Hello!

Hello and welcome. My name is Stephen Black and I work with media, words and art. Media: VR, computer-generated environments,video and photography. Words: articles and books, including Bali Wave Ghost,  I Ate Tiong Bahru (a national bestseller in Singapore), Tiong Bahru Mouth, Obama Search Words and a few others. This post gives you some idea of my current projects. Thank you for stopping by. Stephen Black physical laborers
black and white image of man dropping vase

Ai Wewei, Yesim Agaoglu, Stephen Black, Eugene Soh collaboration in gallery.sg

Jeff Koons Balloon Dog in SPOKEN

Nhung: Floating

low tech in hi tech

Works created with ink

two men smiling

If one person can be said to symbolize the Tiong Bahru Market, it might be this guy in the hat...

SB & 3D (Why I’m excited to be in Eugene Soh’s virtual gallery project)

THIS post was written before SPOKEN started. SPOKEN is a project I am doing with Eugene Soh, an experiment in which art, text, virtual reality and social media intersect. Learn about SPOKEN here.

To enter gallery.sg and experience SPOKEN, click here.

Here is the extremely short version: from 2002 until 2008 I was involved with a visionary virtual reality project that combined educational practices with gamemaking and multimedia. However, the spiritual captain of the project was part Disney, part Microsoft and part Sex Pistols. An unexpected death, treachery, incompetence, inexperience, bureaucratic boondoggles and more made my life "interesting"... I have pages of notes about the events and the spirit of the times. We were doing things like Youtube and Second Life before they started. The project was so close... and yet so far away. (Actually, now that mobile technology has settled down, I hope that the lessons and products of that experience can be revitalized. But that's yet another story.)

In 2006, as a way of showcasing our technology,  I entered a gamemaking hackathon. A theme was given on a Thursday morning and the next day at five the results were judged.The theme was something about healthy eating, I think. Working with my programmer in Hong Kong, we made a game in which the viewer learned about the calorie count of certain foods. The player competed with an AI character.  It was fun to do. However, what I remember most was a team that made an incredible flash game. I don't remember if they won or not, but I do remember two guys on that team very well. George Parel and Eugene Soh were full of energy, knowledge and bursting with creative ideas. They still are.

I've been lucky to work with George and Eugene on a few projects since then. In 2008 I finally had to put the educational gamemaking project on hold while I waited for a programmer and the mobile device situation to stabilize.I put more time into writing and art projects. George and Eugene (that dude from Singapore) however, have kept on doing remarkably creative things with IT, art, design and more.

Virtual reality may seem to be an artificial place, but the gallery Eugene has created fills me with memories and hope. I am honored and very thankful for I Ate Tiong Bahru to be on display in gallery.sg

IATB in virtual gallery Cheers, Eugene! Cheers, George!

Ebooks: Born to Click (1 of 3)

Preface

This informal essay is my way of marking the end of a certain era in ebook history. It's part snapshot, part reference materials, part journal.At the end of this post are notes about me, my experiences and my books. Thanks to Doug Rolph for his insights on economics, Eric Hellman for his input and my dad for having taken care of our family by selling books.

το πνεύμα του Ιανού

After I finish writing eight books, I will begin marketing. Until then, I'll probably study the ebook world less and hopefully do more writing, arting and engaging with Life. When it does comes time for me to contribute to the marketing conversation, I hope I have something to say. For now, I present the following notes, quotes and thoughts as a means of punctuating a phase in the development of ebooks as I have seen and experienced it.

This is an exciting time. The ebook delivery platforms are finally stable, self-publishing has proven to have great value and a number of services have recently appeared that shorten the distances between readers and authors. It seems to me that indie ebooks and ebook marketing are about to enter a new era.

This blog post makes little mention of traditional publishing. This is simply because, as much as I would like to enjoy the benefits of being a Big 5/6 author, that fruit is not now within my reach. I am however, considering joining the Author's Guild.

Although I've done almost no marketing, I have studied the environments in which ebooks are created, presented, bought and sold. Some observations:

1. Except for uploading, nothing about ebooks is easy. Writing is the anti-social social media, full of long, long hours of pressure-filled solitude. Assembling an error-free book is never simple. The social part, finding an audience, is an immense challenge. I respect all of the authors mentioned in this post for they have successfully met these challenges and more.

Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work. Stephen King

Based on my experiences, the work breakdown of an 88,000 word novel looks something like this: 1000 words a day (88 days) or, more likely, 500 words a day (176 days). Call it 200 days to prepare something for a proofreader. Two months for corrections, art, and ebook conversion. So, a book takes about 300 working days to finalize. About... And then there are the thousands of actions needed to connect with readers... The title of Guy Kawasaki's excellent book says it all: APE, meaning Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur

This document, by Mark Coker, the founder of Smashwords, is a data-based analysis of the ebook market. Highly recommended, it covers topics important for newbies and veterans. It touches upon issues like word count, pricing, marketing and more. For instance, his research shows that the average bestseller on Smashwords is 100,000 words, and the average romance is 112,195 words. (There are more links to resources at the end of this post.)

Very few traditionally published authors became bestsellers; the same is true for ebook publishing. My goal is not to become a bestseller, but to connect with the largest possible community of people who enjoy the art of reading.

2. A great writer or a great marketer...

....or, the frustration of being caught between not doing enough writing and not doing enough marketing. A writer writes, a salesman sells.

Self-publishing does not equal self-marketing. Spending money wisely on promotion money means income and time to write. (See the links below)

Twitter, Goodreads, FB, LinkedIn and blogging? All have their advantages and disadvantages...

3. There are no independent, hugely successful ebook-only self-publishers. Note: Two days after this post went up, I became aware of this great piece by Dana Beth Weinberg on Digital Book World. Thank you Jacqueline Church!

Amazon is huge, Apple is huge, Kobo and Smashwords are very big. Unless you are selling from your own website or the back of your car, you're not truly independent.

OK, A bit of an attention grabber there...but the author's need for a partnership with Amazon and ebook distributors is a dependence that cannot be overlooked. These "automatic partners" will always protect their interests first. They call the shots. Amazon is a business, not an author.

Amanda Hocking is a hugely successful author. At one point, the average daily sales figure of her self-published ebooks was 9000. Again: average DAILY book sales: nine thousand! Her success was based on hard work, technological first mover advantage and an indirect tie-in with Hollywood.

Consider: -the successful and pioneering integration of ebook readers into tablets and mobile as well as the launch of the Kindle (2007) and the iPad(2010)

-the large demographic of young women who bought readers and tablets - the fact that, having written many books, Hocking could quickly provide a new and large market with a variety of new titles - writing books about the paranormal when Hollywood is pushing the same cannot hurt. Twilight, the hugely successful series of movies about teen vampires began in 2008. Hocking's first book, My Blood Approves, began selling in 2010.

E.L. James' book phenomenon began in the fan fiction chat rooms for Twilight. The characters in Fifty Shades of Grey were originally the characters from Twilight. Could Master of the Universe, as her series was originally called, have achieved its success without an existing network of thousands of Twilight fans?

These two women made their mark upon society in two different ways. As shared, collective book-based experiences: WOW! However, the writing is..."not terrible" or worse

I remember SF/F authors complaining (back in 2011) that their readers hadn’t switched to e-books yet, casting jealous eyes at the outsized romance audience. But as readers did move across, we saw people like David Dalglish and BV Larson breaking out, and the rest of “genre” fiction soon followed. http://davidgaughran.wordpress.com/2013/10/22/amazon-makes-life-easier-for-authors-of-historical-literary-fiction/

There are "indie success stories" about authors who "rode into town" on the backs of traditional publishing. Funded by Big 6 money these "indies" were advertised and publicized, sent on book tours and given things like business cards. Possibly, audiobooks were made. Hundreds, if not thousands, of their books were given away, many to reviewers. As the 'first mover'possibilities of the ebook market became clear and realistic, these authors, knighted by the Big 6 and armed with credibility and connections, rode onto a battlefield with little opposition... Undoubtedly hard work was involved, but to label them as indies brings to mind the quip about George Bush: "...was born on third base and thinks he hit a triple."

There certainly are "ebook only" indies connecting with many readers and enjoying sales. I just don't know of any. (FOUND SOMEONE: LINDSAY BUROKER Please tell me about others! them! Somewhat related to this, are there any "ebook only" awards?

Here, authors talk about their sales experiences.

4. The ebook world evolves to reward the reader; the prepared author benefits from this. Fan fiction. Goodreads. Ebook readers on mobile phones. The mashup between big data and metadata. Entrepreneurs with vision who see ways to connect authors and readers in a new ways.

It is an exciting time.

Ebooks: Born to Click, Part 2 of 3 visit www.blacksteps.tv for parts 2 and 3 of this post, as well as information on art, books and ebooks

 

( #AR ) Bedroom Developer or Google: Promote yourself here!

I will soon be doing a press conference/demo for an AR app of the world's first AR exhibition of photographs. Ipoh, Malaysia is the theme of the photographs and the photographer is Bubiko Foodtour.

If you or your company would like be included in the press materials, get in touch immediately. The premiere will take place in Ipoh on Friday, October 27. This event will generate articles and videos which will then be used for a larger opening/launch in Kuala Lumpur. Other press conferences/demos are being planned for Tokyo, Singapore and New York City.

Anyone can be a supporter and the amount or form of support is up to you.Your name or logo will appear on the promotional materials for Kuala Lumpur, Tokyo and Manhattan.Whether you are a penniless fan of AR/Photography/Ipoh, an angel investor, an Ipoh-based business or a well respected AR giant like Unity, Apple, Microsoft or Google I hope to hear from you!

Supporters so far, l;ogos already received: All About Ipoh (Facebook group with 65K + followers),Jewellery Design and Management International School,Symphony Suites Hotel, Thanas Digital Studio, Hock Moon Hiong bak kwa, The Dundercats, The Abby Hotel and emily2u (Ipoh-themed blog).

I have recently started durational projects, such as the Symphony Suites Session, which lasted 60 hours. This is a scrapbook of the first 12 hours, and it is full of information and impressions about Ipoh.

Ipoh cultural events

A 60 hour event from the Symphony Suites Hotel in Malaysia.Art, AR, travel, food and more.

The photos in the AR exhibition are taken from the book Ipoh: 88 iPhone photographs by Bubiko Foodtour, which is available on Amazon.

Some of the photos are here.

Notes on AR app baby steps

Unless you are an AR geek, a very thorough investor/VC or part of the Bubiko Photo app team, this post may not make sense...it is documentation of testing. Later, I will write a post like this.

Samsung J6 Prime (4 months old)

- Unable to open file.

Htc one m8

- Android 6

- Two apps successfully installed. One is a slideshow with a countdown with very nice pictures.

-The other app only starts my camera, but I can't do anything with it. There are no instructions or menus.

-the icon is incomplete

screenshot of apps

Bubiko Foodtour Photo exhibition pp icon test

Would like to redo icon: dimensions?File format?

instructions for use/how to create a marker can be included? Something like this: On a clean white piece of paper(at least 3 x 5 inches/80 x 130mm, write IPOH. Point phone at IPOH and the exhibition will begin.

Description: These 38 images of Ipoh, Malaysia were taken by Bubiko Foodtour, who is little chef from Thailand.The images reflect her love of food and culture as well as the aesthetic influences of artists such as Stephen Shore, Daido Moriyama and Edward Hopper.

This AR photographic exhibition was produced by Stephen Black. Copyright 2017

unusual AR marker

Bubiko Foodtour, a work in progressBubiko Foodtour, behind the scenes, undergoing Photoshop

Ideas for IPOH AR Photo Exhibition ( world’s first)

This is a proposed idea; THIS IS NOT CONFIRMED. All comments and suggestions welcome.

PRESS RELEASE

IPOH-THEMED AR PHOTO EXHIBITION IS WORLD's FIRST

Journalists, bloggers and members of the press, tourism, food, art and technology communities are invited to come and experience AR in person.

Augmented Reality(AR), the new information and entertainment technology appearing on millions of phones worldwide, is now also a medium for viewing photography. Photographs taken by Bubiko Foodtour of the food, spirit and heritage of Ipoh, Malaysia are now available to anyone with AR software in their phones or tablets.

Produced by Stephen Black, the 38 images are an ambient slideshow; each image displayed for one minute.

Bubiko Foodtour, AR's first superstar, is a fictional character produced by Stephen Black and Sayuri Okayama.Bubiko is a little chef from Thailand who loves researching food. Her favorite phrases is "aroi mak mak", Thai language for "very delicious." For the past year Bubiko has been travelling across Southeast Asia, introducing herself to all kinds of food professionals, at the same learning about local foods and explaining AR. Bubiko's Instagram account is aroi mak mak! The images used in the AR exhibition are from Bubiko's ebook, which is available on Amazon.(Note: Bubiko is soon to be an AR 3D character.)

About AR (Augmented Reality)

By 2019, hundreds of millions of phones and tablets will be able to display AR. Most newer iPhones are capable of displaying AR now, and AR-capable Android apps are being released constantly.

Although the most famous use of AR is Pokemon, other industries besides gaming are starting to use AR. Food, tourism, medical, educational and industrial applications are being developed.

Those attending the Ipoh AR Photo Exhibition Press Conference will have a chance to experience the excitement of AR for themselves.

OCTOBER 27, 2017

LOCATION: (To be determined.) However, I hope to use a limestone cave,any one of the several in the area.A cave makes for dynamic publicity photos and is an interesting contrast to the hi-tech concept of AR. Finally, the soft lighting of a cave entrance is ideal for photographing and viewing AR.

SUPPORT

: Hotel Abby, Symphony Suites Hotel, emily2u, The Dundercats,The Jewellery Design & Management International School

About Stephen Black: A "futurist Renaissance man", Stephen Black has successfully worked in conceptual art, gamemaking technology (Unity, C++), television production (CNN, Fuji TV, Cartoon Network), photography and traditional/360 filmmaking. His works have been exhibited worldwide and one of his eight books, i ate tiong bahru, is a national bestseller in Singapore.

FOR MORE INFORMATION: bubikofoodtour *AT * gmail.com

Stephen Black: Symphony Suites Session 0-12

This post is a notebook; the first part was posted before the event actually took place; the second part consists of selected images and videos created as records. I am now compiling a concise summary of the activities that took place during the Symphony Suites Session, but it will take time. A lot happened!

https://www.facebook.com/baliwaveghost/ for live broadcast and information.

At 3PM, on October 15, 2017, I began a 60 hour project to create small projects for the internet from the Symphony Suites Hotel.Themes include: Ipoh culture and travel experiences, food, AR (Augmented Reality), all kinds of art, the silly and symphonic Dundercats and live readings.

This project is freeform; a self-portrait and a document about the possibilities of a connected world.

On October 16 and 17 an ebook of photographs will be a free download on Amazon. The portfolio is called IPOH: 88 iPhone photographs by Bubiko Foodtour.

I have no connection with the following video.It gives a sense of what Ipoh looks like in terms of town layout and history.

This post is a good introduction to myself, Sayuri Okayama, Bubiko Foodtour, AR and Ipoh/Southeast Asia.

This post is about the first marathon, 72 hours at the Abby Hotel in Ipoh.

Recently, Singapore's Causeway Exchange Project was in Ipoh, which led to the creation of this post, an introduction to both Ipoh, Malaysia and Tiong Bahru, Singapore.

The following people and companies have been incredibly supportive and helpful. I cannot thank them enough! emily2u website, the Symphony Suites HotelThana Digital Studio, Stuart Rankin, Thanas Digital Studio, Liew Sunchin and the Jewellery Design and Management International School.

Ipoh cultural events

A 60 hour event from the Symphony Suites Hotel in Malaysia. Art, AR, travel, food and more.

Ipoh Cultural Parade 2017 from Double i on Vimeo.

Scenes from the first 12 hours, including the shopping area near Symphony Suites:

DIY: A Man on the Roof, in the Night

4AM: Another hour passes. My nerve cells misfire more and more; my memory and muscle control are breaking down. Concepts like ‘yesterday, ‘five months from now’ and ‘this moment’ are vague. I scrawl important reminders to myself in handwriting that looks like it was written by a shy child on a bumpy bus. I have decision fatigue. I’m lurching along a very narrow path, with fuzzy dreams of hope on one side and and a sharp dark cliff on the other. The window reflects me on the roof of the Abby Hotel, standing in front of a computer screen, overlooking the town of Ipoh, Malaysia.

I am in the darkest part of the first night of a 72 hour Facebook Live broadcast. I experiment, learn, share - and constantly question my sanity. I am hoping to give away my ebooks, and explain my plans and ideas regarding AR, Augmented Reality. Now, with no one watching, with my stomach growling and my eyelids heavy, the project seems to be a mistake. I am a fool. Why should I go on? What is the point of this?

Defiantly, I Yawn.

....this the beginning of an essay which will soon appear in ElevenAsia......

Another marathon live broadcast will take place from October 15-19, at the Symphony Suites Hotel in Ipoh, Malaysia.

symphony

THE LATEST INFO AND BROADCASTS ARE HERE: https://www.facebook.com/baliwaveghost/

Records from the first twelve hours are here.

Stephen Black: The Symphony Suite Session

The 60 hour Facebook Live event will be a freeform mix of AR, food, Ipoh culture,videos and readings from books. It begins at 3PM on Sunday, October 15, 2017 (Malaysia time) and ends 60 hours later. Live and recorded broadcasts will appear throughout.

Specific broadcasts will be about the world's first AR photograph exhibition, entitled IPOH 38 iPhone photographs by Bubiko Foodtour. In keeping with the symphony theme, the Dundercats and their musical adventures will be highlighted. (Did someone say Mozart's Birthday?)

Throughout the broadcast, the ebook of Bubiko Foodtour's Ipoh photographs will be given away, especially on the 16th and 17th, when it is available directly from Amazon.

Support: Symphony Suites Hotel, The Jewellery Design Management International School , the Emily2u blog, the Dundercats, Thanas Digital Photo and Bridal Studio, and Liew Sunchin

POSTS FROM THE FIRST TWELVE HOURS

BARPE

BARPE !

BARPE=Bubiko's Augmented Reality Photograph Exhibition

Bubiko says thanks for stopping by!

You are very welcome to share the IPOH Photograph Exhibition by Bubiko Foodtour. It is a free download on Google Play and the APP Store.

To start the exhibition, you need a marker, or target, for your phone or tablet. Here is how to make one:

1. Get a white piece of paper the size of a dollar bill.

2. Use a crayon or marker to write IPOH in the middle. USE CAPITAL LETTERS.

3. Put the paper anywhere where there is good light.

4. Point your phone or tablet at IPOH.

5. Relax and enjoy the 30 minute ambient exhibition. Each image lasts about one minute.

6. You could also create IPOH with your computer, using A4 paper and the Arial font, bold at 60 points. Other fonts and sizes may also work, but you'll have to test.

Send us your photos of BARPE and we will be happy to share them!

unusual AR marker

The Bubiko Foodtour AR photo exhibition! Meow! Meow!

AR DEVELOPERS: share the POSITIVE CHAOS?

AR is new, revolutionary, unpredictable, and in the painfully ecstatic throes of being born.

With that in mind, I find myself hoping to explore the following situation: Is there a Google Play and Apple App store approved individual or company that can uploading something of mine onto their store?

The "something" is a photo exhibition of Ipoh, Malaysia(PEIM). Kinda arty; nothing naughty, religious or political.. I can immediately send you an ebook of the images. I am hoping the PEIM can be ready for download by Sunday, or as soon as possible after that.

Why this situation?

Well.. I was recently interviewed by the Malay Mail, a large newspaper in Malaysia. I have been told that the interview is tentatively scheduled to be published on Saturday, October 14. In the middle of the night I realized this article is an opportunity to promote PEIM, which I had been working on. Suddenly everything is speeded up.BUT,the PEIM will only be ready on Friday or Saturday!

(Not to mention the 60 hour Facebook Live Symphony Suites marathon broadcast I am starting on Sunday the 15th.)

PEIM would be a free download. I am coming off of a ten year period of only writing books, so I can't really afford to compensate you with $. However I will do all I can to promote PEIM on your sites, so there is a strong possibility your apps will also get some eyeballs.A huge plus for both of us if your app is related to Asia, travel, food, art, filmmaking or photography. And, of course I would be extremely thankful and hope there is way to return the favor/pay it forward someday.

There may be a downside, but at the moment, it seems win-win. Perhaps in the future, when I have time and more apps I will have my own presence on GPlay and the App Store. If the powers that be don't mind, I could just put the same project up on my store, unless that sets off a piracy alarm. Anyway, we can cross that bridge when we come to it. For now I just want to get PEIM on line by Sunday.

Thanks in advance for your comments and ideas.

SB

Oh yes, the images are by Bubiko Foodtour, who is on her way to becoming AR's fist superstar.Check this site for more Bubiko info,or check out her food photos on Instagram.

AR photo exhibition: Ipoh by Bubiko Foodtour

Thank you for your interest in what may be the first ever AR photographic exhibition. Bubiko Foodtour, the world's first AR superstar, is a chef who loves taking pictures of food, travel and culture. Here she presents her iPhone photographs of Ipoh, Malaysia. Full of natural beauty, great food and a fascinating history, Ipoh charmed Bubiko completely. Ipoh: 88 iPhone photographs by Bubiko Foodtour ebook on Amazon (THIS POST IS A PLACEHOLDER AND LINKS TO BUBIKO'S PHOTO EXHIBITION ARE SCHEDULED TO APPEAR HERE ON OCTOBER 13, 2017. THERE WILL BE LINKS TO iTUNES AND GOOGLE PLAY.)

Stephen Black/ Ipoh/Augmented Reality (almost)crowdfunding

ForwARd!

Hello!

My name is Stephen Black, and I am hoping you can help me with ideas and any kind of support you can. I want to make a simple project for the new technology of Augmented Reality. I am trying this direct approach for fundraising instead of crowdfunding. Crowdfunding will take too long and this is urgent, in a good and exciting way.

Allow me to introduce myself and my project to you:

My background is in art, television production (CNN, Fuji TV, Cartoon Network).I'm a graduate from the Rochester Institute of Technology. I worked for a gamemaking company, until 2007. I then began writing books, while waiting for AR, VR and mobile technology to become stable. This is happening now, and by 2019, there will be hundreds of millions of AR-friendly Android and Apple phones and tablets.

I have been introducing AR to food-related businesses in Southeast Asia. These activities led to an interview by the Malay Mail news service (circulation 100,000).The interview is scheduled to be be printed/go online October 14. A draft of the article is here. A concise background of my AR, VR, 360, art, photographic and other activities is here.

I hope to have a photo exhibition AR project online by then. The photos are of Ipoh, Malaysia.

So... at the moment I am scrambling to find $800.This covers the cost of the app and related expenses.

Please contact me if you can help. I am open to receiving donations that I will thankfully acknowledge and pay back/pay forward. However, I also hope to connect to individuals, companies or artists that would like to create future projects, whether art, entertainment or advertising.

THANK YOU

Stephen Black

bubikofoodtour (@)gmail.com A more detailed post on my AR activities.

PS: This is Bubiko Foodtour, another AR project I am working on, along with Secret Donut World and the Doughbots.