Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Archive for February 17th, 2011

Good news, albeit obvious

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It was news to me, at any rate. I’m writing the weight-loss book using Scrivener, which is working quite well since it runs on both Windows (new version in public beta) and on the Mac (original version, which I bought). I keep everything in synch via DropBox.

Scrivener is a great little program, but considerably more complex than a mere word processor. It allows you to write a long work by writing short bits (called “documents”), which you can organize in hierarchical structures and view (and rearrange) on a corkboard, as an outline, or as the text of the individual documents. — Oh, what the heck: just download it from LiteratureAndLatte.com and try it out. You can get a trial version for free, and if you write pieces of any length, it’s terrific. Windows or Mac, it makes no difference.

But I did not at first quite know how to use it, so I ended up with a project with lots of documents written with no real organization, because I hadn’t (a) figured out the software and (b) figured out the book. But you have to leap in if you’re going to learn: that’s how you learn, far as I can tell. (Again: we’re talking practical knowledge here, and that can’t be gained without getting experience, which is the polite term for making lots of beginner mistakes as you play with the capabilities, for it is through play that learning occurs.)

Finally, I realized I had created an enormous pile of unorganized stuff that I couldn’t get my head around, so I stepped back, started a new project, knowing what I then knew, and that went quite well. Pretty soon I was trying to figure out how to get the stuff from that first-draft project into the second. I’ve been worrying about this for a week. If only, I thought, I could have both projects open at once, so I could copy and paste, etc.

Finally, tonight I tried opening the first project and then opening the second project. Duh: of course they both opened, each in its own window. That’s the whole idea of this sort of interface. And, I bet you any money, you can readily move documents from one project to another by drag-and-drop or the like. (I really do need to watch the Scrivener training video, I guess.)

UPDATE: Well, this video certainly demonstrates the limitations (or inefficiency) of relying on play alone to learn something new—it does help to draw on instructional resources. I was committing the error of those who refuse to read chess books, believing that through their own play they can rediscover all that has been found through four centuries of strategic exploration and development.

If you do any writing of documents of any length at all, you owe it to yourself to watch the video and then download and use Scrivener for the 30-day free trial.

(There are other videos on the Scrivener site, including a 10-minute introduction.)

Written by LeisureGuy

17 February 2011 at 7:17 pm

Posted in Books, Software

Cool white lion cubs

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Take a look. Thanks to The Wife for the link.

Written by LeisureGuy

17 February 2011 at 4:28 pm

Posted in Cats

States embark upon radical change

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An email from The Center for American Progress:

When President Obama took office amidst the worst recession in three generations, he immediately focused his energy on enacting a comprehensive plan to revive the nation’s economy. Newly elected Republicans, however, have interpreted their temporary rise to power in an entirely different way. Where Obama saw an immediate need to grow the nation’s economy, GOP leaders are seizing their moment to force longstanding GOP fantasies upon the people they govern. Several GOP-led states are pushing plans to strip state workers of their collective bargaining rights. Twelve states are considering unconstitutional bills “nullifying” the Affordable Care Act. Arizona Repub licans are lining up behind a plan to unconstitutionally strip citizenship from millions of Americans. New Hampshire Republicans have returned to the GOP’s favorite pastime of denying gay Americans their constitutional rights. Given the opportunity to lead, far-right politicians have decided instead to ignore the nation’s needs and pursue their own narrow, unpopular ideological vendettas.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by LeisureGuy

17 February 2011 at 10:51 am

Posted in Government, Law

Kicking people when they’re down

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The following report is bad but not shocking if one is familiar with the ethics and morality of modern business. Reported by Tony Pugh for McClatchy:

As if finding work weren’t hard enough already, a federal agency warns that some employers are excluding jobless workers from consideration for openings.The practice has surfaced in electronic and print postings with language such as “unemployed applicants will not be considered” or “must be currently employed.” Some ads use time thresholds to exclude applicants who’ve been unemployed longer than six months or a year.

Evidence of the practice has been mostly anecdotal, and information about how widespread it may be is sketchy.

But with unemployment at 9 percent and millions of people struggling to find jobs, the practice has caught the attention of regulators, lawmakers and advocates for the unemployed.

“At a moment when we all should be doing whatever we can to open up job opportunities to the unemployed, it is profoundly disturbing that the trend of deliberately excluding the jobless from work opportunities is on the rise,” said Christine Owens, the executive director of the National Employment Law Project.

Members of Congress contacted the Department of Labor and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission last year to see whether the practice violates federal employment laws against discrimination.

While the unemployed aren’t a protected class under civil rights laws, the practice could be legally problematic if it has a disparate or discriminatory effect on groups of job seekers who are subject to civil rights protections.

In a public meeting Wednesday at EEOC headquarters, several witnesses testified that . . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

17 February 2011 at 10:47 am

Posted in Business, Government, Law

Modern courtship

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I’m trying to study in the library but cannot avoid hearing the (loud) conversation at a table about 15′ from my chair. Three college-age people, 2 men and a woman, and the loudest is the young man trying to impress the woman with his having been arrested 11 times and in college only because it was a condition of probation. What’s weird is that she seems attracted and impressed by what would be for anyone sensible a flashing red warning sign to get far, far away. But perhaps she has problems of her own: I just heard him say that he could help anyone through the court procedure.

Written by LeisureGuy

17 February 2011 at 10:42 am

Posted in Daily life

Vanilla morning

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Vanilla all the way, more or less. Fine lather from Mama Bear’s Sandalwood Vanilla, worked up with the TOBS “artificial badger” brush—and I was thinking as I brushed my face that I cannot imagine a reason for not using an artificial badger: inexpensive and great performance. Three smooth passes with the Eclipse Red Ring, a splash of Raw Vanilla aftershave, and I’m off to campus for the day. There’s a lot to learn in Spanish.

One Spanish question: So far common use has been made of “hay”, meaning “there is, there are”. In English one goes to some lengths to avoid “there is” and “there are” because they are limp and dead phrases: “there” in this case is just deadwood—a placeholder while the speaker or writer thinks of what he intends to say. One editing task is to go through a manuscript and remove all instances of “there is” and “there are” that one possibly can.

But is it like that in Spanish? I don’t know. I need to find a good book on Spanish prose style, and while I’m at it, a etymological dictionary in Spanish (about Spanish).

Written by LeisureGuy

17 February 2011 at 9:37 am

Posted in Daily life, Shaving

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