Archive for December 2006

The Technophile’s Psychic Reader

December 20, 2006

This is like the Magic 8-Ball, only much, much cooler. Think of all the ways it can tell you what to do. I am intrigued by the idea of using it to break free of creative logjams. Or to decide what to make for dinner. Why, just now, it said to me,

“Discover the recipes you are using and abandon them.”

How cool is that?

Wikipedia says of Oblique Strategies,

Oblique Strategies (subtitled over one hundred worthwhile dilemmas) is a set of published cards created by Brian Eno and Peter Schmidt. Now in its fifth edition, they were first published in 1975. Each card contains a phrase or cryptic remark which can be used to break a deadlock or dilemma situation.

A few examples:

  • State the problem in words as clearly as possible
  • Only one element of each kind
  • What would your closest friend do?
  • What to increase? What to reduce?
  • Are there sections? Consider transitions
  • Try faking it!
  • Honour thy error as a hidden intention

From the introduction to the 2001 edition:

These cards evolved from separate observations of the principles underlying what we were doing. Sometimes they were recognised in retrospect (intellect catching up with intuition), sometimes they were identified as they were happening, sometimes they were formulated.

They can be used as a pack, or by drawing a single card from the shuffled pack when a dilemma occurs in a working situation. In this case the card is trusted even if its appropriateness is quite unclear…

…but you knew that…

December 15, 2006

I found the link to Yet Another Quiz on another blog, where I was doing *research*. Really. Anyway, I found this amusing:

You are The Magician

Skill, wisdom, adaptation. Craft, cunning, depending on dignity.

Eleoquent and charismatic both verbally and in writing,
you are clever, witty, inventive and persuasive.

The Magician is the male power of creation, creation by willpower and desire. In that ancient sense, it is the ability to make things so just by speaking them aloud. Reflecting this is the fact that the Magician is represented by Mercury. He represents the gift of tongues, a smooth talker, a salesman. Also clever with the slight of hand and a medicine man – either a real doctor or someone trying to sell you snake oil.

What Tarot Card are You?
Take the Test to Find Out.

My favorite part, naturally, is that this quiz was somehow endowed with the power to recognize the fact that I am male. Which, as my husband will tell you, is true in most important senses. 🙂

A cautionary tale

December 11, 2006

Yeah, I had all the usual excuses. I had a new computer; I was using a rock-solid writing program. Our server had just died and we were learning to live without it. My writing files were far too big to fit on one or even a couple of CDs, and backing up was a hassle. Sure, I thought about buying an external backup drive; but our kids are in high school, and our house is twenty years old, and the unexpected emergencies (new roof, anyone?) just kept coming. So for the past year I’ve been working without a net, and I didn’t worry too too much. After all, my computer and my writing program were rock-solid.

But what I never expected was the day HAL (aka my Acer laptop running Windows XP Home) would wake up and decide to reallocate my entire D partition to swap space. I never authorized this change, folks; I just came back after a particularly busy week during which I hadn’t used my laptop, which is my primary work computer, for anything but email — and discovered that every file that couldn’t be replaced was just freaking GONE. Ten years of work on the series I plan to start publishing next year: G-O-N-E. Ten years of digital photos. You get the picture.

Last night we downloaded Stellar File Recovery ( which went out and found most of the things that HAL thought I didn’t need anymore. The bad news is that my rock-solid writing program (Power Writer) uses a proprietary file format, and at the moment all of my recovered fiction files are pretty garbaged up. But Stellar promises total customer support, and I already know Script Perfection, who develop Power Writer, are very responsive; so hopefully we will find a way to un-garbage all of the Most Important Files in the World.

I will keep you posted. Meanwhile, I’m sure you know a HAL. Don’t trust him.

Not for lack of something to say

December 11, 2006

It’s been a long time.

People don’t fail to blog for lack of something to say: the vast majority of what goes on in the blogosphere makes this painfully clear. I think most people fall out of the habit of blogging because there’s *too much* to report; and where do you start, find the time, etc.?

One of my resolutions for the new year is to show up here at the blog. I’m starting early, because I have something to say that I want to get out there right now. Subsequently there will be more about all the things that made blogging both impossible and (hopefully) more worthwhile than the usual reports of what movies I’ve been seeing, etc.