amalthia: (Supernatural Deanshow)
Public service request: Please stop being so cheesy!!!! I cannot stand watching with my husband anymore because he's heckling the shit out of your show!


Here are some examples of areas that could use some improvement... )
amalthia: (Thumper GRRRR)
I know I'm probably not the only person in the United States that isn't happy with the 10 day delay in watching Avengers. It seems like everyone else in the world has seen the movie and today as I was browsing tumblr I keep seeing cut tags for reviews (which I do appreciate btw) What is annoying me is that I really would love to read these reviews and thoughts on the movie but I have to wait another week before I can view them.

I'm seriously annoyed with whoever thought it would be a good idea to not have a single world wide release date for this movie so I can participate with my fellow fans and squee about the movie.

I could save the links to notepad to read after Avengers but I shouldn't have to. I feel cut off from the conversation and it's a weird unpleasant feeling.

And in other news, there is already a cam version of the movie online for anyone that knows how to use torrents.
amalthia: (Thumper GRRRR)
I was reading the New York Times today and they had yet another article about how the movie didn't so great this weekend at the box office. I found it interesting that they mentioned all this behind the scenes stuff for what went wrong with the movie but they didn't once bring up that many people refuse to watch movies in 3D.

I know for myself I didn't get to see the movie until Sunday afternoon at 4pm because they only had 2 non-3D showings this weekend 4pm and the other at 10pm. On Friday night there was no way I could make the 4pm or the 10pm showing. I couldn't stay up until midnight because I had early morning plans on Saturday. Sunday was the soonest we could see it. I can tell you the showing I went to was sold out. I can't help but think if they saved their money and skipped 3D Disney would have made more money on this movie. I don't know how much 3D costs to put on a movie but I kind of want to tell the studio people to save their money and spend it on marketing, other special effects, or better writers. Or just pocket the money and produce something else with it. Whatever they spent is far too much if it is keeping people from seeing their movie.

I know I'm not the only one that detests 3D. My husband I both got headaches last time we tried a 3D movie and the 3D costs five dollars more on top of an already expensive ticket. For a Disney movie you would think the people in charge would expect parents to bring kids to watch the movie, but they don't ask how is a family supposed to afford 3D prices??? It cost me and my husband 20 dollars to see a matinee movie. I imagine for a family of four that would be 40 and that's without popcorn or drinks.

For once, I would like to see an article that points to 3D as the main reason people didn't see the movie. Because it's been proven time and again that people will pay to watch crap *cough* Transformers *cough.* Quality isn't the reason for why people aren't seeing the movie.

To be fair John Carter was a lot of fun to watch and I thought a good family movie. It was just really frustrating that they only had two available showtimes for people who did not want to see the movie in 3D. I imagine there were other people who could not make either of those two showtimes and decided to wait till next weekend or wait until the movie is out on DVD.
amalthia: (Thumper GRRRR)
Well, it was bound to happen. My account was suspended...I'm still not changing my name because I don't want my real name online at all! But I did add a fake last name that's sort of generic. Google + is smoking crack if they think their service is going to be successful when people can't pick which names they are known by online. My real name doesn't mean anything to the people I interact with online and why would I want to interact over the internet with people I already know if I can't trust them with my online pen name?

I hate that people think everyone wants a Facebook account.
amalthia: (Beauty)
Amazon Fails, Again!

I rarely buy books but I had bought a book with the expectation that I could go back and re-download it later, only to find out that it's gone for good, I'd be rather pissed off. I also don't think it's a good idea for bookstores to start removing books they find questionable. It wouldn't be so bad if they stated why they were removing the books, refunded their customers their purchase, and fairly removed ALL books that had the questionable content.

Other people more articulate than myself have spoken about this in other locations but I find it offensive when people make judgment calls on what I like to read for fun and as pure fantasy. Having said that I guess it's human nature, I make judgment calls on anyone who'd buy a Sarah Palin book. Not sure I can throw stones on that one, but when a business gets into our private business it makes me uncomfortable.
amalthia: (Doctor Who Donna and Doctor)
Some guy at the Mobile Read Forums is annoying me and I can't pinpoint why his statements are rubbing me the wrong way. I suck at expressing myself and the idea of tackling his latest post is daunting. I'm also not sure if I'm overreacting or he really is being somewhat trollish.

The AO3 thread was going so well too and then this guy came along and said he wanted nothing to do with the A03 because someone said that RPF fan fiction was the only real fan fiction and as a gen fan fiction writer he found it offensive and thinks the whole organization feels that way. And yet he has not cited anything.

The discussion has gone a bit downhill since, almost into wank. I don't even know what to say anymore. I should let it go or hope [personal profile] elf is willing to whack him over the head with her brains. I'm sure if I write anything more I'll probably make things even worse...or give him more ammo.

Post in question
amalthia: (Firefly Inara)
The author [livejournal.com profile] obsessed1 was very CLEAR about saying no one has permission to merge her story into a single file or turn it into a PDF or word doc.

Read author notes here

For some reason her statement really made me want to go merge the story, take a screencap of the single file PDF and Word Doc (and ebook versions because no way would I go through the effort without making an ebook version), and email the screencap to her!

I felt like a rather bad person for being so tempted. Because really seriously? It's one thing to not offer a single file version for your readers because it is the author's choice as to how they want to present their fic. It's another thing to give orders to readers on how to read the story.

Um other than that the story actually looks quite interesting. I'll read it once I get it on my ebook reader after converting it to a single file Word doc, then to HTML, and from there epub and LRF.

Can't stop the signal.
amalthia: (CareBears Friend)
Master Posts are posts where an author lists their header information as well as chapters to all the parts in their LJ posted fic. This helps the reader find all the parts in the story.

The basic Master Post shares essential information about the story such as:

Author:
Title:
Pairing:
Fandom:
Word Count:
Warnings:
Summary:
Artist: (Include link)

Most authors get this part just right.

The part many authors miss is helping the reader find all the parts to their fic. I don’t think readers are asking a lot. We want to read your story, we want to read it in the correct order, and we actually want to read ALL of the story.

Some authors use tags, which helps, but tags are not nearly as effective as a simple list of links leading to each chapter or part in the story.

But in doing that, sometimes the links aren't enough either because they lead to locked posts, they aren't in a logical order; in so many ways, writers shoot themselves in their own feet by making it difficult to read multiple post fic.

For example, what many authors do is list Chapter 1a but make no mention of 1b in their chapter post let alone at the top of Chapter 1a, which could lead the reader to believe that there are no links at the bottom of the fic. This is NOT good. Not everyone (like me) is going to scroll down 18 plus chapters to see if there is more at the end. Trying to read a story shouldn’t be like a scavenger hunt.

This sucks. And the author gets no cookie or brownie points from me or any other reader that has experienced this.

Another issue for the multi-part stories is that some authors make 2 Master Posts. For the reader this is confusing, first because it makes me ask why there are two master posts for the same story? Why not just have one master post and list all the links there.

One time there was a multi-part story with two master posts, and in master post #1 (which was part 1), there were (let's just say) seven chapters numbered 1 through 7. But in the master post #2 (which was part 2), there were eight chapters, and they were numbered 1 through 8. If you stumbled upon master post #2, you might think you were at the beginning of the story, but instead you ended up in the middle. Much confusion develops for the reader when trying to figure this out.

If you MUST have two master posts (though it boggles the mind as to why you would want this kind of maintenance nightmare), then the chapters should be consistently sequential from beginning to end. Like this:

Part 1

Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3

Part 2
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6a
Chapter 6b

It’s the author’s job (if they choose to share their writing) to make the access to their stories clear and not confusing. It does not inspire confidence in a story if an author cannot share their story in a way that does not confuse the reader or cut them off from the rest of the story.

Many workplaces now block social networking sites such as Livejournal. Readers have found a few ways to get around these blocks such as downloading fic to usb sticks, emailing the stories to themselves, and etc…as a result when they (including myself) are at work and have the time to read the fic, this is not the best time to find out they missed downloading parts of the author’s story. Keeping in mind with a limited amount of time in the evening to download and etc…this happens quite often.

These are just some things to keep in mind if you’re an author posting a multi-chaptered story or splitting a story up due to LJ word posting limitations. The simplest solution would be a single file version but if that is not possible then it is rather important that the author make it as easy and clear as possible for their readers to find every part of their story in a single post.
amalthia: (Thumper GRRRR)
Okay, for those that don't know I really HATE the epub format. Or at least hate how Adobe Digital Editions handles it and in effect the Sony PRS line of ebook devices.

1) I can't just center my images with < P Align="Center" > instead I have to use < div style="text-align:center" >

2) It will not display .gif files

3) On the Sony PRS-300/500/505/600 there are page numbers on the side margins! and no text justification and if they do introduce it they probably won't add hyphens, which will result in huge gaps between words. I can live without text justification but they really need to get rid of the page numbers.

4) Break tags do not work properly to add line spacing. < br > will create a break but even using three < br > in a row epub will not recognize it. Instead you have to use <P>&nbsp;</P> if you need a line. Mobi and LRF will create a blank line anywhere a < br > tag is at but not Epub. Though it will create a break but you have to use DIV after the BODY tag. :(

As a format epub is not forgiving and it's HTML requirements are too specific considering it won't recognize common html elements.
amalthia: (Default)
I just ran across a story that used apostrophes in the place of quotations. I'm still rather sure that in 99% of the cases quotations are required at the beginning of dialogue and at the end of the dialogue. It's not even something that's easy to fix because you can't just replace all the quotations with apostrophes without messing up the apostrophes in the story. grrrr

I'm normally not a grammar nazi but in this case I'll make an exception. It's ugly formatting and not proper writing!

EDIT: it appears that this type of formatting is common in the UK. I didn't know that, but I do still prefer regular quotes so you don't get sentences that look like this.

(random sentence that I modified)

'They do.' She slipped into the galley, moving soundless on little bare feet. 'I'm hungry.'
amalthia: (Thumper GRRRR)
Okay the mystery is solved sadly not in my favor. :(

Basically, I accidentally went to an out-of-network provider and my insurance would only pay a certain percentage for out of network. Considering the total bill was 900 I'm guessing 260 isn't so bad after all. :( Do all Family Practices charge 275 dollars for new patients?

What further added to the confusion is that I called ahead and asked if I was in network and they misunderstood Alaska Village Electric Cooperative for Alaska Electric Cooperative (which was in network for them) and my insurance website Find a doctor link did not display which doctors were in or out of network so I assumed they were all in-network. :(

What I also found out today is that apparently no clinic in Alaska is in-network for my insurance provider. I have to go to the main hospital for my medical appointments if I want to be in-network.

Basically, at this point they better damn well reform health care so that no matter where you go to be seen you're in network!

In other bad news, got my first bad grade in grad school. It could be worse but basically I misunderstood the directions and only completed 1/4th of the assignment. I did let the professor know what part of the syllabus tripped me up though so hopefully he'll revise it next year. Basically we have to write annotated bibliographies for 4 Units but in the syllabus it says you need 4 articles for the annotated bibliographies and I assumed that meant 1 article per Unit, not 4 articles per unit which is actually what was required. the annotated bibliographies are only worth 25% of my total grade so I think I still have a chance at an A if I don't mess up anything else.

Right now my confidence is a bit shaken, first I feel tricked by the insurance company and their no good website, and then I messed up on my school work.

Going to try and put this behind me and move forward...which is btw easier said than done. But I have Cold Stone ice cream and 2 new episodes of Heroes to watch. Plus a really awesome husband, best friend [livejournal.com profile] lovesrain44, and a cool flist. :)
amalthia: (Thumper GRRRR)
Okay so I finally got around to downloading all the Tardis Big Bang PDFs. I converted one to HTML hoping to use Calibre to convert the story into LRF so I can read it on my ebook device. The results are not what I was hoping for here is an example of what I got for the first paragraph.


“Chapter One

It was after his death on Argot Station that Jack realized how wrong he'd been. The death was an ugly one. Getting shot in the stomach was never a good way to go, and Jack knew he was unlikely to enjoy the aftermath either. He had the tendency to wake up as soon as his body was able to sustain consciousness, but before everything was back in its proper place. Getting shot in the head meant one hell of a migraine. Getting shot in the belly - with bullets that extruded nasty little blades, no less - meant several hours of extreme unpleasantness while his intestines squirmed themselves back into position. Jack didn't think about that much at the time. He wasn't thinking about much at all beyond the pain, until he coughed and then he was thinking about the blood in his mouth and throat, choking him. "Jack!" River was there, filling his field of vision. Jack turned his head, squinting to see if the guards who had shot him were still there or if they'd gone. "Jack, stay with me -" "G' be okay," Jack managed. She'd only been with him and the Doctor a few months and she'd never seen him die. She knew he'd wake up again, they'd told her that right away, but she seemed to have forgotten. She was trying to staunch the bleeding with her bare hands. Jack appreciated the effort, but it wasn't going to help. He coughed again. Knives of pain split apart his stomach and his mouth filled with blood. He gagged on it, unable to breathe. He tried to tell her again that it'd be okay, the Doctor would come for them soon, but all that came out was a desperate gargling noise. River's hands were covered in Jack's blood, and Jack was - Gone. He woke up in the TARDIS medbay. The bright lights made his head ache, so he closed his eyes, listened to the comforting thrum and hum of the ship, and waited for the Doctor to notice he was awake. He'd obviously missed out on the rest of their misadventure, but he couldn't feel too sorry about it. It was just as unpleasant as he remembered, feeling his insides slip around. Eventually the disorientation eased enough for Jack to sense that something was off. He blinked his eyes open, half-afraid he'd mistaken his location, but he hadn't. It was the TARDIS, only . . . no Doctor. That was strange. The two of them had what almost amounted to a ritual for the aftermath of these adventures, the bad ones where Jack died. The Doctor took it hard, and after a few hundred years of playing fast and loose with his own skin, Jack had learned to avoid it if he could. Since rejoining the Doctor a couple decades earlier, he'd only died a few dozen times. But the hours after each of those times were etched into Jack's memory as some of the sweetest, most intimate moments of his long life. “

I tried saving as RTF, got the same thing. I think what happened is that whomever created the PDF didn’t add enough space between paragraphs so the program is not detecting the paragraph breaks? It’s a mess. It wouldn’t be so bad if they had made the PDF look like a real book but that didn’t happen. (real book with paragraph indents instead of spaces) Or made sure the source had defined paragraph breaks which you can check by hitting the view formatting button in Microsoft Office. Most stories have ^l line breaks where they really need ^p breaks. Especially before converting to another format out of MS Word.

And as anyone that creates ebooks knows you can’t resize a PDF to fit a 6 inch screen it has to be made from the original source file. I’ll probably go through and guess where the paragraphs breaks are supposed to be but honestly I don’t think the authors intended or wanted their stories to look like this when random people, aka me, go through and start guessing as to where the paragraph breaks are supposed to go. I think in the end I just won't read any of the fics that aren't already in a single file at the Tardis Big Bang which is very disappointing. :(

Maybe if this was my only fandom it would be worth the time to reformat the stories properly into html or go and save all the chapters and merge them. However school started for me yesterday and I don't have time to go merge fics anymore and I certainly don't have time to make them look pretty for reading on my PRS-505.

I think authors that provide more than one format for their fic actually end up with more control over how their fic is presented to their users.

This was rather disheartening…I guess I just have to hope the authors post their fics someplace else like the awesome Doctor Who archive A Teaspoon and an Open Mind which is currently hosting 22,953 stories. Or with luck they'll post to Dreamdwidth. Either that or make an open call to my flist to see if anyone has had the time to merge any of the Tardis Big Bang stories but that's kind of my last resort option. I gotta say the Teaspoon archive does give me hope. It looks like many Doctor Who/Torchwood authors are hosting their fics there.

So far in terms of getting stories easily into 1 file without making my carpal tunnel worse I gotta say the Stargate Atlantis Big Bang and the Merlin Big Bang are without doubt my favorite Big Bang challenges. I also truly appreciate all the authors of the Tardis Big Bang and the Supernatural Big Bang that did offer their stories in a single file.

I'll admit I'm biased towards single file postings of fics so yeah I truly anticipate those two challenges for the ease of reading the fics aspect if nothing else.

EDIT: While I was browsing the Teaspoon archive I ran across the story I was trying to convert in a single file. A Wound In Time by Sahiya.

EDIT 2: Um I didn't single out Sahiya's story for any malicious reason. I just really love her stories and figured if I only had time to convert 1 story today it should be hers since I know she's a rather good writer and I've been wanting to read her fic since it was first posted. And after looking at the other PDFs I'd have gotten the same results with any of the conversions to html.

EDIT 3: I also don't mean to exactly single out the Tardis Big Bang but they did provide my latest example of why I find PDFs frustrating.
The Tardis Big Bang crew provided beautiful PDFs that are great for reading on a computer and I can tell they put some effort into it. That doesn't change the fact that format shifting from PDF can easily turn into one big mess.
amalthia: (CareBears Grumpy)
Today someone recommended two Tardis Big Bang fics...(didn't know they were big bangs until I saw where the links went) and I noticed they have single file versions of the stories up. Only problem is that they are in PDF and sized for 8x11 pages. I'm puzzled as to why PDF ends up as the default for so many people? What's wrong with RTF, Doc, or HTML? Neither of those formats is any harder to share than PDF. I mean to create the PDF you have to start off with a doc file.

I guess for me I always try to share the easiest to convert from format where as other people seem to be picking the hardest to convert from instead. (the one most likely to screw up the author's story if you convert it to another format, crash your computer, and display's badly on the few portable reading devices that "support" pdf.)

PDF is a great final format for printing. It's never been a great format for reading on the computer or converting from. There are other file formats out there that are more flexible.

So, in the meantime, I think the only tardis big bangs I'll be reading anytime soon is from authors that elected to share their stories as a single file. With Torchwood and Doctor Who fandom I'm better off sticking to their massive archive of fics at A Teaspoon and An Open Mind.
amalthia: (Thumper GRRRR)
I hit one of those invisible ads at mininova.org and boom! all this shit downloaded to my computer and started installing itself. I've run spybot (which removed a lot) and now I'm running AVG while will hopefully remove the rest but I'm looking at making sure I have my laptop backed up and maybe next weekend begin reformatting...just to be on the safe side.

This weekend I didn't do nearly as much reading as I anticipated. I've been doing food and drink runs for my husband who is currently installing wooden floors in our new home and I've been taking care of all the errands this weekend and even helped out a bit on the installation stuff at the new house. This has been a weird fourth of july weekend.

On the plus side, I walked my grandmother through logging into livejournal we have each other friended now. I got to talk with my sister (who I haven't spoken to in about a month) mostly we talked about the baby she's going to have and our niece, who according to her, looks just like I did when I was her age. It's weird to realize that there's a little person running around with my some of my genetics...okay I'm no biologist but I still think it's neat.

My husband and I are also completely re-watching Firefly. I still feel like crying when I realize there are only 5 more episodes to go and then that's it. So many stories they could have told! I mean really how many shows are this awesome in less than 13 episodes?????

Recs should be coming up later tonight.

Edit: figured I should warn my peeps to not visit mininova not sure what's going on there but my computer goes crazy if I do any searches. I think they are getting some kind of attack. :(
amalthia: (CareBears Good Luck)
My friend [livejournal.com profile] lovesrain44 I think is tired of hearing me whine about fandom stuff and she said I should instead post to my LJ.

So this post is entirely her fault!

Basically, here's what's going on. My work has cut off LJ and now gmail. In order to read any fan fiction I add it to my ebook device and read during lunch. (this is where 80% of my reading happens during the week) the other 20% is sometimes off my usb stick. They haven't disabled usb mass storage drives at work yet but I would not be shocked if it happens sooner rather than later. And I do read on the weekends but not as much as I'd like.

I sometimes at night only have maybe 30 minutes to an hour online to check my email, go through LJ and DW to see if any new stories are posted. As anyone who is following any of the big bangs knows Supernatural is releasing about 5 stories a day (each over 20k words long) the tardis big bang has posted their stories. I think the Merlin Big Bangs are coming out soon??? I have favorite authors posting to each of these story fests. And I'd love to read their fics.

I noticed this week, and previous weeks for that matter, that with limited time it's really nice to be able to save a story onto my usb device so I can either format it to read on my ebook device, the next day at work, or read it on my work computer through MS Word.

As you can imagine this isn't easy because 99% of the authors (that write fics over 20k words) post their fics in chapters. And a whole bunch of chapters at that. For the 1% of authors that do post to Dreamwidth in a single file or to a website/archive I LOVE YOU!!!!! and I read their stories first. The rest I try to save and merge myself at a later date. I've been lucky to find a few other friends who have more time than me to merge fics and we're swapping fics as we merge them so we can read them on our devices.

What I want to know is what do fans with children, jobs, and husbands do to read fics?

Truly, writers of the Tardis Big bang that opted for Chapters...I'd really like to know why? It's not like it's easy to comment on each chapter (their site isn't efiction based or LJ based). There were no limitations on how much story can be posted. LJ has it's 10k limit. So I can kind of get why a person can't post 50k words at once unless they go to Dreamwidth.

This is 2009. I think most people who have internet have mostly high speed internet and or 56k modems which trust me it's still easier to open one big html file than 5 or 8 mini-html pages. People are not always reading fan fic on their computers anymore. Or they have time to read but not at home and with work places closing shop on blogs, LJ, rottentomates, and gmail, yahoo, hotmail. It's not like everyone at work can access your fic when they do have time to read it. (like me!)

The ability to save a fic quickly is very very nice for the readers. If you want to set your story apart from others in a big way, make your story easy to save. If you want to give your readers more options post to an archive that allows the reader to choose between chapter viewing or single file viewing. Or offer both options when you post your story. Many fans out there are willing to host fics (I'm one of them) But at the moment only 4 SPN big bang authors have asked if I could do this for them. that's 4 out of 255 stories. Some authors were cool enough to post their fics to Dreamwidth so I didn't have to open 20 10 separate html pages to save their stories. (which btw, those will be read last if at all) I'd think as writers/authors you'd want to reach a wide audience. I know I'm just one reader who is saying I'm not doing it anymore. But I have a hard time imagining there aren't more out there who say nothing but skip along to something else based on similar criteria.

If you post a story that's over 8 chapters of html pages and I can't get it in a single file from the author directly or from a friend it's not going to be read. Let alone recommended by me. I don't care if God himself comes down from above and says it's the best story in the world you have to read it.

I have a ratio I kind of work with. I expect 10k words per LJ post. So yeah if the story is 80k words I can accept 8 LJ pages. but if it's only 28k words and there are 8 pages forget it mister. That story should have only been 3 LJ pages at most.

For the Tardis Big Bang stories. What's most annoying about those is you don't even have all the links to the chapter at the top. You have no way of knowing how many chapters are listed. So yeah, I think I'll stick to the authors that posted in a single file for now. Maybe over 4th of July weekend I'll see about downloading the chapters. But truly, no one should have to do that.

Also, single file PDF sucks. really really sucks. I think I know of only one PDF expert and even she does not recommend PDF as a format for ebook readers. PDF does not convert easily to other formats, crashes computers, and does not work on the Kindle and barely on the Sony PRS, let alone iPhones or Ipod Touch. When I say single file I mean single HTML or Word Doc. Unless you've read the Sony PRS manual on how to create PDFs specifically for 6 inch screens it's a format best stayed away from.

There was no specific story or author that prompted this post because as I stated 99% of the authors I run across post multiple chapters via LJ. the 1% of those that don't know who they are and probably already know how much I appreciate them thinking of the readers. And if they don't this post should tell them I do appreciate it.

The other 99% percent of you guys. I get your reasons for posting to LJ. Finding an archive you like is hard, making your own website is even harder and yet you want control over your fic and LJ seems like the best of both options. LJ is great for short stories but it does have it's limitations as anyone that posts long stories should know. So truly I get it. I do. I just wish there was something better than LJ (or even Dreamdwidth) though I will say Dreamwidth with their 50k word count limit went a long ways towards making itself better than LJ. (though a few kinks still need to be ironed out)

I'm not discounting the difficulties of posting single file fics. But there are ways if you don't have your own web hosting space. I've seen authors use megaupload, sendspace, friends who do have websites, and a whole bunch of other ways. Hell even google docs.

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