Category Archives: Computers

Where has the month gone?

Here it is, well into the month already, and I’m not sure where the time went.

Let’s see what I did:

  1. A lot of work on WordSlinger. I broke it adding folders to the draft/scene area, but it’s almost working now.
  2. Tore apart our bathroom and started rebuilding it. The previous owners of the house glued linoleum 4 feet up the walls, and trying to take it down destroyed the plaster and lathe walls. Doh. I also found rotten wood and some mold. Not nice.

Well, that’s it. Two items. Granted, both took a fair amount of work, and neither are finished, but still… Time to get back to a regular schedule.

Web Pages Move

I’ve moved this web site from a Gentoo based/Apache 2 install to a new Ubuntu Server/LiteSpeed install. We are experiencing some difficulties with the transfer. If you see anything wierd not already mentioned in the comments, please leave a new comment with the particulars.

I’m still running on a virtual system, but response times should increase dramatically.

WordSlinger 0.1.0

Well, after a few mishaps and backtracks (yes, 2 years of being a stay at home Dad can effect ones software development skills), I've decided that my latest application is ready for Beta testing.  It took a bit longer than I thought to get to this point, but that's the way it is.

I'm now moving my current WIP into it, and we'll see how it goes.  I really wanted to get snapshots into it, but that can wait a bit. 

Watch the Video: wordslinger-010.htm






What a Month

December has turned into one of the busiest months I've had in a long time.  With all the Christmas stuff happening, include school concerts, shopping, etc, it was tough.  On top of that, I stopped writing novels and wrote some software instead. 

My previous post showed a screen shot, and things were actually working pretty good at that point.  But, the devil is in the details.  I now have something to send to Linux beta testers, but the Mac and the Windows version have a bug or two.  One of them may be related, but I have a Mac bug I'm not sure what I can do about.  At this point, I'm dieing to get back to writing, so progress on the code will slow down.  

Still, the Linux version is in a state I can use it, and that's why I wrote it.  I'll use it to outline and write my next novel.  I'm also thinking of moving my current WIP (work in progress) into it, and see how I can use it for revision.  Hmmm, I'll have to add snapshots…

Anyway, that's taken a lot of my time as well.  Oh, and my wife noticed that when I code, I tend to get very snappish and angry, which bleeds over into regular life.   When I write, that doesn't happen.  Cool. 

Post Nano Update

When NaNoWriMo was over (for me), I didn't know what to do.  I'd been in 'the groove' for so long, my days felt empty.  I had a lot of normal work to catch up on, but once I did…

So, I decided it was time to write some software.  I wrote what I consider an Integrated Development Environment for writers.  Previously I looked at Scrivener, Writer's Cafe and yWriter.  All of which looked good, especially Scrivener.   Still, I wanted my own thing, it's what I do.  I also use Linux for my day-to-day work, and none of these products run on Linux (except Writer's Cafe).

I now have a basic application that is character/scene oriented.  Here's a screenshot: (click for larger image)


The user basically enters characters and their related information.  You can also enter locations where your scenes take place.  Once a user is entered, they get a 'timeline' on the corkboard.  As a scene is added and given a characters POV, they are given an index card on the corkboard.  Each card has information related to the scene associated with it, including the text of the scene itself.  Also, each card can be moved to anywhere on the timeline, and even to another character.  The entire novel can be rearranged at will.

When editing a scene, the text editor can be made full screen, with no outside distractions.  I used Q10 for this during Nano, and I loved it. 

All information is stored in standard files, so if a user decides not to use the software, no data is lost.  Also, the entire novel can be exported as a whole, for import into a word processor.

It's not done yet, but it's getting usable!  All this runs under Linux, Windows, and Mac OS X.


Linux and Mac Video Chat

This weekend, on top of all the other things, I tried to get a Video Chat system going with my brother in Calgary.  I thought it would be neat to have him at the family party for the kids.  Well.  Let's just say we need to work on it. 

There are multiple apps that do video chat, MSN, iChat, Skype to name a few.  So here's the breakdown:

MSN: Video on Linux, no Video on Mac
iChat: Not on Linux, Video for Mac
Skype: No Video on Linux, Video on Mac

So there are some of the 'easy' solutions. 

Then we started trying some of the SIP applications.  Our best result was Ekiga(Linux) and xMeeting(Mac).  We had video and voice working most of the time.  But, we could only make a connection with H261, and the video quality really sucked.  Big time. 

We also had partial success with aMSN on both platforms.  Unfortunately, the Mac software needed to be upgraded to work properly, and as soon as that occurred, aMSN refused to sign in to MSN.  Hmmm, what's wrong with this picture?

The end result is… cross-platform video chat is still in the dark ages.  A lot of work needs to be done to get it to work. 

Laptop Tricks

(Holiday Post #1) 

I can't remember where I saw this, but I tried it today, and I like it a lot.  I took a couple of wine corks and placed them under the back of my laptop, which raises the laptop by about 3/4 of an inch.  The keyboard is easier to use and the laptop runs about 2 degrees cooler.

I was worried the laptop would roll around a bit, since the corks are round.  But, nothing of the sort.  The laptop is stable and it's great so far.


Website Conversion

I spent a few hours this morning changing the website to 100% hosted on WordPress.  I no longer use or need CityDesk for the site, which is good since it's essentially a dead product.

I still have a static start page, simply because I didn't want Google and other search engines to lose all their links to me.  I'll think about it over the next week or so and see if I really care about it though.  Maybe I'll look into using Apache redirection to send anybody going to my start page to make things easier.

edit: The Apache 2 redirect was easy, and it's all done.