Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

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Hawt Apps

January 11, 2008

In the past week, while preparing for more freelancing and ways to maximize my productivity (and feeling of contact with the outside world), I’ve started using a host (a host, I say!) of new programs and applications for everything from blogging to blog-reading, to writing and outlining. Some of these are temporary (that is, demo) solutions or experiments. Others are, fingers crossed, more long-term.

Here’s what I’m using and why you should be trying them, too:

Firebug for Firefox gives you a startlingly informative look at the HTML and CSS of any site you visit. I see this as an educational tool, more than anything, so whether you’re experienced with the internet language or are just a curious noob, do get this free thing.

Scribefire for Firefox lets me write blogs in a little window that overlaps my various tabs and stuff. It’s awkward insofar as it does not feel like WordPress’s interface (which I use for serious blogging), but is good for little notes and quick updates. Also, for this one.

NetNewsWire is now free! (Thanks to Adam Emo for the notice.) This is the only feed-reader I’ve ever really liked, but I didn’t want to shell out for it. No worries, now. In general, I actually don’t like feed-readers that much, ’cause I like to go and see site designs and get the whole local experience, but this is great for letting me know when to go and take a look at various sites. If you’re using some other feed-reader, do give this a shot now that it’s free. Free! It’s free. By the way.

I’m experimenting with Scrivener again, and liking it better than I did before. My gut reaction is still that I’d rather use real note cards and stuff, but also that I am not using this software to the best of its ability. I’m just on a free trial of it right now, but if it helps me with the comic script I want to work on, or the short fiction I’m writing currently, then it may be worth the $40 at some point down the line. As I’ve said before about this software, though, do give the free trial a shot.

Celtx, meanwhile, is totally free and quite nice for scripting of various sorts. You can keep your Final Draft and its hideous expense — this free software more than makes up for any absent features by being, you know, free. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but I dig free programs. Like, a lot.

Music: Soul Coughing, “$300”

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When I’m Away

August 13, 2007

I’m concerned now that, when I’m out of town at Gen Con, my wife will throw a bat mitzvah for the dog.

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I Have Been Totally Pwned By…

January 5, 2007

NEXTWAVE 11
Originally uploaded by stuartimmonen.

Nextwave #11 is genius.

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The New Joint

January 1, 2007

The new Blogger is here, but it won’t do what I need it to, so I’m exploring new blogging alternatives. After four years with Blogger, and months of waiting for widgets and taggable entries and better archiving, I’ve had to move on. The new Blogger has a lot of really stellar features and is still a great choice for lots of folks, but a lot of its new functionality is useless to me unless I publish through blogspot.com, which I don’t care to do.

In contrast, WordPress asks me to surrender some flexibility for functionality, and these days that’s fine with me. I’m not longer honing my web-app skills in case I need them for work, and I’m no longer maintaining any company’s website, so I can afford to give up some options in exchange for simplicity and utility. Once the folks hosting our site at wordstudio.net get their database software launched and updated later this month, I should even be able to move all this noise back to the Wordstudio domain and learn a bit of MySQL in the process. In the meantime, though, I’m giving up random pictures in the upper-right corner and the benefits of my domain name to pick up some great commenting features, categories, better archiving and a few behind-the-scenes bells and whistles. Best of all, WordPress is more or less free (though I paid for the CSS-editing upgrade). So far, I like it here and would recommend it to others. (Warren Ellis is on a WordPress blog, too, if you want to see another example of this stuff in action.)

In the course of making this shift, I stumbled on the Firebug add-on for Firefox and, sweet honey, is that a great thing to have. Hover your mouse over any site to see its bounding boxes and CSS working revealed, then fiddle with them in real time to see how your changes will look on screen. It’s fabulous.

As part of this whole move, I’ve imported a few posts from a particularly good run of blogging I had in October, but the rest of my archives are currently irretrievable from Blogger. (In fact, they may be lost altogether, which is a delight.) Finally, I’ve dropped in a couple of posts that I’ve had sitting around as drafts for a while, so you’ll have something new to look at. More of those to come, yet.

I’ve also, obviously, redesigned the site a bit, which I’ve been meaning to do for some time. The title’s different, the design’s a little simpler, the sidebar’s bigger and it’s all got more room to grow. To me, it’s like I’ve opened a window (a real window, like on a house, you techno-obsessed maniac) and let some new air in. It’s nice in here.

Ideally, the new-hotness quality of all this will get me blogging more frequently. That, in turn, will make me more productive in general, as I strive to have more to share with you. Thus, hopefully, I’ll feel more active and get some creative momentum in the New Year. Fingers crossed.

So that’s what’s what. What do you think of the new look and the new digs? Don’t be stranger. If you’re there, drop me a comment with your two cents in it.

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Change of Venue

January 1, 2007

ATTENTION!
Update your bookmarks, boys and girls, ’cause this page is on the move. For the visible future I will be keeping my blog (now with a pun-free title) at WordPress.com. Find it here:

https://thegist.wordpress.com

You’ll find a new RSS feed there, too, for those of you who are into such things. Want to know why I’m switching (or experimenting with switching)? I’ll write about it over on the new blog.

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Some of the Christmas Things

January 1, 2007

Holy shit, Sara bought me one of them new Tassimo machines. Excuse me, I mean “hot beverage system.” Whatever you call the thing, I’ve been running it ragged over the last week. The first one we got burned out in two days, but the replacement unit seems to be running fine.

No longer do I have to walk a couple blocks and drop four bucks to get my frou-frou coffee drinks. No longer do I have to burn calories to buy more of them. Now I can just drop these weird plastic pucks into this European-seeming contraption and get a vaguely minimalist, futuristic beverage in seconds.

If it sounds like I don’t love it, it’s because I’m defensively ironic. The thing is bitching. Right now I’m drinking a makeshift mocha (1 espresso disc + 1 hot chocolate disc + 1 latte disc), my third coffee drink of the day, and the total cost for today’s coffee indulgance is less than US$4. Merry Christmas to me.

Meanwhile, my folks got me Dave Shea and Molly Holzschlag’s The Zen of CSS Design, the companion book to Shea’s excellent CSS Zen Garden site. The book is a little light on some of the explanations I would’ve liked — it assumes we readers know more than I do — but it’s still clarifying and informative. Good stuff.

These two gifts together presumably explain what’s happened both here and at my actual-play Vampire blog, A Requiem for Atlanta.

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Free Books Are Blessed.

December 25, 2006

When free books are read aloud by John Hodgman, also for free, they are double-blessed. How it slipped by me, I don’t know (I blame my lack of internet access for the past three days), but apparently John Hodgman’s excellent audiobook version of Areas of My Expertise is now free at the iTunes store. If you finish this sentence without clicking over there and beginning to download your own free copy, then you are a slimy fuckwit without a dram of sense and we have nothing left to say to each other.

Aw, who am I kidding? It’s Christmas Eve. I’ll spot you this one. Just get the free book, you.