Linux, Hamming, Reading and Writing
Well, I came across a new Linux distro, one that’s still in Beta: Elementary. I find I definitely like Elementary (the OS, not the TV show which is also not too bad). It reminds me of the older Linux systems — lean and mean with only what you need to set up a Linux system. From playing around with it as a Live CD, it seems to have all the other apps I like available, not surprising since it’s an Ubuntu derivative. I’ve not yet decided whether to migrate my main system to Elementary or leave it on Ubuntu 12.10. I seriously doubt I’ll switch that particular machine as I’ve been happy enough all these years with Ubuntu. I do have one old laptop languishing with no OS on it that I’d at least like to get up and running. Perhaps this will be the OS that works on it.
That laptop, like it’s owner, is a corner case. There are guides for installing Linux on this particular brand and model laptop, but even those don’t work for some reason. I’ve swapped the HDD and that didn’t help. I can get some Live CDs to work, but install? It’s stubbornly resisting. I hate to just toss this laptop aside, but it’s rapidly getting to where I think that’s the only real solution here. Nothing seems to be wrong and I can access the HDD just fine in other systems, so…. We’ll see, hopefully this weekend.
It would make a nice little machine for Ham radio work if I could get it to take an OS. I’m trying to get back into Ham radio, eagerly awaiting the time when the weather is more settled and I can head into the hills. The Mobile Amateur Radio community on Google+ has been a real help with figuring out some of my mobile antenna issues and I’m anxious to get out and try all the suggestions and ideas. The neat thing is that I can work on some of these while waiting for dark to fall for my astrophotography pursuits.
One thing that’s kind of bothering me, Ham-wise, is that during Field Day 2012 I was able to see and read quite a few PSK31 contacts. I was not out to participate in a QSO, rather I wanted to make sure my system was working, and it was. Yet, I’ve been on the radio several times since, I’ve followed my checklist for setting up as I did on Field Day from beginning to end, and each time I’ve seen not a single PSK31 call or QSO on the screen. Perhaps it’s just the conditions, perhaps it’s the timing (although even that has been pretty much the same), or perhaps it’s just not that heavily used except on Field Day. Hopefully, I can also resolve this to some extent with the stuff I’ll be trying mobile, since there, too, I’ll be mostly looking to PSK31. Eventually I want to try other digital modes, but until I’m fully comfortable in PSK31 that’s where I’m going to play. Since I’ll be up in the hills with someone else, I’ll probably also scan around the phone frequencies as well, which will help me get a feel for what kind of traffic to expect on those frequencies.
I’ve been doing some proofreading lately. I just recently finished up the Starstrikers book for Ken McConnell. It’s turning out that I’m seeing a significant reduction in speed when I do this. On a good day, when I can just sit and read and have all my drinks and snacks to hand, I can easily get through 3 or 4 SF or Fantasy novels. In order to do a proper job proofing, I find I can only get through one a day based on how long it’s taking me to proof these. I try to read as usual to catch anything that would break the reading flow, but now I’m necessarily also paying way more attention to the little things. Things that my brain would perhaps normally auto-correct such as the use of ‘then’ instead of ‘than’ or ‘too’ instead of ‘to’ and vice versa. Additionally, I not only have to watch out for English and grammar, but also continuity and technical details. That is particularly true when proofing a series: stuff mentioned in the book I’m reading must synch with stuff in the other books of the series or stuff the author has mentioned to me over time: background information not in the books, stuff happening in his WIP, stuff from his short stories, etc., is all vital grist for the mill.
I provide him with a lot of red ink. Does that mean the story is bad? Not at all! Not only are the things I red out simply my opinion that the author is free to ignore, but they could also be possible points where a reader can potentially hit a hiccup in the reading flow because of a slight discontinuity or perhaps even something that the author knows, from his world building, but it’s so obvious to him that he doesn’t see it needs a hint or something to be as clear to the reader. My job is not only to find possible errors, but also to give the author reader feedback as a last line of defense against errors after the Betas have done their jobs. That’s how I see it, anyway.
Ironically, I approach the proofreading with intent to be as detailed and nitpicking as I can. Yet, when I hand over the book with all that red in it, I feel a little guilty. As an author myself, I can easily appreciate that it is, after all, his baby. At the same time I know very well that were our roles reversed, I myself would be disappointed at the sight of all the red and at the same time happy that he found all that before I present my work to whatever public I have.
It may not be for everyone but I find that proofing someone else’s work helps me to be a better author. If I find that item in someone else’s work, I dang well better not present any work to my public that has that same issue. Proofing his writing helps me learn to look at my own work in a more critical manner after I’ve written it. I always say to just write it, get it down before you lose it, and go back later after it’s all written out and then start tweaking and correcting. By proofing for someone else, I am reminded how easy it can be to be too close to the trees to see the forest and thus miss even the simplest of things.
I still do not have my next WIP formulated for the Pa’adhe series. I do know that it’s not going to be on land anytime soon after Keylim. I can see an idea trying to surface from the depths of my mind but I need to be careful. I need to let it rise to the surface undisturbed so that when I open a new file and start writing that bubble will be ready to burst and release its goodness into the next story in the Tales of the Pa’adhe collection.
I’ve been talking a bit about the current Pa’adhe short story, Keylim, lately. The actual posting of this short with the rest of the series may be delayed. I’ve been encouraged to submit one of the Pa’adhe stories for publication and I’m considering submitting Keylim. If I do that, then I will hold off posting it to the blog for a while. If I don’t hear back from them after x amount of time or it gets rejected by them, then I’ll post it here as usual.