jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

(Which your PC may or may not be installing right now.)

Who is affected

If you primarily used the "normal" Windows desktop, in Windows 7 or 8.1, you will not be affected by this. Microsoft changed up some things for you, but not a whole lot, and if you didn't like the Start screen in Windows 8.1 the Start menu now works more like you're probably used to.

If you mostly used modern fullscreen apps in Windows 8.1, and stayed in its tablet interface on a laptop or desktop PC, you are affected.

What it is doing

Windows 10 forces all non-tablet users into the Windows desktop. There is a way to turn on "Tablet mode," but it will not work if you have an external display connected.

Windows 10 also lacks many of the features associated with 8.1's Modern interface, such as the Charms bar, the task switcher list you could get to by mousing into the upper-left corner, the Immersive Browser of IE 11, and the horizontally-scrolling Start menu. If your app icons were carefully laid out and grouped in Windows 8.1, they will be gone in Windows 10, and replaced with apps that you didn't choose to install but came with the upgrade. Also, on the desktop focus doesn't follow the mouse, so you can't (for instance) scroll in a browser window while chatting in Skype.

Microsoft recently forced everyone who uses Skype on Windows to download its Desktop version, even though the Modern app was working fine, and claimed through error messages and install dialogues that your Skype experience was being improved. Like with banner ads all over the place.

(This link explains how to disable the ads in Skype.)

This is basically what Microsoft is doing to everyone who grew to love and rely on the fullscreen, Modern interface. You can't get it to work on certain systems, it doesn't work nearly the same, and in general everything is more cluttered and intrusive and there are more ads. If this is not to your liking, you may want to consider not upgrading.

Apparently the people who want everyone's computers to work like they did in 1995 won, and we can't have nice things anymore.

Addendum 1

We are downloading Linux.

Addendum 2

We have wasted the last three years, and all the time we spent learning in Visual Studio.

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

Apologies for being away from Dreamwidth so much! We got put on a new medication that lowers your blood pressure, and it's made our limbs feel like lead and made us feel a lot weaker and tired-er. Worse, it was supposed to keep our PTSD nightmares from coming back but it hasn't ... so we're going to ask if we can be taken off of it.

(We also experimented with switching from coffee to tea for a little while, and that basically put us out like a tranquilizer.)

Besides that ... when we announced our intentions to set programming aside earlier, we felt really depressed afterwards. Same with when we talked about switching from D&D 4e to Pathfinder. These are things that we really like and care about, and the fact that we're having problems with them doesn't mean that we have to quit working on them.

We're going to experiment with ways to make 4e work better online. Also, we've been taking more programming classes. We don't have much to show for them yet, but everything we learn is exciting, when we're able to set aside the time and the energy to continue learning.

Sometimes we miss writing stories. Right now gaming is scratching that itch for us, especially tabletop gaming and the amount of creativity that goes into that. But every now and then, we feel like something precious has been lost, when we think about the stories we used to tell and the way we used to do so.

I don't think we can ever recapture the way that things were, but maybe telling stories can continue to be a part of our life going forward.

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

Incoherent rambling here, sorry about that. But as shiny as technology is, I'm not sure I really want to make a career of it anymore. Whether in writing about it or for it.

Partly because the opportunities are so limited. Not opportunities to be paid to write code (albeit in a probably-misogynist environment), but opportunities to be paid to write interesting code ... which, for me, is code to tell stories. Dozens of people work on AAA games, but only a handful get to use them to tell stories, subject to market pressures.

Even at best, in the "indie game" scene, you still spend a lot more time writing code and drawing animations than you do actually telling a story.

I personally think that the optimum feedback loop, for me, is writing the "code" for a tabletop roleplaying game, which is meant to be "compiled" by players and storytellers. I don't have to provide the art assets. I don't have to explicitly build in options for people's characters -- or if I like, I can do nothing but write options for characters. And I think part of the reason that it's more rewarding is because the debugging cycles are so long, so I have a long time to anticipate how people will react to something.

I still want to tell fiction stories ... and I still want to write a few games and apps. But the ones that I want to make, right now, are aids in GMing a game, or automations of "life sim" aspects of roleplaying games like Pathfinder that most people don't want to play at the table with five other people. Procedural stuff, like Ultimate Campaign's hexmap exploration system, or the Babylon 5 RPG's space trading system, that work best when one person's imagination fills in blanks around a series of random prompts.

I'm not sure I need to learn "programming" to be able to make those. There are things like Project Siena and the Windows App Studio that basically let you write stuff in Excel macros, or automatically generate code. The kinds of things no self-respecting developer would use to make The Next Big Thing, but that let domain experts create basic apps for their own field without special training.

I'm not sure when or if I'll do something like that, but I'm feeling depressed right now realizing software development as a career does not appeal to me. And that I'm old enough I should already have a career but don't, even though I used to. I'm trying to tell a new story, and give myself something to look forward to.

Maybe I should have been selling ebooks all this time, like people have been telling me for ten years or so now.

IT LIVES

Mar. 20th, 2014 10:43 am
jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

I finally completed my “C# for Absolute Beginners” course at the Microsoft Virtual Academy, and just a few lessons in to the Windows Phone for beginners course we’ve managed to successfully create and deploy our first Windows Phone app!

A screenshot of Visual Studio Express 2012 for Windows Phone in debug mode, for an application called 'PetSounds,' with the Windows Phone emulator visible in the foreground. On the emulator's screen is an app called 'MY APPLICATION,' with the words 'Page title' below that, and a single pink button marked 'quack.'
Yes, it's a soundboard with only one sound.

We had to tweak BIOS settings to do this >_o but the course and the one error message we got explained what to do pretty well. And after the work we did for GNOME, where we basically wrote code in Notepad and then ran it in a console window, we feel utterly spoiled by Visual Studio. The debug window and the emulator are cluttering it, here, but it’s actually been really easy to figure out and navigate, and it writes so much of the boilerplate code for us and automatically shows us what our app looks like while we’re working on it.

A screenshot of Visual Studio which looks much less cluttered. On the left-hand side is a pane showing the application's layout, and taking up most of the rest of the screen is a code editor showing the XAML for the layout's markup.
It's so pretty.

Here’s hoping we’ll have more to show you all soon!

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

That's the way Free Software idealists say software development should work. You get everything for free in Linux, including the code. If you don't like how something works, you change it and "submit your patch upstream," thus incorporating it into the whole. That way everyone benefits from everyone's creativity.

The problem is, this disenfranchises everyone who doesn't have both the technical ability to do that, and the social standing to be allowed to do that. Which means the Linux world is, and always has been, just a playground for technically proficient people who meet a particular demographic profile, and who keep making changes that affect everyone without consulting the people affected.

The only way to have your interests represented is to be part of the in-group, which means being a white cismale with unusual technical skills and enough money and free time to work on this stuff without pay. That, or a job that lets you get paid for it.

Read more... )

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)
  • Markdown support, because I'm falling in love with it thanks to Simplenote. (Fortunately, it got it earlier!)
  • Google Reader style reading page, with an unread count and read entries marked differently than unread ones. Also, ease of adding external feeds to it, preferably with one click on a bookmarklet or extension.
  • Clean, modern UI. LiveJournal superficially looks much nicer right now. With a little organization and modernization, Dreamwidth could keep the same features but be much more accessible to newbies.
  • Daring Fireball style "essay" posts, which are set apart somehow from others because you want to call attention to them and let your friends know "hey I'd appreciate it if you read this." (DF uses a unicode star at the start of essay titles.)
  • Tumblr style microposts, for pictures or videos or anything else, even if they have to be hosted elsewhere. Basically I want it to be easier to post stuff that isn't a long-form essay. Right now I have noplace for this, because I don't like Twitter and don't want to get sucked into Tumblr or get trolled there.
  • One-click "add to memories," with maybe a Javascript popup asking if you want to give it tags or anything.
  • Memories page done in journal style.
  • Profile page done in journal style.
  • Apps for Android, Ubuntu, and Firefox.
  • Sharks with freaking laser beams.

I put this together because we spent awhile tonight brainstorming where, exactly, we should post little things that we want to share with our friends. Right now we use Skype for that, but what we'd really like is a Daring Fireball style linkblog. Unfortunately, that'd involve WordPress, which we've wasted hours and hours and hours on -- all while happily blogging away on Dreamwidth.

So as long as Dreamwidth's our home, we might as well do some renovation maybes. Once we've got our den set up and have done some test programming with JavaScript and Firefox OS.

Also, stories. Especially interactive ones.

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)
So, today WordPress crapped out on me.

I'd just finished an article I was writing (I use my self-hosted WordPress install like a word processor), then I clicked on "New Post" and all of a sudden got a "500 Internal server error." Trying to fix the problem turned out to be an exercise in futility, because my web hosting (they of the spotty connection and two other randomly broken websites) didn't like the password Firefox remembered for their CPanel or customer support area, and didn't remember any accounts registered to my main email addresses.

I sent them a call for help in a panic, and then started to think "What if I just used other websites, like normal people?" I say that because for the past three years or so, WordPress has been an often-frustrating "hobby" for me, which hasn't really gone anywhere.

Read more... )

Sorry to ramble, and stuff. I just ... yeah. I'm scared right now and I'm trying to figure out how to not have to go through this again.

I just want things to be simple.

I guess I'm not getting that second article written tonight.
jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)
Thank you, everyone, for your input on the identity / badges thing! I think I have a clearer idea of how to go about doing this. But first, a reminder:

I'll get the ball rolling, but we're in this together.

In a nutshell, there won't be that many options at first. But if I do my job right, it'll be easy to add options to it that everyone can then use.

Partly this is to help keep people from being overwhelmed with options at first, like having to choose a badge for their fursona's eye color. And partly, it's to let me focus on creating the core of the system, while the people who feel driven to express (X thing) about themselves can put in the work that lets everyone do that. So if you're playing a World of Darkness character and want to explain all her Skinchanger powers, you can write up a "badge pack" just for Skinchangers and then anyone could pick things from it. There will be no charge, and you can even host it on your own website and have people use it from there.

Remember, this isn't a "product" I'm going to sell, or a thing where you'll have to pay me for upgrades. There may be a service like Dreamwidth that you can subscribe to, but the code and assets will be open-source, because this is your identity. It's a basic right. And we need to work together to make it possible for everyone. Sound good?

Now, then. Here's a rough sketch-with-words of the kind of thing I'm thinking that we could create.
Jewelfox's user pic.Jewelfox Foxraptor hybrid
Writing is flight!
Polite, absent-minded creative professional

  • Male-to-female transgender

  • Bisexual

  • Median system

  • Pack hunter

  • Fey creature

  • Disability: Autism spectrum disorder

  • Triggers: Predation, death of innocents, emotional abuse

http://jewelfox.dreamwidth.org Fursona code v. 0.1
Hopefully the HTML didn't break anyone's browsers. Let's look at this line-by-line:
  • Userpic -- This can be your Gravatar, your LJ / DW userpic, or one you upload to the service.

  • Species -- This is just a text string that you use to describe what you see yourself as. You can put anything down here.

  • Personal quote -- Introduce yourself or what's most important to you!

  • Class -- That's how I think of this next part; it's like your fursona's RPG class and build. You can say what you see your role in the world as, and what kind of X you are.

  • Badges -- These could have a tiny icon next to them, and probably wouldn't have as much white space as they do in my theme. Note that you don't have to express yourself the way I did; there'd be a separate badge for "part of a median system," for instance, as opposed to more than one part sharing the same one like we are. Or for "bisexual but heteroromantic". Also note some of them are bolded; that's because these (like disabilities and triggers) would need to be recognized as such by people and websites, so that they can do things like avoid things that are harmful to you. (Thanks to [personal profile] niya for the suggestion!)

  • Web links -- The first one is to your homepage or personal profile page; ideally, whatever place on the Interwebs will have more info about you. The second one is like an XML namespace; it's a link for more info about the code itself, or whatever was used to generate this profile thing.

You'll note that I didn't take a "this is my real self" badge. I didn't even think about it, and in hindsight I feel like it's almost redundant. I feel like, if anyone's using these profiles to represent themselves online they personally identify with that fursona, one way or another. An "otherkin" badge might work for that, though, and would be a bit more glamourbomb-y than spelling things out for mundanes.

Beyond that, what I'd also really like to work on is a roleplaying game that could work with people's fursonas created this way. [personal profile] rev_yurodivy had a great idea for a World of Darkness-style game about therians and otherkin, and I've GMed it for them a few times and had fun with it. It's based on the Pathfinder rules, though, which need some simplification. I'm trying to think about how to do so, and once I have I'll get back to you all.
jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)
First, if you haven't already caught up on the situation re:Dreamwidth, please do.

Second, I'm going to ramble about insecurities and indecision and just plain feeling meh.

Read more... )

About us

~ Fox | Gem | Rei ~

We tell stories, paint minis, collect identity words, and share them all with our readers. If something we write helps you, let us know.

~ She / her ~

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