CD and Book Giveaways

I’ve mentioned a couple of items I am giving away on the podcast but also wanted to take a moment and share some details here on the blog.

When I interviewed Randy Chertkow of Beatnik Turtle, he gave my one of a handful of CDs he had with him, all of which bore a special offer code powered by his new service, The CD is “Shamrock”, the band’s RPM entry from a couple of years ago. All of the tracks are wonderfully rocked up versions of public domain Irish folk and pub songs. The idea behind is to turn the increasingly disposable container for digital media, the CD, into a social game. You are encouraged to pass participating discs on to your friends and as you do so, you can track to where the disc is traveling. There is a free bonus download track you get from the site on receiving a disc as an incentive to participate.

I figured the best way I can help Randy with his beta test is to share this disc with my listeners and readers. If you are interested in receiving this disc, just drop me a note letting me know. That’s it, just email me. I do however only have the one disc so if more than one of you write me, I will randomly pick one person. I’ll wait until the end of the month to give everyone a chance to write in.

The other thing I am giving away are signed copies of the first two volumes of Ed Piskro’s wonderful graphic novel, “Wizzywig“. Since I bought these myself and got Ed to sign them when I met him for our recent interview, I am asking a little more from you if you want them. I will ship these signed editions to the next person who qualifies for a custom nerd merit badge. That is, the next person who donates twenty dollars or more or who signs up for any of the monthly donations options will get these books in addition to their merit badge. If you already have a merit badge, you can still get the books by making the qualifying donation, I’ll just send you the books without the badge. There is no deadline to get the books, just the fact that I only have one set, so as soon as someone snags them, they’re gone. I’ll post an update as soon as they are spoken for.

Updated: Listener Steve was the first to send in a qualifying donation so he will receive the signed books.

Another Badge Finds Its Home

Listener and donor, Steve, sent in a picture of his custom nerd merit badge affixed in its permanent place on his shoulder bag.

He’s also find a clever use for the backing card. I’d say that is a supremely appropriate combination. I’m a huge fan of Glyn’s writing though I haven’t yet gotten to Rebel Code.

If you want your very own customer merit badge and handy combination backing card/bookmark, check out the support page for details on how you can earn your very own by making a donation in support of the podcast or web site.

June Update on Supporting the Podcast and Blog (Updated)

In the continuing spirit of transparency, here are some quick hits on the variety of means I have been exploring to financially support the podcast and blog.

My participation with AdBard in June was once again disappointing. The numbers were consistent with May, earning about half what I did in the first couple of months. That’s right around two dollars for the month. I am still well shy of earning enough for a pay out. Worse, the maximum numbers projected are down which makes me wonder if my site has been pushed down by stronger numbers among other publishers. I used to receive a link to the total rankings but haven’t in the last couple of reports. At all events, even a couple of dollars this past month is a couple of dollars I wouldn’t have made otherwise. I am open to my earnings strengthening again though I recognize that is a vague challenge to tackle when my preferred approach is to focus first and foremost on the quality of material I share.

June was the first full month I’ve been using Flattr. I have been very pleased with my earnings and the growth over the part of May I was participating in Flattr’s beta. My earnings in June almost doubled tripled which roughly more than tracks with the number of posts available for flattring each month. I earned a bit over eight euros almost fourteen euro, up from around five the month prior. I don’t have a good sense of how the user base has been growing since Flattr started giving the original beta testers invites. I hope that growth is strong and continues, not just for my benefit but to really prove out the model. My intuition is it is succeeding well so far. (Updated after re-reading my dashboard, I had mistaken an upcoming transactions as a future balance. Thanks to Holger’s comments which draw my attention back to the Flattr dashboard yielding the correction in the positive.)

Donations for June tapered off a bit, probably as a consequence of the custom nerd merit badge experiment winding down. News of the badges being produced and delivered really helped draw attention and encourage new donors. At the end of June I had 13 monthly donors whose contributions tallied up to just shy of $50 which pretty much completely covers my recurring costs for the podcast with a small surplus I intend to set aside against travel expenses for technical conferences next year.

There are nineteen badges left out of the original batch, so plenty for anyone interested in learning their own. That also means that after sending out nine more badges, it will be time to start devoting donations from the final ten towards producing the next batch of fifty badges.

I of course also want to again thank everyone who supported me this past month, regardless of what means they chose to do so.  Even the modest success of covering my media hosting and other service fees and being able to set a few dollars aside is pretty incredible to me for a pursuit I undertake solely in my spare time.

More Merit Badge Photos

I love seeing the custom nerd merit badges in their final homes. A couple of nice photos from around the web.

My old college buddy, Braz, affixed his badge, one of the charter badges, in place with his Inbox Zero and 4square badges.

Merit badges,  the office, Clerkenwell,London, UK

And there is Cory’s charter badge pinned up in his office in Clerkenwell in the UK. Photo used under a CC BY-SA 2.0 license.

If you want your own merit badge, there are plenty left. Just go to the support page and make a one time donation of $20 or more or a monthly donation in any amount.

First Merit Badge Picture

Chris Miller not only received the first of the ten charter merit badges, he was the first to post a picture of his new badge. He included the certificate and everything.  Thanks for sharing the photo, Chris.

Several other folks have mentioned receiving their badges and promised pictures. After all the planning, work and patience, I enjoy seeing the badges start showing up in the wild. I may have to try to get out to a few more tech events just to see if I can spot them totally at random.

There are many more badges left and the support page has been updated with the details on how you can earn your own.

The Charter Merit Badges Are in the Mail

Actually, all of the custom nerd merit badges that have been earned so far have now been sent out. As it turns out, both the regular badges and the charter badges with the associated numbered, signed certificate are light enough to send as a regular old 1st class letter. Four out of the twenty-five I sent out in three waves between last weekend and this needed to be sent out of the country. Again, the light weight of the envelopes really helped keep the air mail postage down to a surprisingly small amount.

IMG_0151.JPG IMG_0152.JPG IMG_0153.JPG

From left to right pictured are both versions of the badge with a prototype certificate, all ten charter badges, and the first charter badge with final certificate.

I am calling the custom nerd merit badge experiment a tremendous success. It has brought in a couple hundred dollars in one time donations on top of the funds set aside from the charter donors to capitalize this first batch of badges. It has netted nine recurring donors, the majority of them contributing the minimum but committed to doing so every single month. Out of the first batch of fifty badges, four were sacrificed to getting the custom embroidery for the charter badges right. Twenty-one more badges were sent out to subsequent donors, including folks who contributed before the start of the experiment.

I would like to thank, again, everyone who helped make this experiment a success.  I’d also like to thank in advance future donors who choose to go a little bit further and earn a merit badge of their own.

There are twenty-five badges left. If you want one, go to the support page where you can find details on how to make a donation. A one time donation of $20 or more or a monthly donation of any amount will earn you a custom nerd merit badge.

TCLP 2010-06-06 News

This is news cast 215, an episode of The Command Line Podcast.

In the intro, just a pointer to my thoughts on Balticon 44 and a recap on advertising, the badge experiment, and Flattr so far.

This week’s security alerts are OS choice does not equal security and an Android rootkit.

In this week’s news Google drops Microsoft for internal use citing security reasons though some are skeptical, figuring out if Wikileaks spun up using documents intercepted from Tor with thoughts from both the Tor project and Wikileaks itself, IBM’s 40 year old Muppet sales films, and a new paper debunks certain suggested advantages of quantum computing.

Following up this week, if you are tired of Facebook then check out a Firefox extension that aims to help preserve your privacy while using it and India tries to gather opposition to ACTA.


Grab the detailed show notes with time offsets and additional links either as PDF or OPML. You can also grab the flac encoded audio from the Internet Archive.

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

The Merit Badges Have Arrived

At long last, I arrived home to find a courier envelope from Nerd Merit Badges. Inside were the badges, a roll of glue dots, the backing cards, and a hand written note from John and Randy.


I will send out the first badges this weekend. I don’t have an ETA on the charter badges, I need to figure out when my wife has the time to add the “su” and I have to make up the certificates though I’ve got a solid idea for the design and the text. I am very glad to finally be in the last stages of this experiment. It has been fun but also very instructive. I’ll write up some more thoughts on it when I am a bit more coherent. In the meantime, not all these first badges are claimed, if you’d like one, donations of $20 or more or any amount of recurring monthly donation qualifies you to receive one.

Details on how to make a donation can be found on the support page.

The Merit Badges Are Complete

Just as I was going to ping John and Randy at Nerd Merit Badges for an updated, they sent me one unsolicited. The badges are back from the embroiderer, hurray!


All that remains is for them to print up the backing cards and send me the lot–badges, glue dots and cards all separate. Getting the parts separate will make it easier to add the additional embroidery to the ten charter badges, then I can assemble all the badges owed and get them into the post.

Twenty three out of this initial batch of fifty are spoken for. I hadn’t realized it was almost half of them though I knew it was quite a few more than the original ten that helped subsidize the initial production. Once forty have been claimed, the donations that qualify for the final ten will be used to subsidization production of the next batch of fifty.

I have been incredibly delighted at the continuing participation in this experiment. Right now, the recurring donations add up to $33 a month, enough to cover my media and web server hosting, both (well, before PayPal’s fees anyway). My Skype Pro subscription is still uncovered as are my domain registration fees but those bill quarterly and annually respectively. I want to thank everyone who has contributed to the success of this project so far.

As I’ve said, I would be happy for either this program or the advertising experiment to provide a surplus that could help with travel expenses to get out to open source and technical conferences. I am also brain storming ideas for a bigger premium to better reward larger donations and higher commitments by monthly donors. I am happy to receive suggestions and would like to find something as unique, fun and geeky as these badges. I love the idea of being able to cultivate this success further to furnish resources that I can start applying to the show beyond just covering its costs.

Merit Badge Prototype

I received a scan of the prototype custom Nerd Merit Badge on Monday. See below.


This is more than acceptable to me, based on the design I submitted. I approved production which hopefully means I should have the badges in hand in just under three weeks. I shall endeavor to have the charter certificates ready in the meantime and prepare as much of the logistics as possible ahead of time.

I have been overwhelmed by the participation in this experiment and am very proud of the end result. I will be supremely satisfied when those first ten are on their way to you crucial first donors who made this possible. As I had hoped, the offer of a keepsake like this encouraged many people to donate. I suspect just the discussion of the experiment also helped, regardless of the offer of a premium.

If you want your very own Command Line Nerd Merit Badge, there are still plenty unspoken for. Anyone who makes a one time donation of $20 or more will receive one as will anyone who chooses any of the monthly donation options. Right now, my monthly donations total to just under $30 which is all of my media hosting and most of my server cost (before PayPal takes its cut, anyway).

If I managed to exceed my monthly costs, as I discussed with the advertising experiment, the remainder will go into a travel fund to defray the cost of attending tech conferences next year. I am already planning on going to SCALE9x in February and am thinking about at least one other tech conference to attend besides. It would be nice to cover any amount of either or both those trips out of funds earned through these two experiments.