beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
([personal profile] beccaelizabeth Nov. 28th, 2014 07:36 am)
The trouble with trying to write like a different historical era is how few people have sufficient skill at it to manage more than one character voice.

Then basically the only signal you get out of everyone at any point in the story is what fake era they're trying to be.

This, as I've noticed often, is especially a problem with fanfic, because character voice is all we've got of the canon characters and once you take that away keeping the iconography isn't entirely sufficient.



Also particular problems: only understanding one class, mood and level of formality, so everyone sounds like newly acquainted minor nobility, only stiffer.

I'm pretty sure sarcasm, snark and talking back are not inventions of the 21st century, but you couldn't prove it by my recent reading.
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([syndicated profile] slacktivist_feed Nov. 28th, 2014 06:10 am)

Posted by Fred Clark

It’s been a brain-frying, blog-neglecting couple of days here what with the snow, the “Black Friday” prep at the retail job, and all the trimmings, but we shouldn’t let Thanksgiving pass by without pausing to enjoy some holiday traditions.

First up, of course, WKRP in Cincinnati:

Click here to view the embedded video.

Second, a reminder that a Thanksgiving pageant is probably not a good idea, unless you cast Wednesday Addams:

Click here to view the embedded video.

And let’s close with a prayer, from William S. Burroughs:

Click here to view the embedded video.

OK, then. Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

 

jhameia: ME! (Default)
([personal profile] jhameia Nov. 27th, 2014 10:46 pm)
Finished NaNo last night around 4am. I am about a third into the novel, maybe? I don't know. There's still a lot left to write though.

Woke up at maybe 10am? But didn't bother getting out of bed until noon.

All I did today was work on some embroidery, made fried catfish nuggets and mashed potatoes, and I'm baking cookies right now.

Tomorrow I'm going to do my best to get out to the train station by 6am for a 4-hour commute to the LosCon hotel which might not be so irritating if it wasn't for the many transfers. I have no idea what I am going to wear. I still don't really understand Southern California weather.

I saw a different cat from the calico tonight. This one is a dark gray, solid color. I've never seen it before. It came sniffing at the shelter I set up, looked up into my window at me, then walked away.

Today's embroidery progress. Trying to decide if I should take it with me tomorrow onto the train, or if I should just read a book. Got so many to catch up with...
torachan: onoda sakamichi from yowamushi pedal with a huge smile (onoda smile)
([personal profile] torachan Nov. 27th, 2014 11:01 pm)
1. I went in to work a little early yesterday so I could get more done before the store opened (Wednesdays is when I have to change the sale displays and that's always harder to do when there are customers). It also meant I got to go home earlier! :D

2. Not only did I have today off, but I got paid for it! The best kind of day off.

3. Alexander came over and we had a nice day of chatting, watching TV/movies/stuff, and eating delicious food. We had turkey, roasted mashed sweet potatoes, green bean casserole, King's Hawaiian rolls, cornbread, and pumpkin pie. Everything was so delicious!

After sailing through the dangerous straits below South America that now bear his name, Portuguese navigator Ferdinand Magellan enters the Pacific Ocean with three ships, becoming the first European explorer to reach the Pacific from the Atlantic.

On September 20, 1519, Magellan set sail from Spain in an effort to find a western sea route to the rich Spice Islands of Indonesia. In command of five ships and 270 men, Magellan sailed to West Africa and then to Brazil, where he searched the South American coast for a strait that would take him to the Pacific. He searched the Rio de la Plata, a large estuary south of Brazil, for a way through; failing, he continued south along the coast of Patagonia. At the end of March 1520, the expedition set up winter quarters at Port St. Julian. On Easter day at midnight, the Spanish captains mutinied against their Portuguese captain, but Magellan crushed the revolt, executing one of the captains and leaving another ashore when his ship left St. Julian in August.

On October 21, he finally discovered the strait he had been seeking. The Strait of Magellan, as it became known, is located near the tip of South America, separating Tierra del Fuego and the continental mainland. Only three ships entered the passage; one had been wrecked and another deserted. It took 38 days to navigate the treacherous strait, and when ocean was sighted at the other end Magellan wept with joy. His fleet accomplished the westward crossing of the ocean in 99 days, crossing waters so strangely calm that the ocean was named "Pacific," from the Latin word pacificus, meaning "tranquil." By the end, the men were out of food and chewed the leather parts of their gear to keep themselves alive. On March 6, 1521, the expedition landed at the island of Guam.

Ten days later, they dropped anchor at the Philippine island of Cebu—they were only about 400 miles from the Spice Islands. Magellan met with the chief of Cebu, who after converting to Christianity persuaded the Europeans to assist him in conquering a rival tribe on the neighboring island of Mactan. In fighting on April 27, Magellan was hit by a poisoned arrow and left to die by his retreating comrades.

After Magellan's death, the survivors, in two ships, sailed on to the Moluccas and loaded the hulls with spice. One ship attempted, unsuccessfully, to return across the Pacific. The other ship, the Vittoria, continued west under the command of Basque navigator Juan Sebastian de Elcano. The vessel sailed across the Indian Ocean, rounded the Cape of Good Hope, and arrived at the Spanish port of Sanlucar de Barrameda on September 6, 1522, becoming the first ship to circumnavigate the globe.

ysabetwordsmith: Damask smiling over their shoulder (polychrome)
([personal profile] ysabetwordsmith Nov. 27th, 2014 11:03 pm)
This poem was inspired by the "rejection" square in my 11-25-14 card for the [community profile] hc_bingo fest. It belongs to the series Polychrome Heroics and is a direct sequel to "A Perspective, Not the Truth" and has some roots in the events at Ferguson, Missouri. I have posted it here as a reflection on how people can, collectively, work on creating a society worth living in.

Read more... )
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([personal profile] alias_sqbr Nov. 28th, 2014 02:02 pm)
Overall: really liked it! I think I got a but overhyped about it being better than the previous games: it was, but was still the same basic kind of game. Which I like! But part of me hoped for something more unexpected.

No major spoilers, all stuff I would have wanted to know going in )
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([personal profile] umadoshi Nov. 28th, 2014 01:53 am)
First, I hope those of you in the US who celebrate Thanksgiving had a lovely one today. And for the not-small subset whose family holidays are more fraught than joyful, I hope it was the best it could be, and that you have some downtime/vacation time remaining in the long weekend that you can use for yourself.

As I said recently, the combination of US Thanksgiving and Advent starting in a few days means my mental calendar has now rolled over into the Christmas season, and the BPAL Yule update going live shortly before I went to bed last night was the cherry on top. Yules! )

I didn't manage to try all of my Hallowe'en scents (which I note in case anyone might think I did get through and simply didn't make any notes about them here), since I basically stopped wearing any once Casual Job started up, but maybe I can manage to work my way through my Yules collection...? We'll see.

US Thanksgiving isn't one of those occasions where we have a holiday of our own on the same day in Canada, so this was just a day. (We do seem to be adopting Black Friday, albeit to a much lesser extent. :/) So the main things I can note about today are that I got a rewrite turned in, which should finally get me back on a reasonably comfortable freelance schedule for the first time in a couple of months, and that my copy of Symbiont arrived, so I dug into that tonight after [personal profile] scruloose and I ran a bunch of errands.

I haven't made it very far into the book yet, but I plan to spend a good chunk of time with it tomorrow, because I'm officially taking tomorrow off. No work. None. I probably can't afford more than one day completely off, because I now have a rewrite due on December 8 and one due December 9, but I really, really need at least a small break. So I'll spend it reading and going out for a bit with [personal profile] wildpear and Pumpkin ([personal profile] wildpear's daughter) and hopefully tackling some of the open tabs.

Intellectually, I want to spend some time writing, but I'm still burned out at a level that's not leaving me any actual drive to do it. ;_; I think I've written all of 1000 words or so this month. (Ah, for the early days of November, when I thought I'd make some real progress on something.) I hope it starts to come back soon. My last dry spell lasted so long, and I don't want to have that happen again. :/
damalur: (da • pirate queen)
([personal profile] damalur Nov. 27th, 2014 11:22 pm)
Title: The Jig of Chains
Characters: Cullen/Trevelyan, Fenris/Hawke, Isabela & co.
Wordcount:
Notes: Third in a series. Copious crack, written purely for mine own amusement.
Summary: It is good to see me, isn't it!

Read more... )

Posted by Skud

I seem to have had this discussion a few times lately, so I’m going to save myself the trouble of repeating it and just write down all the problems I have with hackathons. (Yes, I know lots of people have previously posted about what they don’t like about hackathons; I’ve linked some of them at the bottom of this post, if you want some other opinions too.)

They’re too much commitment

Me: I’m kind of interested in your thing. How can I get involved?
Them: We have a hackathon coming up. You should come!

Here’s how that sounds to me:

Me: I’d like to get a little more physically active.
Them: You should come run a marathon on the weekend!

The suffix “-athon” should tip you off here. Hackathons are intense and exhausting, and they’re meant to be. They’re usually a whole weekend of focused work, often with insufficient sleep, and too much encouragement to use masses of caffeine to stay awake and coding for 48 hours.

Sorry, but I’m not going to do that for my projects, let alone yours.

They exclude people with lives and responsibilities

This follows naturally from the marathon nature. A hackathon usually takes up a whole weekend, often starting Friday night and going through until Sunday evening. Sometimes you’re expected or encouraged to stay on-site overnight, or sometimes the norm is to go home to sleep, but either way it chews up multiple consecutive days.

I have other things going on in my life: errands to run, friends to see, a veggie garden to keep watered, and other community events and commitments to schedule around. Attending a weekend-long event means massively rearranging my life. And I don’t have kids or other people to care for; if I did, it would be pretty much impossible.

That exclusion is not evenly distributed

I see fathers of kids at hackathons pretty often, perhaps because their wives are looking after the kids. I see mothers far less often. Domestic and carer responsibilities are unevenly distributed, which means women are more likely to be too busy to attend hackathons than men are.

Until I did some research for this post, I’d never yet seen a hackathon with childcare or which provides information or assistance for parents; not even the women-only hackathon held recently in a city near me. (After some research, I now have heard of one.)

Sure, most younger women don’t yet have childcare responsibilities, but that just points out another unequal exclusion: the older you are, the more responsibilities you are likely to have, and the less energy you have for all-night Red Bull fuelled hacking sessions. Unsurprisingly, hackathon participants are generally on the young side.

It’s well documented that diverse teams have more creative ideas. So why exclude entire categories of people by holding an event that is hard for them to participate in?

They’re unhealthy

I’ve been to a few of these events, and I’ve never yet felt like I didn’t come out of it less healthy than I went in. Speaking for myself, I like daylight, moving around, eating lots of veggies, and drinking lots of water. I work at a standing desk part of the day (looking out the window at trees and birds), take lots of breaks to clear my mind and move my body, and usually make lunch with homebaked bread and something from my garden. I also like getting a good night’s sleep.

I’m not saying that everyone can or should do what I do. It’s entirely up to you to do what makes your body feel good, or to balance feeling good with other priorities. But I know that for me, when I attend a hackathon, if I spend two long days in poor lighting and poor ventilation, sitting hunched over my laptop at a meeting table in an uncomfortable chair, eating pretty average catering food or pizza (almost always especially mediocre because I go for the vegetarian option), I feel like crap.

Now, sometimes I’m prepared to feel like crap for a weekend for a good cause. But it has to be a pretty convincing cause.

Competition, meh.

One thing that doesn’t convince me: competition. For so many hackathons, the end-game is “create the best X and win a prize”. I really, really don’t care. In fact it puts me off, and makes me less likely to attend.

To start with, I know how to do a cost-benefit analysis. The last hackathon in my area, I think the average prize awarded per attendee (i.e. dividing the prizes won by the number of people present) was around $100. Though, of course, most attendees actually got zero. I might be broke, but not broke enough to consider that a good use of two whole days of my time.

Surprise: extrinsic motivation isn’t all that motivating!

Quite apart from that, though, I’m not motivated by competition. Tell me you’re going to judge whose hack is the “best” and I get crippled by stereotype threat, instantly flashing back to being the last picked for the team in gym class. And I’m a developer with 20 years’ experience under my belt, who’s worked with dozens of APIs in several languages, and is comfortable with everything from wireframing to git. Imagine if I was new and less sure of my abilities?

You can tell me all you like about how collaborative the atmosphere of your event is, but if you are awarding prizes for the “best X”, you just sound hypocritical. If you want me to believe the event is collaborative, don’t make it a competition.

Why can’t I work on an existing project?

Every hackathon I’ve been to has required that you come up with a new idea to hack on. At some hackathons, I’ve seen people complain that teams are cheating if they come with anything prepared or have done any work ahead of time.

I spend most of my time working on projects that I think are important and worthwhile. My head is full of them, I know my way around my toolkit and the codebase, and I have endless ideas for improvements and new features I want to work on.

Now you want me to show up at your event, put aside all the investment and focus I’ve built up for my project, and work on some new toy for the weekend.

They’re just toys

The result is that people build quick hacks that are cute and flashy, but have little depth. Meh.

And then they’re gone.

People say that hackathon projects are just prototypes, and that great things can later emerge from them. However, hackathon projects seldom survive beyond the weekend of the hack. Sure, I see hackathon organisers trying to take steps to ensure that projects have longevity but does this actually work?

I reviewed a handful of hacks, including many of the prize-winners, from the last hackathon I was at — the one with the longevity page linked above — and found not a single one with a code commit since the hackathon five months ago.

Here’s why: hackathons intentionally select for people who work intensely for a weekend, then give prizes for the flashiest results that can be produced in that short time. There are no incentives for sustainable projects, long-term collaboration, or maintainable code. Therefore, none of those things happen.

So what are hackathons good for?

They can be a pretty good PR exercise.

They can raise awareness of new technologies, APIs, or datasets among developers and give them a space to experiment with them.

They can be stimulate your creativity, if your creativity happens to be stimulated by short deadlines and so on.

They can be a feel-good networking experience for the (overwhelmingly self-confident, young, and male) participants.

Here’s what I want instead

Ongoing projects, that are maintained and used over several years.

A welcoming environment for people of all skill and confidence levels, with opportunity for mentorship, learning, and working at your own pace.

A schedule that makes it possible to participate without having to make heroic efforts to juggle your other responsibilities.

My main project, Growstuff, holds a monthly get-together called “Hackstuff” to work on Growstuff or any other project people care to bring along. It seems to be working well for us so far, and we have several participants who have become regular contributors to the project. I’d like to set up a similar civic hacking meetup in my town, if I can find a suitable venue.

I’d love to hear whether anyone else has experience running recurring, collaborative, low-commitment civic hacking events. If you’re doing something like that, please get in touch and tell me about it!

And some links

Who’s (not) welcome at hackathons?

Finding childcare for a UX sprint showed up when I searched for childcare and hackathons, and I was delighted to find that almost every woman named in the article is a friend of mine :)

Hackathons and minimal viable prototypes talks about what you can actually build at a hackathon (it’s not a product).

On hackathons and solutionism (do hackathons actually solve problems?)

National Day of Hacking your own Assumptions and Entitlement (a spot on satire).

Why Hackathons Suck from Thoughtworks, who I note sponsor an awful lot of hackathons. Huh?

sergebroom: (Default)
([personal profile] sergebroom Nov. 27th, 2014 09:45 pm)
I just finished reading "Cibola Burns", James SA Corey's 4th novel of the "Expanse" space opera. You bet it's going to be one of my Hugo nominees next year.
This is a crosspost from Infotropism. You can comment here or there.

I seem to have had this discussion a few times lately, so I’m going to save myself the trouble of repeating it and just write down all the problems I have with hackathons. (Yes, I know lots of people have previously posted about what they don’t like about hackathons; I’ve linked some of them at the bottom of this post, if you want some other opinions too.)

They’re too much commitment

Me: I’m kind of interested in your thing. How can I get involved?
Them: We have a hackathon coming up. You should come!

Here’s how that sounds to me:

Me: I’d like to get a little more physically active.
Them: You should come run a marathon on the weekend!

The suffix “-athon” should tip you off here. Hackathons are intense and exhausting, and they’re meant to be. They’re usually a whole weekend of focused work, often with insufficient sleep, and too much encouragement to use masses of caffeine to stay awake and coding for 48 hours.

Sorry, but I’m not going to do that for my projects, let alone yours.

They exclude people with lives and responsibilities

This follows naturally from the marathon nature. A hackathon usually takes up a whole weekend, often starting Friday night and going through until Sunday evening. Sometimes you’re expected or encouraged to stay on-site overnight, or sometimes the norm is to go home to sleep, but either way it chews up multiple consecutive days.

I have other things going on in my life: errands to run, friends to see, a veggie garden to keep watered, and other community events and commitments to schedule around. Attending a weekend-long event means massively rearranging my life. And I don’t have kids or other people to care for; if I did, it would be pretty much impossible.

That exclusion is not evenly distributed

I see fathers of kids at hackathons pretty often, perhaps because their wives are looking after the kids. I see mothers far less often. Domestic and carer responsibilities are unevenly distributed, which means women are more likely to be too busy to attend hackathons than men are.

Until I did some research for this post, I’d never yet seen a hackathon with childcare or which provides information or assistance for parents; not even the women-only hackathon held recently in a city near me. (After some research, I now have heard of one.)

Sure, most younger women don’t yet have childcare responsibilities, but that just points out another unequal exclusion: the older you are, the more responsibilities you are likely to have, and the less energy you have for all-night Red Bull fuelled hacking sessions. Unsurprisingly, hackathon participants are generally on the young side.

It’s well documented that diverse teams have more creative ideas. So why exclude entire categories of people by holding an event that is hard for them to participate in?

They’re unhealthy

I’ve been to a few of these events, and I’ve never yet felt like I didn’t come out of it less healthy than I went in. Speaking for myself, I like daylight, moving around, eating lots of veggies, and drinking lots of water. I work at a standing desk part of the day (looking out the window at trees and birds), take lots of breaks to clear my mind and move my body, and usually make lunch with homebaked bread and something from my garden. I also like getting a good night’s sleep.

I’m not saying that everyone can or should do what I do. It’s entirely up to you to do what makes your body feel good, or to balance feeling good with other priorities. But I know that for me, when I attend a hackathon, if I spend two long days in poor lighting and poor ventilation, sitting hunched over my laptop at a meeting table in an uncomfortable chair, eating pretty average catering food or pizza (almost always especially mediocre because I go for the vegetarian option), I feel like crap.

Now, sometimes I’m prepared to feel like crap for a weekend for a good cause. But it has to be a pretty convincing cause.

Competition, meh.

One thing that doesn’t convince me: competition. For so many hackathons, the end-game is “create the best X and win a prize”. I really, really don’t care. In fact it puts me off, and makes me less likely to attend.

To start with, I know how to do a cost-benefit analysis. The last hackathon in my area, I think the average prize awarded per attendee (i.e. dividing the prizes won by the number of people present) was around $100. Though, of course, most attendees actually got zero. I might be broke, but not broke enough to consider that a good use of two whole days of my time.

Surprise: extrinsic motivation isn’t all that motivating!

Quite apart from that, though, I’m not motivated by competition. Tell me you’re going to judge whose hack is the “best” and I get crippled by stereotype threat, instantly flashing back to being the last picked for the team in gym class. And I’m a developer with 20 years’ experience under my belt, who’s worked with dozens of APIs in several languages, and is comfortable with everything from wireframing to git. Imagine if I was new and less sure of my abilities?

You can tell me all you like about how collaborative the atmosphere of your event is, but if you are awarding prizes for the “best X”, you just sound hypocritical. If you want me to believe the event is collaborative, don’t make it a competition.

Why can’t I work on an existing project?

Every hackathon I’ve been to has required that you come up with a new idea to hack on. At some hackathons, I’ve seen people complain that teams are cheating if they come with anything prepared or have done any work ahead of time.

I spend most of my time working on projects that I think are important and worthwhile. My head is full of them, I know my way around my toolkit and the codebase, and I have endless ideas for improvements and new features I want to work on.

Now you want me to show up at your event, put aside all the investment and focus I’ve built up for my project, and work on some new toy for the weekend.

They’re just toys

The result is that people build quick hacks that are cute and flashy, but have little depth. Meh.

And then they’re gone.

People say that hackathon projects are just prototypes, and that great things can later emerge from them. However, hackathon projects seldom survive beyond the weekend of the hack. Sure, I see hackathon organisers trying to take steps to ensure that projects have longevity but does this actually work?

I reviewed a handful of hacks, including many of the prize-winners, from the last hackathon I was at — the one with the longevity page linked above — and found not a single one with a code commit since the hackathon five months ago.

Here’s why: hackathons intentionally select for people who work intensely for a weekend, then give prizes for the flashiest results that can be produced in that short time. There are no incentives for sustainable projects, long-term collaboration, or maintainable code. Therefore, none of those things happen.

So what are hackathons good for?

They can be a pretty good PR exercise.

They can raise awareness of new technologies, APIs, or datasets among developers and give them a space to experiment with them.

They can be stimulate your creativity, if your creativity happens to be stimulated by short deadlines and so on.

They can be a feel-good networking experience for the (overwhelmingly self-confident, young, and male) participants.

Here’s what I want instead

Ongoing projects, that are maintained and used over several years.

A welcoming environment for people of all skill and confidence levels, with opportunity for mentorship, learning, and working at your own pace.

A schedule that makes it possible to participate without having to make heroic efforts to juggle your other responsibilities.

My main project, Growstuff, holds a monthly get-together called “Hackstuff” to work on Growstuff or any other project people care to bring along. It seems to be working well for us so far, and we have several participants who have become regular contributors to the project. I’d like to set up a similar civic hacking meetup in my town, if I can find a suitable venue.

I’d love to hear whether anyone else has experience running recurring, collaborative, low-commitment civic hacking events. If you’re doing something like that, please get in touch and tell me about it!

And some links

Who’s (not) welcome at hackathons?

Finding childcare for a UX sprint showed up when I searched for childcare and hackathons, and I was delighted to find that almost every woman named in the article is a friend of mine :)

Hackathons and minimal viable prototypes talks about what you can actually build at a hackathon (it’s not a product).

On hackathons and solutionism (do hackathons actually solve problems?)

National Day of Hacking your own Assumptions and Entitlement (a spot on satire).

Why Hackathons Suck from Thoughtworks, who I note sponsor an awful lot of hackathons. Huh?

nanslice: ([tmnt2012] SHOT THROUGH THE HEART)
([personal profile] nanslice Nov. 27th, 2014 11:39 pm)
Happy Thanksgiving! I'm thankful for my family and friends and for all of you! Yeah, you. Don't be shy. ;3;
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
([personal profile] beccaelizabeth Nov. 28th, 2014 03:17 am)
Tonight I read A Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan, primarily because there's an AU fanfic set in the 'verse that recommended to read it first and with that title that sounded like a good idea.

That was a fun read. I like the style. It's very matter of fact, natural history rather than fantasy, and gives a sense of both character and period that's quite different than I've read before. I enjoyed it and didn't find anything to complain about in it.

which, as anyone reading me lately knows, is rare.

now I've put the book down for a bit I am a bit unsatisfied with it, because it's fun and satisfying to have a character push through against sexism in a hypothetical historical era, but it's also... easy. Read more... )

I want to read the next one.



But I also want to find the book in my head which has more women in it and some of them clearly not white and... and all the usual.


(also also of course write the book in my head. at some point I'll surely get bored enough that starts to happen, right? if you just think hard enough it appears...)



I'm going to have a whole stack of reading soon, between the Waterstones order and the ones I gave up and ordered from the Book Depository. I found out Amazon actually bought the Book Depository years ago though, so I may as well be buying from Amazon, which is frustrating. Is there anywhere left they haven't ate yet?



It's three in the morning and I should probably sleep again.
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