Archive for January, 2008

Writing Updates: January 2008

Thursday, January 31st, 2008

I’m going to strive to be a bit more transparent about my writing this year. It’s something I have a hard time with, which might date back years to when I learned answering “What do you want to be when you grow up?” with “Be a computer programmer” seemed to be a more acceptable answer to most people than “Be a writer”. So to start I’m going to talk about the past month, and provide a bit of an info dump into what I think the future holds.


Links of Interest (January 28th 2008 through January 30th 2008)

Wednesday, January 30th, 2008
jQuery Validation plugin overview
Examples of how to use the jQuery Validation plugin 1.2 to provide unobtrusive Javascript validation to forms.
The Dissing of SF
Ever have someone ask you for a favor and simultaneously insult your career? Science Fiction author Robert J. Sawyer had this happen twice in one hour, and he posted his responses.
JavaScript Pretty Date
John Resig has released a prettyDate Javascript library that can take strings like “2008-01-28T20:24:17Z” and turn them into “2 hours ago”. It works standalone or as a jQuery plugin.
JavaScript Memory Leak Detector
Paolo Severini of Microsoft’s Global Product Development team has released a utility to help find Javascript memory leaks in IE. It can be set to detect things that would leak in IE6, things that would leak in IE7, or actual leaks.
Getting HTML 5 styles in IE 7+
Possibly the most interesting thing to come out of the X-UA-Compatible discussions was this method for allowing IE7+ to apply styles to elements it doesn’t support.
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Write to Done
A friend (thanks Kate) recommended this spin off of which is billed as “Unmissable articles on writing. Twice weekly.” So far it’s living up to it’s promise.
MD044 – Stan Lee Interview
Veronica Belmont interviews Stan Lee on Mahalo Daily. I never get tired of seeing interviews with Stan Lee. Maybe it’s his voice.

Links of Interest (January 9th 2008 through January 25th 2008)

Friday, January 25th, 2008
Playing for Keeps Characters – Set 1
Three of the character cards Natalie Metzger produced for Mur Lafferty’s “Playing for Keeps”. Shown side by side with the black and wite ink versions.
Fresh Pics of Mulder & Scully
Slice of Sci Fi has three photos of Mulder & Scully from the new X-Files movie. There nothing super special, but seeing these I’m a lot more excited about seeing this when it comes out.
Scott Brick Presents
One of my all time favorite audiobook narrators, Scott Brick, has launched a blog. If you’ve never heard one of his productions I recommend you seek one out and give it a listen.
New PDF reading software for Sony Reader: Reflowing and resizing will help cope with small-screen issues
Apparently Sony Reader is going to have a way to reflow and resize PDFs for reading. My opinion is the PDF is the single worst e-book distribution method, but this would at least make them usable. Hopefully other devices follow suit.

Best viewed in X-UA-Compatible

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2008

Note: This post is quite a bit more technical than what I usually talk about.

Yesterday saw the release of A List Apart #251 which is causing quite a bit of discussion. It focuses on a proposal put forth my Microsoft and some members of the Web Standards Project for a new meta tag than will control the rendering mode of IE8.

The first article (Beyond DOCTYPE: Web Standards, Forward Compatibility, and IE8) covers the proposal, what it means and why it’s needed. The second (From Switches to Targets: A Standardista’s Journey) documents Eric Meyer’s shift in perspective from being opposed to, well, not opposed.

My initial thought is that it’s a horrible idea. After reading more about it, and seeing the arguments in favor I think it’s a bad idea.


ProgPress Updated

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2008

Partly due to the strangeness that drove me to change hosting providers I found out that the previous version of ProgPress had an issue running under php4. That should now be fixed in the latest version (0.8), now available on the ProgPress plugin page

Site Change Complete

Sunday, January 20th, 2008

The site transition is complete. I think everything is working fine, but if you notice anything strange please leave a comment here.

Goals for the New(ish) Year

Sunday, January 13th, 2008

I’ve never been a big fan of New Year’s resolutions. I don’t even know if anyone has ever followed through on one (aside from “quit making New Year’s resolutions”). There’s nothing wrong with turning over a new leaf when you hang up your new calendar, but it’s not usually my thing. That said, a number of people I admire and respect have decided to set goals or declare their hopes for the upcoming year. I figured I might as well join in.

I’m a bit late to the party on this, but I’m glad, because these are slightly different than what I would have said January 1. In no particular order, here are my goals for 2008. I may revisit them and adjust them as things change throughout the year.

  • Take the family on more day trips, and maybe do some kid friendly hiking
  • Write (or do some quantifiable writing related activity) every day. I’m not sure this is reasonable, but so far I’ve managed to pull it off. Some days I only get in ten minutes, but if I wait until I have more I might never write again.
  • Finish the first draft of the novel I started in NaNoWriMo (hopefully by end of February)
  • Return to and restart revisions on Miracles (I’d like to have it to first readers by April)
  • Write and market some more short stories. I received an encouraging rejection in October, but stopped submitting to avoid being derailed during NaNoWriMo.
  • Redesign this site. I haven’t been happy with the look of this place in years.
  • Post substantial posts here more often (weekly would be nice)
  • Keep learning new things. This is a constant goal, and one that I usually keep up with, but it’s worth stating.

Did you make any goals for 2008? Feel free to share them here (or if you posted them elsewhere share a link).

Links of Interest (January 8th 2008)

Tuesday, January 8th, 2008
An Interface of One’s Own
Virginia Heffernan covers alternatives to Microsoft Word for writers including Scrivener (my personal favorite), Ulysses, WriteRoom, and Nisus Writer.
Future of Ajax.NET Professional
With the release of VS2008 and .NET 3.5 Michael Schwarz is ending development on Ajax.NET Professional (an alternate Ajax toolkit for ASP.NET that predates Microsoft’s own).
The Secret Lair
An all new podcast hosted by Chris Miller and Kris Johnson.
The transformation of a writer with Mur Lafferty
Wayne Sutton interviews Mur Lafferty about social media (video).
IE7.js version 2.0 (beta)
Dean Edwards IE7.js has been updated after a long period of inactivity. The new version is split in two files IE7.js brings IE5+ into the same level of compliance as IE7, while IE8.js contains further standards compliance fixes beyond what IE7 currently

Go Listen: Stories of the Third Wave, Episode 6

Monday, January 7th, 2008

The latest episode of Stories of the Third Wave, the companion podcast to Mur Lafferty‘s Playing for Keeps features a segment written by yours truly (performed by my lovely wife and I). It also features another great song from always entertaining Ookla the Mok.

Links of Interest (November 27th 2007 through January 3rd 2008)

Thursday, January 3rd, 2008
How to rewrite
A detailed post on rewriting, and how to do it. Community
Online community based around A place for listeners, authors, producers, etc. to communicate and help improve
Issue #1 of Sci Phi is available
The first issue of Sci Phi (The Journal of Science Fiction and Philosophy) is now available. The download version ($7) contains all stories and articles in various ebook formats as well as MP3.
GTD: Free Bundle of GTD Articles Written By David Allen
Lifehacker has a link to a collection of 17 articles available for free download from the David Allen Company.
Infamous IE hasLayout is toast
This “feature” of the IE rendering engine has caused me more headaches than I care to remember. I’m not at all sorry to see it go.
Kindles in libraries – the importance of ebook standards
DRM, lack of e-book standards, and related issues are even bigger issues for libraries.
AICN: 12th Episode will air! brings word that episode 12 of Journeyman will air. Journeyman is my favorite show of the new season, and I hope it comes back, but at least it will get to finish it’s run.
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Doug Morris, Old Person
Jonathan Coulton posted this summary of the New York Magazine blog’s summary or Wired’s profile of Doug Morris, CEO of Universal Music Group. I’m not going to further summarize, just read and be enlightened.