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Archive for April, 2012

Feds Dream

1950s America.
Large cars with chrome grilles, men in suits.
Government agents are chasing me because I have murdered someone. (Whether I have actually murdered someone or they just believe I have murdered someone, I don’t know.)
Driving around. Jump off a wall. Slamming doors.
There is a large round object like a flour mill.

Scrivener, Dropbox and backups

Edit: Scrivener allows you to store your backups anywhere; creating a specific folder in Dropbox offers a nice, convenient remote location.

If like me you keep your Scrivener projects in Dropbox because you alternate between machines – in my case an iMac running Lion and a MacBook Pro running Snow Leopard – when you switch from one machine to the other, make sure Dropbox has synced before opening your current Scrivener project, otherwise you’ll need to dig out a backup.

Scrivener’s automatic backup feature means that your recent files are always available to restore should you be a bit of a pillock and forget to do this – as I did last night. Twice.

Say, what?

Here’s the scenario: you’re working on your desktop machine on a Scrivener project that you keep in your Dropbox folder. You close this at 5:00pm, at which point Scrivener saves the project to Dropbox and automatically makes a local backup on the desktop computer. All good.

At 7:00pm you decide want to work on the same project on your laptop. You open your Dropbox folder on the machine, but being particularly enthusiastic (or forgetful) you open the file in the local Dropbox folder before Dropbox has synced with the web-based folder. This can happen, because Dropbox often doesn’t sync immediately – sometimes it’s very quick, but on other occasions it can take a few minutes, depending on connection speed or other factors.

As a result the file you now have open on the laptop will be the one Scrivener saved the last time you worked on the project on that machine; it could be a day old, it could be a week old, who knows? But even if it’s only a few hours, the chances are that you’ve made more changes than you really want to have to make again because of your… enthusiasm. For the purposes of this post let’s say you last saved the file on the laptop the previous day at 3:00pm.

What this means is that Scrivener will now automatically make a backup of the file you currently have open on the laptop – the one from 3:00pm yesterday – to Dropbox when it does sync, thereby overwriting the more recent file you saved at 5:00pm today on the desktop machine. Even if you close the file or quit Scrivener now it will automatically overwrite the work saved at 5:00pm today with the version from 3:00pm yesterday. Not so good.

Hey Presto!

It is in just such circumstances that Scrivener comes to the rescue. What you need to do is retrieve the back-up of the project that Scrivener saved locally on the desktop machine when you closed it at 5:00pm. On a Mac (don’t ask me about Windows…) you’ll find this in the following location:

Library/Application Support/Scrivener/Backups

If you sort the file list by Date Modified your most recent file will be at the top. Open this file, double-check to make sure it’s the correct one, then save it to Dropbox. This will overwrite the version from 3:00pm yesterday that Scrivener saved from the laptop when you closed it at 7:00pm. Boom, as the late Steve Jobs would say, your work is restored, and you should be thankful to Scrivener for holding the safety net for you.

There are a couple of potential problems you should be aware of. The first is the possibility that you don’t realise you’ve opened an older version of the file before making changes aplenty. In this case you’re just going to have to repeat some work, because you’ll have conflicting files with different changes. The other problem will be if you save the file on your desktop, then go out on the road with your laptop, because you won’t have access to the backup that Scrivener saved locally on the desktop computer. I was lucky: I was at home.

Ideally, wait until the local Dropbox folder on the machine you’re working on has synced with the online folder; a good idea is to set Growl to issue a notification when this has occurred.

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Josef Hoflehner – Jet Airliner


Great photography.

Originally posted on SIXAND5:

Jet Airliner is a nice photographic series by Austrian photographer Josef Hoflehner of arriving and departing airplanes at the Princess Juliana International Airport in St. Maarten, Dutch West Indies.

View original

Don’t Get Any Big Ideas – a blog about my favourite Radiohead tracks

I wrote some time ago about Radiohead releasing “stems” of their beautiful track Nude from their album In Rainbows. The idea of releasing the stems was to allow people to remix Nude, with the results the band liked best being uploaded somewhere (I think it may be radioheadremixcom). While initially tempted to have a stab at it myself, in the end I couldn’t bring myself to meddle with this wonderful track, which is among my Radiohead favourites.

Don’t get any big ideas. They’re not gonna happen.

Instead, I often listen to the stems – drums, bass, guitar, effects and vocals – in their own right. Separating Nude into its component parts gives a fascinating insight into the work that went into the track, and the stunning musicianship and production. The guitar stem is probably my favourite: the sound is warm, clear and mellow, and the playing incredible, with touches of vibrato that are simply lost in the complete track. You can heard the guitar stem here (it’s silent until 1:12, and falls silent at other points where there is no guitar on the finished track).

You’ll go to hell for what your dirty mind is thinking.

For a long time How to Disappear Completely was my favourite Radiohead track. I love Thom Yorke’s vocals and the rolling, edgy strings, the rise to a cacophony followed by the abrupt drop to lullaby. But listening to the two tracks back to back, Nude wins out by a country mile. The track takes the sweeping emotional soundscape the band opened up with How to Disappear Completely but reigns it in a little – everything has more space, and the emotional impact is intensified through restraint and subtle tweaks of production. Yorke’s vocals are incredible, and the lyrics of Nude certainly have more impact for me.

There are a couple of links to the songs on YouTube below. If you’re not familiar with the tracks, give them a listen and decide for yourself. I recommend closing your eyes. Click Radiohead in the tag cloud, right, for related posts.

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How to Disappear Completely (YouTube)
Nude (YouTube)

Words I Have Loved

Some words just stand out. Some are used in a particular context or situation; others are memorable in their own right. Here are a few that have attracted my attention over the years. Consider this a sort of half-arsed episode of Call My Bluff

To me, anon feels like a word that’s somehow survived from medieval times. In much the same way as crocodiles have survived from the dinosaur era. Anon has been said to me by only three people: my friend David who lives a couple of doors up the road, has a TARDIS in his living room and was just yesterday standing outside my house with a purple cloak and wearing a too-small tricorn hat (no, really); my friend Phil, with whom I cycle (generally trailing him by some distance if we’re going up a hill); the inimitable Mr Ian Watson, at a convention. I have used the word myself on occasion, but only in emails – I’ve never quite had the nerve to use it face-to-face. Maybe if I was wearing a suit of armour…

anon |əˈnɒn|
adverb archaic or informal
soon; shortly: I’ll see you anon.

I first came across glister in a novel – unsurprising given its literary positioning. Glister stood out in the text as particularly evocative of something that exuded a beautiful glitteryshimmery effect. I do use it myself from time to time, mainly to describe sunlight reflected off water.

glister |ˈglɪstə| literary
verb [ no obj. ]
sparkle; glitter.

a sparkle.

I first came across churlish in the film Victim starring Dirk Bogarde: “it seemed somewhat churlish not to give him a lift…” (or something like that). This is a superb film set in 1960s Britain about the injustice of punishing gay men for their sexuality, back when homosexuality was still a crime and carried a prison sentence. The law may have changed for the better, but sadly the ingrained prejudices of many are more difficult to overcome. I’ve heard this word used elsewhere on a few other occasions, but not many, and I have been known to use it myself, although never with regard to giving people lifts.

churlish |ˈtʃəːlɪʃ|
rude in a mean-spirited and surly way: it seems churlish to complain.

I once saw a TV programme in which Dolly Parton described herself as being rambunctious as a little girl. At that time I didn’t know the meaning of the word, but I knew exactly what she meant. Rambunctious – a big sticky toffee of a word that effectively conveys its meaning without effort.

rambunctious |ramˈbʌŋ(k)ʃəs|
adjective informal, chiefly N. Amer.
uncontrollably exuberant; boisterous.

and finally

The word thrunge was conveyed to me by Mr Jim Burns, a former RAF pilot and long-standing SF artist of considerable note. It is apparently used in RAF circles to indicate huge power from jet or rocket engines, among other things with suitable impulse, such as high-powered sports cars. Thrunge. Best said while raising a fist, and followed by blowing a Les Dawson-style raspberry.

thrunge |θrʌng|
adjective informal, chiefly Brit.
extreme power, thrust

So there we have it. A fine selection of words that aren’t used nearly as much as they should be. I suggest you go out and make an impression upon someone with their use as soon as possible. I, meanwhile, will return with another post anon…

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