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Archive for September, 2010

Netbook

I’m seriously considering getting a netbook.  I want something that I can take places, has a good battery life, and is light and quick to move around.  I have a PC, but I can only use that in one place – my office.  I have access to a laptop – it’s heavy and the battery lasts only for a short time so I have to make sure to plug it in all the time. 

A notebook sounds like something I can use.  Yes, I know the keyboard is smaller and I know the screen is smaller and it doesn’t have Office and it doesn’t have a CD-ROM drive (or DVD drive, but I don’t want one anyway).  I don’t really want to use it for browsing the Internet (a fear of viruses). 

So what do I think are the pluses?  I can picture myself plopped on the couch, half lying down, and typing.  I can see myself taking it on trips or taking it to my mom’s house and not have to push through her picture frames to plug it in.  I want to write.  And I believe I can write just fine with this.

I’ve been doing some research on this, checking out the best netbooks, reading what writers say, and I think I’ll enjoy having one.  Now that I’m more familiar with them and know what to look for, I’ll be going to the stores (Best Buy, the  PX (Army Post Exchange) ) to conduct hands on research.  What netbook has a good size keyboard?  What keyboard feels good? 

I’ve already fondled some netbooks, but haven’t been allowed the time to really get to know one.  Plus I’ll do research, cost analysis and what all.  I like getting the most bang for my buck.

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One reason why I like science fiction is that you can make up stuff.  As long as it’s believable. 

Now, I have trouble with science fiction where you have to suspend belief in the various laws of nature and gravity and chemistry.  With my stories I prefer to have thought out how and why my made-up invention will work and I like to base it on some element of fact.  Which is why I love these two magazines – Popular Science and Popular Mechanics.    Sometimes they are chock full of wonderful things you can expand on or create a worst-case scenario from. 

I’m just reading the July issue of Popular Science with its ecotopic cover.  In it you can find new forms of futuristic housing and ways to power the plant.  Of the former, a young architect has dreamed up a way to build homes and businesses under a dune in the Sahara.  This dune will not only will help the desert of spreading, but provide eco-friendly housing.

I’ve used these magazines as the impetus of a story and as serendipitous research.  When I wrote a story involving hacking, an article came out on how to prevent this.  What a lucky coincidence. 

Sometimes all I need is a picture to start getting me thinking.  Seeing a high-tech building, I started thinking of all the things that could wrong with one or how will the future be if they existed.

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Patricia Beatty is probably the first author that I associated with historical fiction.  Not that I hadn’t read historical fiction beforehand, but I just never really thought about historical fiction and how authors conducted so much research in order to portray the past accurately.  I just assumed that what they wrote was right (like kids today assume everything on the Internet is correct).  Then I started reading the author’s notes in Patricia Beatty’s books (usually I skipped them) and got amazed at all what she did to ensure what she wrote was right.

So far I’ve re-read Be Ever Hopeful, Hannalee,  By Crumbs, It’s Mine!, Who Comes to Kings Mountain, and I’m now reading Champion Towers.   Getting the books aren’t easy, but I’ve found some in the library and some I have that I bought at library discards sales.  I checked out Who Comes to Kings Mountain because I was about to visit it.  The military park is located in South Carolina close to the North Carolina border.  When I was poking around the visitor center I found to my horror that, not only weren’t they selling the book, but the rangers had never heard of it!  One would think that since it deals with the battle and mentions other South Carolina revolutionary war battle sites, this would be a book to include in their bookstore.

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