S is for stupidly busy #AtoZchallenge

Yeah, yesterday was ‘really knackered’.  Today, the word of the day is stupidly-busy (all one word, conjoined, dragging me along behind it!).  I wish I could say why, but it’s all coming together now so I’ll get to say something soon(ish).
Until then.

What to do when you’re so busy you can’t breathe (ok, maybe an over-exaggeration).

I find when I’m busy, or tired, or so busy I can’t see the end of the road, then I really REALLY rely on to-do lists and plans that I follow, step by step.  If I don’t, things get really messy, really fast.  So I totally recommend your favourite to-do list system to help.  And if you’re going to tell me next that there’s no way that you can spend time looking at your to-do list.  I say ‘take five minutes to plan your day.  Not only will it give you a sense of accomplishment, but you’ll actually have an idea of what you’ve got to do.

Fire-fighting or treading water?

One of the things I do notice with my to-do list is sometimes I get a couple of things done, a couple of things more fill up my list and it looks like I’m back at the beginning of my day.  But I know I’m making a difference, even if it’s a small dent each time.  But if you really are fire-fighting or treading water, you should maybe consider evaluating what you’re doing and if there’s anything you can do to make things easier on you.  Perhaps automating, or saying no to tasks might help.

Is there a place for to-do lists when things are slightly quieter?

I think there is a place for to-do lists always, but I think they’re more useful when you’re really struggling to find direction.  Some people find they help, long after you’ve finished planning, while others feel that it’s easier to work when it’s quieter without restrictions.  I like to-do lists and goals, always, but your mileage may vary.

What do you use as your to-do list?

I’ve recently discovered the joys of having a synced to-do list on my Windows 8 (Blarg!) laptop and my windows phone (equally useless, but cheap), but I’ve tried all sorts of wonderful projects.  My favorite was 30/30 which I use on my iPad, but there are other great apps out there too!  What are your favorites?

 

Edited later – – I got the following comment….
“Kai, I thought you were doing S for Scrivener”.
I was going to, but the issue is it’s a HUGE post.  I’m going to run it after the AtoZchallenge, so that people can find it more easily.

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P for promotion #AtoZchallenge

A lot of the questions I’ve been getting in private about what I’m talking about this month is why I’m not sharing my own stuff.  One of the things I can’t share quite yet is work, but I’ll be sharing that later in the month.  In the interim though, I thought I’d share a couple of the new things that I’m up to, and a couple of old ones too.

First.  You can follow me here – FacebookTwitterG+Mailing List

Blogs

For those that missed it, I blog a lot.  The easiest way to keep up with my ‘random’ stuff is to head on over to http://aggreagate.kaiberie.com – it keeps the majority of my blogs, and I’m still finessing it down so that you can filter based on your favourite categories etc.
I thought I’d highlight a couple of the newer ones and invite you along to their twitter accounts etc.

Here’s Armed With Dice – and it’s TwitterFacebook – Mailing List – a geeky, gaming community where we’ll review relevant t-shirts, games, talk writing for geeks, and more.
Here’s Wilderness Apocalypse – and it’s TwitterFacebookMailing List – horror, short fiction, and lots of chatter from two wildernesses – Alaska, where my co-writer, Kriss is based, and here in the UK.
Here’s The Finishing Fairies – my PR company, again, co-owned with Kriss.  We’re about to start blogging social media, community management and more.
Finally, here’s the co-op I’m with – it’s called the Alexandria Publishing Group.

Groups

I can’t go very far without sharing the groups I’m with on y’all.
I moderate on several – The Indie Author GroupBook JunkiesI Dance With Books.

My books

Of course, I might as well share them.
My main book is a tutorial book called 12×12 – you can also find my horror stories here, under Sabrann Curach.

 

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o is for ooooh #atozchallenge

I love getting excited about stuff.  I love being a geek.

I’m pretty lucky actually. I get to do some really fun stuff, all in the name of research. I get to look at the coolest movies, the best RPGs and MMORPGs and better yet, my beloved and children hold much the same interests.

I get to hang out with the best people in the world too – smart writers, incredible gamers, amazing linguists. Brilliant programmers, educated readers and all who treasure knowledge, life, freedom and individuality.

One and all, as is clear by this post, I wanted to thank you. And to invite you to share more things to make me go “oooooh!”. Show me your coolest discoveries. Share your favorite books, sites, games. Geeky stuff.

 

And thank you. Thank you for being my geeky world and sharing it all with me.

 

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N for News and holding it in a bit longer #atozchallenge

Another short post today.

Big news, which I can’t share yet.  It’s a bit of a pain in the butt, but it’ll be well worth it later, I promise.
Instead, I’m going to share something else.

Tomorrow, will be the next edition of ‘The Doomsday Clock’ – a special piece about strays and more.

Doomsday Clock Part 1 |Part 2Part 3

Tomorrow, here, I’ll share the Gallows Prologue. 🙂

J is for Jetpack #AtoZchallenge

I did H for Heartbleed a few days ago, and now I’m doing J for Jetpack.

If you haven’t already had the email, Jetpack is vulnerable, until upgraded.  The problem is, with so many people updating, if your WordPress self-hosted server times out for any reason, or something else goes wrong, you might be stuck without a website.

NEVER FEAR.  If the following instructions don’t make sense to you, get in touch and I’ll do it for you.

Fixing it when a plugin causes ‘exception code’ to show on any page

It looks a bit like this – and stops you from logging into your website too: (this isn’t the exact error I’ve been seeing, but it’s a good facsimile)

What to do

  1. Log into your FTP or c-panel.  This information will be contained in information from your host.  If you don’t have this, you need to contact your host.
    1. If going via FTP, navigate to your wp-content/plugins folder.  If you’re not sure where this is, look for your public_html folder, or a folder that looks like it might be a shortened version of the domain name you’re using.
    2. If you’re going in via C-panel or another browser, look too through the wp-content/plugins file..
  2. Select the Jetpack folder.
  3. Delete or rename it.

Log in.  You’ll have to reinstall Jetpack.  Do your updates then.  Remember too, some of these updates, in rare circumstances break themes or interfere with other plugins.  You can troubleshoot this by following the same instructions as above, just renaming the plugin folder.  If that doesn’t help, it could be your theme.  In which case, navigate to your theme folder and rename the theme, though if you do this, you’ll possibly have to reset the theme options and definitively update your widgets.  It’s still better to update and untangle what happens than leave it where it could be hacked.

If this is too difficult/too complicated/not something you want to do, I’m currently offering people a $10 fix and repair on Jetpack issues.  Just get in touch.  Anything more, you can get in touch and I’ll do it as cheap as I can.

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H is for Heartbleed…. #AtoZchallenge

Originally, my AtoZchallenge was gonna be about writing, marketing and tech, so today, it seems only right to encourage everyone to understand what’s going on right now on the internet.  And I hate to say it, but this has been a while coming.
First up….
I didn’t even know about this.  I don’t think anyone did, but lots of pundits in the internet security community are telling us that this has been a bug that’s been in place for two years.  And yet….all of the big breaches and big data losses have been tracked down pretty fast, and I don’t believe any of it has been attributed to this.
Do I believe that hackers are sitting on information they’ve stolen over the last two years?
No, I don’t.  I think if they’d really been serious about exploiting this, they’d have done it by now.  Someone would have put two and two together.
But is this really serious?  Yes, I think it is.  And I think it warrants looking at how we use passwords and security (and lack of it online) in general.

My understanding of this…
Basically, heartbleed comes down to a specific function not checking the length of a message and returning data, in the memory, to match the length it claimed to be.
There is a patch for it, so we all have to wait patiently until its patched, then change our passwords.

The first thing you need to know is the majority of sites out there, that don’t sell, and don’t use encryption, are the majority of sites you’re visiting.  Y’know, all the funny meme blogs, and here…. So taking the “memory” on this server is an exercise in futility. It doesn’t get into the database unless it first exposes the way in, in the memory, which isn’t as easy or common as it could be

.  The server itself…that’s a different matter, and one that I’ve addressed and am continuing to address. Not because I believe the server is a target, but because its the responsible thing to do.
My hosting payment system is locked down until I know how to proceed, and I don’t hold anything else myself – I use a lot of third party processing sites.  In my case, it’s not passing the buck, it’s compliance.  I don’t have the time, or the manpower to do compliance, so I use Third party sales and processing systems. Like Paypal, KDP, Smashwords….

But, I did want to say that those hosted by me, right now, have the best protection I can offer.  I’ve patched everything that I can, and tonight, the server is telling *everyone* to change their passwords, and to be aware that if I discover that the patch wasn’t complete, to do it again when we do find the complete solution.

Sites like Yahoo, and Facebook though…they’re targets.  And while it’s true the underlying server is vulnerable, it’s important to keep a perspective on this.  Mine isn’t though – I ran patches today, so the blogs, as far as I know are safe.  I’m not assuming anything though, until I’ve had the all clear from
Sites however, that store lots of user information, have your debit or credit card or more are vulnerable.  But in the coming days, expect to see lots of emails and blog posts from responsible site owners and server management teams like this one from Mojang (the people behind Minecraft).
And while I’m fairly eloquent in private and do understand a bit (a very little bit) about hacking and how it works, instead of taking up your time and talking to you about what it is and isn’t, I thought I’d increase the signal on this article.

And finally…

Don’t panic.  While this is a serious, egregious breach in the security of the net at large, it’s being dealt with and is being patched.  And ok, we all have to change our passwords.  Maybe now’s the time to shake up how we view passwords in the first place.  And it’s maybe not the time, RIGHT NOW, to change passwords either.
I leave you with two XKCD’s.  Both perfectly appropriate for this situation and might bring a smile to some face.

 

F for freedom or follow your heart #AtoZChallenge

My A-Z this year is about marketing, writing, and following my heart.  It’s been a really hard one to write, this one actually.
Following my heart means that I’m stepping away from lots of projects this year.  It means redoubling my focus on the writing that matters to me.  It means being ‘more present’ with my family, and less online.  It means working my ass off to get  to where I want to be, not where others think I should be.

It means letting go of the certainty that we’ll have a baby any time soon, while still keeping the faint hope alive. It’s been searching for a job that’s as fulfilling as freelancing.  It’s ignoring all those digging little voices that tell me I’m not worth it, that I must be doing something that I shouldn’t, that there’s no way I could do…there’s no way I should do.  It’s following the tiny, teeny voice that’s being shouted down by everything else around me.

LoboStudioHamburg / Pixabay

So, today, I wanted to talk about the freedom to be.  And the courage to write what you want.

It’s more than that though…

It’s more than that though – it’s the courage to write what the story demands.  What the voices that come to you, with that little voice inside you, the characters, the story, the core of what you want to say.
But, I’ll be honest.  I have no quick fix for this.  It’s difficult to find the courage to write what you want.  Until you remember that little voice.  The one that says ‘this is what happened, and this and this…’.  The one that says ‘that’s my story and I’m sticking to it’.

Find that voice, follow it.  It’s your heart.  It’s your story.

 

Part 2 – End of the world #AtoZchallenge

This is a serial fiction, so please check out the previous parts :).  It will eventually be collected, expanded upon and posted, free in eBook format, but for now, enjoy and let me know what you think!

Part 1

Hans / Pixabay

The roar was loud enough and hard enough to shake more things off our walls – my mirror above the sink fell forward, shattering with a loud report.  I was already on my way across the room, to our window.
I reached it as the tint was fading.  I loved our smart-glass.  It was set to dim when we placed our phones on charge, or when it got dark, whichever was sooner, and lighten when either there was no weight on the bed (bar the cats), or we’d both tagged into the bathroom with our watches..  Over the roofs before me, across the estate, towards the landing pads on the edge of our settlement, I could see something touching down.  I tapped the glass before me twice.  “Magnify” I said.  I hated doing ‘the gestures’, they left smears on the windows.  I didn’t much care about how clean the house was – I preferred lived in, but one of the rules of the estate was that all smart glass remained clear and that there were no smears to give away smart from non-smart.
“Try telling that to Mrs Bettany” I sighed, looking at her toddler daubed windows.  The street child-minder seemed exempt from a lot of the rules, but as the magnification settled, my mouth slowly fell open, my attention pulled with the enlarging image.

It was a plane.  A proper, two prop one, not one of the flying cylinders that usually zipped to and from the airports, and Hub1.  My stomach dropped, realising that whatever was going on, they couldn’t requisition or change the timetable, that they needed to be here, fast.  I knew with almost absolute certainty that Jake would be on that aircraft.  That he’d be flying away to somewhere that didn’t need a mapped computer path.  That where he was going would be secret.
Travel tubes were trackable.  Though they looked like they flew without guidance, they were mapped to the magnetic currents created by each of the settlements.  Over or around, somewhere there was a force anchor near or under the areas where people didn’t spend a lot of time.  The outer parks, or maybe smack in the middle of the inner ones.  The paths they built weren’t harmful, but there was limited evidence that living above one could really ruin your mood, your bones, your eyes.

But they also ran on a schedule.  And though it was easy to change with a little notice, no notice changes never happened.  Not in the history of living here.  Unscheduled had happened twice.  Once on a medivac, when one of the local women was hit by a car, and, heavily pregnant, went into labor (she and the baby were, ultimately, fine) and this now.
I knew Jake would be on that plane.
I also knew that I didn’t want him to be.

I had this sense of falling – of chilled deja-vu.  The screen’s zoom had reached it’s peak, but I didn’t register it.   I felt myself being pulled further and further forward, until my face touched the cool glass, just as there was a bright flash, and everything suddenly dissolved and crumbled from projection in front of me.

Part 3?  Next week!
(wanna be the first to hear about the next part?  My mailing list will get it a day before I post it!)

D is for Dorm rooms, aka Cabins #AtoZchallenge #Campnanowrimo

I thought I’d take a second to talk about my #Campnanowrimo challenge, and invite you to my ‘dorm’.
I own a chatroom server, and I share it during Camp/Nanowrimo season (and run other projects on it when people want me to!), so I thought I’d invite you, but before I do, I thought I’d share what I’m writing this Camp 🙂

Camp Nanowrimo April

This April, I’m writing Gallows Deals/Gallows Dirt.  It’s a two part novella set designed around a small town at the end of world.  It’s transgressive fiction, looking at the worst parts of dystopia.  I mean, there’s the horror at the end of the world, and how people pull back together, then there’s Gallows.  Corrupt officials and a dreamer at the end of the world.

I am, sorta, pantsing this one.  I’ve got some very good scenes to tie together, but no idea of the overall story.

Here’s a sample from the prologue

It was cold. The generators had been out for two days, so everyone was trying to huddle in the smallest spaces possible. Closed doors, rooms isolated in the centre of houses. Tent cities in little rooms where breath plumed out from each and every tented area. Small children swaddled like mummies, parents escaping from the small spaces only to light guttering candles just outside of the room. In the morning, though it was frosty, the treasured solar panels sprouted like weeds. Shared between three houses, the meagre light began to charge the most treasured possessions. Lights to stick onto the inside of tents. Things that they’d run off the generator and could run on batteries, kettles boiled and put into insulated containers, so that food could be made later, when it’s cold.

She slipped out of the door, into the second night, into the cold chill. The few street lights, which usually illuminated puddles in front of the clinic, the Town Hall/Police station and the town square guttered briefly as she walked by, then fell flat again.

And the dorms

Wanna hang out and talk?  I’m not always there, but there’s a chatroom. You’re welcome to use them, it runs on normal IRC commands, though if I’m not around, I can’t police it, I’m sorry.

On other blogs today

I thought I’d share some other stuff going on right now on other blogs – either ones I moderate, share, or liked today, from the #AtoZchallenge

D is for a Dry Cabin… this is how I roll in #Alaska – #AtoZChallenge – Kriss Morton (Cabin Goddess)

D is for The Dead, Daryl and Dead Drops #AtoZChallenge – Kriss Morton (Wilderness Apocalypse)

D is for (Just) do it – not letting fear control you – ME! (Alexandria Publishing Group) – Also meet Denise McGee and Donna K. Fitch, also on APG.

Donna also wrote about one of my favorite subjects, Dice!

Finally, over on Pen and Kink, Deanndra Hall’s introduction.

Tomorrow, I’m going to share part 2 of a story that’ll start on Wilderness Apocalypse (so do check there first!) and will be blogging on Enticement on Pen and Kink (NSFW)