update–back on the wagon

I’ve fallen off blogging for too long, time to get back into it!

While I’ve been away I have:

  • Decided to take a break from writing my next novel to writing short stories.
  • Threw away the short story I was writing and went back to my novel
  • Enrolled in a technical writing certification course so I can get paid for writing
  • Mostly quit playing go and started playing chess instead

The most interesting of those is probably the tech writing class. I’m a few weeks into it already, and for my final project I’ve decided to create a how-to guide for new writers, that will detail how to find online markets, and submit fiction to them. I’ll be posting the finished project here, as well as on lucentdreaming.com

Anyway, time to write/read/post more!

Advertisements

Why I write in Google Docs

Writers all have their different habits and preferences for bringing words into existence. There are an endless number of writing programs, both free and paid, some just for processing words, or other more complex ones for organizing and story-boarding. Some writers even use pen and paper and keep physical piles of paper laying around! Personally, I choose to write everything in Google Docs, and here are my reasons why:

Accessibility: I can work on my project from any device with connection to the internet. Even if I don’t currently have a connection, I can open the file offline and work on it, and as soon as I connect it will be updated in the cloud. This removes so many excuses not to write. Even if all my electronic equipment went up in flames, I could still go to the library and open my document, and keep working. Which brings me to….

Peace of Mind: Laptop stolen? My story is safe. Critical error and hard drive erased? My story is safe. Unless Google goes belly up and shuts down all their servers, my story is always safe. Even the old horror story of a power outage or computer crash when I haven’t pressed ‘save’ in a while is no longer a worry, because it always is auto-saved to the cloud.

Sharing and Collaboration: Stories need to be reviewed, and it’s very easy to send a link to a Google Docs file, and allow comments, or even allow editing by anyone with the link, or give permission to specific people. Sure, I can always put a word doc in an email and send it to a bunch of people, but this leads to so many different versions to go over. With Docs, I can have all the comments from all the readers all on the same file, with no effort required by anyone. Just click the link, read, and comment.

Version History: Did you know Google Docs had this? I didn’t until recently. This adds even more to the peace of mind section, as well as simplicity. I can make major changes to a story without worrying about saving another version, because Google does that for me. All I have to do is go to file > version history > see version history, and I can look at earlier versions  by date. Drink a bit too much and make some sweeping changes that don’t look so good in the morning? Just load up an earlier version. Thanks Google!

Download as: Yes, it’s true that Google Docs doesn’t have quite the formatting capabilities as Word, but after you’re done writing and want to do some formatting of the final version, just download it as a word doc! You can also download as .odt, .rtf, .pdf, .txt, .htm. and even .epub, to upload it right to your e-reader!

Free!: And all this convenience is completely free. Just get a google account, and you’ll have access to all these features as well as 5gb of free storage space, which, when we’re dealing with text documents might as well be unlimited. Give it a try! You’ll thank me later 🙂

Money, the root of all pains

If only we could live without it. I never have had fantasies of being rich and powerful, just of being free to follow my interests and not have my energy monopolized by merely surviving.

Why, with all our technology and resources, are we still having the majority of people in our society wasting their lives away doing drudge work?

Not a future I hope to live in…

Invented dangers

It seems to me, that when people have no danger or threats, they make up their own.

In a country where we can prevent almost every major disease we’ve encountered, people decide to find danger in the cure… be it doctors, or vaccines.

In a country where we produce so much food that we throw away 40% of it, people find danger and conspiracies in the food itself.

In a country where anyone can study and learn any subject, people find conspiracies in the information, and value their own opinions over the knowledge of the experienced.

in a country without war, people find danger in their neighbors, see threats in the disenfranchised and in the helpless.

In a country where anyone is free to practice any religion, people find threats to their own religion in the practice of other religions, or in the non religious.

In the richest nation in the world, people feel threatened by the loss of the scraps the poor consume just to get by.

In a country where we’re working toward racial/gender equality, people perceive the equal rights of others as a threat to their own rights.

Take a step back. The things people find threats in are often the things preventing real danger.

AI everywhere

So many toys these days are sporting advanced AI. It probably won’t be long before AIs are teaching and taking care of children unsupervised. All it would take then, is for the AI to realize what influence it had…

My phone has become self aware

During the past Holiday weekend, I took a fair amount of video and pictures with my new Pixel 2, which has a super great camera. What it also has, apparently, is an AI that edits together pictures and videos and creates video clips for me, complete with music and effects. All of it without me asking…

There is something very strange about seeing a notification on my phone, and seeing a video made for me that appears to have had a lot of attention and care put into the choices of what clips would be used. (I got a minute long video of images and video made out of perhaps 10 minutes of video and a hundred pictures to chose from) how does it decide what to use? It doesn’t appear random… but machine learning is scary. The videos are all family stuff that I don’t want to post here, so I did another one for an experiment. I took some video while driving ( I know, bad me, but it was so pretty) a bout 2 minutes worth of videos. Then I had the ‘assistant’ make me a video out of it. Here’s what it came up with (I picked the title, it did everything else, and the original is way better quality than what WordPress let me upload here)

 

First off, it is so awesome that it stabilized everything. I obviously don’t have an immovable arm, I was driving and it was bouncing around etc. If you look at the dashboard at the bottom of the video you can tell, but my ‘assistant’ edited it all (and it made this video in about 15 seconds) so that it seems smooth and steady. And how did it pick those clips? Why did it? It is very intriguing to me…

Whatever it is doing, I love it, and am going to be taking a lot more video to see what it comes up with.

New things

I got a new phone, with all kinds of fancy new features that my old phone doesn’t have. I wonder how long it will be before I take them for granted, and couldn’t imagine a phone without them…

Technology moves only a bit faster than we are able to get used to it…