computer stuff

Livejournal just notified me that elektra is available–so I am renaming my account from elektra_h to elektra. This should be invisible to anyone who’s an lj friend . . . .

Last night was the first meeting of this year’s iteration of Jonathan Maberry’s Novel in 9 Months class. Looks like this one is going to be a blast! Definitely a diverse group of people, and the instructors have got this down to a science. Learned some things, reinforced some things, unlearned some things . . .

Came home after class to find the order for my new laptop (the current one now sounds like a jet taking off) had been cancelled due to a screw-up by AmEx.

So, this morning–fixed the laptop order. Worked out for the first time since my foot/toe surgery (yah!), now that I can wear shoes again.

On the schedule for the rest of the day: daily writing quota, copyediting, laundry(!), homework. Then later, I think we (dh and I) are going out to dinner with west coast Mark, followed by a flick. So, sitz fleisch.

But first, I better go take a shower . . . .

The year 2012 actually started the way a new year is supposed to–with champagne, and music, and friends. Of course, it was a bit of a slow start–I’m still limping from the toe surgery I had on the 28th, and I don’t get my stitches out until the 3rd. I’ve been sitting down a lot.

2011 saw a lot more editing work come my way, as well as my first published story. Of course, more editing work means that I’m writing less to keep up with the editing. I need to find a better balance. The year also saw a shift in the balance between the sci-fi/fantasy and cat show worlds. BlueBlaze produced two litters of maine coon kittens (now all sold), and is now showing a havana queen, but on the whole I spent more of my available [weekend] time at conventions or book-related events rather than cat-oriented events. This shift has made me a happier person, and I plan to continue it. I have some [cat show] judging assignments coming up in the next year, and I look forward to them [particularly spending Valentine’s week in Malta], but I am severely curtailing my exhibition-only weekends in favor of sci-fi conventions, book fairs, and steampunk events.

Thanks to my GP sending me back to Physical Therapy, I finally started exercising, and I was doing close to an hour of cardio at a stretch prior to having my toe sliced open. I’m still trying to figure out how to do something, but I fear I need to wait until the stitches come out before either the exercise bike or the treadmill is an option.

In 2012, I want to:
Write more. And get better about putting aside time for it. To help achieve this, I’ve signed up for Jonathan Maberry’s Novel in Nine Months class, starting in mid-January. It’s about an hour-and-a-half drive each way, but only meets physically once a month, and I’ve heard very good things about it. Hopefully that will be the push I need.

Edit more. And perhaps more effectively. I’ve decided it’s time for a refresher–I’m planning on the EFA Advanced Copyediting class, which I haven’t taken yet. In the past I’ve found the online EFA classes to be extremely worthwhile and well worth the cost. The class runs six weeks and starts in late February–I’ll assess at the beginning of the month if I can manage it while taking Jonathan’s class.

Get more organized. I’ve started this, but I need to keep up with it, and refine it. I’m freelancing in enough different directions I need to be certain nothing falls through the cracks. I’m starting to think I need a virtual corkboard–or maybe a real one.

Get back into shape. This is somewhat contingent on the healing of the toe, but I had a pretty good start on it before the surgery slowed me down.

Lose the last blasted fifty pounds. Related to the above getting in shape. I’m tired of being overweight. It’s a bit tricky trying to diet when traveling, but I’ve done it before. I just need to wrap my head around it again. Exercising will help, I think.

De-clutter. Especially the extraneous paperwork. Some of this is part of various ongoing projects to scan and dump old stuff, and some of it is just dumping old stuff that we’ll never look at again anyway. There’s a lot of paperwork that we have no room for, and I’m tired of having it in the way.

Read my way through some of the backlog. And sift through some of the books and donate them. I could read from now until doomsday, and I’d never get through them all . . . it’s time to be merciless and cull the backlog again.

Clean out and organize the craft stuff/sewing stuff/needlework stuff in the guest room so guests will fit in there. ’nuff said

I think that will keep me busy until next year.

It’s day three of NaNo and I’m already behind. Of course. I’m trying to keep up with all the editing I’m committed to as well (income is a good thing), and November is always busy around here. Keestone Katz! Philcon! Darkovercon! But I’m doing it anyway.

But things are looking up. I had the first of a series of weekly write-ins at my local library yesterday, and I was joined by a fellow quester, Deb. Everything is better with company!

And last night my laptop (my main computer system), returned to me after its visit back to its homeland, good as new. Apparently the cable to the display was bad. Fixed now. I am very much a creature of habit.

So, see you on the other side of November, hopefully 50,000 words later.

Late in the year 2000, I was looking for a better way to organize my life. I was still carrying around a notebook listing all the books in my library when I went to conventions, trying not to buy duplicates (it was a simple text file, then).

My best friend, Garcia, had a PDA and he showed me what it could do. I was sold. I got my first HandspringTM. I believe HandspringTM was put together by someone who left PalmTM and thought they could do better. It was sort of a bigger, clunkier PalmTM. Also cheaper.

For those of you who missed the PDA revolution, and went directly to the smartphone, PDAs did bunches of stuff. My HandspringTM had a full address book, lists of things-to-do (tasks) complete with check-off boxes, calendar with appointments, memos, pdf reader, photos, easy-to-use calculator, and functionality to read any .doc or spreadsheet file I wanted to download.

Sorry this is so detailed.

The most appealing thing for me was that files could be changed either on your computer (laptop for me) or the PDA, and with a single command (press the button!), could be synced. Most of the info was stored on the computer by running a program created by PalmTM called the Palm Desktop. It’s a calendar, address book, list of memos, tasks, etc. The remaining functionality (pdfs, etc), needed to be updated using specialized software.

Eventually the HandspringTM died (I think one of the cats knocked it out of its charging cradle). I got another. When I went looking for a third, I discovered HandspringTM had gone belly up. I investigated PalmTM, and acquired my first real PalmTM (better, smaller, faster, able to leap small buildings in a single bound able to play mp3s even). I’ve been through several PalmTM PDAs since then.

PalmTM no longer makes PDAs. I picked up my last one on ebay about a year ago, and when it died, the after-market warranty from Square Deal gave me back full purchase price. After much thought, I declined to pick up another. I needed to find another way. I settled on a tablet, and picked up a Samsung GalaxyTM.

Good points: it boots right up–unlike a laptop; it functions as an ereader, obviating the need for me to pick up one of those (it’s a NookTM, it’s a KindleTM); it reads pdfs (I put all the cat show rules and standards on it, so I can stop carrying the rule book around–I started again after my PDA died); it has some fun “apps”–find a restaurant, etc.

Now I need to make it a functional PDA.

I am crazy dependent on the Palm Desktop. I’ve been tracking everything from club meetings to garbage night to what books I’ve been reading, etc. in the calendar for just over ten years. I have over one hundred memos detailing everything from cat registration numbers to what color gutermann thread I have in stock. Twenty years of personal, business, and cat show contact information. And packing lists that I duplicate, merge, modify and print out every time I’m going away for a weekend so that I don’t forget something.

So now I am engaged in a monumental task–pulling all of that info out of the Palm Desktop. I’ve turned the memos and tasks into simple text files in a few directories that I’m manually copying over to the GalaxyTM. Easy enough. Now I’m going through the calendar, month-by-month, pulling any data I think I might one day want out into various log files. It’s slow going. I’m going to try to switch over to using Google CalendarTM, which can sync with the GalaxyTM, but I’ll probably avoid leaving anything there that isn’t stored elsewhere . . . .

Once the calendar is done, I’ll need to tackle the address book. Hopefully that can be handled in bulk (via data manipulation) and dumped into a spreadsheet, rather than needing to be re-typed. One can but hope.

I did so love having all that info in my pocket, handy. I miss the era of the PDA. While my smartphone is cool, it’s not quite as useful. And I need my blasted reading glasses if I want to do anything more complicated than dial a phone number on it.

In between editing tasks (yes, those of you waiting should be seeing results soon!), I’ve been updating my author pages on both amazon and goodreads. In order to share this blog in both those places, I added an RSS option for those of you who’d prefer that option.

We had a cat club meeting at the fabulous Nautilus Diner in Timonium, Maryland on Sunday. Mike and I have a bit over an hour travel time each way, and due to our other plans for the day, ended up at the meeting a bit early. So we sat at the counter and had a drink while we waited (I indulged in one of their wonderful egg creams–there are few things one cannot get at the Nautilus).

I pull out my laptop and started editing (I’ve got a lot on my plate at the moment). Mike was reading. In due course, a few folks arrived and we joined them at a table and had lunch and the meeting. Both went well–we accomplished a lot at the meeting, and food at the Nautilus is always good.

As things were winding down, our club president pulled out her phone to check on something, and in due course flagged down the waitress. Before I realized what was happening, she had asked for the wireless password. The waitress had no clue.

After the waitress left, I explained that the wireless she was picking up was the secured hotspot coming off my phone . . . I had needed to spot check something on the internet earlier and brought it up and promptly forgotten about it. Sitting across from me, it was showing as a very powerful wireless signal, so it had to be the diner, right? Nobody from the cat world knows that I’m Until Midnight . . .

I gave her the password.