Late Night Tech Wrestling: Vivaldi, Rescuetime, Adonit Pixel #amwriting

I’m a sucker for a new stylus in town—the Adonit Pixel


Last night was an all-nighter squaring away new tech in my writing universe.

First the Adonit Pixel. I love it—Adonit have made many small changes from its last incarnation (the Jot Touch), all for the better. The tip is improved. The diameter is slightly smaller. It has better battery life. The function buttons haven’t changed location, but they are stiffer, making it harder to click them by accident—and if you do click them accidentally in the middle of writing or drawing, the drawing is given priority over the button command.

What doesn’t it have? Look at the photo very carefully—what’s wrong with this picture?

No pocket clip, that’s what. Not only that, but the stylus is perfectly round, so that I don’t dare lay it down on a table or desk—it will roll if the surface is even slightly off level.

I finally got disgusted at 2 am and got two pairs of pliers and a Fisher Space Pen removable pen clip. I bent the tines of the round barrel grip outwards until it freaking fit the oversized body of the Pixel. Problem solved.

My new Mac browser—Vivaldi


Then there was the browser thing. Firefox for Mac has broken so that it can’t be used to drag webpages to Scrivener. I had replaced it with a new-ish entry into the browser sweepstakes, Vivaldi. It’s wonderful—speedy, flexible, and takes Chrome extensions as if they were made for it.

But at 3 am I found out to my sorrow that Rescuetime had not been logging my websites—it just had a great lump sum entry for Vivaldi as a “utility.”

At 3 am I was not making great decisions. I tried installing the Rescuetime Chrome extension into Vivaldi—no dice. I switched back to Firefox, but it still had its problems. I even tried switching to Safari—a mark of true desperation. Finally I tried looking at the Rescuetime help pages.

By this time it was 4 am. I had to read everything twice because I kept missing obvious stuff. I finally got it through my sleep-deprived brain that

  1. Rescuetime does not now nor has it ever supported Vivaldi, and probably never will.
  2. There is a workaround involving the very Chrome extension that I had given up on.

The workaround:

First, lie to Rescuetime the Chrome extension in Vivaldi and tell it you don’t have the Rescuetime the App installed on your system. Then, go to Rescuetime.com, drill through reports until you see Vivaldi time only, and tell Rescuetime.com (and therefore Rescuetime the App) to ignore all Vivaldi time.

Voila! The Rescuetime app records no time for Vivaldi. Meanwhile, Rescuetime the Chrome extension, thinking that there is no Rescuetime app, reports all the detailed website time. Rescuetime the App continues to report the time spent in Scrivener and in Solitaire. Problem solved.

(If you need the workaround, please go to the Rescuetime help link above for details missing in my description.)

The moral of this story: I should write down things to do like “put a pen clip onto my Adonit Pixel” and “Figure out why Rescuetime is barfing up Vivaldi website time” at 2 am and go to sleep.

But I probably won’t.

Time for a Progress Update #amwriting

Focused Writing Time

Focused Writing Time

I’ve gritted my teeth, and started using RescueTime. I didn’t want to; as a (failed) employee, I hated bosses who actually kept track of how much time I worked because — well, because I spent so much time off in my head in the stories I never wrote down.

But now, I’m a boss with an employee (me) who spends her time off in her head in the stories she doesn’t write down — or rather, the stories she hasn’t yet written down. What I thought I would get when I started using RescueTime was a picture of how I “wasted” my time, and ways to help me stop doing that.

What I got was rather different.

I’ve told RescueTime which websites and apps are actually tools I use to write. I’ve set up Beeminder to automatically suck down how much time I spend writing (on my Mac only; RescueTime doesn’t support iOS). I’ve set a very gentle goal of (currently) 12 hours per week. When I started, it was only 6 hours per week.

Look at the graph to see how far I’ve come — despite my anxiety hiccup last week.

I never look at how I’ve “wasted” time, or even at how much time I’ve “wasted.” I pretty much know; always have. I’m gaming, or shopping, or reading. If I’m on my phone or on my iPad, it’s pretty much a given that I’m “wasting” time these days; if I’m actually writing, I can post it in RescueTime as “offline time.”

But there is a subtle push now, that if I’m off in my head in storyland, I really need to be putting it on the page, or saving the research, or starting a new project, or documenting my backgrounds. Something productive, because I’ve known for a long time that if I don’t record it, it doesn’t count. So, I open up my Mac and I do that. The results are obvious.

Most of the time I don’t think about the fact that RescueTime is “looking over my shoulder.” I asked it to, just as I’ve asked Beeminder to crack the whip. But these subtle little changes in my attitude, as a result of deciding that I want to be more focused, get more work done, get a freaking story out the freaking door, are adding up.

I don’t know if it impresses you, but it impresses the hell out of me.

OMG, I Might Actually Publish #amwriting

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at http://FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at http://FreeDigitalPhotos.net

For you Star Trek Original Series fans: Do you remember the scene where the Enterprise was fighting the Giant Cornucopia of Death, and Kirk says, “I distracted it! That’s good! . . . I think it’s good . . . Scotty, get me out of here . . .”

That’s how I felt yesterday when my wonderful Beta Reader, Cynthia, sent back her comments on my first chapter. She spotted typography errors, continuity errors, characterization errors… all of which I can fix, I’m sure. The scary thing was — the things she wanted to find out about, the questions she was left with after reading the chapter — those are exactly the things that I wanted readers to be wondering about and anticipating after the first chapter.

In other words, for a first draft, it rocks.

Damn. I haven’t felt like this since I won first division in the Tri-State Music Festival. There’s elation, sure — and there’s also terror. There’s a certain amount of grief — when it’s rolling, when the words are coming, when I look at my “Beeminder Writing Time” graph (that’s automatically generated from RescueTime) and see it curving upwards almost without volition on my part — why did I spend so many years doing anything else?

Then another wave of terror hits, and I know why.

This means audience. Big time, really putting my fiction out in front of strangers, asking them to pay for reading it, and accepting their praise, their disapproval, or their indifference, as the case may be. (If they pay for it, I think I will at least take their comments at face value instead of trying to find hidden negative meanings.)

This has really kicked the crap out of my writing time for the last few days, while I’ve alternately cowered and then fantasized about the Oprah Show. Neither of those gets words written, characterizations corrected, continuity errors fixed, or anything else. I will be dedicating April to editing in Camp NaNoWriMo. I need to get out of the house, today, though, and get some momentum going, before I need to pay the nice folks at Beeminder $5. Again.