Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Operation New Desk: Sub-Optimal Areas of Organization

Sunday, January 10th, 2016

To Avoid Hell, Organization Requires Commitment

So, some time ago, the day job negotiated renovated office space… and a lot of office equipment was offered up to employees. I snagged an adjustable desk because I want to set up a treadmill desk. I measured etc and confirmed the desk would fit in my room. I found a college student with a truck and arranged to get the desk to my house. The desk isn’t huge but it’s not light. But also, I was in the middle of trying to finish My Demon Warlord and Seduction in Winter and so I ended up having the guy park the desk in the living room until I had time to clear out drawers etc…

And there the desk stayed. For a really really long time. Because desk drawers. Because all the stuff I had on the desk… And the closet and and…. And every spare minute needed to go into writing.  Organization requires commitment of heart and time. If you stop halfway into an organization project you might as well go live in hell.

I was starting to hate the desk, taking up space in the living room on its end… A too-inviting target for small dogs.

And I was dreading the work…

But then I finished My Demon Warlord and sent it to the copy editor and whoo-hoo! My son was still home for Winter break and I finally had time to spend with him. I had him set up Apple TV when he got here and then signed up for the free trial of Netflix. And he had been watching Netflix. With my break between books he and I watched the first episodes of Jessica Jones, Daredevil, and Sense8. Then we watched several episodes of Jessica Jones and then he went back to school.

Sub-Optimal Areas of Organization

And so, there I was with a long New Year weekend and a desk taking up space and so began Operation New Desk Binge Watch. I emptied desk drawers and surfaces and other places of  . . . let’s be kind and call them “sub-optimal areas of organization” and I brought out the shredder and put all this “stuff” into boxes and watched Jessica Jones while I shredded and sorted and discarded and found new homes for things. Rinse and repeat. When I ran out of Jessica Jones, I started on Daredevil.

Then I was exhausted. But yesterday, I looked at my office with my old icky desk cleaned off but still with a broken drawer and said “I’m going in!”

Only Slightly Bruised

I got the old desk out by myself because it’s not all that heavy, just 20 years old and, well, it’s had a broken drawer for years and no holes for cables so I wasn’t even sorry to see it go out. My brother was over, and he helped me maneuver the “new” desk in. My right toenail is only slightly bruised, I swear.

Then I set up the computer and dropped the cables through the cable holes in the back and Whoo-hoo!!

Phase Two Point Five

So it turns out I need a keyboard tray for the desk, which whatever. I ordered one on Amazon last night — while I was in bed with the lights off. THIS is how technology improves our lives. Since the new desk does not have drawers, today I’m going to buy something suitable that the printer can sit on (currently it’s on the floor) with drawers so I can proceed to Phase 3.

Phase Three

Phase three is to go through all the stuff I didn’t discard and figure out where to store it. Some will go in the Phase 2.5 pedestal thingee and the rest will be relocated to …. somewhere else.

Because of the NSA case, I have a lot of documents that need to be preserved, which is an additional challenge but might as well have it all in the same box, right?

Verdict

Jessica Jones is an awesome series. I love her so hard. I didn’t love Daredevil until about 4 episodes in but then I did. I’m on Sense8 now and I’m blown away at how great this series is. Normally, when I see TV it’s something from the more traditional channels and I watch maybe 2 times a year. But these shows have women doing awesome things and people of all colors and no one is being safe about writing, especially Jessica Jones. Though, a couple of times on Daredevil I thought some of the dialogue was pretty clunky and maybe they needed to call a lawyer a couple of times to get a grounding in how the law might actually work. I’m only a few episodes into Sense8 but yay for a show that isn’t just straight white guys!

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Technology Woes . . . My Sob Story

Tuesday, October 20th, 2015

So, a couple of days ago my 2011 model iMac began misbehaving in a worrisome way. I got the soonest Genius Bar appointment possible and it was still too late. Yesterday it basically died. Yesterday was the same day my replacement phone arrived and with the dead iMac, my phone backup was unavailable. Because of our internet situation here (only recently resolved mostly) I never dared back up to iCloud. Not possible. So… I backed up the phone to my Macbook and for some reason it would only encrypt the backup but without ever asking me to give it a password. NEVER HAPPENED. And it wanted this nonexistent password in order to restore my backup to the new phone.

The workaround is a backup to iCloud. So, OK. Our internet is OK enough to risk it.  I started at 7:00PM and at 4:30 this morning it was still going. And at 5:30 it just quit. No error message. No nothing. Just “Your backup could not be completed” or else, no message at all. So I took it to work and tried a backup to a Windows machine. Same thing. Encrypted backup. NO opportunity to give a password. I tried iCloud again. Nope.

Finally, the nice lady at Apple wondered if I had enough space in iCloud. Well, I had no idea how big the phone backup is. Apple doesn’t tell you.

Long story short, the answer is no. Apple just swallows a “you don’t have enough space” error message and misses the upsell opportunity too.

Then I got the extra storage and that took two hours for the phone to believe I had it, and THEN the backup succeeded.

THEN the restore was stuck on “1 hour remaining” for three hours.

I went to my other office where they have super duper internet and started over with the restore and it took 20 minutes. TWENTY MINUTES!!!!!

JFC.

This was nothing but a series of error conditions that Apple should be trapping. I have suspicions about the backup though. And since I will be back on the phone with them tomorrow to explain my resolution and complain a bit, I’ll relay the possibility that iPhone encrypted backup process  doesn’t work when the drive is already encrypted.

::Sigh::

Anyway, My Demon Warlord is going well. I’m doing the final paper read-through so the dead iMac could be worse.

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My Cousin David

Wednesday, March 25th, 2015

My cousin David was born eight years before me. His family lived in Oregon, mine lived in California, but we got to Oregon often enough that I knew I liked him. He was happy and always smiling. When I published my first novel, he wrote me a lovely letter of congratulations and excitement. He wrote me other letters over the years, and they were always funny and heartfelt, and sometimes he just wrote to tell me how much he admired my writing. One time, when Northern California was in the national news for rain and flooding, he sent me a letter with an expandable sponge in it, in case we needed it to mop up. I laughed hard when I read his letter and saw the sponge. I shared it with family, and they laughed, too. Because it was funny.

When I lived in San Francisco, he contacted me because his daughter was going to be in the city and he wanted to make sure she would be all right. I was happy to help. Not just happy, but grateful to have the opportunity. She wanted to see the Haight so while she was visiting, we went to the Haight and walked around. San Francisco is a great walking around city, and the Haight is fun.

Today, I read that the customers in the store where he worked part-time for 25 years remembered him as a happy, generous, helpful man. One person recalled that David had once given him his own paper because the store was sold out. That sounds like David. There was a video with the article, but I couldn’t bring myself to watch it.

I always thought one of these days I’d get to Salt Lake City and visit him, and now I can’t.

He was killed in a robbery, and I will miss him forever.

 

Update: Last week and today (Apr-20-2015) there were arrests in his murder.

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Winner!

Monday, May 5th, 2014

Through the magic of “And the Winner Is” the winner of my blog’s birthday bash is . . .

Amy

If you haven’t yet seen my email, contact me with your full name and mailing address.

Congratuations!

I enjoyed reading everyone’s responses. It was a lot of fun.

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NCAA –

Saturday, March 22nd, 2014
RoundMAJNVJQPCLJ
1Picked SLO &
Harvard. WTF!
quietly chuckles"Kiss of Death"WHO would pick HARVARD?
2West:
Arizona
San Diego St.
Creighton
Oregon

Midwest:
Wichita
Louisville
Tennessee
Michigan

south:
Florida
Steven F. Austin
Dayton
Kansas

East:
Virginia
Michigan St.
Iowa State
Conn
West:
Arizona
San Diego St.
Creighton
Wisconsin

Midwest:
Wichita
Louisville
Tennessee
Michigan

south:
Florida
UCLA
Syracuse
Kansas

East:
Virginia
Michigan St.
Iowa State
Conn
West:
Arizona
San Diego St
Creighton
Wisconsin

Midwest:
Wichita
Louisville
Tennessee
Michigan

south:
Florida
UCLA
Syracuse
Stanford

East:
Virginia
Michigan St.
Iowa State
Villanova
West:
Arizona
San Diego St
Creighton
Wisconsin

Midwest:
Wichita
Louisville
Tennessee
Michigan

south:
Florida
UCLA
Syracuse
Kansas

East:
Virginia
Michigan St.
Iowa State
Conn
3West:
Arizona
Wisconsin

Midwest:
Louisville
Michigan

South:
Florida
Stanford

East:
Michigan St.
Conn
West:
Arizona
Wisconsin

Midwest:
Louisville
Michigan

South:
Florida
Stanford

East:
UVA
Iowa State
West:
Arizona
Wisconsin

Midwest:
Louisville
Michigan

South:
Florida
Dayton

East:
Mich St
Iowa St.
West:
Arizona
Wisconsin

Midwest:
Louisville
Michigan

South:
Florida
Stanford

East:
UVA
Iowa State
4West:
Arizona

Midwest:
Kentucky

South:
Florida

East:
Michigan St.
West:
Arizona

Midwest:
Michigan

South:
Florida

East:
Conn
West:
Wisconsin

Midwest:
Michigan

South:
Dayton

East:
Michigan St.
West:
Wisconsin

Midwest:
Michigan

South:
Florida

East:
Conn
Final FourKentucky
Florida
Wisconsin
Florida
Wisconsin
Florida
Wisconsin
Conn
Final TwoKentuckyKentuckyKentuckyConn.
49444548
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Memorial Fund

Saturday, March 22nd, 2014

On Friday, author Jackie Barbosa’s 17 year old son was killed in a traffic accident.

Take a moment to hug your loved ones, remember those you’ve lost, and grieve for Jackie and her family for this terrible loss.

There is a scholarship fund being set up in his memory.

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Gagdet Girl Writer: Pebble Watch

Sunday, November 24th, 2013

I’ve decided to do the occasional technology review blog as a sort of regular feature here. By regular I mean, more often than never. I actually have two topics I want to blog about, but I’ll do them separately. Moar fun for you!

Pebble Watch

Here’s a link to their website in case you want to get oriented. GetPebble.com.

I tried to get a picture of me wearing the watch but all of them came out awful. This one gives you an idea of what it looks like.

A rectangular watch with a red frame

Red!

It costs $150.00 which is not that unreasonable for a watch, but also more than a feature-laden digital watch. They come in other colors, and I was tempted by orange, but I got red. Because. It is a large watch, but not clunky. I think it’s a nice compromise between being big enough to do stuff and small enough not to look dorky. However, the watch makes a statement, on account of size alone. Personally, I like the way it looks. It comes with multiple time display styles, by the way. The one you see in the picture just happens to be my favorite at the moment.

What does it do?

It has an eInk display and it syncs with your smart phone via bluetooth. Why is this neat? Read on. I should mention, though, what it does not do. You cannot take phone calls on it. You cannot tweet from it. Both of those things would really have to be voice or one touch screen activated if you didn’t want to run the risk of killing yourself through inattention to the world around you. The screen is not active.

Here’s a few things it does: It can receive and display notices that go to your phone. Incoming calls, missed calls, texts, tweets, apps. Yes, you can tell it which apps to sync with in case you don’t want to see tweets on your watch or what have you.

Like a lot of smart apps these days, there are useful things about this that do not occur to you when you don’t have it. For example, unlike other watches, this is software driven. Just because the Pebble doesn’t do something now doesn’t mean it won’t in the future.

Things my other watch does

For years, I’ve been buying digital watches because they have features I find more helpful than fashion. Here’s a list of some of the features I don’t want to give up:

  1. Multiple alarms that I can set for weekdays, daily, weekends, or off.
  2. Timer
  3. Stopwatch
  4. Portability

Multiple alarms? I love that about my Casio. I love that I can set the alarm for work and not have to remember to turn it off for weekends. I love that I can have a separate daily alarm to remind me to put the chickens up and another for when it’s time to stop at the day job when I’m working from home. I love that I can turn off an alarm when I know I want it in future, but not today, or for a stretch of days.

The timer, for example, keeps me from burning stuff in the kitchen. I’ll get the coffee going and then wander off and get lost in chapter 1…. Yeah. Saves me ALL the time.

Stopwatch. I do exercise.

Portability. It’s on my wrist! When the timer goes off, I’m right there to hear it!

How does the Pebble stack up with these needs?

Pebble Up

My NeedDoes Pebble do it?
Multiple alarms that I can set for weekdays, daily, weekends, or off.Multiple alarms: Yes
Variable days: No
Set to off: No
Timer

No
StopwatchSupercharged!
PortabilityYes

As you can see, it’s a mixed bag. I could muddle along doing other things for alarms, but that would be not so great. The lack of a timer is enough that I can’t see myself entirely switching. I’m hoping there’s functionality I can add to get a timer feature.

Synchronicity

This watch syncs with my phone. That means the time is correct and that I can’t accidentally reset it (which happens with the Casio from time to time). It syncs with runkeeper, a handy app for tracking exercise that moves across space. (Runkeeper would not be so useful for a treadmill, I don’t think, or a stationary bike — but hey, it’s RUNkeeper.) This is awesome because you can just glance at your watch and see a bunch of stuff related to your workout, including a heart monitor, if you have one. That’s a win for me.

So far I LIKE the text on the watch feature. A lot. In fact, I was driving when I got a text and all I had to do was glance at the watch which was right there on my wrist. Nice.

I like that I don’t have to dig out my phone to see why it’s pinging.

A Few Other Things

You have to charge the watch occasionally. Oh well. It’s software and that means things can stop working. I find Bluetooth (this is a general statement) pretty frustrating because it sometimes it decide, well eff you, I’m not connecting to anything any more.

I never have to wonder if I need to reboot my Casio.

Wishlist

Color display. Sorry but as a consumer, color is cooler. I totally get why it’s not, and the eInk display means I can see what it says inside or outside. Yeah, whatever. I want that for eInk Kindles, too.

Sum Up

I like the watch. It’s better looking than my Casio, but doesn’t have all the features I would like. I am, however, going to search for a timer feature and see if anyone is working on better, more flexible alarms. The neat thing is, that unlike the Casio, which has the features it came with and that’s it, the Pebble can be updated.

Overall, a win.

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RWA – Wednesday Update

Wednesday, July 17th, 2013

I’m in Atlanta for the RWA National conference. Today is sort of a pre-conference day with not much going on until the Literacy signing tonight. If you’re in the Atlanta area, please stop by! 5:30pm to 7:30pm. I’m signing Not Proper Enough but I have a few copies of My Darkest Passion.

More tomorrow as the conference gets underway.

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Over There

Thursday, April 25th, 2013

Over at the Risky Regencies, I’m giving away 3 copies of My Dangerous Pleasure at The Risky Regencies.

You should go there. Check it out.

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Success and the Busy Life

Thursday, August 23rd, 2012

The other day someone I know was talking about this great idea he was prototyping– very slowly because he does not have much time. It actually is an awesome idea. He mentioned he wanted to make some money from this. He has a young child and another on the way so time is at a premium for him. He wants to be with his kids. Of course! But a few minutes later, he went to lunch with co-workers. I did not. On my lunch hour, I wrote 500 words on the novel in progress.

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