jazzfish: Jazz Fish: beret, sunglasses, saxophone (Default)
On Wednesday I finally got the home office area set up. Now I can work from home with an actual monitor and keyboard and trackball and standing-desk, rather than laptop on couch/bed.

It's all in acceptable shape, but only just. I'll need to drag in another mat or two to stand on, to get the desk to the right height. My Mac keyboard has lost the use of the S key and spacebar, but I've got a Windows keyboard which works well enough for now. The real problem is that Microsoft hasn't updated the Mac software for my trackball in several years, and it won't talk to the latest version of macOS. So the trackball works, but the buttons are ALL WRONG. I've found a couple of potential workarounds but they looked more involved than I wanted to get on Wednesday afternoon. Sometime next week, I expect.

The office is actually the back of the second bedroom. It's got yellow walls that desperately need some art hung, the (two? three?) TUCKER'S OFFICE boxen need to be unpacked onto desk / bookcase, and there's some other miscellaneous /stuff/ that needs sorted or scooted or something. But the window's nice (though glare is problematic in the afternoon) and it's good to start to feel like there's a space that's mine again. The 'office' in the New West place was that, more or less, but it was dim and stuffy and caught a lot of dust from the dryer vent. This room is substantially nicer, if more cramped.

There are things about this apartment that frustrate and irritate me: the laundromat-style laundry, the dining room being a little narrower than we'd thought, the kitchen in general. Overall, though, it's not so bad. It'll do for now.



I am also now the proud owner of a bass guitar (Freeway 4) and an amp. My friend Chani's partner had been talking about selling his bass and amp for, o, months now, and it's sort of been at the back of my mind since then.

I think I have this idea that it'll be faster to pick up bass than it has been for viola, or that I'll be more readily able to find places/people to play bass with than viola, or something. This of course all depends on me finding my way to the alternate universe where I have enough time to learn not one but two instruments.

I'm also looking into an ear-training app for the phone, for commutes and such. And perhaps some actual formalised music theory learning, instead of the ad-hoc bits Tegen's been teaching me.

I'm not sure why music's becoming more of a focus than fiction-writing. Maybe it's that I understand how to get better at music, or that I'm more comfortable with not being very good. There's something in there about smashing awful pots, too. With music I'm learning a skill; writing feels more like creating a work. And yes, I do know that there's a hell of a lot of skill inherent in writing, skill that improves with practice, but I've not figured out how to feel comfortable practicing my skills in fiction.

Or maybe it's as simple as music being what's pulling me right now. Being more interested in accessing a space without words.

It's not like I can make rent (well, "mortgage payment," which sounds even worse despite being a smaller number) on either of those activities in any case. So in that sense it doesn't really matter which it is, as long as I'm having fun with it.

As always, we shall see.

cleanup

Nov. 4th, 2016 06:45 am
jazzfish: Jazz Fish: beret, sunglasses, saxophone (Default)
Whee, been a week. Among other excitement: Taranis's wifi card has decided that intermittent faults are the hip new accessory, so I broke down and got an old new laptop. Same model as the one I experimented with last spring. Still not entirely convinced of the need for a new machine but a) I'll need one in the next couple of years for certain, and b) Macbook design is getting worse all the time. (Latest models removed the extraneous Eject/Power button. This wouldn't matter except that now I have nothing to map a proper Delete to, and I require both Backspace and Delete.)

ETA: The Fantastic Ursula K. Le Guin: "She had been mildly cheered up, she added, by following a Twitter feed with the hashtag #BundyEroticFanFic."

Litany, by Billy Collins. There are poems like "After the Pyre" that leave me ripped open and bleeding, and I understand why. Then there's this one. I don't understand in the slightest what it is that it does to me. (I also don't expect it to do that to anyone else; like Among Others, whatever it is feels too intensely personal to possibly affect the rest of the world.)

The Arches of The Little Prince: "Can you build an arch from a pole to the equator? Can you build an arch from the north pole to the south pole?" Which is all fascinating, but the thing that really caught me is the simple and obvious realisation that you can model arches upside-down with hanging chains.

Hipsterism and Cultural Appropriation: "So to make explicit what lies implicit: when hipsters 'ironically' don clothing associated with working class people, when hipsters 'ironically' profess tastes for products associated with working class people, they are communicating 'we all know I couldn't possibly actually like this, because we all know that this is unworthy and beneath us.'"

The Yale Record Does Not Endorse Hillary Clinton: "Because of unambiguous tax law, we do not encourage you to support the most qualified presidential candidate in modern American history, nor do we encourage all citizens to shatter the glass ceiling once and for all by electing Secretary Clinton on November 8."



Also, it's been ages since I paid any attention to my 101 in 1001 list.

101 in 1001 update )
jazzfish: an open bottle of ether, and George conked out (Ether George)
0) ... and still insists he reads of ghosts.

1) One amusing in retrospect bit I didn't mention earlier: when I arrived at the train station in Toronto (after an unpleasant redeye flight featuring loud drunk bachelor-partiers, and a wholly pleasant ride on the new no-longer-$38 train from the airport to the train station) I attempted to present my passport so I could pick up my ticket and ... opened to a picture of [personal profile] uilos. Apparently our passports got switched for the wrong wallets the last time we travelled (down to the used bookstores with Steph in December). Luckily I had my own Nexus card and my own PR card, and the train folks were happy enough to take the Nexus card, but it made for a somewhat tense ride down.

E FedExed me my passport so I could get on a plane to go home. I could *probably* have worked it out with just the Nexus card, but I had used the passport to buy the ticket, and better safe than stranded in Buffalo.

2) Speaking of, home from the Gathering as of eleven-thirty last night. Still tired, still heavily overpeopled. I didn't take care of myself as well as I could have this year; the weather was miserable for the first half of the week and for whatever reason once it nicened up I still didn't go outside and wander. Something to bear in mind for next year.

3) More on this later, but: consider this another plug for Graydon Saunders's Commonweal novels (available in ebook from the Google Play store). Reread the first (The March North) and read the first third or so of the second (A Succession of Bad Days) over the week. Comparisons with the work of Mr Ford are not inapt. The bone-deep understanding of trauma and healing and loneliness and identity is still there in Graydon's work, it's just even further down than in The Dragon Waiting. Or maybe I just haven't reread these enough times for it to be obvious to me.

4) It seems I have a strong predilection for flawed characters in difficult situations who are trying their damnedest. I have no further use for stories about terrible people being terrible, and I think this means I should let the Joe Abercrombie books go.

4a) Losing people you’re responsible for hurts. If it didn’t, the Line wouldn’t give you a warrant of commission.

If it stops, they take the warrant away.


--Graydon Saunders, "The March North"

5) I am returning the nameless new laptop. A week with Taranis has convinced me that I don't need to spend an exorbitant sum of money on a new machine, not yet and likely not for another couple of years. I *do* need a battery replacement and could do with a clean reinstall, but that can wait for the weekend.
jazzfish: Owly, reading (Owly)
My laptop hath arrived. Initial impressions: thinner and glossier and about the same weight as Taranis. The Power key is a stupid idea. I miss having both USB ports on the same side: makes it a little harder to charge two things at once. The very very clever battery-power-lights on the side of the case seem to have been dispensed with, which makes me sad. Overall I see nothing to challenge my belief that laptop case design reached its pinnacle with Taranis and it will all be downhill from here.

I haven't done much with it: installed a few programs, made some configuration changes. So I haven't really noticed that it's much faster, or anything like that. The retina display *is* nice: everything just feels a bit crisper, brighter, more solid.

I expect I'll take Taranis with me next week, and then come back and offload all my documents onto the new currently-nameless machine.

What are you currently reading?

John Morressy's Kedrigern and the Charming Couple, book 4 in a series of five slim light fantasy paperbacks from the late eighties. I read the third (Kedrigern in Wanderland) several times in high school / early college and have been carting around the set of five for years; don't know if I ever actually read them or not. I don't think I did. They're utter fluff with occasional bright spots ("Ah yes, the hermit Goode, who lives in the wood that slopes down to the sea") and more than occasional visits from the sexism fairy. Doubt I'll be keeping them.

What did you just finish reading?

Kedrigern 1-3. I don't want to get started on anything serious; I'd rather not carry any physical books with me to Niagara this weekend.

Before that, Philip Knightley's biography of Kim Philby, followed by a reread of Tim Powers's Declare because of course. Knightley paints Philby in a positive light: not sympathetic but definitely admiring, and very critical of the British intelligence service as an old-boys' club and nothing more than a grand old adventure, a Great Game if you will. I came out of it vaguely dissatisfied. It felt too hagiographic to be trusted, I think.

Declare is of course fantastic, although I was less taken by it this time round as well. Powers wrote an excellent secondary female character in Elena and then reduced her to a prize to be won. The interleaving of the timelines worked well, I thought; it's just the wrap-up that felt wanting.

What do you think you'll read next?

Kedrigern 5 if I get to it before I leave on Friday night. Otherwise, since Graydon Saunders's third Commonweal book is out, probably a reread of The March North and then reading A Succession of Bad Days and Safely You Deliver. I've got the third of Kameron Hurley's Bel Dame Trilogy waiting for me, too.
jazzfish: Randall Munroe, xkcd180 ("If you die in Canada, you die in Real Life!") (Canada)
Let's see. Still writing (mostly just on Wednesdays with Steph), still playing the viola and starting to sometimes feel like I'm beginning to get the hang of it. Still less than thrilled by job but hey, they pay me. Still looking for a better (closer to downtown, less frustrating) apartment. Settling into getting used to the idea of having a stable living situation, and being able to think and plan about what happens next.

Finally got the cats on all wet food all the time. They've been on dry food for long enough that wet food has been "okay this is a nice treat but where is my REAL dinner?" It's taken a couple of brands to get to some that they'll consistently eat most of. I say "some" because we had one that we thought would work but after a week that turned into "aww, the humans bought a case of our favorite food, now we can't like that kind anymore." Mixing it up seems to be sufficient.

Apple has deigned to offer new normal-sized phones, so we'd intended to go pick those up this weekend. In addition they now give you some amount of credit for your old phones, which seems like a win-win proposition. Unfortunately the local stores are sold out of new normal-sized phones for the next couple of weeks. And the easiest way to get credit from the old phones is to exchange them at the time of purchase, which precludes ordering online. So, new phones once I get back from Niagara.

I did go ahead and pull the trigger on a new laptop, though. I may go to my grave defending the hardware setup of Taranis, my current laptop, as The Best Ever. It's got a CD drive, a Magsafe power connector that detaches safely when you accidentally kick the cord rather than yanking the laptop off the table, and it's got a software Eject key that is intensely stupid but can be remapped to be a proper Delete. Sadly newer models of Macbook have removed the optical drive and replaced the useless Eject key with what I think is a Power key that I can't remap. And all indications are that Apple is getting serious about moving to USB3 for power ports with the new models that ought to be out this fall. I figured, I may as well get while the getting is no worse, and if the new laptop lasts me five years like this one did then it's a fine investment.

And this Friday I fly out to Niagara for a week of gaming. I'm not really feeling the get-up-and-go urge, which seems ... odd. I suspect I'm pulling in on myself again. Eh. Will sort that out once I'm back from Niagara.



101 in 1001 update )

argh tech

Feb. 21st, 2015 09:03 am
jazzfish: Windows error message "Error 255: Too many errors." (Too many errors)
Awhile ago I was having some problems with Scrivener's RTF output. It would occasionally eat paragraph spacing info, I would fix it in OpenOffice (a free MS-Word clone), and then the next time I opened the file it would be even more broken. I thought those problems had been solved.

(This is what us writer types call foreshadowing.)

For reasons that are still unclear to me but which I'll attack this weekend or early next week, it's turning the last paragraph of the story into single-spaced. No problem, says I, I can fix that in OpenOffice. So I do, and open it again to make sure it hasn't broken anything (looks good), and submit to a market noted for its super-quick turnaround times.

Got a response back last night saying essentially "No, and by the way please use standard manuscript format."

Huh?

Opened it this morning in OpenOffice, and saw pages and pages of whitespace and broken headers.

So *that* was embarrassing.

I think (think) I have fixed the problem by switching to LibreOffice (a slightly different free MS-Word clone). I've heard before that this is something I should have done years ago but I have a great deal of software inertia.

On the bright side, the switch seems to have been painless, and LibreOffice is a touch faster than OpenOffice, too.

Stupid software. I'd go back to just using MS Word but a) while unemployed is not the time to start spending hundreds of dollars on software, b) versions of Word after 2003 have been increasingly less usable, and c) they've moved to a 'subscription' model where I get to pay them every month. As I don't anticipate using the software every month this seems like a terrible deal.
jazzfish: Windows error message "Error 255: Too many errors." (Too many errors)
No motivation this morning. Up til midnight trying to fix my stupid computer. For reasons that are not entirely clear to me it has forgotten how to tell the phone where to sync photos (clicking the [Sync] Photos tab results in endless spinning, and syncing gets a complaint that it can't find the folder to sync photos and then an endless "Waiting for sync to finish" message), on top of its couple-months-old tendency to crash the System Preferences when I try to open either Desktop/Screensaver or Spotlight prefs.

Been needing to get a new battery anyway; this one only holds about two hours of charge. Maybe I can get the genuises to take a look at the system when I bring it in.

I suspect the answer is gonna be "full system restore to old Time Machine backup" again, at best. Don't wanna.

Meanwhile I sit here with a stuffed-up nose and no interest in doing much of anything.

Today I will:
  • Stop beating myself up for not managing to fix my stupid computer
  • Get up off this couch WIKTORY
  • Exercise while rewatching two episodes of Better Off Ted
  • Practice the viola for at least an hour (two sessions)
  • Knock at least one thing off the "things to revise in story" list, either by doing or by saying "nope not gonna do that"
  • Email Jenn, cripes how did it get to be Friday already, I blame the stupid not-quite-sick
  • Meet [personal profile] uilos downtown for fishes and Holst

Looks like a full day for no motivation.



101 in 1001 update )
jazzfish: Jazz Fish: beret, sunglasses, saxophone (Default)
Last weekend's lessons: 1) if you're going to drop your powered-on laptop, 'flat' is the worst way for it to land, as that causes the (non-SSD) hard drive to skip and throw a fit; 2) as long as the geniuses at the Apple Store don't actually have to *do* anything they're unlikely to charge you; 3) I now know how to enter 'recovery mode,' as distinct from 'safe mode,' in OSX; 4) always, always, always back up your data.

Total loss: about a day and a half worth of fiddling around with stuff, plus the cost of a chai at Starbucks. Could have been a lot worse.



The Veronica Mars movie was very good: snarky, character-driven, filled with shoutouts to the series but still (I think) comprehensible and amusing if you're a newcomer. As noted elseweb, it had too much Logan and not enough Wallace or Mac, but that's a flaw it shared with the series.



We've started looking at new apartments. No real winners yet. The lack of wallspace for bookshelves has, as expected, been a problem. Heat in Vancouver tends to come from baseboard radiators, rather than vents, and baseboard heaters and bookcases are mutually exclusive. Oh well.

One place looked extremely promising: sort of like our current place, only in a more interesting neighborhood (closer to transit, further from groceries and a place to run) and slightly smaller. Not quite as much cheaper as I'd like but definitely cheaper. Downsides: first, they wanted a 1 April move-in date, which is awkward since we have a lease through the end of May. Second, they have a couple of bright orange cabinets bolted to the wall in the living room at about head height. I mean, *bright* orange. Don't-shoot-me orange. I have either not enough design sense to appreciate this, or too much.

Happy spring, or something like that.
jazzfish: Jazz Fish: beret, sunglasses, saxophone (Default)
The latest OSX update (Mavericks[1]) was free, and I've been running an OS that's three years behind, and I have a vague recollection that there was software that was only available for more recent versions of OSX. So I went ahead and updated.

[1] "To install OSX Mavericks, say 'Siri, I feel the need for speed.'"

Good things: the update went smoothly. Nominally better battery life. I can finally disable Spellcheck on a system-wide level. I guess iBooks on the laptop is a good thing.

Not so much irritating as mildly baffling: whenever I close an app, rather than popping up whatever app was next in the task-switcher, as you'd expect, Finder opens. I got nothing. Seems to have fixed itself, probably when I updated the keyboard hack.

Decidedly non-minor: trackpad scrolling is less responsive than it used to be and my hacked Delete key (formerly the worthless Eject key) doesn't work about half the time. [Fixed that one by updating the hack.] Also Firefox will frequently decide to stop loading web pages altogether, necessitating a close-and-restart.

Verdict: eh, shouldn't have upgraded. Oh well. Since I've already decided against a new laptop in the next year or two, I guess I should go ahead and buy more RAM.
jazzfish: Windows error message "Error 255: Too many errors." (Too many errors)
21 days for Dreamwidth, #7:
What is your favorite community on Dreamwidth?

[community profile] endings, because it is awesome. It is, in fact, so awesome that I'm going to go post there now.



Problem: the W key is right next to the Q key, which makes for severe annoyances when I hit Cmd+Q instead of Cmd+W and close the entirety of Firefox instead of the tab I'm on.

Obvious yet nonworkable solution: turn on "Warn me when I'm closing multiple tabs" in Firefox's preferences. I don't know why it won't warn me when I Cmd+Q, but it won't. (Maybe I have something else set, maybe Cmd+Q is a system "quit this program" command that overrides Firefox's individual preferences.)

Suggestions?
jazzfish: Jazz Fish: beret, sunglasses, saxophone (Default)
My deliciously clicky Unicomp keyboard and Henge Dock both came in yesterday, so I spent the evening setting up a desktop workspace to test everything out.

24" is a heck of a lot of monitor. It is overpowering in its monitorness. On the other hand, I appreciate the ability to read text without squinting, and Portal looks pretty good at that size.

The display adapter for the Henge Dock is being finicky. The speaker and USB and power connectors all click into place perfectly but something about the display connector is just Not Fitting. I can still plug it in from the underside of the dock, so it works and is usable. It just defeats the drop-in-and-use nature of the dock. I'll mess with it more over the weekend, I guess. Other than that the dock is amazingly easy to use, and looks classy too. My only real complaint is that it really wants a dedicated charger. The power connector, like all the other connectors, has to be screwed into place. It's easy enough to unscrew, it just adds to the time and effort and makes it slightly less awesome. (Now, if I had convinced [personal profile] uilos to get a Macbook Air, there would be an extra charger lying around...)

It's the keyboard that's really wowed me. Unicomp has done a fantastic job with this thing: not too surprising, since I think they bought all the old IBM designs and manufacturing equipment. It is gorgeous and heavy-duty ("can stun a burglar in the dark, which is my definition of great art" --NG). Also, it just feels right to type on. It even came with extra keycaps to replace the Windows and Alt keys with Command and Option (no symbols, sadly; just the words). Now I just need to figure out if there's a way to map the worthless right-hand meta key to something useful. Fn, maybe.

It's most definitely Loud, though. We're talking machine-gun levels of Loud, here. As someone or other said, it's like a gigantic tailpipe for geeks. It is, in fact, so much louder than my previous Model M (from 1995) that I went ahead and pried a key off the old one to see what was going on. Turns out all this time I've been typing on a standard dome-switch keyboard: better than most, but still not the same. (I'd take it to work to replace the keyboard I have here, but I'm worried it would break the cheap keyboard tray they gave me.)

Also of some interest: it's fairly easy for me to adapt to the Mac keyboard shortcuts on the laptop, but I keep using Windows muscle memory on the new keyboard. I guess it's embedded on a deeper level than I'd thought.

So now I have most of what I need for a good desktop setup (still lacking: desk, also chair). The question now becomes, when I get settled in Vancouver, do I use the same desk setup for work and for fun, or do I need to put together a whole different desk for work?



Coda: This, incidentally, is the first keyboard I ever used. We had it for, mm, not quite nine years, Christmas 1982 to late August 1991. For context, this was two revisions earlier than the one true keyboard, of which all others, including our own 104-key, are but shadows. (Edit: fixt links)

Looking at that picture, it's the little things that come back to me. The ridiculously oversized meta keys with their normal-sized key caps. The random PrintScreen key under the vertical ENTER, and the backslash next to Z. The gigantic PLUS next to the number pad. What the heck were the designers thinking? (Of course they probably weren't, they were more interested in getting all those weird new keys on the keyboard than in putting them someplace usable.)
jazzfish: Jazz Fish: beret, sunglasses, saxophone (Default)
I've been using Taranis, my new Mac, pretty intensely for the past couple of weeks, and we more or less understand each other. I'm still looking for a better name, though. I keep hoping something vaguely piratical will strike me, as this computer has occasionally put me in mind of the pirate with a steering wheel attached to his crotch.

Experience: sometimes frustrating, mostly good. )

nano!

Oct. 31st, 2010 11:30 pm
jazzfish: artist painting a bird, looking at an egg for reference (Clairvoyance)
Because I am a) a crazy person who b) wants to become more acquainted with his new computer in a trial by fire and is c) in desperate need of something to distract his brain, I'm doing NaNoWriMo this year for the first time.

This is madness for any number of reasons, but mostly because the only time I've ever written more than 1,667 words of fiction in a day, it wiped me out for several hours. 50,000 words is an order of magnitude longer than anything I've ever written. It may be more words than all the fiction I've written so far put together. Honestly, the only reason I think this is even possible is that I had several thousand-plus wordcount days in a row the last time I was writing anything, back in July.

(Also, I figure that if I get something else written, that'll give me the distance I need to go back and revise the space story.)

I've taken a couple days off from work in the middle of the month, and a couple more at the end, so in theory I'll have a chance to catch up when (not if) I fall behind on word count.

I have no intention of posting daily word counts here, no worries. I'll probably gripe about it here once a week or so, and give the same vague story info you've come to know and love from other things I've been working on. If you're actually interested I'll be keeping a running wordcount at the NaNo website. I'm jazzfish over there as well.

I fully expect to crash and burn with this but it'll be interesting to see how far I get at least. And yes, I do have a personal bribe waiting for me at the end of it, beyond just bragging rights.

(I'm using the special NaNo edition of Scrivener to write this thing, plus of course Neo for writing on my lunch break etc.)
jazzfish: Jazz Fish: beret, sunglasses, saxophone (Default)
The Hard Edge of Empire: "We know about the real world of the era steampunk is riffing off. And the picture is not good." Ladies and gentlemen, Charlie Stross has come through with the "steampunk sucks because fuck the victorians" post that I no longer feel any need to write. See also Nisi Shawl, who is currently on chapter 5 of her cotton-gin-punk novel.

(Side note: I have never understood the insistence that Tim Powers's The Anubis Gates, a novel of magical time travel in which deep sorcery and Egyptian mythology feature quite prominently, is somehow "proto-steampunk." What are these people smoking? It's not even Victorian, it's... whatever the era before Victorian was. Williamic? Georgian, I guess.)



Mac nattering )
jazzfish: Jazz Fish: beret, sunglasses, saxophone (Default)
A discussion with [livejournal.com profile] darkfyre_muse yesterday reminded me to take a closer look at the displays that were being offered. Turns out the only way to get a non-glossy display on a Mac laptop is to spend more money on a larger Pro. And poking at them in the store confirms that the antiglare is o so very much nicer on the eyes. Feh. I was looking forward to a slightly smaller machine but no dice.

So, yay for the Refurbished section of the Apple store, which has provided me with a 15" Macbook Pro that's slightly better than the baseline spec and has an antiglare display, for about what I could have spent on a baseline machine in the store today if they'd had one. (As of early this week $company gets an Apple discount, but it doesn't apply to refurbs.) Which is still more money than I've ever spent on anything that's not a car, by about a factor of four.

Oh well. In theory, and based on what I've heard from just about everyone who has one, assuming I like this computer it'll last me until at least the middle of the next decade.

Now to wait impatiently until the end of next week, and also to see how twitchy buyers' remorse makes me.
jazzfish: Stormtrooper making an L on his forehead (Soy un perridor)
I stopped by the Apple store today intending to engage in some high-end retail therapy and pick up one of them shiny new 11" Macbook Airs. The Apple website certainly strongly implied that the Tysons store had them (listing them under "featured in store," for instance). But no, the internet has lied to me.

So I spent twenty minutes or so with an actual Apple Store employee, getting a brief and surface-y guided tour of MacOS and chatting about what machine is Right For Me. She's not a fan of the Air in general: the two that she knows of in the wild have both worn out from use (display on one, hinge on the other), while her aged Macbook is in excellent shape. Plus the Air's not all that buff a machine in general. She recommended the much more durable Macbook, or a 13" MBPro.

She also brought up the Mac Mini, which I'd more or less discounted when I decided against trying to use an iPad as my primary portable. However, she got me thinking. I could go the two-computers route. I'd feel a bit safer having one available if the other decided to crash and burn, and having a ready-made backup of my data.

I'm not really going to be in a position to use a desktop system until I get a new chair anyway, and I'm putting that off until I get relocated. And I may end up deciding that Macs are just Not For Me. So, I think what I'll do is, once the 11" Airs show up at the store, go down and play with one for awhile, decide whether it's Just Too Small or what. And if it is, or if it won't work out for whatever reason, I'll go with either the Pro or the Macbook. (Probably the Pro, since it's expandable later.) And if that works out, and OSX and the general Mac-ness don't drive me batty, I'll get a Mini and a good desktop setup after I move.

At least the story has a happy ending. I brought home Cakelove cupcakes for dessert, and they were delicious.
jazzfish: Windows error message "Error 255: Too many errors." (Too many errors)
[personal profile] rbandrews: You are obviously very picky particular about the tools you use for typing.

Yeah, I very much am.

A rant about how I put words on the screen. )

macfail

Sep. 24th, 2010 02:07 pm
jazzfish: Windows error message "Error 255: Too many errors." (Too many errors)
Still thinking seriously about this Mac switch. For awhile I was contemplating a 13" Macbook, but I'm starting to suspect that may not be enough screen real estate. Which means a Macbook Pro, which would push me up from Expensive into Really Bloody Expensive. So I stopped by the Apple store at lunchtime, figured I'd take a look at a Macbook and see what the size was like.

"I wonder how it types," I said to myself. "I'll just click at the end of the URL field..." where "click" took a bit of figuring out, but, okay, I can probably get used to that, "and select everything in it. CTRL..." what idiot put a "Fn" button where my pinky is supposed to be hitting CTRL? Does this stand for "Fail now" ? Because it's going to cause all my navigation and copy/past muscle memory to do just that. "...and Home." And I quite literally tried twice to hit the Home key in its usual places: first to the right of the Backspace Delete key, then just above it. Nothing. Who the hell designs a keyboard without a built-in Home button?

... okay, poking around online reveals that if I revert to my original plan of "laptop plus iPad" and get an iMac, I can get a "keyboard with numeric keypad," which has a six-button navigation keyclump and also puts the CTRL key in the lower left LIKE GOD INTENDED[1].

It also reveals that under OSX, Home and End don't perform the more common task of jumping to the beginning and end of the line, but instead do the 'top' and 'bottom' thing all on their own. The way to go to the beginning and end of a line is CMD+left/right. Because why would someone want to go to just the beginning or end of a line? It's much more sensible to make those common actions require a second keystroke, and for the rarely-used 'top' and 'bottom' to happen more easily so I can completely lose my place in the document.

(This Home and End behavior is very nearly unacceptable in the Neo, which was designed by ex-Apple engineers. Neo only gets a pass because I know better than to try to edit anything on its six-line screen.)

My budding love affair with Macs may have just crashed and burned, much like a second date when the other person says, "Actually, I'm feeling much better after having my engrams cleared."

Argh.



[1] I'm not unsympathetic to the argument that CTRL really belongs to the left of A, since I spent my first eight years using an IBM Model F.
jazzfish: Windows error message "Error 255: Too many errors." (Too many errors)
I've been considering a number of lifestyleish changes for awhile now. I blame the hat. I've never thought of myself as a guy who wears a hat, and yet now I have one. (A black paper/straw trilby. I'm told it looks pretty decent.) The concept of wearing a hat is starting to grow on me.

Anyway, once I got a hat, other things started popping into my head. Some of them I'd been considering for awhile, some of them are brand-new. One was kind of shocking, honestly:

I'm thinking of going Mac.

Hear me out. There are a lot of things about Windows systems that I like but they mostly boil down to "I know how to get things done on Windows." My fingers know the keyboard shortcuts intuitively. When something goes wrong, I can find what I need to do to fix it; when something needs tweaking, I have a pretty good idea of where to look to tweak. Like with QWERTY, I accept that there's some inherent inefficiency in the system, but I'm not willing to switch because learning to overcome that inefficiency will take more time than the inefficiency itself.

But my next computer (coming in probably another year) is likely to be running Windows 7, with its ridiculous ribbon bars and general revamping of the user interface. Now, I've not actually used Win7, or Vista, for any length of time: just long enough to grumble at not being able to do things with the speed and finesse I'm used to. So I don't really know how much additional learning time there'll be, but there will definitely be some.

I don't game much anymore. Every so often I get inspired to pick up something oldish (Moonbase Commander is currently taunting me again), but mostly I satisfy my gaming urges elsewhere. For me the computer's for netsurfing and writing, in that order.

I know for a fact there are things that will minorly irritate me ("War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Backspace is delete.") and things that will irk me no end (learning the difference between option and apple, trying to right-click on things for a context menu). I understand that the interface, once you fully grok it, is an aesthetic triumph of form/function melding.

So tell me, o converts, and you who never knew another system: is this way for me? Or will it end in me throwing a thousand-dollar laptop through a window and rooting through sketchy websites for a copy of Windows XP?

(Things I am specifically not looking for: lengthy paeans to the awesomeness of the Way of Mac; diatribes about the horribilitude of Apple or Windows; exhortations to try Linux or any other OS.)

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Adventures in Mamboland

"Jazz Fish, a saxophone playing wanderer, finds himself in Mamboland at a critical phase in his life." --Howie Green, on his book Jazz Fish Zen

Yeah. That sounds about right.

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