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Posted by Elizabeth Bear

42033cc7af08ce78dab5e38bf346b4b7cca4bfba89cd9a3e1ec81de2ad2ebfbb.jpg

I learned this from Robin Hobb, though I'm pretty sure she didn't realize that she was teaching it to me at the time: there is no extra credit in science fiction. 

By which I mean, one of the things that I do, that other writers do, that people in various other fields probably do too (though I don't have direct experience of that) is that we make extra work for ourselves because of... I don't know, acculturation probably that if we JUST WORK HARDER and are teacher's pets and volunteer for extra labor that somehow we'll get better outcomes. This is superstition, really--because publishing is an enormously unpredictable and random business where quality is not always rewarded, and a lot of things can go wrong. And like anybody who makes their living off a capricious and dangerous environment (actors, fishermen) writers are prone to superstitions as a means of expressing agency in situations where we're honestly pretty helpless. (Nobody controls the hive-mind of the readership. Oh, if only we did.)

Now, by extra credit, please note that I don't mean the things that I consider part of baseline professionalism in a writer: turning in a manuscript that is as clean and artistically accomplished as possible, as expediently as possible, and working with your editor to polish and promote the resulting book. What I mean is raising those bars to unsupportable levels, such as: "I will turn in a completely clean manuscript so that the copyeditor has nothing to do!" and "I have a series of simple edits here, which I will resolve be rewriting the entire book, because then my editor will be more impressed with me."

Spoiler: The copyeditor will have stuff to do, because part of her job is making sure that if you break house style you're doing it on purpose. Also, your editor will probably be a little nonplussed, and possibly sneak a pull out of the bottle of Scotch in her bottom drawer, because you've just made a lot more work for her.

Other manifestations include: "I must write forty guest blog posts today!" and "I must write at least twenty pages every single day to validate my carbon footprint!"

(That latter one is the one I tend to fall prey to, for the record.)

I see it a lot among women writers especially, probably because we feel like we constantly have to validate our right to be in a space that is only intermittently welcoming, but it's certainly not a gender-specific problem. 

And the thing is... it just isn't so. You don't have to do a pile of extra credit work. It doesn't help, and might in fact be detrimental--to your health, your sanity, and eventually your career. It's possible to out-produce your readership's appetite; it's possible to out-produce the publishing slots available to you; it's possible to fuss yourself so much over tiny details that don't actually matter that you add years to your production schedule and die broke in a gutter, or talk yourself out of finishing the book entirely.

They're never perfect. They're just as good as you can get them, in the limited time available, and then they're done and you learned something and the next one can be better, you hope.

And nobody's going to bump your 4.0 up to a 4.2 because you did a bunch of homework you didn't actually need to do to get the finished product as good as possible, and also out the door.

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Posted by Sharky

IT consultant pilot fish is brought in to provide IT support for a company with a whole raft of problems -- not all of which are immediately obvious.

"This client was a rat's nest of previous mistakes," says fish. "But over time, we fixed everything -- we replaced the aged server and slow, unreliable Internet connection, we implemented a new firewall with full VPN capabilities, and we replaced old workstations.

"Everything was great -- except the one workstation used by an old, crusty and crotchety employee."

And because she's a key employee in the office, when she gripes about a problem, it has to be fixed. Her complaint: that her workstation is so slow that it's practically unusable.

To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

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Posted by Sharky

Flashback to 1985, when this Cobol programmer pilot fish is handed an old, large program he's never seen before -- but he already knows it's going to be trouble.

"It had been modified many times," says fish. "I was told to figure out why the most recent changes caused the program to miscalculate some figure.

"The program started off with the usual housekeeping processes, including a line that read PERFORM REPORT-HEADINGS THRU REPORT-HEADINGS-EXIT. I saw no need to verify the report headings, so I moved on into the meat of the program.

"After a few days, I realized I was totally lost in the code. The program didn't appear to be doing what I had been told the program did. I was forced to turn on tracing to try to figure out what the program was doing.

To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

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Posted by Sharky

IT pilot fish is called in to referee a disagreement between a friend who's pulling network cable at a new corporate site and the local IT manager.

"The IT manager claimed that substandard installation work was slowing his network," says fish. "I spent some time wandering around and checking outlets and the setup, plus running a few tests."

It turns out the cabling is fine, it's all up to Cat-5 spec, and the workmanship is good. But fish is concerned that the network hubs are only 10 Mbps -- the low end of what Cat 5 supports -- and the wide-area network connection is a puny 9.6K leased line to an office in another city.

Then fish sits down with the office manager, the IT manager and the foreman of the cabling crew. The IT manager is demanding that the cabling guys rip out the Cat-5 cable and replace it with Cat 6, which has just come out.

To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

hi!

Jul. 19th, 2017 02:01 am
reesespiecescat: a cat looking down at a book (Default)
[personal profile] reesespiecescat posting in [community profile] 2017revival
Name: Ciarra
Age: 24
Country: US
Subscription/Access Policy: Friend away! I'm always looking for new friends to talk to. As for access, I grant almost everyone that subscribes to me. If I ever lock something it'll be something really personal and might be trigger-y. I will always warn if I do post something of that nature. There's no pressure to grant me access back.

Fannish Interests: Gosh, okay, I like a lot of things. But I also need to catch up on a lot of things. That's my problem.

I watch a lot of tv. Right now I'm watching shadowhunters and deciding if I want to catch up on Teen Wolf or not. My love for Scott McCall is enternal though. 

I really enjoy pokemon,  digimon,  yugioh,  sailor moon, power rangers, tf&f series, harry potter, kingdom hearts, and classic spn. all of those were my fandoms before I ever knew what fandom meant. i am casually into new doctor who but Ten was my first doctor and my favorite era. I'm always there for the companions the most though and I love bill potts so much. i love sherlock holmes adaptations but i gotta say my favorite is elementary. i'm also into low energy video games so pretty much anything nintendo and the sims. I'm a little obsessed with the sims and the fandom it has on youtube. just a little. Superheroes are cool too! I like the mcu and dcu but i haven't watched all of it yet bc reasons. Omg star wars is a big one lately too. and the new Star Trek and hopefully the new series!! as for cartoons steven universe is like the best thing that ever happened to me probably. aaaand books!! gosh do i hope to actually start to read books. The last full thing I read that wasn't fanfiction was the hunger games.

sp in summary i love anything cheesy, ridiculous, and about friendship :D 

I Like To Post About: honestly? cute animals. cats especially. no but i'll post about all the things i care about and I might to do reaction posts to show or movie etc. I hope to at least post fic or a rec or just journaling in general! I'm trying to find my place in dreamwidth after being on tumblr for so long now. 

About Me/Other Info: I'm an ace nonbinary (she/they pronouns) lesbian. I'm autistic, mentally ill, and have chronic pain & illness. I'm infp, capricorn, and a hufflepuff. 

hurt/comfort is my whole life. It's like my one true kink. I love reading it, writing it, having discussions about it, reading meta about, you get it. It's my jam. 

I'll mostly comment on stuff for a while probably. I have a strict rule that is if I see an entry/read a fic/etc I comment on it. <3

Case...er, DRAWER closed

Jul. 18th, 2017 03:00 am
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Posted by Sharky

User at this manufacturing plant calls the help desk because her PC keeps losing network connectivity -- and she says she even knows what's triggering the problem, reports a pilot fish on the scene.

"She insisted that her PC would lose network connectivity every time she shut her heavy metal desk's file cabinet drawer," fish says. "Sure enough, it did.

"Replacing the PC made no difference -- the new one still lost connectivity when the drawer closed. The cable was firmly seated in the network port, and the cable run didn't go anywhere near the drawer.

"But it turned out that a leg of the desk was resting on the network cable, which had worn quite through. The vibration from closing the heavy file drawer door was enough to cause the disconnect."

To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

So long, Photobucket

Jul. 17th, 2017 05:01 pm
moem: A computer drawing that looks like me. (Default)
[personal profile] moem
I've been a Photobucket user for 15 years or so. Now they've gone and done this. It is, of course their right to change the conditions of service, and I can see why they want to be paid for hosting. However, I dislike their way of changing things. It breaks a large part of the web.

So long, Photobucket. I've deleted my account. You've had a decent run; the first few years, without those giant ads and all the tracking, were the best. Not sure whether I'll start using a different picture hosting service. Do I even need one?

Can you hear me...right here?

Jul. 17th, 2017 03:00 am
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Posted by Sharky

It's vacation time for this IT pilot fish, and he's hiking out in the middle of nowhere in what he knows is a cellular dead zone -- there's a big ridge between him and the nearest cell tower.

"As I walked along, I was surprised when my phone chimed out a voicemail alert," fish says. "I continued walking as I dug my phone out. By the time I got it open, there was no signal.

"So I backtracked. I found that there was only a three-square-foot area where I could get a signal -- it was bouncing through a gap between mountains like a diffraction grating.

"I listened to the voicemail, found out it was really urgent and called my boss back -- and got his voicemail. I explained the signal situation and that I would remain in the same spot for about 10 minutes in hopes he would get the message.

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Unwanted Blogging Vacation

Jul. 17th, 2017 08:56 am
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Posted by Charlie Stross

I am taking an (unasked-for) vacation from blogging to attend the bed of a close, elderly, family member who is dying. This is not unexpected, but death doesn't generally happen on a schedule and I've no way of knowing whether it is hours or days away at this point: so life for the rest of us is, perforce, on hold—and so are my blog updates.

(There may be some appearances, probably unheralded, by guest bloggers over the weeks ahead. Watch this space.)

More Dreamwidth Friends?

Jul. 15th, 2017 05:44 pm
bonesofbirdwings: Cute bunny with text: "Sometimes I think about murder" (Default)
[personal profile] bonesofbirdwings posting in [community profile] 2017revival
 Name: Bones
Age: 21 (almost 22)
Location: Boston, MA
Gender: Female
Languages: English and a little Spanish

Describe yourself in five sentences or less: I'm fairly new here, but not new to fandom. I write fanfiction and I fandom-hop without rhyme or reason. I'm currently in a lot of small fandoms, and I love to add more, so feel free to try to get me obsessed with your favorite fandom. IRL, I'm a sleep scientist who doesn't sleep enough. I talk about my girlfriend a lot.

Top 5 Fandoms: 
I'm going to cheat, but in my defense, I am in so many fandoms...
Small video game fandoms (Oxenfree, Stardew Valley, and Primordia)
Boku No Hero Academia
The Goblin Emperor
Harry Potter (always... never hop away from this one)
Haikyuu!!


I mostly post about: Fanfiction, logic puzzles, fandom things. I'll probably start posting about my life at some point, but those won't be public

I rarely post about: politics, specifics about my work.

My last three posts were about: A logic puzzle and some fanfiction exchange/challenge stuff.

How often do you post?: Not much right now - I'm new here. But I imagine I'll be posting at least once every week, if not more.

How about commenting?: I'm good about commenting when I'm feeling social, but sometimes I don't have the energy. I like making friends and being friendly though, so I try. 
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Posted by Sharky

It's the middle of summer a few years back at this fishing-equipment factory -- and the heat is on this software developer pilot fish's team.

"One day, every PC in the building rebooted and all unsaved work was lost," fish says. "We received many complaints from users asking what was wrong with our software.

"We developers knew it wasn't our software, but were clueless as to the cause. The network techs felt the same way about their network and its configuration."

Maybe it's just some intermittent glitch, fish figures.

Then, the next day, it happens again. All the PCs reboot, and more complaints flow in.

And the day after that, it happens once more. That's when factory management steps up the heat on the IT guys, informing them that this problem that's nobody's fault will be identified and resolved.

To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

we_protect_each_other: king of knights & king of heroes (Default)
[personal profile] we_protect_each_other posting in [community profile] 2017revival
Name: Prix / [archiveofourown.org profile] failsafe
Age: 26
Location: United States / Tennessee
Gender: Female



Describe yourself in five sentences or less: Aquarius, INFP, dog person, never completely outgrew my goth phase but sometimes wear pink. I write fanfics, mostly for exchanges. I like monsters and space. In the real, basic, practical, flesh-and-blood, real-world I am: female (she/her), Christian, bisexual, socialist-leaning, a teacher, and from the southern United States. I do not do well with excessive sunlight, pineapple, disparaging remarks about religion (any, including my own), or people trying to make others feel bad about things that make them happy.

Top 5 Fandoms:

- Doctor Who
- Avatar: The Last Airbender
- Like three anime in one interconnected pile (Steins;Gate, Puella Magi Madoka Magic & Fate)
- MCU
- ??? Carmilla? It really depends on the day. I love Wonder Woman right now.


I mostly post about: ... Dear Author Letters. So far. 95% of what I do on the internet is fandom-related. I hope to keep talking about fandom in a responsive, more connected community than tumblr has provided in years. I hope to rewatch some fandoms I've lost touch with soon, though I will be starting work in a few weeks. Fandom with a dash of my daily personal monologue.

I rarely post about: Political or religious stuff outside a positive context.

My last three posts were about: I'm writing a fandom autobiography to get in the habit of posting on my dreamwidth.

How often do you post?: It's hard to say since I'm new to this. Most days this week. If you want to check out how I sort of blog you can check my tumblr's blogging tag.

How about commenting?: I believe in commenting with my whole heart. I really want to establish some friendships and conversationships here. When it comes to fic, I won't promise I'll read everything, but if I read it, I will always comment.

A GIF to describe how your day has been so far: Really uneventful day, so here's a gif that shows my overall personality. (I overidentify with Carmilla oops.)

Details, details...

Jul. 13th, 2017 03:00 am
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Posted by Sharky

This pilot fish's first-ever programming job in the 1980s is for a wholesaler that sells athletic socks on consignment -- the kind with licensed logos on them.

"Each retailer was contractually obligated to maintain a certain stock level," says fish. "I was hired to write an application in Basic to track their stock levels and reorders on our small minicomputer.

"One day, my boss asked me to find out whether there was a word processor available for our minicomputer. I called the sales rep and he informed me that no, there was nothing like that available.

"When I told the boss that there was no word processor to buy, he asked me if I could write one! I told him Basic is not generally good for that sort of application, and it would be exceedingly difficult to write a useful word processor in it.

To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Hi there!

Jul. 12th, 2017 05:40 pm
medievales: (Default)
[personal profile] medievales posting in [community profile] 2017revival
Name: Isadora, but you can call me Izze.
Age: 24
Country: Brazil
Subscription/Access Policy: I mostly like to be friends with 18+ people because I can post some triggering stuff about my life. But my journal is totally open (i guess it will stay this way?). Friend me please i am a small ball of fur alone in the world :(

Top 5 Main Fandoms: Harry Potter, Doctor Who, Sherlock, Reign and The Magicians.
Other Fandoms: WHERE DO I BEGIN???? Hannibal, The Librarians (!!!), Dark Matter, Game of Thrones, can I count classic literature books like fandom?, Pride and Prejudice and anything Austen, Steven Universe.
Fannish Interests: I read a lot of fanfic, I write some weird fanfics too that I dont advise you on reading, I make icons, and I will fangirl to anything couple-ish.
OTPs and Ships: PREPARE YOURSELF, HERE WE GO.
  • Alice in Wonderland: Alice&Hatter
  • Doctor Who: Ten&Rose, Twelve&River
  • Game of Thrones: Daenerys&KhalDrogo, SANSA&SANDOR
  • Hannibal: Hannibal&Will (and Abigail as their little girl, oh the feelings)
  • Harry Potter: Neville&Luna, Rowena&Salazar, Hermione&Ron, Snape&Luna, Snape&Basically-Everyone.
  • Sherlock: WHERE ARE THE SHERLOLLY FANS IN THE HOUSE? Yes, Molly&Sherlock go fuck yourself Irene.
  • Teen Wolf: Stiles&Lydia, Scott&Lydia, Lydia&Allison.

Favourite Movies: Anything Disney, 

TV Shows: Hannibal, Reign, The Magicians, The Librarians, Game of Thrones, My Mad Fat Diary, How to Get Away With Murder, The Royals, Steven Universe, Baby Daddy, Firefly, and so much more.

Books: Harry Potter, a lot of historical romance I am too shy to talk about (smut all the way guys), anything Austen, Jane Eyre, anything Sophie Kinsella and Meg Cabot.

Music: A lot of classical music, Wagner, Bach, Chopin, Mozart and Vivaldi. My Chemical Romance, System of a Down, Rammstein, Beyoncé, Katy Perry, AND ANYTHING BROADWAY BABY.

Games: Nope. I only play Kingdom Rush on my tablet, thanks.

Comics/Anime/Misc: COME FANGIRL WITH ME ABOUT YURI ON ICE. But mostly I prefer doramas.

Other Info: I am a slytherin, lannister, mary stuart defense squad, and always and forever in love with sherlock holmes. My journal can bounce from my depressive ramblings, to fanfics, to icons. I just moved from tumblr/lj/wordpress, so I really want to connect with new people and feel welcome again :3

Ready, fire, aim!

Jul. 12th, 2017 03:00 am
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Posted by Sharky

It's a couple decades ago, and this insurance company is still running on a very old mainframe and a collection of homegrown Cobol accounting systems, according to an IT pilot fish on the scene.

"But the VP of IT had ambitions of modernizing," fish says. "So a small team -- well, one programmer -- was writing a new commission system in Visual Basic.

"The VP had other ambitions, too. So he scheduled a weekly series of meetings at which all his department heads would meet to start developing a programming standards manual."

Fish -- who's in charge of maintaining the old Cobol commission systems -- thinks that's a great idea, so he shows up at the first meeting eager to help.

To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

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Posted by Sharky

It's the early days of Apple networking, and one of this IT consultant pilot fish's clients is a local high school with Macs -- and a problem.

"Their resident computer expert was having some network reliability issues with his Mac," fish says. "He had a homegrown, 200-foot-long LocalTalk cable that he would use during orientation and open houses to move his computer down the hallway for demos and the like.

"In an ill-considered decision, instead of disconnecting that cable when he was done, he simply looped the cable up and tucked the cord behind his desk. Placed it right on top of his surge protector, in fact.

"Induced current can wreak havoc in many ways. Worse yet, he struggled with the issue for over a week before calling me.

To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Book day!

Jul. 10th, 2017 11:40 am
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Posted by Charlie Stross

The Delirium Brief

Today (Tuesday) is the official publication date for The Delirium Brief in North America. As of this book, the Laundry Files are moving to Tor from Ace, who published the series from books 3-7. Because it has a different publisher in the UK (Orbit), The Delirium Brief won't officially be out until Thursday—but I gather it's already on sale in many branches of Waterstones.

First week sales figures are really important to authors these days, much like first weekend audience figures for a movie. It'll eventually get a price drop (and a low cost paperback edition), but if you want to read it, you'd be doing me a favour if you bought it now rather than later. Also? Reader reviews on Amazon really help—the more, the better. Authors these days are expected to do a bunch of their own marketing, and if the number of reader reviews on Amazon passes a critical threshold (fifty is the number I've heard) then they're more amenable to promotional book-of-the-month deals and future discounts.

If you want to order a signed copy, read this. Oh, and there are still tickets to the launch reading/signing at Blackwell's Bookshop in Edinburgh on the evening of Wednesday 12th.

Frequently asked questions (below the fold):

Q: What is this?

A: It's the eighth novel in the Laundry Files, a series of books and stories about the rather bureaucratic secret British government agency for protecting us from extradimensional horrors. (Magic being a sub-field of mathematics, and computers being tools that can perform mathematical operations really fast, it follows that the rate of emergencies involving extradimensional horrors is increasing in step with Moore's Law.)

Q: Is this a good starting point?

A: No, this is not a good starting point! It's a direct sequel to "The Nightmare Stacks" (which is an okay starting point, but misses out a lot of the back story for the main protagonist in "The Delirium Brief"). Other possible starting points are "The Atrocity Archives" (the first book in the series) or "The Rhesus Chart" (book five, and the start of the arc that culminates in "The Delirium Brief"). If you haven't read the series and want a free taster, here's a link to Equoid, which won the 2014 Hugo award for best novella. (Available as a cheap ebook if you're an ebook completist or want a taster but don't want to be glued to a web browser for a couple of hours.)

Q: Bob! What about Bob? I want more Bob!

A: This is predominantly a Bob novel (you've been waiting, right?) although as there's an ensemble cast we get bits from other folks' points of view. You can stop shouting for more Bob now. (The next novel will not be a Bob novel, but maybe the one after that ...)

Q: What about Brexit?

A: As "The Delirium Brief" is set in a very different 2014 (Leeds has just been flattened by an invading army), Brexit isn't really an issue facing the Laundry. Yet.

Q: Is this "funny" Laundry or "grimdark" Laundry?

A: Starts funny, turns grimdark real quick. I think it's funny, but it's this kind of funny.

Q: I just inhaled this book, when is the next due?

A: These books normally come at 3-4 year intervals. However, I've just emitted three in consecutive years. I've been planning on taking a year out (I hope to have a big fat space opera out in summer 2018) and keeping my hand in with a couple of Laundry short stories. However, the first chapter of book nine ("The Labyrinth Index") forced its way out early, so you never know ...

It's prolly a walrus...

Jul. 10th, 2017 08:59 pm
ludy: a painting i did looking in a mirror (Default)
[personal profile] ludy
So i was wrong about having a Chronic Fatigue Flare Up - that doesn't give you a fever. I've had a temperature most days for the last three and a half weeks and I am very, very bored. Otherwise the symptoms are much the same as chronic fatigue - exhaustion, swollen glands, feeling generally achey and brain fog.
I've been prodded by the GP and there's no obvious flavour of ill (my throat, ears, lungs, guts and urinary tract are all normal-for-ludy) but a blood test some virus type infection markers. A glandular fever screen was negative (though they aren't very reliable and i have had that before) I was worried i might have an enlarged spleen but it turns out i've somehow managed to pull a muscle under my ribs cause a totally unrelated pain! So all she could recommend is rest and fluids and watching out for secondary infections. She couldn't guess how much longer it might go on
I'm feeling bored and isolated but I don't have the energy to do anything so i'm feeling pretty sorry for myself.

Circumstances mean i wouldn't have been doing much MumCare over the last fortnight anyway (Brother visit and then planned Respite) but ongoingly that's a problem. And of course it'll be the Smalls school holidays soon and other summer-y things are coming up like my Birthday and BiCon.

Meep!