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Archive for December, 2009

Caught in a trap!

Friday, December 18th, 2009

This was written in response to this week’s writing prompt.  Enjoy!

Next week’s writing prompt (character): Santa Claus

Many writers find themselves caught in the trap of waiting for the perfect time to write.

Don’t wait.

Write now.

Right now.

The problem with waiting is that, once you start, it’s hard to stop.  Minutes turn into hours, hours to days, and before you know it, years have passed since the last time you sat down to write something new.

Actually, come to think of it, not writing is like not exercising.

  • Once you stop writing, it’s hard to start again.
  • The more you write, the easier it is.
  • Writing every day will make you a stronger writer.
  • You might not see results right away, but keep at it.  After a month, if you look back at what you wrote, you’ll see a noticeable difference.

Even if you feel like you have no time, try writing something for 15 minutes every day.  Take a few moments just before going to sleep, or right after you wake up, to create something new.  Write a response to next week’s writing prompt (Santa Clause!), and post it in the forum.

Most of all, remember to have some fun.  Don’t worry about getting a full story done, just focus on trying something new.

If you like what you create, continue the same topic tomorrow.

If you don’t like what you wrote today, try something new tomorrow.

Above all, keep writing.  Keep up hope.  And keep creating something new.

Next week’s writing prompt (character): Santa Claus

Nook Review: Day 4 (PDF support, No RSS Feeds)

Monday, December 14th, 2009

First, I’d like to point out that I was able to figure out how to use the Nook keypad: you need to use your forefinger, not your thumbs. This will feel a bit foreign to people who are used to texting or using both hands to type on a keyboard, but it does seem to work fairly reliably. I still don’t like this style of keypad–it’s very difficult to see the letter I’m tapping if I’m using a finger rather than a stylus.

The battery life on my Nook seems to be close to what is claimed by Barnes & Noble. Currently, after 4 full days after taking the Nook off the charger, with sporadic use and powering it off when not in use, I have 42% of my battery life left. I expect to need to recharge it in another 2 days at this rate.

Wanting to try a few of the features, I tried attaching the Nook to my netbook and copying over a few PDF files that were handy. The files happened to be a couple of school project reports and a copy of my resume (I was curious how the Nook would handle a resume format).

Nook appears to do its own word wrapping in a PDF, as well as honoring the word wrapping in the document itself. This caused some strange-looking lines, something like:

This is a paragraph as it might appear inside
a PDF. You’ll notice that there is some
wrapping handled by the Nook and other
word wrapping by the file.

This is a paragraph as it might appear
a PDF. You’ll notice that there is some
wrapping handled by the Nook and
word wrapping by the file.

If you ever want to send your resume or manuscript to an ebook, be aware that you’ll likely need to do some special formatting to make it appear correctly (at least in the PDF format).

The next thing I wanted to try was subscribing to an RSS feed.  This is a feature many Kindle users have told me about, so I assumed that the Nook would be able to do so as well.  I quickly found out through Barnes & Noble’s FAQs that the Nook does not support adding your own RSS feeds (though you can read whatever Barnes & Noble allows through their RSS feed).  That’s certainly another irritation–I would find that to be a valuable feature.

On the more positive side, I am pleased with having several free ebooks to choose from, but from what I can tell, there are not “thousands” available, as Barnes & Noble claims, but only a few dozen in their store.  However, this includes classics that I’ve been meaning to read, like War & Peace, Wuthering Heights, and Pride & Prejudice.

I am finding myself reading much more often, and being able to download free samples of books while I’m on the go is also a good benefit.  We’ll see if this continues as time goes on.

I’m still sticking with my overall grade of B+ for my impressions so far.  I will probably provide another update in a few days.

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