Delving into the universe of Photography

Sunset at Titlow Beach

Sunset at Titlow Beach

I have recently decided to get into the universe of Photography. Universe as there is a lot, I mean a lot of information out there.

I love being creative, and the charm of photography nowadays is the instant gratification of a shot when you have digital cameras.

This might help me with my writing too.

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Writing Tools Part Unknown

I forgot how many posts I put up on Writing Tools. I think this might be Part II or Part III.

Anyways, I think I have discovered the Writing Tool I have been looking for.

Scrivener.

Originally made for the Mac, it has been ported over to Windows. Also there is a linux beta version.

The linux version works perfectly on my archlinux netbook. Synced to my dropbox and I am a happy camper, er writer.

The thing that helped me drop money on Scrivener was that I discovers a blog that has working discount for Scrivener which can be found at http://smworth.blogspot.com/2012/02/scrivener-coupon-codes.html

The discounts range from 20% to 50% if you are a winner in Nanowrimo. Meaning you wrote a novel of 50,000 words during Nanowrimo.

Reasons I like Scrivener.

It helps keep me organized. Seriously, I am really bad at keeping things in one spot. I have notes all over four harddrives, three computers, thumbdrives and across the internet. I guess if things go down, I have backups. Note: I have used and liked yWriter. Unfortunately, Linux doesn’t like yWriter and I cannot get it to work. The mono that is needed for it hasn’t been updated and that is that.

I can do fullscreen without distractions. I have several free programs that do this, but then I have to port it to organize it. I am lazy.

There are a lot more features but this is what I have so far.

Nearly endless quest for writing tools

The eternal struggle to find the writing tools I think I need is coming to an end.

I hope.

I just read that some SciFi writers have been using the venerable WordStar for pretty much all their careers.

I must have it.

Some time later, I tried getting a program called joe in arch linux. Since I have been using arch linux for my netbook, I figured I should try to get something that emulated WordStar. Got it to work, but a real pain to configure properly. I ended up giving up on it.

After much teeth gnashing and late nights, I have come to the conclusion of using RoughDraft 3. It hasn’t been updated since 2005 or so, but it works. I like RD as it has a notepad connected on the right side, which I can make vanish if needed. Pretty useful to have something there for notes that don’t clutter up my writing. Since I went back to trying out RD for a while, I figured I needed to put it on my arch linux netbook.

Then there was more gnashing of teeth and a not too long night.

Apparently the RD program requires me to have a printer selected in Windows for it to install. Doesn’t matter if I am not connected to a printer at all. Just need to have one in setup.

Working with arch linux has been fun and frustrating. I spent a few hours working on trying to get a printer thing going. I had to download a package called cups. Also more stuff to get cups to work. Find out that I only need a cups-client or something like that. Hours of runaround.

I eventually gave up on having RD on my netbook.

In RD, I liked the prose mode it has. Meaning, auto-indent feature. Pretty any program has that feature, but I love the minimalist interface.

Looking at my other preferred writing software, FocusWriter, it also is minimal in the interface department. I wished it had the auto-indent feature.

In checking out a test document I typed in RD, I put in Dropbox and opened it up on my netbook with FocusWriter. Looking at one of the sentences, I pressed the tab button.

The tab is the same as the auto-indent in RD.

I am in business.

Side note: I got wireless activated in my netbook. Primary reason was so that I can promptly update Dropbox with my work just in case the worst happens and my netbook got trashed somehow. I also have a thumbdrive for on site backup of the entire Dropbox folder.

Now I just need to write and stop surfing the damn net 🙂

New program for outlining

I was out and about happily surfing the web looking for a nifty program to help me with my outlining/designing my novel.

Lo and behold! I think I hath found such a program.

It is called Keepnote from http://keepnote.org/

So far it works for all my systems, mainly windows and linux. It seems to be what I have been looking for.

Now I have been working on getting my structure down tight. The key scenes according to Story Engineering are being thought out. Helpful to keep Larry Brook’s material on my nook so I can reference it as I go.

Wish me luck 🙂

Update: Keepnote has been dropped from my useful programs. At least for the time being. When I have created another notebook inside Keepnote for two seperate stories, it merged them together into one file.

I wasn’t happy. Not happy at all.

Ipad 2 and why I won’t buy it

I have been considering an Ipad 2 for a little while now. Especially since my Acer netbook is having video problems. I have resorted to my older laptop for writing at work, but it is heavy. Light and mobile is what I am wanting.

Ipad 2 with a bluetooth keyboard has my eye.

The deal breaker so far is it lacks usb ports. That is my preferred method of transferring files and backups via external hard drive. Since I have window machines, an apple tablet would not do.

If anything, I might get a macbook air, macbook, or at the extreme end of my budget if I manage to save enough over a year, a macbook pro.

Even though those seem sexy and desirable, I most likely get another netbook or ultraportable (cheap one) with windows as that is what I am most familiar with.

I seen a netbook model that has windows 7 64 bit, (wow). I just upgraded my old desktop with win7 home premium 64 bit this year and they have a laptop that is similar?

I plan on using the netbook for writing and surfing the web. Intention is on writing first and mobility was an issue, but more battery power is key. The Toshiba satellite I have is currently fitting the bill for now. Just getting a bit of a workout carrying the sob. Learning that I get more juice not using the web at work when at lunch and just write.

From my past experience though, I might just leave the laptop at home and just take notes at work. I noticed that I hardly every wrote anything away from home. I have a digital voice recorder and always have a pen and paper on hand. With that past experience in mind, I may have to forget getting a new netbook or ultraportable for the foreseeable future.

Might be fiscally responsible for me.

 

Revisiting Dragon Naturally Speaking

Today I am going to talk about Dragon NaturallySpeaking 10 Standard Edition. I got this program a few years back with the intention of aiding in my writing endeavors. I barely used it.

Originally I installed it on my Vista laptop that was a 32-bit system. It didn’t work too well at first.

The gripes I had are as follows:

  1. the training didn’t work too well for some reason. I assumed that my AC unit was interfering with the noise. I don’t want to turn my AC unit off because it was a really hot summer.
  2. the headset that came with it was too tight on my head. It was actually painful putting it on my head.
  3. this space reserved for another gripe.
I stopped using it for about a year. Then I got myself a net book. I decided to try it on the net book. It didn’t work as well as I hoped. It was too slow. Upon reflection, I might have had unrealistic expectations. Then again, I did spend $100 on this software.
So, DNS sat unused in my apartment for about another year.
By the time my tax return came around, I decided to upgrade my desktop computer. Put in Windows 7 64-bit home premium. A new graphics card, and upgraded the RAM to 8 GB.
I decided to install Dragon NaturallySpeaking 10 and see how it works on the upgraded system.
it is working fantastically. I am very much impressed with how it recognizes my speech, my words with few errors. There still some learning for me to do. I suspect that my RAM might have something to do with it. Also I went back to using the original wired headset that came with the package. I just have been bending the headset so it isn’t so tight on my skull.
For the most part, I have been dictating this posting with Dragon NaturallySpeaking 10 with a few corrections via voice and keyboard. I even have the air conditioning window unit going as I speak. It is doing just fine.

Writing software

For years I have searched for programs for making writing easier. I was searching for the holy grail that would write my story, send it out and I would rake in the millions that was my due.

Years later, I wised up and learned that there is no such thing as easy when it comes to writing. Nevertheless, I still looked for nifty writing programs.

I eventually came across someone’s blog about writing. He mentioned that a program must be able to save in rich text format. That was a mind blowing revelation. Using rich text means you can open and edit that document with nearly any word processor out there. That makes it valuable in case your expensive, multifunction word processor goes belly up for some reason.

With that in mind, I refined my searchings. I already had Word 2007, yWriter, and Roughdraft. I discovered jDarkroom as a simple writer that saves in txt. I like the minimalist of jdark, but need a bit more functionality. http://www.codealchemists.com/jdarkroom/

Then I discovered Liquid Story Binder from Black Obelisk Software. It was $45 but after playing around with it, I dropped the cash. LSB is cool that I can run it from a portable thumb drive. It is extremely customizable. I currently use LSB exclusively for writing. http://www.blackobelisksoftware.com/

For designing novels, Snowflake Pro is a must have. Designed by Randy Ingermanson, it helps in designing a novel.  http://www.advancedfictionwriting.com/info/snowflake_pro/

There are other programs I have, but will mention them in another post.