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a day in the life of lives...

I know this isn't Facebook, so I shouldn't post a link and run. So, umm. The link: Michael Lewis profiles Barack Obama.

It's a day-in-the-life, but many days woven together in a just-so-complex manner. It's interesting to me as a piece of how Obama ostensibly thinks (never can trust what gets written on the internet these days, and can't trust a politician, and so on....). As well as what day-to-day life as President of the United States of America involves. Extra-interesting points for the nods to speech-writers and what they "can" and "can't" do; the profile leaves a lot of detail out, but one can taste a certain...richness of information, implicit.

Also kind of cool: the depiction of the "war room" with regards to Libya (which I'm visualizing somewhat in the context of Thirteen Days.

Okay, journal stuffs....

Life! Life is. My last summary update. Not much has changed? Rah rah rah! But...day to day?

My office has the indefinite loan of a Makerbot replicator, and I've been learning its idiosyncrasies. I've printed out three different iPad stands from thingiverse, and one iPad "sound deflector". I'm doing iPad work at work, so it's reasonable. ;)

I'd like to try some art (I have in my head a rabbit launching itself out of a stone block that I did up in blender many years back); or maybe something more practical (pieces for my next entry in the somewhat-forgotten "annual" second-Christmas sumo-bot competition).

Rejections...always rejections, with writing; though I've been having a lot of success with my poetry at Every Day Poets the last few years (at $1 a pop, but hey). That's the world of semi-pro. Need to go back and admit defeat on a number of stories, probably trunk another 20 (or so). Really need to go back and finish and/or polish a number of them. Have been making good progress on a "biopunk" story with a friend...we've been working on it for two years, but it might be near an end (around 10-15k words). *shudder* Because those are _easy_ to shop around, right?

I think there was something else, but I need to get back to work. teasers for next time: trying to lose weight, signed up for a course via coursera.org, ...

Hmm, so.

Hmm, so. If I were to travel back to LiveJournal to journal and live and stuff, a bit. Who would I be reading? Seems most folks I followed are gone (the quiet gone of tumbleweeds, not the gone-gone of deletion, though there's some of that as well). Some folks I follow are not. (Hello!) Though in some cases I hardly know you, outside of—you were a writerperson I did writer-ish things with, online, on LiveJournal, in some way; and I've got no clue what's going on with you, have lost the story of your life.

And then there's folks who seem to "re-blog" to LiveJournal, and interact with comments there. And I'm interested in that, too, but I think I'm looking for conversations, both ways (and I know how presumptive that is of me, not having been here for years upon years). I sift through the twit-stream with a handful of accounts, sniping comments and opinions and thoughts; occasionally post longer things to facebook (well, longer than tweets). Rarely something to Google+ to see whether I'll get different responses there than facebook. Facebook and Twitter are where I get my news; Twitter is where I get my interactions with writers, for the most part. One of my favorite publications was sparked there; and some of my favorite writing (including co-writing).

I did post a life update a little bit back. Not much beyond that (maybe I should look into posting a before-and-after-yard-work thing). Down in Los Angeles this week, doing yard work (yard clearance), and a few other work-ish things while "on vacation" with Amy for her birthday-week-of-fun. The ice cream cakes (yes, multiple) have been delightful. =) Might be getting another one tomorrow to round it out. ;)

Niteblade Blog Train - August 19

The Niteblade Blog Train is rolling on through, despite my nearly missing it. I'm trying to think of just the right metaphor...but the closest thing I can think of is that the different realities weren't quite synced. Ah, the (broken?) (mind?) (of?). Yes. I remembered quite well three days ago; and two days ago. But yesterday was a mess of round-I-don't-even-know-any-more setting up a security system on some of my dad's sculptures. Limited success==success-for-now!

If you're coming to this in order, you're coming from the 18th, Digital Inkwell. And the future is Chris Lewis Carter. But don't go there yet. That's the future. Strange things happen if you try to experience time out of order....

Niteblade published my tongue-in-rotting-corpse's-cheek poem, "Brain Cookies", back in June 2009 [Issue 8]. It's due to be reprinted soon in the Zombie Survival Crew anthology.

The life of a poem is a funny thing. I've been writing poetry on and off since about 4th grade (and still have some of those lying around. oh my!). Most people probably have as well, and it's just a comparative weighting of the ons and offs. The morse code of poetry-as-virus trying to speak through life (yours, mine, whoever's). No, not making a point, just reaching. ;) The life of a poem....

As it stands, I have about 28 poems (not counting the majority of haiku I've recorded) sitting around, either waiting for me to submit them somewhere, or sitting somewhere, waiting to be accepted or rejected. I have 31 more poems "trunked", essentially poems I once thought were worth of publication but have since changed my mind on; in part due to the endless grind of rejection, and in part due to moving on, getting a better distance from them (in time, and skill). I've had 37 poems actually published, in a variety of journals/zines/whatnot, many of which no longer exist.

There's an easy thousand poems not included in any of those lists, pre-trunked, stillborn, cut off after two good lines, or after hours of struggling to find the right thought that would bring it to life. The life of a poem....

poems are ourselves
trying to channel something

Sometimes the words just flow, even if they're bad ones. And sometimes you force them out to make a point—the above lines are a little of both. The point, in this case, was not in the poem, but to have something to make a point about. ;) A nice 5-7-5 senryu (with only 4 in the last, which, well, there's a school at least that says 5-7-5 is not a fixed thing for 'ku done in languages other than Japanese), but in my world (and poems are so often just in our own personal worlds, our own idealized worlds where everyone gets what we'd like them to, responds the same way, ...) the missing beat is the unknown, that "something else".

Poems come from somewhere. They get jotted down, edited, lost, forgotten, found, submitted, rejected, submitted, rejected, .... Shared, somewhere along the way, or not. They attach to a moment, or a person, or a time and place—and sometimes those things they attach to are perfect for them/then/there and irrelevant to more, or sometimes the them-then-there are something else, or you feel a something else in there, and hope that others will also feel that something-else when they receive the poem (with a laundry list of caveats regarding mental spaces, time-and-places).

Okay, so. The train station was here all day, but there were no signs the train was coming. Passengers were arriving early, who'd been on the train...but the train was not there with them. It's a sad thing, but reality can be like that sometimes. Apologies to all the discombobulated!

Now...don't forget. Support small press! Support great writing! Support! And enjoy your trip through today, and into tomorrow's stop, Chris Lewis Carter. And that's the Niteblade Blog Train. =)

What sort of writer are you?

What sort of writer are you? I'm a pantser, by and large. Read about it over on inkpunks, where I've got a guest blogpost =)


So I ported it to flash this weekend...I thought that would be a smart marketing move: maybe make a little cash on the side, and use it to push folks to the iOS app. Survey says...wasted time. Mostly. Maybe.

My games have been doing much better on Newgrounds than on Kongregate lately. Limited data samples, of course, but for instance on Kongregate, TumbleDots has an average of 2.64 with 175 gameplays and one comment. On Newgrounds, 1933 "views" and an average of 3.3 [with 220 votes]. And two pages of generally positive and/or constructive comments. Add in FlashGameDistribution (and Mochi), and that's another 1000 views.

Just one day, but that's one of maybe five days that my flash games tend to get these days, unless I'm cribbing from xkcd (Hell, Heaven, ....).

My plan to turn these views into downloads of TumbleDots on iOS is a fizzle at best, at the moment. 3 downloads yesterday, and I feel safe saying none of those came from my flash blitzkrieg (admittedly, 3000 views is not a blitzkrieg). Le sigh....

So now I'm seeing how hard it is to wrap the flash app up and call it "android". Because you can do that.

  1. Download the Android SDK

  2. unzip it, and run tools/android (note: you can also run tools/android update sdk --no-ui; install what it suggests, for now. I have no idea where this is going.

  3. ignore possible errors like Stopping ADB server failed (code -1). cry a little inside. I have no idea if I'm going to have to download each and every SDK in order to support older Android platforms....

  4. Continue with the standard Installing the SDK guide. Though I'm going to see if I can skip "Installing the Eclipse Plugin". Fingers crossed. :)

  5. And then followup with "Creating your first AIR application for Android with the Flex SDK"....

  6. I'm still back on step 2...waiting.

  7. Still waiting....

  8. Still waiting. Note this information on optimizing for different devices and displays.

  9. Consider using the cocos2d android conversion instead...but you'd have to install all the android SDK stuff anyway. Keep waiting.

Okay, this is silly. Sorry. I thought I'd keep notes here, but things are not progressing quickly enough for that. La la la la la!

But while I'm waiting, I should set up my certificates, and note to myself that I'm cribbing from publishing apk with air captive runtime, even if it does use the flash IDE and I'm using...commandline...fun! Fingers crossed some more.
Want your loved ones to talk to you from beyond the grave? Technology's not quite there yet, says AT&T, but the best thing to do is record as much as you can of their voice, in as good a setting and as high res as plausible....

Can I use my own voice?

Not in AT&T Natural Voices™.

The reasons for wanting customized voices are varied. Some people just think it would be cool. Some are losing their voices due to a medical condition or upcoming surgery and would like to have their own synthetic voice rather than a generic one. Some people have audio tapes of a late loved one. (See the reference to ModelTalker in the section on Assistive Technologies below that may be useful for people soon to lose their voices.)

Creating high-quality voices requires a good voice talent, a sound-proof room, professional audio equipment, hours of written material with thorough coverage of phoneme combinations in the language, and the time and expertise to turn those recordings into a decent synthetic voice. Because of the expense involved, custom voice builds are usually done for corporations that want to computerize an existing actor's voice, for example to continue a brand image.

Since even professional actors reading well-chosen material don't always synthesize well, another possibility is to get the highest quality recordings possible, and as much of it as possible. Keep the recordings in a safe place until the technology improves for transforming one voice to sound like another. It may take far less material to build a tranformation model than it does to build a TTS voice from scratch. Eventually it may be possible to take a good TTS voice that is roughly similar (e.g. mid-pitch-range male, same accent) and morph it to sound like the desired person.

From research.att.com.


‎"Text Detective finds and reads text in printed documents within seconds using your iPhone’s camera. The detected text can easily be read, edited, copied and pasted into documents, emails or other apps. It even stores all the scanned text in a history, which allows you to refer to it later. Every step is accessible."

This has been a big part of my life for the last nine months—not that I've been working on this one app that whole time, but what I worked on culminated in this app (well, and the next one I'm working on, and whatever comes after that....). Dayjob stuff. :)

Before coming to this, I was very familiar with the concept of accessibility from the web world, and fairly clue-ful with how to deal with such things (though I'd never actually used a screenreader). I didn't have that clue when it came to iOS accessibility, and it really is a different beast (you can't rely on content so much, because the app isn't content, it's...tool).

Of course, the app isn't 100% what we want it to be; mostly, it's not as fast as we want it to be, and the OCR engine we're using can have sketchy results in the "please finish processing before I die" mode, but we're working on it (and more novel entry-points to the text reading, assistance orienting and that sort of stuff), and the next gen phones will give us more power, of course. ;)

obligatory TextDetective iTunes link

no response yet from boostlikes, re: earlier post...

Buying "likes"

My head is all up in advertising, right now; get-rich-quick type things. I'm a sucker for "sign this form and you might win an iPad". (Note: I have actually won stuff, including a brand-new-at-the-time iPhone 3GS—that was a twitter RT contest. And I only get a usual amount of spam. ;) ) I do avoid the "sign up with our partners" stuff and the "you may already have won" stuff. And I tend not to do things that require RTs or posts or things like that these days unless I'm actually already a fan of the product/whatever.

But when I'm trying to promote something, when I think it just needs "a little more eyeballs" (like my iOS game TumbleDots, or by proxy, its Facebook fanpage, or...I don't even know what. I can get a little...graspy.

And clicky. And so I wind up looking at things—not seriously, mind you, or so I tell myself—like Boostlikes. They promise 500 likes for your Facebook fanpage for "just $27." TumbleDots' fanpage has 41 likes after a couple weeks of harassing friends (29 of those likes are from Facebook friends). I've spent close to $50 on Facebook advertising to help drive those (though $35-and-counting of that is a $50 voucher I got from Facebook after starting my campaign, and I expect to pull the plug once the voucher is spent). I've bought a few weird things through Fiverr.com. I'm in "sucker" mode.

Boostlikes say they'll give a demo with 100 free likes for doing a post about them. I'm hoping they consider this a post about them. :) Because I'm a sucker, but like a sucker, I'm ever-hopeful.

Life Update 2012

tobin: I need a life update - what are you doing these days? This is LJ - you can't just spam us. (-:

Hmm. Well, I released TumbleDots. ;) If I could live on $100 a year, I'd be doing comfortably with all the flash games I've released with advertising through Mochi Media and Kongregate. I'm expecting...less, at this point, with iPhone apps. Hopefully I can get enough of them rolling to at least pay for the yearly $100 app store license. But that's hobby stuff.

Other hobby stuff is...still writing, fiction and poetry, though less than I used to. Just...too much going on. Or priorities shifting without my knowledge. Or something.

Trying to get GUD Issue 7 out (for the last two years!?).

My day job shifted from work-at-home web development down in Los Angeles (HandBrewed) to an awesome startup in Berkeley (where I was, for a while, commuting back to Los Angeles (Acton) on weekends...) doing C++/Qt LIDAR/GPS/GIS-type stuff...and other stuff I can't talk about...that got bought ought and chopped to pieces.

To another (better! smaller! awesomer!) slow-burn startup (of 15 years?) developing software and systems for the blind and aging, to help them be more independent. (Blindsight). Our first app is in submission with Apple right now (the TextDetector on the website). It's a first stab at making a semi-realtime text detector / OCR system (using TesseractOCR as the backend for OCR) that's super-accessible.

Amy's mostly moved up to Berkeley with me, so I'm not traveling back and forth so much (more like once a month we go down to Los Angeles to visit her parents); we still have the house down there, still under water on it, still don't know what to do with it other than keep it from burning down ((*@#&$(* weed clearance). She's finished her coursework at UCLA working towards a PhD in statistics (emphasis on computer vision), and is doing research until she or her professor decides she's done. :)

Did I leave anything out? :) Yes! And probably more.

ETA: I sold (well, gave) my motorcycle to a friend who will treat it much better than I ever did; I haven't been riding lately because I've been back in Berkeley, walking everywhere. I do like walking. :) I can walk to work.

Amy totaled her car last year (she's fine), and we finally got a new one a few months ago. It's odd having a nice, new car. We don't really drive it much (well, except down to Los Angeles occasionally, and to visit my folks in Sacramento on a roughly weekly basis).

What else, what else? My weight has been up and down, but I'm working out a little (Amy's convinced me she likes muscles). But I don't stick with it, like I don't stick with anything (like trying to learn Chinese, or...following up on the majority of my projects-in-progress). We're trying to go for daily walks, and the occasional bike ride (bikes courtesy of my parents :) ).

We got into geocaching for a little while, and might again (whatever's a reasonably short hike), but...dunno. :)

Amy's really gotten into farmers' markets, and cooking new/different things based on seasonal vegetables (generally from one specific cookbook/website that does well by us).

I'm pretty prolific on twitter, and lately using FaceBook a surprising (to me?) amount. I sporadically lose time to new iOS games (playing them), and trying to promote stuff, and bemoaning my lack of time....


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