Archive for 'technology' Category
I’ve been playing around with IfTTT, an interesting tool to help you automate your online presence. Basically it gives you the ability to say if this happens in my online accounts, then make that happen.
For example, I’m testing it out with three different “recipes”. Each one starts with my “if this” which is, “If I post a new video to my account on YouTube.” What I wanted was that if I posted something new I could automatically post it to this blog, to my Twitter account and make a note in Evernote. Each one has to be a separate recipe, but I created them and will be posting some video in the near future as a test.
I learned about IfTTT from Jamie Todd Rubin who is a major proponent of going paperless and also a pretty accomplished author. While I’m not entirely ready to go paperless, I do enjoy learning where I can automate my life to make things so much easier and get more done.No Comments | Catergorized: geek technology
Yesterday I came to the startling (re)discovery that I write, specifically stories, much better with pen and paper than I do on the computer. Despite having tons of great writing applications, especially Scrivener, my pace of thought and idea flow works better when I am physically writing than typing. So I’ve started a new project as a test and am rewriting a short story in a large Moleskine sketchbook that has already progressed further than I expected in just a day of recompiling notes, plots and characters from its Scrivener project.
Don’t get me wrong; I’m not abandoning the digital process. I’m just going to work with a method that seems to work better for me at this stage of writing. Once done I’ll pop everything in to Scrivener and do my editing (which I do better on the computer anyways, based on experience) and finalizations.
Ah, pen and paper. How I’ve missed you!
UPDATE: Though I’m using pen and paper, I completely identify with this guy who uses a typewriter:
When I’m using Microsoft Word, staring at that bright screen kind of zaps some of the creative process from me, and there are lot of distractions with laptops. Plus, I’m one of the biggest self-editors. I’ll write something and instead of forging ahead like you should, I’ll go back and start tweaking things. With a typewriter, you need conviction. If you want to go back and fix something, you have to white it out or edit it later. So it helps me sustain momentum and get to the piece.Comments Off | Catergorized: technology writing
The last time around, towards the end of the 90s, we saw companies build out the DotCom era on such flimsy business plans as shipping dog food for free with no actual profit margin. Investors poured billions of dollars into these companies seeking magical revenues. Of course the whole thing exploded because it was magic, not real.
Now we’re seeing it again. Facebook is about to go public and folks are saying it is worth billions and billions of dollars. That’s fine, though I’m skeptical. But now Facebook is buying a little photo sharing app called Instagram for about a billion dollars. So now the company that is probably over valued is buying another little company for far more than it is probably worth. Seriously, buying a photo sharing application for a billion dollars is ridiculous.
I’m seeing the next DotCom explosion, and this time it looks like it is at least partially self-funding. This seems far more dangerous to me than the last time around.Comments Off | Catergorized: grrr technology thoughts
This is a wonderful idea. Someone came up with the idea of using various Google products to create a sort of active journal for their child, as demonstrated in this video called Dear Sophie. Very touching, and a seriously good idea. I’m just wondering if there’s an easy way to do this without using Google…Comments Off | Catergorized: kids technology
Someday, when I’m loaded with tons of expendable cash and time, I think I want to get an Eigenharp to play with. For an example of what you can do with this thing check out this video of someone new to the Eigenharp playing a theme from Bear McCreary’s Battlestar Galactica soundtrack. If you search on YouTube for Eigenharp a ton of other videos show up, too.
The only drawback I see is that it is a completely electronic instrument. I suppose the tapping could be considered percussion but otherwise, after an apocalypse, you’re kind of screwed. Still, awesome instrument!1 Comment | Catergorized: audio technology
You know I rarely mention products on my blog unless I believe in them and use them myself*. Even then I rarely endorse products because I simply hate marketing, advertising and propaganda. That being said, I’m about to make a product endorsement. After the earthquake and resultant tsunami in Japan I decided it was time I update the family survival kit. I had one that was years old and completely out of date that could only support one person. Not good enough! Now that I’m married and have a wee child on the way I didn’t want to be caught unprepared whenever the next big one strikes San Francisco.
So I did research and eventually settled on two kits from Survival Kits Online. I chose them because of the quality and thoroughness of their kits primarily, but also because their price was hard to beat. I picked up a two-person kit and a four-person kit. The first for the car so that Rosa would be covered where ever she was, and the bigger kit for home.1 Comment | Catergorized: san francisco technology
This morning started with an interesting discussion about replacing all energy consumption with hemp oil. What this has to do with IT, manga or anime I don’t know but there it is. The debate got heated (we failed to follow the rules) and eventually the other fellow walked away in a huff. He said, in essence, that hemp oil could essentially fix all our energy problems. I disagreed saying hemp oil couldn’t resolve even one energy problem. Later he came and apologized for his overreaction and I’ve since sent him an email with most of what appears below to give him some insight. I thought it worth sharing.
With best estimates, hemp can produce about 100 gallons per acre.
Using outdated information from 2004, America consumes about 140,000,000,000 gallons of gas per year.
Hemp can be harvested every 120 days, which gives about 3 harvests a year in an idealized world (which we do not have).
140,000,000,000/100 = 1,400,000,000 acres required from a single hemp harvest to equal gasoline consumption. However, let’s go with the hypothetical three harvests a year:
1,400,000,000/3 = 466,666,666 acres needed if we can get three harvests a year.
466,666,666 acres = 729,166 square miles. America is 3,537,441 square miles, which seems like a lot. However, of that land only 635,038 square miles are usable (based on 406,424,909 acres of cropland).
635,038 is less than 729,166, so not only could we not grow enough hemp, but we wouldn’t be able to produce any crops and we would starve. Incidentally, hemp will not grow in some environments so usable acreage is actually smaller. Even more damning is the fact that gasoline is already processed for consumption; hemp oil would need to be processed as well, which would reduce the volume actually produced. There is also hemp’s lesser fuel efficiency to factor into the equation. Clearly hemp oil cannot replace gaoline on any sort of equal footing.
All of this only addresses automobiles gasoline consumption; it doesn’t touch upon electrical or natural gas consumption.
The problem with the whole argument isn’t necessarily that my coworker was wrong. It’s that he listens to and blindly agrees with pundits that say things like, “Hemp oil can replace gasoline!” The best thing for the world would be to stop believing people on the radio, television and in books who talk like they know what they are saying but possibly don’t. Look up the facts for yourself. Use a critical mind even -and maybe especially- with people you agree. Don’t get sucked into the belief, so prevalent today, that one way is absolutely correct and everything else is wrong. Remember wise Yoda: “Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.”
In this case The Suffering is our world and so many people on it. Our inability to find fact-based solutions to problems because so many people are blinded by ideas and beliefs has, and will continue to, give rise to too many evils.1 Comment | Catergorized: grrr science technology thoughts
Does any WordPress guru out there know how to close comments on old posts, but exclude old pages? I would like old post comments to be closed automatically but leave old page comments open. By default the current WordPress (3.1.1) seems to treat both types as “articles” in the Admin > Settings > Discussion section where you can set a date for comment expiration. I’ve done searches on this and have started in on finding a plugin but so far: nothing.
Any help?Comments Off | Catergorized: site technology
Yesterday’s post about the success of indie writer Amanda Hocking brought my attention to a new indie book publishing site called Manfred Macx. The site, and innovative business model, are the creation of Jon Renaut in Washington DC. I love the idea, and I love his enthusiasm.
What I don’t know is what makes some writers, like Amanda Hocking and many others, choose to distribute their work directly through existing online publishers like Smashwords instead of other services like Manfred Macx. What drives their choices? Further, what are the choices? Can you distribute through multiple channels or do you get locked into one single distribution point?
Much of this is a mystery to me. What is yet clear, though, is that having an agent is still important. What might be more important, however, is having an agent who is aware of all of these choices and will advise you fairly.3 Comments | Catergorized: books technology
Reading about Amanda Hocking makes me wonder if I should give up the idea of trying to get published the traditional way and focus on eReader platforms like Kindle. She has something like eight books (and one novella) out and has apparently sold almost half a million dollars in January alone. That’s a nice paycheck. I could use even half of that!
It used to be said that if you self published then you were dooming yourself to never getting a traditional book deal. As technology is advancing it is becoming clear that, at least for some individuals, this is less and less of an issue. In Amanda Hocking’s case she probably has a better deal going it on her own than if she had a book deal. I say “probably” because who knows? If she had a regular book deal she might have turned into the Next Big Thing™ and would have loads more sales and opportunities on all fronts.
But you never know, and she’s doing quite well on her own, and she’s calling her own shots within the context of having an agent. Apparently going indie or traditional, the job of an agent is still going to be important… And since one of her series has been optioned to be a movie it’s possible we’ll hear a lot more from this young 26 year old.
I’m not exactly jealous. Envious might be a better word. You can check out Amanda’s blog here.1 Comment | Catergorized: books technology thoughts