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Thursday, December 19, 2013

Keeping on track with Multimedia

The smartphone is doing it's job. I read my chapters into it and replay when my hands are busy doing something else; this way, I can keep the threads in some harmonious progression in my head without having to sit motionless at the computer to review, which I haven't time to do.  I never thought that a phone could help me write. Indeed it is a multimedia experience; from my pc I can convert the Word documents to PDFs and have the pc read to me instead, without having to record anything - the only problem being the reader reads very, very fast and I do not know how to slow it down so I can actually follow. I am sure there is a way though!
The beauty of the smartphone way is that with earbuds, I can listen anytime - at lunch, while walking, while waiting in line. I can make another quick recording with my edits, and type them at the pc later.
I'm about two thirds of the way through the m/s. It has a definite Shape. It is a challenging project when I work full-time, take care of Mr. CelticJaneite and our home! The threads unravel when I leave it for any length of time, I use the smartphone to keep my own creation before my eyes. Working with multiple characters stories, all interwoven here and there, is like following a knitting pattern. If you take your eye from what's just come off the needles you can get a little lost.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Meryton Assembly at meryton.com

I found a great group of like-minded people! The Meryton Assembly at  http://meryton.com/
 I have just joined, and must hasten there now, to roam, explore...they have a Library and a Reading Room and best of all, a Happy Assembly!

Monday, December 2, 2013

MS Word 2013 my review

I recently gave myself a present and downloaded MS Word 13. I love it. The text goes on so smoothly, it is like writing on bond paper. It is easier to read text onscreen than earlier versions They must have taken a page from the e-readers. (pun intended).
The screen real estate is crisp and clutter free. For writing (which is all I do in Word, don't need all the other office features like mail merge etc so can't speak to that) I would recommend it.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Not Austen related but...

It has taken me a while, but I am finally beginning to accept the dawning of a new Era in history. It is called the Electronic, or Globalization, or something like that. It is somehow stretching beyond Information, which I understand has been with us since Morse Code.

Here are the signs we are moving into a new Age -  we email our boss to ask for leave; we write blogs like this; we follow directions from a talking object in our car;  and one's cat can go viral on You Tube.

The young folks like it and have adapted amazingly – to them, this life with interconnecting, mobile gadgets is normal, and a life when the only entertainment media the family had were three bulky items called a radio, a television set and a record player seems to them like an episode from Horrible Histories. We have moving into this newer Era at the speed of about 10Gbps, and faster if you google anything with the words 'Hi-Speed'.

Why did it take so long for me to figure out that we were moving from one Era to another? Why have I been fighting it? Why have I been grumbling about having to go through phone trees to get a live person, go through a Help Desk 3,000 miles away when I need the IT guy on the 3rd floor to come down and fix my computer, order pizza from the restaurant on the next street by giving my order, complete with detailed directions about cross-streets, to an office 1,000 miles away, and putting up with endless work interruptions because of Computer Downtimes?

The most puzzling alteration is the way that machines are set up to work. Someone installs a program on your pc, and leaves. then you have to call him back because this new configuration caused something else to malfunction. This is normal. Thirty years ago, it would be called sloppy work. But it is not sloppy - no human can possibly have control over the millions of little interractions that take place in a motherboard.

So wasn’t it simpler before? And wasn’t it – well, better?

I must be understanding with myself here.  I grumble because I have not been through an Age Transition before.
I imagine it was challenging for parents at the end of the Stone Age when the Bronze Age was coming in: ‘My kids have no time for stone anymore. It’s all bronze, bronze, bronze since some nerd got the idea of mixing copper and tin. I’ve never seen anything so gaudy in my life. My daughter wants bronze jewelry for her birthday. She says that all her friends wear bronze ornaments. Nobody wears tin anymore…’

And there has been so much for older people to learn! Perhaps before the Transition of the Next Age (back to Agriculture – Subsistence at that - after all the fossil fuels have been used up, thus depriving us of Power?) that a little handbook be available for the over 40’s. ‘How to plant potatoes’. ‘How to make candles from sheep fat.’ ‘How to tell a good story by the fire.’ and 'What to use for fuel in the fire.'

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Love me, Love my Dog...

The above is a title of a chapter in Edgeworth's novel 'Belinda' published in 1801. And to think that I thought that Peter Shelley made up the phrase. If you like the song, here's a clip from YouTube.

Love Maria Edgeworth, by the way. I know Austen read her works, and I can imagine her chuckling at passages here and there. I have read 'Helen' and am almost through with 'Belinda.'

The Worst Austen Mother is...

...Lady Bertram. The Bertram girls didn't get any moral or sensible guidance. They got adoration from Aunt Norris; and assurance of their superiority - but they are frightened of their father's remoteness and their mother is always stretched on the sofa. She is just not there. She must be secretly downing laudanum. Probably hides it under Pug.
Even Sir Bertram has given up on his wife as a parent. Who gets the flak about the theatricals? Aunt Norris.
Mrs. Bennet is quite a good mother - she is avidly interested in her girls' affairs, for good or ill. But Lady Bertram neglects her girls. Can you imagine any heart-to-heart chats conducted with them; any trips to their rooms at night to kiss them goodnight and listen to their troubles...spoiled, with an exaggerated opinion of their own importance, they did not develop the skills needed to make sensible judgments and lacking that, and needing to get out of home and away from their father's grave, remote but very controlling presence, they make terrible decisions.
Fanny actually has more self-esteem then the Bertram girls, because she was always needed. Firstly by her mother, in helping her with the little ones, and later at Mansfield Park - Lady Bertram can do without her daughters, but not without her niece.
I'd like to see a sequel where the daughters get it together and find happiness. But Maria is a social outcast. Perhaps she could go to America or Italy where her past would not be known.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Pity the Servants

I just read 'Longbourn' by Jo Baker. It was my trusty companion on a long flight from Ireland, a distraction from my discomfort in 30A Delta Economy. Poor servants! Up at 4:30am, blacking the grate, heating water, lighting fires...chilblains were the lot of the servant on cold winter mornings. No set hours; they got up before the family and saw them off to bed. One wonders how they endured it; but for many it was better than what they had at home. Many of the young boys and girls in service were fed adequately for the first time in their lives. That is not to say that exploitation in service (which undoubtedly happened) was morally acceptable.

This is not directly related to this, but as a young nurse, I remember an older one telling me that when she came into Nursing (in the 1950's), she 'had as much milk as she wanted.'

Here, Jo talks of why she wrote Longbourn.

While in ireland I spent a lot of hours on buses. When I wasn't looking out the window, I was perusing 'Helen' by our own Maria Edgeworth. I visited Edgeworthstown many years ago, but failed to appreciate it's cultural and literary significance at the time. 'Castle Rackrent' was the only Edgeworth book I had heard of, and having read that, I fail to think how George 3rd said he understood his Irish subjects after reading it. It is satirical.
Home of Maria Edgeworth

But Ireland! Beautiful as usual. Lush green fields, tree tops waving and sighing in the breeze, fresh cool air on the face. And best of all, the Thousand Welcomes.