Tag Archives: iPad

One of those kind of days

I woke up this morning to the mellow tones of Otto barfing on my bedroom floor. That’s one of those sounds that wakes you completely up. It was 4:00 AM. He’s fine, sometimes he gets snotty and chokes. I’ve woken up coughing more than once myself.

Since I was up, I had some quiet time and spent it reading. I don’t often get to read these days, and relished the opportunity. As a young man I could devour a book per day. These days it’s more like a book per month.

I’m currently writing two stories at once, and intended to devote some time to both of them. I had a pile of critiques to address on one of them, and did that this morning. If I don’t do anything else, at least I got that done.

I looked to the other one and discovered a problem. This is me, being anal, but it completely stifled me. I’ve been working on it using two different computers, one Apple and one PC. (We get a lot of hour long lunches during January and February due to the holiday weeks.)

Specifically, I’m using Microsoft Word and Apple Pages for iPad. My problem involves straight quotes vs curly quotes. Shouldn’t be a problem, right? Some whizbang formatting trick and all should be well. (Apostrophes are the same way.)

I tried the help link in Pages to no avail. I Googled what to do, seemed like some reasonable suggestions, except they didn’t work. I found instructions to try on a Mac. Okay, I have a Mac. I opened my manuscript and went through the step by step instructions. Very easy to follow… except it didn’t work.

I fiddled around myself, and if I delete my paragraph marks, the entire super-paragraph takes on the format I want. Then I can hit return again, make the quotes the way I want them before moving to the next paragraph.

This is possible, but I’m not going to do it just yet. I’m going to see if I can fix it using Word. At this point I gave up completely.

This is my short weekend, and I have other things that need tending. I got a haircut, paid the bills, and we have some errands in town. We’ll probably go out to dinner while we’re out.

Tomorrow is the day I call my parents, and I’m not going to address it then either.

I have some decent time coming up, and I’ll take up the keyboard then.

I hope you are having a better weekend than I am. Boise is covered in snow and ice, but it’s pretty shallow. More freezing than anything else. Maybe some beef and beer will improve my outlook tonight.

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Agony and Ecstasy

I'll start off with the bad stuff first. I like to close on a good note.

I haven't been around as much lately, and this is because of a WordPress/Apple problem. I'm blaming Apple, but who really knows. I'm posting this in hopes that one of the WordPress gurus will read it and offer some clarity.

I read blogs using the WordPress Reader and the Safari browser. I have options, and thank God for that. My preferred gadget is my iPad Pro. I also kept my old iPad, and it works normally. Yesterday, most of WordPress stopped working for iPads.

I can still log in, and read my own blog. I still get comments, and interaction. The link to look at stats produces a white screen, and the link to Reader does the same. This could be an iOS problem.

When I try my iPhone I don't have any problems. This also works on iOS. What the hell does that mean? I cleared the caches on both iPads and rebooted them – no help.

I tried the WordPress app (which I hate) and can read posts and comment from there. This is also an iOS product.

I tried the Mac, and everything is perfect there.

Using an iPad, I can still get to my WP Admin and upload images. Somewhere in this post I'll see if that works or not. I write my posts with an app called Blogsy, because it's easier. It seems to work, but I have something pre-scheduled tomorrow and am nervous about it loading now. Hell, I'm nervous about this post loading too.

These things drive me crazy, and surfing for answers doesn't help. I get top choices from questions asked six years ago. This is a today thing Google!!! Moving on…

I pulled on my editing jacket and managed to work through two short stories today. This is only the first pass, and I have several others to make.

I'm tempted to leave the jacket on as I fight with iOS and WordPress.

My number one goal was to finish reading Wings of Mayhem, by Sue Coletta. This I accomplished, but it worked kind of like this.

Open my Kindle app. Let Otto, the puppy outside.

Make coffee, let Otto inside.

Read a chapter, rescue the dirty laundry from Otto.

Microwave my cold coffee, let Otto outside.

Read a chapter, let Otto inside.

Read a chapter, rescue my foot from Otto's jaws.

Read a chapter, find Otto in my closet eating my shoes.

Read a chapter, walk the dog, repeat until the end.

I really enjoyed Sue's first book, Marred, but Wings of Mayhem is the best book I've read this year (so far). I gave her a five star review, and wished there was an extra star to award.

This never has been a book review blog so I'll stop here. Check out Wings of Mayhem yourselves.

I also sent off a list of desires for the cover of The Experimental Notebook of C. S. Boyack II. I paid in advance and ordered four more pinup pieces. Some are for book promotion, and some are for other purposes. Fans of Lisa can watch this space, or host me when I'm ready to tour the new Notebook around and you can share the artwork on your own blogs. These will be pieces loosely related to one of the stories in the book.

I'm still toying with the idea of paying someone else to format this one. I could do it, but it seems like a reasonable thing to farm out. I scoped out Jo Robinson's services and they seem pretty reasonable. I have to finish editing and get some beta feedback before I decide. It should be finished before I send it out.

So ending on a high note; I did a small amount of editing, I have new cover art on the way, and I finished reading a great book.

Now that I have a few minutes to pay attention, Otto is sound asleep. I posted a video to the Facebook page of him in his new wading pool if you are interested.

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It’s here! Kind of

I'm writing this on Veteran's day, but scheduling it for Thursday. I still have a fairly active post about my promotional efforts and want to leave it on top over night.

My parents promised me an iPad Pro for my birthday. My birthday didn't exactly coincide with Apple's release plans, but they finally came through.

I watched the rumor mill for weeks. Apple vaguely said, “November.” The first rumor was for November 3rd, followed by the 6th. A fresh rumor said the 11th, then the 13th. Then it could be ordered on the 11th, but delivered on the 13th.

These posts were followed by a rash of comments that embarrassed all of humanity. All the commenters bashed iPad Pro as if they'd already used one. Everyone said it was a Microsoft Surface clone, or a Surface for posers. Some asked how Microsoft dared to call it a Pro, because it wouldn't run programs designed for a PC.

A few brave souls suggested that Pro might include other occupations than the narrow scope of the first commenter.

This thing has peripherals that include a keyboard case. This keyboard links directly to the Pro, and doesn't require Bluetooth. Bluetooth is a huge battery sucker, and I like the idea. It also has an optional Pencil device. This is a stylus that looks absolutely wonderful. It comes with a bunch of options like Highlighter and various other tools. It works inside various apps.

As far as the Pro designation goes, I can see a football coach drawing Xs and Os for plays right on the sidelines. I can also see the value to an author. Maybe it isn't suitable for AutoCad, but there are some folks who are really going to enjoy it.

I may never produce my own cover art, but I like to play around. Maybe I could send a rough sketch to a real cover artist to illustrate what I want. I can see an electronic Highlighter being handy too. It might even be useful for critiques. I'm sure more apps will be along soon with Pencil support.

I marched my butt down to the Apple Store today to place my order. I wanted to pick it up from them and have them transfer all my data.

To my surprise, it wasn't available for pre-order, it was available right now. I checked out the colors, and chose one in Space Grey. They got me out the door in about one hour. My novels took a lot of time to download.

Sadly, the peripherals aren't there today. I downloaded the Apple Store app and ordered them when I got home. I don't need anyone to help set up the peripherals. I've been fiddling with it ever since I got home.

I like the updated internal keyboard. It's nice to have numbers available without having to shift. I can see using the physical keyboard more, but today it's nice. I'm writing this post with it.

The visuals and audio are awesome. This bugger is fast too. It is surprisingly light being nearly twice as big as my other iPad. It's a bit slippery without a cover, but that will change soon.

I like the split screen option too. I can write in one window, and Google in another. I could make notes in a different app while writing. (Even by hand when the Pencil arrives.) The split is either 50/50 or something like 70/30. I like the 70/30 option. When I drag it completely away, I can drag it right back without losing my place.

I wrote about a bit of micro-fiction that came to me recently. This one involved magpies. I created this screenshot to show you what I'm talking about.

The writing window is on the left, and Bing is on the right.

I'd love to have the Pencil right now. Maybe I'd mark up some of those telling sentences and update the draft.

Im pretty excited about my new tool. Thanks Mom & Dad!

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My workspace blog hop

Ali Isaac tagged me to participate in this blog hop. I am supposed to show readers where I write and talk about the process a bit. I might be different than most of the participants. This is because I write with my iPad. I have a bluetooth keyboard that makes the iPad into a mini laptop. It looks like this:

Yup, I'm advertising on the screen.

Yup, I’m advertising on the screen.

This allows me to take my work wherever I want. I really like working pre-dawn on the patio furniture out back. There’s six inches of snow outside today, and the patio furniture is all stored in the garage. This iPad is wifi only. I’m not willing to pay for another data plan. I can take it wherever I like to write, it just doesn’t backup without wifi. Based upon the weather, I am currently taking it to my recliner. image   On on the end table I have my glasses, notebook & fountain pen, coffee, and a tin of lip balm. That’s about all I need to write with. I like to make original notes in the notebook. I use it as a reference while I’m writing. The coffee is a must. I usually don’t write into the afternoon, but on the rare occurrence I switch to tea after lunch. I used to turn on a bit of classical music while writing. I am an early bird, and acquiesced to the complaints of others in the house. Now I write in complete silence.

I know some of you were hoping to see the writing cabin. That’s like Area 51, and completely off limits to anyone but me. I have dreams of taking the iPad and keyboard to the sturgeon fishing hole someday. Sometimes it takes an hour to get a bite. I never managed to get out this year, despite my best intentions. Everything is saved in real time, and will backup as soon as I reconnect to wifi.

I need to tag someone else to pass the blog hop to. I choose Rachel Carrera who has been helping me with a top secret project lately.

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iOS H8te

Yeah, I wrote the title that way on purpose. It’s supposed to be clever.

Today’s post is intended to provide a place for iOS users to commiserate about the new operating system, and possibly offer some hints if you have any. Let’s hear them, God knows we need them.

I spent most of two nights ago watching my iPad and iPhone fail at getting the latest operating system. I wound up checking the internet for a solution. I had to hook up to the Mac (which also needed an update) and go through the iTunes store.

I finally got everything up and running, but my initial opinion is this iSucks. My photos are scattered from Hell to breakfast now, with no obvious way to change things around. They are organized by date, or location. Then there’s an option of seeing them pinned onto a map based on where the photo was taken or downloaded. That’s about as handy as a chapped ass. What if I want to organize by topic; cover art, sourdough photos, etc.?

Someone online suggested making folders and organizing things the way I like them. Great idea.

I grab artwork off the internet. Some of it gets pinned to my outlines, some of it becomes wallpaper on my phone that I change every day, then I delete it never to be used again. It varies from science fiction, fantasy, and paranormal, to quite a few pinups. (the painted kind, not the photo kind.) I made an artwork folder on my iPad and dragged everything into it. Everything is duplicated not moved. Delete one = delete both.

The sales pitch was that iCloud syncs everything up really well now. This morning I tried to change my phone background. No artwork folder, it’s only on the iPad. Looks like iCloud isn’t delivering on its promise.

I went to my RSS reader, Feeddler Pro. Every page I open crashes the app. I finally read a couple archaeology articles and two comics by telling it to open the pages in my Safari browser. I decided to look for an update to Feeddler. This was app of the year or something last year. The app store says it no longer exists – at all.

The app store found a little used app and said it has an upgrade available. What the iHell? I told it to upgrade. It said we can no longer find this app in the iTunes store. This is the same system that told me to upgrade the stupid thing. I tried it a day later and it upgraded. Color me iConfused.

The new iOS says I can send an audio text now. All I have to do is hold down the microphone icon and speak. I tried it out on my wife. I entered her contact information, and the microphone icon disappeared. Not an option. (We both have iPhones and upgraded software.) I tried the microphone icon on the keyboard. It produced a wonderful speech to text, but no audio text.

Worst of all is WordPress in the Safari Browser. I use the Reader to read all of your blogs. Keep in mind that I am frequently away from my computer, and I sleep sometimes too. When I wake up, I may have eight to ten hours of blogs to catch up on. Bedtime for me could be breakfast time for some of the blogs I read. (Ali in Ireland, Jo in South Africa, etc.) We aren’t all on Mountain Daylight time here.

When I open a post it always does so in a new page, and I like that. When I close that page now, my WordPress Reader is a sheet of grey. I have to hit refresh to get it back. That means I start at the top and read southward all over again. I have a temporary work around, in that if I’m really quick, I can open a post and immediately return to reader. I can’t read the post until later, so I open a few dozen posts and finish with Reader. I can read each post after that and close the page when I’m finished. Then I only have to croak and restart Reader once.

This gives me an idea. Sorry for the aside. Reader ought to have a filtering option. I could scroll through it and tag all the posts I want to read. Filter everything down and let me read the entire post in filtered view. Sorry, back to my tantrum…

I use Blogpad Pro for my posts. I really like it, but they posted two days ago that it has glitches with iOS 8. They expected an upgrade soon. I give them credit for warning me, and am certain they’ll do just what they said.

Apple always has an update out relatively soon after release. I really hope they address some of these issues. It sounds like the app store has some problems going on too.

On the plus side, if I connect my phone to power, I can say “Hey Siri” and ask her some useless question. Might be cool in the car, but it has to be connected to power. Yay, that works just as advertised. (worthless, but it works.)

How about you guys? Are any of you Apple users having any problems? Call them out in the comments, and offer solutions if you have any.

Update: I sent an email off to Feeddler. They have a Feeddler Pro 2 under consideration in the app store right now. This one should work with iOS 8. Nice folks, quick answer back for a $4 consumer.

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Minimal Effort

I put together a package for a music copyright holder this morning. I really want to quote some specific lyrics in Will ‘O the Wisp. Since I’ve already written the section, I decided to seek permission.

I’m small potatoes, and would likely never draw attention from corporate attorneys, but I like to do things right. If they say no, I’ll be disappointed. I’ll have to rewrite the section, and I will. I also know they can only say yes if I jump through all the hoops. This was a morning for hoop jumping.

I wound up a bit disappointed in my iPad and Mac. The application is an online form, and I have to attach the important section. This isn’t possible on an iPad. It’s damned near impossible on the Mac. I wound up saving the document as a PDF file on the desktop. Only then would the form allow me to search and find it.

There was an appropriate amount of cursing and one minor temper tantrum, but it worked. In this instance I prefer something more like internet explorer. I also don’t like the way Apple Mail won’t allow me to create an email and then add attachments. Sometimes I want more than one attachment. The only way I’ve ever been able to make it work is to open the attachment email it and add text. This means sending one photograph at a time.

The Mac probably has a way, but I spend most of my time with the iPad.

Today is my daughter’s 20th birthday. She wanted us to take her to lunch at The Olive Garden. That was pretty hard to pass up. She didn’t really ask for anything more, but we got her some presents anyway.

The rest of the day is going to be dedicated to reading, and Game of Thrones watching. I also set the recorder for Turn and Salem. These two are on probation, but I’ll give them a few more views.

I usually post on Monday nights, but not tomorrow. My big boy job is sending me to Coeur d’Alene overnight. It’s just too hard to take you with me. I’m sure there are lots of lovely blogs to keep you busy.

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Meet Lorelei, the Muse

It was the early 1980s and I was pouting. I was working as a pen and ink draftsman. There were no fancy computers to make maps back then. I can say with some certainly, that I was the best Leroy man in Northern Nevada. (If you know what that means, you’re getting old.) We’d just bought a new computer, and this one was pretty high tech. It came with two floppy disk drives. (It didn’t have a hard drive.)

My boss told me I’d have to use the computer to add all the sworn statements and jurats to my maps. They were printed on a sticker, and were about as soulless as they sound.

That’s when she approached me for the first time. She had poofy brunette hair, spandex pants, and roller-skates. They were the old kind, before they put the wheels inline. Her body was curvy in all the right places, but solid, like an athlete.

“Why don’t you just slip in after hours and learn to use the word processor?” she asked.

“Who are you, and how do you know about our computer?” I asked back.

“I’m Lorelei, and I’m a muse. These things are going to change the world, and you’d better get used to them.”

“I don’t recall any muse named Lorelei.”

“The first muses were named thousands of years ago. Did you ever read stories where the Gods kept their pants zipped?”

“I see where you’re going. What do you think I should do?”

She talked me into trying, nothing more. I went back to the office in the evenings and wrote Star Trek fan fiction for months. I never finished a story. The word processor became just another tool, and I moved on. I printed my work, on tractor paper, and lost it when I moved.

We lost touch. Maps became soulless things drawn entirely by computer. I might as well have been the village blacksmith for all the value my training had.

Decades later I got my first iPad. It was winter, and I’d just conquered the internet. I swear, there wasn’t one thing I hadn’t seen or done online. It was too cold to go fishing, and times were so bad I couldn’t afford the fuel anyway.

“Why don’t you try it again?” I heard over my shoulder.

I snapped around, and there she was. It was five AM, and she was in my living room. She had on a pair of Sponge Bob pajamas and brought fresh coffee. Her hair was just as long, but the style was different.

“I’ve held down several careers since I saw you. Why come back now?” I asked.

“It hasn’t been that long to me. You have imagination, and you really need to try again. It looks like you have time available too.”

“What am I even supposed to do?”

“Like I told you before, just try. You have a pretty powerful device there. These things have really improved since the last time.”

I started writing. My first complete novel was written using the iPad and two thumbs, seriously.

She stopped in from time to time and helped me get unstuck. Sometimes she rode in the car during my commute. She encouraged me to start reading everything I could about writing. Bulletin boards, articles, and blogs flashed before my eyes. There were even a few books she told me to get.

My first story sucked, but I enjoyed it. I wrote another one, using the same characters. Lorelei wasn’t intrusive, she just let me write whatever I wanted. She encouraged me to drop whole chapters, and change thoughts days after writing them down. I had two steampunk stories finished, and she never said a disparaging word. I even went so far as to ask for a bluetooth keyboard for Christmas.

We were driving home from work one day and she said, “You need an office.”

“I can’t afford a space on my income,” I said. “You know that.”

“Not that kind of office, Slick. This kind exists in your mind. It’s the next step in your education. You go there, and I’ll send characters for you to interview. Check them out, when one feels right you write down a few lines and see where it goes.”

“So are you telling me it’s time to give up my steampunk world and those characters?”

“Yup. There are more places for you to visit and stories for you to tell.”

“Could it be a cabin in the woods somewhere, instead of a cubicle of some kind?”

“Sure, it’s anything you want it to be. Your steampunk characters can come visit. In fact, all your characters can stop by for coffee or something. It’s just time to think a little bigger.”

The writing cabin became a regular thing. I wrote four more novels, and they got better. Some of my characters visit on occasion, and Lisa, from Wild Concept, sticks around and works as my secretary. She’s a robot whose story will go up on Amazon someday soon.

Lorelei visits all the time now. It seems like the more I write, the more she visits. She’s never judgmental, and always encourages me to try a bit harder. Now she wants me to put some of my stories online. Whether they sell or not, isn’t the important thing. This is a growth phase for me. I trust Lorelei enough to try.

I really hope they sell, and I’m going to put some of them out for the world to see. I know I’ll learn something, and some of you might enjoy the ride.

Let’s get these comments going. Does anyone else have a muse? I know Lorelei has sisters, her sister Lucille has her name written across a guitar neck.

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