4thewords

Dec. 29th, 2015 10:00 am
bdwilson: (Blank Page)

Edit, Dec. 1, 2016: The site has changed a lot in the last year, all for the better 🙂 I’m going to do a new post shortly, but in the meantime, know that this post was based on an earlier version of the site and much of it has changed.

I participate in NaNoWriMo every year, and one of the side effects of that is trying out the products from their various sponsors. I’ve had more than a few successes over the years, finding things like Scrivener that I love and can’t imagine working without. Others are just fun.

This year, one of the ones I tried out for the first time is the site 4thewords. I think they were a sponsor last year as well, but the early reports indicated they were having a very rough Beta, and I decided to give them a little more time the get their feet under them. Things seemed more stable this year, and their walk-through video once again convinced me this was something I’d find fun, so I decided to give them a chance.

It’s gamification for writing. Combining two things I love, so of course I had to try it out.

The first thing I’d say is that the updates they’ve rolled out this month are fantastic, and were sorely needed. The difference in the user experience even between now and when I started on November 2nd is enough that it was the difference between my continuing with the site after NaNo and not. If the writing interface had stayed the way it was when I started, I wouldn’t have remained with it, and may have even ditched it before NaNo was over. Given the updates, however, it’s a functional WYSIWIG, with the ability to create multiple files and organize them into projects, and something I can see myself continuing to use. It’s not a full-fledged word processor, but I have Scrivener for that, and this is an excellent way to get words on the page.

Read the rest of this entry » )

Mirrored from bdwilson.ca

HabitRPG

Jan. 29th, 2015 09:00 am
bdwilson: (On the Web)

Last year, a friend showed me HabitRPG, which for me was another in a long string of to-do list and productivity apps that I’d tried. I expected it to have a similar usage pattern to the rest of them: I would use it without fail for a few weeks, if I was lucky a couple of months, and then I’d lose interest. I have abandoned accounts on more apps than I remember exist. HabitRPG however, appears to be sticking.

It’s a gamification app, so I’m willing to try it right out of the gate, of course. I’ve seen a lot of posts out there going over the basics, and there’s an overview video, so I’m not going to go into everything it does.

HabitRPG Tutorial #1: Tasks from Tyler Renelle on Vimeo.

I’ve been trying to figure out why this one’s working for me, but I think in large part it comes down to two things: quests and pets.

There are two types of quests, boss quests and drop quests, but they both use the party system. I was lucky, as I had a party right out of the gate, and that means I’m kinda held accountable. In the drop quests, I’m a rogue, which means I have a good drop rate, so it means my contribution is useful. In the boss quests, I don’t have great damage (I still need to find out if I can improve it), but the boss quests have the added accountability factor of group damage.\

Usually, if I don’t complete tasks, I take damage. If we’re fighting a boss and I don’t complete a task, the whole group takes damage. That is remarkably motivating to me. (I haven’t wiped the group yet, fortunately, but I came darn close on a night I got distracted and forgot to check things off.) It helps keep me engaged. So, no pressure guys!

The other motivating factor, is somewhat related, in that many of the quests reward pet eggs that can be hatched with potions. There’s also 90 base pets that are acquired through regular drops, and all of them can be grown into mounts (which means you then collect the pets over again). That means my collector nature goes right into “gotta get them all” mode. Getting them all means getting things done.

I’ll admit that the XP gains don’t mean as much after it stops opening up new features, and being a rogue means gold isn’t usually an issue. (I’ve heard they’re going to change one of my spells to decrease that, though. I have to use it while I can!) However, with the features that do catch me, it means I’m still using the app and I’m still getting some things done. It’s also helping me keep organized, which I really appreciate.

This is working for me, and I’m having fun with it. Now I just have to tackle more those glaring deep red tasks. Damage and drops await!

So much to do!

Mirrored from bdwilson.ca

bdwilson: (On the Web)

I posted a link to this site with the first badge I claimed, but I felt like calling attention to it again :)

The Merit Badger blog has a wide variety of graphic badges to earn in the course of writing or reading (there’s some Halloween badges in there too). As a person motivated by game achievements, I love this. As you may have seen so far, I’ve claimed the badges for Feline “assistance” and Writing by Hand, among others. I’ll be grabbing a word count badge when I get this current draft done, and I think there’s even a NaNo one in there, which I haven’t claimed yet.

Unfortunately, the blog has been on hiatus for a while now, but the badges are still there, and I have a lot of catching up to do. Also, for anyone who feels like badge collecting and posting them, be sure to read the image guidelines. There’s a badge for that!

Wearing a merit badge

Mirrored from bdwilson.ca

bdwilson: (On the Web)

I read Twitter almost exclusively on my iPhone. Given the format, it makes a lot of sense to me to display it that way, and I tend to prefer the Twitter apps to the web site. One of the downsides, however, is that I follow a lot of people because they give links to excellent stories, and I hate surfing the web on my phone. I didn’t really have a satisfactory system of marking things to read later, until I switched to the official Twitter app, which supports another of additions, including Instapaper.

Instapaper is a system of temporarily saving links to read later. For people who skim Twitter or RSS feeds when we don’t have time to sit down an read full articles, they can flag a link a something they want to come back to, and then log into Instapaper to see that list when they have the time to devote to reading.

The site has a bookmarklet that you can add to your browser, so while you’re surfing, you just click the button, and it adds the article to your list. In the Twitter app, you put your account in the settings, and then when viewing a tweet, “Read Later” is one of the options if it contains a link.

Once it’s been added, it shows up in your Instapaper list, with a link to the site, and in this case, with the display text of the tweet that caught your attention.

It’s a quick and easy way to keep track of articles you want to read, but aren’t able to do so when you come across them.

Mirrored from bdwilson.ca

bdwilson: (On the Web)

Not a video, like my On the Web posts usually are ^_^

But I loved the essay Annie Dillard and the Writing Life by Alexander Chee, and want to share it.
 

Mirrored from bdwilson.ca

bdwilson: (On the Web)

I've subscribed to the YouTube channel for Britian's Got Talent thanks to this.

If by chance you haven't seen the video yet, it's more than worth a watch.

Susan Boyle - Singer - Britains Got Talent 2009
bdwilson: (On the Web)
My friends list today has been taken up by query letters!

I follow the feed for Nathan Bransford's blog ([livejournal.com profile] nathanagent), and today he's running the Be an Agent for a Day contest. Fifty queries will be posted today, right now it's up to #38, and readers have one week to respond to all of them, and they can request no more than five manuscripts.

Among the fifty queries are three that resulted in published books. The contest participants have to try and include those three in the manuscripts they request.

It will be interesting to see how well the readers do. (I'm just following along, not playing.) Now, I have to go catch up; the last query I had a chance to read was #9.

Main blog link: Nathan Bransford - Literary Agent
bdwilson: (On the Web)

I know this is an ad, but I can't help it; I love it.

bdwilson: (On the Web)

I've become quite fond of the CBC Radio Podcasts. There's too many available to list them all, but here are a few I listen to (and follow as LiveJournal feeds):

Between the Covers
Between The Covers is a podcast serializing the best in Canadian literature, from comedy to tragedy. Stories are narrated by some of our finest actors, with new installments each week. Updated five times weekly.
[livejournal.com profile] betweencovers

Vinyl Cafe Stories
The stories and misadventures of Dave, the owner of the "Vinyl Cafe", the world's smallest record store, where the motto is "We may not be big, but we're small." Updated Saturdays.
[livejournal.com profile] vinyl_cafe_rss

Writers & Company
Host Eleanor Wachtel explores the lives, thoughts and works of remarkable writers from around the world. Updated Tuesdays.
[livejournal.com profile] cbc_writers_co

On of these days I'm going to have to get something that can play podcasts when I'm away from my computer...

bdwilson: (On the Web)

I'm not having a great day, so I was glad someone posted this in a thread. I'd forgotten about it, and it makes me smile ^_^

Where the Hell is Matt?

I've embedded the video, but it is a good one to watch in high quality, just so you can see the smiles on peoples' faces ^_^

bdwilson: (On the Web)
I love the web comic xkcd, and had a good laugh over this one a little while ago:

Cut for flists: Listen to Yourself )

It seems a lot of people liked it, enough that YouTube has now added an audio preview button when adding comments to videos.

Of course, it's not automatic, but definitely wonderful.

Other links:

Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] serewit for linking this ;)
bdwilson: (On the Web)
This is an approximately hour long lecture by Dr. Michael Wesch from Kansas State University. (He's the one who created the video The Machine is Us/ing Us, which I love.)

So, it's a bit of a time commitment, but I think this is a really interesting overview of YouTube.

bdwilson: (On the Web)

I'm sure you've seen this linked already, but I'm adding this now because I'd like to see them make some money on it ^_^

The episodes are no longer available on the Web site, but they can be downloaded from iTunes at a good price.

The link to the episodes on iTunes can be found on Dr. Horrible's Web site.

bdwilson: (On the Web)
Jango Jukebox Player

Hiding it under a cut to spare my f-list the spinning graphics:
Read more... )
bdwilson: (On the Web)
CBC Radio 2 and Canada Live present the Stolen Children Broadcasts.

"In response to the work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission CBC Radio has decided to celebrate Canadian Aboriginal culture by commissioning several music works by aboriginal artists based around the idea of 'reconciliation' and what that means to individual artists across the country."

Follow the link above for a selection of the series features and schedule, and visit the CBC Radio 2 Podcasts page to listen to the Canada Live Podcast.
bdwilson: (On the Web)
Download Day - English

Set a Guinness World Record!

All you have to do is get Firefox 3 during Download Day to help set the record for most software downloads in 24 hours - it’s that easy. We're not asking you to swallow a sword or to balance 30 spoons on your face, although that would be kind of awesome.

The official date for the launch of Firefox 3 is June 17, 2008 (@ 10 a.m. PDT). Join our community and this effort by pledging today.
bdwilson: (On the Web)
ifoundyourcamera.net

Inspired by PostSecret, this site seeks to reunite lost pictures with their owners.
"Do you recognize any of these people? Each one of these lost photos came from a found camera or memory stick. Check back again for more pictures.

Tell your friends about this site and let's all try to return some of these lost pictures home."
bdwilson: (On the Web)

What Happened In Piedmont?

"My name is Andrew Tobler. I received a weird voicemail from my sister and now I can\'t reach anyone from my hometown of Piedmont, Utah. I started this blog in hopes that others will help me find out what happened in Piedmont."

Follow the blog as Andrew updates us on the status of Piedmont, and his family. So far, the signs aren't good...

(I've added this a syndicated feed. It hasn't updated yet, but should soon assuming I've done it right. It can be found at [livejournal.com profile] piedmontmystery.)

bdwilson: (On the Web)

whatkindofWORLDdoyouwant.com
is the first video community that gives back!

    "We are all connected to one another through our actions. Each person has the ability to make a difference. This is one of the messages of the Five For Fighting video World.

    Tell the world what kind of world you want and raise money for charity by making and uploading a video of yourself, your friends or your family--whomever and whatever--answering the question, 'What Kind Of World Do You Want?'"

Description: Video and photograph montage of children and families living with autism, set to the music of pop group Five for Fighting.
Charity: autismspeaks
Author: Autism Speaks
Credits: Creative Group, Bill Shea

Profile

bdwilson: (Default)
BD Wilson

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