Tuesday, 23 August 2016

More on writing tools

When we last left our hero, I was doing a (relatively) good job posting. But like usual, I picked up a gig and dropped the habit.

But with the release of Scrivener, and having had plenty of time to work with IA Writer and Notability, it seemed like a good opportunity to jot some things down.

IA Writer is still a fantastic writing app. At first the non-WYSIWYG approach was an obstacle, but eventually I recognized that it forced me to focus on the actual writing – as opposed to fiddling with formatting.

Notability is also a great note-taking app (I’ve also noticed it’s one of the top 10 apps in the App Store, and for good reason). The Apple Pencil performance is great, and it really feels like putting ink to paper. It’s just that smooth.

Where both are still disappointing is in organizing documents. I know if I sat down and really tried to figure it out, I could get comfortable with how both apps handle it. But it’s still not as natural as good ol’ folders in Finder. To be fair, I think Google Docs folders are kind of wonky, too. And to be even more fair, I know via my on-again-off-again flirtation with iOS development that the OS doesn’t make creating such a system easy, if even possible.

Which brings me to Scrivener. Several months before the iPad Pro became my weapon of choice, I was using Scrivener on my MBP for all my writing projects, paid and not. Scrivener for iOS was finally released a couple months ago, and I got around to buying it today. I’m about to sit down and see if I can get IA Writer, Notability, Scrivener and Google Docs all working in the same workflow.

(I’m using Google Docs as the endpoint because generally, and specifically with the place I’m gigging at now, it’s the file depository of choice.)

I’m going to jot down issues as I encounter them:

1. Syncing issues.

IA Writer syncs to iCloud (how I have it set now), but Scrivener doesn’t. According to the dev, it’s partly because they were developing for both iOS and Android, but mostly because iOS has peculiarities that prevent proper syncing. Fair enough. Keeping everything in a single cloud would be nice, but I guess I’ll have to use Dropbox.

As for Notability, I can backup to Dropbox or export pdfs copies directly to Scrivener. NOTE: A Scrivener project must be open for this to work.

2. Figuring out a workflow

The key concepts I need to remember are that IA Writer and Notability are for composing, and Scrivener is for organizing. In a perfect world, I would be able to compose in IA Writer and access that file from within Scrivener. As it is (remembering that I’m still messing around with all of this) I have to a) compose in IA Writer, then b) export that file to Scrivener…


Okay, so I think I’m getting a handle on what’s going on here. Scrivener appears to save all its data in a propietary format. Individual files aren’t saved as such in Dropbox. In other words, I can’t look in Dropbox for ‘ATextFile’ and open it up. I can, however, send a copy to IA Writer and edit it there.

Frankly, I don’t think there’s an easy way to do what I’d like. I think my options are limited to two choices:

1. Compose in IA Writer and send a copy to Scrivener.

2. Compose in IA Writer and save it to Google Drive. If all files are saved there, it provides some preservation of files – if I can overwrite existing files, that is.

Friday, 15 July 2016

Friday, 8 July 2016

Thursday, 7 July 2016

Rinse and Repeat

Unbelievable (and yet completely believable at the same time). Another black man was shot and killed by a cop for no discernably good reason. This time, the aftermath was recorded on video by the car passenger/girlfriend.

The known details are that Philando Castile, 32, was pulled over by an unnamed cop for a broken taillight. The cop asked for his license, and as Castile began reaching for his wallet he informed the cop that he had a carry permit and had a gun. He was ordered to stop moving, and as he complied the cop shot him four times.

The girlfriend – amazingly calm, but probably more petrified in fear – recorded what went on at that point. You can hear that the cop knew he fucked up, but he kept his weapon pointed at the dying (and soon dead) Castile. Adding to the insanity, the woman’s 4-year-old was in a car seat in the back, within the line of fire.

A travesty. And the ridiculous thing is, since the cop is reportedly a minority himself (Asian), there’s a slightly smaller chance that he’ll skate. Let’s not kid ourselves – if he was white, he’d be almost guaranteed to be protected and absolved.

I’m beginning to think it’s black people that need to wear body cameras, not the police.

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Another day, another death by cop

A guy selling CDs outside a convenience store was shot and killed while restrained in Baton Rouge.

Cops say it was because they were responding to a call claiming that he waved a gun at somebody, and there was, indeed a gun. But some of the details should raise eyebrows.

The gun was in 43-year-old Alton Sterling’s pocket, and eyewitnesses say that he never reached for it. It was the police that removed it, after they shot him. But the really curious part is how the cops responded in the first place.

They were supposedly called in because he had a gun, but they chose to throw him on the ground and grapple with him before they knew where this gun was or if he even had one. It wasn’t until they were on top of him that one shouted, “Gun! He’s got a gun!” as if they were surprised. And even then, they decided to shoot him. Execute him, to be accurate.

I wonder if there was actually a call. I can’t help but think they were just driving past, decided to roust Sterling and shit went bad.

Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Welcome To The New Politics, Same As The Old

Bernie Sanders and his supporters have been shouting about the Democratic primaries being rigged ever since Nevada (probably longer), but this story is a real eye-roller:

A Bernie Sanders staffer pitched using double-sided coins for breaking ties in Democratic presidential caucuses, according to a new report.

To be fair, there have been instances of the Dem Party putting a thumb on the scales for Clinton. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz found ways to keep things in Clinton’s favor. It should be noted that this was probably due more to her own personal benefit (she protected her Florida Republican buddies by squashing serious Democratic challenges) than anything.

But Sanders’ campaign has been woefully incompetent. The reason they lost Nevada wasn’t because of some organized fraud, but because Sanders’ supporters simply didn’t show up to the delegate seating event – and the ones that did were comically inept.

Off the top of my head, Clinton seated 98% of her delegates. Sanders seated only 74%. Most of the Sanders delegates simply failed to show up, and of the ones who did, most of them either weren’t registered Democrats (there are examples of people who changed their affiliation to ‘independent’ in protest of Sanders losing NY) and/or didn’t even live in Nevada.

Kato’s plan? Cheat. No doubt she thought this would be fair because she thought the process was ‘rigged’. While the two-sided coin didn’t come into play, she also instructed Nevada attendees to stay and create chaos.

I think it’s reasonable to assume that Kato knew the miserable organizational failure that Nevada was going to be. I think she knew that dozens of Sanders delegates simply didn’t qualify for seating, or weren’t going to show up. So her solution was to knock the game board over. You can’t lose if the pieces are scattered on the floor, right?

Playing dirty politics is nothing new. But the real ‘new is old’ part isn’t sneaky political maneuvering: It’s that even in an insurgent, purportedly revolutionary campaign, people can still fail upwards.

Joan Kato is now Sanders’ National Delegate Director.

Monday, 27 June 2016

SFGate, still sucking

SFGate’s sucking is a combination of smaller sucks that creates one big suck. One of these smaller sucking units is what passes for reporting.

Today’s example is this story about a tenant facing eviction because his landlord increased the rent from $1800 to $8000. More than 400%. The story does what it should except for one glaring omission–the landlord’s name.

We’re told the tenant’s name, how long he’s lived there, even pictures of the apartment (neglected by the landlord to a point that it shouldn’t even be worth $1800 a month, letalone eight grand). But the landlord is never named. The reporter writes that she asked for comment–which suggests she knows who to call–but never tells us who the greedy jerkwad is.

Basic journalism. Just basic freakin’ journalism, and SFGate yet again fails to reach the minimum bar.

SFGate sucks.

Friday, 24 June 2016

Bringing The High Ethical Standards Of Real Estate Developers To The People

I don’t know where real estate developers land on the occassional lists of ‘Least Trusted Occupations’, but it’s safe to say they’re not very high. But this breakdown of how Trump’s Presidential campaign is exactly how a developer would do it is eye-opening, expected and horrifying all at the same time:

There are too many tweets in this stream to cover all the points (it’s best viewed via Storify), but the basic gist is this: When a project is failing, the developer will blame others and make a big show of his commitment by saying he’ll put his own money into it. This gets the investors to put up more money. In actuality, the developer’s money never shows up, and he gets to continue to drive the project into the ground while protecting his own assets. It’s a win-win for him. Not so for his marks.

With a flailing campaign that has less cash-on-hand than a decent senatorial effort, Trump is playing this like a real estate deal. He’s saying he’ll do it himself; he’ll put up his own money if his ‘investors’ don’t have the guts. But in the end (especially in light of his recent FEC expediture reports), he’ll use the campaign to enrich himself, and if the thing goes belly up, he’ll still make out fine.

It’s a scam. A con. And there’ll almost certainly be plenty of rich people who will buy into it.