Tech Notes from your friendly online blatherer:
1. I used to really like ScribeFire (a Firefox extension) — it’s easy to call up & get rid of, and great for managing multiple blogs — but after a recent update, it became really slow on all my computers, so I can’t recommend it as completely as I would have. Ah well. Keep an eye on it if you’re a blogger; maybe it’ll get fast again, and in the meantime it’s still not bad.
2. Ubiquity (also a Firefox extension) IS TEH FUTURE; I highly suggest you try it out. It’s the closest thing you’ll find now to a StarTrekesqe “Computer? Please do x, y, and z for me…” …I’m always amazed when I see natural language processing working at all in the real world, and this little app is one impressive example, seriously.
3. After years of being stuck with Quickbooks and other Intuit products (all while hating the company because gods they suck), I’m finally free to try GnuCash as the main accounting software for the impending business. I’ve got it all set up — which was deceptively easy, as long as you RTFM — but the next few weeks will tell how usable it is. Wish it (and me) luck!
4. My Wii is something I probably shouldn’t have spent the money on (but to be fair, it wasn’t my money — I bought it with the first $350 in royalties I got from the Ubersleep book; how effing cool is that??! THANK YOU GUYS!!), but I’m consistently really impressed with both its design and the intentions that it portrays. It’s beautifully designed inside and out, and you can really tell that it’s high-quality equipment made of good parts — and it came with all the cables and everything it needed. But even more than that, little things, like, it can play GameCube games, which is purely lagniappe on the company’s part. And this is a good example of why it’s a good idea for a company to throw such bones to their customers: I’ve never had any interest in Game Cube, but I went out and snagged a game for it just because my Wii lets me play them…a friend of ours recommended Tales of Symphonia, and yeah, if you like anime-styled RPGs, this is the BEST one I’ve ever played (and I say that having played it for a total of 20 minutes so far)! So, see, even ignoring the smackdown the Wii gave to other next-gen consoles thanks to the work they put into it, Nintendo also adds a neat feature they don’t need to include, and as a result they’re boosting an outdated revenue stream by interesting me and people like me in Game Cube games. I only hope I can run my company that well!
5. Lastly, kick me for not mentioning this sooner, because my EPIC search for good syncing software is over now, and that deserved a bit of trumpeting and flag-waving which I didn’t get around to. However, since it’s been about a month since I found Dropbox, I can at least say without guessing or stretching the truth at all that IT’S A FREAKING MIRACLE. My problem was a deceptively tricky one: I use several computers daily, and I keep a pretty sizeable chunk of files that cannot, cannot get mixed up or mis-versioned….as a writer, just about nothing is more painful than accidentally losing a page, a paragraph or even a few words that you changed in one of your pieces. Such a mishap often destroys my motivation to continue with a piece, so I avoid it at all costs. But how to sync almost a gig of files between three computers running three different operating systems, and preferably a secondary backup too, without losing track of versions? Believe me, I’ve tried nearly everything, and all of it has risks I just hate (like, using a disk or thumbdrive, there’s always some time somewhere when the only up-to-date versions are on that little thing…::shudder::) Enter Dropbox. This software (Windows AND Linux compatible, woot!) is everything I’ve ever wanted: It’s small, FREE, runs in the background, and simply keeps the latest version of everything (in the folder I tell it) updated. It retains folder structures and metadata, and moreover keeps an online backup that I can access at any time. If there’s a conflict, it just saves both. So literally, when I change a file, it’s changed online and on all my other computers that happen to be on, within minutes. And I can pay a reasonable price if I want a lot more space, too. I’M IN LOVE.
This ends our very dry and stuffy technology report for today.
Congratulations to America and everyone affected by America for avoiding a disastrous election outcome, and may you always trust yourself first whenever possible.