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Updates – Yuck

Updates – Yuck

So I was bopping along, doing my thing when Apple updated the operating system on the Mac to Mojave. Okay. I updated, thinking nothing of it.

The next week I noticed Scrivener was trying to correct misspelled words in my manuscript – such as THE or AND. After some investigation, I discovered that it was a Mojave glitch.

That same week I lost 2000 words in my manuscript because Scrivener did something funky while I was outlining. Luckily, I was able to load the backup and got my work back. We still haven’t figured that issue out, but the powers that be are leaning toward a Mojave glitch.

Yesterday I was trying to use my super scanner, Scansnap, to scan a foot high stack of stuff I should have been scanning for the last six months – but didn’t. Unfortunately, some of that stuff I needed to send to my CPA, so it HAD to be scanned.

Except that after much research I discovered that Fijitsu, who makes Scansnap, will not update the software to work with Mojave. Hello?

Picture this:

Scan a twenty page document.

Get an error message.

Scan a twenty page document again.

Get an error message.

Do it again. (Much swearing going on.)

Finally takes and uploads to Evernote.

This happened with the majority of the pages I had to scan. I LOVED this scanner. It was fast. It uploaded to Evernote. It was convenient. It’s small and unobtrusive and sits in the little nook beside my chair.

Now, thanks to the update, it’s almost unusable.

I think I’ve figured out a workaround, but it’s a doozy. I’m going to upload the software to Parallels, where I’m running Windows 10 as a virtual operating system, and see if I can get it to work.

I’m sure that Apple, in its infinite wisdom, was updating their operating system because of a genuine need, but did it have to break so many other things?

Inquiring minds want to know. 🙂

Once More Into the Breach, Y’all

Once More Into the Breach, Y’all

I’ve always maintained that I’m not a programmer, developer, or coder. I haven’t a clue what I’m doing in the back end of my website and prefer to NEVER go there. I don’t DO PhP and I don’t mess with CSS, either. (I was really proud of myself when I finally got HTML, but wouldn’t you know, I hardly deal with HTML.)

I use the Genesis framework for WordPress to run my website. Genesis makes everything easier for coders, developers, and programmers and is very security conscious. If you’re not a coder, developer, or programmer you’re pretty much lost. My website has stayed the same for years because, well, I’m pretty much lost. However, I just discovered that I could change from the Genesis framework and Genesis child themes and go to something a heck of a lot more user friendly.

Color me thrilled.

I finished the book on Christmas night, so it has been put away for awhile to percolate. I don’t touch it during this time. My mind, however, is still thinking about it so I will be making notes to make sure I said certain things, or that character issues are spelled out, that descriptions are adequate, that sort of thing. January 15th I will start the final read of the book on my Kindle. I’ve already had the computer read it to me, so that’s done.

All of that frees me up to screw up my website to my heart’s content.

So, if you see things that look weird or broken, don’t panic. That’s just me messing everything up and hopefully having a wonderful time doing it. 🙂


Today’s the Day

Today’s the Day

People amaze me. Sometimes, that’s a good thing because their achievements, their humanity, their humor is an example for us all.

Sometimes, I’m not so amazed.

Today is the launch day of WordPress 5.0, the new user interface for WordPress. It’s a big change, but it’s been in development for at least a year. I think it’s honestly been on the drawing board for much longer.

People are freaking out.

Yep. Despite the information being disseminated for months (and months) people are now fussing about:

  1. It’s not fair to change the UI (User Interface).
  2. It’s not right.
  3. I don’t want to change.
  4. It sucks. I just know it does.

I am confounded by people who refuse to adapt to change. I agree, it’s not always easy. However, it’s almost always necessary. Life doesn’t stay the same.

There were ways for people to test out the system before implementation – for the past year a plugin was available that mimicked the new UI.

As for me, I’ve used the new UI plugin for months, because I didn’t want to be blindsided when everything changed. I use Genesis as my WordPress theme as well as a Genesis child theme. I have no idea if the new UI is going to break my site. I don’t think so since Genesis had plenty of time to ensure the compatibility over the past year. I guess we’ll all find out at the same time. 🙂 

Once More Into the Breach, Y’all

Technology Woes

I had the most fun this past Thursday and Friday doing something odd on my computer.

As you know if you’ve read the blog for any length of time I dictate the first draft of every book. It helps me get the words out of my brain and onto the page. Plus it saves my wrists. I occasionally get carpal tunnel pain and I don’t want it to increase.

I’ve used Dragon NaturallySpeaking since it first came out. I’ve also used ViaVoice and every other speech to text program there is. I’ve always come back to Dragon because I think it’s the best. Right now, they are the only company that makes a speech to text program for Mac. 

Well, in late October they announced that they were no longer going to support Dragon for Mac. That means that they aren’t going to continue to generate new versions, either. I think, from what I’ve read, that the problem begins at Apple, not Nuance – who makes Dragon NaturallySpeaking. Something about Apple limiting developer access to certain functions on the Mac, etc.

I’ve always thought that Dragon for Mac was a poor substitute compared to Dragon for Windows. I absolutely adored Dragon for Windows because it was simple, easy to correct mistakes, and the voice recognition ability was superb. Dragon for Mac is like a wagon next to a Jaguar. It’s pretty much a pain. I’ve been thinking of getting a Windows laptop strictly to run Dragon for Windows, but then the other day I thought about installing Parallels again.

Parallels is a program that you put on Mac that allows you to run the Windows operating system. When I first used it years ago it was a disaster. I couldn’t get it to work. I don’t know what the problem was. Last year when I bought this iMac I went whole hog, if you’ll pardon the expression. I bought a super loaded machine. I have a 2 TB fusion hard drive and RAM out the wazoo. It has one of the best video and sound cards you can buy. In other words, it was probably overkill. However, if any machine can handle a virtual operating system, this one can.

I am thrilled to report that I installed Parallels, then Windows 10, then an antivirus software program, and then Dragon for Windows. Everything works. Everything works beautifully. Maybe it was the new, improved Mac operating system, Mojave. Maybe I just figured out how to install it correctly. Maybe it was just luck. I don’t care what it is – it works!

Anyway, pardon me for being technical, or pseudo-technical. I’m just happy I got everything to work. It was an absolute pleasure working on Friday and I just kept dictating and dictating. I’m dictating 6000 words a day and if I can find the software that makes it easier, I’m all for it.

Right now I’m bopping between the two operating systems because I can dictate directly into Scrivener from Dragon for Mac. However, I am ready for the next update to Mac’s operating system to cause problems with Dragon. That’s the way it normally happens.

Oh, if you’ve never used Dragon Anywhere I highly recommend it. It allows me to dictate on my phone and that really helps when I am in the backyard or having to wait in my car for some reason. Like all Dragon products it’s not cheap, but it’s really worth it. 

Have you ever used Parallels or Dragon for Mac or Windows? Are you a Windows person or a Mac person? 

Once More Into the Breach, Y’all

The Geek in Me

I’ve probably mentioned this a thousand times, but I’m a privacy nut. You might not think so since I have my address printed on every book I mail out. Well, I have a theory about that. I’ve listened to authors pant about how you must always have a PO Box and you never, never, never release your home address.

Okay, here’a question: why should you give me your address if I’m paranoid about not giving you mine? That has never made sense to me. I don’t believe that I’m a special little princess just because I write books. 

I think online privacy is much more important, only because idiots in Vietnam are going to sell my credit information for $5.00 a pop on the Dark Web, but they’re not coming to my house.

To protect myself online, here’s what I do, in no particular order or ranking:

Lifelock – I have a super cheap membership that covers all the basics, including my credit cards. I’m truly glad for them because they’ve informed me of some sneaky stuff that I shut down immediately. Here’s a link to Lifelock.

VPN – Virtual Private Network – I used to use one when I did pirate hunting for two hours a day. Now I use one for everything on the Web. Click here for a 20% off deal through Kim Komando for the service I use.

Amazon Privacy Settings – I’ve set everything to private except for my reviews. Here’s an article that shows you how to do it.

Modem and Router Check – Every month I do a security check on my modem/router using the tool here or here. I also change my modem/router password pretty often. You’ll have to consult your ISP on how to do it.

Facebook and Twitter – I’m not on either and can’t be tracked. I personally believe that Facebook is one of the most intrusive services you can have. 

Google – I’m on no tracking everywhere. Here’s an article that will show you what Google knows about you. (Even though I’m not being tracked, I still check Google periodically.)

Do you do something additional to protect your privacy?

WordPress’s Gutenberg

WordPress’s Gutenberg

The other day WordPress had an upgrade. Along with the upgrade was the notice that Gutenberg would be implemented in its next big release. Basically, Gutenberg is a new operating system for WordPress. It changes everything, from the way you write a blog to inserting pictures.  

Segue here: most people don’t like change. It forces them out of their comfort zones. Sometimes, change makes us reevaluate thoughts that were once unshakable.

There has been a lot of grousing about the change to Gutenberg, mainly from developers. I don’t know enough about developing on WordPress to be intelligent about this, but I’m guessing that developers feel their ox is being gored. If you announce a new operating system that doesn’t need so much tinkering in the background, will you need developers? Or maybe it’s just the opposite. Maybe the developers know that there will be oodles of extra work because of the change.

Either way, I’m writing this post using Gutenberg and it’s not appreciably different from other software I’ve used. MailChimp is my newsletter vendor and they use the same block technique. Actually, I like it a bunch. It puts everything you need to know within one page. If you’re running a WordPress website, check it out. It might not be as scary as everyone thinks. 

Of course, I don’t know if it’s going to clash with the theme I’m currently running on WordPress. I could go belly up whenever they go live. 

Ah, technology. Ain’t it grand?