(I remembered the poll code! I wonder if I can make a bookmarklet that will ask me if I did when I hit the "Post" button. No, nevermind, that's enough computer-y stuff for one weekend.)
tl;dr: I use Dynalist, a free webpage/app that allows you to generate collapsible outlines, to keep a to-do checklist and journal bullet points for every day. I like this because things that don't get done can just be dragged into a new day, and because bullet points for journaling lowers the mental energy required to keep up with it. This system is highly flexible, goes with me everywhere, and lets me keep almost everything in one place. (I use Google Calendar for things that need to be scheduled more than two weeks out.)
( Setting the scene: )
Then, in early January, I read Tobias Buckell's post on bullet journaling, which made it sound sensible and appealing. After a little more reading (I noted down this Buzzfeed post), I found a recommendation for Workflowy as an electronic bullet journal—necessary because I will not carry paper with me everywhere and I need to have access to my to-do list at all times—the examples were way more complicated than I needed, but did show that it could be very powerful and customizable.
I stopped using Workflowy at the end of July for two reasons: first, the mobile app was not good, it was way too easy to drag stuff around by accident, but hard to move it on purpose; second, it only lets you keep a single (infinitely long and collapsible) outline, which was cramping my reference-note-keeping-consolidation.
Hence: Dynalist. Which is free, and which has an Android app in beta which is much more functional, and which lets you have multiple documents. (It also has a Workflowy import.) The paid version is a smidge expensive ($8/month billed annually), but I haven't felt the need for it; I might, however, end up signing up anyway just to toss them some money. I use a pinned Chrome tab (like so) on desktop, because I didn't realize it had a Windows desktop app in beta until I just checked.
( Here's how I've adapted the general bullet journal idea to a collapsible outline app: )
I've sometimes gotten a few days behind, but never more than a few, and I've always gone back and filled in at least a point or two about the day. And I started on January 9, so that's really pretty darn good. It hasn't been a magic (heh) bullet about getting things done, but it has reduced the amount of effort I put into keeping track of things, which leaves more energy for actually doing them. So on the whole, I'm pretty happy with it; and in case it sounds useful to you, here it is.
So far it's about what I expected--lousy screen, flimsy (the door for the SD card is not going to last the week--but it works. I will report back in more detail later.
The real point of this post is to link to two things:
1) how to install the Google Play store, so you can keep your paid-through-Google apps, which works just fine and does not use require use of adb or anything more complex;
2) how to install a launcher of your choice (I'm using Nova Launcher). I believe I had to power the device off and then back on before the home button detection option came on, but now it works just fine.
[*] It was a NVIDIA Shield K1, which has recently been discontinued; though old, it got good reviews across the board even in current roundups, and so I suspect I got a lemon, because it was a piece of shit from day one. Rebooting itself nearly daily during ordinary use, this exciting nonsense on a system update, etc. etc. Then a hairline crack on the screen edge dramatically expanded, rendering the area containing home and recent buttons unresponsive in the ordinary orientation, so use required constantly flipping, plus once you've got that much of a crack it's just a matter of time. I'll be putting it up on eBay for parts soon.
So I'm buying a new desktop PC because the one I'm using now is sad and slow. What's the general configuration of a lower-middle-end machine these days? I would like it to be able to convert video files from one format to another or run casual games like the Mystery Case Files series without having to close down every other program, but I don't need to do complex video editing or high-end gaming or anything like that.
Remember our DSL problem of a couple of weeks ago?
Chad fixed the polarity this morning—line tester all nice and green—and unfortunately the modem's still all blinky and not connecting.
I think at this point the answer is, "call Verizon," but if anyone has other suggestions, go ahead.
Only one of my very short lyrics hasn't been guessed, and it was in retrospect not a good one, so I've updated the post with a full line.
Chad's posted a two-word lyrics quiz.
(Oooh, and then I can use the script here to see what songs didn't get lyrics automatically imported, and do them by hand if I want! The Internet is awesome.)
- 25% off accessories at the Palm store.
- New hardcover omnibus of Barry Hughart's Chronicles of Master Li and Number Ten Ox forthcoming from Subterraenean Press.
(If you just want to read the first draft of Bridge of Birds (narrated by a nineteen-year-old Master Li!), it's available from this fan site.)
- I moved a bunch of LJs from my "friends" list to an RSS reader yesterday, because I was having trouble keeping up with my reading page.
- What an amazing pain it is getting two XP and one Vista computer to see each other's shared folders. This should not be difficult! (But it's done and I feel all accomplished now.)
This weekend I installed a Belkin N Wireless Router (F5D8233-4). (Our old router required rebooting every eight hours of running BitTorrent, which was tedious.) It's working fine for Chad, who's directly plugged into it through an Ethernet cable, but I'm experiencing annoying wireless connection disruptions.
Specifically, connecting to the Internet starts timing out; I click on Windows XP's little Wireless Network Connection Status icon, and in the resulting dialog box I see the name for the network flickering off and on (the name itself), and the speed jumping between 54.0 Mbps to 1.0 Mbps. Clicking "repair" fixes this, for a while, or sometimes it comes back on its own; in two hours this has happened at least six times, while I did nothing other than surf the web.
I pretty much installed this with the defaults, except for enabling encryption (128bit WEP) and setting up a forwarded port for torrenting. We have DSL, so PPPoE, but since Chad's having no problems I doubt the problem's on that end. My laptop has b/g wireless; the router also supports the draft n standard, because Chad's new tablet does. The user manual is not helpful. Does anyone have any suggestions of what settings to futz with or other troubleshooting to do?
Because I just know you were all waiting breathlessly for my verdict on Amazon's Kindle e-book reader:
If I had stupid money, I'd get a Cybook instead. [*]
Since I don't have stupid money, I'll stick with my Palm TX, which functions just fine as an e-book reader except in bright sunlight, which is not that often an issue (though if a Cybook showed up my doorstep for free, I wouldn't send it back). Speaking of which, from now until Monday Palm is selling the TX for $200 with a wireless keyboard thrown in, which is so cheap that I'm tempted to buy a spare against the likely day that Palm stops making standalone PDAs.
I love my TX and would absolutely recommend it to anyone who's looking for an organizer, e-book reader, game player, etc., but who doesn't need a smartphone. On the other hand, when this TX eventually dies, I may have other options: Nokia is releasing a Palm OS emulator, and the Nokia N810 looks very cool: bigger screen! Built-in keyboard! GPS! Anyone got one of these, or played with one?
(Because, you know, what I really need is to be gathering information on a tech toy that I neither need nor should have . . . )
[*] ( References )
I had a bit of excitement, last week, when I turned my computer on . . . and found it caught in an endless reboot cycle because it couldn't load the OS. Fortunately, I had 1) the bootable CD that came with the computer, 2) the sure and certain knowledge that all of my data was backed up, and 3) relaxation techniques to keep me from wrecking my shoulders, jaw, and stomach while I determined that it was a software, not hardware, problem (some file in the boot sector had gotten corrupted).
Back up your data!
We bought an exercise bike a week ago. It uses magnets for resistance and so is remarkably quiet. So far, so good; I'm going to have to be very diligent about my stretches (hip bursitis), but otherwise no complaints. Oh, and very diligent about keeping the foolish dog away from it: I clonked her good right on the flat of her nose with the pedal, the first time I was pedaling away.
- My Neighbor Totoro is a charming, odd, low-key, family movie that deserves the label. I recommend it. Also, have some icons.
- We saw Amos Lee, Elvis Costello, and Bob Dylan in concert last night.
Unfortunately we missed all but the last couple of Lee's songs, but he was quite good and got a satisfyingly warm reception from the crowd. He closed with his best-known song, "Keep It Loose, Keep It Tight," and I think he may have played "Shout Out Loud" too, which you can hear at his website.
Costello was doing the very solo thing, him and a guitar. He came out and banged right into "(The Angels Wanna Wear My) Red Shoes," and did several songs before doing any stage patter at all. Good stuff, very energetic and entertaining, also notably smooth at getting the audience to sing without explicitly asking for it.
Dylan was touring with a band. I am not terribly familiar with his music, especially his recent stuff, so I can sum up my reaction in eight words: I like my pop music to have words.
Seriously, except for the occasional line, he might as well have been singing in Swedish. And I know he's capable of enunciating, because he did do it once in a while, and because he was great when we saw him in 1999. I ended up zoning out for much of the set, trying to relax in the uncomfortable seats. Fortunately, I was fully awakened by the last song, "All Along the Watchtower" Hendrix-style.
For the perspective of a Dylan fan, see Chad's report.
- Episode 51 of Bleach has an amazing number of characters and not much forward movement. (It was on Adult Swim while I was doing stretches after the concert.)
- Donate $30 to DonorsChoose and buy Chad's blog.
- Someone came to my booklog and put "i am searching for a spell to reverse timeto july29,2007" (sic) into the "search" box.
- Neighborhood fauna spotted recently: a fox, fireflies, bats, and frantically-active squirrels.
- Useful LJ bookmarklets, including one that will change pages to your style—even ones in "format=light".
- del.icio.us is my new obsession. I'm planning to use it for con report roundups, and to that end, added this year's Boskone links as a trial run. Any comments on the tagging or anything else? (Chad suggested tagging by panelist as well, but I'm uncertain about that; people often don't show or are added at the last minute, and not all panel reports will reflect that. However, if people would really like it, it can be done.)
(Also, for the auto-posting, I need to hide the tag lists with CSS or otherwise format them so they don't overwhelm the links (see what I mean?).)
(My absolutely-essential files are on a USB drive that I carry at all times and automagically e-mailed to myself once a week, and we both have external hard drives; but it would be really good to have offsite backups of everything if it can be done without too much fuss.)
I have the post-vacation blahs in a big way, not helped by an upset digestive system (bad airline food? reaction to Northeast allergens? just not wanting to be here? who knows!) and a serious lack of sleep. Have very briefly skimmed over reading list and marked a rather large quantity of things "read" on Bloglines.
Feeling overwhelmed at the idea of leaving for Japan in less than two weeks. I still have fourteen chapters of Genji to read, not to mention learning more than five Japanese words, and half-a-dozen doctor's appointments, and all this laundry, and, generallly, everything that needs to be done for us to leave the country for three weeks.
Speaking of Japan & Worldcon: has anyone else filled out a program questionnaire & not gotten a schedule? There's at least one other con e-mail I've not gotten that Chad has, and so I'm worried that I'm not getting e-mail for some reason. (The other possibility is that they've decided they don't need me after all, which is fine, but I'd really like to know.)
Further to traveling: can anyone recommend a simple, preferably shareware, e-mail program for the Palm TX? Versamail apparently refuses to send anything longer than 4KB of text, which rather puts a damper on my post-by-e-mail plan for Japan.
I have this whole list of posts I wanted to write for International Blog Against Racism Week, and failed to write any of them while on vacation (and to finish Genji, and to read new-to-me John M. Ford books in preparation for a proposed Worldcon panel, and and and . . . ). I don't know whether I'll have the guts to write them and post them outside of IBARW (I was telling Chad, it's like being in a school of fish: it feels like there's less chance of trolls coming and eating you). But I did read Covering and will post about it, so that will be something.
But now, I am going to go buy food for the family and a camera for me. Yay, blatant consumerism as a mood lifter, or something.
It is April 15 and it snowed for most of the day. This is the second time this week that we had snow on the ground.
I don't know if this is just some kind of balance for the abnormally long and mild fall we had, or a sign of climate change, but whatever it is, I disapprove.
(However, it could be worse: my uncle is running the Boston marathon for the first time tomorrow.)
Chad was away for most of the week, and I think I had jet lag by proxy or something. Also, I spent too much time playing with my new PDA, a Palm TX (wireless! nice big screen! yes, it was an indulgence, but thanks to eBay it was at least half as expensive an indulgence than retail). Today I spent too much time preparing to be a pixel-stained technopeasant, and gosh, but my for-public-consumption life has been really boring lately, hasn't it?
(I am noodling with a post about capers & morality, but my brain cells are refusing to cooperate. There will be actual content here eventually, I promise.)
Meanwhile: what's the last song you played over and over again? This week it was Death Cab for Cutie's "I Will Follow You Into the Dark"—I tend to be suddenly seized with the desire to learn a particular song note-perfect, or at least as note-perfect as possible when one's not a very good singer. (These usually aren't new-to-me songs, either; I think the last one was "Fairy Tale of New York.") That third verse keeps giving me trouble . . .
Better living through technology: 1) Chad's new robot (okay, it's just a Roomba, but that doesn't sound as cool), which the dog's slightly dismayed about; and 2) TurboTax, which was worth buying just for not having to do New York's calculations (they are both tortuous and torturous).
Whatever the opposite is that isn't overly dramatic: 1) we're back to "unseasonably cold" on the wide weather swings; 2) neither of us had much energy this week; and 3) my orthodontist has gone worryingly pessimistic on me (though nothing will be decided until I get a lot more information, thankyouverymuch).
Were retail establishments elsewhere closed today? I was very surprised to find that our local mall was closed—so much for my plan to not go on Saturday when I felt too tired and cranky to cope.
Because, reallly, my life has been boring lately. A summary: blah blah work-work-work-work blah blah acid reflux blah blah holiday prep blah blah work-work-work-work. See? I told you.
So have some links instead:
- An effectively-perpetual Borders coupon, via Inner Bitch.
- Via julesjones, a ridiculously easy way to get your LibraryThing catalog onto any Palm device running OS 3.0 and up: PalmThing.
- Our Christmas tree, and the first of a series of pictures of science-themed ornaments.
- Why Tamora Pierce is cool, via liviapenn in a comment to coffeeandink's post about comics, manga, and sexism.
- For Saiyuki fans, via rilina: "How are you feeling today?": One, two; and, some pretty Minekura pictures.
- For Firefly fans, via I-don't-remember: Notes on a Fridge.
And now, back to work (-work-work-work).
Dear manufacturers of keyboards,
It's called muscle memory. Don't screw with it.
In particular: Do not group function keys in non-standard sets; F3, F4, and F5 have very different effects. Especially do not mess with the placement of the Delete key.
Very truly yours,
P.S.: I admit, the slight curve is a surprisingly effect compromise between a flat keyboard and a split one. Not as good for my hands, but fits better on my lap.
This morning, I couldn't connect to our wireless network. Troubleshooting this evening turned up the problem: sometime overnight, my computer decided the wireless network had a different name, one that dropped a character from the middle of the actual name.
That's the kind of inexplicable error that makes me very nervous; running chkntfs on reboot fixed one cross-linked file and that's it (unless changing the volume bitmap is something additional). Of course, then I couldn't exit checkdisk without powering off and eventually resorting to "last known good configuration," which makes me mildly nervous, but what are you going to do.
On a lighter note, we have some weird late-night conversations here at Chateau Steelypips.
Last week, Chad assures me that we had the following conversation at 3:00 in the morning, after he got up briefly and then came back to bed:
KATE: That was fast.
KATE: You just said that it would be three months before a robotic dinosaur prototype was ready.
KATE: . . . or maybe I was dreaming.
I don't remember this as all, but I believe it.
Last night, Chad stayed up late to watch the Manning Bowl (Giants-Colts). He tells me this is what we said when he came to bed:
KATE: Did they win?
CHAD: No. I'm sorry you're awake.
KATE: I'm not awake.
CHAD: . . . and the dinosaur prototypes will be ready in three months.
I vaguely remember knowing that the Giants lost, but that's all.
What I want to know is, why don't I remember cool dreams involving dinosaur prototypes, instead of nasty ones about, for instance, learning that my dream-self's entire family had some horrible genetic disease?
I came to the sudden resolve this weekend to finish cataloging our books, already. Have I mentioned how much I love my $14 bar code scanner from eBay? I catalogued 1427 books this weekend, which I'm ballparking at 200 books/hour.
LibraryThing now contains every distinct book in our house, except two books completely in Japanese that Chad was given as a gift and the cookbooks, because I don't really care about them: 2,087. (That's not the full total owned, as we each have a handful of books in our respective offices, and there are some duplicates that need good homes that I will enter later, now that I don't have to fear getting them mixed up.) I've exported the data to my Palm and resolved that no book entering our house may get past my computer without being catalogued.
I'm pretty sure I got all my read books tagged, though obviously sorting out the unread books will take a lot longer. It's vaguely depressing that I've read less than half our books, even with a substantial number of books that I either have no intention of reading or am vastly unlikely to read. Gotta get moving on that!
Notes to self: (1) When suffering from heartburn, do not sit on the floor for a couple of hours and bend over your work. It does really bad things to your stomach that last quite a while. (2) You still have an oral allergy to raw apples, and even though brie and apple paninis are delicious, they aren't worth the itching, the paranoia, and the stomach problems.
I'm really behind on writing LJ and booklog posts, as I spent most evenings this week proofreading stuff for Chad's tenure box. If I can sleep tonight, I'll start tackling the backlog tomorrow.