Secret Diaries…..

whats behind the wrapper?

Browsing Posts published in July, 2010

  • @lartist sounds like some fairly horrendous mail… in reply to lartist #
  • What exactly are you claiming for? I have photpgraphic evidence of your perfectly intact car! #

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Creating believable characters is obviously a major part of every decent fiction writers trade, so where do these characters come from?  Many writers freely admit that most of their characters are a composite of a number of different people they come into contact with in their da ily lives, this is obviously a fantastic place to start because surely nothing will be more believable than a real person/people.  For new writers this does however often backfire, a tendency to focus on one aspect of someones personality or to combine only negative or positive characteristics results in flat characters who are either too perfect, or too repugnant for the reader to engage with them in any way.

The classic one for this would be the arch-nemesis, regularly guilty of having absolutely no redeeming features and of commiting evil acts for no other reason than because the author has decided the character is evil without thinking about their motivations.  The worst and most evil of people in mankinds history did what they did for what they believed to be perfectly rational reasons, not because they decided one day to be ‘bad people’.  Authors who can embrace this concept tend to create far more believeable villains.

The trick is in finding the right composite of characteristics to end up with a real living and breathing whole, something which I’ve been working on of late, having now got some idea of a plot line for my first real attempt at a novel I now need to populate my new world with some interesting people and this is proving to be a fun activity.  I’ve spent more time people watching in the last two weeks than I have in a while and its all proved very interesting and informative.  Hopefully the results will be worthwhile!

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  • Anyone else noticed that people being outraged at something tends to draw far more attention to said thing than would otherwise get? #

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You know how everyone’s a computer expert now?  They all know all the answers, ‘’s the software’, ‘you need more memory’, ‘Macs/Windows/Dell/HP/whatever are crap, you should get a Mac/Windows PC/Dell/HP/whatever’.  As an professional stuff like this is annoying enough when its other techs saying , when everyone else chimes in based on something they heard from some bloke in the pub the general result is said tech goes and finds a quiet corner to sit and cry in. Why exactly?  Because aside from the fact that these judgements are often just plain wrong, they regularly suffer from the usual problems of a collection of opinions of blokes in the pub.

They probably know less about than you do.

Or, if they do know about they are talking about a specific case and not in general terms.  More RAM will not solve every PC problem, one fault does not necessarily make a particular software package useless and (this is a big one) Mac/Windows/HP/Dell/whatever are not the without flaws, and they are not completely useless.  Companies don’t tend to survive very long if they are.

As a general rule, expressing your opinion of what the problem could be with your PC while the office tech is working on should (if we were allowed) be met with a response somewhere along the lines of  ’If your such an expert why did you call me?  Fix yourself then.’ unfortunately things like that are not considered good customer service so we smile sweetly and carry on regardless.  Please try to remember that we’re here to help and we are very unlikely to try and tell you how to do your job, so you telling us how to do ours is less than helpful.

Users at my current job have started using a new ploy to annoy the hell out of me, despite keeping them informed of progress and working hard to resolve their problem some have decided that faster results can be gained by emailing upper management with there problems.  This is more annoying than being told how to do my job, this is actually offensive to me.  Particularly as the normal tone of these emails seems to suggest that the department have access to a vast store of hidden funds which could be used to replace every PC and server twice over without having any effect on the companies bottom line.

Attitudes like this are what make me consider careers a long way away from , truth is though that none of those careers actually has much potential to earn me big straight away so I’d have to make sure I got my hands on a fairly solid cardboard box to live in till they did….

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This is the first writing I’ve done this week, not an intentional failure but a failure none the less.  I’ll be well off target I’m afraid.  Unfortunately a lot of things have chosen this week to compete for attention in my brain and they’ve got in the way of my creative muscles somewhat.

My intention is that I’ll make up for the failing next week, hopefully producing one piece a day and massively expanding my output compared to its current levels.  I’m also hoping to get some serious work on The Book done, perhaps even seeing if I can produce something approaching a decent first chapter to get things moving on that front.

Matters have not been helped by the fact that my energy levels seem to be at an all time low, I’m spending more time feeling tired than feeling useful.  Still, four weeks to go and then I can recharge my batteries in a cottage on Exmoor.  Four weeks that can’t really go fast enough….

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  • woops… hadn't noticed the twitter plugin went mental there. All I did was update some categories! Still, makes me look busy I suppose #
  • How exactly does iain m banks get away with being cryptic as all bastardy when I can't? Oh right… he makes clear in the end, bugger. #
  • #haveyouevernoticed that a surprising amount of text speak doesn't actually make words shorter, just badly spelt #

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’s a fairly obvious question for a company whose oft quoted motto is ‘do no evil’, particularly when the company in question has become so intrinsic to many peoples daily lives.  With stories of accidental Wi-Fi data collection and data centers filled with peoples personal information its easy to become suspicious of one of the world’s fastest growing technology companies.  All this does not automatically become a reason to doubt Google’s sincerity however, no one actually knows what they are collecting or even how long they hold onto for so is entirely possible that nothing particularly personally identifying is held for an extended period.  The flip side is also true of course, they could be holding everything forever.

This vast data store could be being used for the simplest of purposes, providing more targetted advertising, its a clear capitalist goal to aim for and makes Google a lot of .  What if thats not what they are holding for though?  What could Google do with all this information while still staying true to the ‘do no evil’ catchphrase.  If we look at the world of artificial intelligence we may find a clue, swarm intelligence relies on individual agents interacting with each other and there environment with no centralized control structure, what larger group of individual agents exist than the human population of the internet?  Perhaps Google’s data gathering is all part of some larger plan to create a real and working artificial intelligence by understanding the interactions which take place amongst the ‘swarm’ that is the internet.  Or taking the social interaction principle further perhaps at the heart of the Googleplex sociologists are seeking to understand the deeper causes of human behaviour by analysing the interaction of internet denizens.

To take a more science fiction route another possibility surely exists, Psychohistory in the world of Asimov relies on the analysis of statistical information of large groups.  Again the internet represents the largest grouping of individuals in the history of the world, where better to gather the data necessary to predict the flow of human events?

These possibilities are obviously vague and certainly in one case fairly outlandish but the possibility exists that Goolge are gathering data for some great and noble purpose, rather than just to shove a more targetted advertising campaign down our necks.  Even if they are ridiculous, the potential material for fiction authors created by Google’s mere existence is huge and shouldn’t be ignored.

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