Monday, 20 February 2012

Blogs. Grammar nazis. Editing. Stuff.

Life's busy. The real one, as in earning a living and running a house and having a social life. So, of course, now that SL works again, my brain tends to have shut down by the time I log in.


Bad me. But this is cyclic, and my SL to a large extent depends on how much work I have in (ah the freelance life), so it is - I hope - due to swing a little towards the 'more time for me' end of the spectrum.

My daughter just sent me this image and... why of course I look like Nicole Kidman. Or actually no, I look like a female version of the one at the bottom right. And the bloodshot eyes and caffeine in the face of deadlines applies to all I do, translations and the rest. Heh.

I have, in fact, just churned out a honking great report (as in written it) and I can see the light at the end of the tunnel with an equally honking great translation (while hoping it's not another train coming, and am hence taking a break to rant write something that I don't get paid for).

(If you're bored with this stuff, sorry... I do predict a return to dodgy SL photography and plugging my builds and stuff before 2013).

Get to the subject, woman.  Here it is.

I skim lots of blogs over the daily triple shot of expresso early in a morning, however busy I am (and read news after dinner, and books before going to sleep: I am a creature of habit).

(If you write / edit / translate for a living, you need to read. Widely. Simple as that.)

Since I figured out Google Reader, the blogs I read regularly range from food, decor, SL blogs and a smattering of more random things I discover in various ways (waves to a friendly physicist whose non-physics blog often makes me smile - AND he can spell and punctuate... heh).

Now, I don't expect blogs to be literature. Some are, but most are just fun or fascinating in other ways. Also, I can hardly look down my nose about personal blogs being less than polished considering the typos spread liberally around in this one and my ongoing battle with dodgy photos.

OK, and the rambling. I do know I ramble. It's the liberating thing about my unpaid writing. Live with it ;)

So, as far as I'm concerned, fill your blogs with anything you like (pale pink text, droopy mouthed models, fashion I'd not be seen dead in, recipes I'd avoid like the plague, histrionic self-congratulation and navel-gazing) and I'll decide whether to read it. Attract my interest, good or bad, and half the battle is won. I can ignore misplaced apostrophes. Really I can. Sometimes.

So far, so good.

One blog in particular, however, has made me half chuckle and half groan lately. It's one I always read with a sort of train wreck fascination for various reasons, and one that made my eyes roll when I first stumbled on it via another SL blog a while back, since the writer calmly stated 'I hate editors because they ruin my superb artistic expression' (paraphrased but you get the gist).

Hmmm. I'll get back to that.

However, this person's latest project is quite entertaining. She has decided to teach people about "writing for a profit". Apparently she does, and kudos to her. Sort of.

Considering I've been living off my ability to line up words since the Stone Age, I'm all for people offering sound advice although you'd never catch me attempting to teach it because I am too old and cranky.

Whether it's writing, translating or editing, my daily bread is all about being able to string words and phrases together with a certain degree of style and accuracy, and preferably enjoying it (mostly, I do enjoy it although we won't mention translating pension fund regulations). It's also about keeping clients happy despite impossible deadlines. Oh, and finding the clients in the first place.

No sh**, Sherlock. I'm also pretty talented at stating the obvious.

(This is a family-friendly blog, by the way, so interpret the asterisks. Thanks).

There are worse professions, even though I always fancied being a fighter pilot.

Yes, seriously.


(Yes, of course there's a but).

If you're going to generously bestow your knowledge of writing on others, it would kinda sorta help to learn about apostrophes (and spelling, and a few other things). And it would help even more to avoid statements about hating editors, considering the said blog is supposedly a showcase for the said blogger's writing. Oh, and to stop with the fancy schmancy pale pink text bits that I am too lazy to highlight so I can read it. But that's a detail.

Some editors suck, I quite agree. I had a (professional) line editor for a book who was imposed on me a couple of years back, and who seemed to know less about it than I know about nuclear physics. But he did pick up (some of) my typos and a few inconsistencies.

However, some can be quite useful (understatement), and not just for sorting out your grammar.  I have a couple of editors / correctors who may well see me as the kid in the photo above but mostly we enjoy the synergies (I get mortified, argue, but am usually desperately grateful. And when I have my editor's hat on, I also aim for collaboration not dictatorship. Not sure whether I succeed, but I try.).

Although editing your own writing is possible if you have a sharp eye and can take the necessary distance, a fresh view can identify things your own brain refuses to see or grammar issues you haven't mastered (is apostrophe use really so hard? I do wonder sometimes). 

It is just too arrogant to consider that editors ruin your writing, though. Bad ones do. Good ones make it way better and way more 'saleable'.

Maybe I'm a grammar nazi. I don't think so, because my take is that if you (or your client or readers) really don't care about such 'details', then that's fine. Really. But it says plenty about a client if they don't care, and it speaks volumes about a wannabe writer if they think they're too good to be edited, despite not mastering punctuation or spelling. 

In an ideal world, as in when you get to be courted by publishing houses, you get to choose your main editor, who gets to the nitty-gritty of the structure, the architecture, lots of things - and who is not necessarily a line editor but I'll spare you yet more rambling on types of editors and editing.

In reality, until you have proved yourself, you don't get to choose. Which is why I got idiot-face line editor to deal with, who decided to change official terminology, 'correct' quoted extracts, misuse semi-colons, and apply a totally inconsistent capitalisation system. He was a doozy, and arrogant with it. The series editor? He was / is a gem and I soaked up every suggestion and frantically rewrote parts because he was right.

Maybe, just maybe, some writers have enough talent to get away with basic errors (and enough humility to know that you need somebody to pick up your typos and misplaced apostrophes at the very least), but today, in the real world of publishing and paid writing, sloppy copy usually means immediate rejection.

And cranky old broads like me laughing at you over her morning coffee.

There, I ranted. And I should go build something, right?

Sunday, 5 February 2012


Was it the Linden who took over my avatar (and found nothing wrong)?

Was it the remote update to my ADSL box?

Was it the third complete uninstall / reinstall of SL?

Was it kind people crossing fingers and thumbs for me? 

I dunno, but it works and has done for 48 hours. After 3 weeks of **** frustration.


Permit me a brief period of just sitting and grinning at Vent du Sud, and being able to tp and explore and chat and -

- I shall be back with newness.

(and I am sitting on my 1L bench beside the greenhouse, should you be tempted - couples / singles). Which in turn is beside the Mas (which is a 'massive' 50L).

Forgive me. I am just so pleased I want to plug my stuff and change clothes again and... most of all BUILD.


(and I am wearing Exile Monika hair and Zaara jewellery and HOC wedges a top by PBD from 2008 and I need to go shopping also).

Except I have to get on a train tomorrow and go away for a couple of days - lousy timing -but apparently earning a living is useful.

In fact, if somebody would pop over and do my ironing and finish up a chunk of legalese, I would start shopping building NOW.



Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Dear Linden Labs - a letter from a nobody

 Dear Linden Labs,

First, I'm no geek but for the last 30 years (you know, since we had floppies and parked our hard disks and I was incredibly avant garde for installing and using a 2400 baud modem) I've been handling my own PC issues and rarely needed outside help.

I have been earning a living on my PC plus my Internet connection for 25 years. I buy fairly good machines, too.

Second, I love SL and have done since 2007. I don't come anywhere near to meeting my tier, but I enjoy designing and building and chatting to friends, and try to pay it forward a bit by selling my stuff for 1L.

Putting money in monthly is OK because a) I can (within reason) and b) it's my hobby.

So when everything changed overnight and I couldn't stay inworld without crashing, it was something of an unpleasant surprise (understatement) and I did everything I could to find out why.

For three weeks now.

But that's all beside the point. Call it background. Let's get back to facts.

So, SL stopped working properly for me (as in it crashes sporadically but regularly, and kicks me off the Net), and after I changed nothing on my machine or settings.

Since then I have checked stuff, double checked stuff, and read up about stuff until I have frankly run out of ideas.

Your Live Help? Pleasant enough but despite asking politely to be spared the blurb about dealing with lag and clearing cache and uninstalling (done all that twice, thanks), I got... the blurb about doing just that. And was told to file a ticket.

I did. With basic information on my system (model and graphics card). It may not be a gaming monster but it's 2 months old and a pretty fast machine that had absolutely no problems with SL (on the recommended 'high' settings) until January 15.


I've now tried setting it on 'medium' and nothing changes.

Oh, and I've been checking my connection speeds and fluctuations, temperatures, and event logs. They all tell me everything is dandy. Your lag meter shows green everywhere. My fps is magnificent (up to 48, when I'm connected).

My network card says it's very happy thank you. I flushed my DNS cache also, just in case it was that. It wasn't.

This happens on whatever viewer I try (the official one being by far the crashiest of all, just so you know). It all started when I was on one particular sim (which I named), and if I try to go there I crash immediately which could indicate lag but other busy, primmy, scripty sims are fine. Sometimes. But I also crash on empty sims.


But... that comment today on my ticket about whether my machine met minimum requirements is pretty damned stupid I did send the FULL configuration this morning, in return, to save you Googling for the specs (which quite honestly would have taken you less time than writing that comment on my ticket in the first place).

I did say I had no problems (yet?) on my own connection and using another (fancy schmancy gaming) computer, thus indicating the connection is fine... but that does not make my normal machine some sort of wheezing, elderly, below-spec one.

No, my idea was to suggest it could be a problem with SL and my system DESPITE the fact it is well over the minimum needed, and hoping you had some ideas about that.

And if it affects me, it could well affect others too (and for days if not weeks, I have been hearing about people constantly crashing so I suspect there is some sort of a conflict going on with one bit of equipment and your code - and stupidly thought you might want to investigate that).

But no, you just trot out 'check minimum requirements'. Bah.

This does not make for what you would call a "Good User Experience". In fact it makes for a pretty crappy SL experience, including with your 'customer assistance'.

I've spent 5 years standing up for SL, despite its - um - quirks and shortcomings. I've found far more good than bad.

But... I'm sick of this. Really, really sick of it.

I'm not even sure whether it's worth trying to continue (and no this is not emotional bribery for you to magically fix it because you couldn't bear to lose me - it's just a fact).

How long will I  keep trying? Not sure, but not very much longer.