computing

Some Computing and a Bit of WoW!

My MacBook Pro is still periodically having its panics, but not too often to scare me completely. In any case it meant I took a little time to look at some of the stuff I have on it. Included finding apps that no longer work or that I don't use any more. These included: Logic Express, MacJournal and Montage. Decided it made sense to delete them, which of course it does. The fewer apps on the device the less potential for issues; perhaps.

I've never used Montage which is an app for formatting for screenwriting. Looked quite neat. I even wondered about getting it upgraded before I came to my senses and thought a) I've enough other writing on my plate at the moment to warrant not getting involved with another learning curve and b) I've got Scrivener which will do the job along with all the other things it can do. So if and when I want to write a screen or radio play I can go straight to Scrivener. Huzzah!

EXIT STAGE LEFT

trashed apps
Apps: Trashed

It frees up some memory too but in the grand scheme of things only about 1GB. Now thats nice to have in reserve, when I see how much memory my photos takes up it pales into insignificance (173GB). I really need to spend more time deleting photos.

storage
55GB free (173GB used up by photos)

It doesn't help that I am now using iMovie and recording things now I've rekindled my love for the guitar. That really does eat up some memory. Will need to keep on top of photos and movies now. Ho hum.

In other news I managed another 1300 words today for TWO* which keeps me on track for finishing the first draft by the end of March. I really don't know what is going to happen next to the guys. Seat of the pants writing. I am considering working on the first chapter and submitting it for Pulp Idol. Now that would be a first for me. I haven't really done much for Writing on the Wall since Dragon's Pen; which was the scariest thing I've ever done. They've had the odd flash fiction competition but they haven't taken it that seriously in recent years as WoW itself has got bigger, but Pulp Idol has gone from strength to strength. If I've got the thing written then I should at least fling it their way. It can't do any harm.


* The Wobbly Odyssey (aka Project Jaipur)
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iMovie

After getting the new microphone for the computer it made me consider the software I've been using. I haven't really be looking at that which is daft. The little practice vids I've put up on YouTube were recorded using PhotoBooth, which is one of the bundled pieces of software with the Mac and then I've edited it using iMovie to get the clip length right, flip the view and add appropriate titles.

As it is I've looked into the recording now and it seems at the very least I should be recording it straight into iMovie rather than using PhotoBooth. The picture quality would be better - not sure about the audio (haven't found a reference to that yet). To that end the version of the software on my 9 year old MacBook Pro is 9 years old itself (iMovie 9). Found that iMovie 10.1.10 was issued in November 2018 AND importantly is FREE; which is always a nice price point.
IMovie_2013
Downloaded and installed the new software. The key thing will be how stable the software is on my computer. If it is then it could be a winner. It has already automatically updated all the previous videos I'd recorded with the old software. Proper Mac. Easy.

Though let's see if I've spoken too soon...
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Snowball's Chance

Ordered a Snowball ICE USB mic from Amazon today. It's currently reduced by £12.50 off at £42.50, which I think is probably a mighty fine bargain. One of the organisers of the Sanctuary Open Mic (Bobo from the Vapery, Waterloo) had put on Instagram that he'd ordered it and I couldn't not jump on that bandwagon. I think that the reduction is because they are about to release a new mic. But if this one does the job, well then it's worth dipping in.

Snowball

Should get it in a few days and by the weekend I hope to be giving it a try out to see what the difference is from the MacBookPro's internal mic. I assume it will be significantly better and prove well worth the money. It has 4.5 stars on Amazon from over 335 reviews, which is pretty good for tech. The specification and the reviews certainly look positive.

Will do some recording of both guitar/singing and narrative and see what it comes out like. Will report back on here. So if any of you out there are considering podcasting or recording (or just Skyping) then I'll let you know what it's like.
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Colonel Panic

Had a few time consuming issues with the scary Kernel Panics shutting down my computer at random times over the last few days. I haven't been able to identify what the issue may be. Assuming it's software and not hardware. Could well be memory issue when I'm using iMovie and other programs at the same time. I had just started removing photos again to help. Will hopefully happen a little less the more I remove. The iMovie files themselves are pretty large and I've only been using them with the messing about with my guitar recordings; I currently record using Photo Booth then edit in iMovie. May look at alternative options at some point.

panic
The scary 'Problem Report'

Seen a recommendation to keep 20% storage memory free and I'm only just around 11% at the moment. It's largely photos and music. Not much I can do about the music so I better get back on to tidying the photos up.

memory
Current state of storage

Will see how it goes... fingers are crossed.
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#AmPrinting

Today's game involved writing, sausage butties and fixing the printer. First up was the sausage. There were no problems there at all. Then came the Printer...

It may save you £20 and a day or two waiting for a fix to read this:

The printer is an Epson WP: 4535 and the error message read 'Maintenance Box is not recognised'. The maintenance box collects the waste ink produced during the cleaning of the printer heads etc and once full the box needs replacing. Looked it up on the net and most the searches came up with how to replace a maintenance box and nothing to do with the message. Saw a couple of references which all were 'solved' by online questioning with the answer 'replace maintenance box'. Cheap boxes (including shipping) are around £20 (and obviously include a wait of a day or two to arrive). Frustrating in view of the writing I want to do today. Got to the point of ordering but thought I'd quickly check out the box a few more times.

WP4535

I turned off the printer and switched it on a few times. Same result. Switched off and took out the box and put it in again. Same results. Not looking good.

Box

Took out box, wiped finger over the chip on the box and put it in... and hey presto! Problem solved. Err, so dust or dirt on the chip? FFS. Anyway, sorted. I can print again. And edit/write.

Now for the writing. Dang, I've got no excuses for attempting Calendark now.

#amprinting
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Class Song of the Day

Started 'Class Song of the Day' last week on Twitter and to do that have started using Buffer, so that it's timetabled and consistent.

One week in and the songs have been:

Natalie Merchant: San Andreas Fault
Mark Knopfler: Going Home (Local Hero)
Pixies: Here Comes Your Man
Arctic Monkeys: When the Sun Goes Down
Belly: Feed the Tree
REM: Imitation of Life
Diesel Park West: All the Myths on Sunday

Have already lined up the next couple of weeks.

'
Buffer' is dead easy to use. Neat and simple. Using the FREE version I can only line up 10 tweets at a time, so I'll still need to remember to update it every now and again. But once every ten days? Then yeah, I can keep that up.

In theory.

Main risk later in year is repetition. And I don't want any of that going on. So I've
set up a spreadsheet. A spreadsheet I tell you! Is there no end to my morning of computing... Tweets, 'Buffering', Blogs, Hard Drives, Spreadsheets...

Yeah, but no fiction writing AJ. Okay, that's enough. Talking to yourself in the third person. Step away from the computer. Step away. Put the kettle, make a coffee, pick up a pen and a pad.

I said, 'Step away from the computer, you Sunday morning procrastinator.'


-----

Find the songs on Twitter as #ClassSongOfTheDay where it gets tweeted every morning at 8 BST
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As Exciting as Shoes

The Reassurance of Shoes

I don't like shopping for shoes, they're just things that sit on the end of me legs keeping my feet warm and dry. And I never like buying them, they're just 'things'. How boring, but how essential? And that's how I feel about buying a back-up Hard Drive. It's one of those things that you have and hopefully never need, but it's as essential as insurance or a battery recharger (or shoes*).

shoes

Let's face it as a writer most of us just use computers to write and store our bits and bobs (or hidden genius epics) on them. It's like our digital photos though; we don't print them out. So if the worst happens and your computer goes down how much of your writing will be lost? 50% 70% 95% it's all too scary to think about, isn't it?

My current portable Hard Drive is supposed to back-up by overwriting the older copies on it using the macOS Time Machine. Some time ago (I dare not think how long ago) my drive stopped backing up as there wasn't enough working space to do the deletion. Eek! So all my unprinted work and unused photographs are at risk until I get that new bigger drive and get Time Machine up and running again.

I've picked out a 1 TB WD drive (plenty big enough) and it's all of £55. It'll be good to get it. I'll get it tomorrow. Lovely to know that all my stuff will be saved. But still, like shoes, I won't be excited by it.
Hard Drive
That said, make sure you make your back-ups; or even print some of your most important bits off. If the worst happens and you haven't it doesn't bare thinking about.


* I realise that those of the female persuasion may be confused by this entire blog.


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