Poking my head up again out of the sea of electronic information ...
A friend of mine pointed out that Microsoft has made Express versions of its Visual Studio software (including Visual C++, Visual Basic, C#, etc.) free and available to all (see www.microsoft.com/express)! I've been working with my old copy of VS 6, since I could in no way afford the new .NET stuff, so I was thrilled to have this opportunity to upgrade my skills.
But it never being enough just to learn one thing at a time, I decided to learn how to program using OpenGL and DirectX (perhaps as part of my dream to eventually write for video game consoles ;) ). And since that wasn't enough (apparently), I also started learning to create 3D images in Blender, another free program (see www.blender.org). I've managed to create a human face and am working on a second; then I'll see about animating them and/or using OpenGL to integrate my 3D creations into C++ ...
All this, of course, while continuing to proofread. I'll have an update on that the next time I get a chance.
Random ... I mean really random! ... thoughts:
--This blog is so empty! I really should put more about me in it, rather than just business stuff. Then again, it is supposed to be a business-type blog, not a personal one. What to do ...
--The world seems permeated by politics lately. (Of course, living in Denver meant I was up-close-and-personal with the Democrats' convention.) I don't mean "politics" as having to do with the way a government is actually governing (that seems to be on autopilot at the moment, at least here in the US), but "politics" as in a bunch of candidates obfuscating as much as possible anything about what they'd really do if elected. I've just tried to get a comparison between McCain and Obama, and all I can find are vague promises and voting records (which you'd think would help, but don't, since I'm trying to discern broad philosophies, and voting records pertain to very narrow, very certain bills, etc. that may have been worded in ways a candidate didn't like, or may have been too strong or too weak for the candidate's taste, or any number of other things that don't nail down anything other than an opinion on that particular day about that particular bill). Add to that anything about the VP choices, and it's almost impossible to really know where any of them really stands. (Except on a few issues; unfortunately, I already knew where they stood on those, so my search was of little help.)
--The above is, of course, a bit of an overgeneralization. My search was helpful. A little helpful, anyway. According to one of those quizzes that tells you which candidate agrees with you (glassbooth.org), I can see that neither major candidate agrees with me on more than about two-thirds of what's important to me, and this percentage varies wildly when I change the relative importance of one issue over another, or answer with slight variations on sliding scales. Even more fun is the "fact" that they agree with me on very different things, so I'll have to choose which dearly-held beliefs to sacrifice and which to hope a candidate truly supports.
--The above two rambling comments lead me to this more succinct observation: It's much easier just to play a game like Civilization, and build your world as you see fit. (It's also easier because no real, actual other people get hurt if you make a catastrophic choice!)
More later ... :p
When I first started adding discussion boards to my sites, back in the internet-equivalent of the Renaissance, they rapidly became forums for lively discussion and pages and pages of ideas, a philosophical trove of treasures great and small. And, yes, a lot of silliness, and the usual numbers of threads about "who's hot" and suchlike. But you could be certain that even the zealots who showed up looking for a flame war were at least real people, even if you eventually decided to ban them for the sake of everyone else's sanity.
Sadly, about a year (or two) ago, that lovely innocence came to an end, as the barbarian hordes from the world of Spam came over the event horizon and laid waste to many megabytes of pure, healthy discussion.
Now you can't put up a discussion board without being overrun by spambots before you ever get real people to join, and the time it takes to maintain the boards (and the money you either have to eat or charge clients) has shot up drastically. And the spammers have used every possible means to get around detection devices and board registration routines, trying desperately, it seems, to embarrass and anger anyone who comes to the board to discuss something meaningful.
I remember hearing once someone defending spam as only being marketed to those who would want it, or to those who might find it useful, and that it was about finding ways to get real products into the hands of the people who might (unwittingly, it seems) want those products. What a bunch of [insert your favorite derogatory word here]. Spammers do not go away if you tell them you don't want them; they do not, apparently, understand that the 50 levels of security and signs telling them to go away and that entrance is verboten might mean that their "product" is unwanted here. Why come up with ways around all defenses if all you're doing is innocently pushing a product to those who might want it?
Sadly, I find that this is the way of things generally in society (er, American society, anyway) nowadays. Advertisers have become so aggressive (and so unregulated) that they push everything they can at all hours and on all channels. Watching television is like watching my email: I can be guaranteed that I'll receive several ads for ED, weight loss, and random "date" lines every hour. Oh, and let's not forget all the scare tactics about how breathing is dangerous and I ought to be taking some company's drug to make it better, or how if I'm ever sad about anything at all, it means I'm clinically depressed and should be taking another company's drug to feel better as well. (Never mind that the side effects are truly more frightening than the symptoms the drugs seek to cure.)
It makes me angry that I even have to take spammers into account, as though I have to let them interfere with my life because there are no enforceable regulations to stop them. It's like having to let the loudest, most obnoxious neighbor win and force you to move away, all because no one in authority will come to stop them. I remember reading recently that spammers could be regulated, that if everyone had to send email only from their own verified address, that it would make tracking illegal/inappropriate spam easier (or even ?possible? would be nice) and thus stop the bulk of it. I'm not normally a big supporter of rules on the internet, but in this case I know I'm living in some kind of utopian past. If people can't play nice without rules hanging over them to keep them in line, then we have to have rules. (The trick is not having too many rules, or draconian rules, or rules that favor some very influential people over everyone else, but that's another subject for another day.)
So now, I'm going to have to recommend to a client that she let me dismantle her discussion boards, because they haven't had the wonderful effects I kept describing to her. And I'm probably going to have to take down some of my own discussion boards on other sites, because the "good" creatures don't come to play anymore; the loudest, most obnoxious have overrun the fields and sit, proudly, in piles of their own dung, yelping their rank messages and being perfectly satisfied to watch the fields die, for they will just move on to the next one, and the next, and the next.
Talk about the world ending with a whimper.
It's truly amazing the diverse landscapes one sees while proofing. I've read a book (partially) written by the current pope, yet also books revealing the secrets of The Da Vinci Code and of Mary Magdalene. I've read biographies of Benjamin Franklin, Norbert Wiener, and Jay Gould, yet also found time for T. Berry Brazelton and his books on babies. I've proofed murder mysteries and tax guides. You could populate a bookstore, with all its diverse sections, just from the books I've been hired to read. (Well, a small bookstore, anyway.)
I guess it mirrors other diversities in my life: my taste in music is eclectic and evolving (currently including Japanese pop music, Kylie Minogue, Sophie Ellis-Bextor, St. Etienne, David Bowie, Blur, and Garbage; over time including disco and punk and heavy metal and thrash and classical and jazz); my favorite films span the entire history of that medium; and I enjoy video games, art, food, etc. from many different cultures and tastes.
I imagine that's why I enjoy working as both a proofreader and a programmer, as a graphic designer and an application developer. Some people would say it makes me a bit of a dilettante, but I'd prefer to think of myself as a new sort of Renaissance Man.
(Ha! Yes, I know, that sounds as arrogant as a cat turning its nose up at caviar--I didn't really mean it quite like that, but I seem to have written myself into a highly optimistic and positive mood. Sorry about that! Maybe I'll go to bed now ...)
This is the first "real" post to this blog (the one before this being a notification of blogging to come, rather than an actual entry).
The PseudoBlog will be an outlet for my thoughts about both technology and the wonderful world of publishing, as these are my primary areas of interest and expertise. Links may or may not be included; that's part of the reason this will be a "pseudoblog." (That and because this is my first attempt at blogging ... )
I will sometimes talk about books I've proofed or am proofing, but I will not be writing book reviews or making judgments.... In proofing mode, it's not my job to act as a book reviewer. The same sort of thing goes for design, programming, or other work I'm doing--no proprietary secrets revealed here!
BTW, in case anyone is wondering, I did not write this particular blog software myself--it's a wonderful GNU public license bit of blogware from b2evolution. I'm using one of their free skins (Helsinki), but I've modified the code somewhat to change the appearance.
Anyway, welcome to anyone reading this blog!
Well ... you'll just have to have a nose round, won't you?
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