Inhuman Swill : Software

The stations of the crossposter

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First, let me say that most of you aren't going to care about this.

To the few of you who do, let me say that my long LiveJournal nightmare is over.

Not that I have as bad an opinion of LiveJournal as some, but the fact that it had been my primary blogging platform for so long was holding me back from bringing all my blogs together under one roof. As I posted on Saturday, I'd written scripts a long time ago to let me crosspost my LiveJournal entries to my Movable Type blog, but now I wanted to switch that around and go the other direction. I wanted to be able to use Movable Type's superior content management system to work on more than one entry at a time, and to schedule them for automatic posting at future dates. It was only once I began looking into my options that I realized finding a solution would mean I could crosspost to LiveJournal from all my blogs. Bonus.

Interestingly, it was people I know who led me to the answer. My very first Google search led me to this 2008 post from Ben Rosenbaum, who was looking for a similar solution, and Tempest Bradford served it up in the very first comment. She pointed me toward a Movable Type plugin by Chip Marshall called ljcrosspost that sounded perfect. Several other sites praised it highly. The only problem was, site where the source code was archived no longer existed.

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Version control

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A technical question for you techie writer types out there. Do you use version-control software to keep a repository of your work? If so, what? What platform do you run it on? What do you like? What don't you? I know CVS pretty well from my programmer days, but I'm not sure that's what I want to use for my writing. Maybe Subversion? SVK? I've just started looking into this, and there are a whole lot of options.

I used to just use the Windows Briefcase to keep my writing in sync between machines, but my new laptop with Vista doesn't seem to implement Briefcase in a way that's entirely compatible with older versions, and anyway it doesn't do squat to keep copies of older drafts around. I'd like to start doing something a little more sophisticated than that.

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A terabyte and a quarter
Pardon me while I indulge in some geek talk. So I'd been needing a couple of much larger external hard drives for some time, one to hold the music collection that had long since overspilled the Maxtor 200 Gb drive, and one to backup the entire system. After some hunting around, I found a great price on a couple of Seagate FreeAgent Pro FireWire drives, one 500 Gb and the other 750 Gb:

Looks good in the light...

...looks even better in the dark!

That's a terabyte and a quarter! Right there on my desk!

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South by southeast

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Sorting through piles and piles and piles of old stuff as we packed, I found a poignantly evocative photocopy I thought had been lost to the mists of time. It went back to 1992 or so, when, as you may know, I was developer on the WordPerfect 6.0 for DOS team. You may not realize this, children, but the word-processor market used to be rather more hotly contended than it is today, and the leading product out there was WordPerfect. The rivalry between us WordPerfect developers and our opposite numbers at Microsoft was fierce, and as we sat in our comfy offices that looked out on the Wasatch mountain range and pounded out code, or even as we sat enjoying a subsidized lunch at our campus eatery, the Hard Disk Cafe, we could feel the hot breath of those Word developers on the backs of our necks.

We were right to feel the pressure. Not only was Microsoft poised to soon crush us in the marketplace—aided and abetted by our own failure to get a decent Windows product out in timely fashion—but those Redmondites were nasty pieces of work. It was with delighted horror one day that out of our fax machine scrolled a fourth-or-more generation photocopy, transmitted from an anonymous source. Soon a copy of the WordPerfect Fanatic Point-and-Shoot Program ad, with its chiaroscuroed Cary Grant still, was tacked up in every office in our building.

So, this memento of a time when Microsoft might actually have been a little frightened of a wretch like me. Sometimes it does a body proud to be a marked man.

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AOL Intrusive Messenger

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Raise your hand if AOL automatically added an "AIM Bots" groups to your IM client, with MovieFone and ShoppingBuddy as members.

Fucking AOL. I switched to Trillian to get away from this shit. I guess the only way to escape is to stop using the AIM network altogether.

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Fuck my mood

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I installed the latest version of Eudora a couple of weeks ago, and I immediately became curious as to why two or three chile-pepper icons were appearing next to some of the messages in my inbox.

Investigation revealed this to be a mood indicator, although I had no idea until a few days ago what that meant.

It seems that this new Eudora scans incoming and outgoing messages for offensive words and then rates the text according to how incendiary it is. If you try sending a message with a bad word in it, you get a warning like this:

Your message to "laura" regarding "Nice ass" is the sort of thing that might get your keyboard washed out with soap, if you get my drift. You might consider toning it down.

Send anyway? Cancel?
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William Shunn

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