shaydchara: dirty black keyboard with the F1 key missing (F1)
Yesterday, I spent all day at the MadCap Roadshow in the Toronto Hilton. It was informative, and made me realize I really need to get a grip on CSS 2.0 and HTML5. Fortunately, I've always liked web-coding by hand, so all I need is a project.... which will probably end up being website revamp. Hmm.

Also, the Hilton gets full points for service. Not only did we get hot breakfast (were promised only continental) but also a full lunch (were told we were on our own for lunch). Lunch also contained meat, vegetarian, and vegan options, and when I inquired about mayo (bane of my existence) on the veggie wraps, I was promptly provided with a freshly made vegetarian sandwich sans mayo. Kudos!

Last night I finally tackled the looming ancient tech pile and removed the old, unused stuff from the condo. Having hazardous waste drop-off in the basement is very handy. I pulled the hard drives out of the incredibly heavy tower case, stuck the bigger one in an external enclosure, and hauled the tower to the basement. Also got rid of a box of old audio/video cards, assorted unused cables, and the mostly dead 13" MSI laptop (saved the hard drive and made it an external drive, too).

...it is hard to let go of old tech. But having sat on it for more than a year in hopes of "repurposing" somehow, it was time to let go. Being a 6 PC household of 2 people was uncalled for.

Then, I sacrificed a metal coat-hanger to repair my found-object globe (pic beneath the cut).

Found-objects FTW )

And is if all that accomplishing weren't enough, I also downloaded Ubuntu 12.04 (which took three tries to get an intact 700MB file. WTH, Rogers?), created a bootable USB flash drive (3x), and did a fresh install on the teeny Acer Aspire One netbook that has been languishing in some half-broken Linux state for about half a year now. I ran into a syslinux bug, but after poking the internet, managed to come up with an effective-for-this-case workaround.

All in all, I feel very accomplished. And next week is vacation. Woot!
shaydchara: dirty black keyboard with the F1 key missing (F1)
My MSI Wind U210 netbook had been running hot lately. I finally ran a temp monitor on it and discovered that hot = 60C.

Of course, I never properly registered the netbook, and so could not just request tech support. An eBay search on the model's fan turned up nothing -- never a good sign.

So I decided to just open the case (there would have only been 3 months left on the warranty anyway) and see if cleaning (or replacing, somehow, if necessary) the fan would help.

Long story short, for the cost of a couple hours, and a tube of thermal paste, plus the use of a vacuum, I now have a happily functioning netbook with working fan again. In the process, I discovered that if I ever do need to replace the fan, it will mean contacting MSI, as the heatsink is built into the fan casing and is only available in said design from the manufacturer.

ETA: Fansink! Or, proof of the interior exposure of my netbook )
shaydchara: dirty black keyboard with the F1 key missing (F1)
Several times lately I have proposed what seemed like obvious (to me) solutions for automating repetitive tasks at work and have been met with delight from coworkers who didn't realize such things were possible.

In the spirit of sharing such revelations, then, I give you my current Tips for Tech Writers:

1 - If you have a sequence of repetitive tasks you perform on PDFs for publication, you can probably create an Adobe .sequ batch file to do them for you. For example, I just set one up that does the following:
- delete comments
- set viewing options
- prompts for document properties
- sets security

Run the batch file (Acrobat -> Advanced menu -> Batch Processing), save your file, and voila! All those tedious steps collapse into one.

2 - Likewise, if you're using the same settings over and over for generating PDFs from FrameMaker through Distiller, save them as a .joboption and set it as your default. That way, you don't have to redo all your settings for each new book you're working on.

3 - Not related to automation, but handy to know anyway: If you need to fake text on or in a dialog box, Paint is your friend. No really. Paint is too simple for most things, but the one thing it does really really well is match the standard Microsoft GUI font (MS Sans Serif).

I adore TechSmith Snagit for taking screen shots, but when it comes to finessing the text, back to Paint I go. (Ohho, looks like there's a Snagit for Mac now. Excellent.)
shaydchara: a pen and notebook (Default)
Started a new job on Tuesday, which seemed fitting -- it's amazing how long the school-year conditioning affects the brain. Of course, this also meant that I spent Monday night tearing the condo apart looking for my SIN card and, failing, had to make a side trip to City Hall first thing before work to apply for a replacement.

Still, arrived in good time and commenced what I have since dubbed "Operation Make Friends with Payroll". I highly recommend it. Today, a snafu that will result in my getting a manual check instead of direct deposit next week also resulted in two lovely chocolate croissants by way of apology.

Tuesday I also accepted an offer to become Social Media Coordinator for Crossed Genres, so expect to hear more about that (once I've got things organized).

And, in a fit of "things in threes", I've also been appointed co-Admin of a KoL clan.

Before starting new job, I replaced broken MacBook with an MSI Wind (adventures in tech wrangling deserve their own post), which I am currently (happily) using.

Meanwhile, I have also attended scrum meetings, discussed release notes, and migrated content to new templates. It's been a week! And it's not even over yet.

Now, back to test-knitting a pattern for my spouse.
shaydchara: a pen and notebook (Default)
One would think, skimming the scant content of this journal, that I don't write very much. Rather, I don't write *here* very much, as here is supposed to be pseudo-professional. (I prefer to keep my fan-squeeing and other acts of temporary insanity in the comfort of my fannish journal.)

Appearances are what they are, though, and the words still happen. They just happen elsewhere, or in conversation with my spouse, or in the privacy of my own head. I'm not one to focus on word count -- for me that is one of the fastest creativity killers.

I am plotting two or three stories, but still lacking a comfortable place for transcribing them -- by which I mean the physical technology and software comfort, not a space to sit. I still don't know what to do about replacing my Macbook. Netbook screens are just *that* much too small, and my "work" Acer is too big. Dilemma. I have a (paper) notebook full of scribblings and nowhere I *want* to type them.

If Liquid Story Binder was more like Scrivener, maybe I could adapt. There'd still be the screen size issue, but at least the software hurdle would be overcome. Meanwhile, I stall.
shaydchara: dirty black keyboard with the F1 key missing (F1)
...and my MacBook screen is utterly toasted. *sigh*

Yes, I knew better than to balance it on the arm of the couch while I got up, but I've done it a hundred times before without problem. And therein lay the problem. Fortunately, I hadn't been doing that much writing on the Mac, so I don't think I've lost anything vital.

The question remains: just get a mini-DVI to VGA adapter so I can clean off the data, or shell out the $125+ to replace the screen? Decisions descions. It'll have to wait until after vacation regardless.

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shaydchara: a pen and notebook (Default)
Shay D.

January 2014

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