Link of the Week – Google Search Engine Tricks

March 31, 2015

Today’s Link of the Week is just for giggles. Try the steps below and see what happens.

barrel roll

 

 

Pretty cool, huh?

Want more Google fun? Type the following in your Google search bar (you may have to click “I’m Feeling Lucky”) Enjoy!

  • Google Pacman – play one of the best video games ever!
  • Anti-gravity Google – floating Google
  • Askew – tilted google
  • zerg.rush – click on the Os before they eat all your search results
  • recursion – repeats everything infinitely
  • Google pig latin – I eelfay ikelay a idkay gainay.
  • Type in any actor/actress Bacon number (ex: Chris Hemsworth Bacon Number) and Google will tell you the degree of separation. FUN!
  • Festivus – the sacred aluminum pole will appear. (for more on Festivus – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Festivus)
  • In Google Images, type atari breakout – another game from the past.
  • Go to http://elgoog.im/ to play guitar, view your searches backwards, search underwater, and more!
  • And finally… Type in Chuck Norris. See what Google has to say…Seriously funny!

There are many more Google Easter Eggs. Feel free to share the ones you know. I’m always up for procrastinating from work.

 

 


A Firestorm This Week- What Do You Think?

March 27, 2015
Is that what this is?

Is that what this is?

There’s been a big uproar this week over the creation of a new app to blur out and/or replace profanity in books. A couple designed it because their child read a book but was sad about the cuss words in it. (Why is a fourth grader reading a book with any cussing in it??)

I digress.

The idea is that if you buy a book from their site, then you get an app that will clean up dirty words. It’s important to note that they do NOT change the book in any way. This app is an overlay on the text and the reader can turn it off at will. The customer can choose the level of “cleanliness” they want and then it goes to town.

As you can imagine there have been some vehement opinions: (Be advised- there are many curse words in these two articles)

http://joannechocolat.tumblr.com/post/114425387366/why-im-saying-fuck-you-to-clean-reader

http://terribleminds.com/ramble/2015/03/25/fuck-you-clean-reader-authorial-consent-matters/

So there’s the argument.

I’m on the fence.

On the one hand, I understand the artist’s objection to someone manipulating their work without their consent. I get that, I really do. I don’t want people changing the meaning or the tone of what I write. What I’m having trouble swallowing is the impending disaster that is sure to happen if this is allowed. This app is such a censorship, it will ultimately end with book burning and banning. Hmmmm. This tool does nothing directly to the written work and they are not impeding it being sold in any way. It could be argued that a person who is careful about reading books with no profanity might choose a wider variety if they had something to “bleep” out those words. It’s a personal preference.

The other thing that was said almost immediately was that it was a “Christian” thing. I disagree. I have Zen Buddhist and Hindu friends who avoid all profanity to the best of their ability because it disturbs their balance. Again, personal preference.

The owner of the app wrote an article about the discourse and his stance is that they don’t believe they are infringing on any copyright laws and they are not taking anything away from the author. He also goes on to say that as a consumer, once the item is bought they have the right to consume it however they see fit.

http://www.cleanreaderapp.com/blog/

I do have a problem with him mentioning an author he likes to read because he “writes well enough” to avoid resorting to profanity. Whoops. You could sway me on most points, but this is where I draw the line. An author has to be true to their character. A special ops alpha hero will just not say, “Gosh darn it.”.

I know this is an emotionally laden issue. I’m not sure where I stand. Are the rights of authors who haven’t given their consent for the book to be read in a different way being violated? Does Clean Reader have the right to create something that changes nothing of the original work, but makes it far more palatable for some readers to consume? Are there copyright laws being massacred? Do they have a point with- “I bought it. I can read anyway I want.”? Sheesh! I don’t know the answer!

Help me wade through this topic. What are your thoughts whether you are a reader or writer?


Hump Day Kick Start – Mirror, Mirror Edition

March 25, 2015

Hump Day Kick Start – for your muse, a writing picture prompt, or just a visual treat.

mirror image

 

Let’s reflect on this prompt a moment.

Note the details – her sunglasses, his boots, the cinder block wall, her ripped jeans rolled up, his tattoo which partially reads ‘sin fell the angels’. Who is our couple? Beauty and the Beast? Guardian angel and his charge? Rival furniture refurbishers? Modern day Medusa and Perseus? Strangers who are getting frisky in a convention center’s loading area at the Antique Road Show?

Have fun with this! Love to hear your take. Or simply “caption this” photo.

 

 

 


Link Of The Week- Online Accountability!

March 24, 2015

counter3

 

I have partners who meet with me several times a week to write. We have been doing a great job of increasing productivity, but some of us need a bit more structure. I poked around the interenet and found several word count trackers- some easier than others and then I ran into this-

http://pacemaker.sewillia.com/?

“Pacemaker is a playful way of making peace with your writing goals. You set a word count goal, chip away at it day by day and finish on-time! You can approach your writing target in various ways to suit your style :

  • Steady – write the same amount of words every day.
  • Rising to the Challenge – start off small and increase your word count quota every day.
  • Biting the Bullet – bite off large chunks of your writing goal at the beginning of your schedule so that the pressure is off at the end of your schedule.
  • Random – each day is a surprise, you may need to complete 5 words or 500! Whether heavy or light, you’ll reach your word count goal at the end of your specified schedule.

 


Active Table of Contents for Kindle

March 23, 2015

So, you finished a book and have decided to take the indie publishing route. Now you’ve done it, wandering into unfamiliar territory.

So much goes into setting a book up for sale on Amazon. Little details and nuances that you find along the way can be daunting. From formatting to metadata, some processes are easy, others make you feel like you are throwing knives at a moving target, blindfolded, in a wind tunnel.

Well, my dear word slingers, I’m hoping I can help ease the hemorrhaging just a bit. I’m going to show you in easy, bite size chunks (with handy, dandy screen shots!) how to create an active Table of Contents (TOC) in Word for Kindle.

But I must add a disclaimer here. Yes, I must. Because sure as sh—, er sure as the sun rises, someone will cry foul and say it doesn’t work. Or claim there’s another way. I am not a techno goddess. A goddess, yes. A techno goddess, no. But if you follow these instructions, you should have no trouble ‘tall.

Also, please note that there are services provided by Amazon, and the like, that can create an active TOC for you. Sure can. But wouldn’t you rather learn to do this at no cost? It really is pretty simple.

One last thing I must blast before I get started. Do not use Word’s Table of Contents generator. It’s a trick. There are more steps involved, and, yeah, more steps means you’re given more opportunities to screw up. Let’s not be a screw-up.

Ready to begin?

I’m using a book I already have for sale on Amazon, but does not have a table of contents. Once done, I can upload the new version. (Sweet!)

First up, insert a page break where you want the TOC to be placed. This could be after the acknowledgments, copyright page, or other book matter. Type Table of Contents, then type in the names you’ve given your chapters—Chapter 1, Chapter One, The Seize, you get the idea. If you include an Acknowledgment page, About the Author page, or other significant page, be sure to add it in the TOC, as well.

(Click on image for better viewing.)

TOC1a

Create a TOC page.

 

Okay. Pay attention. Here is where the work begins. Find your first chapter and highlight the chapter title.

Bookmark the destination. By doing this, when the reader clicks on the TOC entry, they will be directed to that spot in your book. Cool, huh? So how do you Bookmark? Click the INSERT tab in the toolbar and scroll over to BOOKMARK. (Some Word versions you’ll need to scroll down the drop menu.)

 

TOC3a

Bookmark ‘em Dano!

 

Surprise! A new window pops up. You will be prompted to give the bookmark a name. For the sake of your sanity, I’d recommend naming the bookmark exactly what you’ve named your chapter. No spaces are allowed in naming your bookmark. PITA, I know. If you want spaces, use the underscore key.

TOC4b

Name your Bookmark.

 

Click ADD.

Next up, go back to the TOC and highlight the chapter you just named in the Bookmark.  Go to INSERT and select HYPERLINK. Another window pops up.

TOC5a

Highlight item in TOC.

 

Now select PLACE IN THIS DOCUMENT  on the left side of the box (or DOCUMENT in the middle of your screen). You are ANCHORING the hyperlink inside a document. Select the chapter you are anchoring. Click OKAY. Booyah!  (In some Word versions – like Word for Mac – you may have an ANCHOR blank where the bookmark would appear, then you’d click LOCATE to finish the step. A new window would appear. Click the BOOKMARK arrow down key and select chapter. Done.)

 

TOC6b

Insert hyperlink.

 

Tah-Dah! You have now hyperlinked your chapter title in your TOC to its location within your document/manuscript. When you click on it, you will be directed to the beginning of your chapter. Repeat the process for Acknowledgment pages, About the Author pages, or anything else you have added to your TOC.

TOC7

Don’t forget other important pages.

 

Instead of toggling back and forth through all the different windows, I bookmark and name all items in my TOC and then go back to anchor and hyperlink. I also use the FIND feature to get me to the chapters in the middle of the document faster. That’s just me, though.

If you’re feeling extra frisky, you could even hyperlink the chapters in the manuscript back to the TOC. This will allow your readers to go back to the TOC and hop around to different chapters with ease. Just go to your TOC page, highlight the TOC title, bookmark/name it—same steps as before. The difference is finding Chapter One in the document (instead of in the TOC), then highlight, anchor, and hyperlink. Repeat for every chapter.

TOC8

Bookmark TOC.

 

 

TOC9

Hyperlink chapters to TOC for easy hopping around to different locations.

 

It might seem laborious, but once you do it a couple of times, it becomes quite easy-peasy. Don’t forget to check all your hyperlinks to make sure they go to the right chapters, and vice versa.

And now you know!


Friday Fun Facts- The Fine Art Of Torture

March 20, 2015

We are a creative lot. That gift extends to ways of torturing unfortunate individuals- and some of them are a doozy!

1. The Tub- A person was forced to sit in a tub of water with only his head exposed. Their face was then covered in milk and honey so flies would swarm their skin and begin to feed. These people would also be fed on a regular basis so they’d end up sitting in their own excrement. Maggots and worms would devour their bodies while they decayed alive.A+wooden+tub+_2a42ecbce969e7c71e558e7e47d71c59

2. Impalement- Vlad The Impaler was a real fan of this method. (Go figure.) The recipient of this treat was forced to sit on a thick, sharpened to a point, pole. The pole was raised and the victim was left to slide down the pole as his weight and gravity did their trick. Vlad was rumored to have done this to 20,000 people while enjoying a meals as they screamed their way to death.impalement-of-waldenses-granger

3. The Brazen Bull- Whoa! Here’s one I was not familiar with! A large brass bull was fashioned out of brass. It was entirely hollow from the mouth, down the throat and into the stomach. A person would be bound and placed into the stomach of the bull with a fire burning right below and the door to the stomach shut. As the human would slowly roast alive inside the bull his screams would shoot out the bull’s mouth and sound like he was bellowing.

4. The Lead Sprinkler- This toy is much like a metal stick with a ball on the end. The ball has several holes punched into it to allow the molten silver or some other metal to “sprinkle” out. The molten balls of torture are shaken onto the victim, burning tender flesh to the bone. As a final move, the torturer would pour the liquid silver into their eyes bringing agonizing pain, blindness, and an eventual death.ww_sprinkcard1

5. Rat Torture- This technique was popular with all the fashionable torture houses in medieval times. A person would be strapped to a table and immobilised. A large glass cage would be set upon their stomach with the bottom open to their skin. Large rats would be placed inside. On the top of the cage, large burning embers would be placed so the rats could feel the extreme heat. Their natural inclination would be to get away from the perceived danger so they would begin burrowing down into our person’s stomach. It was a slow and horrendously painful way to die. For sport, they would sometimes remove the heat so the rats would calm down and then put fresh coals back on to terrify the animals.r5U9b35


Hump Day Kick Start – Bathroom Humor Edition

March 18, 2015

Hump Day Kick Start – for your muse, a writing picture prompt, or just a visual treat.

ewan jude

I apologize in advance if this prompt offends anyone. But I simply couldn’t resist. I went into a fit of giggles over the whimsy when I saw this photo. These two (Ewan and Jude, in case you were wondering) have a comical chemistry that makes me smile, laugh, and sigh. *sigh*

So folks, here’s your chance. What is going on in today’s prompt? Are they an Odd Couple like Felix and Oscar—anal-retentive and clean vs. way too casual? Are they brothers, and one is forced to stay with the other after his girlfriend kicked him out?  Who just walked in the door? The woman they both love? The beautiful and brash female partner they share a dangerous undercover assignment with? The cleaning lady?

I’d love to hear your take. Or simply “caption this” photo.


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