NaNoWriMo 2014 is Go!

Alright then. This is year eight for me on trying to write a novel in a month. It is scary. It's nerve wracking. I have made many mistakes along the way. However it is fun. At least I consider it fun.

This year is a first for me in that it's the first year I'm writing a sequel. Last year I wrote a novel with Engine Heart as the backdrop. That book focused on a community fleeing then fighting to survive in a world without people or the tasks each were programmed for. This year I hope to explore more of the world and show that this community and it's defacto leader isn't some sort of special snowflake, and that other clusters exist that manage to think past the day to day of survival.

We will see how it goes I guess. So far I'm 2000 words in. The trick isn't one exceptional day though. It's managing to consistently hit goal day after day until the job is done.

Eight years in and I still generally hate most of what I write. I expect that will never change. However if you can look past the cringe even the worst thing on paper is still on paper, which means it can be hammered and beaten into shape. It won't matter how good or bad your story is if it's not written down. Everything can be fixed in editing, and this is coming from a guy that hates to edit anything. To get to the point of finding the good from the bad you have to get it written down.

Won't matter if I like it or not. It's still you telling a story that you want to tell. To everyone else giving this November thing a go. I salute you.

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Response from Hemingwrite

Well, it took awhile, but I finally got a response to my questions about the Hemingwrite.

Sorry about the delay! I have held off writing you because 1. This is a very long email and 2. It's a very long email.

We appreciate your concerns and feedback! To start, this was meant to be a niche device, not everything to everybody. Also, no need to bombard us multiple times on facebook, email, etc. We are only a two man team and are doing our best! (we are also trying to build this product in our free time)

I will address that one here, as this is my proverbial front step. Not everyone knows the hemingwrite exists, and I figure exposure is exposure is exposure. Plus I have had issue in the past of less than stellar follow through when it comes to getting word back. For this I am sorry.

As for it being a niche product this is both a blessing and a curse. On the one hand you can afford to cater to a specialized audience without much care for what anyone else feels, since they're not who you're aiming at anyway. On the other hand if that audience doesn't like what's being offered you have to hope it's close enough to another specialized market and even if they like the product there is enough to make a workable business off of.

I do appreciate the care taken by Adam here in responding since I do get on the wordy side and he has. Business to pull up out of nothing. For now though I'm just going to go through the reply and jot down my thoughts as I scroll. I'm sure latter points will address concerns with earlier points, or at least I hope so because the first one is a biggie.

>OS compatibility
Yes, we will sync everything to the cloud. Wait and see how this works when we release a demo.

See, that right there worries me. Reliance on the cloud, frankly, is stupid if you're trying to make a device that will last ten or twenty years. Twenty years ago my school was on windows 3.11, I was primarily using Word Perfect 6 in DOS, and filenames had that annoying eight character limit. Twenty years from now? Who knows! Won't matter how sturdy the device is if the 'cloud' doesn't exist to convert stuff into something you can use.

>E Ink fragility
Not much we can do about this. If it's good enough for the kindle, it is good enough for us. E Ink is constantly upgrading their panels which we will benefit from as well.

Here's hoping. I can take a bit of display lag and ghosting if it means a stupidly long battery life. I'm more worried about durability and replaceability. However with concerns voiced I have to hope that will be addressed in production since that's in their best interests.

>reliance on google
There will be multiple backup methods.

Good! Backups are important. Losing work sucks.

>wifi required
You can turn it off if you want to save battery power or if you just don’t want it on.

Also good. WiFi drains batteries.

>removable storage
Stay tuned

Well here's to hoping. I mean I can understand if they don't since that's extra to have to do. It's just that seems like something that would tie both into the heirloom concept, and having several backup methods. Still, I can live with 'just' cloud backups, on device storage, and being able to pull it from device onto another via cabling.

>font size
Yes, you can change the font size as rendered on the screen. Output is straight text.

A twofer here. Being able to bump text size up is a serious positive for me, and plain text means basically any device since ever can read the output if you can get at the file.

>everything keyboard controlled
Yes except for the three switches (on/off, folders, and wifi.)

Always nice.

>local save
Yes, there will be onboard storage. In document formatting like bold and italics will be accomplished via basic markdown.

As I said before. I like this.

The only real flexibility on price we have is determined through what features we include or exclude. The great majority of the price is in the screen and keyboard which are the critical features of the device. If people want a budget device, a used alphasmart would probably be a better option. For professionals that don't want a budget device, the Hemingwrite will be very affordable.

On the one hand annoying there is no give going on since they're effectively steering potential customers away with this statement. On the other it's two guys in a garage, so focus on what they can rather than try working every single angle.

Sorry that you hate our design :( Not much we can do about that. You might change your mind when you see it in person.

Always a chance seeing actual units will make me improve my score there. Sure the demo unit looks more like a toy than real product, but it's a bloody prototype. Chances are high design cues might end up different between now and later even if it's still 'retro typewriter.'

Thanks again for your feedback. If you have more, please feel free to email us!



Well that was thorough. Glad they took time to respond to me, and I hope they have the best of luck since it is a device type I want if there's any chance I can buy it.
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A Heroic Return to Dungeon Keeper

Annoying as they may be, it is nice to see the old Heroes back.

Because it's Halloween the folks at EA/Mythic have given us a new survival raid that will last until the 9th. Even better is that retrying only costs a single gem, which you can get by beating opponents in normal raids. Unfortunately you're going to need the help, because while individual waves are not at all hard your mana supply does not regenerate between rounds.

And on the final wave there is an old friend just waiting to have a little... heart to heart over some not-so-fond memories.

Funny, I remember one of my first posts about dungeon keeper mobile lamenting the lack of these guys. Here's hoping they stick around. Maybe they'll try integrating offline functions for when the server inevitably dies. Here's to hoping.

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On Ross's Game Dungeon review of 'The Last Stand'.

Ross, maker of Freeman's Mind along with other internet goodies, reviews 'The Last Stand'series of flash games, and provides some color commentary on the ever increasing annoyance levels of always on gaming, and micro transactions.

OK, fine, this is more my thoughts on the side rant that happened partway through the video since I only have a netbook and can't really play the games themselves. Seriously. Ross has a setup that let's him play Crysis. I have an atom based netbook. Adobe, get with the times and make flash stop sucking. They look like fun games, or at least the first two look fun. Give them a Try?

I'm someone who has found enjoyment with the mobile version of dungeon keeper and even I'm agreeing with what this man says. Always on gaming means you are playing a borrowed game. Mario? Nintendo's mascot that first showed up in Donkey Kong? Yea if I have a working Nintendo and a donkey Kong cart I can play that right now. Ditto with dungeon keeper, system shock, star siege, and so on. Games that require a connection tend to die after a handful of years due to waning popularity and changing technologies.

Take Tribes 2. Game lasted til Tribes Vengeance happened and vevendi pulled the master server. It's only thanks to a fan made extension/patch 'Tribes Next' we have options. Granted Tribes 2 is kinda dead fifteen years after it came out, but it helps me make my point. Game had a lively community til the company that ran the servers killed it for their new product.

There are online games that don't suffer this problem such as doom, quake, phantasy star online (If you patch it to point to schthack's server, or one someone else has tossed up,) and there's bound to be plenty others. Of course what incentive do the studios have? By this point they have your money and have moved on, or closed down. I'm not saying online gaming is inherently evil. I'm just saying if a game is only playable with an internet connection you are renting with maybe a hope down the line server software falls into community hands, or can be hacked together by the diehards.

Again, I am reminded of Jason Scott's question. where's the Export Function?

Happy Halloween guys.

posted from Bloggeroid

Direct TV's Rob Lowe is the new Chad

Anyone remember Alltell's Chad commercials? They would play up an attractive collected 'Chad' as their face, while at the same time portraying competitors as stereotypical nerds, and in the process made themselves look like douchbags by picking on the socially stunted. That sort of 'Bash the Other Guy' ad is back in the form of Direct TV's Rob Lowe. To the credit of whatever ad agency came up with this idea of, instead of having their hansom Mr. Awesome paired up with The Other Guy's loser, having variations of the same character paired together. This gets rid of the whole 'bashing some poor shmuck' problem, or at least in theory it does. However the 'painfully socially inept' Rob Lowe plays up every nerd cliche to 11 from Dork Voice, to Pants up to Nipples. All that's missing is the snort laugh and coke bottle glasses.

Personally while Rob is an improvement over Chad it doesn't address the real problem of ads that focus on belittling the competition rather than focusing on how great you are. In fairness Direct TV's 'Hopper', and 'World's Most Powerful Fan' ads fill that role quite nicely. So it isn't as if they are going full on attack ad and nothing else. I simply find the subgenre of 'bash and degrade' off putting enough I don't want whatever you're selling. I can't be the only one that would rather companies focus on the positive. There's too much negative in the world for me to feel anything other than distaste for companies that bank on it to sell themselves.

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