Tag Archives: Internet

WordPress Changes Things Again

A while back, WordPress completely changed the Stats page. The old stats page was still accessible, and I had it bookmarked. What I needed was the summaries page that gave me weekly, monthly, and yearly numbers, as well as daily averages for each month and a complete list of the month’s daily views. I use that for my Month in Review posts.

Well, that’s all gone, as far as I can tell. My bookmark just takes me to the newer stats page. However, I found a workaround that takes me to an even older stats page. Just go to the wp-admin page (That’s https:// (yourblog).wordpress.com/wp-admin/) and then Site Stats, and click on Summaries. That’s what I use, but it’s the old old version. It still works for me, though.

Another thing that’s disappeared is the Notifications page! I never liked using the Notifications menu (the button at the top right with the bell) because it never showed if I’d replied to the comment or not. The Notifications page showed me all of that, and it gave me a lot of options. But much to my surprise, the bell-button-notifications menu now gives me all those options and tells me if I’d replied! Okay, that is a step forward.

So, one step back for the stats, one step forward for the notifications. Unfortunately, WordPress is trying to cater more to mobile users than computer users. Mobile stats and other features are extremely limited, though. And I do not like writing posts with the app. Computer only.

Anyone else notice the changes? What do you think?

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Emergency! Must Watch The Shannara Chronicles!

We’re changing our internet and cable provider next Friday. That means that all shows that have been recorded must be watched before we change, because it’s all saved on our current provider’s equipment.

So, I’ll be watching The Shannara Chronicles, all thirteen episodes of it, before the equipment is switched over. I guess Star Trek will be put on the back burner until then.

You may be wondering why we’re changing providers. Well, we’ll be getting higher bandwidth. Our current provider can’t give us higher speeds, apparently because it’s unavailable in our neighbourhood. They promised us they would have it available within a month, but that was three months ago. They didn’t deliver. So, new provider, and triple the bandwidth.

Yahoo, I’m Getting Tired of This

Well, I think it’s time to change to Gmail. Yahoo was being especially difficult today. I was searching for several emails, and it became very clear that Yahoo Mail wasn’t cooperating. It was coming up with absolutely no search results for anything. This was just the last straw.

Back in 2004, someone invited me to Gmail, and I started using it. I used it until sometime in 2006, but never really got into it. And I don’t know why. I guess my Yahoo address was far more established, and I had no problems with it then. I eventually completely lost my Gmail address. But I liked how Gmail was set up.

Well, no more. I’m setting up a Gmail address and will start transitioning over to using that for all of my important accounts and business. Yahoo will continue to be used for subscriptions and accounts where I don’t really need to see the emails. I’ll also use it as a backup.

So, hello Gmail!

Windows 10 Internet Difficulties

As I type this on my iPhone, my sister is trying to resolve an issue with her newly upgraded Windows 10. It won’t recognize the network connection. She’s upgraded from Windows 7 to Windows 10. It’s a headache. Many solutions fail because the instructions provided fail to understand that she has no internet connection! So, she’s thinking about going back to Windows 7. 

I have yet to upgrade mine. I’m going from Windows 8.1, which has a lot more in common with Windows 10, so I shouldn’t have the same issues. I hope. 

Anyone have this problem?

Update: Restarting the modem and computer seemed to resolve it. However, some login information was lost. Oh well, it seems to work now. Next is my computer!

Should You Write What You Know?

Writers are often told to “write what you know.” If you have knowledge about a subject, then write about it. Experts write about their field of expertise, so if you happen to be a great collector of bottle caps, then write a book about it. But when it comes to fiction, this becomes a bit of an issue.

Let’s assume I will write what I know. In university, I majored in physics and astronomy, which includes fields such as relativity, quantum mechanics, fluid dynamics, radio astronomy, electronics, radiation, lasers, optics, planetary science, thermodynamics, cosmology, and all the really basic physics from Newton, Copernicus, and Galileo. I did not study string theory, as it was still very much in its infancy when I was in university. I also took courses in chemistry, geology, atmospheric sciences, and programming. So, through these, I know how reactions work, how to make batteries, how to make rudimentary explosives, what causes weather phenomena, how volcanoes work, what happens during an earthquake, how plate tectonics happens, the fossil record, and how to make a paint program (although I’ve completely forgotten). I have also taken online courses where I learned things like plant communication and archaeology. I have used many of these when working on Ariadne, as well as worldbuilding.

For Ariadne, I have used geology, numerous aspects of astronomy, atmospheric sciences, and the knowledge I have about evolution and biology through high school, one of my geology courses, and my own personal interest. For the future series about the dying man whose final wish is to explore the solar system, I use my knowledge of the planets, as well as physics involved in spacecraft propulsion, orbital mechanics, and so on. So yes, I am writing what I know.

But you see, that’s not enough. There are many gaps in my knowledge that I need to fill to make my stories more believable and realistic. For Ariadne, I need to research more about spacecraft propulsion systems (though I have a good idea about these anyway), DNA (especially mutations and recessive/dominant genes), urban planning and land use, and religion. To do these, I read a lot. I’ll read books when I can, I’ll search on the internet for scientific papers, and I’ll even use Wikipedia.

Reading books is great. I love doing it. If there are books about DNA, I think they’ll help me with my research on hereditary traits, recessive and dominant genes, and so on. The library is great for this. You don’t have to read the entire book, just the relevant parts. Encyclopedias are good, too.

Searching on the internet for scientific papers is very useful. I only go through official channels for these, so I’m not seeing opinions of the scientifically illiterate. I’m going straight to the legitimate source, the actual scientists that did the research. This can take some time, unfortunately, due to the nature of many papers. They can be utterly dull to search through to find what you want to know. But it has to be done.

However, Wikipedia is often a quick way to do this. I know many people say that Wikipedia is a poor source, but it is actually a very, very good source. The information on it isn’t made up. It’s taken from official sources, verified, double-checked, and scrutinized closely. Everything must be referenced. There must be legitimate sources. Don’t believe Wikipedia? Then follow the references to the original publications. You’ll get your information there.

Writing fiction isn’t all about what you know. You need to expand your horizons. Write about what you don’t know. Learn about it. You’ll become a better writer, and be able to cover many more situations in a believable manner.

What’s your opinion? Do you think we should just write what we know? Or should we research extensively to improve our knowledge and write about many different things? Let me know in the comments below.

Authors Answer 58 – Author Online Hangouts

In the past, long before the internet, it was difficult to interact with authors. They could be contacted by mail, and maybe you could see them at an event, but it was not easy to seek them out otherwise. These days, the internet has provided both authors and readers a way to communicate easily. Some authors are very involved with the public, others are not. So, where can you find us online?

320px-Modern-ftn-pen-cursiveQuestion 58 – What are some online forums or websites you use to have discussions with other authors?

D. T. Nova

Honestly, the most interaction I have with other authors is probably actually in the comment sections for authors’ blogs.

Aside from that, I spend some time on Goodreads’s forums.

Gregory S. Close

Although it’s as much with readers as authors, I find the r/fantasy community of Reddit the best outlet for all things fantasy.  Good discussion.  Honest (mostly polite) disagreement.  Great interactions.  Otherwise, I interact with a few of my author friends and acquaintances on Facebook or by email.

Paul B. Spence

I don’t.

Caren Rich

I use Critique Circle- that a good place to get basic critiques of a story. I am also a member of several FaceBook author groups. The most useful ones are Clean Indie Authors and Indie Authors. You have to be careful with Facebook groups some of them are just out to promote what they write and aren’t good for troubleshooting. I’m also a member of Sisters in Crime, a mystery writers group. I highly recommend them. You have to pay to be a member but it is worth it. They offer classes every month that well worth the money.

Allen Tiffany

CritiqueCircle is where I spend 97% of my time online ref my writing. In addition to cycling stories through, I’m active on the boards there and enjoy the discussions. Other than that, there are a few blogs I’ll post to – this being one of them.

H. Anthe Davis

I’m kind of reclusive, alas — I know I should reach out more, but I’d rather stay in my little writing-cave, ignoring the world.  That said, I hang out a bit on the Fantasy Faction forums, though not frequently; I tend to go months between actual posts.

Eric Wood

As of right now the only site I use to converse with other authors is WordPress where I blog.

Elizabeth Rhodes

Year-round I use CritiqueCircle.  Even though I only frequent a few of the threads there are enough familiar faces to make me feel comfortable opening up.  Around November I go to National Novel Writing Month’s site, but I don’t know people there as well.  For a while I used to go to the writing forums on Gaia Online, and it was a good place to talk about writing once you found where the regulars stayed.  But it was difficult for me to keep up with three places at once and I haven’t been as active there.

S. R. Carrillo

Honestly? The blog and, sometimes, YouTube. I need to find some, I suppose. I didn’t know that was a thing.

Jean Davis

The website I use most to connect with other writers is Critique Circle.

Tracey Lynn Tobin

The biggest one for me is the NaNoWriMo website/forums. There are tons of awesome people on there. You can talk to people from one side of the planet to the other, or you can hunt down people who live right down the road from you pretty damn easily. Plus there are tons of resources (there’s an entire forum dedicated just to helping each other answer weird questions that you need for plot reasons), and lots of fun stuff to keep you busy when you need a few moments to procrastinate. Not to mention, in recent years lots of big companies have gotten into supporting NaNoWriMo, so you’ll find all kinds of software developers offering trials of their writing programs, companies offering big discounts on things like editing and cover design, and lots and lots of writers sharing info on who is accepting submissions right now or which website is having a big contest at the moment. It’s got a little bit of everything, and all of it is helpful. 🙂

Jay Dee Archer

You’ll find me online in several places, though I haven’t always been very active in some of them. Of course, you’ll find me on WordPress, including this blog and a few others I frequent. Outside of blogging, I’m regularly on Critique Circle, though I could be more active there. Once I get back to writing and posting Journey to Ariadne, I’ll be active there again. I’m also around on Goodreads sometimes. I’ve been meaning to take advantage of Reddit’s fantasy and science fiction groups. And I’m also on Youtube.

How about you?

If you’re an author, where do you spend time online talking with other authors and readers? If you’re not an author, where do you like to talk to authors?

Internet Veterans

I have a question for you all.  How long have you been using the Internet?  Do you consider yourself a veteran, a casual user, or a newbie?

I got my start when I started university back in 1995.  I had a custom built PC with Windows 3.11, a 540 MB hard disk drive, 8 MB of RAM, and a 14.4 dial-up modem.  That squeal was a very familiar sound to me until 2001 when I graduated from university and moved back to my hometown, where I used cable.  Now, when I started using the Internet, the popular web browser was Netscape.  Not just any Netscape, but 1.0.  I quickly found myself on Usenet newsgroups, surfing the web, and eventually a MUD (multi-user dungeon, a text-based chat and game system) called The Chatting Zone.  I learned html, made a rather crude website, though I honed my skills over the years.  I used IRC, became an administrator on the previously mentioned MUD, and when I moved to Japan in 2005, I retired from the administrative duties.  I started a blog in 2004 to chronicle my move to Japan, though I never really did get much done on it.  It was a blogspot blog, too. In 2007, I discovered YouTube and WordPress soon after.  I started a space and science blog on WordPress, though it’s been abandoned (it still exists, though).  I started my Japan blog in 2009, and it just celebrated its 5th anniversary.  I started my YouTube channel in 2009, as well.  I joined Facebook in 2009, as well.  In 2011, after the big earthquake in Japan, I joined Twitter for information about the earthquake.  I later joined Google+, and it wasn’t until this year that I started Pinterest.  As for this blog, it started nearly 2 1/2 years ago.

It’s been a wild 19 years.  More than half of my life has been spent using the Internet now.  I was at the right age to start using it, as in 1995, mostly university students used it.  I got my access through university.  What amazes me is how much it’s changed.  In 1995, I used dial-up, in 2014, I use broadband.  In 1995, I used Netscape, in 2014, I use Firefox (which is the descendent of Netscape).  In 1995, having images on a website was amazing, especially if it was an animated gif (pronounced jif).  In 2014, a website filled with animated gifs would be irritating.  In 1995, my hard drive was 540 MB.  In 2014, my hard drive has 1 TB, or 1,048,576 MB.  In 1995, I had 8 MB of RAM.  Now, I have 8 GB of RAM.  In 1995, my processor speed was 2.66 MHz.  Now, it’s 1.80 GHz (though my previous computer was a dual core with 2.2 GHz, and the one before that was 2.4 GHz Pentium).

Amazing how things change, isn’t it?