Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Closer versus Closure

I sometimes forget why I even maintain this blog.

I haven't been as transparent with myself about my work since I stopped using my Things App and iCal and put my head down on Master and Student Martial Legends. My words per day, devoted to my novels, has slowly tapered off over time as I've embraced game design and development. To that end I applied for a job doing the same with Disney and got past the first hurdle in the hiring process. As all my game projects slowly draw to a close and Disney grows silent (which I'm told is meaningless), I turn back and look at the large sum of work done on my novels in late 2009 and the first half of 2010.

Once Master and Student and Storytelling Sciences are complete I want to refocus on my novels. I have several outlines for books I'd like to write sitting in my PlainText app waiting to be fleshed out into full sized books. The prospect of collaborating with a peer on some cover art for one of my novels is especially appealing as my artistic abilities have developed over the last year. I would still prefer to generate text over anything in the visual medium. That being said, having even a modicum of skill relative to controlling and expressing my works for marketing purposes is a blessing.

It's tempting to set aside what I'm doing now and just work on my writing but I need to be a closer if I want closure in my creative endeavors. If you give something of yourself to a creative work, you owe the piece a chance to be complete. I carry some guilt in that my play test tables for Storytelling Sciences were written to test the system only without necessarily bringing closure to the story the people at the table were enjoying.

I'm sorry Andrea, you were right. You can't leave a good (or bad) story unfinished.

I think I did myself a distinct disservice in that regard and compromised the process itself. Does my game system operate as a good Table Top RPG? Yes. However, that wasn't the goal. It was meant to be a writing tool, and while it has served me well in that regard, would it aid others in the same way? I haven't play tested the system to seek any answers in that regard.

I think I'll publish it dirty anyway, and address that in annual updates. If it gains some traction as a product, maybe I'll get the data I need from feedback I couldn't get from my own process. Humility is my favorite virtue. My reverence for it takes nothing from the pain of approaching it as a concept in earnest.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Master & Student

Want to help me with my Windows Phone 7 project and collect some swag in the process? Clickorz.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Monday, April 11, 2011

Post PC Worldview & The Tech Savvy Writer

I keep seeing a lot of blood shed by tech writers on this issue. People think that because tablets are popular, they will somehow un-invent the desktop or laptop personal computer. I know lots of people who own both a regular car to commute with and a motorcycle. Myself, I've got a handgun, but I've also found that a good shotgun can be useful as well.

Do I think the vast majority of the world could get by with a tablet form factor like the iPad? Sure.

Most people purchase electronic devices for the purpose of consuming media, checking email, communicating on social platforms and other tasks. A tablet device can often perform better than a traditional PC for your average consumer. I'm beating a dead horse here.

For people who create the content other people consume, the tablet represents both a potential tool and a marketplace for their products. I've written quite a bit about the MacBook Air and the iPad and how one measures up agains the other. At lunch today, my Aunt Julie asked me if my MacBook Air had replaced my iPad because it was what I happened to have with me.

For me, the answer is somewhat complex but I boiled it down to this:

The iPad is what I reach for when working a project from the front end. For me, the front end is thumbing out the first few visuals, creating a few thousand words of plain text or mapping the relationships between characters in a book. Things that you have to do before you get serious about composition or finishing a product.

When I'm working on closing a project, or the back end, I need something that has a full desktop OS. Because I'm not just handing my work off to a traditional publisher I have to arrange and edit those works myself. The iPad simply can't do those things yet and I don't know that it ever will. There are some things that require the precision that only a cursor can give.

The folks at Notion Ink might actually bridge the gap if they can conquer their supply issues.

Anyone serious about independent writing and self-publishing have to get the most they possibly can out of their time. Sometimes you can't or don't want to sit at a desk for that purpose and need a mobile device to fit the occasion. I use an iPod Touch, an iPad and a MacBook Air to that end. I lucked out being able to afford the devices that best fit my writing style.

Touch screen devices that are both a laptop/netbook and a tablet are beginning to head toward the market, possibly filling both roles. The one's I've seen are running mobile operating systems and a keyboard doesn't mean they could be used to work a project from the read end. Would you buy a MacBook Air that became an iPad when the screen was detached?

Asus has something called a Transformer that possesses that form factor, sort of. It's running Android though, a deal breaker for me. Something running WebOS or Linux would be better in my opinion. I think the only way manufacturers are going to find out is if they build it and put these devices in the market and see what people buy.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Writing For A Living

1. Get up every day like you would for any other job. Get dressed, brush your teeth, put shoes on, and mentally prepare to go somewhere. Treat it like a job, because it is.

2. Take your union approved breaks and make enough text during the day that you sweat through your shirt.

3. Write during the day like you have no where else to go.

If you have a good job, you'll have flexibility, but your employer will still want you to put in your forty and then some. Make sure you are that employer and the employee that works hard to keep their job and the flexibility they've earned.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Epictitus and Death

"What wouldst thou be found doing when overtaken by Death? If I might choose, I would be found doing some deed of true humanity, of wide import, beneficent and noble. But if I may not be found engaged in aught so lofty, let me hope at least for this—what none may hinder, what is surely in my power—that I may be found raising up in myself that which had fallen; learning to deal more wisely with the things of sense; working out my own tranquillity, and thus rendering that which is its due to every relation of life…."

I think about this often relative to the people I've lost and the people I will inevitably lose in this life. I rarely contemplate my own death. It could be tomorrow or in fifty years. All things are finite regardless.

All we can do is live every one of those moments as well as we can.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

AT&T and my Samsung Focus

That the developer community and Microsoft themselves have had to conspire in order to give users an end-run around the carriers is pretty sad. Getting a simple firmware update for a device you've paid good money for shouldn't be so difficult or carry these risks. I've always gotten pretty good service from AT&T, but this shakes my confidence and turns it into pure nerd rage. Last year AT&T doubled the penalty for breaking contract with them from $175 to over $300. That's about what I pay for four months of service.

It's tempting to just do it, put my phone on eBay and try a different carrier in August.

I keep wanting there to be some grand reason behind the update delays. AT&T is delaying the updates because they have the best interests of their customers at heart. Given their previous behavior and public (sometimes accidental) disdain for their own customers, I'm finding it harder and harder to believe that.