Time to Write

Rachel Poli is a blogger I’ve been following for some time now. She’s a fine writer and I wanted to thank her for a recent post. In it, she challenged other writers to create a story using a first line she supplied. The line is… “The doorbell rang at one-o’clock in the morning.”

It seemed like a fun little project, so I spent about an hour on a short tale. You can read it here.

Take a moment to read some of her stuff. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

 

Pigma Brush Pen

Every once in a while, I trip over a new tool that I just cannot do without. Such is the case for the Pigma Brush series from Sakura Color Products of Japan.

I was sorting through some felt-tip markers in the fine art section of a local A.C. Moore store when I found a small display of these pens.

What caught my attention was the fact that although the tip is similar to an ultra-fine point indelible marker, it is very flexible. The darn thing really does handle like a very fine brush!

So far, my usage has been to fill in extremely thin cracks and seams on folded cardstock. It is very easy to handle and got in places my previous markers didn’t. I’m sure that with a bit of experimentation, I’ll find more uses for this handy tool. Hhmm… Industrial age graphiti anyone?

Both the store display and Sakura’s website show these features:

• Archival quality ink – chemically stable, waterproof, and fade resistant
• No smears, feathers, or bleed-through on most papers
• Thorough ink delivery to the sides and tip of the flexible brush
• Individual pens available, and in a 6 – color set, and 8 – color set

You can read more at: http://www.sakuraofamerica.com/pen-brush

Be sure to check out the short video clip on their entire line.

Happy modeling!

Earthquake Prediction

I’ve been following Dutchsinse for over a year now and I’ve checked some of his earlier work. He has an 80% success rate in predicting earthquakes. That’s better than NOAA predicts hurricanes. You might want to take a look at this video clip.

https://youtu.be/8NKnY2GzHNY

Kubuntu 16.04 vs 14.04

Like most of us, I’ve lost things stored on my computer from time to time. This has made me more than a bit obsessive about backing up stuff I consider critical.

I also know that the average life of most electronics is about five years. Few hard disk drives give a three year warranty while most only give a year.

With that in mind, I’ve developed a strategy that works in conjunction with cloud storage to minimize the chance of a catastrophic loss of data.

Every couple of years or so, I purchase a new hard disk drive (HDD) for about a hundred dollars. I will unplug both of the HHDs in my tower, connect the new HDD, and install the latest version of my favorite Operating System (OS), Kubuntu.

Which brings us to this… I was very happy to get my new 3Tb HDD in the mail and immediately installed and format the drive with the latest Long-Term-Support version of Kubuntu, 16.04.

Worked with 16.04 for three days and must say, I’m terribly disappointed.

It appears as if the primary focus of the Plasma development team was to make an OS for a tablet, not a desktop. The overall look and feel is crude to say the least. Icons looks like they were created for a 1980s game system and several features have been removed.

I’m afraid Kubuntu 16.04 may well turn out to be Canonical’s answer to Windows8.

In the meantime, Kubuntu 14.04 will be supported until 2019. I’m hoping they get it right for the 18.04 LTS release. If not, I’ll probably recommend some of flavors, such as Ubuntu or Linux Mint.

As always, this is only my opinion and your mileage may vary. I’d love to hear of your experiences with other Operating Systems.

Bug Out Kit

Here in South Florida, the hurricane season is upon us. With that in mind, I’d like to remind all my friends that even if you live up north or out west, there are lots of things that can happen that might put you in danger. Plan ahead and keep yourself and your family safe. One way is with a bug out kit just in case your home or neighborhood becomes uninhabitable.

This is not designed as a long-term camping solution. Rather, it is intended for a three-day survival pack. The idea is to look innocuous and yet be able to walk to safety without outside support.

Do NOT forget spare glasses and prescription medicines.

Continue reading

Self-Publishing Tools

Here’s a list of some of the common tools that you’ll need to create your own ebook. I’ll be exploring each category in more detail, in a later post.

Word Processor

This is what is used to actually write the story. Some of the more popular choices are:

  • MicroSoft Word (Part of the MS Office suite of programs)
  • LibreOffice (Free and Open Source Software)
  • WordPad (An unadvertised part of Windows 10)

A quick tip: Do NOT use tabs! Use styles, instead.

Text Editor

At first glance, a text editor looks like a word processor, the difference is that it only handles the raw text. There are no fancy typefaces, headers, footers, notes, page numbers, etc. It is useful to strip all the extraneous code from a document prior to final formatting. The most common are Notepad for Windows and TexEdit for Macs.

Image Editor

This type of software is used for internal graphics as well as cover art.

  • Adobe PhotoShop (commercial industry standard)
  • GIMP (Free and Open Source Software)

Web Browser

A web browser is used for your email, research, backing up your Work in Progress (WiP), and eventual publication.

There are dozens of programs used for web browsing. The most popular are:

  • Internet Explorer (IE)
  • Chrome
  • FireFox
  • Safari.

These four account for most of the browsers in use, worldwide.

Backup!

Let me take a moment to remind you that anything you have stored in one place is vulnerable. If you don’t backup your work, sooner or later, you will lose it.

There are backup options available for Macs, PCs, Linux, and Smartphones.

No excuses. Just do it. You’ll thank me later.

You say you don’t know how? Here are a few Backup Options.

Continue reading

STATISTICS FOR THE VIETNAM WAR

NOTE: I did not write this. It was shared via email and I decided it needed an entry in my blog. If the original author wishes to contact me, I’ll be happy to credit them.

Here are some updated statistics concerning Vietnam era service. I am surprised at the survivors update at the beginning of the stats.
In case you haven’t been paying attention these past few decades after you returned from Vietnam, the clock has been ticking. The following are some statistics that are at once depressing yet in a larger sense should give you a HUGE SENSE OF PRIDE.

Continue reading

3D Printing

A Romanian modeler is trying to make a living from selling the pattern files for 3D printed truck models. It is a niche market, at this time. Check out this article, then consider…

Bucegi-3D-printed-truck3

I know a couple of other people, including Ed Traxler, that are making money in niche markets in this manner. No one is getting rich just yet, but I think that companies that make plastic models will soon find themselves downsizing like mad.

We’re going to see 3D printers become common over the next ten years. Like the book publishing industry, the actual creative person will become more important than the manufacturing process. I think the only real value large companies will have is in the editing, advertising, and distribution channels. Large-scale injection molding plants will be shut down. Along with their demise, all their support jobs will go as well.

What do you think?

Gimme A Chance

A few years back, I woke up with a song in my head. Nothing would do, but I had to get up, sit down at the keyboard, and finish it. When I was done, I sent it to a good friend, with the following explanation. Just for the record, I am not a musician.

“I woke up this morning at 2am, with the chorus and about half these lyrics tearing through my mind. I started writing them down and less than an hour later, this was done. I knew from the start, how the tune was going to sound. Before it slipped away forever, I recorded it after taking Bren to work this morning. The MP3 file is attached.”

Here’s the recording.

Gimme A Chance

[spoken slow]

Sometimes, you jes gotta gimme a chance

[steady, driving beat]

Friends an’ family grin an’ laugh
At the awful sounds comin’ outta th’ bath
A basement mike an’ nobody’s home
Ah’m learnin’ time with a broke metronome
Whisper gimme a chance
Oh yeah gimme a chance

Interstate miles go whizzin’ on by
The radios off but ah’m feelin’ high
At th’ sound of th’ drumbeat on the wheel
And th’ musical notes that only ah feel
Jus’ gimme a chance
Oh yeah, gimme a chance

First by a campfire, then in a bar
Then to the passengers in my car
Finally ownin’ th’ tune between my ears
Enjoyin’ the sound ’cause it’s taken years
Singin’ gimme a chance
Oh yeah, gimme a chance

You see th’ music’s locked up deep inside
I cannot run an’ I cannot hide
It ain’t fortune or fame
But escapin’ th’ pain
Jus’ gimme a chance
Oh yeah, gimme a chance
Please, gimme a chance…

Gimme A Chance, copyright 2012, by E.C. Field aka Anthony Stevens