So, Sunday night and Monday morning is always the point I plan out my week for projects. Last week was docbook2odf which finished up two weeks of fairly decent coding.
The next few weeks are writing and editing. When I submitted Sand and Love to the writing group, they helped me realized that I missed a chapter opportunity that filled in a gap in the plot. I think a short 2-4k word chapter will fit in nicely and set the tone. Plus, it will bring the novel up to within 5k of the one before it.
I also got a rejected submission, but with feedback, so I’m going to try rewriting the story to fit the editor’s needs. That will take more time because (most likely) I’m going to violate the word count to get their ideas into the story.
Next week, I’m planning on doing second round edits on my Thankgiving novel. This is a private gift novel for a friend, so it probably won’t see the light of day, but I’m still going to do my best job before giving it to them. Since it is Christmas week, that will fit in the enjoyable gaps between the parties.
So, after a week of working on it, I think docbook2odf is pretty much at a stable point to use for a while. I’m not quite calling it v2.0.0, but it is almost there. Maybe use “beta” for now, but I would like to have it a bit more functional before calling it a version.
As usual, my week for personal projects has been pretty much defined as Monday to Sunday (I really should put Sunday on the right-most of my calendars). I finished a novel over the Thanksgiving holiday and my typical burnout of 1-2 weeks is holding up nicely.
I decided to work on docbook2odf. This probably isn’t the smartest thing in the world, but my spacebar is broken (I’m using Control-V to type spaces or slamming it to trigger it; a new one is ordered). We were also doing a three-day intensive development at work, which meant I wasn’t going to have the creativity for programming on Author Intrusion.
There were a couple of reasons that I wanted to work on docbook2odf. The biggest is that I use it to produce the RTF submissions to the writing group. Some recent changes broke that and I needed to figure out why (I use XML namespaces in my documents, another person doesn’t). I also wanted to get it to generate Smashwords documents to simplify my submissions. That also lead into having a Standard Manuscript Format generated directly from my writing system to make it easier to submit in general.
(I will also probably be able to take these ideas and integrate them into Author Intrusion later.)
I branched this off from my normal work, but I think it’s going to be rolled into the “new release” for it. Mostly, I rewrote the entire thing using slightly different techniques and based on the old one. I had a lot of trouble groking the original, and going line-by-line has really helped with comprehension of what is XSLT and what is Perl (not the languages, the components of docbook2odf). It also builds off of the standard DocBook stylesheets instead of doing its own thing (common libraries, lookups, etc.)
I’m about 50% of the way completed with duplicating the old functionality plus adding a lot more elements that I use for writing. I figured another week should give me something pretty solid to squash as version 2.0. Overall, it can format 90% of an ebook novel correctly (legal page, chapters, table of contents). It is still missing some minor things (
I’m also going to write to the original creator (who I think has abandoned it) and asked if they mind if I relicense the entire thing as MIT instead of GPL. It would make it easier for Author Intrusion.
November has been a pretty busy month for me. I spent most of the time doing critiques for the writing group and ICON 38. And then, after the convention, I’ve spent most of my free time trying to integrate the feedback. I’ve submitted another two chapters of Sand and Love for this week, so I’ll have more to integrate next Thursday. I suspect it will take me another month to get through the feedback (it’s kind of depressing in one place).
I also, accidentally, did NaNoWriMo. I mean by accident in that I had no intent of doing it and didn’t even start a new project until the 20th. But, then I wanted to write a novel as a gift for a friend and managed to write a short 55k word novel. I hit the 50k word point about three minutes before midnight and finished it up this morning while watching Pacific Rim, Planes, Monsters University, and Dredd.
November and December are historically months where I work long hours and this year was no exception. I did a number of sixty hour weeks which pretty much killed my evenings and weekends. Hopefully, things will lighten up but… patterns are changing at work and I’m both excited and terrified for the next two months to come.
This weekend was ICON 38, one of two conventions I go to with my current lifestyle. It was a fun weekend, though less panels that I thought I’d attend and a lot more socialization than I ever imagined.
Last night, someone on Twitter asked about using a crawling convertor for a forum. In specific, a PHPBB3 to PHPBB3 conversion. However, the program involved was Python and a bit obscure to use. So, I offered to come up with a (possibly) easier set of directions of use.
So, another lovely weekend has come and gone. It ended up being more productive than I expected, mainly because SMWM and EDM spent the weekend in a hotel or relatives. As a “gift,” I was given some alone time which usually means obsessing about various projects.
The first part of the weekend resulted in me doing a lot of maintenance: mostly helping other people with their websites, shuffling some things around, and generally patching websites and fixing bugs. That took quite a few hours (about a day and a half), but things are now in pretty good shape for everyone I’m helping.
I also managed to get in two stories (1.5k words and 5k words) and worked on a third. I also sent in a submission for a shorter piece. I feel pretty good about writing at this point, almost like a writer.
I got my first merge request for one of the OSS projects I’ve adopted (docbook2odt). That was awesome, mainly because I’ve never had a merge request before. I botched it, of course, but I learned a lot more about handling merges with Github. And insisting that pull requests are completely isolated.
I also figured out one of the nasty bugs for my work with the Pidgin Twitter client (prpltwtr). I stumbled on the fix while attempting to write some debugging code, but apparently the JSON print routine makes a copy of the nodes… which is exactly what I needed to do. So, I found a clean way of fixing it and it “mostly” works. Probably leaks memory, but at least it runs without crashing.
I got to watch movies, though it reminded me that I really should keep up with writing about female characters in sci-fi fantasy.
- Promethus: Pretty fun despite everyone being obviously stupid. The whole med-bay thing was pretty viseral and fantastic, liked it a lot.
- Running Man: This held up nicely, still an awesome movie.
- Predators: I feel in love with this movie quiet nicely.
- Ratatollie: Still liked it, watched it with EDM.
- Puss in Boots: Corny but fun. EDM actually asked for it by name, which was awesome.
- The Croods: I despise how the movie went from a girl learning about the world to a hard switch about the dad. Love the flame scene with the birds (the first one).
- Armageddon: Like this movie a lot. Most of the sound bite lines I didn’t care for, but the music is lovely and I still like the tension.
I also watched five episodes of the first season of True Blood.
When I’m writing alone, this is pretty much how I work. A lot of movies and TV shows while writing steadily. And somehow, in all that, I managed to do dishes twice, three loads of laundry, clean, and play parent for a night.
Next week is ICON 38 and I’m presenting a few chapters of Sand and Love to the writing group on Thursday. So, this means nothing serious on the weekend and I have a lot of critiquing to do since I’ve submitted some chapters of Sand and Blood to the writing workshop.
This weekend, I didn’t work. It doesn’t sound like much, but for the previous three, I was putting in 20+ hours over the weekend to keep up with some estimating mistakes I made at work due to imperfect understanding. I dislike making mistakes, which is why I put in the hours to correct it. But, it also meant that death march drive that sucks the life out of you and prevents anything else from going forward.
So, I got a chance to rest, recover, and let go enough that I could dream again and maybe write. So, got some house cleaning done, a bit of shopping and laundry, wrote a 5k word short story, a little bit of programming, and a few hours of raking leaves. I also read a book (gasp), well a third of a book but I only took about an hour over three days while interrupting myself to talk to SMWM.
Normally, my life is organized in sprints. They start on Monday and end on Sunday. I usually know my major focus by then and it seems to give some order and organization. I haven’t been able to do that recently, which meant I didn’t really get anything done since I was trying to do everything.
This week, I have two goals. The first is to finish critiques. Normally, I have 2-3 submissions for the writing group to go through, but I also have ICON 38 coming up and I’ve submitted the first five chapters of Sand and Blood to the group. It also means I won’t go to the benefactor’s breakfast (pout) and won’t be able to chat up some of my role models, but trying to improve my writing takes precedence.
The other is prpltwtr. Some months ago, I realized that I really dislike Trillian’s interface (again, for the fourth time) and I wanted my Pidgin back. But, no one appears to have stepped up and switched over either microblog-purple or prpltwtr to Twitter’s new JSON API. So, I decided to take a shot at it.
Working in code designed by someone else is never easy. Working on a plugin for an API I don’t entirely understand makes it hard. Not having anyone to ask questions is even harder. I’m mostly taking pot shots in the dark, slowly getting success, but I need to really dive into it to figure out the last of the bugs I have left. The nested callback system is brutal for debugging and I’m not entirely sure where anything goes. But, I got the basics working over the last month so I just think a week (or two) will get me toward the finish line.
Author Intrusion is on the back burner until after ICON, though if I finish the critiques, I’ll probably jump over there since I have no Internet connectivity in the lunch room (and working on a Twitter client kind of requires connectivity).
Other than that, SMWM has a doctor’s visit on Friday that I’ve been requested/begged to go to and the usual work, family, sleep that happily consumes 80% of my days.
Today, I had a chance to do a bit of forward planning for Author Intrusion. It wasn’t exactly the greatest of news for me, mainly because of certain limitations I put on myself for this project.
It’s now time for the fourth release of Author Intrusion. This is my attempt to have a monthly release of the text editor and, as the previous release, it isn’t exactly stable enough to write without a lot of patience.
It is fairly capable though, but mostly as a pure text editor with spell-checking. I’ve written a novella and seven short stories since I started developing the project. For a sake of curiosity, I used the associated Linux tools to convert my weekly serial (624k words) into the program and navigate around. It’s slow to start, but once loaded, it ran rather zippy and I could write almost at my full typing speed in the middle.
The bulk of the changes are related to technical debt, cleaning up code to make it easier to develop in the long run. Mostly, these changes were to fix things like “select all”, or selecting text and then typing.
As you can tell from the screenshot, I shifted a few things around. These are completely arbitrary changes until I can figure out docking panes. The project pane on the right is not functional at this point, but I needed it on screen to verify that I had a bug; this will also lead into the changes I’m planning on for October.
- Updated changes to use MfGames.Commands.TextEditing structures. +Changed
- Changed integer indexes to LinePosition and CharacterPosition.
MfGames GtkExt Text Editor CIL
- Removed legency references to BufferPosition and the integer-based system for MfGames.Commands.TextEditing LinePosition and CharacterPosition. +Changed
- Various corrections to get Select All, copying, and pasting working properly. +Changed
- Corrections to get the abstract text commands working with end of buffers and lines. +Changed
- Added extension methods to wrap the GetCharacterIndex and GetLineIndex in LineBuffer-specific calls. +Changed
MfGames Commands CIL
- Bumped version to MfGames.Commands 0.2.0
- Added the concept of “first” and “last” for text ranges to ensure ordered usage. +New
- Added more logic to the generic text commands to bring it more in line with Microsoft Word. +Changed
- Removed the white space while joining next and previous paragraphs. +Changed
- Renamed properties to give them consistent names across positions and lines. +Changed
- Renamed NormalizeIndex into GetLineIndex and GetCharacterIndex to allow them to be merged at the position and line ranges. +Changed
- MfGames.Commands 0.2.0
- MfGames.GtkExt.TextEditor 0.4.0