*Dusts off the journal page* Good gravy I've really let time just slip by, the last journal I wrote was a PSA about keeping cool and avoiding heatstroke X'D
So! A couple of updates! Happy belated Hanukkah and almost Christmas to all you folks! Hopefully this time is one spent with friends, loved ones, and family, as well as time with some good hot chocolate, a nice fire in the hearth, and all that wonderful delight.
On my end of things, I've finished National Novel Writing Month with 210,506 words--overall, not bad for churning that out with a full-time job on the side. Those 210k words break down into, I believe, 6 stories, only one of which is finished; I'll be posting that as soon as Miluiel-the-Friendly
finishes her latest writing project in our conjoined story world *poke poke*. The other stories will follow as they are finished. If any of you feel like reading through my drafts and talking out where those stories might go, please let me know!
Work for me is...well, it's work. I've got the midnight to 8:30 AM shift putting up price tags and signs at the local Fred Meyer. I've gotten used to the night shift sleep schedule, and my bike has been getting me faithfully to and from, although I could really do with an electric motor to make the cruise go easier and not induce as much sweat. The hard part of the work is just putting up with the rising levels of holiday-induced corporate nonsense--basically ever since the Monday before Black Friday, prices have been changing non-stop throughout the store, often without the requisite paperwork to let me know that prices have changed. It's getting hard to deal with, because it feels more and more like I'm just wasting my time. Any tag or sign I print and put up, I'll likely be replacing well before its printed expiration date, simply because some higher-up noodled around with the prices and Buy One Get One and whatever other sales yet again
So, I'll stick with this job because I need the money, and because the work isn't too hard
, just pointless and annoying busywork. I'll also keep my eye out for other jobs where I might actually be able to something important or at least worthwhile, and where union dues don't devour something like 10% of every dollar I work for. With taxes taking another 10%, and tithe 10%, I'm only netting 70 cents out of every dollar...that actually pushes me under minimum wage, looking at it. Wow. :/
On a less depressing note, while at work, I've taken to listening to some of my stories, using a text-to-speech app on my phone. The app I use is called @ Voice (no space), and I would highly recommend it. It's available for Android, and as far as I can tell there's no functional equivalent for you sad, deprived people using iOS (more on that later). But @ Voice works quite well--it can process .pdf, .doc, and other text files and churn out pretty good synthesized speech, all without needing an internet connection. It has a menu that lets you correct the pronunciation of certain words if it's getting them wrong (it garbled a lot of my character names, and it has this weird habit of mispronouncing words if they have an 's at the end. Ex., "Sarah" is normal, but then "Sarah's" comes out "Saaaaaar-raaaahz"), and other tweaks that let you change the voice, the pitch, the rate of speech, and so forth. Solid 4 stars from me, and it's gotten me through a lot of my older works and given me revision ideas for them as well because I hear all sorts of things that I wouldn't catch on just reading through them.
(Plus my older writing is terrible oh my gosh help XD 15 year old me whyyyyy)
Anyway. I'm also, slowly, getting into this drawing thing, which is something that I've wanted to do for a long time, so that I can start sketching my characters and scenes and all that good stuff. It's a slow learning curve so far, because I don't have a lot of time to devote to drawing, and because I'm pretty baked in as a writer at this point. Still, progress continues! I might even have something worth posting, uh...soon? I should probably just bite the bullet, spend a day or two making a mess of my digital canvas, and then toss the results in my scraps folder or something.
That about sums up recent events, although I've also had a few interesting adventures and misadventures with technology lately
-My phone died to a random cosmic ray--one minute it was working, then it crashed with no warning and hasn't been able to reboot since. So, I bought myself a new phone--the Umidigi One, which is actually a pretty nice device, even though it has a dorky looking notch in the top of the screen.
-When my phone died and new one had yet to arrive, I still needed a chronometer, notepad, and mobile office station for work. I ended up using my iPad mini for one day, which I only have for beta testing a few apps. What a miserable
pain that was! My phone is a decent mobile office--I can whip it out along with my easily pocketable bluetooth keyboard and a stand, sit down in the break room at work, and write. It's easy
. Transferring files between the phone and my laptop is a piece of cake--cable from laptop to phone before I leave for work, then upload to Dropbox when I get home. Easy. On iOS it's a nightmare
. There is no
reason for that mess of glossy metal and glass that pretends to be a computing device to be so dreadful at it. It all comes down to one fundamental problem with iOS--it can't handle files
. That would be too desktop
. Too useful
. Even with a flash drive that's built to plug into that stupid proprietary Lightning port, the iPad has no concept of "I would like to save this file on the iPad and retrieve it later, without using an internet connection or iCloud". None. That concept just doesn't exist under the expensive, glossy, useless exterior. It was so bad that I borrowed my brother's phone for a few days until my new one arrived, because he didn't need his phone between midnight and 9 AM. Even on outdated hardware, with a version of the OS from years past, Android got stuff done
. Droid does what iDon't.
-I got the touchscreen to work on my Linux laptop--yay!--but doing that somehow messed up my SwiftPoint GT mouse?! So I need to sort THAT out...at least my drawing tablet works out of the box on Linux!
-I messed around with multitasking on my phone (which was actually really awesome and easy to arrange, just a little cramped on the 6 inch screen) and the iPad mini I have for beta testing a few things. iPad multitasking was awful
. Oh my goldfish. I could not
convince the stupid hunk of iCarp to put two apps side by side and not overlap them
. I could either have app A blocking half of App B (The half I wanted to read from and work on, of course) or have B blocking all of A. Every time I tried to put App A over on the left side, out of the way, it would pop back up on the right. Every time I shifted focus from A to B, B ended up taking up the whole screen, and I'd have to go through that stupid app switcher gesture to try and get back to App A, only to have it boot me to the homescreen, and then crash A and B when I tried getting back into them. I looked up three different tutorials for how to multitask and split view and whatever on iPads. Not only was that a blow to my geek pride, but also a testament to how un-intuitive and clunky that interface is--and it didn't WORK either. Aaaaaargh.
From the above, I have concluded that, as soon as I don't need the iPad for the things I'm beta testing, I'm selling it and putting the proceeds towards an Android tablet or three. I think something in the 8 to 9 inch range, running Android 7.1 and up, would be just about perfect.