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Writing a Novel: The project has initiated on DaddyClaxton.com

Writing a Novel: The project has initiated on DaddyClaxton.com

Today on my companion website, DaddyClaxton.com, I’ve begun with announcement. I’ve been working several months now to begin the process of writing a novel. Actually, it really began sometime last year when I began with a print copy of Robert McKee’s book, Story, and spending untold hours with it and an ink pen making active notes throughout the work.

That has spring boarded from a desire as a publisher of online books to an itch to become an author as well. The Beginning Of Writing A Novel

And an even better discovery has happened along the way. I’ve found that in order to be a good novel writer/play write/novella writers, etc. one has to be in very good touch with himself. That has led to a massive self-study effort that you will find reflected in the posts that are to come on DaddyClaxton.com and here on ClaxtonCreative.com.

This is by no means meant to be a week or two-week series. It’s already survived longer than that pre-announcement.

I encourage you to bookmark this site and check back often for new information. Check out DaddyClaxton.com, too.

My friend, mentor and digital book colleague Ron Rose has cautioned me about the enormity of the effort I’ve begun.  I’ve responded in saying that I get it, but in all likelihood, I can’t possibly “get it” until I have completely weathered the task.

If you have tips and ideas along the way, I encourage you to share them.  I don’t believe for a second I will have all right answers and suggestions from those of you at various places in the process will be most helpful.

So here we go. Onward…..

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CNN TO FURLOUGH ‘UNNECESSARY REPORTERS’ UNTIL MH370 IS FOUND

Editor’s Note: Dear Onion, you’re welcome. 

CNN TO FURLOUGH HUNDREDS OF ‘UNNECESSARY REPORTERS’ UNTIL MH370 IS FOUND

(CNN) The president of CNN Worldwide, Jeff Zucker, Thursday announced that the global news network will be issuing furloughs to more than 350 employees worldwide until MH370 has been found in order to save the media company thousands in salaries for doing nothing else while a handful of crack reporters, including Erin Burnett, Wolf Blizter, Pamela Brown, and Don Lemon carry out their endless filibuster of BREAKING NEWS coverage about the Malaysian missing plane.Unknown

“We’ve decided that we’re wasting money with all these other folks around and in order to save on the CNN budget, the best thing to do is to just send people home until the plane is found,” Zucker said. “We’re not going to cover another damned thing until we know exactly what happened on Flight MH370.”

Zucker said that the meant cable network was forgoing its exhaustive campaign to promote same-sex marriage in America, Putin’s land grab in Crimea and even President Obama’s trip to Europe and Saudi Arabia.

“I don’t’ care what’s going on in Michigan, the Crimea or what Obama’s doing unless the pilots turn out to be in favor of gay marriage, if the Malaysian plane landed in Crimea or the president is releasing the NSA audio of the phone call the pilot made right before takeoff,” Zucker said. “If it doesn’t involve MH370, it’s not news and it’s not going to be on CNN, so anyone not covering this story, well, we just need them to go home until we need them to come back.”

Zucker said his crack team of Blitzer, Burnett and Lemon have been driving up ratings the past 20 days since the plane went missing.

“Every other potential breaking news story is going into a Black Hole,” Zucker said. “We have spent more covering stories we didn’t report on air than the US government has reported spending in the air covering the search.”

Zucker said he is proud of the endless coverage his network has provided in the month of March.

“It’s been madness. I never knew we had such dedicated reporters who can sit there on set and say the same thing over and over and over and over and over with such limited information and make it sound fresh and new day after day after day after day after day,” Zucker said. “Hell, if I didn’t know any better, I’d say the plane had just crashed yesterday the way Wolf gets on there and talks about pingers and batteries and satellite imagery. This is what journalism is all about—giving the public a fresh insight on the very thing we have reported every day for the past 20 days at the same hour of every day since.”

Zucker said once the plane is found, he will consider bringing many of their staff back to work, but only until the plane is found. Otherwise, he said, there’s no need for them to come to work.

 (In case you are actually that dense, this is all fiction and tongue in cheek satire of how ridiculous the coverage on CNN has become.)

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All Right Good Night Registered on March 12, 2014

In case you’re wondering, AllRightGoodNight.com was secured on GoDaddy.com on 3/12/14. It doesn’t say what time of day it happened. Would be cool to see how long after the first time it moved across the wire it took for someone to register it. But I’m pretty certain if you looked back, that’d be the first day the term came to light.

All Right Good Night

Who ever registered it, let’s just hope they’re not dumb enough to actually host a site on GoDaddy.com.

 

 

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10.9.2 Mavericks Mail crashing repeatedly, Email from Contacts Going Automatically to Trash

10.9.2 Mavericks Mail crashing repeatedly, Email from Contacts Going Automatically to Trash

Apple, we have a problem.

Image representing Apple as depicted in CrunchBase

Image via CrunchBase

I have had multiple Mail crashes today and emails coming from Contacts are going straight to Trash. All this while running the updated 10.9.2.

Yesterday, I also had a bizarre issue with Excel. It wouldn’t open and kept crashing. Word did the same thing.  I was finally able to get into a stable-running session with PowerPoint and do an update, which corrected the problem.

These are the major issues of note so far about 10.9.2.  I’ve not tried to use AirPlay like all the other complaints.  These two issues have been significant enough for me.

 

 

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iBooks News And Announcements — From Apple

Important information from Apple if you do any publishing on the iBookstore.

We recently added the following new features and updates to iBooks, iTunes Producer, and iTunes Connect:iBooks News and Announcements

  • Textbooks Available in All Territories
  • Interest Age for Children and Teens
  • iTunes Producer 3.0
  • Sizing Images in EPUB
  • Enabling Ticket Notifications

 

Textbooks Available in All Territories
Textbooks are now available in all 51 iBooks Store territories. To offer your textbooks in these new territories, sign the new agreement in Contracts, Tax, and Banking on iTunes Connect.

Interest Age for Children and Teens
Starting in June 2014, interest-age information will be required for all book deliveries in the following categories: Juvenile Fiction (BISAC), Children’s, Young Adult, and Educational (BIC), and Jeunesse (CLIL).

iTunes Producer 3.0
iTunes Producer has been updated to include new features, such as:

  • Redesigned User Interface
  • Streamlined Workflow
  • Built-In Help Center

Download iTunes Producer 3.0 from Deliver Your Content in iTunes Connect.

Sizing Images in EPUB
Recent updates to WebKit may affect the layout of your book if you used percentages to define element heights. For example, .image-container { height: 80%; } will no longer result in an image that is 80 percent of the page height. This WebKit update aligns with the W3C’s specification for the height property.

To define a dynamic height for an element like an image, use the “viewport height unit” instead. A “viewport height unit” is equal to one percent of the height of the initial containing block and is a dynamic sizing element.

For example, to assign a dynamic height to an image, use:

HTML:
<div class=“image-container”>
<img src=“images/bears.jpg” alt=“three bears peer at goldilocks”/>
</div>

CSS:
.image-container { height: 80vh; }
img { height: 100%; }

Enabling Ticket Notifications
In addition to using Ticket History or Ticket Catalog Reports on iTunes Connect, you can choose to be sent email notifications as soon as a ticket is issued against your book. To enable these notifications:

  1. Go to Manage Users on iTunes Connect.
  2. Click Edit Profile.
  3. In the Notifications tab, select Worldwide in the Content column.
  4. Click Save.
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In Fiction Books, How Do You Know If You Can Trust Your Narrator?

In Fiction Books, How Do You Know If You Can Trust Your Narrator?The Fiction Writer's Handbook

I picked up Shelly Lowenkopf‘s eBook, The Fiction Writer’s Handbook yesterday off BookBub for $.99 and have been glancing through it as it’s designed to be used. It’s not a straight read. But in the “Revision” section a question jumped out at me I have never pondered before and I don’t recall an episode in fiction where it’s been used against those reading the book but the stark question or concept is this:  In a work of fiction, how do you know if you can trust the voice who is narrating the work? 

I’ve done my share of writing over the years, and I consider myself moderately well-read. I don’t read enough, at least in fiction, because mostly my work focuses on non-fiction, educational content, growing businesses, technical writing, etc.  But I do enjoy a good story and stories are at the central point of what I feel is my purpose in life.

So I come to you now with this simple question. When you’re reading a work of fiction, how do you know that the voice/person telling the story actually has it all together?  Do you have it all together?  I don’t.

So if I began telling you a story, what do I have to do to establish to you that I know what I’m talking about?  Even in a work of non-fiction, I assume this still would hold. Yes, I could roll out a litany of my past accomplishments and tell briefly my life story, but what if the author decided to jade them a little, unbeknownst to the narrator?  What if the character, in what wasn’t said in the narration, purposely left off some of the details or skewed them?

Is that a compelling enough of a hook to keep the work going? But if the narrator isn’t able to say “hey, I’m messing with your head here and skewing some of this, so don’t believe everything I tell you,” then where are you as a reader? If you keep reading and then find out later, would that make you angry with the author or is that one of the special dynamics of the work that would make a better story and better experience for you?

It is an interesting literary situation.

So what do you say?

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Being Wooed By FileMaker Pro 13 And Liking It

Earlier today I posted about FileMaker Pro 13 Advanced and how much I was enjoying working with it. I also noted an issue I’d been having with my computer going to sleep and then the files I’d built on it not being available on my iPad and iPhone.

Well, I think I’ve resolved that issue, and you can read about it in the earlier post.

But this post is about how I’m being wooed by FileMaker Pro during my 30-day trial period. And I like it.

Email Solicitations

Let’s face it, when most software companies are trying to get you to buy their product, their emails can be pretty annoying. So far I’ve received about four or five from File Maker Pro and I’ve yet to be bothered by any of them.

The first one I sent took some navigating to find out about how much they were going to charge for their monthly/annual services, but another one came along about 30 minutes to an hour later and fixed that.

Resource Center

And then just now I got this very simple, to-the-point email about how to get to their Resource Center. Basically it says, “We want you to get the full experience, so here’s access to our resource center to help you while you’re test driving.”

Now that’s helpful. Not too pushy. Not too pressured.  Just right.

FileMaker Pro 13 Resource Center

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FileMaker Pro 13 Projects Issue – iPad Won’t Connect When iMac Asleep

FileMaker Pro 13 Projects Issue – iPad Won’t Connect When iMac Asleep 

I’m using the trial of FileMaker Pro 13 to test a new project management system for my Macs, iPad and iPhone. The only issue with it I’ve found so far is when the iMac goes to sleep because of Mavericks’ Energy Saver settings in System Preferences. But I really like the ability to check on my projects, make notes of tasks, and then track my progress through the process of developing them. Here’s a review of the product and a tutorial for setting up sharing to mobile devices.FileMaker Pro 13

FileMaker Pro 13

Before I go into the problem I’m having, let me first talk about FileMaker Pro 13.  I’ve been a Bento user off and on for about five years now. It priced at $49 or a threshold very reasonable to get into and it was quite useful as a database management system for my needs. There was even an app for iPhone/iPad and from time-to-time I used them. Then, in September 2013, FileMaker killed off Bento and even though I’ve paid for Bento and had the iPhone/iPad apps, when I got a new iPad at Christmas I tried to migrate the app onto it and it would not. It’s dead. I have issues with that, but that’s not germane to this post.

So FileMaker is offering 30-day trials of FileMaker 13 in various versions on its site. They’ve even begun a year-long subscription model, very much like Adobe uses for Creative Cloud–but it’s a one-time, (for FileMaker Pro 13 Advanced) of $180 price per year, not staggered out monthly like it could have been so it’s easier on the pockets of the smaller business owner. (FileMaker Pro has a $9/month option). Otherwise, one can flat out buy the product.

FileMaker Pro 13 Pricing

Now I chose to use FileMaker Pro Advanced because when I invest in a product I go for as much muscle as I can afford and might need so I’m not looking back and wishing for an upgrade later. With software and computers, that just seems to be the best strategy to live by.

Getting Started

There are some tutorials that come with FMP 13. Lynda.com is still running FMP 12 lessons and I’ve not seen anything for 13 yet. I suppose that’s in the works.

My Projects

There is a great template that comes with FMP 13 that allows the creation of a management system for projects. It was easy to set up. And, because of it being FMP 13 advanced, apparently there’s a server setting inside that allows me to push the file for this out to my iPad and iPhone so that I can check or make updates to projects over there, too.

UPDATE: I forgot to include a screen of how easy projects are to manage:

FileMaker Pro 13 projects screen

To take my Projects file and make it available to my iPad and iPhone, I apparently still have to be on my WiFi to share it, so I’m doubtful it’s going to work when I’m not home. I’m hopeful it will, but I’m not seeing how that’s going to work. It would seem critical that it would work away from my IP.  That’s a test for later today.  But here’s how to set it up so it works here.

One the project is ready for sharing to iPad or iPhone, go to File > Sharing > Share with FileMaker Clients … and then pull up the following dialogue box:

FMP 13 Filesharing screen

 

This works great.  Except for one issue with Mavericks.

The Problem – Energy Saver and App Nap

As has been noted before, an issue occurs with saving to hard drives on the iMac in Mavericks when the settings in Energy Saver get too far away from their factory defaults. A very odd, “error -50” dialogue box begins to appear when one tries to write, particularly to G-Drives, which of course, are critical for storing video.  As one doing graphics, video and books for iPad, you can see how this would become a problem fast–not being able to save to a drive. 

Last night, when my computer had gone to sleep, I could not connect to the iPhone or iPad.

FMP 13 Host Not Available on iPhone

So, while it’s great that I can have my projects available on iPhone/iPad, there’s a problem with my host. I don’t plan to go out and buy a dedicated server right now to host this, nor pay the additional money to FileMaker to get the FMP Server software loaded, too. A version of that comes in FMP 13 Advanced, which I have already. So the issue then is how to keep the server on the iMac operational.

Possible Solutions

Already this morning I’m trying some new settings in Energy Saver, and one in FMP.

For starters, I’ve changed the setting on my hard drive so that it never goes to sleep. I’d had this on before, with “Put hard disks to sleep when possible” being unchecked before, and that’s when I got the error -50 messages. Hopefully, that was just because I’d unchecked the PHDTSWP box, and not because of “computer sleep.”

Sleep set to NEVER.

I also did a little more investigating and did one other thing. I turned off App Nap in FMP13 so that it theoretically won’t “go to sleep.”

To get to this setting, I opened Applications, then hit CMD+i on the icon in the list and up popped the window below.

As you can see, I have checked “Prevent App Nap.”

Prevent App Nap

And so the  experiment is on today to discover if these changes will keep the app available on the iPhone/iPad regardless of what is happening on the iMac. If this works, and I will make updates, I will also experiment to see if the Prevent App Nap or the Energy Saver settings were the key.

FileMaker Pro

I’m pleased with the over all functionality of FileMaker Pro.  When the trial is over, I’ll probably invest in the product.  I have a couple of clients that already have been sparked about the potential it has for their own data management.  And yes, I realize it can do a lot more than what I’m using it to do so far, but setting up a project management system that works on my iPad/iPhone when I’m out and about will be quite beneficial.

 

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Back Up Storage–RUN from ZIPCLOUD-Consumer Alert-Do NOT Use Them

Back Up Storage–RUN from ZIPCLOUD-Consumer Alert-Do NOT Use Them

I blame Mac | Life for pushing ZipCloud onto Mac users. I use Dropbox and I’ve tried Bitcasa, too, (GOD, Stay way away from them and do NOT download their app because you cannot get it back off your machine!!!)

The ads for ZipCloud probably were in MacWorld, too, but damn, this is one thing I wish I’d NEVER tried out.

ZipCloud starts off innocent enough. They tell you you can buy into different levels of their services, starting with a basic amount. Then they bombard you with offers to upgrade.

I didn’t like how the service performed. It was cumbersome. I couldn’t figure out really how to use it. ZipCloud does NOT work as smoothly as Dropbox. Little else does. And so I cancelled their services.

Well, that was in October.

I was floored when I kept getting emails from them saying “we haven’t heard from you in awhile.” Well no, I CANCELLED your asses.  When I do that, I don’t plan on you hearing from me and I don’t want to hear from you, either.

But that message came again and again and again.

In this Nov. 10, 2013 email, Jamie Heatherton says it’s been a long time since we last spoke. We haven’t EVER spoken to each other. Hello.

Screen Shot 2013-12-09 at 9.01.38 AM

In fact, I have no intention of ever speaking to Jamie. I cancelled their service.  It SUCKS.

So, today, I’ve apparently been pushed upstairs to the C-Suite.

ZipCloud SUCKS

ZipCloud SUCKS

Guess what, I won’t be taking advantage of their extended Cyber Monday offer, either. ZipCloud Sucks. Their service SUCKs. Their Customer Service Sucks.  Their push marketing Sucks. ZipCloud SUCKS.

So I also ask Mac | Life and MacWorld to more carefully look at what they’re endorsing. ZipCloud has been a major pain in the ass and it hasn’t gone away yet.

And finally, today, it’s time to apply RULES to them in Mail.  Why? Because ZipCloud sucks.

I don’t like to sound off on a company like this, not on our business site, but ZipCloud should have stopped with their BS MONTHS ago and they have continued.

When I went in and cancelled their account, they didn’t even understand that. Instead I got this first email:

Cancel ZipCloud Email 1

Cancel ZipCloud Email 1

 

And then, after I sent them the above email, CLEARLY saying to cancel my service and issue me a refund, the next day I got an email that said this:

Do NOT use ZipCloud. They SUCK.

Do NOT use ZipCloud. They SUCK.

 

And the emails continue…..

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Aperture 3 Permissions Issue Caused Via Belkin USB 3.0 Adapater

I had my external drive that holds my 424 GB Aperture 3 database (one of them) on it give me a bunch of error messages tonight saying it couldn’t read the file cos of a permissions error.

Yesterday, I plugged the drive into a Belkin USB 3.0 four-slot extender instead of directly into the Mac.

Once I unmounted the drive and then plugged it directly into a USB 3.0 port, the problem went away….

Not sure why Aperture could/would not read the files while going through the Belkin bridge but it would not.

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