Tag Archives: software

Doing Some Testing

Again, no videos. But with a new year, there are some changes. You see, I’m testing a new video editing software, and I’m hoping to get some better-looking videos out soon.

What you’re going to see soon are video overlays (images over the video) and picture in picture (mainly for the end screen). I first need to figure out how to do it. However, for speed and efficiency, I’ll still be using the old video editor for some of my videos. Upcoming videos include:

  • Passengers movie review (old editor)
  • First video in a new series about world building (new editor)
  • The next A Taste of Japan video (old editor)
  • Retro Book Review of Speaker for the Dead (old editor)
  • Authors Answer video (old editor)
  • New channel trailer (new editor)
  • Science channel trailer (new editor)

So you see, it really depends on what I plan on doing. When I have the new editor figured out, I’ll be switching over to using that exclusively, and you’ll get to see the new end screens.


Planetarium Software

I found some really good free planetarium software. It’s called Stellarium. Today, I was able to use this software, but I’m going to download it and use it at home.

You see, I’m going to be using this software at work extensively. This should give you an idea about what I’m going to be doing. When I said I’ll be using my university degree in my job, I meant it. I’ll be educating people on astronomy and physics. But that’s not all. There’s something else I’m not telling you, and I think that will remain a secret for now. Sorry!

What I’ve been able to do with this software is look at stars, nebulae, galaxies, planets, and the Moon. I’ve looked at the movement of Jupiter’s moons over time, watched the Moon’s phases, and examine the night sky around 100,000 years in the past and future. There’s a lot more I can do, and I’ll explore it as much as I can before I start using it at work.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I’m finally using my university degree in a job! Do you use your degree in your job?

Major Software Upgrades Make Me Nervous

It’s July 26, only three days until the free offer for Windows 10 is finished. I haven’t upgraded yet. But I get this every day now:

windows10upgradeI’m upgrading this week, but I had to do a lot of work to free up space on my C drive. It was full of videos! I’ve since moved a lot to my D drive, and now I have more than enough space to run the upgrade. But what’s stopping me?

In the past, I’ve had trouble with upgrading software. When I upgraded from Windows 8 to 8.1, I had a problem with my desktop refreshing every second, making it impossible to do anything. Turns out it was an upgrade from some other software that was hitting a lot of people. I had to restore my computer from an earlier date, and that fixed it. I’m good with computers and technology. So why do I get nervous when I have to make a major upgrade? Does anyone else feel that way?

Windows 10 – How Is It?

I’ve decided to delay upgrading to Windows 10. I have the option of doing it now, but I do have a year to install it. So, how is Windows 10 going now?

My wife has installed it, and I’ve heard nothing bad about it. It looks a lot more like Windows 7, which I absolutely loved. I’d still be using it if my old computer’s hard drive hadn’t failed. Windows 8.1 still gives me issues. I am looking forward to using Windows 10, but I’m not installing it yet.

Why? Well, I want to make sure that the major bugs are gone from the operating system. That’ll take some time. I’d like to install an OS that’s more stable and with fewer problems, so I’ll probably wait until around April to upgrade, once we’re in Canada.

Has anyone upgraded to Windows 10? How is it?

Video Editing Software Recommendations

I’ll be making videos on YouTube soon for Life in Japan, and so far, I’ve been using YouTube’s editor. It’s okay for what I’ve been doing, but it’s not the fastest or smoothest editor to use. And it’s entirely online.

I’d like some more precise control over how I edit, as well as the ability to put title pages and other graphics on the video. I’ve used Windows Movie Maker in the past, and that’s when it came with Windows XP. After getting my old Windows 7 computer, I stopped editing videos until I started using YouTube’s editor.

What I’d like is a good free video editor that I can use to make my videos look more professional and less like home videos. Does anyone have any recommendations for good editing software? Let me know in the comments.

Authors Answer 34 – Writing Software

Authors have to write, and how they write is usually on a computer these days.  Gone are the days of writing entire books with pen and paper or with typewriter (though some people still do these). There’s a lot of software out there for writing.

320px-Modern-ftn-pen-cursiveQuestion 34: What software do you recommend for writing books?

S. R. Carrillo

I don’t really use anything other than good old Microsoft Word and Adobe. All that fancy stuff – Calibre, Scrivener, (Scrivebre?) – just throws me off. The simpler the program, the more streamlined my thoughts can be when I’m trying to get everything down onto the page.

Tracey Lynn Tobin

There are so many options out there that, really, you just have to try a bunch of things out and see what works for you. One that I used to use was a free program called yWriter, and it worked for me for a time, but it didn’t have a whole lot of options for someone trying to turn a bunch of words into a manuscript. What I eventually ended up sticking with was Scrivener, when they finally released their Windows version. I have a definite love-hate relationship with it, but it’s more love than hate. The trick is that it can do so many things that you have to really sit down and play with it and figure out exactly what you want it to do. If you can manage that you can wind up with a beautifully organized workstation for your novel, set up exactly how you like it. And when everything is said and done, Scrivener has all the available options to turn your book into whatever kind of file you want. Using this software I was able to create both a print version and e-book version of “Nowhere to Hide” with only a minimal amount of bashing my head off the keyboard. 🙂

Paul B. Spence

A good word processing program like Microsoft Word? I use Excel for spreadsheets and databases of character and setting information. I use Adobe Illustrator for personal star maps. What more do you need?

Linda G. Hill

Up until last year I wrote on whatever I could get my hands on. I actually started NaNoWriMo in 2006 and my computer crapped out on me – I ended up writing all but the first chapter of 50,000 words in a notebook. (Yes, I counted every single word in my notebook to make sure I had 50K words.) After that, any word processing program would do, as long as I could see my word count. Most recently I was using Open Office, which is free to download. But then I downloaded Scrivener and I haven’t looked back. There’s nothing better out there that I know of for organizing a manuscript. Everything is there at a glance, which I love. I’d highly recommend it. The trial is free for 30 days – that’s thirty days, counted in hours, of actual use. So if you download it and forget about it for two months like I did, you haven’t lost the chance to try it out.

Jean Davis

MS Word. Use the software you know and don’t have to think about. I don’t need spiffy features, I need a software that disappears so I can focus on getting the words out of my head. I set up a template with standard submission ready formatting and write everything in that so when a story eventually edited, it’s ready to go.

H. Anthe Davis

I’ve never used anything fancy.  For years I just used the Write program (.wri).  Eventually I forced myself to upgrade to a proper word-processing program, and now I use LibreOffice Writer, and….that’s it.  I occasionally use spreadsheets to hold some information, but no specialized software.

Elizabeth Rhodes

I love Dr. Wicked’s Write or Die app.  When it comes to getting words on the page, that program will force you to crank them out.  For saving files, I’ve been using MS Word, but I’m lukewarm about the program at best and am open to new suggestions.

D. T. Nova

Either Microsoft Word or a cheaper alternative that works similarly. The difference between different versions of Word doesn’t matter because the more “advanced” features aren’t anything you need. I’ve been using TextMaker and the only disadvantage compared to Word that I’ve noticed is how many words aren’t in the spellchecker.

Caren Rich

I don’t use anything other than Word, so I can’t answer this.

Gregory S. Close

Word still works for shorter projects, but I prefer Scrivener for novels.  Scrivener lets me save all sorts of information within the project for easy reference, including character sketches, place descriptions, and links to online references and/or images.  It let me move chapters around for easy re-structuring, and then export all or part of the product to the file format of my choice.  In Siege of Daylight was about 244 thousand words, so I needed that freedom to drag and drop chapters in order to adjust the narrative flow on a whim and keep it or put it back the way it was.  Word couldn’t handle the abuse.  Scrivener took it stoically and then asked for more.

There are also templates included with Scrivener to help with appropriate set up – getting the Title Page, Copyright Page etc. all in the right place.

Eric Wood

I’ve only ever written short stories, haven’t tackled a whole book yet. I’ve only ever used Microsoft Word because that’s what’s been available and I’m familiar with it. It’s easy enough to delete, rearrange, highlight, and do what I need it do it. It’s simple… a lot like me!

Allen Tiffany

Besides Word, I don’t use any software for the writing, though I’m about to explore Scrinver. I am, though, a big fan of style checkers. I think they are hugely helpful when it comes to fine-tuning your prose. I’ve actually played with a number of them. Here is my quick summary:

HemingwayApp: Free, simple, powerful. Very effective at highlighting awkward or troublesome sentences. Light on diagnosing the issue, which is fine. Just reports that something is not working, so I know where to focus when I edit. Try it.

Ginger: Works in Word, but can be a bit onry at times because of various conflicts it has with Micorosoft. Helpful at spotting some grammar issues, but can often be incorrect. I do very much like the built in Text-To-Speech function. TTS is a powerful tool to help you “proof” your work. In fact, I wrote an entire blog on it.

ProWritingAid: Exhaustive “syle” analysis. Great tool. Works inside Word. Sophisticated and can be customized. Will provide a detailed analysis of your work: Adverbs, sentence length, pronoun use, repeated phrases, etc. The list is long. Very powerful tool. PWA provides so much feedback that it can be overwhelming. You have to learn what to respond to and what to ignore. But if you want a detailed review, this is it.

AutoCrit: Very similar to PWA, but a slicker interface. The downside? Does not work in Word, which kills it for me.

Jay Dee Archer

Up until last year, I was using Open Office to write. I didn’t have anything fancy at all. But that changed when my old computer’s hard drive started failing. I’ve since moved on to Microsoft Word, which is far more versatile, I think. I’ve looked into Scrivener, but until I decide to pay for it, I’m not getting it. Word is working for me for now.

I’ve also used Excel to keep track of data for my world. Lots of stats for each country. But I like keeping things very organised for worldbuilding.

How about you?

If you write, what software do you use? Let us know in the comments below.