azurite: (cat and mouse)
I'm finally getting around to working on Indigo Ink, my portfolio website and online resume. I've been tinkering with it in various small ways for a while, but a recent decision to re-watch and actually DO the tutorials in a lesson, "Building an Online Portfolio with WordPress," got me actually working on the project.

The lesson uses an example chef to build the portfolio, making custom post types and taxonomies for recipes, photos, and videos. These post types make sense for a chef, but what about for me? My portfolio has three different types of content: writing (the biggie), graphic design, and website designs.

I made three custom post types to reflect this, but now I'm struggling with the taxonomies. Whereas regular blog posts have categories (hierarchical sorting) and tags (non-hierarchical), what would I use for my three new custom post types?

For the example chef in the lesson, the recipes, photos, and videos all have some common ways of organizing, such as meal type. Then it can be further sub-categorized--hint hint, this would be a hierarchical taxonomy, e.g. a CATEGORY--into things like breakfast, dinner, dessert, and so forth. And even those can be further sub-categorized, into things like meat, vegetable, and so on.

But what about my writing?

Well, I have articles--ones I've written for university publications, and ones I've written for I have essays. I have fiction. There might even be further ones. But are these categories? Can I break down the writing custom post type into a category of articles, and then further into specific KINDS of articles? Or would it be better to have something like a "purpose" category, which can span across multiple custom post types? That way, I could say, my reason for writing this article, or designing this website was "school assignment."

I'm trying to find example portfolios that have custom taxonomies that might provide an inspiration as to the architecture or structure of how I should organize my content, but so far, no luck. Any suggestions?
azurite: (fanfiction - canon error)
Long time no write--at least, here. I've been trying to keep up with writing 750 words (about three pages, which is the suggested amount from Julia Cameron's famous "The Artist's Way," except she called them "Morning Pages"), and I've been semi-successful at that, though November has been all kinds of crazy.

I tried to do NaNoWriMo too, and though I've got an explosive opening for my first original novel (set in a fantasy world that my BF David is developing for a roleplaying game), I do not have a full and complete novel by any stretch of the imagination.

In the meantime, I've been trying to set up my sites as WordPress sites now, since learning Joomla! was just too damn difficult and time-consuming, even with a membership. I've been using WordPress off and on for years for various other sites, and it makes sense to use the biggest, easiest-to-use CMS for my own personal fandom sites, too.

Now, it's not (currently, as far as I'm aware) possible to integrate WordPress with every other script out there--I'd love it if there was eFiction and WordPress integration, but there's not. I'm keeping Dragonfayth around as the Azureshipping fanfiction archive, but I'm considering not making Epiphany, the archive I was going to use to gather all of my own fanfiction, using eFiction.

I was considering WordPress, since I'm planning to make all my fandom sites using WordPress as well, and it seemed appropriate (maybe) to make individual sites for my particular epic fanfics, like "What Doesn't Kill You" (especially since the PLANS for that story involve at least two sequels), and "Wax and Wane" (formerly "Only 16").

A quick Google search reveals that plenty of people use WordPress (the self-hosted variety OR the variety) to post fanfic, much as people use Dreamwidth and/or LiveJournal. The thing is, a blog-style format for posting fanfic ISN'T a great idea. It's timeline-centric, and the whole point of fanfics is that they can be found and read by anyone, at any time. You'd need to take extra steps to make navigation so people can get to all your fics, make that navigation obvious, and make it uncomplicated--which is why "Pit of Voles" or not, is the repository for fanfics on the web. It categorizes everything by type of fandom, name of fandom, world/universe, author, rating, genre, characters, name it.

I could probably very easily post fanfics as "Pages" within the WordPress schema, and have another "Master Page" that I update regularly with new chapters, edits, or whatever, but I'm just wondering if anyone else out there has taken this approach or has suggestions for another.

My main WordPress projects now are getting the non-fanfiction material from my fandom sites up on my new network of WordPress sites, and for those sites that might be specifically fanfiction related, there's a ton of other content to include: ideas, Easter eggs, edits, fanart...stuff like that.
azurite: (kitty catch)
At some point in the not-so-distant future, I will finish my cute wallpaper of a kitten trying to be a lion. And possibly make matching icons.

In the meantime, now that Lion (Mac OS X 10.7) is out, I'm going through my list of apps to try and determine which ones are PowerPC (read: not going to work on Lion, ever!) and which ones are Intel/Universal binaries (read: probably will work, but not guaranteed).

Of those, I'm trying to find out which ones I can and cannot live without. For the ones that I can't, I'm looking for solutions. For example, realMyst. It's an amazing game, with levels you won't find in the other versions of Myst out there, even for Windows (as far as I know). It's also PowerPC-only and unlikely to get patched or updated in any way to be compatible with Lion.

The solution? Get Steam for Windows and download it there for cheap. That particular version of Myst from Steam IS realMyst, so it'll have the special world that doesn't exist in the other Myst releases, will be all kinds of awesome and while yes, I'll have to run it in Windows, for a game like Myst, it's actually kind of worth it.

For everything else, please offer suggestions as to other/better/newer apps that are Lion-compatible, or let me know if there's an update I should get (hopefully free, but if I have to pay for it, them's the breaks).

PowerPC-only apps )

After this is looking at all the other Intel-based apps and seeing which ones
a) haven't updated lately, and therefore may not work with Lion
b) I don't care about/use no matter how recently they've updated

And I think that's it...right? I almost seem Lion-ready...
azurite: (cat and mouse)
Stolen shamelessly from [ profile] frannyan. I don't know if there's more to this meme, but I'll do it if there is! :P

→ Take a screenshot of your desktop. (This is actually just one of FOUR desktops I have. But the other ones just have different wallpaper, not anything else...)

→ Take a screenshot your media player (if you have one up). (I finished my taxes and promptly looked up the "Victory Fanfare" from Final Fantasy V. Because my search wasn't specific, it brought up everything else with "Vict" in the title, which is why the Currently Playing is something from another video game. There's TuneUp to the right, with a bizarre cover art suggestion for a Fushigi Yuugi album that's missing art. I don't think Tasuki would like penguins...)

→ Take a screenshot of another program you have up. (This is Cyndicate, my new feed reader. Do I have too many feeds? I'm not even sure if it's working for LJ yet, picking up protected entries/saving cookies. I wish my custom RSS feed--made with an S2 style--would display authors properly, but I wouldn't know how to modify it to get it. Anyone have any ideas?)

→ Pick a tab you have up and take a screenshot of it. (This is a tab where I'm previewing a file I made in RapidWeaver. I liked the theme for "The Rose Chronicles," so I started trying to put it together as a fic site. Problem is, I don't much understand the plugins, so I'm not sure which one is best for a fanfic. Stacks? Blocks? Accordion? Also, the Carousel page I'm using for the Fanart is a little difficult to setup. For some reason some of the art displays to the right of the "page" content area, and some displays to the right. But isn't the thumbnail slider pretty?)


I didn't! They're all just straight screenshots taken with SnapzProX. Does anyone know a screen capture tool which takes screencaps of the whole screen, even what's past the scrollbar? I thought Little Snapper did that, but I'm not sure how....
azurite: (cat and mouse)
So I'm working on my final project for my Flash class, and it's really like putting together a puzzle: I'm assembling my efforts from previous weeks and trying to turn them into something shiny and cohesive. Of course, we have requirements (have to use at least 2 of our previous assignments plus embed audio, have a title area, a text area for the work that's being loaded, and have a viewing area for the visual assets), but generally it's pretty free-form.

So far I think I'm doing okay, except for the audio...for some reason, mine keeps loading whenever I test the movie, rather than when I press the Play button in my control area. I've made sure the Play and Stop buttons work, and they do, but the audio still starts up on its own when the whole file loads. I have Mute and a Volume Max buttons too, but they don't seem to do anything, despite using the same ActionScript that we used for a previous interface for audio:

on (press) {


on (press) {

Anyone know enough Flash to tell me what I'm doing wrong here? If I at least get this figured out, then I think I can focus on the more aesthetic parts and extra information, along with getting last week's lab to load properly (that was way more confusing than this final project).

I seem to remember one of my former co-workers from CSUN making an awesome web design in Flash...she must have had a knack for it (or a really good professor or a fabulous textbook or all three)! I wish I had asked her more about it then!
azurite: (fiction - have written)
So rather than wail about all the Post-Its I have lying around with things to do, my near-empty Listography book, and the things I wish were working out, instead, a list of things I've accomplished today, big and small:

* Read a lot of emails and deleted the ones I don't need (have several thousand to go, but boo hoo)

* Heard back from both Adobe and JourneyEd regarding CS5: I have to spend $449 if I want it, because I don't qualify for the post-announce free upgrade, and there's no discount for an "upgrade" version of Design Premium from CS4 to CS5. So that, plus a camera are now on my Wish List.

* Got approved for the "In Plain Sight" - Mary x Marshall fanlisting - now I just need a name for it! YAY!?

* May be on the waiting list for a focus group and put my name out there for another one; they pay well and don't take long, so why not?

* Put the dishes away

* Registered for the NSCS Region 5 Summit in Seattle, WA on July 6th and 7th. It's my last conference as an NLC member (well, a "retiring" NLC member)!

* Am researching travel options for getting up to Seattle, esp. so soon after cousin Erin's wedding in Los Angeles on the 4th. Virgin America and Southwest are looking the cheapest, since the Amtrak Coast Starlight just doesn't mesh with my needed arrival and departure times. (Also: Anime Expo from July 1-4! So 1-3 = Anime Expo, 4 = Wedding + Fireworks, 5 = ? 6-7 = Seattle! Talk about a packed schedule for one week!)

* Also researching potential post-graduation travel options. Should I go down to San Diego after my orthodontist's appointment, and then head back up with Aunt Joyce in time for the bridal shower, or hang out in North Hills with cousin Jill and fam for a few days and meet up with Joyce on the day of the shower? Train ticket to S.D. would cost me $30-32, but it's more like "What the heck would I do down there?" and "Would I be intruding?" I suppose I should ask at least, so I have the option open, right?

* Got a huge scene done in the revision of Only 16, Chapter 2: A Look Back, which starts the flashbacks that reveal more about Serenity and Endymion's past. I'm contemplating deleting those from Endymion's point of view altogether, since Only 16 really is Serena's story, and even if Darien DOES remember his past completely and is just hiding it from Serena, why give him THAT much screen time? Isn't it more suspenseful having you wonder how things are really going from his end? I've only gone into his POV a few times in the revision so far, and never very deeply. But re-reading Lilac Summers' "First Truths" has made it a lot easier to 'ship them again (*shock!*).

* Updated WikiFic to 1.15.3, and added the much-debated lyrics of "Ahead of the Game." Mass consensus agrees that the garbled lyrics in the second verse are "My liquidity, giant balance sheet. All my secrets, Hey! I'll even cheat." Though how "I'll even cheat" makes sense when Kaiba (whose image song this is) is bragging about how much smarter, more creative, etc. he is than his opponent, isn't cheating making him look worse, not better? I personally think he should have said "I won't even cheat," as if he's restraining himself from cheating just to get a horrible duel over with. What do you think?

* Got started on my graduation announcements--the paper ones. A few family members left to get addresses for and send out, and then...have to figure out the rest. *bats eyelashes* Can YOU come?

* Dabble in revisions and/or additions to the following fics: Aftermath of Angels (FF8 x YGO), You and Me (body-swap YGO Azureship fic; thanks a lot for reminding me, [ profile] mischiefmagnet!)
* Story-So-Far comparison of the book Paprika to the movie
* Revisions to previous chapters of WDKY + uploading to all the usual suspect sites -- someone on asked me if they could do a German translation of the fic! I can't read German to save my life, so should I say yes and just pray they do a decent job, or say no because I'd never be able to understand it?
azurite: (disney - ariel ooh shiny!)
So @hotdogsladies (Merlin Mann) had a bit of an anti-MacHeist diatribe on this week's MacBreak Weekly ( and the folks at @MacHeist tweeted about it with a pretty angry attitude: MacBreak Weekly discussed the nanoBundle. @hotdogsladies needs to check his facts and get over himself.

I've listened to the MBW show and actually found myself agreeing with parts of Mann's statement, although not all of it. Fellow MacHeisters posted about it in the forums, and apt213 made a very good point about it all: it's Mann's opinion, it was funny, and MacHeist didn't have to tweet with a 'tude. Also, most, if not all of us MacHeisters don't buy the bundles (nano or not) because a portion goes to charity. We buy because it's apps for cheap. It's nice that a portion goes to charity, but it's not my motivation at all.

In this past MacHeist nanoBundle 2, I got 12 apps for $19.95. They are: Squeeze, Airburst Extreme, Tracks, Burning Monkey Solitaire, MacJournal, RipIt, Clips, CoverScout, Flow, Tales of Monkey Island, RapidWeaver, and Tweetie. Many Mac users will recognize these as being pretty well-rated apps made by household-name companies. Others will have no idea what half of them do and might just be tempted by the descriptions enough to try them for cheap. I was straddling both categories when I decided to buy it.

No one holds a gun to the heads of the developers who can and do participate in MH. I personally think those that do are cool, but I don't disparage those that don't (if I even had a way of knowing who they are; who approaches MH Directorate, or do they approach developers? It's not like they announce who refused to participate in MH).

Here's the thing: every time I've bought a bundle, I've discovered a new app that I suddenly cannot live without. And I support the developers with continued purchases of new versions and/or upgrades. Sometimes these are for apps that I've heard a lot about but just can't afford and forget to get trials for. Other times I've never heard of them and it ends up being a life saver. I think this must be true for other users too, though not all of them. It's a risk, as all marketing ploys are, and MacHeist is a marketing ploy for developers. When it's an actual heist, it's also fun for the end users, because we have to EARN our discount on the software.

The lifesaver apps I've discovered via MacHeist that come to mind: Agile Software's 1Password, and Ambrosia Software's SnapzXPro. I'm experimenting with RapidWeaver now, was disappointed in MacJournal, and am so far enjoying Tracks. Wincent Software's Synergy (my iTunes controller) gets used so much that it's practically abused, and that I discovered through MacHeist, too!

Of the ones from the current bundle, I thought about buying MacJournal, but it was through getting and using it from MacHeist that I realized it's not what I was looking for. Clips is a fabulous replacement for the gone ClipIt (I think that was the name), and Tracks works splendidly alongside Synergy. Tweetie is interesting, but I have to keep using it in order to make a well-rounded comparison to my other Twitter clients, Twitterific, TweetDeck, and Echofon in Firefox. Squeeze seems useful and the games look fun (I suck at Solitaire of all kinds, apparently), but I'm still experimenting with the others.

MacHeist ≠ Walmart, though, even if Walmart has good points. People's personal opinions of Walmart or MacHeist or how developing apps should be done are going to color their opinions of MacHeist's strategy and execution, and that just can't be helped. You can't please everyone.
azurite: (cat and mouse)
Testing to see if Dreamwidth and MacJournal (which I just nabbed from the new MacHeist nanoBundle) work well together.

Yes, and here's how:

Go to Journal > Edit Blog Settings

Step 1: Type in your URL; MacJournal will fill in the http://.
Step 2: Type your User Name and Password; save it in the Keychain if you wish.


-In the window that appears, type "Dreamwidth" or similar for the Name.
-Select "LiveJournal" for the type, since Dreamwidth is a port of LiveJournal (so to speak)
-For the URL, type your blog's complete URL, such as
-The Post URL is this:
- Finally, type your user name in the User ID field. You shouldn't need to type anything in the blog ID field.

You can post by clicking on Share > Send to "Dreamwidth" (or whatever you've named your journal in MacJournal in Step 3). A blue bar will appear at the bottom of the screen if you've successfully posted. If you have crossposting set up on Dreamwidth, it will also crosspost to any other journaling services (e.g. LJ) that you have set-up there.

I recommend having the Inspector open so you can do things like add Tags; this field is not in the MacJournal window by default.

While you can see Moods, Friend Groups, and User Pictures in the sidebar when you click on Edit Blog Settings, there does not appear to be a way to actually include these in your individual entries at this time (please correct me if I'm wrong).

There is not a way to post to communities now or for the foreseeable future. This is something I discovered by perusing the Mariner Software forums. It's sad, but it's true, which means I likely won't be using MacJournal for much.

The next best bet? iJournal. It's got all the best features (though it's not exactly Semagic for Mac), though for me right now, it's being REALLY slow and constantly checking my friends' page for updates (even though it never bothers to tell me if there ARE any). It also used to notify me when my post was received by Dreamwidth, but now it just clears the window. Kind of scary!

xJournal appears to be at a standstill dev-wise, but I keep it around because I have old entries in that format still.
azurite: (san francisco)
So, after-- lost count how many times--I've successfully managed to install, activate, and run every application in Adobe's Creative Suite 4. This most recent time, everything was working EXCEPT Acrobat, which of course, is one of the three programs I use on a regular basis (the other two being Dreamweaver and Photoshop, of course), and as a "solution," Adobe's Customer Service suggested I uninstall and reinstall everything, and use the same "Clean Script" app that mangled my CS3 install and forced me to download the CS4 trial that mangled this install.

Needless to say, I was wary. I had installed this CS4 twice already and was still having issues. But this time, I really did get rid of EVERYTHING Adobe, and the re-installation went smoothly.

I ran Acrobat immediately after the install and it whined about a licensing error, which is what the CS4 trial had been doing after I used Clean Script, but once I installed the updates, it started working again. I opened up a file with it, and opened up a file in Safari (which, for some bizarre reason, requests Acrobat's permission to display, even though you can view PDFs natively in Preview and in some browsers), so everything seems to work fine. Acrobat even has "Enter Serial Number" grayed out, and when I click on "Register," my information is already filled in (and presumably sent to Adobe, since I finally got the "free benefit" email).

I'm still unable to install this "Adobe CSI CS4 1.0.1 Update," as it keeps failing to install, so I'll mention that in my case reply, but otherwise...everything's FINALLY working again. Interestingly enough, for the CS4 case, Adobe told me someone would actually be calling me within 48 hours, and it'll be 48 hours at the end of today, so we'll see if that actually happens and what they'll say/do.

I'm just glad I didn't have to do an Erase & Install after all. Yesterday while I was testing various apps to see if I could re-create the crash that had Photoshop so disabled, I ended up ditching a few apps, sorting the rest, and seeing just a few crashes, all with different SIG errors.

They are:
* Adobe kuler - SIGBUS (once) -- I ended up uninstalling this anyway, since Kuler is a panel in Photoshop now, and it's also accessible online
* Delicious Library 2 - SIGILL (once)
* NewsFire - SIGABRT (once)
* Spring Cleaning 10 - SIGSEGB (twice)

And Firefox hasn't been crashing on startup repeatedly, either, which is cool but also very weird. It, like Toast 6 Titanium (which is probably not even SL-compatible; I really need to get Toast 10), was crashing without a peep. I didn't know how to diagnose that, except to look up the app's name along with "crashes on startup." Often the results weren't very helpful, but if the problem's no longer an issue....

*fingers crossed!* I'd really like to be able to do my homework now!
azurite: (disney - ariel ooh shiny!)
I don't want to jinx things, but my computer problems might somehow have been mysteriously solved.

I did the security update from Apple earlier, along with a whole host of updates from Adobe. I've been going through all my apps to see which ones produce the infamously aggravating SIGTRAP error (or variations of it), but NOTHING has been crashing.

Not even Firefox, which used to take 3-4 tries just to boot, and it never said a peep when it crashed! Photoshop is staying open, with files open. I've had no problems with any other CS4 product (except Acrobat, because Acrobat is a whiny brat that doesn't like my serial number even though I got it from Adobe!), and other programs that crashed or acted weird are now being...fine.

There's Big Fish/Play First Games' "Gotcha! Celebrity Secrets" game that I wanted to try out. It previously tried to load but then crashed without a word. All of a sudden, it worked! I enjoyed 60 horribly bad-in-a-good-way minutes of playing "Where's Waldo" in a cartoon celebrity world, pretending I was a paparazzi blogger.

There's TextWrangler, which updated but then refused to let me update the command keys. Then I did, works fine! No insta-crash like before!

Even Corel Painter 11, which would occasionally crash and occasionally work, now seems to be working fine, even displaying a start-up dialog box that I've never seen before!

I want to do a battery of tests on my most-frequently used apps and ditch apps I don't really use that often while I'm at it. If the errors still come up, I might want to stick to the Erase & Install option just for the sake of having a "fresh" start on the laptop, but if not, I can always cancel my appointment.... Of course, I should probably do this tomorrow and sleep now, because being awake at this hour is really quite bad for my internal clock. Or so people tell me. *flaps her bat wings*

*fingers crossed* I'd much rather go to In-N-Out Burger tomorrow than a crowded Apple Store to get my precious laptop wiped (for no reason???).
azurite: (azureshipping - love to hate)
I've uninstalled Adobe Creative Suite 3 Design Premium. Not just Photoshop, which was really the only application giving me issues, but all of it. I have the trial of CS4 and should be getting the CS4 backpack that is my graduation present soon-ish (it's on backorder from, but the problems...they aren't going away.

I uninstalled CS3 using the uninstaller in the Applications/Utilities folder. Everything was a success. Then I ran the CS3 Clean Script from Adobe's Support Center--twice. Everything seemed to go smoothly there, except it also apparently removed Shockwave Flash (Safari is now protesting I don't have the right plugin for some websites) and InDesign CS4. I re-installed CS4 and then Photoshop said it was missing components. So I reinstalled Photoshop. And everything seemed to be fine (again) for a few minutes. I opened some documents and prepared to get to work.

And then it crashed.


Same error as before EXC_BREAKPOINT (SIGTRAP).

I have tried everything at this point short of fully uninstalling Intego (but you'd think if that was really behind it, the error messages would say something relating to Intego, right?) and wiping the OS and reinstalling. I have NEVER had to do this with a Mac OS, so I'm obviously a) very worried and b) very reluctant.

This has happened with Photoshop, while I got another Initializing Extension Data... hang with Dreamweaver CS3. It only happened sporadically, though, and hasn't happened with Dreamweaver CS4. Only Photoshop seems to hate me, and I don't know why. (Why, Photoshop, why!? Was it something I said?)

Oh, and then there's Firefox. So after I couldn't get into my Photoshop for class, I thought I could use DeVry's iLab environment, which is run by Citrix. Blah blah, got the latest extension, went into Firefox because supposedly it's more compatible with Firefox than Safari (lamesauce, Citrix, LAMESAUCE!). Firefox didn't even seem to recognize it. So I uninstalled and re-installed (after a bit of a scuffle with a crappy beta). I let it be shiny-new, as is, for a while. Citrix seemed to be there (though not in the Add-Ons list, the way 1Password is despite being an external install), but the second it tried to launch Photoshop via Citrix, CRASH! The Citrix online plug-in, that is--not Firefox. Actually, it happened with ANY of the Adobe suite programs I tried to launch via Citrix (didn't bother trying Microsoft gunk--should I?), so it doesn't seem to be just Photoshop-related.

However, since that fresh install of Firefox, the app itself has crashed--repeatedly. It looks like the same error message as the Photoshop one, which is to say: not helpful at all. This tells me that whatever Adobe tells me to do to "fix" Photoshop won't actually help, because this is starting to look more and more like a system issue. I disabled XMarks, since that would cause freezes that would force me to quit Firefox, but the problem isn't really solved: Firefox takes around three "clicks" to get it to start. I can launch it from the Dock or via Quicksilver, but either way, it'll be in the Dock for a split second, even have the "running app" indicator below it, but it'll still just vanish without a word. No error, no crash reporter, nothing. And I'll try again. And again. And again.

And then it works, acting like nothing's wrong. It doesn't APPEAR to be as slow as it used to (which is why I switched to Safari in the first place), but it may depend on the website. And I still do have a lot of extensions, because to be frank: if there's going to be a limit on Firefox's number of extensions, then TELL ME SO from the outset. Give me a suggested number, or tell me how much memory each extension will hog up, or whatever. Because most of them I got because they're actually USEFUL and I need them in some fashion.

I think I'm going to have to make another appointment at the Apple Store. Hopefully I'll get someone who actually knows that Snow Leopard doesn't have Archive & Install as an option anymore, and that dust can't creep into your computer and make your hard drive explode (Yes, it's been said).

Another thing to add to The List of Mer's Computer Woes? My Time Machine is definitely on its last legs. My lovely new-ish Western Digital MyBook Studio has begun ticking, a bit like a soft clock. It doesn't always mount, and even when I do the whole unplug-to-power-cycle thing and re-plug, it doesn't always work. And I'll hear a soft a clock, only not as regular. Maybe every few seconds. This one might still be under warranty, but what's the use if I'd just end up replacing it with another WD drive? WD doesn't seem to be nearly as reliable as I thought. :( What are the HDs the "Geniuses" use at the Bar, I wonder? They look pretty compact and sturdy...
azurite: (sailormoon - double trouble minako & usa)
So, my Photoshop has been crashing left and right whenever I try to use it lately. Now that I have to use it for my DeVry class, I'm in a pickle, so I thought I could use the Citrix client, which lets you load external applications. Turns out the one I had was outdated, and when I tried to get the new one, I got a 404 Page Not Found. Gee. So I call up the tech support at DeVry out in freezing Chicago and get a new client. At first, it seems to go okay: installs fine, but mysteriously doesn't show up in Firefox or Safari.

A few crashes, restarts, and re-installs of Firefox later (I'm using 3.5.7 now, as opposed to 3.6 beta 5), the Citrix client actually appears to BE there in Firefox (that is, when I go to the DeVry lab and click on Photoshop, it prompts me to allow the Citrix client to open), but then it immediately crashes with the same error (it looks like) as Photoshop.

This has also caused (perhaps by indirect association) crashes with iTunes, Finder, Dreamweaver (something about "initializing extension data," even though I have no extensions for Dreamweaver) and maybe others I'm not remembering.

I have:
* Repaired disk permissions
* Booted in safe mode
* Tried loading from a Guest account
* Cleared the RAM cache by doing a Shift-Restart
* Checked for major font incompatibilities with Photoshop
* Removed various Login Items (and yet somehow Intego is running in the background, and I don't know how, which REALLY bothers me--I might end up removing it after all.)
* Tried turning off File Sharing (it was never on in the first place, but I turned off Bluetooth Sharing just to be sure)
* Tried doing an Archive and Install (supposedly not even an option in SL; I didn't see the "Options" button to find it, though apparently another Genius told someone that it's "Automatic," which I wouldn't believe if my data's at stake)

Adobe wants me to uninstall and reinstall Photoshop CS3--maybe the whole Creative Suite. I don't have the DVDs on me, so it looks like I'm going to be getting that CS4 bundle pack a lot sooner than I planned, because CS3 just looks like one big disaster for Snow Leopard, anyway. Supposedly it's compatible with Snow Leopard and I have been using it for a while on SL with no problems, but once the problems start, there's no way out of them, it looks like.

I REALLY want to believe that CS4 will fix the issue, except Citrix crashing and this error (which is in the Apple main thread?) make it seem like it's a SYSTEM issue, and I'm one of MANY people having this error, and there doesn't appear to be any one fix that works for everyone. So I'm at a loss as to what to do, because the Geniuses AREN'T.

Where's Mizuno Ami when you need her!? If you have any thoughts/ideas/other solutions, please let me know.

Here's the crash log: Read more... )
azurite: (cat: what the shit is this!?)
My Photoshop CS3 (not any of the other Creative Suite 3 apps that I use) has been crashing upon open for the past week or more. I have been around the block and back trying to figure out what to do, and I've tried almost everything. I searched Adobe's KnowledgeBase for potential solutions and went through almost all 22-23 short of re-installing Photoshop, mainly because I don't have the discs on me here in San Francisco.

I tried doing Disk Utility checkups and got some weird errors that I couldn't fix, and at the time, I'd been without my Snow Leopard DVD either, so I took it to the Apple Store. They couldn't fix it and the "genius" recommended an Archive and Install...which is apparently not an option for Snow Leopard. Never mind that I spent a good 20+ minutes trying to find a button that just wasn't there, if only the guy had told me--oh yeah, it's no longer an option for your OS!

I tried fixing the same errors with TechTool Pro before just Googling them--hah! Turns out they're generic errors that can be "safely ignored" and have nothing to do with Photoshop's crashing. I tried using Time Machine to restore Photoshop to the earliest date I had--the 15th of December, but no dice.

So then I tried rebooting in Safe Boot mode, and THAT miraculously worked. So apparently the issue is with Photoshop and one of my login items...but which one? The ones I think I have (and I don't know if I know all of them) are: Synergy, Quicksilver, Hyperspaces, some Intego software, and XMarks for Safari. Of those, I updated Intego and Hyperspaces recently. I've used Synergy and Quicksilver for so long, I'm sure they're not the issue. To check, I closed each of them one by one...except Intego, WHICH I CAN'T CLOSE. AT ALL.

I think I have to uninstall the damn thing to test out this theory. And why do I have Intego ContentBarrier, NetBarrier, Personal Antispam, Personal Backup, and VirusBarrier, anyway? Simply put, it was part of a security bundle I'd gotten a while ago, and my boss back at CSUN said it was part of the policy to have antivirus software, even on a Mac (which doesn't need it--not because there are no viruses because of Apple's "small market share," but because it's Just That Damn Good). And I thought all was well--it caught a few infected emails that could have damaged my Windows VM or passed on the virus using my email address, but maybe it's interfering with Photoshop after all.

I'm waiting to hear back from Adobe and see what they say--maybe there will be login items I missed, that the lengthy crash report reveals, or they can tell me something specific about my installed, mentioned login items and incompatibilities with Photoshop. And then there's always trying to figure out how the hell to temporarily disable the Intego software just to test whether or not it crashes Photoshop after all.

I've searched for tips and tricks, but none apply to my situation here, so I'm sort of at a loss until Adobe gets back to me. My options at this point are:
* Uninstall Intego -- and I don't even know if it's really the issue
* Get Baba and Grandpa to send me the CS3 DVDs so I can reinstall Photoshop
* Have my mom buy me the CS4 backpack I've been saving up for myself, as a "graduation present," just to fix the damn issue and have new everything that's up-to-date and be done with it.

I'm not a big fan of any of those, because none are really simple and easy. Any tips would be appreciated.
azurite: (hanukkah - shimmering lights)
If it weren't for Mac360, I wouldn't know about/remember half these promotions, but geez, another bundle!? And it's not even Christmas yet! Let's check out the about-to-run-out MacBundles bundle. Talk about appropriately named, eh?

iPhoto Library Manager - I have yet to use multiple iPhoto libraries, but I can definitely see the use. You can keep multiple libraries and move photos back and forth between them without losing all the data like keywords and ratings. Wow--potential hit!

Media Rage - Help catalog, sort, update and organize thousands of audio files. I've got nearly 8,000 songs in my library, and I haven't even found the remaining 100 or so MIA tracks or imported all my CDs! HIT!

MyTunesRSS - Access your multimedia collection through a web interface in any browser. Create RSS feeds, download playlists, albums or single tracks. Play music in the browser or a favorite player. You know, short of shelling out for AirTunes, this sounds awesome! This sounds like cloud computing for me! HIT!

Renamer - Batch renamer. When Automater is just too confusing, and programs specific for file types are too annoying, I guess? Potential hit.

Simon - Checks site servers for monitoring and lets you know every damn way there is possible short of calling you up in the middle of a date. I'm not a business or anything, but this might be nice. Potential hit.

ViewIt - Image viewer for the most popular formats, has tools for quick image sorting, printing, digital cameras, and EXIF tags. Extendable via the SDK. I already have so many photo/graphic apps I've lost track of them all, but you never know when one can do what others won't. Potential hit.

WebPrint Plus - Quickly save or print snippets of any size from any program, the 'Net, or the clipboard. Eliminates the need for tedious copy-pasting between programs. Sounds useful, but...potential hit.

Yum - Recipe and cookbook manager. I already have SousChef. Miss.

Yummy FTP Fastest Mac FTP/SFTP client out there. Allows for directory synch, scheduling, remote editing with per-file editor support, auto-uploads, FTP Alias upload droplets, bandwidth throttling...blah blah, I have just what I need built-in to Dreamweaver, and Fugu for all else. Miss.

A-Dock X (BONUS APP) - Available for the next 9 days and 9 hours or so, brings a secondary dock to the screen. Allows for skinning, built-in separators, desktop trash, 10-level deep folder browsing, hotkeys, and more. Seems to do what DragThing does. Potential hit.

SonicMood (BONUS APP) - Available today and tomorrow for 9 hours. Creates a soothing background of tones when you don't want to listen to ordinary music. Comes with 31 moods and lets you customize or invent new ones. Sounds awesome--HIT!

FolderGlance (BONUS APP) - Small plugin for the finder that lets you right-click on folders to examine contents and sub-folders, down an unlimited number of levels, plus support for control-free pop-ups, display of hidden files and folders (!!), contextual menu font size, and more. Sounds pretty useful. Potential hit.

12 apps for $49.99 and the survey says...

Miss: 2
Potential Hit: 7
Hit: 3

That's 10 total programs that are worth my while and again, two that I already have a version of and would either be willing to try out or pass along onto a deserving person (hint hint).

Gaaak, another $50 get or not to get!? Battle of the Bundles!
azurite: (peach girl - momo nails)
So, aside from new bundle MacFriendly, there's the regular and usually awesome MacUpdate Promotional Winter bundle. This year, it's got some goodies, but also some oldies. To get or not to get? This might be a harder decision than MacFriendly, where six apps of useful quality weren't enough to swing me into whipping out my credit card.

PowerTunes - Create, organize, and share multiple iTunes libraries. I used to want to do this because I had the majority of my music on my external drive, and I tried to have a smaller one on my laptop...but the way iTunes did it made things confusing. Even though I had the music on the external, some folders were still on my laptop, and Time Machine couldn't back up the full library on the backup. This might be useful if I ever find a reason to do multiple libraries again. Potential hit.

PathFinder - A replacement for Finder. I hear a lot of people hate Finder and think it needs to die already, but I've never had a problem with it. Still, it's always nice to discover something awesome...potential hit.

Socialite - "Keep track of the social networks that matter to you." I don't really know what this means, but I do use social networks A LOT. Oh wait, this is EventBox renamed! The last thing I need is another Twitter client when so many cool ones are free, but this does integrate a lot of others, but mainly for status updates...which, hello, are not the only thing attractive about social networks. But it also integrates RSS feeds, and ever since the upgrade of NetNewsWire, this might be a cool replacement...maybe. Potential hit.

Yep - Tag, organize, find documents. What iPhoto is for pictures and iTunes is for music and video media, Yep is for documents! Does it do HTML, I wonder? If so, this would be a total Hit!

Radio Gaga - Already have it. Miss.

GarageSale - Already have it. Miss.

Speed Download - Had a previous version from another promo and liked it, but having the newest version might be nice. Hit!

HealthNut - Not like I need to diet, but it sure would be interesting to put all that I learned in my Food Science classes to good use. Besides, I can't assume that I'll have this fabulous metabolism forever! Pretty useful! Potential hit!

PCalc - A scientific calculator. Not like I do complex math often, but if I did, aren't there websites or widgets to take care of it for me...or my own scientific calculator that I spent a year taking math classes to earn. Miss.

FlagIt! - Flag email messages in with different colored flags. Endless colors, and the ability to mark and unmark the messages and then find out when they're completed. This could be useful, especially for me, when Smart Folders, Junk marking, and colored labels just aren't enough. Every layer of organization helps. Hit!

Holiday DVD Templates - Well, I've never made DVDs, let alone holiday ones, but it's cool to have the option to have jazzy holiday DVD menus. Useful for when I finally get around to learning iMovie and iDVD and maybe even shooting my own video. Hey Santa, can I have a Flip camera? Potential hit.

iRip - Get music from my iPod back to my Mac. Nice tool, but I've already got the free (albeit basic) expod for that. Miss.

Machinarium - An adventure/puzzle game featuring robots. Sounds cool enough, and it might be neat to review for GD. Potential hit.

DragThing - A professor I had recommended this, and the Macworld editors seem to love it. I already have Quicksilver as a launcher and Overflow as a dock manager (which I hardly ever use, since Quicksilver's become second nature to me), but DragThing seems to do a lot more: you can have hotkeys, have multiple docks, have a Trash on the desktop, play sounds in response to actions, and even stores frequently used clippings! Sounds like a total hit to me!

14 apps for $50 is already a better deal than MacFriendly, but how does it break down?
Misses: 4
Potential Hits: 6
Hits: 4

That means 10 total apps of the 14 (3 of them are only available for the first 10,000 sales, but they're only at a little over 1,000 now) are something I'd like to try--a much better fraction than with MacFriendly. I might just have to invest in this...but would anyone like the licenses for Radio Gaga and Garage Sale, since I already have them? If each app were evenly priced, they'd be $3.57/each, so two apps would go for about $8. Any takers?

Anyone know about any other bundles out there I should take a look at?
azurite: (o rly? - minako)
Found out about MacFriendly today, which includes 12 (maybe 13, depending on sales) apps for $50. But how many apps that are unique or different from what I already have to justify buying something like this?

Invoice 3 - useful if I ran a small business. But being that I presently have no need for an invoice application, this is useless. As for managing my finances, I have and even Quicken. Miss.

Flash Decompiler Trillix - Do what with the what now? Something about messing with SWFs, which might be nice to know in the future if I ever start seriously playing with Flash, but for right now, this is a miss.

TimeNet - Basically something to work in conjunction with a business manager like Invoice 3...except I have TimeTable, which I like a lot, have gotten used to, and see no reason to replace. Keeps track of your time for billing purposes. Miss.

Icon Commander - Turn any image into icons for Windows Vista, XP, or Mac. Believe it or not, I'd actually find this useful. I'm always wanting to jazz up my apps and folders, and "if you want something done, you've got to do it for yourself." So I might just start making icons! Hit!

Amnesia - Uninstall apps properly. I already have AppZapper. Miss.

WaterThumber - Easily batch process images with watermarks, resize them, create web-ready thumbnails, and so forth. Sounds like a good replacement for the finer things that IrfanView for Windows does, and what powerful image editors like Photoshop don't do. I have a number of photo editors and managers, and this does things that they don't (as far as I know, though I don't have to do this often). Potential hit.

MacPilot - Finds all the hidden tricks in OSX without having to rely on Terminal. Supposedly does what TinkerTool and Onyx can't! Plus, I like Koingo Software. Hit!

Singlemizer - Get rid of duplicate files. This is a double-edged sword. Not all files that appear to be duplicates are, and some that are need to be kept for special reasons, like back-up or backwards-compatibility purposes. Plus, the most common producer of duplicates (for me, anyway) is iTunes, and I have Dupin for that. Potential hit.

Squish - A URL shortener. For the truly lazy who can't just go to,, or any of those other URL shorteners. I use Twitter apps that shorten the URLs automatically, so this is a total miss for me.

Marketplace - Craigslist without the Ugly. I hardly use Craigslist at all, but I just might if it comes down to job hunting...and the incentive is greater if an app prettifies it. Potential hit.

Emailchemy - Takes closed-source email formats and makes them open-source. Can converted emails to Google Apps accounts (of which I have two: CSUN and Gaming Dead). Other than that...uh, I don't really think the features are all that useful for me. Overall, a miss.

ForeverSave - Time Machine on steroids. Lets you back up the documents created by specific programs, on a regular basis, to avoid all those program or computer crash losses. Sounds awesome. Hit!

iTasksX (LOCKED) - Project Management "for professionals." It sounds awesome, but it looks totally complicated and like it has a steep learning curve. Plus, how is it any different from what Bento, Things, or similar programs do? It may be more robust, but those programs LOOK easier to use, even if I have to use multiple programs to achieve the same result. Miss.

Overall? Six (Seven) Misses, Three Hits, and Three Potential Hits. It's basically dead-even if you don't take iTaskX into account, and usually I'd expect more out of a bundle, even for such a good deal as 12 (13) apps for $50. I'd be willing to split the cost with someone if they wanted the licenses for the apps I don't think I want, but where am I going to find someone like that?

I wish I could mix and match bundles, but that defeats the whole thing that makes bundles so cheap--the fact that people get dupes of apps they may already have, if they're Mac-savvy, that they discover new apps from cool, favorite, or possibly new developers, and that ALL TOGETHER, enough sales rewards all the developers involved. If I could buy only six of the apps, I'd probably pay at least $50 for them. Can someone invent the Mix Bundle, or a mini-Bundle better than the MacHeist nanoBundle?



Aug. 4th, 2009 04:03 pm
azurite: (back to the future - save the clock towe)
So, I'm chilling here at SFO (San Francisco International Airport, for those that don't speak airport code). I shelled out $7.99 for a T-Mobile Hotspot Day Pass, because even though I don't visit airports (or Starbucks, or even Borders) quite often enough to get a Hotspot account/shell out $40 a month, sitting here for 3 hours nursing a Coca-Cola and reading the August issue of Wired just doesn't cut it for me. I need to be connected, which is kind of sad. I sort of miss my childhood. :P

Tech jargon )

More win and OSM )

I'm actually somewhat looking forward to going home, if just to sleep on my own bed (though the AeroBed Mom got was pretty damn comfortable, no matter what Eva said about it being too soft) and have steady Wi-Fi in all my usual haunts. Also, MAIL! And money. And work for a week, until I have to get my butt to DC. And in-between all that, family visits and the Orange County Fair. Should be fun.

Meanwhile, Michael Jackson's "Beat It" is stuck in my head, along with a plotbunny for a multichapter Sailor Moon fic I meant to write for [ profile] sm_monthly and never got around to. I mean really, ANOTHER multichapter? I wish I could churn stuff out as fast as [ profile] moodwriter, with her "Hate, Prejudice and Secret Intentions" (I think I got that title right) Dramione fic that I've been reading lately. Good stuff! I've also got to catch up on Stargirl's "Tsuki no Namida," an AR of the Silver Millennium, since the latest chapter is up for critiquing on one of [ profile] the_circlet communities. I'm not a big fan of walking into a long-ish multi-chapter fic blind, so I'll start with the beginning and go from there. So far, it's got an interesting premise but some grammar issues that irk me. But hey, SAILOR MOON FIC. I ought to get writing!
azurite: (cat and mouse)
My Western Digital 500 GB hard drive started CLICKING today.

I was still able to get it to mount, but I get the feeling that data isn't moving from my laptop to the drive; normally when it does, the light on the front of the drive will be going up and down. Right now, it's just still, with one little segment near the top "burnt out" (it's not really burnt out, as it does light up every now and again, but lately that section doesn't light up).

I've tried stopping the Time Machine backup, ejecting the drive and remounting it, but that doesn't always help. Even power-cycling doesn't always do the trick, which has me a bit worried. Previous SNAFUs with this or other WD drives have caused me to switch from USB to Firewire for the port of choice, and make sure that it's powered directly into a wall socket, versus a surge protector (which seems stupid, but meh, it's what they told me).

Anyway, after it started to click this morning, I got worried, so I looked into whether it was still under warranty. It is, and in fact, I can upgrade to a 1 TB drive for $20 off the MSRP, provided I ditch the current warranty on my existing drive. Thus, a quandary: do I wait for the drive to asplode before getting a new one, or do I act preemptively, assuming that no click is a good click?

Idea that just got thrown out the window: use a new 1 TB for a data external and use the old data external (250 GB) for Time Machine. That won't work, because if my internal is 300 GB, then I need at least that much (double is better) for a Time Machine. I'm actually kind of cutting it close with the 500 GB Time Machine I'm currently using.

I also have conflicting "to do" stuff with the laptop itself. See, I was worried about losing my iTunes library, so I moved the larger one to my external hard drive. That means it doesn't get backed up with my Time Machine. So if I do something stupid, like delete files off my external, I'm S.O.L. I've been thinking about moving my complete iTunes library back onto my internal HD; I have the space for it. It'll start getting backed up with Time Machine (unless the clicks really do spell bad news), and that should all be gravy. I don't really need two libraries, one iPod-sized and the other not. I can just manually sync what I want through checking and unchecking tracks and playlists and such.

What confused me was that the Genius at the Genius Bar (honestly, at this point, I'm starting to think it's a rather lame title) suggested moving my iPhoto library onto an external! But then I can't access it when I'm out and about, which is why I'd always kept it on the internal. Plus, it's getting backed up by the Time Machine! Apparently using Backup for these purposes is bad, due to the format Backup uses or something.

And don't get me started on the whole battery thing. The laptop's BEEN plugged in, and yet it's mysteriously at only 97% charge, which probably is a little over 2 hours. I'm sure the battery life is supposed to be longer than that, considering I bought it just a few months ago. And yet it still passes Apple's tests.... I've stopped using Firefox 3.5 for now, since it was proving to be a major CPU hog and probably didn't help with my battery problem.

So, yeah, lots of things to do and I have no idea how or where to start. Grr.
azurite: (cat and mouse)
Yes, it's shiny and inexpensive for what it comes with, but why should I buy the MacUpdate Promo bundle? Aside from the fact that, yes, $49.99 is a damn good price for the software included (retail value of $521.71, according to MacUpdate), and there are only four days left to get those apps at that price, why bother when:

(1) I already own Parallels Desktop. There goes a $79.99 part of the overall value.
(2) I already own Circus Ponies' Notebook. There goes another $49.99 (but I only bought it for $29.99, because I'm a student!)
(3) I already own Quicken, which might not be as intuitive as MoneyWell, but it serves the exact same purpose. Minus another $49.99.
(4) "Posterino - Posters, postcards, and more." Hm, these are things that a) I can do in Photoshop; b) I can do in Pages; c) I can do in MS Office. Heck, I can even do this from within iPhoto! WHY would I pay $24.95 for it?
(5) BetterZip - Okay, so StuffIt isn't perfect, nor is the Mac OS X zip utility. But it does the job, and that's all I really need. I don't zip or unzip TOO frequently (maybe a few times a week), so why would I need this? Hmmm.... minus $19.95!
(6) RipIt - hey, wait a minute, what the heck is DVDRemaster Pro for, then? Minus $18.99!
(7)Multiplex. Useless to me. I watch pretty much everything in MPlayer OS X Extended, anyway. (VLC started to suck a while ago and I haven't looked back since.) If it's got some features above and beyond the default OS X DVD Player, point me at 'em! Minus $35.00!

TechTool 5 might be worth it, except I've already got DiskWarrior AND Drive Genius. Let's be honest here, as awesome as TechTool 5 is, what does it do that those two programs and a good piece of freeware, e.g. OnyX, can't? (I'm not being sarcastic here; if there's a wonderful feature of TT5 that I ought to know about, sell me on it!)

NetBarrier X5 I'm seriously considering, if only because I HAVE to have my firewall down in order to connect to a wi-fi network these days. Due to the fact that none of my external hard drives are big enough for an exact clone of my hard drive (or the bulk of the really important data, which is scattered all over the place), I have yet to do a clean install of Mac OS X 10.5.7 yet! It might be nice to have something protecting my Mac from what few things could possibly screw with it.

DVDRemaster Pro 5 - I don't really duplicate video DVDs. Converting them might be useful though, and if it works with non-video DVDs, like Data DVDs, I might consider it....

Paperless - Reminds me of Notebook fused with NeatWorks. This COULD be useful, if I didn't have that sinking sensation that it does something that other apps that I own already do.

Bearing all that in mind and only subtracting those apps that I truly felt would be of NO use to me whatsoever, that brings the total "value" of the apps I'd actually use to $277.85. That's just slightly more than half the total value if ALL the apps were included, and I subtracted the most expensive apps, AND the majority of the apps (seven out of eleven; not including the two "bonus apps" if I were to BUY BUY BUY like, today).

I'd really only do this if I could split the cost with someone who could use the other items, like Parallels, Notebook, and so on. Considering the high-ticket value of those, wouldn't it be more fair to have that person pay $35 and me $15, and we each get huge savings AND just the apps we want? (Are we even allowed to do this? I mean, I'd buy the bundle if I thought the apps would go to good use, but the other Mac at home is a PowerPC and not exactly state-of-the-art, meaning it can't even HANDLE some of these apps!)

Anyone up for it? It's a pretty sweet deal for anyone that wants to: you get 7 apps for WAY cheaper than their market value, and I get 4 apps (plus the bonus ones, if you don't mind) that I could actually use.
azurite: (cat: what the shit is this!?)
Yesterday I went to the Apple Store at the mall (the redesign that had them closed for over a week wasn't as extreme as I imagined; they just removed all the shelving units and put more tables in with laptops and iMacs to play with. Basically it reminds me of the Stonestown Galleria store, but wider) to find out if there was anything the Mac Geniuses could do about the constant AirPort problem I (and plenty of other users, too, judging by the Apple Discussion Forums) I've been having.

Basically, I can't get a legitimate IP address unless I take down the firewall. This tends to happen after I wake the computer from sleep, but not always; sometimes I boot the computer (or restart it) and have the same issue, where I get a self-assigned IP address until I turn the firewall off.

I have tried nearly everything that's been suggested for this problem:
* Turn the AirPort on and off (never works)
* Create separate locations for each WiFi network that I use (worked temporarily)
* Renew the DHCP license (only worked once, I think)

Two things I haven't tried:
* Deleting the SystemConfiguration file for the AirPort. This would wipe out all the network settings I have. While it's true I don't travel often, when I do, I'd rather if the Internet just work when I get there, instead of me having to spend time tweaking it to try and get it working (especially if I've already done it in the past and nothing's changed about the network). I could make a backup of the file, but the fact is, this solution hasn't worked for everyone, so it seems a little silly to even bother.

* Doing a "Clean Install" of the entire operating system. This is what the Mac Genius suggested, and I'm beginning to think that every now and again, I get "one of those" Mac Geniuses that thinks Macs are PCs, and if the tiniest thing is wrong, ASPLOSION! MUST REPLACE! MUST REPLACE! There was that one Mac Genius who more or less said that a tiny crack in my casing near the front (by the infrared sensor) could let dust in and cause my hard drive to collapse. Uh, no?

He's probably got a point, though. Problems have been cropping up more often, and while now I know they're not hardware-related (the Genius demonstrated bypassing my OS with a portable hard drive of his own, meaning the hardware is fine), it's not exactly EASY to back everything I have on here up for transfer.

Time Machine is supposed to have a large backup of the entire hard drive plus incremental backups of changes made. I've already reformatted Time Machine once, which means its largest backup doesn't go that far back. My other external hard drive has only 30 GB available (read: not nearly enough to backup my home directory, let alone my other files), and while I'd love to properly format it as an HFS+ drive (it's FAT32 now, I think, because I had it in my head that I wanted to be able to use it with PCs too), I don't have anywhere to put the 150+ GB of data that's already on there.

Then there's my old hard drive, the one I got in its own external case. I haven't really used it. It's not that large, but it could be useful in this procedure, if I end up buckling down and doing it.

Thing is, I want to know EVERYTHING I can backup to get my computer having EVERYTHING where I want/need/remember it. This means:
* Applications (!!! No way in hell am I relying on CDs and emails from digital vendors)
* iPhoto library
* iTunes music (the majority of it is on the external hard drive, but since that disaster a few weeks back, I have yet to restore my whole library. I'd rather get that done before attempting to do this)
* Mac Mail (most of it is IMAP, meaning I won't have to do anything other than set up the accounts again, but I do have some email on my Mac, plus a bunch of Rules)
* Documents - this is what worries me the most, because I have a folder hierarchy reminiscent of my Windows days: not just my Documents folder, but a My Documents folder with a boatload of my work in it!
* ??? What else? Anything you can think of?

And how should I best go about getting my data off so that when the Mac Geniuses do a clean install, it's relatively pain free, quick-ish, and easy?
azurite: (star trek: head bop)
It's official: I need a new Trek icon. I didn't know how I'd feel about a new version of Kirk or Spock, but I ADORE them both (and just 'cause they both happen to be pretty hot...oh, and Uhura is too!). The movie kicked butt. People that don't know Trek will enjoy it; people that know Trek will love it; people that know Trek AND the pre-movie comic will rejoice in all the awesome references. Trek's version of time continuity is interesting, to say the least, but it means a whole new universe (multiverse? dimension?) of possibilities for rebooting the Trek franchise without trying to create some new story with characters that just don't "meet the bar" or surpass it.

Baba said it was too loud and Grandpa was complaining about how the movie broke several laws of physics. I love my grandparents, but sometimes I wonder if they forgot the meaning of "entertainment." Or maybe we just have different definitions.


I foolishly imported some new albums into iTunes a few days ago. This in itself wouldn't be a bad thing, except I'd opened iTunes before I connected my external hard drive, upon which my entire iTunes library is. Nothing would have seemed out of the usual except for some bizarre reason, even though I didn't start the imports until I was connected, the new imports did not go onto the external drive, but onto my laptop's hard drive, which I DO NOT want to use for music. I've got many, many gigs of music and I'd much rather they reside in an external and on my iPod where they can't (supposedly) be wiped willy-nilly.

So I deleted the folders from my hard disk thinking I could just re-import them and they'd go into their proper folder(s) on my external, but nooooo...somehow I managed to delete numerous other songs from my external drive! I contacted Apple and got a chunk of my purchased songs back, but not all of them, and in the case of a few, I don't know if they're the right "edition" (Explicit) or not! I suppose it's not that big of a deal, but I'm a big girl and I can handle swearing in my music.

It sucks that I'd pretty much have to re-buy those tracks that are missing from when I originally purchased them (yay for the iTunes Store magically losing songs so they can't let me redownload them?), but I was honestly thinking of shelling out the $60 to buy the DRM-free tracks, anyway. At least THEN I could have infinite copies lying around on CDs, DVDs, and on my external drive. Problem is: I don't have $60 to toss around on music, so I'm hoping to restore as many of the tracks on my own as possible.

I've been using Time Machine to see if I can restore some files, but the whole fiasco with my Time Machine drive not mounting due to heck-knows-what (Western Digital told me it could have been anything from a power surge to the fact that I hadn't plugged in my external TM drive to its own power source, vs. a surge protector!) means my TM data only goes back so far--say, to the beginning of the month. GRR!!! Backup could work, as it's been making incremental backups up to March (and I have no idea why it didn't during April or earlier this month, but I plan on resuming those backups as soon as I have most of my library restored), but it involves unpacking those compressed files, some of which have what I need, and some of which probably don't.

I tried "Stellar Phoenix," but the cost of actually restoring the files is crazy-- $129! A similar option (forgot the name of the application) is $89, but that's still a rip-off in my mind when I have two backup applications, two libraries, my iPod (which may have synced after the song disappearances, meaning it's NOT ON THERE), and a possible way of finding the files and re-associating them so they're not "dead" tracks in iTunes. It'll just take time and probably a lot of hope.

Wish me luck. And oh, if you have tips, they're totally appreciated.

 Where I Belong by Nobuo Uematsu from FINAL FANTASY VIII (Original Soundtrack) (Rating: 0)

Big Bad

May. 12th, 2009 11:08 pm
azurite: (fiction - have written)
Eek, big bad final exam tomorrow.

Still haven't finished my Shakespeare essay. Maybe once I get public relations stuff out of my brain, Shakespeare will come to me easier. And then when THAT'S out of my brain, I can finish my belated Fanswap assignment (I got an extension/excuse, so participants don't have to worry about me just being one of those evil non-submitters).

Mac OS X updated to 10.5.7 today. I guess I'm one of those folks who doesn't mind upgrading, because if it's from Apple, I typically trust that it's an update for a good reason. Of course, I read the "What's Changed in this Version" notes for any updates to ANY software I get, which might make me a bit unusual...anyway, I found this rather amusing tidbit:

They changed the Energy Saver icon in the System Preferences to a CFC bulb! HA! Cute, Apple, real cute.

Also, the plotbunny I've been tending to--the one that's the trans-dimensional offspring of the second daughter of WDKY (a.k.a. the spin-off of the third story in the WDKY series)--has gotten a lot larger. I suddenly thought of TWO FULL ARCS for it, meaning the story (which only exists in note-form) is now at least 16 chapters long. And I suddenly thought of a socio-politcal twist to it (that's been happening a lot with my fic ideas lately. I wonder why?). I wonder if this is what happened to JKR when she was writing "Harry Potter?" The idea sounds cool and you fiddle for it with a while and then of a sudden: IDEASPLOSION! Of course, "Harry Potter" was an original series and this is a fanfic that won't see the light of day for some time now, so it puts me in quite the pickle.

That's my new catchphrase as of late: "in a pickle." Hm. Pickles.


May. 5th, 2009 12:13 am
azurite: (firefox vs. ie)
Finally got my MacBook Pro back from the Apple Store. I think I mentioned how the graphics card or something somehow caused the logicboard to fry, and the whole thing had to be replaced? Yeah, but at least it was part of a "program" where they knew about these defective boards, so I didn't have to pay a dime. Looks like it may have been partially related to my battery issues, too, as my battery life seems to have improved a bit. I only bought the new battery back in December, so there's no reason why it should be horribly unhealthy by now (even with the fact that I use it every day and leave it on A LOT... but in Sleep mode, mostly, and almost always plugged in, too).

I also finally got the annoying issue with getting a self-assigned IP resolved. None of the usual fixes (renewing the DHCP license, turning the AirPort wireless card on and off, restarting the computer, switching to Ethernet, etc.) were working, but I dug around in the Apple Discussion forums (on the old iMac and at school) and found a fix: switching the Firewall to "Allow all incoming connections." Ta-da! Of course, I'm hoping to switch back to my more selective mode, but in the meanwhile, this'll do. Now just to see if it works at home, too.

ETA: It does, but at school, it doesn't. V. annoying.

I was also having issues with the computer just generally being slow, and I don't know if it's time for me to see if I can upgrade the memory in this to 4GB. This is an older model MBP, so I don't even know if it CAN hold that much. Plus, it'll cost (lots of) money, and with the way my previous attempts at installing additional memory have gone, I'd rather do it at the Apple Store-- pay for for the Apple Certified stuff and get the product warranty and in-store customer service that comes with it.

Firefox is still apparently a memory hog, but it doesn't help that I'm one of those people that has hundreds of tabs open (some of them duplicates). I tried to close a bunch down today, write them down if I need to, and bookmark a bunch of others. Hopefully it'll help some. I'm also testing out Firefox 3.5 beta 4 because I wanted to play with Weave, a project from Mozilla Labs that allows for TAB SYNCING. I never thought I'd need it, but geez it'll be nice to open up my tabs on my now-slow MacBook Pro on the speedy Windows (eeeeew) machines at work. Mayhap I can get more done that way.... Now, I wonder if there's something that can sync extensions?

This entry's actually been sitting here for a few days; I just didn't post it. I have a lot more to say, but it seems like it ought to go in a separate entry some other time...maybe after finals or at least after tomorrow, when I have my Table Appointments (read: table setting) quiz in my Contemporary Issues in Nutrition class and my Yoga final (physical and written). I'm kind of nervous about the physical Yoga final, because even with a class of 30+ people, last week the professor said she WOULD be working with us one-on-one, which has me thinking she'll be sitting there and go "okay, get into X pose!" and I'll just blank and forget how to do it!

...My Time Machine external HD is mounted, but it won't back up, even if I manually tell it to. When I go into Time Machine preferences, it says the back-up drive cannot be located. WTF!?

Time flies

Apr. 20th, 2009 08:47 am
azurite: (cupcake sombrero!)
Ah, another Ed Hardy sale! The discounted prices at ideeli are actually quite reasonable, but it's for two things I'd never use/wear: purses and a scarf!

Of course, upon graduating I assume I'm going to have to alter my wardrobe a bit to fit in with the so-called "real world," and maybe then I'll get into things like accessorizing with scarves, but until then I'll just stare at the beautiful art that is the Ed Hardy line and imagine a day when something I'll actually use/wear will come out (without making me look like a total conformist!?).

(That said, I saw a clip of Zac Efron's "17 Again" with him dressed ENTIRELY in Ed Hardy, and telling his friend-playing-father that "Kevin Federline wore this!" as if that was supposed to make it "cool" to wear in a high school. But yeah, it's K-Fed... So now it makes me wince to think of someone showing off "too much" Ed Hardy.)

Keyword Manager for iPhoto (by Bullstorm) has finally been updated to 1.5! This means it's compatible with iPhoto '09. Huzzah! I already downloaded and installed mine; since I'd purchased a previous version, the upgrade was free (I think). Another way of getting organized: labeling all my pictures with metadata tags!

I added a few old entries (some of them Friends Locked, because let's be honest here: I was stupid not having protections on my old blog back in the day) from my old Blue Reflections blog, back when it was powered by Greymatter and on the domain. I'm working my way through 2002, and it's sadly amusing, the kind of stuff I wrote. I've got a lot more to go before I'm all "caught up," though.

Finally signed up at (thanks to an article on helpful websites on GeekSugar). As I was going through the various websites/networks to add, I was surprised at a) how many I'm on and b) how many I'm not on. I guess there's something to be said for simplicity: I mean, what's the point of being on too many of the same site? (That sounds lame. I'm on every big name social networking site because of the fact that, the more places you are, the easier it is to find you--for better or for worse!)

Let's see, my networks are: Twitter, Facebook, AIM, GTalk, MySpace, LinkedIn, FriendFeed, LJ (duh), Delicious, Friendster, and Yahoo 360. Hey, that's actually not that many! And some of them (e.g. Facebook and LiveJournal; FriendFeed and... well, everything) are already connected, which gives me the mental image of playing cat's cradle with something very sticky.

Finally had my appointment at the Klotz Student Health Center dental clinic-- they kept having to reschedule my appointment! I got worked on by a student intern today, but everything looks/feels fine; I'm just hoping the numbness on the entire lower right-hand side of my face goes away soon.

As I was leaving the Health Center, they were showing "Armageddon" on DVD. I thought it actually looked cool, and, shockingly enough, I've never seen it. So that's to be added to my list of movies to see (both on DVD and in theatres). I also want to see "17 Again" and still "Fast & Furious" as well as "Confessions of a Shopaholic" and probably "The Soloist" (even if Jamie Foxx is a touch-and-go kind of guy; sometimes I think he's a great actor, other times I think he's a bizarre, if downright rude man).

I also decided to shift gears on my as-yet-unwritten submission for [ profile] sm_fanswap. I was originally going to do this dark, political piece, but I think I'm going to shift that to the back burner and work on an older idea that still fits the requirements for the swap. Of course, I can't say more.... :X

DeviantART finally has gotten its act together-- or at least part of it. I don't know if there have been any HUGE changes in policy or significant changes in management (such as firing the douches that make dA look like it was being run by a bunch of bigoted idiots), but there is a new category for doll edits, which are one of my primary forms of fanart submissions. It's nice to be recognized! I still disagree with their policy that they should be "Scraps," because they say that they're prepackaged and there's no effort involved. Uh, excuse me, the dolls are a collaborative effort! On top of that, a lot of the ones I post are heavily modified in Photoshop, and I think the hours spent count as EFFORT. That said, I have put most of the dolls into the new category, but some of them won't go in, supposedly because the only filetype allowed is GIF. WTF, dA!? Since when are PNGs a bad file type for dolls? Not every dollmaker uses GIF files, and on top of that, if we DO "tool" the dolls ourselves, we should be able to save the resulting file however we like! GRR!

Do any Mac users have a recommendation for a good time-tracking utility? Specifically, I'd like something that integrates with iCal so I can keep track of how much I should make from the hours I spend at work. If I ever did freelancing or consultation stuff (for web design or just general tech support), it'd be nice if this tool had an invoicing feature, too. I've heard of several, but I want to know if anyone on this FL actually HAS one and used it, and of course, liked it.

Ah, so much to do, so little time.
azurite: (blue flower)
Well, spring break has at last come to a close. It went fast, but at least it was fun and relaxing. It certainly was nice sleeping in till around 10:30 a.m. every day; tomorrow my "waking up at 6:30 a.m." routine begins anew. Oh, and also my habit of going to the Arbor Grill for occasional morning breakfasts; I'm looking forward to enjoying a breakfast burrito again after a week of waffles, cereal, and toast.

I didn't post during spring break even though I had the time; it was more like my thoughts were pretty scattered and I tried to be out as much as possible-- or at least doing stuff.

I went to Opening Night for the Giants at AT&T Park with Steph, Kathryn, Nora, and a guy named Melvin who was only there for a blip of time, it seemed. I shouted myself hoarse and then ended up sick as a result-- I've got awful congestion, a dry nose (ow) and an occasional cough, but I hope to be better by my birthday. I'm being smart about what I'm eating and drinking, and that, of course, includes medicines to help me get over this.

I also got to see Evie, Eva, Crystal, and (surprise surprise!) Louie (from high school) again at our Chevy's night. As is my luck, I got a certificate from Chevy's THE DAY AFTER for a free entree. Isn't that always how it works? Whatever "it" is? Well, maybe I'll go this weekend in San Diego: the closest Tex-Mex to the border when the border is more or less off-limits!

Oh, oh, oh! I also got the real "Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence" (a.k.a. Furyo, which translates to "Prisoner of War") soundtrack, which I think is beautiful, so even though I don't like Utada's sophomore U.S. album (not counting her days as Cubic U, of course), I applaud her for indirectly introducing me to another composer and his music (Ryuichi Sakamoto). I actually like the title track of the movie (which is what Utada sampled from) a lot more than this song... sorry Utada! Although I am curious if the vocal version, "Forbidden Colours" is the same "Forbidden Colours" that is a special bonus on one of Sarah Brightman's Canadian albums. If it is, it'll be interesting to see how she redid it; I didn't like the vocal version too much, but maybe that has to do with the kind of "spacey" quality it had as a song.

Read more... )

I'm really craving a red velvet cupcake for my birthday. I wonder if any bakeries around here have them?

 This One (Crying Like a Child) by Utada from This Is the One (Rating: 0)
azurite: (submit to the webmistress!)
Yesterday's NSLS Leadership Training Day went well, even if I was having unexpected technical difficulties-- I learned from the Orientation what to plug in where and what to click, but when the audio mysteriously didn't work despite that, it took a good 15 minutes of button-pushing (randomly) to figure out THE EQUIPMENT RACK needed to be turned on in order for the stupid 3.5mm jack to be active! Dur-hur-hur. (I can be such a dummy with hardware, seriously.)

I also didn't finish my time planner for the video-- an hour-and-a-half long, LQ *.rm file (seriously!) that I had to squeeze into a 2-hour session (plus time for filling in worksheets and discussing the contents of those sheets with fellow NSLS members). Good thing the LTD is getting revised for next semester/year....

Also, I've been playing with my MacHeist bundle options, and so far:

* I LOVE EventBox. It's not that great for RSS feeds that are image-heavy-- that is, it sucks for LiveJournal, but it's great for Twitter updates, Facebook updates, and RSS feeds like Apple Hot News, Scholarship Points, and other simple text-only updates. Like Chris Pirillo said in yesterday's Reveal Screencast though, I do wish it did more. In the meantime, I'll keep NetNewsWire around for LiveJournal feed updates, even if I only check it once in a blue moon. Shame on me. :P I also wish you could have more than one Twitter account configured in it, but... meh!

ETA: There was a bug in the MH EventBox that caused Tweets and other updates to be dated incorrectly and then not update at all. It's been fixed on the EventBox Twitter, so heisters can download that, and I'm sure it'll eventually be up at the MacHeist site, too. But the catch is that for future updates, including all those great features like multiple account support (and maybe auto-fill? And confirmation of post? And deletion from the client?), you have to BUY the app. Well, I like it so far, so I might. But anyway, onward!

* I played one level in World of Goo and I think it's awesome. Great graphics, fun concept, interesting "puzzles." I'm looking forward to having the time (someday) to get to the other levels....

* I want to compare iSale to GarageSale, the two eBay auction-creating programs for the Mac. They're both PRETTY, but when it comes to which one produces genuinely eye-catching auctions that result in more bids? We'll see. I used GarageSale to make the auction for the ring Ryan, [ profile] fountain_the's brother, was trying to sell, and no luck, even though I shelled out $16 in fees to make the auction listing highlighted, featured, and everything. Of course, it could be the pricetag on the item itself, but we can only test that theory with further experimentation.

* Espresso (not Acorn; whoops-- Acorn is another photo editor, like Picturesque; why we have two of them in the bundle is beyond me... maybe it's because Acorn can work with other images too, but Picturesque focuses on... pictures/photos?) looks interesting, if only because it looks more intuitive than KompoZer, which is what I have to use for the RPGClassics Star Ocean: Till The End of Time shrine (ah, yet another project dangling). Finding a website creator (not necessarily a WYSIWYG one like Dreamweaver or FrontPage, though) that produces clean code is a pretty tall order, in fact, and it'll be good to know if Acorn can do that. It's especially awesome that it's got FTP built in, which is a MAJOR sell point for me.

* I want to start using LittleSnapper right away to either make tutorials for website navigation easy (see: myNorthridge portal, LiveJournal) or to simply do full-page screenshots of my old website layouts and gather them in a gallery.

Speaking of a gallery, I'm thinking of adding Coppermine Gallery to my eFiction installs (epiphany for my own stuff, and Dragonfayth for the Seto x Anzu stuff). This might prove to be a handy way of including fanart on the Seventh-Star.Net sites without worrying about theft or a lack of a crediting system. Still, some of the PHP scripts (eFiction and MediaWiki, to be precise) have been acting wonky on my server, so I don't know when this'll be feasible.

In school-related news, the Daily Sundial has started to go downhill-- a very steep hill, perhaps like the one Coit Tower sits on in San Francisco. Or Balboa Street between 22nd and 24th Avenues. I've thought so for a while, but seeing two measly eight-page issues two days in a row finally got to me. Also the quite repetitive indication that the copy editors there either have no idea what they're doing or they're high when they're doing it. Normally this kind of thing would make me want to charge in, guns blazing, and revamp the place, but I had a decent run with Sundial while it lasted-- and while it was good. If the Sundial wants to be seen seriously as a major campus newspaper as it once was, the whole staff, from publisher to cub reporters-- need to be in on it.

Now that I've become a Twitter addict (my username is the_sweet on there too; come follow me!), I think it's stupid that the Sundial DOESN'T have one. It'd be so easy to set up, and it was actually Ezra's Twitter for SCENE magazine that got me thinking I should get one (and Fred's nagging that I should update it more often). Why can't different members of the Journalism department learn from one another?

Actually, what had me writing this post in the first place was the fact that A.S. (Associated Students, a.k.a our student government here at Cal State Northridge) has flubbed up elections again. The Sundial says this is the fourth year in a row, and I believe them. There have been problems with elections EVERY SINGLE YEAR I have been here. Another example of an organization not learning. This year the problem was that a person running for a particular slate for my own college, the Mike Curb College of Arts, Media, and Communication, got left out of the ballot, even though he registered on time and was campaigning and everything. That means that regardless of who I voted for today, my vote for the seats for my college (which is a BIG college, needless to say) is nullified. That sucks in and of itself, but it also sucks that the guy's name was left out of the ballot. Honestly, the only ways students hear about who is running for what is the booklet (an honest improvement from past years' elections, I must say; we never had that kind of resource in the past) and the names on the ballot. The campaigning signs that are plastered all over campus aren't allowed within a certain distance of the polling stations (as it should be), so unless someone bothered to read those signs, take note of the names (or memorize them, which is hard enough with so many seats open and people running), and bring their notes with them to the polling station, people aren't going to vote for someone who's write-in or left off the ballot.

I liked the online elections a LOT better, but they crashed the server and I guess that was a sobering enough of an experience for them to never want to try again. Why can't they hire someone to be a full-time manager for the AS site whose big project of the year would be the elections? And make sure they have a robust server that can handle a ton of bandwidth overload? Or heck, they could pay $19.95 a month to get a premium SurveyMonkey site and just outsource it to them!

Side Note: WireTap Studio just got unlocked for MacHeisters! Whether you already bought your bundle or are just thinking about it, grab it now! Extra apps for helping charities!

Anyway, it's just about time for my biology class, so TTFN!
azurite: (cat and mouse)
Have you ever wondered what it was like to get away with murder? Or possibly win the lotto? Believe it or not, I think they're a very similar feeling, and you can experience it now without having to break any laws or spend a fortune on $1-2 tickets for a one-in-over-a-million chance on winning the lotto!

Here's how:

Download the MacHeist 3 Bundle.

Here's the deal: you get 14 applications for $39 (I participated in the Missions, so I got $8 off-- 14 apps for only $31! A STEAL!).

That in itself should be shocking, because very few quality Mac programs are $39 ON THEIR OWN. Some are, and they're full of win and awesome, but it's still ONE program for that much or near that much. Not 14.

All of these programs have a total retail value of over $900!


Last year, the total value of the programs wasn't near so much, and they sold the bundle for $49. Now there are cooler programs, more of them, and it's only $39!

To make it even better:
* 25% of your purchase goes to up to 10 charities, including the World Wildlife Federation, AIDS Research, Cancer research, and others.
* Some of the best apps are "unlockables," so the more people that buy, the more apps YOU get! And if you buy now (like, RIGHT NOW), you get a bonus app, "Big Bang Board Games." Even if you buy now, you'll still get the license codes for when enough bundles are sold for the unlockables to be... well, unlocked.

What you get:
Gimme gimme some apps tonight )

Want it? Come and get it! Download the MacHeist 3 Bundle today!

Get yourself some awesome apps on the cheap (and feel like you won a million bucks or got away with a crime!) and help some charities, too.

Download the MacHeist 3 Bundle!


(Disclaimer: I shouldn't have to say this, but just in case: these programs are all for the Mac. AKA Mac OS X, aka APPLE PRODUCT, aka NOT WINDOWS.)
azurite: (brain+uterus)
Sophia's a killah, and she's back with the third Mission briefing in MacHeist 3!

Stay tuned for danger! )

Congratulations, agents!

 Hey There Delilah by Plain White T's from All That We Needed
azurite: (Default)
After a short afternoon of shopping, I come home to discover an email about a brand new nanoMission! Huzzah! This post assumes you've been through the previous missions and/or nanoMissions, so I shouldn't need to tell you where to go to see your briefing...

Sophia + Source = trouble!? )

 Morning Glow by Mayuko Aoki from FINAL FANTASY X-2 Vocal Collection YUNA (Rating: 0)
azurite: (ff8 - rinoa blue)
Suddenly, a nanoMission! Well, the MH Directorate sure likes to keep us on our toes. In between missions, we have yet another nanoMission, this one featuring a short briefing and a new device from The Source, marked only "Urgent." A timed puzzle, perhaps?

I hope you like Sudoku. )

Congratulations, agents!
azurite: (believe in subtext)
After an agonizing wait including points, aptitude tests, team sorting and bizarre images involving podiums (assodium), three ears of corn, rabbit ears, and a book, we have the first official Mission!

Let's go, Agents! )
azurite: (blue flower)
Finally, my Firefox bookmarks issue solved! I made a backup of all my bookmarks (both a JSON file and an HTML export) and restarted, restoring the backup, but that didn't help. Nor could I find the environment.plist file mentioned in the section of "Other solutions" pertaining to the Mac. BUT I could close Firefox, get into the Profile folder and my profile, and get rid of the places files, which helped! Huzzah!

Next up: bought iLife '09 today. The thing I'm most excited about is iPhoto 8, which has got the Faces feature, among other nifty add-ons. My library is upgraded and all the faces have been scanned. I want to know if it works for anime, manga, and video game images, too! I've already tagged several hundred pictures, and it's learned SOME faces pretty fast, but not others. When there are lots of people bunched together in a photo, it's hard to tell what "box" (around a face) refers to which person, because each box has a callout bubble and that bubble's box isn't always visible with the other bubbles around it... if that makes sense. It was funny how, at first, it found a ton of pictures of me and one of them (that I had to either confirm or reject as me) was of my dad! :P Yay genetics. Well, similar things happened with Shaina, Erin, Becky, and my mom, so....

The Places feature is also neat, but I've had to enter a lot of locations manually. It pays to be as specific as possible, but to spell things out fully-- California, not CA, and so on. I've got tags for Washington High School, Presidio Middle School, RTA, and the cities of Mito, Tokyo, and Uchihara. My camera doesn't have GPS support, as far as I know, so it means tagging manually for ALL of those photos. -_- I wonder if there's a way to ask for help-- you know, have the photos in a MobileMe gallery so people can suggest Faces or Places tags for them. It'd certainly make my life easier, especially for all the Faces I have!

Speaking of upgrades:
(1) Should I bother to upgrade to iWork '09? I'm going to use the trial that came with iLife '09 to test it out, but there'd have to be something pretty significant (preferably about all 3 programs, and not just one) that would get me to upgrade, even though it's priced totally reasonably. I imagine Keynote would be a great reason to upgrade, but I'd like Pages and Numbers to be upgraded nicely, too. Of course, I have MS Office (even though I hate Microsoft, NeoOffice just doesn't come close), but it's almost like comparing apples (hah!) to oranges (Microsoft being an orange. Or a lemon, maybe).

Sadly, Keyword Manager isn't compatible with iPhoto 8 yet, but hopefully it will be soon. I still need to keyword a lot of stuff!

(2) If I upgraded the downstairs iMac to Leopard, would I lose my OS9/Classic access? I mean, the iMac is still a PowerPC, so you'd think "no," but.... It's such a stupid reason: I want to keep playing the game Spin Doctor. It's fun! There's no OS X equivalent! (WHY!?!?!) Has anyone who's upgraded a PowerPC machine to Leopard regretted it? Why?

 Someday We'll Know by Mandy Moore feat. Jonathan Foreman from A Walk To Remember Music From The Motion Picture [Special Expanded Edition] (Rating: 0)
azurite: (firefox vs. ie)
As some of you may or may not know, I'm a huge Firefox advocate. Even before I switched to the Mac, Firefox was my browser of choice, dating all the way back to version 1. I'm so happy with it, I've never looked back. It has a ton of features that make it a breeze to use, and it's not difficult to transition from your previous browser.

For starters, it's:
* More secure
* More customizable/personalizable
* More stable (rarely crashes, and when it does, you can find out WHY by asking to be emailed about updates regarding the crash)
* Gets updated more regularly (like, every month or so! You can read the changelogs to figure out just what the team is doing to help you have a better browser experience!)
* Easy to use
* Intuitive-- learns from your browsing habits (without sending that info anywhere)
* Allows you to open up multiple "home pages" in multiple tabs (!!!)

I could go on. So Get Firefox already! And then after that, grab some cool add-ons to make your browsing experience that much more fun/safe/interesting/colorful/whatever.

Here's a list of all the add-ons I use. Keep in mind that some of these are only compatible with the latest version of Firefox, or some are compatible with older versions and haven't been updated yet. Also, some might make more sense (or only be compatible) with a Mac instead of a PC. When you go to the site, check and see what it says before downloading it.

The list )

I hope that was helpful! Let me know if you've found any of these add-ons helpful, if you have tips/tricks for any of them, or if you have others to recommend!

 Listen To Your Heart (Hardstyle Mix) by DHT from Listen To Your Heart Vinyl (Rating: 0)
azurite: (sailormoon - just watch me)
I'M DONE! (with classes and finals, that is. Hip hip hurrah.)

This semester I used Circus Ponies "Notebook" software for the Mac, and I gotta say, I HIGHLY recommend it. Not only did it help me save paper (I'm all about being green when I can), but it helped me organize my notes and refer back to them SO easily.

To top it off, I made a webpage of all my notes and quiz results in just a few clicks! It's also quite stylish. If you've ever wanted to know anything about geology, biology, or outdoor recreation, check out the site. I think I'll do the same thing for next semester.

Let's see.
* Fanfiction (esp. for the holidays; I want to be challenged and give lots of ficlets away!)
* Video games (Star Ocean 3, FF8, Super Mario World!)
* Websites (Epiphany, Seventh-Star.Net main site, Star Ocean 3 RPGClassics shrine)
* [ profile] fandomsecrets (takes forever to read and comment on these things, but it's SO addictive!)
* Presents! Handmade! Or something. Still working on that.


...By the way, I discovered I have 1 more unit than necessary to graduate ALREADY. But I still have a year left because if I applied for graduation as I am, I wouldn't get a degree in anything, and that's like, extra-sour lamesauce.
azurite: (cat and mouse)
So, continuing on my old school gaming trend, I found out about ScummVM (a Mac OSX program that lets you play certain old-school games natively with almost zero hassle) today and tried to play the ancient Windows CD-ROM "Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis." I actually got farther than I ever remember getting before, and it's quite fun. Even better, there are walkthroughs online for this antiquity of a game (because it has THAT much replay value!) so I can guide Indy to the treasure with no muss and no fuss! :P

I want to find the other games ScummVM supports, namely "Day of the Tentacle" (one of my favorite games when I was, oh, 8 or 9) and "Sam and Max Hit The Road" (you sunk my battleship!). I think those might be (for some bizarre reason) in Northridge rather than here in S.F.; I've gone through all of the old CD cases here that I can find and those two CDs are suspiciously absent from all the other old games and other Windows-era ilk.

What's tragic: I remember playing The Lemmings (little green-haired people jump off cliffs if you don't give them something "better" to do) and Spin Doctor (the one with the wand and the dots) on a really old Mac back at Claire Lillienthal (this was my old after school program AGES and AGES ago), and I loved those games! Is there any way to play THOSE on a Mac? Nooooo, not if you've got Leopard. Classic environment (aka OS 9) is not supported in any size, shape, or form. There's not even an emulator, like Doom95 has with PrBoom! What gives, Apple!? I want my old school games! Screw Chess and Minesweeper! (Not that those are on here either, but still.)

Anyway, a new, shiny idea (a.k.a. new school): going to the Macworld Expo. It just hit me last night that I'm actually going to be in town for it this year, unlike the past two years (when I've been a Mac user). So even though it's past Early Bird pricing, I think I'm going to go for it. Do I technically have the money? No, but I'm hoping to get a usable priority code that'll at least discount some money off the otherwise $290 pricetag (which is the Users Conference plus the Macworld BLAST! party. Sure, the party is totally optional, but why NOT schmooze and drink with fellow Mac users?). In the past two years, shoddy programming on the IDG Expo planners' parts had people scoring FREE $1695 Platinum passes (which includes EVERYTHING including Steve Jobs and daily lunch, though not simultaneously), but there's been no word on any such "holes" in this year's site. That's GREAT for the Expo, but sucky for those of us who are broke and would still love to attend. If it weren't for my experience with cons of this sort having BOATLOADS of awesome swag, I'd say the price (close to what I've paid for honor society cons, which are supposed to be all PRIVILEGED and stuff) is outrageous.

Of course, if anyone hears anything about passes with other organizations or free passes somehow, DO let me know... *wiggles eyebrows* My plan at this point is to earn entry via computer work for Gary. Somehow.


I have $2 in LiveJournal credit. Who wants a present? (Let it be known that I totally thought of [ profile] obabscribbler and [ profile] kitesareevil first, 'cause hey, your guys' birthdays are coming up, but unfortunately Scribbler, you don't have a paid account, and Stef, your paid account is expiring before the 2 months of userpics would. And much as I hate to say it, I can't tack on a paid account because I am desperately broke. Like, Desperate Housewives-level desperate, except I'm a Desperate College Student. So get yourselves paid account time and I'll give you userpics or something!) It is only $2, which I know is über-pathetic, but I didn't even know I had ANY until tonight when I randomly decided to investigate just why I suddenly have 195 userpics. I don't even LIKE 195 userpics enough to upload that many! So yeah, in need of some more icons, plz! (Apparently they come from the Loyalty Userpics program.)

Naze ka?

Dec. 5th, 2008 01:09 am
azurite: (poor bi grrl gamers)
So I remembered hearing about this eatery that specializes in breakfast at the end of one of the metro lines here in San Francisco. I want to check them out online, find out exactly where they are, what their hours are, etc., so I go to their site.

...Which is probably the sparsest website I've seen in a VERY long time. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for simplicity. Not everyone (or every business) requires a Flash-heavy, Java-rich, super-interactive explosion of complicated code and database handlers (that aside, I do want to learn PHP/Flash/Java at some point in the not-so-distant future). But still... to have a SCAN of the menu that doesn't even fit on a 1440 x 900 resolution screen (you need to scroll)? To not list an email for contacting the web designer/maintainer? To not show the restaurants' (there are two locations in S.F.) hours of operation? To not tell MORE about the restaurant's history?

Seriously, folks.

Mom and Dad both say I'm too critical, but Dad says that I can put that to good use being a consultant. This is the second or third example of a business that I think I could help become so much better than it is just by revamping their existing material. Before it was the bookstore that Baba and I went to, and also kind of this Thai place that Mom and Gary like. A few simple (likely inexpensive, in the long run) changes, and BAM! Better exposure, better business. Better business PRACTICES!

So it'd be a bit awkward to contact these people and say "Your site sucks" or "Your menu sucks" or "Your bookstore sucks" and then proceed to say how, if they pay me, I can make it better. It's not like I have any experience in this-- it's just an idea, just a thought. A very optimistic thought. I can't guarantee that me revamping a website or a menu or a bookstore's practices will truly bring in more business or be more "efficient." I wouldn't necessarily know how to measure that last one, anyway.

But I kind of want to try for the "editing" experience at all (and in a way, it's also journalism/interview experience, because I'd have to "consult" with the business owners to find out their needs and wants, limitations and hopes for the future). So, how does one approach this?

I've already considered setting up an e-business of sorts to offer my editing/computer services-- a freelance site, if you will, where the offers come to me instead of me trying to hunt down the offers. Admittedly, without my name previously out there, it might not actually happen, but I'd be looking to edit people who don't look in the "usual" places-- help college students with their papers or projects, tutor people in web design or computer programs, etc. I'd be a lot more inclined to doing THAT than, say, writing a 500-word article for a freelance article site. I signed up for those, but I could never get around to writing the articles because I didn't feel they were original enough compared to what was already there, even if I did have a niche to write in.

I already have a possible domain name, and maybe even a site design picked out, but no business structure, no plan-- so I'm not letting out too many details just yet. But what I have let out, does it sound plausible? Interesting? Useful to you or anyone you may know?

A possible new structure for Seventh-Star.Net )

I've started using Apple Mail to read my Friends' page as an RSS feed. Problem? I don't think it can get protected entries. When I added the "&checkcookies=1" to the URL, it didn't get ANYTHING. I removed it and got 50 entries... which I'm missing more of. I haven't read my FL in a while. I don't even know if Apple Mail uses cookies for RSS. Help?

Also, I'm probably going to nix my ProCare subscription next year. To be honest, I don't think I get much value out of it, even when I do use it to make near-instantaneous reservations for a Genius Bar spot at an Apple Store. It was pretty freakin' awesome that they rushed my keyboard repair to under an hour (when it was supposed to take 48), but I think I'd get more out of the One-to-One, if I did end up replacing the ProCare. I did think it was stupid when they separated the two, and I barely had the chance to use them when they were together (because I was in Japan).

That said, I renewed my MobileMe/.Mac subscription today, because I do feel THAT is worth $99, even with all the stupid problems MobileMe's been having. Actually my subscription was due up in September, but all the issues got me a 90-day extension. I forgot about it until they sent me an email today asking for an updated credit card. -_- I'm still broke. I shouldn't be spending $99 on anything, let alone something intangible and replaceable like an email address with calendar and address book sync capabilities. Sure, I've also got web hosting from them, but I pay MUCH less than $99/year for my usual hosting and I like Surpass plenty (not necessarily MORE than Apple, because their products aren't really comparable, but you get the idea). But the switching thing would be a pain in the ass.

But I'm disliking what I have tried to use on MobileMe's site end-- I tried out iWeb for shits and giggles, but the movie I have embedded on my photo gallery slideshow page NEVER loads, and because I can't inspect the code or the site structure in iWeb, I don't know why. Is it because it's large? Is the file in the wrong place? What? Plus, I deleted the files of my old Japan blog off the .Mac server, but it keeps trying to find that site whenever someone goes to the main index of my MobileMe site. VERY ANNOYING.

Also annoying? Playing my old SNES games with my PS2 controller using the new SNES9x 1.5 or what-have-you (the latest version of SNES for Mac OS X). Suddenly Sailor Moon's Fuwa Fuwa Panic feels like SUPER BALLOON POP MAYHEM ON SPEED! I'm getting my ass whooped in this game (it shames me to admit it), because I swear to DOG, it was never this fast before. On the bright side, I do still kick ass at the Sailor Moon puzzle game (where you flip over hearts, zap daimons, and try to collect the 3 Talismans before your opponent). Also, I've been replaying Super Mario World (I think I mentioned that before, actually). I started out playing it using a Super Mario All-Stars + World ROM, but none of the cheats for SMW worked (but I got all the way through the Forest of Illusion, anyway!)-- so I got a new ROM (hey, I own the cartridge!) and BAM! Crazy-Invincible-Green-Face Mario! That doesn't mean everything's easy, mind you, but it sure is fun to change Mario colors and walk right through Big Boo! (Figuring out just which cheats work and which don't is a pain.)

Meaningless Memes )
azurite: (ffx-2 - yuna will fly)
Even with the makers of Bentō, Filemaker 2, being jerkwads for introducing Bentō 2 out of the blue the other day (and not offering an upgrade path for Bentō 1 users who helped troubleshoot all of Bentō's weaknesses-- and believe you me, there were a lot), I'm having a good day.

Why? It's the little things that build to a sense of accomplishment. But my accomplishment satisfaction level might not come close to your accomplishment satisfaction level. Things that please me might frustrate others, because they're not enough. But I'm me, and what's good enough for me makes me happy, and that's a great thing to know about yourself.

* I got all my biology practice questions on genetics all right! (WHOO HOO!)

* I understand how to make Punnett squares and how to figure out the genotypical probability of a given individual (and for the really complicated squares, I found a Punnett square calculator online)

* I managed to take some pretty comprehensive notes for the lecture (which I think makes more sense than the book, even though the slides seem long and the book seems "shiny") using Circus Ponies' software NoteBook 3-- which is just like a notebook, duh! It has some weaknesses (moving around shapes and arrows is a pain in the ass, and they stay in place rather than link to text; new pages don't always have a cell within which to start typing in right away), but generally it's really easy to use! I'm glad I got the hang of it so soon. I think I know more keyboard shortcuts for that program than others that I've used for years-- like, oh, the one I'm using now, XJournal! :P

* I took the quiz for this chapter a few minutes ago, even though the quiz only became available a few hours ago. Normally I take my quizzes at the last minute, but I wanted to take this quiz while all the information was fresh in my mind and my notes were literally right next to my quiz on the screen. I feel pretty confident about it- I think I'll get an A on this quiz and bring my class average up!

* I did MATH for this chapter's practice questions and quiz, and Biology is (duh) overall a SCIENCE subject! My two worst subjects and not only did I have FUN learning and practicing, but I feel confident about my skills! Honestly, if I were a lightbulb, I'd be GLOWING right now! :) :) :)

* I caught up on the discussion strands for Geology. To be honest, I'm a bit mad at myself for missing some of my assignments in classes-- I think I missed one biology quiz, one outdoor recreation quiz (the quiz was to think of 3 people influenced by the American outdoors and explain about them-- since we'd had to explain about one person for our third quiz, I thought I was done, but-- oops, no! And when I tried to think of other people besides the one I'd already used, I got brain block), and my one gender and women's studies paper. :( But I can see the silver lining: motivation to not slack off or fail in the rest of the semester-- once I get a running start, keep at it! So I will. I just hope this motivation carries through to everything else I do.

* I finally got the necessary 1000 points for the Bunny Races in Star Ocean: Till The End of Time. Well, technically I got 1002, and it technically wasn't me who did any of the work, it was my new turbo controller. :P But I figured out how to work it! The manual wasn't really any good for that. I also had to finagle a way to keep the X button pressed down. Tape wasn't working for extended periods of time, so I wrangled a penny using two rubber bands. So even though the game totally knows I cheated (heh!), I got the Bunny Races Trophy, a new pair of Bunny Shoes, and a shiny new Scumbag Slayer! Watch out Lenneth, here I come!

* I've managed to move more of my emails from my Mac to my online accounts, so I can access them wherever I am. The only exception to that was recently, when it seemed my domain was inexplicably inaccessible from my mom's home network, and no amount of talking to Earthlink resolved it. Because I could access other domains, they thought it was my host's fault, but my hosting service proved that my site was accessible all around the world to everyone else-- but me. But it's been working just fine ever since the last time I talked to the tech guy, and I hope it stays that way-- I don't want to lose access to my primary email account again. That's the biggie-- I can do without FTP access or access to my sites that I check regularly (but should update regularly and don't-- bad Mer!) for a few hours, but not my email!

So after all that, I feel like I can relax a little bit before starting on any more lessons or discussions. I still have some of the special features of Iron Man to watch (seriously, Disc 2 of the Ultimate Edition is PACKED! PACKED, I SAY! I don't care what my dad says, that movie freaking ROCKS MY SOCKS), the Sleeping Beauty 50th Anniversary Edition, and my loverly new CSI: Crime Scene Investigation season 1 DVD boxed set (ooh, CSI special features...). And of course, in 49 minutes, CSI S9x2!



Oct. 8th, 2008 08:16 pm
azurite: (cat and mouse)
So I went shopping yesterday and today-- yesterday to pre-sale some lipstick and lipgloss before the big Clinique event TODAY, during which I got a new silver makeup bag, a cute green-srippy wristlet, some new lipstick, a compact with bronzer, eye shadow, and blush; a full-size High Impact mascara (though High Definition is my favorite, I will state here and now for the record: Clinique's mascara tops Chanel's ANY DAY OF THE WEEK), a clarifying "lotion" (aka toner), and a moisturizer lotion (that I gave to mom 'cause it's not for my skin type).

Girly stuff )

I also pre-ordered (FINALLY!) Star Ocean: First Departure, aka the first ever Star Ocean game FINALLY translated and brought to Western shores-- huzzah! But I'll need to buy a PSP. Here's where you come in:
1. Are PSPs region-free?
2. Where's the best place to buy a PSP? (A new edition is coming out later this month, so I'd prefer a new one with the better screen than just a shiny, cool-color one from some random online store)

No commentary on why the PSP resembles a Beyblade shooter or something, okay? The re-released SO games aren't going to BE on any other system, and I'm an RPG/specific title fan anyway-- so it's for those dedicated titles that I will shell out my hard-earned cash. It's been my long-awaited present to myself, so no trying to convince me not to get it!

And more:
* Saw "Body of Lies" the other night with Steph and her friends, Katherine and... er, I forgot Katherine's sister's name (sorry!). The movie was okay, but I got awful heartburn maybe 3/4 of the way through. It's not the kind of movie where you can really walk out and expect to understand anything when you come back.

* Ran into Jimbo and Christal on the 38 last night on the way back from my spree; we went out for Japanese (THANKS, CHRISTAL!) and crepes (mmmm!) and I might have a winter job as a result-- hush-hush!

* Apparently the "complete" iTunes library I thought I've been using for months is not so complete. When I went to look for my holiday music, I was coming up blank. A search of music with Christmas as my keyword (for title, album, or genre, as those are usually the top ones to return results) came up with nothing-- until I located it oddly in my Laptop iTunes Music folder, but NOT on my external hard drive's folder. I was under the impression that while my external drive was connected, iTunes defaulted to the library whose files it contained. Now, the library itself is still located on the laptop (I think because that's a requirement of iTunes), but the music folders are what are on the external drive.

The way I wanted it to be was:
-external HD: contains ALLLLL music, all playlists, everything. The one in use whenever I'm at a desk and plugged in, and the one that new songs are added to. Also the one that my iPod is synched to.

-laptop: contains a select few playlists, none of the "biggies" like my OCRemix collection, holiday albums, etc. Just some of the good, addictive stuff. Used for when I'm on the go and don't have my iPod.

So now I'm all confused and trying to import everything in the hopes I'm somehow doing it right and not super-duper duplicating my whole library. I might need to go to the Apple Store again (I went yesterday and nearly went broke buying a new battery, a new case --which is SO stuck on the laptop it's amazing I popped it off this morning without breaking a nail-- and getting my ProCare account fixed) and have them help me with this mess. Of course, I'd have to bring my external HD to get it done... -_-; *sigh*

Then, the question is, does the iTunes library EVER open to a certain one by default? Or would I consistently have to hold down Option when clicking on the icon in order to choose the "right" library depending on my circumstances? Should I put the library file for the external ON the external? And is there a program that either automatically chooses the right library file, or one that pops up whenever I open iTunes, negating the need for me to remember to do a keystroke?

Also, since there's been absolute mayhem where connectivity at Mom's house is concerned, it's been very touch-and-go with all things Internet; first my Mac would connect to the 'Net sometimes, and then sometimes not. Today it's been pretty good so far, through a few restarts and shut-downs. But with one good thing come a few bad things: the iTunes mess mentioned above, along with a sudden lack of printing capability. I used to be able to print wirelessly to Gary's printer all the way in the sunroom (in fact, it worked just fine yesterday before we changed all the damn wireless settings), but now I can't.

Before I deleted the malfunctioning printer from my Printer & Fax pane, I noted the address started with mds:// NOT with lpd:// (Line Printer Daemon), ipp:// (Internet Printing Protocol), or anything else. I tried adding the printer manually by entering in the IP address using the HP AiO Fax and HP IP Printing, but nothing works. The printer also no longer shows up in the Defaults pane as "Bonjour" kind (I think that's where the mds:// address comes from), though it did before, however long ago that was. I don't think it's a matter of DISTANCE, since, like I said, I was able to print from here in the living room to there in the sunroom just fine yesterday. The printer's been updated with the new wireless settings too, so...

Well, it's not THAT important. It's just annoying, above all else, and I don't have much patience. That's something I need to work on-- finding patience without procrastinating.


Aug. 30th, 2008 05:21 pm
azurite: (textually active)
I got my 12 units! Hurrah... but without an explanation point, because I may just be biting off more than I can chew. I've taken an online class before, and taken in-person courses with online content, but never a full courseload of online stuff. In addition to being a full semester's worth of units, it's also a bunch of stuff I really don't need... :P

But those are minor details, yeah? Here's the nitty gritty:
* BIOL 100 - Introduction to Biology. I've been wanting to take this for a while, but I was always of the mind that science-type classes are best done in-person. Well, might as well get it over with... I figure I can take Denise's advice from last semester and just take the lab that goes with this (and maybe even with my other science classes, either GEOL 300, if that works for the GE requirement, or ASTR 154, if I can conjure up memories enough... I know I don't have my notes for that old class anymore, 'cuz I turned them in for extra credit -that I didn't need. We'll see. If I can't do that, I'll take CHEM 100/L in one semester, since I've always wanted to know more about chem. Did I tell you my high school chem teacher was deported? Anyway....)

* GEOL 300 - Environmental Geology. Eh, why not? I like rocks. I like earth. It's fun to learn about the huge variety of things that go into putting our planet together, and of course, to learn how much we're messing it all up. I know this counts for another science lecture, but is there a lab that goes with it? If so, will it count for the requirement? I'll have to take especially-good notes for this semester and see.

* GWS 350 - Gender, Race, Class, Sexuality. Possibly my hardest class this semester, if not my hardest online class EVAR. I've never taken a GWS course before, but I have had courses with a feminist bend to them (RTM 330OL was "Women and Leisure," and JOUR 460 was "Women, Men, and Media"). This one involves lots of video-watching and even a group (!) project, though. But aside from required chat-time sessions, it's not much different from regular online courses... it's just a matter of getting everything done on time.

* RTM 350 - Recreation and the Natural Environment. Why not? I liked previous Recreation and Tourism Management classes (well, RTM 330OL, which I just took for elective credit), and it might be some good motivation to "get out there" and spend more time in the "great outdoors." Just from the introductions, I can already tell I'm not nearly as much of an outdoorsy person as my classmates... to never have skied or to not know how to ride a bike...! How embarrassing! *blush* But this class doesn't involve a textbook, and provides everything via Word *.docs and PowerPoints, so it shouldn't be too bad.

Of the four, only two (BIOL 100 and RTM 350) are already on my WebCT. For BIOL (which I'd rather call "BIO," because it rolls off the tongue a lot easier than "BIO-L," as if I'm saying "Bye All"), I've already participated in the first two discussions and read the introductory material; now I'm working my way through the Java-based lecture (very cool, prof!). Still need to get the textbook though, which costs a bloody fortune (like I knew it would). Hopefully my financial aid check will kick in so I can get the textbooks, pay off my credit cards, and then head up to San Francisco for the semester.

For RTM 350, I already took one Sample Quiz; turns out quizzes in WebCT aren't so hard, and I'm glad Firefox doesn't have conniptions with it. Never has, in my experience. The funny thing was, a lot of the questions had to do with Cartoon Network series... if it weren't for my massive amount of trivia-based knowledge (in other words "useless stuff I've filed away for random moments"), I don't think I would have gotten most of them. Like, "Meatwad?"

Starting a week late is a bit of an impediment where online classes are concerned; because they're online, the profs. want to start immediately. Hence my concern about getting the check so I can get the textbooks. I'm sure the WebCT courses will show up eventually, but when the discussions are based on the readings, it's a bit hard to participate unless I B.S. it... which I don't want to do.

Also, like last semester, when I tested out Schoolhouse, a program for organizing my class notes and such, this semester, I'm testing out Bentō. It's a bit different from Schoolhouse in that it's not really MEANT for just class stuff; it's also a personal database manager. I've been using the trial for other things, like my projects (all my website plans), my Wish List, and so on.

So far, it's a bit annoying to have to scroll to input some information in fields; I'd like to be able to just have a field in place without there being the restriction of columns. As it stands, it's cool to be able to have columns, but it'd be nice if they weren't just vertical. In other words, what if I wanted two columns on top and one wide column on the bottom? I'd also like to be able to change individual things about the theme. I want to keep the cool background/header shading, but change the font face or color. Sometimes the font looks too hard to read or is too light in color.

But it IS incredibly easy to input all the data, delete fields I don't need, and keep adding to my Libraries (for example, "Notes" is one library, while my class schedule is another). I'm still trying to figure out how Collections work into the Libraries, or if they're only for certain circumstances, e.g. Media Files (like if you're trying to keep track of all your DVDs).

What I've always wanted to do with my digital class notes is put them online. Call me a masochist, but it's nice to have an always-available look at my academic progress and learnings. With Schoolhouse, it put together an RSS, but I never really knew how to take advantage of it or use it properly. I know you can export Bentō's information into *.csv files, but I wouldn't have the first clue how to turn that into something Web-pretty.

Anyway, I ought to clean my room a bit more and then get back to work taking notes on my Biology lecture. Then I think I can access a quiz for the first chapter... so much to do! :) Despite the seemingly-overwhelming workload, I'm happier than I've been in a long while.
azurite: (all muses are busy...)
Sometimes I have days where I feel like the Tasmanian Devil. No, not the real thing (they're kinda funny looking), but the one from Looney Tunes. You know, the one that spun around in circles really fast and went BLAUGH BLAUGH PUUUUZH!

I think this feeling results from my lack of organization. I have a dual attitude about things like messes: on the one hand, "bless this mess," and on the other hand, "BLAUGH BLAUGH PUUUZH!"

I remembered way back (in the "good ol' days"?) that I used MS Access to help with some of my organizational woes, namely organizing my fanfics. That was back when I used a PC. Needless to say, not going back and doing that again-- ever. Really, the only reason I even use Windows these days are for my old favorite games. I don't think I'd ever intentionally buy something meant for Windows if it was productivity-based.

That said, MS Access doesn't exist for the Mac-- at least not for Office 2008. So I looked into other "database programs," and stumbled across Bentō, from the makers of FileMaker Pro (aka a humonguously bloated, super-expensive program that only really rich individuals or hapless businesses might use). I haven't actually fiddled with it yet, but I've watched the tutorials and tours and the one profile that might relate to me (Gabrielle, the student). Of the templates they have included in the program, a few look like they might relate to fanficcing... which is frankly just ONE aspect of my digital disorganization.

Basically, I'm trying to figure out all the components of my digital disorganization.

* School notes (some professors don't like it when you use a laptop to take notes though, so there's no guarantee that, even when I do restart at CSUN in the Spring semester, that I'll be doing this. I want to, though, because I think it's a lot easier to find notes and related class things when they're digital. But the question is, do I let a program organize the files, or do I organize them the way I want? Once upon a time, I HAD to organize everything myself, because Windows never had any sort of intuitive system for organizing things on the fly. As a result, I organized things like pictures and music how I wanted, and I always knew where things were. But now, with so many files, many of them able to be used in numerous ways, my old organization doesn't help much. I need more meta-data. And I have ideas for using things like my school notes in multiple ways, e.g. RSS feeds on a website, keeping track of my "learnings," and maybe helping out classmates. How to keep it all in an easy-to-find place?!)

* Fanfics (For me, fanfics aren't JUST fanfics, e.g. text files or *.html files. They're also planner files, images --what I call "ficart" or sometimes simply things like banners-- and websites. Plus, fanfics themselves have multiple ways of being organized, and the hard part is remembering them all: fandom, pairing, genre(s), number of chapters... am I forgetting anything?)

* Websites (The mother of all monsters on my hard drives. I have a favorited folder I call "Sites" which has everything I ever intend to upload anywhere on it. I thought doing it this way --regardless of where I was uploading it: to .Mac, CSUN, or my own domain-- would keep me organized, but instead I'm left floundering-- files that I want to publish may not always be in website folders, like school/class notes, CSUN clubs/orgs, or images I want to use in layouts. When I want to design a new layout, I have folders upon folders of downloaded templates, but they're more or less organized by NAME, so unless I have Finder set to view Thumbnails, that doesn't really give me a good idea of what the final LAYOUT looks like. Plus, I don't think I have a single "completed" website; it'd be nice to have a "to-do" list for each website so I know what I have left to add and how to go about doing it.)

So, any ideas? Do any other Mac users on this FL use Bentō, and if so, how? And if not, do you use anything for organization? What? (And is it cheap or free?)
azurite: (all muses are busy...)
Today was a pretty good day at work, considering it was the 4th, and I expected it to be way busier. But maybe everyone was over at Disneyland, or out seeing violent action films. (BTW, I saw "Wall-E" and loved it; haven't seen "Hancock," but want to, and of course will be getting my advance tickets for the earliest possible showing of "The Dark Knight" over at Downtown Disney as soon as I can find the time to swing by there... maybe tomorrow afternoon, before I work my first shift Southside.) I got my special Cast Exclusive 4th of July 2008 pin, and quite honestly Pin Trading can be a very expensive, addicting habit. Just getting the free cast ones is tempting me to get a lanyard, maybe eventually get of the few pretty ones I like, such as the rare Mulan ones, some of the Hidden Mickey Tink ones, etc... but no! I'm broke and can't afford it! BAD! BAD!

What I can afford to do is set aside an hour of my time -maybe not every night, but perhaps every night, and at least once a week- for what I'll call the "Ficcing Hour." I'm sick of the fact that I have so many ideas and even though I spend a good amount of time on my computer, I don't feel that it's productive time, or time well-spent. Hell, I'm behind on my FL here on LJ, and why? It's not as if I've been swamped with my Disney classes (I haven't started the Harvard track of my choice yet). I'm actually going to start on the aforementioned class (I've selected the Harvard "Creativity" track) now, but of course, stupid Disney/Harvard (I'm assuming it's more Disney than Harvard... at least, I would hope so) only likes IE. Not Safari, not Firefox, JUST IE. -_- Words cannot convey the "headdesk" I am feeling right now. But I want to be ficcing.

More importantly, I want to be getting fics DONE. It's not enough to spend an hour perusing planner files, or waxing nostalgic about old fics (which should be rightly renovated), or even writing review replies. That's not fostering any creativity, and that's not getting any of my fics "done" or "out there." So, I hereby declare that I will spend a MINIMUM of one hour each week for the duration of this summer (as humanly possible) writing fanfiction.

This fanfiction may be:
* Chaptered fanfiction
* Oneshot fanfiction
* Previously-written/completed fanfiction that needs revision (e.g. Only 16)
* Previously-started fanfiction that was not completed (that includes chapters of a story, e.g. WDKY, TJOY, PG, etc. or a rough draft that never made it to "chapter" status)
* Brand-new fanfiction (e.g. from planner files that never made it to rough draft status, challenges, prompts, or similar "on the fly" writing)

* Creating "apocrypha" like soundtracks, fanart, icons, banners, etc. It has to be writing, it has to be prose (no poetry -as if I'd ever write any- and no screenplays/scripts -see previous statement)
* Writing new or adding to existing planner files
* Time spent researching and/or distracted by other things, e.g. iTunes songs, web pages, instant messages (in fact, during the "Ficcing Hour" I will either be off my instant messenger or have an away message indicating what I'm doing and why I won't respond. You can probably gauge when I'll be back based on the "Away Since:" time that everyone probably has access to)
* Reading emails, including reviews, beta feedback, etc.
* Writing emails or review replies, LiveJournal posts, or begging messages to various people to be my beta (again)

I hereby also declare that, if I begin my hour working on one thing, but find myself "stumped" or otherwise unable to complete the portion of a particular project that I have started on (e.g. the most recent scene I've written in WDKY26), I shall:
a) write a different scene in the same chapter, if it is a chaptered story
b) write a different chapter in the same story, even if that chapter is way far away
c) work on a prequel, sequel, or other prose story that is "related to" the current project, SO LONG AS IT IS FANFICTION, and not any of the aforementioned "apocrypha"
d) work on a brand-new fanfiction, whether it comes from a planner file, ideas list, prompt, challenge community, or elsewhere
e) work on some other fanfiction, including completed work that needs to be revised

Finally, I declare that this "writing" may be done either by hand (old-fashioned paper and pen/pencil) or on a computer, using any appropriate, accessible program (most likely Dreamweaver). It shall NOT be done via instant messenger, LJ, forum/bulletin board, or any other non-text-based "word processing" program, such as a browser, etc.

Signed this day of 5 July, 1:49 A.M.
azurite: (deadlines whoosh)
Wow, it's been a while, huh? I guess my excuse is just that I've been busy with work: pulling around 40 hours a week (though last week I had only 28, which SUCKS when it comes to paying the damn rent) and then dealing with slowness on the computer.

In fact, I finally shelled out a load of money to get my internal hard drive on my MacBook Pro upgraded to a 320 GB. Or maybe it's a 300 GB, because OS X can only see 297 GB of that as my drive's capacity. I know that you never really get the full usage out of any given HD, but 20+ GB seems a bit excessive to me. Anyone?

With my laptop out of commission due to an Apple Tune-Up (all the way in Newport Beach, because I'm very occasionally dumb and figure that it's better to make an appointment with a store many miles and 2 hours -by bus- away rather than use my ProCare card to go on stand-by at a store that's much closer) and then for the upgrade, I spent a ton of time playing Kingdom Hearts. I'm at the point where I have to defeat Maleficent's dragon-form, but she thrashed me pretty badly once already, so I want to level up a bit more (my characters are mostly in their mid-40s, level-wise), upgrade my Aero spell, and so on.

Problem? I can't seem to beat Herc in the Hercules Cup tournament. Sometimes I can't even get to him, because every now and again, Cloud's a bitch and I can't beat him, either. This does not bode well, as I need to beat Hercules to get the ability to use Yellow Trinity marks, so I can return to Neverland, upgrade my Aero spell to Aerora, free the poor little puppies, and possibly beat Phantom (assuming he appears prior to Hollow Bastion being sealed) to level up before kicking Maleficent's dragon rear. Anyone have any tips for beating Herc, other than the usual: throw barrels at him from close range to make him lose his invulnerability, jump/dodge roll/glide a lot to evade his attacks, and have a LOT of items on hand, since you have to fight him alone, without Donald or Goofy?

So, while I'm avoiding playing the game because "lather, rinse, repeat" is never fun when it comes to playing one boss/tournament over and over again, I've been trying to clean out my mailboxes. I made the switch from Thunderbird to Mail 3, since I want more integration with OS X, and I don't like the Lightning add-on. I've opted to switch from POP3 (downloading all my emails) to IMAP (leaving all my emails on the server, and having the same folder structure wherever I am; this also means that if I delete something, it's GONE FOR GOOD), but now I need to figure out how to sort out all those thousands of emails that are already on my computer. It seems as though the best case scenario is to sort through them, somehow, and then for whatever ones I really do want/need, move them to IMAP so I can access them from anywhere, whether or not I'm on my laptop.

And for those of you that know me in IRL, sorting computer junk is just as hard, if not harder, than sorting real-life junk. Having a messy room most certainly equates to having a messy mailbox, except I try and establish rules/filters to somewhat sort things out...

I might post an F'Locked entry a bit later about work and people-drama, but for right now, that's it. I'm alive, okay (well, broke, but that's not exactly surprising), and hopefully going to Northridge tonight. :}

azurite: (poor bi grrl gamers)
I love it when things (even stupid little things) go my way.

I've been into all-things Egypt for... well, a long time. At least since 4th or 5th grade, when I met Amy Wong, who had an even bigger Egypt obsession than me. She really got me into it. By middle school, the idea of a civilization that thrived on concepts of life after death, a path to the heavens by way of a pyramid, and all sorts of booby-trapped and magnanimous structures... it sounded cool. And along came Yu-Gi-Oh! and made that hobby turn into an obsession. Well, mini-obsession. I don't wear my ankh anymore, but I do follow the Egyptian calendar, and today, I finally got my favorite game (yes, it's replaced Doom II as my favorite PC game), Pharaoh, working on my emulated PC here on my MacBook Pro.

See, the CD was rather scratched up, and it wasn't working on the old clunker Dell anymore, so I'd gone and bought a new two-disc set of Pharaoh/Cleopatra from the UK. Alas, it didn't run (though it DID install) on my emulated PC. But I thought I'd give the old CD a try in this MacBook Pro, since the OLD MacBook Pro is the one where it'd originally worked (I think). AND IT WORKED! The shiny new UK version didn't, but MINE DOES! Matter of fact, the combo, single-disc (which includes both the game and the Cleopatra expansion pack) version fully installs on your HD, as far as I can tell, which means I won't ever need the CD again! Hip-hip hurrah!

But a mournful sigh to Doom Collector's Edition (Doom, Doom II, and Final Doom, which really wasn't the final Doom at all), because while the game will at least LOAD, it does so in a very-pixelated, 200 x 500 long box and no sound. It sucks, because playing that game and blowing Imps into ground meat with a BFG-9000 would have made me feel SOOOO much better this weekend. Instead I settled for vicarious hunting with ostriches and hunting lodges in the ancient city of Thinis.

Next up to try: Riddle of the Sphinx. That at least installed and I DID play it on here, though I don't think I got very far. I think I made it into a large temple-like area with a winding staircase of sorts...

I'm looking forward to going through my huge binders of CDs and seeing what else I can play. :) It's a shame more games aren't made for the Mac, but... well, I'm an oldie. I was impressed to see Best Buy finally had an Apple selection, though said selection is pathetic, really. I've found more Apple-stuff in my closet, and considering I'm a broke college student who can hardly afford to buy music, let alone Mac software, that's saying something. :P

I also installed and tried out one of those cheesy cheap games "Make Your Own Family Tree" or something, but what's sucktacular is the fact that you can only display a person's ancestor or descendant chart FROM ONE SIDE. I have to make a family tree going all the way back to my great-grandparents, and it's supposed to include spouses, siblings, etc. for all the visible generations... which means if I use myself and display an ancestor chart, it'll show all of ONE side of my family, but not the other! :P Anyone have any experience in this? To give you an idea of how complicated it is: my dad is the 5th sibling on his side; besides him, three of his siblings have kids (my cousins). My mom is 6th out of NINE (!!) kids, and plenty of THEM had kids too... who had kids (and I think some of THEM had kids!). I'm just trying to figure out how the hell the chart should look so I can construct it in some program or another.

I wish I could play more, but I spent all of Saturday being depressed, Sunday going out with my grandparents and stuffing my face in excess (gotta love binge eating when you're down... but shrimp and apple pie do better for me than chocolate and/or ice cream ever will), and before you ask no, I don't have Monday off and my school sucks because of it! (I'm missing out on sales!)
azurite: (cat and mouse)
Apple finally released the long-awaited and very-much-needed 10.5.2 update to Leopard, the newest "big kitty" in Apple's line of OS X operating systems.

The only problem is, there are STILL problems. Well, it's probably impossible for any given update, on any given OS, to solve ALL the reported problems with the previous version of said operating system, but I was hoping that at least supposedly-dinky things (especially those things that had been FINE in Tiger, 10.4.x) would get resolved in Leopard.

The problems I've been experiencing with my MacBook Pro (2.2 GHz, Intel Core 2 Duo, 2 GB RAM, 120 GB HD) include:

* Problems syncing my Motorola RAZR v3re using iSync. For some reason it keeps syncing OLD information that is not on my iCal (e.g. last semester's schedule). I'm not sure if iSync is interfering with something in the phone itself, and the phone is copying over old data (e.g. from last year), but it's really annoying not to have my alarms on my phone. I've already tried to do this, and it's STILL fucked up. In 10.5.1, I already tried deleting the device from iSync, but it's done no good. If there's a way to reset calendar data on the V3re, I don't know what it is... I don't have the manual(s) on me, and the on-phone browser help... DOESN'T help. Not surprising, frankly, but it pisses me off more because this is A NEW PHONE.

* Problems creating PDFs from Word documents (and presumably other programs); the Adobe 8.0 PDF printer simply "couldn't be located" and the only work-around I found was something that spit out the PDF but kept the PDF printer in a perpetual "paused" state.

* I have an HP 1210xi PSC (All-in-One) that I bought with my original MacBook Pro two years ago. Two years isn't that old for a printer (I feel), but HP seems to think it is, and has "no plans to release a fully-featured driver for Leopard." Fully-featured meaning I can actually DO what I paid for the printer-- printing, scanning and copying! Supposedly I can print, but from my experience, it's only with the printer directly connected into USB, not via Bonjour (using my AirPort Extreme Base Station). I can't test whether or not 10.5.2 fixed this problems; Apple says they released more drivers for compatibility with this very issue, though; they just didn't specify which drivers.

* Firefox would "hang" (not respond, crash, whatever you like to call it) a lot more in Leopard than in Tiger. Of course, Firefox has its own updates, and recently updated to, so it's entirely possible that the hangs are program-specific and not related to 10.5.x at all... but I doubt it, because I've had no such problems on any PC I've used (and I use Firefox all the time at work), and not on older Macs (like the iMac at work which uses 10.4 or 10.3 or something. In any case, it still has Sherlock). Plus, forum threads I found about the issue mention something about Leopard incompatibility with certain DNS servers...? It sounds bizarre to me.

* Dashboard has been a right BITCH since I updated-- sometimes I have widgets that won't go away, even when I click the X in the corner in Manage Widgets mode, and sometimes I have widgets that never "update" (e.g. weather, Apple Store updates, etc.) Very annoying. Sometimes a good ol' fashioned restart helps... but I'm always afraid it'll happen again during a period when I really need my widgets. People came up with odd solutions, like using the Leopard install disc to "Archive & Install," while others did some sort of Terminal command. A restart did the trick for me, so I hope 10.5.2 means I won't have to worry about those other potential solutions-- I don't want the problem to be an issue anymore. So far, so good... I've gone into Dashboard a few times and not had any issues.

* Finally, since I couldn't get my phone to work with iSync, I tried my iPod-- I didn't know it had Calendar, Address Book, etc. capability until I started playing around with iTunes one day. But it seems to have the same problem as my phone, grabbing dates that frankly ARE NOT in iCal. To make matters worse, when the alarm goes off, the iPod will stay ON, which means my battery drains a lot sooner. I'd like ONE device or another to just WORK with iSync, PLEASE? I'll have to test this when I get home, since I don't have my iPod cable with me. Maybe iPods ought to be able to sync with Bluetooth?

But I guess in the long run, all of this is stuff I was never able to do with any PC I ever owned or use, and compared to the problems I see every day in the Walk-In Center with spyware, viruses, and other B.S., the Mac is still a godsend. So for all my bitching and ranting, I still love my Mac. :)
azurite: (roses are red)
New desktop. Oh yeah. )

Man, I wish I were in S.F. right now. I read the Macworld Expo update, and... gawd, I am so stoked for 2008. Not like I'm going to dash out and buy an iPhone (not until it's no longer attached to AT&T without hacks involved) or a MacBook Air (...this laptop is new enough for me. Until it breaks, I'm using it. Plus, I happen to like having an optical drive and a huge hard drive...), but DAMN. Apple just... kicks ass. Have I mentioned lately? You really oughta switch.

I personally think if I could have gotten a single measly day there and been back here... it would have been worth it, just for Steve Jobs' keynote speech. Sure, he flubbed a few times, but it sounded SO fun. And a play-by-play just isn't quite the same as being there, in the flesh. (Yes, the play-by-play had to suffice; it made me jealous) So I have a goal for 2009 (besides graduating in the Spring, that is): Go to Macworld Expo 2009. Network, network! (Who knows, maybe I could impress someone important and get a job at Macworld? Tee-hee.)

What else I'm excited about: the Time Capsule, the companion hardware to Leopard's Time Machine. It basically acts as the AirPort Base Station I spent $179 on, but it comes with a hard drive, supports 802.11n Gigabit Ethernet. A 500 GB (the smallest version available) is $299. I think I paid $250 for my 120 GB MyBook Pro external hard drive, so in terms of pennies per GB, it's very much worth it, in my mind. For die-hard downloaders, there's a 1 TB (!!!!!) version for $200 more. It ships out in February... around the same time as the new student-licensed version of Office 2008:mac, which I've been wanting, because Office 2004 on the Mac is kind of a bitch. Plus, I want more templates than Pages can offer. I didn't realize until today, when I had to make a flyer, that Word is really better than Pages for that. I hate still being Microsoft's bitch in any respect... but with all the years gone by, they have made a powerhouse of a word processor.

What I'm dreaming of: it would kick ass if more companies (including the ones that make $9.99 cheap games for Best Buy, Target, and the like) got on board with Cider to make games Mac-compatible. With Cider, there's only one source tree to manage (from what I read), so it's not like there's a whole overhaul involved. Basically, you take your game and wrap it in something that's friendly to Macs. Nothing changes about the game, the interface, etc. Of course, Cider has its limitations, and since it's not for end-users, it's not like I can just download something and all of a sudden be playing Doom again (*sigh* I miss killing Imps! And NO, I don't want Doom 3! >_< I like my pixellated pigs, thank-you-very-much). But I'd love to be able to play Riddle of the Sphinx, Pharaoh/Cleopatra, and similar Egypt-puzzle games (my favorite) again without going into Parallels. In reality, Parallels has felt like a waste of money to me, because... well, what the hell was I using Windows for? I hardly ever go into it. Blah. I hope there's an update that gets my games working again (in the meantime).

What I should be doing: the [ profile] 30kisses update. I've already got the T-Z stuff from [ profile] a_white_rain, though I have to sort through it all to put it in the right order-- by fandom. Today's the first day when my sleep schedule's semi-normal (and my computer hasn't been overheated), so I'm going to get it done-- especially since I said I would do it by yesterday. I'll also have to combine that with Phase Five of the Claims List Purge-- but as for the actual completion of the Tags Removal and putting the dead claims into the Memories, I'll need help. Mod Squad, you still around?

What I'm testing the waters with: Scrivener, a... humungo writing program JUST FOR MACS (eat that, Windows biznatches!). [ profile] dqbunny, you might like this one. If you try it too, we can compare notes. :D I'd also like to try MarsEdit2, a blog publisher. I use xJournal now, and have Phoenix as a backup, but frankly, one of them is always lacking SOMETHING. I wonder if MarsEdit would make a difference. I already know it's compatible with LJ; the question is if it supports all those tiny little features that aren't necessarily blog-platform-cross-compatible (e.g. stuff you'll only see on LJ and its off-shoots, not other blogging platforms like Blogger, etc.) For some reason, I'd get my panties in a wad if I couldn't change security settings or screen comments by default. I'm still kind of PO'd that xJournal doesn't support Location (okay, my location hasn't changed in the past two weeks, but still).

Anywho, to work, to work!
azurite: (ffx-2 - yuna's memory)
Postspam ftw!

So about, oh, 10 minutes ago I finished my STA Travel 193 Karaoke entry. It's currently exporting from iMovie '08 (*cringe* I can explain!) into a format that everyone and their dog can view-- in other words, a format I can upload to the contest website before it closes/changes tomorrow night. It needs to be under 40 MB though... which is the hard part.

My whole plan was to use iMovie (I wanted to use iMovie HD, aka '06, but for some reason it wouldn't detect my built-in iSight. I have iChat AV, no other iSight programs were open-- and when I *DID* open things like Photo Booth or iMovie '08, they detected the camera just fine. WTF?) and record myself all gussied up as Songstress Yuna singing to, what else, Jade's version of real Emotion.

I slaved for a pretty long time just to make a passable karaoke version of Jade's real Emotion ~FFX-2 Mix~. Yes, I know there's the instrumental version of Koda Kumi's ~Original Mix~, but I didn't want to sing in Japanese (too cheesy for the contest, somewhat difficult), plus the ~Original Mix~ is nearly twice as long as the ~FFX-2 Mix~ of which there is NO karaoke or instrumental version. So I made one.

Well, lamesauce was poured all over when I recorded it- I had to play the music in iTunes and use my IR remote to play it, but then capturing the video from iSight meant a delay-- plus, I had to physically CLICK using the touchpad, which meant either the music would be off-sync or there'd be a weird amount of time where I was adjusting the video. I chose the latter, since re-syncing the music would be a pain in the ass. I could just cut the video of me leaning forward to the computer anyway.

But having it play in iTunes meant my voice over the USB mic was barely audible, and the setting for "playing audio while recording," didn't work the way I expected it to, so I ended up creating and trashing a few projects that HAD to "assemble" after I realized "Oh shit, this isn't working!" So that added time. Anyway, I read the manual and figured the tip on plugging headphones in for the audio so it wouldn't interfere with the voiceover (aka my singing) would work-- and it did, but now you can hardly hear the background music, which obviously doesn't make for good karaoke.

In any case, I've tried so many different things and all the iMovies are frustrating me to the point where I'm just happy with what I've got. It'll suck if I don't win, but come on-- it's not exactly a talent contest. I'll be happy if I do, but honestly? I don't have the energy to put forth the EFFORT to make something so satisfying even I would be impressed (were I a judge giving away a 9-day trip to Japan). That's kind of sad, really...

Anyway, Mom wants to know what I want for Christmas, and after this week's brou-ha-ha, I think I'll tell her I want the one-to-one training Apple offers. I really need to learn iMovie and GarageBand. I'd RATHER learn it from a friend or something (hint hint), so...? Anyone have any experience in this area? You scratch my back, I'll scratch yours-- I'm a woman of many talents...

Big kitty!

Oct. 26th, 2007 10:57 pm
azurite: (pantsu! anzu)
I came back from the OS X 10.5 - Leopard release "party" a short while ago, and I have to say, if Mom hadn't convinced me NOT to buy 10.5, I'd probably be using it right now. It's not like I really have the money for it, and I know I can get it cheaper online, but after I played with it at the Apple store, I REALLY liked it. Anyone that knows Macs or has watched tech news lately probably knows about some of the more bragged-about features, but after the "list of 300" was released today and I really got to see them in action, I've made up my own list of favorites:

* Quick Look - a freaking GODSEND. Because I design webpages a lot, sometimes I have templates or half-done pages lying around my hard drive. I'd like to be able to look at those files WITHOUT having to open up a new tab in Firefox, or open up Dreamweaver. Quick Look lets me do this easily *AND* even better, I can use the iTunes-style Cover Flow in Finder to let me browse through a whole folder of HTML files quickly and easily.

* Google Maps built into Address Book - This will be immensely handy for me. I like to keep all my contacts in my Address Book for easy Syncing to my Facebook and to my phone. Now, when I have to go somewhere, a map with directions is only two clicks away.

* Dictionary with built-in Japanese <-> English support. WOW. HOLY WOW. The only thing this is lacking is support for romaji, but that's okay, because Japanese input on the Mac only takes two clicks, anyway. You type in a word either in English to translate it fully into Japanese, or you type it in Japanese to read the English meaning. I didn't test out any pronunciation or additional features, but the Dictionary's gotten a great makeover, including more dictionaries, reference materials, and WIKIPEDIA! All in one click!

* Spaces - I'm one of those people that has about 15 things going on at once; iTunes and iMovie, Firefox and Thunderbird, Dreamweaver and Photoshop... with Spaces, I can designate a Desktop for each application (or group of applications), so when I want to work on one thing, I just access that particular desktop, and there's no more clutter. This is built into the OS, but I imagine you can't overload the computer with too much, anyway. Nonetheless, I don't think I've ever had memory issues with the Mac in terms of running multiple programs (unless I was running Windows!).

I've already written an article about it which I hope'll get into the Sundial; I'm also writing one on "Dumbledore is gay!?" though I'm not 100% sure of the angle to take on it.

I managed to find (with the help of the LJ Support Staff) my Private entries, including what I started of "Sight Unseen," my [ profile] 30kisses fic for #13: excessive chain. Not sure exactly what inspired me, but it's a pretty interesting idea-- just a bit long. It might be 2-3 parts when finished. I thought I'd written something for Girls' Club (#11: gardenia), too, but all I seem to have is the planner file I made with Mamono. Anyway, re: Sight Unseen, would people like to see the short blurb I have so far, or would they rather wait until I'm done?

If you haven't answered my quick and easy poll on FFX and FFX-2, please do so now! And if you can, tell your friends and ask them to participate, too.

I really want to play a game now, so I think I'm going to turn off iTunes and try my hand at Bejeweled or Diner Dash. It's been a while since I've had "fun." If only I could get Yu-Gi-Oh! Online on the Mac... ;_; I wanna duel!
azurite: (xxxholic - yuuko)
Hi all! First, some "me" updates, then onto the main course:
* WDKY25 idea! Oh, I love lightning bolts. With dumb luck, it'll be done -no, really, DONE!- by the end of this week. I pray.

* I finished my end of the project for my Vitamin K presentation in Nutrition for Life class tomorrow. I'm so thrilled I finally figured out (with the help of a Mac Rep-- surprisingly, not a Creative or Genius, because they were all stumped!) why there was sound on the slides that were build-less. I had the idea that the media icon might be hidden off-canvas, and once the Mac Rep told me how to resize the window so the canvas only took up a percentage, I found the sign! I also ended up having to fix lots of hyperlinks, but in the end, I tested everything out, and it looks great! Aside from the necessity of having to click the actual squares on the Categories Selection board (rather than have it select automatically), everything's great, and I hope we do well tomorrow!

Now, main course:
As I mentioned in a previous post, I'm participating in the SixApart/ Bloggers Challenge. I've chosen eight teacher proposals for San Francisco schools that I hope to fund, even a little. SixApart gave out $30 certificates for to people who requested them, and I already gave mine to one of my eight proposals: Books That Add Spice.

Check out my complete challenge here, and donate even $1-- it WILL make a difference in a child's life!

And now, for some questions and my answers...
Why San Francisco?
It's where I grew up. My mom was a great participant in my school years growing up, and if it wasn't for her, I think a lot of the school projects that I remember the most wouldn't have been as fun, or may have fallen through altogether. My school was lucky enough to have a few parents who were really dedicated to participating in classes and helping teachers-- moreso than the school or the school district ever did.

While I can't speak for the kids or the school district now, from what I've seen when I've visited recently, things haven't changed much. If I can help a single elementary school kid get a new pack of crayons, or a classroom of high schoolers see a computer presentation via a new projector, then I'll do whatever I can.

Why did you pick the proposals you did?
It's funny, but once you start looking for proposals to help fund, there are so many that will catch your attention. That's what happened with me, and though I think eight is a bit of a crazy number (and I intentionally set my Fundraising Goal to $2000, which does NOT cover the complete costs of every proposal), I think there's a great variety of schools, teachers, students, and proposals in my challenge. If I can meet my Fundraising Goal of $2000, then that'll most likely get all of these proposals enough funding to get noticed, and at the very least, up off the ground.

The proposals I chose are as follows:
1. Let Your Fingers Do The Writing
2. Books That Add Spice
3. The Art Area is in Trouble!
4. Making 5th Grade More Fun & Interesting
5. Bring my Classroom into the 21st Century!
6. Rainbow World: Help Kindergartners Explore Colors
7. Think Before You Drink: Prom Gift Bags
8. Slide into the 21st Century

Why these proposals? )

Please take a minute of your time to read some of these proposal descriptions and, if possible, donate something. Whether it's $1 or $10, $20 or $30, every little bit helps! Do you remember what it was like to be in elementary, middle, or high school? Did you never want for anything? (If you say "yes," I won't believe you. :P)

DonorsChoose gathers teachers from all over the U.S., allowing THEM to say just what they need, how many students will be impacted, and what their proposed purchases will be used for. These eight proposals really stood out to me, and I hope that you can find it in your heart (and in your wallet!) to make a small tax-deductible contribution to help fund them-- even a little. It won't just make a difference for you and me, but all those students and their teachers-- for years to come.

I've emailed a note about this to my friends. If you read that email, read this post for more info, and be sure to tell your friends!
azurite: (autumn kitty)
Ugh, I'm back to drinking Brisk iced tea, and now Wild Cherry Pepsi (haven't had THAT since high school) to keep myself awake T-Th when I have classes that last 2-3 hours at a time with short breaks. It sucks because I thought I'd been getting enough sleep and eating somewhat healthier, to the point where I wouldn't need boosts that also rot my teeth. Urgh.

I don't want to get crazy-stressed, but the past few days haven't helped-- there's always so much to do. I've got to finish raking off the garage roof, clean my bathtub, clean my room, put my laundry away, do my handwashing, figure out a system for a clothesline in my tile tub, send my glasses prescription to school, get new glasses, see if I can vacuum the house (I bet Dad forgot to take the giant vacuum Baba wanted him to have, and waited months to give him) and... figure out wtf is wrong with the wireless on my NEW LAPTOP!

Last night as soon as I came home I set it up and transferred all the data from my old MBP, but while the old one connected to the home network just fine, the new one wouldn't. I tried changing the router settings-- the SSID and the password encryption, but that just screwed things up further. This morning I called AT&T tech support (gawd, I want to switch to Time-Warner Cable), and I had to change the SSID back, the encryption back to WEP-Open, and the channel back from 11 to 10. That fixed it for my old MBP, but not the new one... and I have no idea why. It's not like there are any proxies, AppleTalk, or other weird settings... I hope it's not the AirPort being half-malfunctional or anything. I've got an appt. at the Apple store today, and if all works out well, I'll also renew my ProCare and get Diner Dash. :) What's weird is that it works here on campus, and it SORT of picked up someone else's network near home for a bit, but not for long enough (to get the updates for the AirPort Express). I wonder if the updates (which I managed to get here at school) will help?

On the bright side, the new computer DOES mean I'll be able to play with my .Mac sooner, check out all the goodies iLife '08 offers, and see what's new with iWork '08. I'll also hopefully be able to work on WDKY and the BSSM Another Story novelization. But, speaking of other writing projects, all the weird dreams I've been having lately (a lot of apocalyptic stuff, for some reason) got me revising "Prophecy Girl," and the extended ideas (which will involve revising the first two chapters a bit) make the story a LOT more solid. I might end up switching between it and WDKY (since PG was around first, anyway) in times of blockage.

During all the stress last night, I played some FFX-2 while the data was being transferred. I forgot why I was where I was (I'd already beaten the Ruin Depths), so I headed around to get more Oversouls (I have about 20 left, including the dreaded Concherer). I only managed to get 1 so far, due to the randomness of battles, so later I hope to get more... :P it's my way of de-stressing. I'm planning on figuring out more Mix strategies to beat the tougher Oversouls, though.

Right now I'm in my JOUR 410 (Investigative Journalism) class, and I need to come up with 3 story ideas for our upcoming proposal. As with so many other things, I'm dry out of ideas. Help?

Oh, as for the BEST NEWS OF THE DAY (even though I'll be busy until late and busy even tomorrow and this weekend with an NSCS retreat in Malibu where I'm responsible for figuring out dinner for 10 for only $40?)...
I GOT A RAISE! Nearly 30 cents, too! Not a ton, but way better than my last raise. :)
azurite: (ffx - yuna summons)
Hmm, some quick updates:

-Working steadfastly on WikiFic. Thanks to Platonides over at the wikimedia-l, I got the Infoboxes working, but I still need to grab a BOATLOAD of templates from Wikipedia to get everything looking nice-- for example, a lot of flag-related graphics and templates. Any help with this would be greatly appreciated-- it's really just a lot of C&Ping. You do need to have a WikiFic account though, but it takes all of 5 minutes to sign up and get started.

-Working on creating "Ultimate Armor" for my party in FFX, and I'm discovering few people think Break HP or MP limits are useful at all-- which means the armor I already created for Auron and I think Rikku is fairly useless. I've never gotten to the point where I actually fight SIN (I keep dying whenever I fight those Behemoth-type monsters inside Sin, as I recall from the last time I got this far, on my old memory card which is now lost to the ages), so I hope that by capturing more monsters and leveling up (to get the items I need for the Ultimate Armor), I'll be able to survive Sin.

-iWork and iLife have both been updated to '08! That better mean when I get my new laptop, those are installed... since I don't know what I'm going to do with my old laptop (this one), I'm not sure if I should get the family pack ($20 more) of either version yet. I know 5 Macs, but the question is, should I really give "free" iLife and iWorks '08 if I do spend the extra $40 on the two Family versions of the pack?
Here are the nominees:
(1) Mine
(2) Mine 2, possibly to be given to Grandpa, sold to Mom, or sold for parts
(3) Erin's
(4) the iMac at work in the Walk-In Center (which is a bit old)
(5) Shawn's

Speaking of the boyfriend, he's fabulous- complimentary, has a wonderful sense of humor, doesn't mind games (I got him to play both Bubble Bobble and Scrabble tonight-- hah!), and we both vented about work to each other without any awkwardness or hard feelings. He's also super-thoughtful, though I can't really say how. ^_~

I really ought to be getting to sleep now though... for one, my tooth has been hurting pretty bad since this morning or so (I somehow doubt it's mental, no matter how much I wish it were), and the Orajel I got at Rite Aid earlier is totally numbing the right side of my face. I also have to walk to school tomorrow since Baba & Grandpa have a doctor's appointment (I hope it's not too hot or too gloomy tomorrow morning). Two more weeks and three days till my first surgery... school starting, and who knows what other mayhem!

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