lizvogel: A jar of almonds that warns that it contains almonds. (Stupid Planet)
Yesterday, my laptop's keyboard spontaneously decided it wasn't going to work. At all. Rebooting didn't help, even unplugging and pulling the battery didn't help.

Today, it's spontaneously decided to work just fine again.

Technology, pah!

Test Post

Tuesday, April 18th, 2017 01:27 pm
lizvogel: text: I have more userpics on Dreamwidth (more userpics on Dreamwidth)
I just turned on beta testing for the "HTTPS Everywhere" feature -- this is just to make sure I can, in fact, actually post via my ancient browser and snail-slow internet connection.

ETA: Yup, that worked just fine.

January Word Count

Wednesday, February 1st, 2017 02:44 pm
lizvogel: Good / Bad (Good Bad)
original short fiction: 577
Falling From Ground: 2542

Total new words in January: 3119

Not quota, but not bad for a month that got eaten by the home improvement project from hell. I can't blame myself for not writing after a day of being up on a ladder with a sander until midnight. But in future, I need to manage projects so they don't consume time & energy that needs to be spent on writing.

I will note that the FFG progress was all in the first half of the month, and reasonably steady. If I'd kept that up, I'd have made quota no problem.

The short fiction was another chunk of Adrian Blissfield and the Night Train to Munich, which I apparently really can only write while on a train.

I totally failed on January's other goal, which was getting a new email account set up and tested. It was present in my mind a lot, but nowhere under my fingers.

(On the incentive side, the rat-bastards at my current email provider are discontinuing my account level. Given the way they've been taking away features and their general attitude, I didn't really expect them to honor what I bought as a "lifetime" account much longer, but it's not the sort of thing that would encourage me to give them more money even if I didn't already want to leave. To their credit, they are at least giving several months notice; to their shifty-eyed not-credit, my two different accounts have gotten two different offers to buy up, sent some weeks apart. Yeah, 'cause that looks like a company I can trust with my cash and my data. Not.)

For February: 5000 words, which is eminently do-able if writing is the priority it is supposed to be. And get the email going.

March Word Count

Sunday, April 10th, 2016 04:07 pm
lizvogel: Good / Bad (Good Bad)
So much for posting more often. ;-P

original short fiction: 2222
Total new words in March: 2222

Yeah, all right. Better than I feared, worse than I hoped, and I need to get my act in gear. (Not least because if the writing brain doesn't get exercised via writing, it takes it out in anxiety dreams. The last couple nights were doozies.)

What I hadn't realized is that I didn't submit anything in March. Bad writer. That flurry of stuff I sent out in February had mostly come back, so it's not like I didn't have inventory.

Made some progress with investigating new email services. Hushmail would be a contender except for the lack of spell-check; Inbox looks promising, but there's a couple things I can't check without a test account to play with. Must get my act in gear on that one!

April goals: Get the bloody Highway of Mirrors revision put to bed (still waiting on beta reader). Get email back to functionality. Get at least one story out, to the nice people who told me to send them something else if I had it. And get enough writing done that I can at least sleep at night.
lizvogel: Good / Bad (Good Bad)
My library's search function always offers a "Did you mean..." even if it finds what you asked for. I don't know who programmed the thing, but it clearly has no filters for names or anything that might be relevant for a library search. Its latest, however... no, search, when I asked for Larry Niven's Ringworld, I did not mean "larry naive ringworm".

...I think perhaps I will not write a children's book called Larry the Naive Ringworm.

Next Thing

Thursday, February 18th, 2016 05:45 pm
lizvogel: Good / Bad (Good Bad)
Oh, yeah, I forgot to mention the revisions are done.

Well, "done", of course. I spent an entire day on the last bit to be wedged in and decided it just wouldn't fit, so have set it aside. When the housemate & I both have some time free in our reading schedules (i.e., after book club), I'll print out two copies, see how it reads all-together for both of us, and then discuss the various bits that didn't fit and whether they're worth what it would variously take to fit them in. And then revise more as needed, though ghu knows I hope that's not very much.

And then I'll have a newly-revised manuscript and a new query, and I'll just need a new email provider so I can be confident of actually getting any replies. I cannot express how much I don't want to do the work to make that last happen.

November Word Count

Wednesday, December 9th, 2015 06:47 pm
lizvogel: Good / Bad (Good Bad)
Gods, I need to do a wordcount post for last month. If I'm not writing anything, I can at least total up what I've already written.

original short fiction: 5721
Falling From Ground: 248

Total new words in November: 5969

Hey, that's not bad! The short fiction is entirely "Cold Day In Spells"; a chunk of it's the same chunk that's been recycling around various versions, but there's plenty of new attached to it now. The FFG bit is the solution to my extended stuck-ness (about which there'll be a proper post someday, probably), so those few words carry much weight.

No querying, because in addition to working on a new query, my email provider has decided to randomly delete emails. Or not so randomly, as all the ones I'm sure are missing have subjects starting "Re: Query: ".... I need a new email provider, obviously, and querying's on hold til I find one.

December will be taken up with baking and the usual this time of year, but I'll sneak a few words in.

Still here....

Sunday, November 8th, 2015 12:36 pm
lizvogel: text: I have more userpics on Dreamwidth (more userpics on Dreamwidth)
I've been neglecting this journal lately. Partly that's just me; partly it's that I've been trying to be more active on another forum, and it seems I really do have a fixed (and small) amount of social-media-izing to go around.

I recognized this on Thursday, and then my internet went out for two days. (And the phone with it, just for extra isolation.) I do not think the universe is sympathetic to my attempts to keep up.
lizvogel: an old-school DOS prompt, with "Retro" in pixelated green italics (DOS Prompt Retro)
For Reasons, I prefer to write on rather elderly laptops; we're talking internal 3.5" drives and no "brick" on the power cord, here. On the plus side, I can usually get these free from folks who are only too happy to get them out of the closet or the basement. On the down side, they're often on their last pins when I get them, and... well.

It seems my latest elderly machine has finally given up the ghost. The screen has always been a bit flaky, but now it's just a blank glow, and none of the usual tricks or wiggles or thumps will help. RIP, I'm afraid. To add mockery to frustration, the back-up machine which I've been meaning to set up for a while seems to have died on the shelf; it worked when friends gave it to me some time ago, but now it's unresponsive to much of its keyboard and it won't boot. So I currently have no designated writing computer. I can work on newer machines, including the one I'm typing this on, so I'm not completely paralyzed, but it's just one more hurdle in a process that's already quite difficult enough, thank you.

Anybody out there got an old laptop they'd like to part company with? Requirements include working screen, keyboard, hard drive, and 3.5" floppy drive. A working battery is nice, but I've done without before.

(Please note: I'm not interested in anything that "just needs to have _____ repaired, and then it'll be fine" or "it doesn't boot, but I'm sure you could fix it!" I understand the impulse, but I've already got more broken computers than I can store. Functioning machines only, please.)

My next task is to go through my hefty stash of old machines and sort out what should just go for recycling, what to keep for parts, and what might be worth trying to fix. I've tended to keep everything for parts thus far, but that works a lot better in theory than in practice, and I really am out of storage space.

(Smartass comments about how I should just use modern hardware and software are not welcome. If you can't cope with the fact that I don't use what everybody else uses, you can post your objections straight to /dev/null.)
lizvogel: Run and find out, with cute kitten. (Run and Find Out)
(Well, as much as I can hate anything with the kitten being home, which isn't very much. :-) )

I bought a cell phone to help deal with the kitten emergency. Yes, me, a cell phone. Those who know me will appreciate just how desperate that means things were. ;-) I went with Tracfone because they seemed to have the best coverage map for our area, and because the phone I liked best anyway happened to be with Tracfone. (The fact that said phone was on sale for a whopping five bucks wasn't the deciding factor, but it didn't hurt any.)

I managed to activate the phone, add minutes, and do all the other basic set-up reasonably gracefully, given that I was dealing with, to me, hostile alien technology, and given that I had not one single nerve to spare. The difficulty came in accessing my voice-mail. I'd set it up easily enough; I just couldn't get into it to retrieve any messages I might have.

Since I'd given the number out to the few people most likely to be calling us with a live Mallory sighting, this added a measure of stress to a situation that really already had all the stress it could support and then some. I mean, I'd have kept the device chained to my side regardless, but it would have been nice to be able to go to sleep or take a shower without worrying that I'd miss THE call and never even be able to get the message to know about it.

So after a few days (because all Tracfone procedures include "wait 10 minutes" and "wait 24-48 hours" if it doesn't work right away), I called tech support.

I was on the phone for two mortal hours the first time -- on our land line, which needed to be clear to receive kitten calls -- talking to techs who did not speak English as a first language, on a connection that I'm sure Tracfone wouldn't use to advertise their wares to anybody who hadn't already given them money. ("Joshua" and "Roger", my ass.) The vast majority of that time was listening to their scripted versions of "my computer's fucking slow, please keep waiting", but they did run me through the set-up repeatedly, walking me through trying (and failing) to access my voice-mail, wash rinse repeat. It's a good thing I didn't have any vitally important messages, since one of their favorite things to try was to wipe everything and have me start over from scratch (without even the courtesy of warning me first). This finally ended with yet another wipe-and-re-set-up, and a "wait 24-48 hours". Yeah, right.

Shockingly, that still didn't work, so two days later there was another call to tech support. On a friend's cell phone, so I could keep the land line free. This involved a slightly better ESL-speaker on an even shittier connection, and much shouting of "I can barely hear you, can you repeat that?" He tried a variety of things including the entering of arcane codes in obscure places and pulling the battery (an experience in itself), and, of course, wiping everything and having me set it all up again. (Though at least he warned me.) And then, you guessed it, "wait 24-48 hours", in hopes that it would all magically start working, I guess.

At this point I'd pretty much given up on having voice-mail for the duration. Surprised I was to get a call from Tracfone customer service, pursuing the matter on their own initiative. (On the land line, of course, which was wildly inconvenient.) So as with every other technician (at least this one had a much-less-impenetrable accent), we went through the whole problem again, wiped everything back to factory, did all the set-up again, tried and failed to get into my voice-mail, and tried again, at which point this conversation ensued:

Me: "Okay, it's asking for my password. I'm entering my password... and I'm hitting OK."

Her: "No, don't hit OK."

Me: "...all right, what do I hit, then? Send?"

Her: "No, just type your password."

Me: "Then how do I tell it I'm done?" (For Tracfone passwords aren't a fixed length.)

Her (paraphrased): "Don't press anything, just put in your password."

Yes, folks, apparently the problem was that for Tracfone passwords, you just type the digits and wait for the phone to realize you're not going to give it anything else. By hitting OK (and on what the hell system do you not hit Enter or OK or some special key to indicate you're done with your input, especially on a non-fixed-length field but usually even on most fixed-length ones?!?) I was messing up the process, and the poor little system was dumping to "your call cannot be completed as dialed" because it didn't know how to cope with this exotic input.

Now, I used to work tech support. I am very good about telling a support tech everything that I am doing, even the obvious stuff. Which means I had told every tech every time I'd hit OK, and what with one thing and another that was about forty times.

If I had just had one single technician who (a) spoke English (b) on a decently clear line, and (c) knew their own system (and how to do their fucking job), the whole problem could have been resolved in five minutes. If there'd been decent instructions, there never would have been a problem in the first place.

I've since been told that Tracfone has a reputation for this; their equipment and coverage are good, but their tech support is awful. I have to agree. I'd originally bought the phone with the understanding (a.k.a. sop to my pride) that it was a "burn phone", and I could just let it expire after the emergency if I wanted to. However, I think I'll be keeping it active, in large part because otherwise I might have to go through the set-up process again! I suspect this, in fact, of being Tracfone's evil plan.

And away it goes!

Thursday, August 29th, 2013 10:05 am
lizvogel: Good / Bad (Good Bad)
Or rather, away it went! -- on Monday, as planned. The contest-entry story is well on its way and beyond my recall, both electronically and snail-mail-ily. Getting a version in RTF without it either losing or adding formatting was every bit as horrible as I remembered from the last time I dealt with RTF, but the result is readable, at least; hopefully they will look at the hard copy for reference if the electronic one becomes relevant (i.e., if they print it).

It's amazing how quickly my brain shifts away from a story once it's marked "done" in my mind (as opposed to all the other kinds of done). I quite meant to post this when I got back from the post office (and celebratory sushi) on Monday, but somehow managed to forget all about it. It makes sense, in a way; if the writing's going well, all the words I generate go to it. It's only if the writing's going poorly that I come on here and whine. ;-) Or if I'm not writing at all; I've had a nice couple of days off, but if I've got the energy to be writing Dreamwidth posts, I should probably get back to work.

Yeah, figured.

Friday, March 15th, 2013 03:42 pm
lizvogel: Good / Bad (Good Bad)
We have cable. We insisted on getting cable rather than satellite when we bought this house (lo, these many moons ago) for one very simple reason: It meant we could program multiple shows on multiple VCRs without having to plead for our signal through a separate tuner box, or be limited to whatever single channel a tuner box might be set to at any given time. Contrary to the belief of many people including a lot of those in the cable industry, it was not necessary to have a cable box if one's VCR(s) had a built-in tuner, which at that time all VCRs did. This was a deal-breaker issue for us, and is the sole reason we have stuck with our pathetic little local cable company for all this time despite mediocre service, poor channel selection, and skyrocketing prices.

Yes, this means we had analog cable. Shockingly, this was fine by us.

Well, the p-l-l-c-c is "upgrading" their network, and going all-digital. They provide a "digital adapter" for free, so we got one. I've been blowing off hooking it up because I strongly suspected it would work like a cable box and I didn't want to deal, but I was in a bad mood anyway today, so I buckled down and hooked it up.

Not only does it work just like a cable box, it actually is a cable box. "Digital adapter" my ass; when you burrow through the p-l-l-c-c's propaganda-laced documentation and get to the manufacturer's, the item is clearly identified as a "set-top box". If you're old enough to have any idea what I'm talking about in the first paragraph, you recognize that phrase; it means, yes, "cable box". Good-bye, multiple programing per time-slot; good-bye, programming one and watching another; don't even get me started on what this does to taping while we're out of town.

Good-bye, the only advantage our crappy, overpriced cable had over the other options available. (Other than inertia, that is, but since we're being forced to change anyway....)

So now we get the entirely unwelcome hassle of switching to Dish or Direct, including finding out if they even offer service in our area, the challenges of sticking a dish on the roof, hoping it won't interfere with the p2p internet antenna that's also stuck to the roof, arguing with whichever company about the viability of our not-cutting-edge video equipment, arguing about the rights of consumers to archive material for personal use, plus set-up fees, switchover gaps, etc., etc., etc. Do not fscking need this right now. Even the carrot of getting more channels (I understand there's this thing called BBC America?) is not worth the hassle of dealing with this right now. Not that there's ever a good time for more stress, but I'd like to at least finish dealing with the last load before the next one dumps on.

lizvogel: lizvogel's fandoms.  The short list. (Fandom Epilepsy)
Finally sat down this weekend to watch the first-season Callan that I picked up some time ago, only to discover that the hacked DVD player has decided to not recognize discs, PAL or NTSC. Having done all reasonable basic troubleshooting without success, we're currently letting it sit unplugged for a while, in the hopes that a nice long rest will sort it out. Unlikely, but it's a low-investment thing to try.

Of course, now that I can't, the PAL sets (early Callan and also all of Blakes 7) are the things I want to watch above all others. Never mind that they've been sitting around collecting dust in the to-be-watched stack for longer than I rightly care to admit to. I am resisting the urge to go out and buy a PAL-converting DVD player right now, but it's a near thing.
For a little while there, I kept getting 404s on my own journal & reading page. Not on anyone else's, and I could get at my own stuff via IE, but not via Opera. I could post in Opera, though.

It seems to have cleared itself now, but that was decidedly strange.

Yogurt incoming....

Tuesday, June 21st, 2011 04:35 pm
lizvogel: lizvogel's fandoms.  The short list. (Fandom Epilepsy)
Between the press of other events and a computer crash that resulted in a full system rebuild, I've kind of fallen off the face of the journaling sites lately. And while the computer is back up (finally!), the other events are even more pressing, so I'm not going to be getting caught up any time soon.

For those who've missed the ads, new Burn Notice starts the day after tomorrow (Thursday, June 23, 9 Eastern (8 Central)). Squee!

And I will be out of town for it. Boo! So YogurtWatch will likely be delayed. But the housemate will be taping, and I'll update as soon as I get home if I don't get a chance before.
lizvogel: lizvogel's fandoms.  The short list. (Fandom Epilepsy)
I was lying in bed this morning, idly musing on how I'd query the novel that's about fifth in line at this point, and telling the kitten, "Just five more minutes? Please?"

...And the writing laptop turned on.

All by itself.

If that's not a sign, I don't know what is.

USB Geek?

Tuesday, April 26th, 2011 11:46 am
lizvogel: Good / Bad (Good Bad)
Anybody out there in f-list land ever ordered from USB Geek? They have some gadgets I really want, but the total lack of physical address, service inquiry response, or secure page for personal info is making me reluctant to give them my credit card number, for some strange reason. ;-P

MediaWest in review

Friday, May 29th, 2009 01:32 pm
(Crossposted from LJ. I really need to get the "fandom epilepsy" userpic uploaded here!)

So, this is now several days post-con. Hey, by MediaWest*Con standards, this is timely.

The con got off to a slow start this year. It felt like attendance was down; I don't know the actual membership count, but there seemed to be fewer decorated doors and less general chaos. The housemate & I were a bit down as well, due to [profile] otterwort and [profile] coffeerainbows having to cancel due to illness and an outbreak of Life. We did thoroughly enjoy the luxury of each having a queen-sized hotel bed to ourselves, but we would've gladly traded the space for the company.

However, it was good to see other folks, and do the usual con things. Shopping was shopped; I picked up a couple of old zines I've been on the lookout for, and assorted what-nots. The biggest-ticket single item was actually a 16 gig flash drive at OfficeMax, ridiculously on sale, and not technically a con expense.

Art-wise, I behaved fairly well. I snagged a print in the dealers' room of some unpronounceable crystals, and two Nicole Pellegrini watercolors from the art show, an abstract/surreal piece called "Pathways" and a lovely cool alien landscape which could actually stay on the wall when we put the house up for sale. I love her work; being not full of pretty men (hey, it's MediaWest*Con) it doesn't tend to sell well, which I think is a shame, but on the other hand, lack of competition means I can actually afford to buy it.

The hotel was still pretty rough; I suspect they're finding two problems for every one they start to fix, as one does. The pool was closed. The fifth floor was a construction zone, which doubtless contributed to the perception of it being a smaller than usual con. The other guest rooms haven't had much if any work done. Hopefully next year they'll have everything all spiffy for us.

The hotel staff was great, though. The newer ones seemed a bit bewildered at first, but they got into it pretty quickly, and the old hands were having a ball. R the restaurant guy has moved to another restaurant, but was hanging out with the FOE and said he's going to get a regular membership next year.

I went to some panels.... )

Wow, that's eight panels. I think that's some kind of record for me.

I only stayed for a bit of the art auction; as the need to sit on my hands grew, I decided the better part of valor involved going up to the room.

I have totally fallen in love with having a laptop with wireless capability, even if the hotel's wireless was only slightly faster than home's dial-up connection. [personal profile] signeh had me pull up Susan Boyle's initial performance on Britain's Got Talent; holy crap, if you have not heard this, go listen to it now. Seriously, I'll wait.

[personal profile] signeh and I talked writing whenever we could fit it in. It was good to have a nice, long natter or two. If only we could have had the whole group together....




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