Jul 092010

This post is a rant.  I’m only moderately pulling my punches.  Yes, it’s probably about you.  You have been warned.

Many people have the Google search engine web page set as their default page.  That’s fine, and not a terrible idea.  When you want to find something, and don’t know where to go for it, Google’s a fantastic gateway.

What Google is not is a place to put in a URL (a web page “address”).  If someone provides you a URL, and you put it into the Google search bar, you are asking Google to search for that URL.  This is, in the technical sense, not going to get you want you want.  Unfortunately, because Google is so expansive, it often does get people what they want.  This builds a bad habit that reared it’s hideous, deformed head lately.

If you punch the wedding website URL into Google…you get links to this blog.  That’s because I’ve mentioned the wedding here, and Google is also picking up on the “McC3D.com” part of the URL.  You won’t get the wedding website itself, because it doesn’t index (i.e. Google doesn’t pick it up in its catalog of the internet).   The blog does index.

This was presented to me as a “problem with the wedding website” that “people couldn’t get to.”  When I hear those words, I become alarmed.  My webserver’s pretty important to me, and if something’s not working correctly, I want to fix it as quickly as possible.  But when I find out that the only thing wrong is people not understanding how to properly use their web browser, I get upset.  Very upset.  I don’t particularly care to have technical issues pinned on me that are A) not technical and B) not my fault.

The anatomy of a web browser:

You should really know this stuff before setting foot into the internet.  This is basic and fundamental.

This is the proper way to use your web browser.

In closing:

Sep 112009

I mentioned in an earlier post that I had abandoned Chrome to return to Firefox. I admired Chrome’s slim UI and the ability to search directly in the URL bar. Firefox has its search bar, and it also supports keyword searches from the URL bar, but I had yet to find a way to search directly from the URL bar itself.

I found that today. Continue reading »

Writing Professionally

 Posted by at 10:20  No Responses »
Apr 072009

The first career path to which I gave serious consideration was authoring fiction.  The driving motivation behind this idea — telling stories — drives a disproportionate number of my hobbies: independent film-making, movie/TV-watching  and game-playing (on the receiving end of told stories, in this case), role-playing games.  Every other career I entertained the notion of pursuing held storytelling as a key component: acting, directing, visual effects for film, and now game development.  Within the last year, I decided that having a “day job” by no means precluded professional writing.  Author John Scalzi, internet-famous for his Whatever blog, cemented this decision by restating my own conclusion in as many words.  This led to my involvement in NaNoWriMo 2008, which I completed within the designated timeframe.  Though the resultant short novel is not something I feel is worth publishing (contrary to prior statements I’ve made about it), the simple fact that I wrote it armed me with the confidence that I can write a novel.

Pursuant to my goal to be a professional writer, I decided yesterday that I would take another page from Scalzi’s playbook and try to write a blog entry every day from now on.  My morning routine includes perusing a number of websites (a task made much simpler thanks to Google Reader and the wonder of RSS), which often have several interesting stories worth pointing out.  My hope is that readership here will grow beyond the small circle of friends that now read it and that it can become a community unto itself.

What do I mean by professional writer?  I don’t mean quitting my day job.  Scalzi (yeah, you’re going to see him name-dropped quite often) makes the observation that unless you can guarantee annual income from writing that’s 30% above what you make at your current day job, your financial situation will be worse if you quit your job to focus on writing.  The only reason to quit your job for writing is that if holding the job impedes the income you could otherwise make from writing.  

Professional writer, in this sense, is synonymous with Stephen King’s definition of a talented writer: if you wrote something and someone paid you for it, you’re talented.  It doesn’t matter if the writing was technical, analytical, editorial, or fictional — if you wrote something and got paid, you fit the definition.  Take it as a forgone conclusion that my ideal world would have me waking up at noon to eat breakfast and surf the internet for an hour, writing fiction for the next five, eating dinner with Cody, and then spending the evening on entertainment, all while making much more than I make now.  It’s not an unrealistic fantasy, but it’s not one that will come without time and effort.  

Sometimes, to get what you want, you have to elect to do things you otherwise might not choose to do.  To that end, I stopped procrastinating last night and bought myself a copy of Writer’s Market 2009.  This book is the ultimate go-to resource for writers, listing every publishing outlet for every topic available.  I plan to find a small outlet that publishes articles I might be able to write about with some intelligence, and submitting.  Without some incredible luck, it won’t be fiction.  I would be more than happy, however, to be paid for writing movie reviews, technical reviews, game reviews, or any other number of topics on which I tend to pontificate anyway.

As with every other industry, you first need to get your foot in the door.  Prove that you’re publishable in a small way before you can hope to hit big.

Apr 292008

I found this What RPG Player Type Are You? quiz at RPG Blog II while browsing Google for other RPG blogs. Thought it was relevant in light of yesterday’s post and the earlier Flawed Origin post. My results:

What RPG Player (Not Character) Type Are You?
You scored as Character Player. The Character Player enjoys creating in-depth characters with distinct and rich personalities. He identifies closely with his characters, feeling detached from the game if he doesn’t. He takes creative pride in exploring different characters, often making each new one radically different than others he’s played. The Character Player bases his decisions on his character’s psychology first and foremost. He may view rules as a necessary evil at best, preferring sessions in which the dice never come out of their bags. For the Character Player, the greatest reward comes from experiencing the game from the emotional perspective of an interesting character.

Character Player
Casual Gamer
Weekend Warrior
Power Gamer

The results seem accurate to me. The quiz doesn’t appear to have a “See All Results” option, but since my “Storyteller” rating tied with my “Character Player” rating, I could go back and get the description for that one.

The Storyteller is in it for the plot: the sense of mystery and the fun of participating in a narrative that has the satisfying arc of a good book or movie. He enjoys interacting with well-defined NPCs, even preferring antagonists who have genuine motivations and personality to mere monsters. To the Storyteller, the greatest reward of the game is participating in a compelling story with interesting and unpredictable plot threads, in which his actions and those of his fellow characters determine the resolution. With apologies to Robin Laws.

Again, pretty close. I sense a post on GNS Theory is imminent.