lagilman: coffee or die (happy go lucky)
The drive is dying (probably for good this time) and the battery is dead (really most sincerely dead) and the touchpad is behaving like a cranky old man who won't admit he's gone deaf ("no I didn't hear you ask me to do that why are you yelling at me?") and they keyboard's gone mushy, and even upgrading the innards hasn't done more than stave off the inevitable. I'd be a lot more upset about all this except for the fact that I bought it in March 2011.

Five years of daily writer-use, being dragged around the country (and some of Canada and Europe). I've written at lest ten books on this thing, and I don't even want to think about how many short stories, emails and editorial letters, much less the amount of internet usage this thing has seen.

Do I want to spend $$$ on replacing it? Nope. But it decided to crash twice yesterday, while I'm on the last pass of deadline, and that reminded me that this is my work tool, my livelihood. Better to replace it under my control than have to do a panicked run to the Apple store because it died the final death mid-project...

Also, this maybe gives me the opportunity to go down to Portland and buy it there, saving myself sales tax.... (and having lunch with the Portlanders.  Hi, Portlanders!)

Meanwhile, a pullquote for the new book: “The devil runs an honest game,” he said, almost to himself. “But that doesn’t mean someone else can’t cheat.”

Yeah, that'll do.
lagilman: coffee or die (bitch)

Ooops.  According to Clean Reader, "asshole" might not appear in the text.

Writers - who choose our words carefully, use them deliberately - aren't thrilled with this Bowdlerizing app.  Readers shouldn't be, either. It's an attempt to take away freedom of expression, a power play by those who would control what we see/think/feel. No thanks.

In short: it wasn't appreciated when Bowdler did it, it's not appreciated (or wanted) now. Don't like the language? Don't read the story.

(yes, I have very strong opinions about 'sanitizing' language after the fact and against the author's wishes. Mainly: don't do it.)

lagilman: coffee or die (bigger boat)
I am informed that Mercury is retrograde.  Again.  This might explain some things, but I'm also aware that life doesn't stop just because communications are fouled, and there are things that need to get done this week.

So I will proceed with caution, but I will proceed nonetheless.

And to start things off on the right wrong foot, my phone is beeping at me.  But not all the time, oh no.  Only when I unplug it from the charger.  Mind, if the charger is unplugged from the wall, that's fine, so long as the cord remains plugged into the PHONE.  Only when I remove it from there does it start to beep.  And any attempt to reboot it makes the phone insist it has NO CHARGE WOE IS IT but when I plug it in again, hey, 100% charge! phone's dead, isn't it?  Or at least borderline revenant?  Fuck.

Meanwhile, I have mailed off all the things I needed to mail, and emailed almost all the people I need to mail, and I'd be making all the phone calls I need to make except, well, phone.  *points to previous paragraph*

Tonight is the SFWA mill-n-swill, wherein I need to talk to several people in person.  Then tomorrow and Wednesday I am back to neck-deep in revisions.  And then Wednesday night I am off to Seattle for five days, to do Various Things.  And continue working on revision because Merc retrograde and Busy Weeks mean nothing to deadlines....
lagilman: coffee or die (citron presse)
1. SILVER ON THE ROAD, being deemed readable by mine agent, is now with mine editor, as is GIN & TONIC #4 (different editor). I am thereby released from all - oh wait, I still have two novellas to finish by September. On it, boss.

2. I have copies in my own greedy little hands of DOGHOUSE (Gin & Tonic #3)!! There will be a contest, most likely next week when America's recovered from our three-day holiday weekend and picnic-a-thon. But you know, you can order your own copy now, too...

3. The new iPad mini has officially been named. We ran through a number of suggestions and ideas, including Dum-E, Loiosh, Bucky, Jeeves, etc, but I finally determined that the iPad Mini has just enough evil in its brilliance, just enough petulance in its helpfulness, and is just wee enough that it really needs to be…


sterling wave
lagilman: coffee or die (citron presse)
This weekend was spent with various and sundry domestic things, including getting my sister off to the airport safely for her first visit to the UK.  She'll be in London for a week, and hopefully the weather will be kind.

In the meanwhile, I have possession of the Elderly Auto, and there will be a CostCo run, among other things.  Although I'm somewhat afraid to leave my hard-won parking space, while there's still so much snow packed against the curb....

And my E key is attempting to give up the ghost.  Manuscript hijinks will ensue.

Work-wise, I spent the weekend shifting the structure of Devil's West #1 around a bit. I have no doubt that it will shift again as the writing continues (and particularly once the annotated revising begins), but the plot is beginning to settle from "stuff kinda happens here and here" to "tangle and untangle and tangle, thus."

 For them as like seeing where things start compared to how they end...

Part 1: Flood
Part 2: The Road
Part 3: A Magician
Part 4: Bones and Stone
Part 5: Silver on the Road
Part 6: Spanish Flu
Part 7: The Dust Roads

Also: rather than 90k-100k, this looks to be come in, draftwise, at around 150k.  Oh god.  *beats head against wall until the pain stops*
lagilman: coffee or die (citron presse)
I can safely give an (initial) review of my iPad Mini.

First, the negatives:

* still no godsdamned Scrivener for iOS. Seriously guys, please?
* Notes - at least in the form I have - is good for short jots but it's still a little bare bones for writing anything with emphasis or formatting.
* still really not the ideal ereader for me, although it works in a pinch. I can't even tell you WHY I prefer the shape of my old Nook Color, but I do.
* still don't like the mail program (although since I keep most of my email on the laptop, only an irritating issue, not a massive drawback)
* browser
* I'm still having trouble wrangling iTunes properly.

the positives:

* fits into every pocketbook and most jacket pockets I have. Dude. This thing goes everywhere with me.
* watching videos on this is better than my 13" laptop. Especially when traveling.
* Notes is pretty damned good for, well, notes.
* Putting all my social media on the iPad will, ideally, keep me more writing-focused at the laptop.
* the camera's pretty nice, although it could use a few more native editing functions. Hell of a lot better than my phone, anyway.
* did I mention that it's the absolute perfect size for 95% of everything except writing? (and even that - working on the side projects isn't too bad, 500 words at a time).  Dear Steve Jobs: you were SO WRONG about the worth of a well-managed 7".
* the calendar and list function is making me a happy obsessive Virgo-stereotype meerkat.  It's becoming my new Dayrunner.
* the on-screen keyboard is actually good (for variables of hand size) and buying a stylus made note-taking a breeze.

Overall? I need a better writing program for it - one that doesn't lose all formatting when transferred, and ideally can be opened directly into Evernote - but I can, in a pinch, work on this for a day or two if the laptop is unavailable. But I didn't buy this to be a primary writing machine - this was supposed to pick up the slack for all my other digital/Internet needs.  And on that score, the iPad's a solid 9. Unless I'm writing/editing, the laptop now stays on my desk, and I'm far more likely to curl up with the pad on the sofa or in bed to watch a movie or browse online, or check social media.  And yeah, having my to-do lists travel with me? awesome.

My 10" tablet-with-keyboard is still going to be the "I'm hitting the road and need a not-$1500 writing machine" choice, and when Scrivener for Android finally hits, I'll be happily rocking all flavors, but right now, the Mini has pretty much justified its acquisition.

It has not, however, settled into its name.  I'm re-mulling that one.


Mar. 23rd, 2013 12:11 am
lagilman: coffee or die (puppyface)
Having EARNED* a new toy this month, damn it, I now own an iThing Mini. Now to train it to be useful... (stop laughing! I know it can be done.)

I suspect I'll be using this much as I used to use my DayRunner - schedules and notes and thought-bits (and email!), with the additional plus of being able to sync it all to the laptop at the end of the day. But we'll see what else comes along...

Anyone have any (non-game) aps I should look at? (I already have Evernote up, and will load Scrivener as soon as they get the iOS version running)

And, since the laptop of hard-working is named Archie, I have decided to name the Mini Watson**. Clearly, I have a thing for cute-but-dangerous sidekicks. :-D

*mainly by not dying and/or killing anyone under extreme duress
**make your own short jokes
** I'm already calling it "Doc"


Mar. 3rd, 2013 08:18 am
lagilman: coffee or die (citron presse)
The new television* is successfully set up. The new blu-ray player is successfully set up and hooked into the home network (after a mighty battle** skalds would not scorn to sing).

I am going to celebrate by wailing on a scene that needs to be revised and put to bed. Hey, you have your victory celebrations, I have mine***.

*my friends insisted I needed a 46-50 inch television for the lounge area. My friends are size queens. The 40" does the job perfectly well without overwhelming the space.
** seriously. It was a battle of wills and ice-cold hate and steely determination, and in the end, the player blinked.
*** and, at some point after that, I need to rearrange the artwork, because moving one piece meant everything else had to be reconsidered, too...
lagilman: coffee or die (oy)
Three days of the internet going in and out like a cat, and I finally think "ok, holiday's over, time to call them and set up an appointment to fix this." So we have an appointment for tomorrow morning.

And then this afternoon I looked over and thought 'huh. ok, cable's out, too.' So I called Cablevision...and was informed that there was a weather-related outage and they were working on it.


And just now, both cable and interent came back on. And I get an email from Optimum telling me "You may be experiencing a loss of Optimum service." No shit, really? And you send me an EMAIL to tell me this? *facepalm*

So it the Internet holds overnight, do I call and cancel the appointment, or do I have the repair person come out anyway, JiC? Because you KNOW the moment I cancel the appointment, the Internet will go out again... And it's already gone out again, so there's that question answered.

Meanwhile, it's Boxing Day, and in the tradition of freelancers, well, in this household, that means it's time to start sorting old files and prepping tax records. Boxes & booze are involved....

Meanwhile, it looks like all we're going to get out of this storm is a few inches of snow and a lot of rain. And wind. I am sulky.
lagilman: coffee or die (citron presse)
Internet continues to be unreliable. Cranky writer is cranky, as there's stuff I need to research/sites I need to check...

Day 6

Realized that where I’d opened chapter three was utterly and absolutely WRONG. *sigh* It’s a lovely scene, a perfect scene perhaps, and it does all the things I wanted it to do, but it asks the readers to take too much of a leap on faith, and I haven’t earned that faith yet.

New opening line: The almanac might say Spring, but Winter kept its fingers wrapped around the Midwest.

So there, I’ve given the reader an idea of how much time has passed, and reminded us where we are, and also set the scene for how the POV character will be reacting (to the unexpected cold).

And, nearly 3000 words into the chapter, after reading my beta-readers’ notes and seeing a number of different comments on the same section – nobody had the same point to make but they all know something wasn’t right - I realize that I’d totally screwed the pooch on one of the subthemes. So fixing that - unwinding the threads and then sorting and reweaving them into the existing pattern – took most of the day. Brain, tired.

Best typo: “raising the ice book.” It took me a while to figure out that was supposed to be “raiding the ice box.”

Day 7:

Ok, it was Christmas and therefore the annual tradition of the Sibling Lunch (wherein my mother and her sisters and brother and all the family within reach descend upon one of our favorite and most tolerant Chinese restaurants and take over the entire back for several hours.) So… only a few hours of work, most of which were spent agonizing over an incredibly important speech a secondary character gives that puts the ENTIRE BOOK in motion.

That speech gives me ulcers. I killed a lot of darlings, changed the emphasis, and made the speaker far more of an intentional trigger. I’m still not sure it works. But it works better that it did before.

And I’m in negative numbers for the day. Oh well.

Approximately 20,000 words revised/fine-tuned/rewritten so far.
lagilman: coffee or die (Default)
So I am writing this on my laptop...which is now hooked up to a larger monitor. And on one hand, this is great, and on the other it's... whoa. My eyes are still trying to explain to my brain (or maybe it's the other way around) what the fuck is going on.

Also: monitor has vertical and horizontal settings! It turns sideways! It's an owl-monitor!

Meanwhile, I'm wondering if there's a way to split the chores between screens, or if I have to use one or t'other. Nothing in the limited instruction book (mainly: how to set up the monitor) gives a peep on that. Anyone? Bueller? I figured it out. It's not ideal, because it's mirrored rather than independent (what I do on one shows up on the other, rather than running several things independently) but it gives me both monitors, so yay!
lagilman: coffee or die (Default)
Last night, for various reasons, I did not finally pass out and sleep until close to 3am. And so, on waking at 6, I said "sod that" and went back to sleep until 8. Which meant that my plan to be at the DMV at 8:30 came to naught. So, fine, sez I, I'll go on Thursday, and off to work I go...

Only to discover that I had no connectivity. None. Not an erg.

40 minutes on hold later, I am informed that there is a borough-wide "service interruption" and no, they have no idea when service will be restored. Thanks for nothing, Cablevision.

I am not a multitasker - I like to do one thing and then do another thing serially - but having the steady buzz of the Internet is like listening to the office around me, it takes up enough of my brainpower so that I can focus on the thing-being-done.

No email? No search engines? No war room? I find myself MORE distracted than if those things were around.

And so off to Starbucks I hie, to join every other freelancer in town (and there are a lot - the Bronx may not be as trendy as Brooklyn, but for the fiscally aware NYC freelancer, it's a great deal) in sucking down coffee and sucking down the flickering connectivity.

And in all that chaos of sorting and resettling, I almost forgot - SHIFTER'S DESTINY is out (in paperback) today! .

So, y'know, if you're looking for a fun little read about a shapeshifting unicorn, and grotesque monsters, and a young girl who can speak to animals, and a Terribly Nasty Villain, and a woman who can dream true.... this would be just your cuppa. :-)
lagilman: coffee or die (caffeine)
Oh Internets, show me your combined wisdom. I need to replace my coffee maker, aka "Old Faithful." I have limited counter space, no need for an espresso machine (I had one and gave it away), and generally drink 2-3 cups of coffee a day (real cups, not what they claim is a cup).

So. Hand over your recs.

Also, I am tempted, based on the love I have for my wee travel-sized French Press, to buy a larger size one for everyday use, but am not sure how well that would work out for a full morning's iv drip....
lagilman: coffee or die (just sayin' - Nate)

So yesterday I set up my to-do list, and I settle in with my cup of coffee #1, and I lift the lid of the trusty workhorse laptop (whose name is Archie to Nero-the-cranky-desktop), and…

The screen displayed not the usual “okay boss, hopping to it!” energy, but the unending beachball of doom-about-to-fall.

And sure enough, soon after that: everything froze.

Not having time, patience, or any other valuable commodity to spare, I finally did the only thing I could do: a hard reboot.

And got the Grey Screen of UnBooting.

We’ll cut the begging, pleading and attempts to fix it myself using all the helpdesk things that never work.  I got a Genius Bar appointment at 2pm.

…Four Hours Later….

It took TWO geniuses to fix things (the second was named Lex.  I can has an Evil Genius?  I can!),  but at 6pm I was on my way back home with a new hard drive, and the promise that yes, it was all working now, all I had to do HONEST was plug it back into my Time Machine/Time Capsule, and everything would be restored.  Really.  Trust us*.

Having a hard drive fail, when you’re mid-book, and being told “yeah, it happens” does not make one feel inspired to trust.  I’m just saying.

I want to give kudos to my geniuses, though.  They were dealing with a writer on deadline, whose writing machine had just failed under her fingertips, who had stormed into their bar on a quivering high of coffee and not a hell of a lot else (me to a friend, via text: “oh crap, I haven’t eaten anything today.  It’s 5pm.  I’m about to go into meltdown”) and kept me from utterly losing it, even when reinstall after reinstall failed.

Anyway: if you haven’t backed your shit up today, whatever your shit may be?  Take a moment.  Do it.  Trust me.  Full system backup.  Every. Damn. Day.

And now, I need to finish this coffee, open up my (restored!  Up-to-date!) files, and get the hell back to work.

*edited to add: they were right

Originally Published at Practical Meerkat: A Blog. You can comment here or there.
lagilman: coffee or die (Default)
Ok, technically, counting Android, I'm a 3 OS household, but nevermind. Wolfe the Dell is back in-house, allegedly and reportedly fixed of his pre-existing mental twitch (he would 'forget' how to find his hard drive periodically, which made him useless to me).

Of course, in the process the free sample of Word expired. So now I have Word for Mac on the laptop (Archie), and a PC with no word processing software. I really don't want to buy another copy of Word..... I suspect OpenOffice and I might try a trial re-negotiation. But if anyone has a better suggestion...?

Originally Published at Practical Meerkat: A Blog. You can comment here or there
lagilman: coffee or die (citron presse)
And now, of course, the desktop is working perfectly, as it is prone to, and I am faced with the same question I have with the cats: who gets mom-time?

For now, for various reasons, it's Wolfe (the desktop). But I have a project started last night on the yet-nameless laptop that will stay there, and we'll see how that goes....

Meanwhile, I have coffee, it's raining, the cats are snoring, and if I want to go out and Play tonight I have to get me some work done. So...working.
lagilman: coffee or die (the general warned me...)
Let's get one thing straight, first. I love my Dell Inspiron One. I would never be parted from it.. if it didn't have this habit of occasionally refusing to recognize the frackin' hard drive for occasional and intermittent hours at a time. This, despite Dell coming out and replacing Essential Bits.

It is a lovely machine. But it is Not Dependable.

I'm a writer on deadline. I need Dependable.

And so today, after accepting that my beloved Wolfe was never going to get its shit together, I went down to the Apple store on 70th and I said to the very nice boy at the door "you have the chance to turn a lifelong PC user into a Mac user. Show me what you've got."

After some serious discussion about what I needed vs what they wanted to sell me (the first guy was not so good about understanding that and so I walked away. The second guy was much better) I ended up handing over my whimpering credit card for a brand-new Mac Pro 13", and Office:Mac software.

This is going to be my dedicated writing machine, with Wolfe as backup. If Wolfe finally dies the death, I should be able to hook her up to his gigantic monitor, and use the wireless keyboard, and all will be Happy and Productive.

And now I have to learn all the ()*_^& new icons. This, I am not looking forward to. Nor, for that matter, next month's credit card bill. Ouch and ohshit, I really could not afford this right now. But I couldn't afford to not have a dependable machine, either.

So. Here we go....

[just in time for not only work on PSI#4, but also a Sekrit Potential Project, huzzah!]

EtA: *snerk* And the Guy, who is a Mac user, just texted "welcome! You will be much happier."

(This isn't my first Mac - I was a Mac Grrl back in 1988-89 -- but my memory of Mac products was they they were great for graphics types but crap for text support. Here's hoping y'all are right and that has changed...)
lagilman: coffee or die (Default)
(I've seen a launch from the VIP site, and this was even more breathtaking, if less immediate)

lagilman: coffee or die (MEDIC)
ETA: apparently, my brain isn't able to parse the instructions given for folders and filters. However, I am perfectly able to reinstall all my email accounts, set up Google Calender, and various other sundry tech essentials, so I don't feel as though my brain has utterly sieved out of my skill....

So, during the great Brain Swap on the computer, I backed up my email program (Thunderbird) along with everything else.

Everything else has slid back over with only minimal argh. But nowhere can I find info on how to reinstall that email backup.

Anyone? Bueller?

(edited for clarity)
lagilman: coffee or die (citron presse)
I have been using my new Nook pretty much...well, not nonstop but quite a lot. So yesterday I went to recharge it, as I was going to be Out and About, and wanted to make sure that nothing interfered with my finishing the book I was currently reading. And the charger did not charge.

I plugged it in, the yellow glow started, and then...died. Nothing.

And, of course, B&N has made their charger proprietary (grr) so none of my other mini-usb chargers would work on it. That's the one thing I will not forgive them.

Anyway, while I was Out and About I stopped by a B&N, and they determined that yes, it was the charger, not my Nook that was broken (whew). They could not hand over a new one (having no extras) but got on the phone with customer service and arranged to have a new one shipped to me right away. So that was good.

And then they offered to top off the charge, to keep me going. And that was even nicer.

(I was told that, until the charger arrived, I could come into the store and have it plugged in, but alas, there is no B&N within walking distance of me, I have to take a subway, and I still have physical books to keep me company. Which is one of the great joys of physical books. They're bulkier, but they don't require a battery.)

And did I mention New!Bookcase arriving tomorrow? Am I maybe just a little too excited about that? Nah. Can't be too excited about New!Bookcase.


lagilman: coffee or die (Default)
Laura Anne Gilman

October 2017

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