annathepiper: (Ein Minuten Bitte)
[personal profile] annathepiper

And now, part 2 of my review of Write!, the text editor. In part 1, I talked about my initial impressions of its pricing and subscription model, its treatment of saving to a cloud vs. saving locally, and functionality I was able to learn about on the first couple of menus.

In this post, I’ll talk about the functionality on the Edit and Format menus, as well as the overall look of the thing and the experience of writing in it.

Yep, that sure is an Edit menu

I see pretty standard functionality available on the Edit menu: Undo, Redo, Cut, Copy, Copy As (with a few different options as to how you can copy into the window you’re working on), and Find.

(Additionally, since I’m looking at the Mac build, there are also the Start Dictation and Emoji & Symbols options that I see at the bottom of Edit menus on other programs on my Mac. But as those as not specific to this program, I won’t talk about them here.)

The Format menu

Show Context Menu

This brings up a bunch of things that I’d expect to find on toolbars in other programs, and is essentially a glorified toolbar here, even if it’s in multi-tabbed menu format.

I’d be a little annoyed by this, as having to go to the menu seems like a redundant way to get at this functionality, except that I also just discovered I can get to the same stuff by right-clicking anywhere within my edit window. In which case I kinda wonder why there’s a whole menu command to get to this, which, again, feels redundant. But I guess not so much if you’re not used to right-clicking to get to stuff.

Bold, Light, Italic, Underline, Strikethrough, Upper Case, Lower Case

All of these menu options do what I’d expect them to, though I’m a little surprised by “Light”, as this is an option I haven’t seen in word processors or text editors before. It basically appears to be functioning as an opposite of Bold. Except that if you want to un-bold text you can toggle it in every single program I’ve ever dealt with, so I’m not exactly sure why a separate format needed to be here. If I try to bold an entire phrase and then choose “Light” on a word within that phrase, it does the exact same thing as just de-bolding that word.

I do like being able to automatically upper-case or lower-case text, though.

I’m not entirely pleased with all these formatting options being their very own menu items, though, particularly given that they’re all duplicated on the aforementioned Context menu. So there’s another layer of redundancy here, all of which I think would have been entirely fine to eliminate completely with a simple toolbar.

On the other hand, if you have the formatting options on the menu, you can also show the keyboard shortcuts, which is useful, so there’s that. Things like command-B and command-I might be second nature to me (or any other writer who’s been working for a while on a Mac), but I’m not everybody, and it’s important for me to keep that in mind.

Though okay, I just figured out why this menu/context bar bugs me. I’d like to be able to have that context menu floating over on the side so I wouldn’t have to keep bringing it up and dismissing it if I want to reformat text. Or, I’d like these options on a toolbar. This editor is billing itself as a “distraction-free” text editor, but it’s distracting to me to have to keep bringing the context menu up and dismissing it again. I’d be bugged by this less if it were on a mobile device where screen real estate is more important, but I’m on my laptop screen and not lacking for visual space.

Headers and Paragraphs

This is another formatting option that is duplicated on the context menu, and basically covers a small assortment of styles you can apply to text: headings, code, quote, etc. Not too huge a style set, but on the other hand, this is calling itself a text editor, not a word processor. I wouldn’t expect a text editor to get nearly as complicated with its styles as an outright word processor would, so that’s fine.

Alignment

Left, Right, Center, Justify, and Reset, some basic alignment options for whatever paragraph you’re currently in/selected, and it does appear to work on a paragraph basis. Which is about what I’d expect.

I am, however, a bit surprised that these options are not duplicated on the context menu. This is a bit of inconsistency of behavior, which I almost find a bit more irritating than the aforementioned redundancy.

Lists

Bullet, Numeric, and Alphabetic lists styles, including a “Switch” option that apparently just cycles through the three. Not something I feel I’d particularly need when using a text editor for writing.

But, if you’re using this thing as a client to write a post for Medium or some other blogging platform, basic lists could be useful. I use lists in my posts all the time.

Highlight

Behaves mostly like I’d expect, highlighting a word if I’ve already selected it, or turning on highlighting for whatever I’m about to type next if something isn’t already selected.

However, highlighting apparently does not toggle like Bold or Italic. If I have a word highlighted, and then select the Highlight command off the menu again, or use the keyboard shortcut, it doesn’t remove that highlight.

If I want to remove the highlight, I actually have to go onto the context menu and get at the “Clear Formatting” command on the first tab, or the “Clear Highlight” command on the Highlight tab. Easy enough to find but slightly irritating that I had to go looking for it.

Edit Hyperlink

Okay, I get the intention here: add a hyperlink to text. However, I take issue with the implementation, on the following grounds:

One, “Edit Hyperlink” implies there’s already a hyperlink there to edit, which is not the case if what you want to do is actually add a new one.

Two, if you select some text and then select “Edit Hyperlink”, what actually happens is that the context menu pops up, and the “Hyperlink” command on it is replaced by a text box where you’re supposed to enter the hyperlink you want.

And I’m sorry, but the entire notion of splicing a text entry box into a context menu just makes me go NO. Even if it does appear to work and (presumably) saves the effort of coding a separate dialog box to keep track of that setting. I don’t care. It’s still annoying.

So if editing and formatting annoy me, is it at least nice to write in?

Here’s something good I can say about this program: with sidebars and things turned off, whittling it down to just the basic program window itself, I do actually like the aesthetic look of it. It’s clean. It’s simple. It certainly is nicer to look at than TextEdit.

I am not really a fan of its default sans serif font, and there appears to be no way to change it. Nowhere in the program do I see any sign of ability to change what fonts it uses.

But at least visually, that’s the only nitpick I’ve got with it.

Typing-wise, I’m finding it distracting that it doesn’t auto-indent paragraphs for me like Scrivener does. But I can’t hold that against it, because again, text editor, not word processor. TextEdit doesn’t auto-indent so I wouldn’t expect Write! to do so either.

And here’s a thing I do kind of like. Here’s a screenshot of what the window looks like to me:

The Write! Window

The Write! Window

That little gray square over on the right is a navigation bar, which you can use to get a thumbnail view of where you are in the document, and do a fast scroll up and down. I can confirm, now that I’ve typed enough into the test window to get enough text to scroll, that that does work. I also note that if you don’t happen to like that feature, you can turn it off. (More on this in the next post.)

And OH HEY SURPRISE: down in the left bottom corner, that “1 174” down there? Turns out that’s a word count feature that has no access on the menu whatsoever, so I stumbled across that entirely by accident. More on this in another post, too; I like some of what I see there, but some of it seems buggy as well. The lack of an obvious word count was one of the things I was going to say I didn’t like about the program, but since there is in fact word count functionality here, that’s a distinct advantage over, say, TextEdit.

For now, though, that’s enough for this post. More to come in part 3!

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

i need a d.va icon apparently

Sep. 20th, 2017 09:19 pm
solarbird: (tracer)
[personal profile] solarbird
Today was the most badass I have ever been as D.va.

Offence. Volskaya industries. Backfill, with about 2:30 to go; first point taken, first third of second point taken, but they've been flailing. I grab D.va, and they waste about 2:15 just raggedly charging in, ignoring my group-up requests - tho' I did get the enemy to blow a few of their ults. And once I announce that my nerf is up, my team finally groups, mostly because hey, about out of time.

I lead the charge in. I get one and a mech with my nerf. One of our team gets someone else, I don't know who. I get my mecha back, charge in, kill a third.

Their Reaper drops in with his ult and kills FIVE OF US. Quadruple kill. It is, in fact, play of the game.

But he does not get me. I am the only member of my team alive.

I kill every remaining member of the enemy team and take the point in overtime, while the entire rest of my team is dead.

I gold in objective kills, but I don't even card.

I cannot imagine what that looked like to everyone else.
solarbird: (tracer)
[personal profile] solarbird

Sorry this one took so long. I'm not good at large action sequences, and this chapter was difficult to write, mostly because of that. I was trying to keep it gamelike, in that it would be evocative of a failed charge onto take a point with a payload on it in game, as opposed to a realistic infantry scenario. I hope it works.

If nothing else, it's way longer than most of my chapters, so at least nobody's being short changed. ^_^

[AO3 link]


The opportunity came sooner than expected. An arms shipment, escorted by Los Muertos, task force almost certainly to be led by Jack Morrison - or, as it seems they called him, the white ghost.

Jesse McCree had been the one to catch the rumour, talking with some of his old Deadlock Gang contacts, who, turns out, would be happy if a rival gang did not get to run goods through their territory. And so, they passed the news to him, and he passed it to Amélie, who passed it to Venom, who gave it to Overwatch, and Gabriel Reyes, who built a plan.

Mockingbird lay atop the crest of the hill, silent, even her breath inaudible, even to herself, even she wasn't entirely sure she was bothering to breathe right then, as the small three-vehicle convoy stirred itself, beginning its early-morning trundle out of the two-building ghost town that had once called itself Cloverdale. There had been more here, once, before the climate warmed, but really, it had ended before then, a former bit of a farming town, a little store, a dance pavilion, enough water - just - for a bit of crop and cattle raising, but now, even that last was gone, which is, of course, why they were all where they were.

The sniper had been in her nest since two days before, had watched the convoy trundle its way across the desert and to a stop, loading out into the little stone ruin, and calling it a night. She had not slept; she did not need to, for this watch. Once everyone had tucked themselves in so nicely, so quietly, she'd then confirmed via radio to Gabriel that Jack Morrison was, indeed, in the front truck, and that they were not, in fact, transporting refugees or undocumented workers - there were no innocents to get in the way. Just a simple cargo delivery - maybe the weapons, maybe a side delivery before the main delivery, no way even to know.

Not that it mattered, really.

She watched as the convoy slowly rode its way west, towards her and past burned out soil, past former farm gates, now collapsing along the road, the paint bleached in the sun. She took in a breath, just enough to speak. "They're on their way."

Gabriel's voice in her ear. "Do you have the target?"

Lena allowed herself the smallest of smirks. Less than a kilometre. No breeze, at all. Crystal clear skies. Do I have the target. Honestly, Gabe. But she kept it to herself. "Target confirmed and moving into go/no go. Do I have go?"

Reyes ran through the numbers one more time in his head. Everyone in position for the ambush. A lot more fighters on the Los Muertos side - more than they expected, and it bothered him - but only one hard target. The gang side wouldn't be trying for a capture - they'd be shooting for kills, without hesitation - but Overwatch had surprise on their side.

"Nearing optimal range, Gabe. Go or no go?"

Who knows when we'll get intel even this good again, he decided. "Action confirmed. All team, on my mark - go."

Venom - no, Mockingbird - smiled the spider's smile, and pulled the trigger. Morrison's head jerked to the side as the tactical visor went flying out across the desert in pieces, and he swore, loudly, in Spanish, blinded by his own blood, but not really hurt, despite the proximity of the bullet. The transport vehicle swerved, blocking the road forward, but did not fly out of control, and seconds later he was shouting orders to his team as the Overwatch group moved in from the northeast, from the dried-up spring.

"Visor down," the sniper confirmed, as Mei threw up a wall behind the convoy, Gabriel lay down fire blowing out the front vehicle's tires, and the unlabelled Overwatch carrier blared its orders to drop weapons and be commandeered. Pharah charged into the air, letting loose with a series of rockets aimed at vehicle engines, as Mockingbird readied for a spray of long-range discouragement fire from her position, to keep the grunts under cover. She grinned as she watched the Los Muertos gangsters circle their vehicles and swarm for weapons, and then her grin froze as Jack darted away from her sight, without a visor, then reappeared on the other side of the transport vehicle, with one.

What th'...?! She looked back towards the wreckage of the visor. Yes, there, pieces, still on the ground. She called into comms, "Gabe, he has a second visor somehow, watch it!" just as Jack triggered the device, visual overlay screen appearing almost instantly, knocking Pharah out of the air just as she'd disabled the third vehicle. Mockingbird adjusted her sights and took a second shot, surely hitting him dead on, but somehow apparently not as he just kept shooting through the visor, after briefly jerking to the left.

She waited for a third shot, and Jack's head popped up again, again through the front transport, behind two windows. Mockingbird reacted instantly, and fired. Her vision seemed to blur, and suddenly, it was a Los Muertos grunt splayed out across the sand, her head smashed, and Jack Morrison was still firing.

Nobody's that lucky, she thought, coolly. Something's going on.

Los Muertos got a shield generator running as Mei threw up another wall while taking bullets to the shoulder and chest, saving Gabriel, who had also been hit and hurt by the barrage of bullets. Pharah limped back into the air, got off a single rocket knocking Morrison down, and went down again herself almost immediately, Mercy flying to her wife's side. Gabriel, Mockingbird, and - a moment later - Mercy's fire kept most of the rest of the Los Muertos fighters ducking for cover, as Winston leapt down, shield in place over the wounded Mei, Tesla cannon keeping braver Los Muertos back, as Athena flew in as pickup for the injured.

"Gabriel, Tracer here," Mockingbird shouted into comms, trying to force some emotion back into her voice. "Mockingbird's hit this guy in the head three times and he just shakes it off, something is very wrong. We need to..."

And then Jack fell to the ground, unconscious, and an older woman's voice came over the Overwatch comms, saying, "He's down, but it won't last more than 30 seconds. Get your wounded out while you can, and regroup at my position. Tracking beacon enabled."

-----

"A second visor?!" Gabriel - limping, but mobile - looked incredulously at Mockingbird as the small Overwatch strike force mended its wounds at the beacon site deep in the hills to the north. "He can't have a second visor. It's unique to each soldier. It was wired into his brain."

"Don't care," insisted the woman in black and green. "I shot the first one off, just like we planned it. It was on the ground, in pieces." She folded her arms. "My sight takes pictures, I can show you."

"But a second visor - that's not possible," Gabriel insisted.

"I know I hit him. I know I did. Three times. There's something we've missed, Gabe. This should've been easy and it was a disaster."

"You look very familiar," said the older woman with the beacon, looking with narrowed eyes at the younger sniper.

Mockingbird blinked, and looked over to the older woman, finally realising who she was seeing. "...no question of it on my side," she said, recovering. "The legendary Ana Amari, in the flesh. You're supposed to be dead. What the hell, mate? And how'd you get on our comms?"

Gabriel glanced away from Mockingbird and brushed dust off his hands, looking resolutely unsurprised. "Ana, this is our sniper specialist, callsign Mockingbird. Mockingbird, this is Ana Amari, apparently not dead."

Ana snorted at her former Blackwatch friend, and gestured over to Mockingbird. "You think that can replace me?"

"You have been dead since 2069," said Winston, stepping in between the new and the old, "as far as we knew." He gave Reyes a look, a look that said they would be talking about Reyes's lack of surprise in the very near future. "She's an independent contractor willing to work with us, and we're happy to have her service."

"I know that kit," said the Egyptian, with a sideways glance back to the younger woman. "And I know that blue tinge. Working with Talon, are we, now? Maybe Jack's not so crazy as I thought."

"Not with Talon, luv," Mockingbird lied. "But I always buy from the best. No second chances in this game. 'Cept for you, apparently. And Jack." She looked around at Angela and Gabriel and Ana, and frowned. "And apparently all you old lot."

Amari glanced disdainfully at the young assassin, then returned to ignoring her, looking back to Gabriel. "And where's the so-called Hero of Old London supposed to be, then?"

Mockingbird glared, anger a flash across her face. No, she told herself. Lena's not here. Ana's trying to provoke you. Realising that, she found she didn't even need to bring up the web further to keep control. It's a game. She knows, she just wants us to admit it. Spill the beans, grams? Not likely.

"We all thought it was for the best if she stayed out of any direct action involving the man who left her to die in the Slipstream." He looked directly into the sniper's eyes. "Knowing you're here, I'd say that was the right call."

"Afraid she'd lose her cool, get hurt?" She made a little unimpressed sound, a kind of pffft. "And yet here you hand whatever they've made of her" - she waved at Mockingbird, without looking - "a sniper rifle. You're fools."

Lena almost spoke up, then almost laughed, but kept her expression flat. Nice try, she thought. "So I shouldn't ask for your autograph, then?"

Winston shook his head at Mockingbird's verbal jabs, and Gabriel crossed his arms, with a frown. "I have no idea what you're talking about, Ana. More importantly - where the hell have you been all these years?"

"Really? You're going to keep up this laughable facade?"

"Whatever. You gonna tell us where you've been all this time?"

Amari glared. "No. But I will give you this." She pulled a small memory card out of a coat pocket. "It's video and notes from a... previous attempt to solve the Jack Morrison problem. If you're going to try to kill him, I need you not to make things worse."

"We aren't trying to kill him," Winston said, taking the card. "We're trying to bring him to justice."

Amari spat at the ground. "There's no justice for what he did, or for what he's become. I thought you understood that."

Well, thought Mockingbird, there's one place we agree. She found she didn't like the agreement. "That's what I thought, too. Maybe I ought t'reconsider the point."

"Does it always make this much noise? Maybe it should be reprogrammed again."

"ENOUGH OF THIS." Mercy glided down from the flat spot on the hillside above, where she had been tending to Mei and Pharah, watching since Ana showed herself, stunned to see her mother-in-law, of all people, reappear from the dead - not her way, but alive and well the entire time.

"Angela, why are you mixed up in this idiocy? I thought you'd know better."

The field medic marched over to the old military officer, and slapped her across the face, hard, staggering her back. "You dare show your face? You dare act like this to my friends, after what you have put us through?!"

"Woah!" interjected Mockingbird, jumping forward to restrain the doctor. "Angela, no! It's fine, she's just horrible!"

"No," she said, looking back, and shaking her arms free, "it is not fine!" She turned back to the old soldier, and pointed to Pharah, unconscious, but recovering. "She mourned you. You ignored her as a child and she loved you anyway and then you died and she put it behind her and now you are here and alive and she is here and wounded and you have not even acknowledged her existence?!"

"I've done what has been necessary, and I've stayed out of the way of the medic while she works. Fareeha will understand that."

"Will she? I hope not! But I will make sure she knows. I will make sure she knows everything. Including how horribly you have just abused our Mockingbird. 'It?! '" She shook herself, as though fluffing feathers she did not have, except in her wings. "You call her an it?! She is a person, not a tool, and you have become a monster."

Quietly surprised, Lena's heart tore, just a little, at the medic's furious defence. "Doc, really, it's fine, she's just digging..."

"I know what she's doing," Mercy said, not looking at Lena. "And I don't care why." She turned to the openly astonished Reyes and Winston. "We should get the wounded out of American territory as soon as possible. They will not be happy with our actions today."

"I agree," said Reyes, taking the opportunity. "Ana, we can pick this up later. Do any of your old dropboxes work?"

"No. Do yours?"

"Boxburg does."

"I'll leave a contact point there, then."

"Thanks. And... thanks for helping out."

"You're welcome. Maybe next time we can work together, make sure the grown-ups are in charge."

Mockingbird's face showed absolutely no sign of emotion, and her hands did not tighten visibly on her rifle.

"We'll talk later," said the former Blackwatch head. "Team - back to the ship. Mockingbird, give Mercy some help with Mei; Winston, I wouldn't mind a little help myself. Let's roll out."

The Lunar gorilla offered his friend an arm, as Mockingbird turned towards the Chinese scientist with a curt "acknowledged." Behind Venom's mask, beneath the web, the assassin roiled viciously, but no hint of that storm made it outside.

Maybe I've got more than one problem to solve, she thought, as she guided the semi-sedated Mei up off the ground. Maybe I've got two or three.

you are not the superior widowmaker

Sep. 18th, 2017 12:07 am
solarbird: (widow)
[personal profile] solarbird
I got to play a lot of Widowmaker today (three sessions!) and I just have to write down a couple of moments.

First: backfill on a doomed team, I came in as Widowmaker and made them competitive. We still lost, but they went from being steamrolled - apparently, the entire game, given how much time was remaining when I arrived and how close the enemy payload was to destination - to a serious goddamn problem. We held them nearly five minutes, despite being less than five metres from destination when I arrived. It took a large ult stack to beat us, too.

I've long been able to shift games like that for a while as Tracer or D.va or Pharah, but I'm pretty sure this is the first time I've managed that big of a swing as Widowmaker.

Second, towards the end, I had three games against the same enemy Widowmaker, username something like "animevslife" or somesuch, but it doesn't matter. What matters is that she was completely outclassed, by me. I was headshotting her at will, and had like five just of her in one game. (I was also carding a lot, and the only member of my team to card in the last game.)

It's not that they were a terrible team, or even that she was a terrible Widow - she was not entirely unproductive - but she had to stay the fuck away from me, because I would just end her on sight. I've been the better Widowmaker several times before, of course, but this was just not even close, and wonderful.

advice received on a treadmill

Sep. 17th, 2017 10:42 am
solarbird: (tracer)
[personal profile] solarbird

This is a semi-sequel to "I Could Murder a Chippie," inspired in part by the fact that my gym's colours are UW Huskies colours, which is to say, Talon purple, and Overwatch gold, and that had to show up somewhere. [AO3 link]


"Th' hell?" said Venom, as the treadmill she was on - black and purple, like so much Talon gear, like so much Talon corporate culture - suddenly gained gold highlights.

"Ha!" said Tracer, as the treadmill she was on - black and gold, like so much Overwatch gear, like so much Overwatch corporate culture - suddenly gained purple highlights.

Venom looked to her left, the previously unoccupied treadmill now occupied by her mirror image, almost, hair almost the same, eyes almost the same, accelerator stripes most definitely not the same, or even there at all.

Tracer looked to her right, the previously unoccupied treadmill now occupied by her mirror image, almost, hair almost the same, eyes almost the same, accelerator missing, but she has thin stripes showing on her shoulders and legs, faintly shining blue.

"Hiya!" said Tracer, beating Venom to the punch. "Somehow I just knew you'd have a gym on Filicudi."

"You again..." Venom's mind raced, as she thought back to the impossible luncheon she'd shared with the Manic Pixie Murder Machine. "...that was real?"

"Kinda!" chirped Tracer. "As real as interdimensional transits can be, anyway. Thought I'd see if I could set up the right conditions and meed up again. You remember me, so I guess it worked!"

Venom reached over and tried, and failed, to touch Tracer. Tracer did the same, in reverse. At least she's not really here, thought the assassin. That's a relief. "So... your Winston's somewhere off... in some impossible direction from here, I guess?"

"Yah! Well, yeah, I guess so, but not to me. He's been helpin' out, but it's by remote. We've had this set up a while - it's the first time it's actually worked!"

Venom looked crossly at her Overwatch alternate-dimension counterpart. "So. Your Overwatch doesn't work with your Talon, does it?"

"Nope!"

"So what's this about, then? Intel gathering?"

"Kinda?"

"Won't matter, y'know. Apparently, our kind of Talon is pretty rare."

"Yeah, I've only seen a few of your lot. Tekhartha always dies, 'cept when it's you... which is..." she looked down at her treadmill, and let it coast to a stop. "...why I wanted to apologise."

Venom blinked, letting her treadmill slow to a stop as well. "...wot?"

"I'm sorry. For calling you evil. I've been thinkin' about that fight we had, and..." She let out a deep breath, and took another one. "I'm sorry. I was wrong. I mean, you're still assassins, and I still can't go with that, but..." She shook her head back and forth, slowly. "Bloody hell, love, you saved Tekhartha Mondatta. D'ya know how rare that is?"

"We've... kind of got that idea, yeah." Venom didn't say that mostly, worlds like theirs, they ended up without her, or with a Venom that didn't question the mission, with Widowmaker taking the shot. With atomic fire and ash. With the war that truly did end all wars.

But not here, she thought. Not us. Not now.

"So..." continued Tracer, "...I'm sorry."

Venom shook off the things that could've been, but weren't, and smirked, but with a little warmth to it. "You went to these lengths for an apology? Maybe you're not so bad as I thought, Tracer. I accept."

Tracer smiled her genuine smile, the soft one, the one she saved for people she really, truly liked. "Thanks."

"But you said you wanted intel. Sorta."

Tracer blushed furiously. "...yeah."

What's that blush? Venom wondered. "G'wan then..."

"Tell me..." she looked nervously off to the side, "...about Amélie."

"Wot." said Venom. This can't be what I think it is, she thought, or maybe it might. "I thought you and Emily were..."

"We are!" Tracer protested. "And we're happy! But..."

"...you've seen some of those universes where it's all three of us together, haven't you?"

"Yeah."

"And y'want that."

Tracer looked down, and her voice became very quiet. "I'd... I don't know. I don't know what I want. But I know I'd given up on her, and I... I think that was wrong."

Must do, thought Venom, to poke at spacetime about it. She sympathised, of course. How could she not? But might as well have some fun with her opposite. "Well, first things first. You have another apology to make, luv."

"For wot?"

"'Aggressively overstyled shitehawk' ring any bells?"

Tracer laughed. "Ah, c'mon, mate, that was a joke and you knew it."

Venom smirked. "Apologise anyway."

"Done," the Overwatch agent replied, laughing. "I'm sorry. I don't know what is wrong with me, but I'm sorry."

Venom grinned her famous half-grin, and looked off to the side, where Tracer could not see. "Amélie, Em, you think we should help her?"

Em?! thought Tracer. "What?! "

"Surprise!"

"What?! When?! "

Venom beamed, broadly. "We placed a discreet notice for a private top-class aircraft mechanic. Guess who showed up?"

"Wha... wha..." Tracer quite literally vibrated in place. Venom didn't think she could do that with her kind of accelerator, but, apparently, she could.

"Is that a question?"

"...yes?"

Venom just laughed. "It's fate, Tracer. Get used to it, it's probably gonna happen! Mostly just a matter of when."

"But luv, where do I start? How do I get past the Widowmaker and free Amélie?"

Venom frowned. "Y'want a serious answer? Y'won't like it."

Tracer nodded.

"Stop thinkin' they're different."

Tracer blinked. "But they are, Widow's not even - well, fine, not yours, but mine, Talon..."

"Doesn't matter," interrupted the junior assassin. "Got news, mate. If you can't love the Widowmaker, you can't love Amélie."

From out of range of the interface field, but not out of range of the movement of air to carry sound, came the senior assassin's voice. "It's true. Even when they think they've built someone completely new, they have not. They have only forced changes, and even then, fewer than they think. The foundation remains. It must, for the process to work."

"Woah," breathed Tracer. She knew the elder assassin had to be there, somewhere, but hearing that voice sent tingles down her skin. "...Widowmaker?"

Amélie stepped into what she suspected - correctly - was the area of field effect. She put down the free weights, wiped her face with a towel, and turned to the tangerine-clad Overwatch agent. "Hello, Tracer."

Tracer's breath stopped and she blinked, her mouth half open for a moment before she was able to close it, and she shook her head. Venom and Widowmaker exchanged the briefest of meaningful glances - oh, she's got it bad, doesn't she? - before Tracer collected herself, with a "...nice to see you, luv." The teleporter swallowed. "Even though you're not..."

"...your Widowmaker?" interjected Amélie.

"Yah."

"Neither is she," said Tracer.

Widowmaker nodded her agreement. "She is a person, cherie, and she is not yours."

Tracer took the point, and, for once, knew when to shut up. Amélie picked up on the silence, and granted her a small smile. "Ah, you already begin to understand, yes? She is real - as real as I am. As we all are, every one of us. Just as every Tracer is a person - even the most dedicated members of the worst kinds of Talon - so is every Widowmaker, no matter what she may seem to you."

"So she's still in there..."

"No," Widowmaker said, frowning a little, and crossing her arms. "Understand this. She is there, right there, in front of you, as I am now. Perhaps under various kinds of influence, perhaps traumatised, perhaps parts of her are muted, perhaps parts of the old her are even lost, perhaps she is even a new person built from the old - but no matter what has happened, she is that person now."

Tracer's eyes widened, as her thoughts flashed to all the ways she'd tried to talk to her universe's Widowmaker, and how offers to help, to undo what they'd done, to bring back Amélie, always backfired.

"...I've been..."

Widowmaker smiled.

"...telling her we'd do the same thing Talon did."

"Exactement," Widowmaker bowed, her arms now spread apart, as if on stage.

"Oh. Oh, oh, no," Tracer said, burying her face in her hands. "What've I done? "

"Hey, hey," said Venom, reaching forward uselessly, to comfort her opposite. "It's all right. She still talk t'you?"

Venom looked back up, towards the voice. "Yeh. Sometimes."

"Then," said Widowmaker, "I think it is not too late. I cannot imagine any version of myself that would talk to you if she had, how do you say, written you down?"

"Y'think?"

"Also, you are still alive, are you not?"

Tracer snorted. "Don't underestimate me, luv."

"Do not underestimate her, either." Widowmaker nodded towards Venom, whose accelerator stripes suddenly shined brightly, and then she grabbed Tracer off her treadmill, hand strong and oh so very solid. "Or me."

Tracer shrieked, and found herself unable to teleport away, as Widowmaker leaned forward, golden eyes bright, the spider bearing down on her terrified, halfway hypnotised prey. "Understand. I do this for her. Not for you. Can you love the spider? "

Tracer stared back into those gold eyes, and that cold blue face, overcome with fear... and then, suddenly, felt no longer afraid. She reached forward, pulled her arms around the Widowmaker, and kissed her, briefly but fiercely. Pulling back, she held the spider's gaze, and said, firmly, "...I can."

Amélie smiled coquettishly, and let Tracer go. "She does not taste like you, beloved," as Venom and Emily both laughed.

"They never do," said Emily, from outside the field.

"They never...?" replied Tracer, confused.

"You're not the first Tracer to come asking these questions, luv," Venom said, with something between a grin and a smirk. Her glow faded to normal, and Tracer returned to her insubstantial state, at least, for the Talon crew and gear. "All patched up. G'wan back home."

"And good luck!" she heard Emily call, from outside the field. "Most of us are pretty poly, but some of us aren't. Don't hurt your Emily, or I'll come after you myself!"

Tracer looked towards the direction of Emily's voice. "Not for anything, Em. Not for anything."

"I'll hold you to that," she shouted, as the field began to fade, and then collapsed.

Tracer dropped and sat on the treadmill's belt as the gateway failed, the last of the stored charge exhausted, patting the ground, the floor, the chairs, making sure she was still here, still home. She'd not expected to be grabbed completely into their reality like that, and she shivered at the thought of losing her Emily, her Overwatch, her world. That was... a lot riskier than I imagined! she thought. Winston'll want to know.

"So," she said, after a moment, looking over outside the field boundaries, to her Emily. "You still sure about this?"

Emily "Kestrel" Oxton raised an eyebrow. "After seeing you and her kiss?" The flying agent smiled a broad, bold smile. "I am. More than ever."

now i feel like i've earned it

Sep. 17th, 2017 12:18 am
solarbird: (widow)
[personal profile] solarbird
So when I got the smooth as silk trophy, okay, I got it, but it seemed cheap. Not much of an air shot. It was one, of course, but still.

Just now tho'? Archetypal. Three storeys up in the air, Eichenwalde, headshot, on Pharah, who was also in flight.

Now I feel like I've earned it.
annathepiper: (Aubrey Orly?)
[personal profile] annathepiper

This week I got email from a gentleman telling me he’s a community manager for a piece of software called Write!, which he talked up to me as a distraction-free text editor. He said he was looking for writers and/or bloggers to review the program or at least mention it on their websites, and offered a free license to try the program out.

Now, as y’all know I’m a big fan of Scrivener, which will continue to be my go-to tool for dealing with larger projects. On the other hand, if I want to write something short (say, the extremely rare short story), I sometimes feel that Scrivener’s actually a bit too complex a tool for that. Sometimes I just want to whip something out in a text editor and not have to worry about a lot of bells and whistles.

And hey, since the guy was offering a free license, I took him up on the offer. So here’s a post reviewing Write!, possibly the first of a few, just because I’m going to do this right and go over it in depth just to see what I’m dealing with here.

Read the rest of this entry » )

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

ahhhh, exquisite

Sep. 13th, 2017 01:08 pm
solarbird: (widow)
[personal profile] solarbird
Okay, lunchtime Overwatch today? Exquisite.

I got with a good team pretty early, and we grouped up and just... the enemies of Talon were eliminated. Thoroughly.

I carded or got play of the game every. single. game., including as Widowmaker. I came this close >< to four-golding as her on defence at Horizon, and still had three golds and carded for it. I also carded as her in Volskaya, for kill streak. (11. No deaths. No objective kills or time, either, because the enemy never set foot on the objective. Their Pharah got close, once. I stopped her, and she started hiding from me. They were terrible.)

The game at Horizon, though - hoooooooo. I had a one on one with a Genji who really, really, really should not have lost a solo melee fight with Widowmaker in close quarters, but wow he sure did.

I was holding the point solo when he charged in with his primary attack - and, conveniently, hit my mine. Then it was just machine gun (and another mine, I had one ready) vs. shuriken and I took him apart. Three of my team rushed back to help just as I killed him, and they came up the stairs to see me standing over his body. Mercy threw heals at me as they just stopped for a moment, all, "...oh. We thought you might've needed help."

I didn't hit my laugh emit, but I certainly should've.

It wasn't just Widowmaker, though. Mercy (before we teamed up, a smaller version of the group with more weak links, I made them competitive), Pharah (which is when we had some weak links replaced and formed a team), Tracer, Widowmaker, D.va - I was just in charge in all incarnations. By the time I hit Widowmaker, it was like the assumption was that I was going to be fine. Then I proved that correct.

I can make a weak team competitive. But when I'm really on my game... I can make a good team an unstoppable force.
solarbird: (made her from parts)
[personal profile] solarbird

Hiya!

Wow, it’s been a while since I’ve posted here, hasn’t it? Well, it’s been that kind of year. I warned everyone that the band blog would get a lot more political, but instead, I haven’t even had time to write political posts. Take political actions, yes. (And also, write a lot of short fiction about assassins. One takes one’s stress relief where one finds it.)

But posts? No. And this isn’t one, either. This is about music stuff!

When I was Festival Mémoire et Racines in Quebec this year, I picked up a cute little noisemaker. It reminds me a little of a kokiriko, but much simpler and smaller, and played very differently. But it was radically underengineered, and the two small dowels used as spacers between clackers were absolutely not going to last – one even broke before I could get it back home.

Which is where attoparsec comes in. Matthew said he could totally make replacements out of brass for me, and that he’d actually kind of enjoy doing such a simple project to unreasonably unnecessary degrees of precision.

To wit:

Looks great, doesn’t it? The metal bits make it look so much more like an actual non-toy effects toy, rather than the Can$10 bit of fluff it is.

So… yeah! Not something I made or even fixed but something which someone fixed for me. Yay! Thanks. ^_^

Mirrored from Crime and the Blog of Evil. Come check out our music at:
Bandcamp (full album streaming) | Videos | iTunes | Amazon | CD Baby

weightlifting update

Sep. 12th, 2017 12:58 am
solarbird: (tracer)
[personal profile] solarbird
I have now doubled multiple starting weights. I have five weights at half the maximum the machine allows, or higher.

I'm gonna need a Zarya icon f'srs.

Basically I'm spending a little over an hour on the machines on the days when I do workouts. So far, that's been 4-5 days a week; to make schedules work better, I'm going to have to drop that to pretty much just four days a week. But I can deal with that, I think.

Optimally, the full workout consists of a mile on (quasi-)balance beam, a mile of hill walking, and the weights. It takes about an hour and 45 minutes, including changing clothes and stuff.

To be clear, the balance beam isn't a true balance beam; it's just that the 1mi each way walk to the gym doesn't have sidewalks but does have elevated drainage curbs about half the time (like this) which are about the width of a balance beam, and they're on uneven terrain and up and down hills and are worn and broken in a bunch of places to make it more of a challenge. So I figure that balances it out.

I'm already starting to run just a little of the balance beam part; I want to run more of it. I don't think I'd've climbed to the top of that exhibitor prop if I hadn't been doing all this. That is my best memory of PAX - I had the altitude record for the show. Fuck yeah parkour is what.

Book versions vs. movie versions

Sep. 11th, 2017 01:35 pm
annathepiper: (Path of Wisdom)
[personal profile] annathepiper

I’m not terribly active on my Pinterest account; most of the activity I have there is my sister forwarding me stuff and asking my opinion on it. (Part of why I’m not more active there is, in fact, that Pinterest has made a lot of its systems frickin’ unusable, and there’s only so much patience I have for that. But that’s a topic for another post.) One of the items she sent me this past weekend was this one.

And, given that I had a reaction to this that I don’t think my sister entirely expected, I thought it might be useful to write out my thoughts in blog form.

Overall, I have an issue with what this screencap implies. Which is to say, not only is it coming across with the theme of “the book version of a story is inherently superior to the movie version of a story”, it’s got a side helping of snarking at the fans of the movie version. My sister didn’t parse it that way, but I did, and this is why: because in each of the shown examples, the book fan is responding to the movie fan by asking if they like a character who only appears in the books.

And if the movie fan hasn’t read the books, they have no possible way to answer that question.

Now, if you assume that the hypothetical book fan and the hypothetical movie fan have not specified which version of the story they’re talking about, then okay, I’m fine with the conversations as portrayed. But the way they came across to me, particularly given the “see, this is why we read the books as well as watch the movies” responses in the screencap, is that the assumption is that the book fan knows that the movie fan is talking about the movie(s), and not the book(s).

In which case, if:

  1. You’re the fan of a book version of a story,
  2. You see a movie fan exulting that they like the movie version of a story,
  3. You know they’re talking about the movie version, and
  4. You ask them what they think of a character who appears only in the books…

…then all due respect, but at least to me, you’re coming across pretty snotty there. And that’s exactly how it read to me in the conversational examples between Movie Fans and Book Fans.

And I have a couple problems with this.

One, as I’ve written before, I highly dislike anything that goes in a direction of “you’re enjoying this thing wrong because you’re not enjoying it the same way I am.” This is true for SF/F vs. romance, Mac vs. PC, Windows vs. Linux, Coke vs. Pepsi, Classic Doctor Who vs. New Doctor Who, or whatever. So I am not on board with giving movie fans shit for preferring the movie version of a story over the book version, particularly if the movie fans haven’t even had a chance to check out the book version yet.

Two, I have issues in general with the automatic assumption that the book version of a story is inherently superior to the movie version.

Okay yeah sure, I get that “the book version is the original and tells the story the way the author intended” as a powerful motivator here. I mean, yo, I’m a devoted reader and a writer, so believe me, I get that. Books are powerful. Books are personal, and a good book makes you develop a strong bond to it.

I also get that movie/TV adaptations of a beloved book or book series can often suck. Ursula K. LeGuin comes to mind here, as to date, I am aware of at least two lackluster attempts to do something with the Earthsea books. And certainly, a lot of folks swear up and down that they hate the Hobbit movies, and would therefore use them as an example of this too.

(I am not one of those people; as I’ve said before, while I find the Hobbit movies flawed in certain critical respects, I will forgive them a lot of sins just on the grounds that they made the dwarves living, breathing characters and gave them a culture, which the book just does not do. And I say that as a diehard, lifelong Tolkien fan. But, I digress!)

But to automatically dismiss any movie version of a story as inferior to the book(s) is rather unfair to the movies. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: it’s vital to keep in mind that what works on the page may not work on the screen. There are different creative choices that have to be made for the movie version of a story than for the book. To go back to Tolkien, but this time with The Lord of the Rings, there are certain choices the movies make that I infinitely prefer over the books. Though for me, the LotR movies stand shoulder to shoulder with the books for how much enjoyment I get out of them.

And to use an example in the screenshot I’m linking off to, there are definitely movie versions of stories that I prefer over the books. Multiple Harry Potter books fall into this category. The movie version of Prisoner of Azkaban is excellent, and Order of the Phoenix is more fun to me in movie form than it is in book form. In no small part, this is due to my relative lack of patience for emo teenaged Harry in the later books–there’s only so much of his emoting in all caps I can deal with!

The best movie versions of stories for me, too, have a big thing I can’t get in the books: music. Howard Shore’s masterful score for the Tolkien movies is of course the shining example here, but let’s not forget John Williams being the guy who gave us the main Harry Potter themes, either.

And to pull in another of my big guns for book version vs. movie version–let’s talk Master and Commander, shall we? Even aside from my documented history as a Russell Crowe fangirl, getting to see and hear Jack and Stephen play their instruments together, and to hear the wonderful soundtrack that goes along with the film, is a huge, huge part of why I get more enjoyment out of re-watching the movie than I often do trying to continue through the series–which I still haven’t finished. I love Jack and Stephen as characters immensely, but Patrick O’Brian’s propensity for telling the reader about a dozen different kinds of sails, not so much. ;D

One more example, from a story that’s generally universally snarked on even though a whole helluva lot of people have in fact read it: The DaVinci Code. I’ve read the book and seen the movie, since the latter was an office morale event, so I got to see it for free. And I’ll say straight up that while neither version of the story could legitimately be called good, the film ultimately was more enjoyable to me.

Three, even aside from the relative merits of a book version of a story vs. the movie version, there’s also the question of whether a given fan is even able to enjoy the book version of a story. Maybe that movie fan is dyslexic or sight-impaired, and the book may not exist in a form they’re able to enjoy (e.g., audiobook, e.g., ebook that can be read aloud to them via the right tech). Maybe they only got to see the movies because they aired on their local TV station, or because they got to see them on a school field trip or as part of a morale event for their workplace (both of which I have been fortunate enough to experience during my time), and they don’t yet have enough pocket money to pick up copies of the books. Maybe they don’t live near a good library or good bookstore. Maybe they don’t even know that there is a book version yet.

The overall point here being, there are any number of reasons why a fan of a thing may so far only be a fan of the movie version, and not of the book version. And IMO, this doesn’t mean the movie fan is doing it wrong.

If I’d been involved in any of the conversations in that screencap, this is what I’d have said:

“Ooh, I love them too! How do you know the story, via the movies or via the books? You haven’t read the books yet? Do you want to? LET ME HELP YOU OUT WITH THIS. Go! Go read! And then come back to me so that we may squee about this awesome story together, won’t you?”

Because yeah, life’s too short IMO to be overly concerned with what version a fan is using to engage with a story. Rather, I’ll try to look for how to share fannish joy about the story with another person, no matter how they’ve come to know it.

Because stories, like everything else in the world, need all the joy they can get.

(And hey Becky, if you’re reading this, thank you for giving me an opportunity to think! And to post!)

ETA: Typo correction. Changed ‘pocket movie’ to ‘pocket money’.

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

Sudden ebook binge roundup post

Sep. 7th, 2017 11:14 pm
annathepiper: (Book Geek)
[personal profile] annathepiper
The Seafarer's Kiss

The Seafarer’s Kiss

I went on a bit of an ebook buying binge on Kobo, because every so often I just gotta, y’know?

Here’s what I got:

  • The Golem and the Jinni, by Helene Wecker. Fantasy. Grabbed this because it was on sale, and because I’d heard quite a few good things about it when it came out. It seems like an unusual premise and I am here for that!
  • It’s a regular C.E. Murphy marathon, because as y’all know, I do love me some Kitbooks. She’s just released an honest-to-god romance novel, Bewitching Benedict, which I nabbed because “historical romance” does fall into the narrow category of “romance I like to read”. But I also went back and got her Roses in Amber, which is her take on Beauty and the Beast, and Take a Chance, her superhero graphic novel.
  • Stars of Fortune, by Nora Roberts. Paranormal romance, book 1 of her Guardians trilogy. I don’t quite like Nora’s paranormals (or, “ParaNoras”, as the Smart Bitches site likes to call them) as much as I like her standalone romantic suspense or the J.D. Robbs. But I do occasionally like ’em for potato-chip type reading, and hey, I haven’t read this one yet. Plus, I saw it mentioned on this recent post on the Bitchery, and thought okay yeah sure, that might be some silly fun.
  • Acadie, by Dave Hutchinson. SF. Nabbed this newly released novella from Tor.com entirely because of the title, and because I am curious as to how big a parallel it’ll have to Acadian history in real life.
  • The Seafarer’s Kiss, by Julia Ember. YA fantasy romance. Nabbed this on the strength of this review on the Bitchery, because if you say the words “f/f retelling of The Little Mermaid wherein the little mermaid falls in love with a Viking shield maiden” to me, the words I’ll be saying in reply are “GET THIS INTO MY LIBRARY STAT”.
  • Final Girls, by Mira Grant. Horror. Because “new horror novella by Mira Grant”, you say? Why yes I WILL have some.
  • And last but not least, A Study in Scarlet Women, by Sherry Thomas. Mystery. Nabbed this because while I’d already heard about it and had half an eye on it on the strength of buzz about “genderbent Sherlock Holmes”, I finally caught up on a Smart Podcast Trashy Books episode in which the author is interviewed. And I would totally not have guessed by a pen name like “Sherry Thomas” that the author is ethnically Chinese–and when she described how her writing style sometimes incorporates anglicized versions of idioms from Chinese, the language nerd in me just had to see what her style is like. Plus, genderbent Sherlock Holmes. SIGN ME UP.

Alert readers may note that that’s three, count ’em, three different books that are on this list specifically because of the fine ladies at Smart Bitches Trashy Books. They ARE a huge influence on my reading, it’s true! (Duking it out recently a lot with Tor.com, in fact.)

33 titles now for the year.

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

fuck you home depot i mean seriously

Sep. 7th, 2017 11:38 am
solarbird: (molly-kill-everyone-with-sticks)
[personal profile] solarbird
Okay, after the Bitter Lake Home Depot telling me that they've never heard of this vinyl that I want installed in this apartment - the vinyl I'm looking at the photo of, a photo that I took at their Home Depot a week ago, with the SKU and everything - and getting so much you-don't-know-what-you're-talking-about pushback I hang up on them...

...I try again at 205th/Aurora Village...

...and am informed they WILL NOT INSTALL THE FLOORING THEY STOCK.

They will only install special-order flooring.

WHAT. THE. FUCKING. FUCK.

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