Friday, December 31, 2021

Making money - the sequel

Writing.

This is probably my last post this year, but who knows what can happen in the next seven hours 😁

So, let's work on the average self-publisher's depression... It's hard to get some hard numbers, so take the next bit with a bag or two of salt. 

So here we go...

Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Chrome Profiles - Renaming, organizing, migrating, opening pages with specific profiles

Google Chrome has profile support, allowing you to use different 'identities' when browsing the web.

A practical example is to use one account to write a blog, and a second account to test the functionality of that blog with a user name.

TouchPortal / OBS / MagicWindow

Touch Portal and OBS Studio are the (low cost) alternative to Elgato's Stream Deck and other Elgato solutions.

(Honestly, Elgato's kit is very nice, but a tad pricy.)

This page offers a quick overview of how to install and migrate both apps.

Friday, December 24, 2021

The Edit Loop

Writing.

Every writer has a different approach to writing and editing. Every successful writer is probably going to tell you editing is an essential.

Every great writer without the money to afford an editor has to edit him / herself. It is my firm belief that if you don't edit, then you'll get nowhere. Period.

So, here's my current approach, until I'm rich enough to afford a real editor...


Facebook / Messenger Meetings (Dutch)

Dutch.

Corona en kerstdagen...

Wil je mekaar toch een keer zien dan zijn er allerlei oplossingen, zoals mondkapjes, hazmat pakken, buiten blijven... of je gebruikt een App zoals FaceBook (Messenger) of WhatsApp.

In dit voorbeeld: FaceBook (Messenger).

Sunday, December 19, 2021

Things to look for whilst editing your story

Writing.

You've finished your novel, and now comes the dreaded part... the editing.

Here are some of the things to look out for (not in any particular order)... I'll add links where I touched upon the subject, or found a better explanation elsewhere.

Friday, December 10, 2021

All tensed up today...

Writing.

Many beginning writers understand the concept of present and past tense, but fail to properly apply it. They 'mix' tenses, often with horrible results.

I've been trying to find a good explanation to help ease the pain, but thus far I haven't been able to write up some decent explanation, sorry.

Below's the best I could come up with thus far.

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Writing - Frequently Asked Questions

Writing.

There are no stupid questions. Only lazy authors 😎

The same questions show up time and time again, on Discord and in Fora. So, I'm compiling the ones I ran into, and I'll add some of the answers I could find...

Wallpaper - Autumn Fire

Nothing better than a morning wood... I mean, the woods in the morning...

This is a digital rendering of an early morning forest, but I can't remember where I found it, only that I like it. Works great on dual monitor setups.

(Click to enlarge.)

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

TouchPortal - Traffic Light - Cycling through different pictograms when pressing a button

TouchPortal is a low-cost alternative to the Stream Deck.

Here's a little example on how to cycle through different pictos when pressing a button.

Monday, November 1, 2021

Wallpaper - Bamboo

For your inner Zen a dual monitor wallpaper.

(Click to enlarge.)

Monday, October 25, 2021

Alex Archer - Rogue Angel 7 - God of Thunder

Review.

Simple one shot stories, with sword wielding Anjaa bashing another few heads. I do hope to see some recurring characters, some continuity.

If everything is just one-shot (which it probably is) I might start to suffer from the Next Generation effect... ie. everyone dies, but is back at the start of the next episode. (Unless they wear a red shirt 😉)

I know. False hope.

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

SpaceDesk - Multi Monitor 'on the cheap' using SpaceDesk

Multi-monitor setups are fun 😁 

Use an old laptop or tablet an additional monitor? Not a problem, and with SpaceDesk you can mix and match iOS, Android, and Windows devices (!).

And best of it all: it is (still) free.

Monday, October 18, 2021

Alex Archer - Rogue Angel 1 - Destiny

Review.

Let's start with a spoiler. Anjaa is an historian / archaeologist, orphan, and wielder of Joan d'Arc's sword. So, that out of the way, this is a cheap, one shot, multi-author series which is, frankly, a guilty pleasure as it is entirely brainless. And sometimes that is exactly what the doctor prescribes!

Verdict: if you're looking for a break from all that 'literary' stuff this has you covered.

Sunday, October 17, 2021

An introduction to WallX - by video

To show what this little tool does I decided to create a little video. Which was a little more complicated than expected, and I got distracted along the way 😁

So I learned OBS (to grab the screen), Magic Window (tracking the mouse pointer in OBS), looked at Stream Decks but opted for Touch Portal, added some features to WallX to simplify the handling and creation of icons, then had to learn how to edit videos in HitFilm Express.

Monday, October 11, 2021

Netflix - Skyline / Beyond Skyline / Skylines

Review.

Three 'direct to TV' movies. What can I say... Frank Grillo does his thing, and the monsters are nice. Everything else is meh. Think of it as a B- version of Independence Day, spliced together with a low budget fan-made scifi flick and you know what you're dealing with.

Verdict? Skip it.


Sunday, October 10, 2021

TouchPortal - Quickly converting icons for Touch Portal

I like Touch Portal but found the conversion of .ico to something Touch Portal can understand a pain, so I modified WallX a bit to make the process easier.

WallX v2.42 versus Touch Portal v2.3... A case of AND or OR?


Well, nothing's ever completely done but WallX now runs smoothly and hasn't crashed on me yet. I've worked on importing files / exporting graphics, faster response to user action, and added some fail safe handling when writing files. Either Windows or some virus scanner was blocking my write access now and again. Also removed a bunch of smaller and larger bugs.

But... what has that to do with Touch Portal?

Friday, October 8, 2021

Avoid starting OBS twice

OBS is a nice tool, but it's more focused on streamers (seriously? 😁) than other types of users. I like OBS. I use it to record some presentations, make instruction videos with one or more screens, etc.

Combine OBS with a stream deck (an old tablet with Touch Portal will do) and it's gadget nirvana. Unfortunately OBS wasn't designed for non-streamers, and there isn't a way to force a single instance. Time for some tricks...

Monday, October 4, 2021

Contour Jog Shuttle Pro / Pro v2 / Express and OBS Studio

Of course you can buy a Stream Deck. They're actually quite nice and are great to use. Or you could use some software package and turn your tablet or phone into a stream deck.  But what if your desk is already full, or you're out of cash? The Shuttle it is then.

And what if OBS Studio doesn't recognize the Jog Shuttle's input?

Bella Forrest - The Girl Who Dared to Think / ...

Review.

Just like Christopher Nuttall, Bella Forrest is sometimes accused of plagiarism. I think that's not entirely fair, because she wrote some interesting stuff, but it's clear that she's sometimes - strongly - 'inspired'.

Then again, it is impossible to write something entirely original, so let's just shrug.

Sunday, October 3, 2021

WallX v2.22 'Newfangled'

Another day, another update.

But I think it's a good one... No, a great one 😁

WallX is no longer merely a wallpaper manager, it's now also a mini launcher. Why? Well, 'because'... Seriously though, the new version included a systray icon, and I thought it a handy place to store my own custom shortcuts. Which, actually, works. More information or  download it here.


Friday, October 1, 2021

Wallpaper - Guildwars 1

Guild Wars 2 may have better graphics, better monsters, better frenemies, more content, easier skillsets (not sure if that's an improvement, but okay) but Guild Wars 1 had attitude

If you never played an MMO, then download the (free!) Guild Wars 2, and enjoy!

(Click the image to enlarge.)


Monday, September 27, 2021

Netflix - Pacific Rim - The Black

Review.

Remember both Pacific Rim movies? Well, here's an anime series set in the same universe, which isn't that bad. The animation is okay, the monsters are fine... though not exceptional. The story is okay, mostly.

If there's anything bad about this one, it's the ease with which the main characters accept they are responsible for murdering a village full of friends and family, that just doesn't sit well with me. Otherwise, it's fine... but only if the story ever finishes in some sequel!


Wednesday, September 22, 2021

GoogleMaps Timeline loses data - Fixed!

This isn't entirely confirmed yet... I'm still testing this, but thus far it seems to work.

If you lose your Google Timeline data for no appearent reason, and you have more than one device, then try the following:

WaitWindow - checking for open and closed windows from a batchfile

This is a little commandline tool I wrote to help me check for windows which are open or closed from a batchfile. It can also launch other programs if a specific condition is met.

As usual, I couldn't find what I needed, so I wrote it myself...

You can download it here

Monday, September 20, 2021

GoogleDocs getting slow (lagging when typing and searching)? Blame Grammarly!

I noticed that, sometimes, GoogleDocs suddenly slowed down. It looks like the culprit is Grammarly. The fix is easy, though a little illogical.

Read on if you installed Grammarly...

Corey J White - Voidwitch series - Killing Gravity / ...

Review.

A little trilogy about a paranormally gifted (created?) telekinetic in a far away future. At roughly 220 pages per book these are not very large, but they are easy and entertaining reads.

Verdict: enjoy 'm!

Monday, September 13, 2021

Adam Wright - Harbinger PI 1 - Lost Soul

Review.

Another supernatural PI series. How many are there by now? Never enough 😁

Harbinger PI and The Dresden Files have a lot in common though, so much that I sometimes wondered in which universe I was wandering around. Nevertheless, both are quite readable, and original enough to be called original... Euh... Sort of.

Monday, September 6, 2021

Broken links!

Due to a variety of reasons (most of those boiling down to me being stupid) I had (and still have!) to re-create a number of posts. I'm updating bit by bit all the broken links, but that's taking some intensive manual labor, so several links might still be broken for the upcoming weeks / months / years 😕

My apologies.

(I'll keep moving this post around until most of the links have been repaired. Getting closer...)

Netflix - Jiu Jitsu / Earth Fall (2020)

I'm trying my utter best to like this movie, but that's because I like Nicolas Cage. In this B - direct for TV - movie he plays an utter lunatic, and that's a role that, frankly, suits him well. Will we ever see him again in a larger, better scripted movie? Perhaps some day...

Sunday, September 5, 2021

WallX v1.93 - multi-monitor wallpaper changer

WallX has seen another update. Changes: some internal fixes for better image series handling, better wallx.lst support, Windows 10 support, better support for weird combinations.

Who needs this?

Do you use wallpapers? Then you need this 😏

Multi-monitor setup - combining different screen sizes

I've been a big fan of multiple monitor setups, ever since NVidia put two or more video outputs on their cards. In fact, I did have a multi monitor setup before that using two video cards (which wasn't great, to be honest).

This post shows different sizes and combinations, to make it easier to find your path to multi-monitor minerva 😄

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Wallpaper - Welcome to the Neighbourhood

There's nothing like a decent bawl, by the un-imitable Meat Loaf. 

Perhaps his voice falters in his later works, but man, did Jim Steinman come up with some good songs, and did Meat Loaf pour his heart into them like nobody else could.

But... this is about wallpapers 😁 Now and again I like a shot of 'detective noir' and the cover of one of Meat Loaf's albums fits that mood nicely. 

Monday, August 30, 2021

Netflix - Alien Warfare (2019)

Review.

Should I spend even time on describing this? I actually like the cast, but the aliens are plastic / rubber-suits, and the movie brings absolutely nothing new.

Synopsis: team of four is send into a base where everybody has been blown to dust by an alien weapon (that turns out not to be a weapon). Sigh. Why is anyone spending money on making this, or wasting time watching 'm?

Monday, August 23, 2021

Keith Laumer - Worlds of the Imperium

Review.

I got this one bundled together with Marion Zimmer Bradley's Seven from the Stars in an Ace double. I did read this one before (in Dutch), but didn't realize that at first. Either version might have been a rewrite, or my memory simply failed me.

Not that it mattered much, as I like to re-read enjoyable books.

It's the first of Keith Laumer's alternate reality stories, featuring 'Blitho P3' , ehm, sorry, 'Blight Insular III'. (I wonder if Ron Hubbard used that name on purpose.)

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Monday, August 16, 2021

Moon (2009)

Review.

This is one of those movies that I know I should enjoy, and still I found myself fast forwarding the latter half. That's... sad.

If you enjoy good Scifi movies, then give this one a chance. I fear than my, ah, 'lust for sensation' wasn't satisfied by this one, but I think that's entirely to blame on me...

Monday, August 9, 2021

James Gunn - This Fortress World (1955)

Review.

Starts like a pulp action story. Stays that way most of the time. Ends a bit too easily. In general I would call it 'Keith Laumer' style.

Short plot summary: the almighty church controls the world(s), using forgotten technology from eras past. A young monk gets tempted by an offering, and ends up running away / fighting the church.

It's all a bit 'coincidental' but that's the kind of story it is.

Note: I read this one in Dutch, but I doubt reading this in English would have changed my opinion that much 😎

Monday, August 2, 2021

Netflix - Breach / Anti-Life

Review.

know he does it for the money, but Bruce, please... You can do better.

So, what do we have here? A simple Scifi / Horror cross-over, heavily inspired by Aliens, with a little infusion of Event Horizon.

I'm not impressed. Go see both Aliens and Event Horizon, that's a way better way to spend your precious time. Note: this movie is also known as Anti-Life.


Sunday, August 1, 2021

Wallpaper - Censorship

 

I have nothing to add...

(Click on the image to enlarge.)


Monday, July 26, 2021

Marion Zimmer Bradley - Seven from the Stars (1961)

Review.

More old stuff dating back to the golden era, this is the second part of an Ace 'Double', a pocket containing two novels in one book.

The aliens, so different from humanity at the beginning of the book, blend in a little too easy. The whatever-the-name-enemy from another dimension is not convincing. And the story didn't age very well.

Monday, July 19, 2021

A C Hadfield - Carson Mach

 Review.

I love my cheap, macho military / action / adventure SF. And because dumb books are easy to digest whilst doing something else I'm more than happy to look the other way.

But... there are limits. Especially when the same mistakes are made over and over again.

Monday, July 12, 2021

Sebastien de Castell - Traitor's Blade / Knight's Shadow

Review.

Let's start with the verdict... Though it's a four book series, the first two are a very decent two-book set. And a very good read! Swashbuckling, light on magic, great on adventure. I'm a sucker for good swashbuckling, so yeah, I love it...

Monday, July 5, 2021

Lindsay Buroker - Dragon Blood Omnibus

Review.

There's a whole subset of romance novels in fantasy settings, which all seem to follow a certain pattern. This is one of those.

Sometimes they stand out (Rachel Aaron's DFZ series, for example) and sometimes they are 'pulpish' (like this one). Great if it's your thing, but Lindsay Buroker can do better, as she proved with her Dark Currents series.

Thursday, July 1, 2021

Wallpaper - Roadkill Bar & Grill

I edited one of the images I found on https://www.collectedcurios.com/ and modified it a bit to make it a better wallpaper.

Lunch, anyone?

More wallpapers (every month a new one), click and scroll down.

(Click on the images themselves to enlarge.)


Monday, June 28, 2021

Helen Harper - Slouch With / Star Witch / Spirit Witch

Review.

If you like romance and fantasy, Helen Harper must be somewhere on your bookshelf. Nevertheless, she does write light, bubbly, funny tales, and this is one of those.

Contemporary witch who is way more powerful than she lets on, is lazy as hell, has a love / hate relation with a good looking male 'official', and a very rude cat (seriously).

Monday, June 21, 2021

Tim C. Taylor - Marine Cadet / Indigo Squad / Renegade Legion

Review.

An interesting premise (five million kids were sold into slavery to protect earth) takes an interesting route (let's gene engineer our cannon fodder and make them think they matter) then ends up as yet another 'soldier becomes sergeant becomes general'.

The story wanders around a bit, rambles and wanders now and again, and I still haven't figured out if the main character is a little naive... or if it's the writer.

Monday, June 14, 2021

Nathan Hystad - Confrontation

 Review.

Military SF is a guilty pleasure of mine. Let's read another two.

Today, that's Confrontation by Nathan Hystad. Oh dear... (read on)

Monday, June 7, 2021

Hyperpolice (1997)

Review.

Yeah, I know. Lot's of old anime lately.

Hyperpolice. Starts of as a comedy, but does introduce some more moral points of discussion during the series. Only 25 episodes, and not very well known... in the west.