Friday, May 28, 2010

While deriving

I'm immersed in books lately. It seems to have started after my recuperation from surgery. Once I was able to concentrate on something other than bad television, I started reading, and I haven't stopped yet. I've read 44 books so far this year, which compares favorably to the number of books I was reading years ago before I started spending so much time on the computer.

I've been checking out books from the library, but I've also been reading a lot on my iPhone, which I'd rather do, actually, except for the minor point of buying all those books. I ran across this article about the Kindle this morning on the Amazon blog:

And...of interest to me as a critical of the anticipated minuses turned out to be a plus, in a way. There were no clues--no jacket, no typographical design, no author photo, no blurbs...nothing to influence my response to the book except the words themselves. I read everything a little more carefully.
--Lee Child

That's one of the reasons that I like reading electronically also. I'm kind of a snob about books; if I pick a book up off the shelf, either in a bookstore or in the library, I do judge it by the cover. I also judge it by the typeface, how large the type is, the size and heft of the book, whether it has deckled page edges (which I dislike) or not, etc. The biggest thing for me is the typesize and no, I don't want it larger so I don't have to wear my reading glasses, I want it to be small. I like long books, I like being able to immerse myself in a book for days.

I also especially like trade paperbacks. That's probably my favorite format. But with an ereader, none of those considerations come into play. As Child says, it's just the words. And I do find myself reading pretty much all of them, unlike how I tend to read a paper book. I don't speed read or skim, really, but I do tend to skip over long descriptions of fights or battles or landscapes. An interesting note -- Bob has been known to pick up a book and reject it because it has too much dialog, while I'll reject a book because it has too little dialog.

What I find with an ebook, particularly reading on the iPhone with the small screen, is that I read more closely, and feel like I get more out of it. It seems like a more personal, more intimate experience, I think. It's kind of the same way with audiobooks. I think I get a more complete understanding of a book by listening to it, because for some reason I pay more attention than I do when I'm reading a book.

Of course, I guess that's not exactly a good thing, since I only listen to audiobooks while I'm driving . . . [I first typed that as "deriving," as in, "I only listen to audiobooks while I'm deriving." :) I derive much pleasure from audiobooks, btw.

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Sunday, May 02, 2010

Blogger conversion

I had a couple of clients who were using Blogger as their blogging platform, and updating through FTP, which is no longer available as of yesterday. I got both of their blogs converted and updated so that they could continue to update their blogs through Blogger as they always had.

I hadn't decided what to do about mine. I had been thinking about converting to Wordpress, and I also thought that I could just do the blog manually, like I used to. Last night I sat down and opened up the test Wordpress blog that I set up months ago, but I just couldn't do it. I wasn't ready to give up the template that I had designed. I know that you can use customized designs with Wordpress if you install the software on your own server, but I just wasn't ready to tackle that, either. And all of the links I have in the sidebar; I would have to either give them up, or duplicate them.

So I thought, well, I'll just do the blog manually like I used to, and I started working on templates, stripping out the Blogger code, and then I realized that I was breaking ALL of the previous entries. So I had to start backtracking, undoing, checking . . . What a pain.

I ended up converting the blog to a "Blogspot" blog, which means that future entries will be on Blogger/Google's servers, not on my own. I will back them up, of course. I had to do a bunch of work on the templates anyway, to make everything work, and I stopped the conversion before it got to the point where it adds forwarding code, so all of the previous entries haven't been affected. I would appreciate it if anyone notices anything weird, or something that doesn't work, if they would let me know. Now, for every image and every link, I have to put in the complete path, which is also a pain, and not really good code, but it'll have to do.

Last September (I looked it up -- the benefits of having an online journal) we had weird electrical problems, but Bob fixed it, and I didn't worry about it anymore. Then on Wednesday or Thursday he called me at work and said that we were having the same kind of issues, that he thought he needed to replace the GFI, but for now the outlets in the bathrooms didn't work.

When I got home that night I put water on the stove to boil, and when I turned on the burner, the lights in the kitchen dimmed, like a brownout. Deja vu. I turned off the stove, the lights came back on, I turned it on, the lights went out. The GFI had tripped, so I reset it, and then all the lights on the first floor stayed out. I went down to the basement to check the breakers; they were all on, but I flipped them just in case. Nothing happened, so I went upstairs, where we had lights, and read.

When Bob got home, he replaced the GFI, but it didn't help. He tried several things, with me running up and down the basement stairs to flip the breaker on and off, but no luck. So he talked to an electrician friend of his, who came over the next day to check things out. They discovered that it was a bad breaker outside--they said it was actually melted, and broken, so it was definitely good that we discovered it when we did!

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