Archive for the ‘Computers & Software’ Category

Just Testing

Thursday, August 23rd, 2018

Never mind me. I’m just testing writing a post after adding HTTPS to my website.

A Note About Comments

Sunday, May 29th, 2016

My delete finger has been a little trigger-happy with comments on my blog lately. Sometimes I empty the spam folder before I realize that a comment might not really be spam. And once I’ve accidentally deleted all the spam comments, I can’t get back to them again.

So if you have left a comment on my blog lately and you come back and don’t see it, that is why. Sorry, it got caught in the spam filter and something about the dashboard on WordPress must’ve changed, because I am losing those comments before getting a chance to check out if they are really spam or not.

The best way for me to realize that you are not spam is to mention in your comment where you saw the link to the post on which you are commenting. If you came to my blog from Facebook, let me know that. If you came to my blog through Twitter or Instagram, let me know that.  You are much less likely to get lumped into the spam category along with all the comments from SEO website engines.

Apologies to anyone whose comments I may have inadvertently deleted. Practically nobody comments on blogs anymore, so it is easy to get trigger-happy. 🙂 But I do welcome comments, if you wish  to leave them here rather than on Facebook, for example.

BORROWING ALEX September 30th Release Date!

Thursday, September 26th, 2013

I’m in the midst of a huge website update in anticipation of the Monday, September 30th release date of the Blue Orchard Books re-issue of BORROWING ALEX, which is currently available for pre-order from Kobo. It’s more than a re-issue, because I’ve not only updated the book to reflect 2013 technology, but I’ve edited it to reflect my current writing style (ie. I’ve tightened it a bit and reworked a lot of sentences), but I’ve also expanded the novel to include two additional scenes. If you were one of the 40 or so people who read BORROWING ALEX while it was with Amber Quill Press, or if you’ve listened to the audiobook based on the first edition, don’t let me stop you from downloading the new ebook when it’s available and trying to figure out where the two new scenes have been added. 🙂

Hint: near the end.

Please sign up for my newsletter to be one of the first to know when BORROWING ALEX is available next week at Amazon, Kobo, NOOK and Apple. I’m waiting for the proof copy of the trade paperback before I approve the print edition to go on sale, so if you want paper it won’t be available until hopefully the first two weeks of October.

Right now, I’ve updated the BORROWING ALEX book page, where you can read the new back cover blurb and an excerpt. If you want to get an even closer look at the ebook cover and also the cover flat for the trade paperback edition, you can do by clicking the cover on the book page or by clicking here. I also created a page for the (so far only) foreign edition of BORROWING ALEX, the Greek edition from Anubis Publications, which, as well as being available on newsstands in Greece and Cyprus in paperback form (yes, that’s Jimmy Thomas on the cover!), is available in the Greek language as an ebook from Apple.

Now back to updating my website! Next up is a revamp of my Books page and swapping book covers in the image rotator on the Home page. That last one always gives me trouble.

Oh, before I forget (I nearly did!), a reader alerted me that my email link wasn’t working for them on my Contact page. I have investigated the issue and had a bunch of people test the email link. It appears to work for about 80% of test subjects, because the link depends on the reader having JavaScript enabled on their computer. If you don’t have it enabled, then you might not see my link at all or you might not be able to get it to load an email to send to me.

I designed my Contact page with the email script as a way to help stop non-humans from accessing my email address and sending me emails for various enlargements, etc. You know what I mean. However, if 20% of browsers can’t email me from my website, that’s no good, either.

I’m looking around now for some good email form code that I can embed on my Contact page, and then readers can fill out the form to send me an email. But, until I get around to finding the code and installing it, for now, if you can’t get the email link to work, either (1) ensure Java is installed on your computer (sorry, don’t know how you’d figure that out); or (2) message me from my Facebook page. Or Direct Message me from Twitter.

I’d rather not force folks who are not on social media to join social media just to email me, so sooner or later I will get the website email annoyance fixed. Aiming for a mid-October delivery date on that promise.

NOW back to updating my website!



Tuesday, September 27th, 2011

A few posts back I said I’d give an update on my shoulder condition and my quest for the perfect keyboard. First, I’m not convinced there is such a thing as a perfect keyboard, because to make it truly perfect it would have to be custom made to your specifications. However, I am very happy to report that I am making progress with my rotator cuff injury and have found a keyboard/mouse combination that seems to work for me. I have had both installed for about a week. I am still attending massage therapy once a week, and I still can’t undo my bra behind my back (when I can do that again, I’ll know I’m healed), but I am no longer attending physiotherapy AND massage once a week. I am doing exercises to strengthen the supraspinatus muscle up the whazoo. If you check out the link, that’s the muscle responsible for lifting and the one in which I received a cortisone shot several weeks ago. I also learned I had what they call a cortisone flare, which is why I was in such pain for two days.

The keyboard that seems to be working for me is the Kinesis Freestyle keyboard with the VIP attachment. Here are a couple of photos from their website. The Freestyle Solo is the basic keyboard, and there are a number of ways you can adapt it (check out the website for more information). Basically, it comes in two pieces that you can arrange in the split design to suit your needs. It doesn’t have a number key pad on the right. There are still numbers on the top set of keys and there is a number key pad of sorts that you can access under the U, I, O letters and so forth, on the right hand side of the keyboard. You just have to hit the function key first. Take a look:

The advantage to not having an embedded number key pad is that: (1) I rarely use it because I rarely input data, so I don’t miss it, and (2) it helps with my mouse overreach issue, because with my traditional Microsoft ergonomic keyboard I had to reach OVER the number key pad to reach my mouse, which was on a little drawer that pulled out to the right of my keyboard drawer. Now, my mouse, which is a Logitech wireless trackball, sits just to the right of the keyboard, on the same shelf AS the keyboard, which is a lot better for my right shoulder.

I’m the sort who needs wrist pads, so I ordered the Freestyle VIP attachment. Here’s a photo, although not set up the way I have it. This photo is showing the maximum splay of 15 degrees:

I have the wrist pads attached and I have the legs on the back, but I only have them set up to 10 degrees, which works for me. My two keyboard halves are also attached at top (the tether you see there allows people to set up the keyboard in a variety of ways).

I’m pretty happy with the Logitech wireless trackball, too. The wireless receiver is super tiny, because it’s a trackball, I use my thumb instead of my finger, and because it’s a trackball I don’t have to move the unit around like I did with a traditional mouse. The only thing I’m missing is a little wrist pad, because I’m so used to having wrist pads and I really like them. I’ll have to pick one up for the mouse.

This system is good for me because I can work with a lot less discomfort. The trackball is a little tricky to get used to, but I can’t go back to a regular mouse so I’m giving it a good shot. At first it was really weird to use my thumb to move the ball, but I’m getting more accustomed to it.

Do you have ergonomic issues? What’s the best set-up for you?


Wednesday, September 7th, 2011

My absence from the blog hasn’t just been due to Summer Brain. I’ve been super busy on the writing front without doing any actual new writing. I critiqued a full manuscript for a friend, proofed my December release from Five Star Expressions, went through two rounds of editing on Penny’s first single title for Samhain Publishing, then did the final line editing and the proofing for the same. Then, in preparation for editing, I preformatted Penny’s short story for Ellora’s Cave (release date TBA). I just received the edits for the story on Monday, so it’s deadline time again. Not that I’m complaining, but when you’re writing for three different publishers under two different names, well, those publishers all have schedules to keep, which means I need to hop-to when one of them beckons. I’m down two projects, one to go. News which my shoulder greatly appreciates.

Part of the reason, other than the deadlines, that I’ve been gone, is because I’ve been suffering with rotator cuff issues for the last year, but I hurt myself badly in early July when I was moving too quickly, doing too many things at once, and my hand got caught in the workshop door while I was trying to walk up the basement stairs. This stupidito action on my part resulted in a cry of pain and writhing on the couch for what was probably only 30 seconds of torture but felt like 2 minutes (which is a long time when you’re in bad pain). Since that injury, which exacerbated the rotator cuff issues I’ve been having for about a year now, I moved into attending weekly physiotherapy (PT to Americans) and massage therapy…to little result. I saw such marginal improvement that I finally went to my doctor about the issue for the first time since, oh, last November. Not smart, I’ve discovered, to keep telling yourself “It’ll get better without bothering my GP.”

Well, my GP is a sports medicine specialist, so I shouldn’t have been so dense. I should have returned to him a lot sooner. But that’s water under the bridge. Three weeks ago this Friday, I finally went to see him about my shoulder issues and the July injury. The result was a cortisone shot to my supraspinatus muscle which pretty much incapacitated me for 48 hours. After that first awful 48 hours, I began to see slow improvement to my shoulder impingement. However, whether it’s due to, ahem, age, or the fact that I spend a good portion of my days on a keyboard and mouse, or that I fooled myself into thinking the injury would heal over time, I’m making progress but not enough to ignore my doctor’s advice to follow up in 10-14 days in the event that I might have a rotator cuff tear. Okay, so three weeks isn’t 14 days, but he was on holidays. I honestly don’t think I have a tear, but if he wants me to schedule an MRI to make certain, I will.

When you have a cortisone shot, the physio and massage therapists don’t like to see you for 7-10 days, so while I was waiting for the cortisone to work, I did a ton of exercises the physio had shown me and began investigating different keyboard and mouse options. I have been using a Microsoft ergonomic keyboard for years, and I didn’t know what else I could do until researching my injury led me to believe that it isn’t specifically the mouse that exacerbates my condition, it’s the fact that I’m constantly reaching over the number-key pad on the right of my keyboard to GET to the mouse. I do believe I’m a victim of mouse over-reach. I researched my options and was disappointed to realize that Microsoft doesn’t make a left-handed keyboard (number key pad on the left) in an ergonomic wave design. So I ordered what’s called a touchpad keyboard, from another manufacturer. The keyboard itself is ergonomically shaped and still has the number keypad on right, but instead of a mouse, you have a touchpad (like laptops have) in the bottom middle of the keyboard.

I loved this idea! And, while the brand of keyboard had received hit-or-miss reviews on-line, I spoke to a handful of writers through email who owned the keyboard and loved it. Well, they either had the older, more reliable version or I received a lemon. And what a lemon! I had that stupid keyboard set up three days, and while getting accustomed to the touchpad might have taken about a week, I would have gladly put up with that if the touchpad software didn’t keep going berserk. The cursor would whip around on the screen and open every program for each icon it touched. The only way I could stop it was by doing a cold shut-down. I later read on-line that you could unplug the keyboard to get it to stop glitching, but because of my computer and office set-up, that presented a whole ‘nother PITA of crawling around under my desk and straining my shoulder that I was not going to endure. So the keyboard went back in the box, and I’m awaiting reimbursement.

Since going back to the mouse, I can tell, yep, I have mouse over-reach issues. I can not keep my current set-up. My next experiment will be ordering the Kinesis Freestyle keyboard with the VIP attachment. This keyboard doesn’t have a number key pad (you can order one that comes separate from the keyboard itself) and it splits into two halves that can be arranged in several different ways, to suit the user. I sincerely hope this works for me. While I’m at it, I’m going to try a trackball again. I have my eye set on a Logitech model.

I’ll report in on my ergonomic issues in a couple of weeks. In the meantime, I’ll continue to blog sporadically (twice a week if I can manage it) and reserve my keyboard/mouse use for editing and writing.

Wish me luck!

Dear Delbert,

Friday, March 12th, 2010

Don’t take this the wrong way, but I’m glad you died. Five years in computer age is like 50 years in human time. That’s worse than a dog’s!

Dylan is not only prettier than you, but I don’t have to plug my digital camera into Dylan to upload pictures. There’s a handy little slot for my camera card! Delbert, I loved your operating system, and you were a good, solid workhorse. You saved me from “progressing” to the dreaded Vista, and for that I thank you. But Windows 7 kicks your ass. I love how uncluttered my desktop is thanks to the docking station where I’ve hidden all my program icons. I also have my most-used progam icons in a nice BIG size down on my task bar. I really appreciate how I can right-click on a program and pin my most recently used files to the top of the list for easy access.

Yes, Dylan rocks. And her little cousin, Daisy, is sweet, too.

Daisy isn’t as quick as Dylan. Her start-up speed kind of reminds me of yours. Windows 7 Stater edition doesn’t kick your XP butt, I must say. But Daisy has a purpose, and she fulfills it.

The only thing I miss about you is that my old monitor isn’t compatible with Dylan. Oh, the old monitor works, but I can’t download a Windows 7 driver for my 5-year-old 19-inch Dell flat screen monitor (not impressed with that, Dell!), and the generic driver doesn’t provide me with as many CLEAR viewing options. So now my website looks a lot narrower than I remember it looking on you, which drives me nuts. And I had to get used to reading smaller type on-line. That was annoying.

I shall persevere with the monitor. I refuse to buy another until it dies…like you did, leaving me frustrated and lonely until Dylan came along.

Oh, and Delbert? I don’t appreciate you hiding the style sheet for my website in your coffin! That was a nasty trick. Luckily, I’m quite the mortician and figured out how to unearth it.

Well, I must be off. Time to go smash your old hard drive to smithereens.

Love, Cindy