spend $35 on material from an unknown? And more importantly, did I have something worthwhile to offer?

After several months, I decided to "test the water" and market some ideas in a very inexpensive (for the consumer) way. So at that time, I released "The HauntedMagick Sampler" which was a collection of 8 routines and 1 essay. The idea was that 2 of the routines were exclusive to the Sampler, and the rest of the material would be in my upcoming book (which contains a total of 50 items).

The price of the Sampler was only $8, but also included with each copy was a coupon for $5 off the purchase price of my upcoming book (which was to be released later that year). That meant that the consumer would have the opportunity to "test drive" my material for less than they would spend on their next trip to McDonalds. My goal was to offer the Sampler as inexpensively as possible (which was only $3 if people used the coupon) so there was very little risk for the consumer.

In short, the plan worked perfectly. A large number of Samplers were sold, and an even greater number of books have been sold. More importantly, the material has received very good reviews (not only in the magazines, but also from those that have purchased the items), which means that the customers did get quality products.

In closing, I simply wanted to offer a different view from the "self-publisher" side of the fence. I believe that my "Sampler" approach was a "win/win" situation for the customers and myself, and the risk factor was low for both parties. In the end, I am very glad that I decided to self-publish my first book. However, I believe the key was to do it in a responsible manner in order to gain the trust of the consumers. Thanks for taking the time to read all of this.

Keep the change,
Rick Maue
Deceptions Unlimited

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Re: Mad as Hell and Not Taking It Anymore

Postby Guest » April 11th, 2002, 8:04 pm

Bravo, Mr. Maue! Congratulations on going with your own ideas and instincts - and making it work!

As for Mr. Field - Remember the old saying... "Eighty percent of everything is crap!"

(A permutation of the old 80/20 rule)

--Asrah

Guest

Re: Mad as Hell and Not Taking It Anymore

Postby Guest » April 12th, 2002, 8:01 pm

I have read, with great interest, this thread, and I must admit that I too have spent far to much money on far to little magic. I have even had other magicians hand me a copy of their newest "book" that was not only repleat with poor gramer and puncuation but included words crossed out and rewritten in by hand. This was a final copy ready for delivery to anyone foolish enough to purchase it.
It occured to me finally that enough is enough. It is not my job as a magician to to purchase and learn every magic trick in the world while supporting this type of hack. My job as I see it is to take people where they have never been before and hope they will want to return. So I quit buying and started creating. Not to publish but to entertain. I looked at every effect I knew and in the final analysis threw out all but nine. I admited my abilities and limits to myself and infact threw out some very powerful magic, because it would not be powerful in my hands. I threw out all but one of the multitude of card tricks I know and concentrated on coins (my first love), That having been done I looked at each of the nine I had selected, tore them apart and worked on them until they were my own. That is to say I put my personality into the workings and came up with effects that only I perform. Doing this, I discovered many things about myself, magic, and the "stuff" that others feel we need in order to be happy little magicians and are more than willing to share with us for an outragous fee.
If I were going to write a magic book it would be only one page. I would read:
"Put this thing down, do not buy it! Go home and work on what you know best. You."
Okay, I'm done except to say, once I started doing my own magic I realized that the hacks would soon be forced to stop wasting our time with untested, random thoughts and fragmented ideas and would have to start making a living with tallent not a computer.
There, I've finished. Thanks for reading this and thanks for not smoking.

Guest

Re: Mad as Hell and Not Taking It Anymore

Postby Guest » April 12th, 2002, 9:48 pm

One word: EBAY.

Guest

Re: Mad as Hell and Not Taking It Anymore

Postby Guest » April 13th, 2002, 5:58 am

Originally posted by elsdon:
I have even had other magicians hand me a copy of their newest "book" that was not only repleat with poor gramer and puncuation but included words crossed out and rewritten in by hand.
Glass house, stones. Careful!

Beyond which, much of your description of your approach to magic resonates with me, i.e., applying maximum artistry to a pared-down roster of effects that most precisely suit your skill set and magical persona.

As to the general thrust of this thread, I feel that a lot of you ranters protest too much. Freedom of the press, someone once said, is restricted to those who own one. Now that the ability to self-publish has been so massively broadened, we find ourselves in Glutsville. Big deal! The technology for instantaneous peer review has kept pace as well. I would exhort you all to use it, but you already are...indeed, at least one of the self-published items that (I assume) prompted Matt Field to initiate this thread underwent excruciating peer review in a separate thread, leading to real-time alterations in both pricing and content.

People who part with their money prematurely on underevaluated crap should be more angry at themselves than at the purveyors.

--Ralph

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Re: Mad as Hell and Not Taking It Anymore

Postby Lisa Cousins » April 13th, 2002, 9:47 pm

Originally posted by Ralph Bonheim:
Glass house, stones. Careful!
Class act.

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Re: Mad as Hell and Not Taking It Anymore

Postby Ian Kendall » April 29th, 2002, 2:00 pm

This was interesting to read on my first visit in many months :)

Matt makes a couple of conflicting statements; he says he gets a thrill from discovering a Wilson or Wimhurst, but later says he places more value on obscure notes from a 'pro' than good notes from a new face. How, then, will he discover the Wilsons and Wimhursts?

Someone else (I forget who, mea culpa) says as a graphic designer that DTP has filled the world with bad design. I own a lot of badly produced drek from before the days of techno typing, and a lot of badly produced gems, too. Bad design has been and always will be with us, but to blame that on the availabliity of technology smacks of griping because the sacred guild of design has been breached by the masses.

Since his name crops up a lot here, take a look at Wilson's first notes. I can't remeber if he had a PC when Alias was written, or if it was done on his old AtariST, but it's not earth shakingly pretty...I've always valued function over form.

The issue of 'two year old magicians', as Pat Page calles them, publishing has also been around for years, and will not go away. But to criticise for doing it is too much like elitist snobbery from here. Who honestly has the right to tell people not to do something? I hate card tricks but I do not tell people to stop creating more just because I think there are more than enough already.

I remember a few years ago being asked by a small magazine publisher, 'Go on, show me something. See your name in print'. As long as 'seing your name in print' is considered 'cool' in Magicland people will want to be 'cool' and get published. Since technolgy now provides an easy path more will take that path, so as to be percieved as 'cool' by their peers.

We all created the problem. Now we have to deal with it.

Maybe if the Elite said to everyone, 'Stop publishing because we don't like it' the problem would go away.

Then again, maybe it would not.

Take care, Ian

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Re: Mad as Hell and Not Taking It Anymore

Postby Matthew Field » April 30th, 2002, 9:02 am

Originally posted by Ian Kendall:
Matt makes a couple of conflicting statements; he says he gets a thrill from discovering a Wilson or Wimhurst, but later says he places more value on obscure notes from a 'pro' than good notes from a new face.
That's not what I said, Ian. I said that I'd rather read what someone with some experience has said than something from an unknown, and I'd reached that conclusioin after being "burned" once too often. I also gave suggestions for how an unknown can become known without advertising a set of $25 lecture notes that are not worth the paper they're printed on.

But to criticise for doing it is too much like elitist snobbery from here. Who honestly has the right to tell people not to do something?
I am certainly not telling anybody what to do or not do. What I am saying is that I will not support these new efforts any longer. I will certainly continue to buy material from names I recognize from magazines or others' books, or whose performances I have seen or heard about. And that's only my opinoion.

Matthew Field

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Re: Mad as Hell and Not Taking It Anymore

Postby Guest » April 30th, 2002, 10:43 am

Consider this: If there weren't a great many magicians who were constantly looking for that one effect/move that will turn them into an entertainer then there would be no demand for this questionable material. Supply and Demand, folks. Supply and Demand.

In this situation, I would say that the victims are perpetuating the crimes.

Steven Youell

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Re: Mad as Hell and Not Taking It Anymore

Postby steve » May 3rd, 2002, 6:22 pm

I'd rather learn from a newbie who will take the time to show me than try and learn from some grumpy old bastard who thinks he knows it all and won't tell you squat because you don't have an IBM ring on your finger. After all, the value of anything is relative to the person who buys it, and if I can't learn from someone because they are too busy telling me how great they are, and the newbie will pull me aside and teach me, I ask you to define who has more value to me?

In case anyone is confused, the answer is ....

B) the newbie who wants to teach magic instead of bit*h about it all day long.


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