tmcg: (leafy starry)
Rosetta Stone has finally added Irish Gaelic as one of the languages it offers instruction in, and at all three levels, which is great. I did Italian Levels 1 and 2 online and Japanese Level 1 with the old-version CD-ROM, and it's a terrific and effective way to learn a new language.

Read more... )

tmcg: (happywilly)
Late Saturday night I installed World Community Grid software on my newest desktop. After two full days of run time: thumbs-up.

As of this morning my device has returned eight results: three for FightAIDS@Home (homepage here), two for Human Proteome Folding Phase 2, one for Help Defeat Cancer, and two I'm not sure of because the jobs ran from start to finish while I was sleeping or working or running errands or out at a christening and luncheon on Sunday. It's 76% done with some more work for Human Proteome Folding 2 right now. If I decide to, I can set my preferences so that my device works only on certain projects, but I've left it at the All Projects default for now, because I don't want my machine to sit idle if it queries for more work and my chosen project doesn't happen to have any at that moment.

The computer doesn't seem to be running appreciably hotter (I left the CPU throttle at the current default of 60%), and I haven't noticed any effect on other applications. The interface/screensaver has a duration-configurable Snooze button, and I can set the application to run only when the screensaver kicks in, but so far it's been problem-free running all the time, and I'll probably open the throttle.

I feel quite virtuous, and much better about leaving the machine on when I'm off doing other things, and I'm very glad I heard about this and decided to participate. Thanks for the heads-up, Dan!

If anybody around here feels like joining forces to start a team, let me know. I'm user IronGall over there.

A couple of posts I found useful/interesting in the WCG forum are this one (and the one it links to) about hibernation in Windows XP (to avoid losing work because of a reboot), this one about electricity cost, and this one about dual-core processors and the UD Windows client versus BOINC (worth reading before downloading and installing a client).

Edit to add: This post is a spam attractor for some reason, along with the Gilhoolie post, so I started logging spam IPs because I'm just curious like that.

Old Apps

Jun. 9th, 2006 01:58 am
tmcg: (cherry coke)
I was bemoaning the loss of a very old freeware FTP client that I loved (it's not really lost, but it's on the old desktop, which got moved downstairs and hasn't been hooked up again), and the marvelous M, in chat, pointed me to and There is much happiness.

tmcg: (quill)
Well, that was a pain.

It turns out that if you have the Web 11 (Merriam-Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary, 11th Edition) electronic version already installed on your machine, the current Web 3 (Merriam-Webster's Third New International Unabridged Dictionary) electronic version won't load correctly. You need to uninstall Web 11, install Web 3, then install Web 11 again.

I pretty much figured that when I ran into a problem, but I contacted tech support. here's our exchange, which solved the problem )

Maybe eventually they'll revise the FAQ, or maybe it's just not a Q that's F enough A. Or maybe they'd rather we all subscribe to the online versions of the dictionaries. But I can't always get online when I need access to Web 11 and/or Web 3, and I'd rather buy once than subscribe, so I am still thrilled that they offer these references on disk. And tech support got back to me within a day.

tmcg: (Default)
Gakked from [ profile] beth_bernobich, the birth date profile )

I find that pretty funny, given the terror with which I currently view the prospect of setting up this home network I've been procrastinating about for mumblemumble. But I have stuff on the back-room TiVo that I want us to be able to watch on the front-room TiVo. Waaaah. Must be brave.

OTOH...I have evil robots! Fear me!


May. 5th, 2006 08:14 pm
tmcg: (aw)
I was this close to pulling the trigger on a Dell Inspiron 710m I have in an online shopping cart when I stopped at Circuit City to pick something up and decided to try out the keyboards on whatever ultralight notebooks they had there. (I gather that not many other people do that. They want to know how pretty movies will look on the screen, or how good the speakers sound, or something. I spent nearly fifteen minutes going from machine to machine, typing in long passages of Shakespeare. The sales rep was courteous but bemused. *g*) The Sony Vaio SZ somethingsomething 120 had the most comfortable notebook keyboard I've ever tried. It was perfectly natural, no adaptation required. From the first line I typed, it felt as though I'd been typing on it for years.

No matter how I price it out, though, to get the same extended warranty and extra RAM and other stuff, the Vaio (or a super-ultralight Toughbook, also of interest) would cost me an extra thousand dollars. Dell's deals really do make them hard to resist, despite the decrapification required. If I can find an Inspiron 710m to type on before the promotions run out on the one I configured, and I really hate the keyboard, I'll think about going for the Vaio. But for grand's difference in price...I'm a really good typist and a musician and I can adapt to anything I have to.

Still, I'm in love with that Vaio keyboard. I'm still having a tactile affair with it in my head, hours after testing it out.

(Interestingly, a lot of the reviews I've read, on review sites and from users, complain about the Vaio's keyboard. Which makes me leery of the complaints I've read about the Inspiron's. And the word "Vaio" is itself weirdly hard to type. I've had to type it twice every time in this post. Maybe that's telling me something.)

tmcg: (mousies)
Hey, Web 3 is on disk. Looks like it has been for a couple of years, but I didn't realize it till just now. Having Web 11 on my computer has been a terrific timesaver. I expect Web 3 will be both more so and less so: I have less frequent occasion to consult Web 3, but when I do, it's always a grumpy-groany "oh, man, I have to get up and schlepp across the room and manhandle that monster book." For twenty years I've growled a little growl when I had to resort to the dictionary of second reference. Now it'll be just a keyboard shortcut away. There's a hundredth of a calorie I won't be burning anymore. Plus, portability rocks. I remember the days when I had to carry a backpack of reference works with me if I had to bring work to a convention, and just going outside to work in the garden became a mini-emigration.

Chicago is supposedly due out on disk, but not until later this year. In the meantime, it's still searchable here, if you've got the book itself close to hand.

tmcg: (quill)
Woot! Chicago 15 is coming out on CD-ROM.

You can search for the location of terms in the book at, but that requires you to be online while you're sitting there with your hardcover copy going "Dammit, I know it's in here somewhere...." Having the entire text on a local disk will induce euphoria equaled only by the euphoria of having (hypertext!) Web 11 on disk.

If they'll just make CD-ROM versions of the good Roget's and a fully updated Star Trek Encyclopedia, I'll be in writer/copyeditor heaven.

(Words into Type would be nice, too, although I've always found the WiT index to be more compatible with the way my mind works.)

tmcg: (Default)
On a stormy, windy day over the weekend, a gong buoy pulled loose from somewhere and came within about twenty feet of the shore here. As of this morning, it had washed up almost onto the beach and was listing on its side. It's been making a haunting sound, a drone that rises and falls, like the last dying cries of some great lonely sea beast as it looks into the next world.

stray cats; technofubarity )

tmcg: (gargoyle)
And now, the Martha Stewart Oxyacetylene Torch, brought to you by Sears/Kmart. Breaks through those pesky prison bars, then caramelizes your creme brulee.

Offline for a couple of days because my firewall had a nervous breakdown. I don't know what possessed me to install ZoneAlarm Pro in the first place, but it's been nothing but cranky, and I'm back to the freeware version. Anybody have firewall recommendations, just in case?

tmcg: (scream)
In the midst of the gnarly work thingie, I came across my favorite typo of recent days (slightly emended to protect the source):

"You'll go quakers over this rubber duck."

and some piscine guilt )

tmcg: (quill)
[ profile] planetalyx linked to The Gender Genie, which "uses an algorithm developed by Moshe Koppel, Bar-Ilan University in Israel, and Shlomo Argamon, Illinois Institute of Technology, to predict the gender of an author."

I input three passages from separate sections of my last novel, each from the point of view of a different character (one male, one adult female, one female child). All came out male. I input the first few paragraphs from two of my other novels. Both came out male.

I input my last LJ entry ("Bits of Oak"), and it came out female.

Looked like there might be something interesting afoot. But the previous LJ entry of any length (about the blackout) came out male, and so did a chunk of my private journal. So much for an analyzable delineation between constructed narrative and personal narrative.

I just input the above three paragraphs. "The Gender Genie thinks the author of this passage is: Male!"

I suspect George Eliot has nothing to worry about.

tmcg: (scream)
For [ profile] vahnia and [ profile] akaspeedo, who should either really enjoy this or run shrieking:

The first one I got was "Dialectic posttextual theory in the works of Gaiman." The random forces of the net have my number, all right.

Thanks, [ profile] smiddly!


Dec. 5th, 2002 12:40 pm
tmcg: (quill)
After a day and a half of studying flashcards at this useful site and practicing writing with the help of this useful site, I can now read Japanese words rendered in Hiragana characters. Very slowly, by sounding them out, but it works, and it's something I couldn't do on Monday or Tuesday.

This is the first time I've tackled a non-European language with a writing system different from the one we use. (I took Spanish through college, Irish Gaelic for a few years after college, and the equivalent of about two years of high-school Latin through my former employer.) It's a thoroughly amazing experience to learn to read all over again. I don't remember learning to sound out words in English; the only memory I have of learning to read was missing the word "penny" on flashcard in first grade and being mad at myself and getting it right the next time, which makes me think that I learned words whole rather than letter by letter.

This whole thing was prompted by my current triumvirate of overlapping film obsessions: Akira Kurosawa movies, samurai movies, and Toshiro Mifune movies. (Netflix is a wonderful thing.) I've heard so many hours of Japanese lately, and seen so many conflicting subtitle translations (Sanjuro to a gaggle of overeager young samurai on his heels: "We're walking like one big centipede! I can't move like this!" as opposed to "This is like being followed by a trail of goldfish dung--how can I get rid of you?"), that I wanted to understand some of the dialogue on my own, so I looked for online instruction--and found some, and found that after Lesson 5 I was going to need to be able to read Hiragana.

I'm inordinately pleased with myself. And my brain feels good.

tmcg: (Default)
Foreword: I hate shopping. I am a commando shopper. I shop at strange hours and in terrible weather, when no sane person would go to the store. I get in, get what I need, and get out. The only kind of shopping I enjoy is online shopping. I'm online all the time anyway. It's easy. Someone else carries it. My SO is a coupon hound who likes to shop and is completely appalled by my unthrifty shopping methods. That said...

Kohl's had a humungo early-bird sale today. It included one expensive, somewhat heavy item someone on my holiday list asked for, at less than fifty percent of the regular price. Plus I had (gasp) a coupon. The sale and the coupon were both good online, and the price would qualify me for free shipping. So when the alarm went off at whatever ungodly hour I'd set it for, thinking I'd go to Kohl's for the sale (the store opened, literally, at the crack of dawn), I thought, Am I nuts? I'll order online and let UPS schlepp the thing. The sale was good till 11am. Plenty of time.

Guess whose server decided to crash under the onslaught of armchair salemongers? Guess whose server still wasn't accessible at 10:30?

Guess who spent the biggest shopping day of the year doing the stupidest thing you can possibly do that day (go to a physical store)?

And to think I used to spend the day after Thanksgiving marching in anti-fur demonstrations.


Oct. 15th, 2002 02:00 pm
tmcg: (scream)
So I come across this local file called GTH.HTML. Usually I don't name things in caps. I have no idea what this thing is.

I open it. The entire page consists of three words: "Go to hell."

What is this? Something I created it in a fit of pique? At least then the filename ("Go to hell, HTML!") would make sense. And be kinda catchy when you say it out loud.

Finally light dawns when I see the page title: "I need to translate this." For a story I wrote (for Dead Cats Bouncing, a wickedly fun anthology), I needed to translate and transliterate the sentence "Go to hell" into Greek, Latin, and a bunch of other languages. I made that page so I could point Babelfish or something like that at it. (Didn't help with ancient Sumerian, but another Website did.)

So now I sorta like this tiny little file and don't want to delete it. And in two years I'll probably notice it again and go "What is this?!" and start the whole thing all over again.

Which is sort of like the cyclical spiraling weirdness that happens to the cat hero in the story. But that's another story.

tmcg: (gargoyle)
I first created a homepage on the Web in February of 1996. It was small. I knew what all the files were. I didn't need subdirectories. It seemed silly; three images in one, one text file in another, one text file in another, and that was about it. But it grew. It grew and grew and grew. But did I add subdirectories? Did I organize anything? No. It was a little irritating when I fired up Dreamweaver to work on some small part of the old personal homepage and the embedded WS-FTP program took a while to retrieve the list of remote files. But I got a cable modem. Then it was only a little slow. Still no motivation to organize the stuff into directories. I sorta kinda knew what everything was. Yeah, there were probably some old unlinked vestigial things in there, but so what? I had three other, quite nicely organized Webpages to maintain, and no desire to deal with the infrequently updated personal homepage.

Then I get a message from the robot at my server telling me I'm over my storage quota. Time to clean out files. Wanted to make room for new convention pictures. While I was in there, why not create those subdirectories and get everything neatly filed where it belonged?

I don't want to think how many hours ago that was. I'm trying not to think about how much my back hurts and how numb my butt is from sitting in this bloody chair. And I sure as heck don't want to think about the obsessive-compulsive behavior that led me to this whole job in one sitting when I really did have better things to do today. It had to be done sometime, I told myself.

The moral of the story:

Subdirectories. From the start.

At least I get to watch Buffy as a reward.