Never Give Up, Never Surrender

The title is a quote from one of my favorite movies, “Galaxy Quest,” one of the best spoofs and homages to Star Trek that I’ve ever seen. The saying is a bit trite, but maybe it’s time I took it to heart anyway. I’ve known that I want to be a writer since I was seven years old. That’s almost 50 years! And, in some ways I’ve succeeded. I’ve been a [Technical] Writer on and off for the past sixteen years. I’ve made pretty good money at it. But I’ve made only a bit over $100 writing fiction.

Is it a matter of being hypercritical?

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A Programmer in Technical Writer’s Clothing

I worked for Microsoft in Redmond, WA for a little over four years, first as a contractor and then as a full-time employee. Although I enjoyed my time there, I don’t regret moving back to New York State. The three of us, my husband, my son, and I, missed our family here on the East Coast. Also, by moving back, my son had a chance to get to know his grandfather much better than he would have if we had stayed.

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Creating a Gel Button in Photoshop CC

Once upon a time, a long time ago, when everyone was making web graphics and writing about it, I wrote a bunch of tutorials on using Photoshop to create graphics for the web. Some of those techniques are so outdated that I’d be ashamed to talk about them. But some of the things I wrote about are still useful today.

I decided to republish some of the tutorials here for your use. This is the first…

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Follow-up Why New York State of Health is STILL an Epic Fail

I posted the other day about how my healthcare was completely messed up. I added a couple of updates to that post, but I thought it might be easier to add a new post. To re-cap:

I received a call from the New York State of Health telling me that I hadn’t renewed yet. I won’t go into all of the details (my other post Why New York State of Health is an Epic Fail for the long version.) Following all of the problems, I received a bill from Affinity and paid for January and February. They told me that I had to  make sure that New York State of Health knew that I had coverage.

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When I Grow Up

When I was ten years old, I wanted to be a writer. Actually, my oldest memories of “what I want to be when I grow up” involved telling stories. I started reading when I was three or four. I read Alice in Wonderland, Doctor Doolittle, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, and books of fairy tales. As I grew up, I broadened my horizons. I read all kinds of fiction and non-fiction. But all that time I dreamed about writing my own stories. I wanted to give back. All those books and stories took me to other worlds, worlds where magic worked, worlds where you never knew what you were going to find around the next corner.

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Send to… where?

The send-to menu in Windows is useful for opening a file with an application other than the one you usually use. For example, you have a text file. You know it is a plain text file, but the name ends in something other than txt. So you open Notepad or some other editor that can read and write text files.

Not impossible to do, but it can be tedious. You open Notepad, you click File/Open, you then have to navigate to the appropriate directory and tell Notepad that you want to work with files other than plain text. Why go to all that trouble?

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Class Dismissed

I have not been doing much writing for the past couple of years. I used to write after work, early in the morning, on the weekends, but that time has been completely consumed by school. When I wasn’t working, I was studying, writing papers and applications, and participating online in the classes I took to complete my Bachelor’s degree in Information Technology.

As of February 10, 2015 I have completed my BS/IT with a concentration in Software Engineering with a GPA of 3.92.

When I started school, my goal was to have a degree to go with the knowledge I already had. Goal attained! Perhaps I could even say, “Goal exceeded!” I learned a lot about the non-programming parts of programming, such as gathering requirements, designing the application, and how the various parts of a software system work together.

Now I don’t know what to do with myself.

Silly right?

I gave myself a week to do nothing. I played video games, read books, watch movies, and generally pampered myself. For the first time in a decade I’ve been getting eight hours of sleep at night. I’ve been eating actual meals instead of grabbing fast food and junk. I am actually beginning to feel like a human being again.

Now it is time to set goals, to find a new direction, and to put my education to good use. As they used to say back in the 70s, “Today is the first day of the rest of my life.”

Now I’m miffed

What good is copyright if it doesn’t stop people from stealing?

Copyright violation is an awful thing. Someone has taken my book, Dreams in Transit, converted it to a PDF file, and uploaded it to a downloads site for other members to download for free.

How do I know? I have a Google alert defined for my book, Dreams in Transit. Today I got a message with an alert and, when I checked it out, there was a link that turned out to be to a site that is allowing my book to be downloaded for free. I have sent them an email notifying them that it is a copyright violation for them to offer my book for free without my permission. I told them to stop. I doubt it will do much good. Is it worth hiring a lawyer? I’m sure Amazon isn’t going to help.

With the fact that my book has barely sold, I’m wondering how anyone knows about it to be trying to violate my copyright by stealing it.

I will update this post when I see what happens.

You have Files that are Ready to Burn to Disk

Make it go away!

Since yesterday, every time I turn on my computer, I get the message that I “have files ready to burn to disk.” It is annoying and, even worse, when I clicked on the message to try to cancel it, the window that should show the list of files ready to burn is empty! So how do you cancel something that you have already canceled?

Here is the answer. When you select files to burn to disk, you drag the files into that window. If you delete the contents of the list, the list goes into the recycle bin. Every time your computer starts up after that, it finds the list and tells you that you have files ready to burn.

Now for the solution. It’s so simple, you may kick yourself when I tell you what it is. In fact, it it so simple that you probably already figured it out. Empty the recycle bin and that “files ready to burn to disk” message will go away once and for all.

At least, until the next time you decide not to burn files to disk.

They’re baaack!

In Windows 8.1, you might still get the message. That is because Windows 8.1 maintains a hidden folder with information about files you have selected to write to a CD or DVD. If that hidden folder isn’t empty you will still see the message. The folder is located here:

C:UsersusernameAppDataLocalMicrosoftWindowsBurnTemporary Burn Folder

Replace “username” with your Windows username. Also, this is a hidden folder, so you will have to make hidden files visible. In Windows Explorer, go to the View tab and make sure that the box next to : Hidden items is checked.

When you have opened the folder, delete any files you find there. This should clear up the problem. (It is possible that this will work in earlier versions of Windows as well, but I can’t verify that easily. Let me know if you try it and it works.)