Archive for September, 2007

Hey, I’m definitely an amateur now

September 24th, 2007 by Reinder

I've just proven conclusively that my current schedule does not allow for last-minute fixes if there's an error in a new page on rocr.net or if I'm unhappy with the art.

I wanted to fix the rather bad second panel on today's ROCR comic. It hadn't bothered me that much when I ran it on Modern Tales or on the Webcomicsnation mirror, but when it ran on the ROCR.net front page, it became a bit of a sore point. Strange how that works. So, after work, it was off to the studio to fix that in the time before running.

I gave it my best shot and had actually got as far as scanning and cleaning the new panel, but two minutes before I absolutely had to be out of there or I'd miss my training, I gave up, saved my Photoshop file and started turning off the lights. Two minutes AFTER I absolutely had to be out of there or I'd miss my training, Photoshop was still trying to save the file, and didn't seem to be doing too well at it. As I got more irritated at the slowness, I hit more buttons - CTRL-ALT-DELETE, then the soft reset switch at the front of the PC, and eventually the hard power control switch at the back of the PC. That stopped it, but that's not good for your hard drives, so I had to take my portable drive along to check if it was OK.

By the time I got home, I realised that a) I was irritated and hungry, and b) in my hurry and irritation, I had done something astoundingly stupid that could have lead to many hours of time wasted on fixing file systems - my portable drive was OK, and I expect the studio PC will be OK after a quick run of Scandisk, but that's not the point. It could have gone very very wrong.

So now I'm not at my training, more than a bit angry at myself, and basically finding my evening already knackered. Not a good way to balance my cartooning with my day job. Let's not do this again.

"Let's not do this again" will probably have consequences for the comic's schedule a couple of weeks down the line. Sorry, but that's how it is. I don't have time to rush things.

On the upside, this was really the first time I felt frustrated about not being able to get my cartooning done. At my last regular employer, I felt like that all the time. It was not a good feeling and feeling like that all the time was not a good way to balance work and life either.

Instant Messaging problems

September 15th, 2007 by Reinder

People trying to reach me on MSN should be advised that my connection is wonky right now, and likely to stay so if, as I suspect, the cause has something to do with the forced upgrade Microsoft has announced for MSN messengers. Every time Microsoft alters its MSN protocols, it can take alternative clients such as Gaim/Adium and especially Kopete, which I use at home, weeks to catch up.

On a related note, I've changed the "contact" link on my home page to link to this spiffy new contact page with all my details instead of having it link directly to my email. This has become necessary because what with the full-time day job, I've got even worse at replying swiftly than I was before, and I needed to be able to warn correspondents of this in advance. Note that email is still my preferred method of communication by a large margin.

I am not dead

September 11th, 2007 by Reinder

Just very busy.

I guess I’ll be taking the steamer then, it’s less hassle.

September 2nd, 2007 by Reinder

I've had several invitations over the past few years to come visit people in the US. Which is great, but... not if I have to endure crap like this:

I walked from the arrival gate towards baggage claim, and when I was about halfway there, all of a sudden about a dozen or more TSA personnel and private security staff appeared, shouting STOP WHERE YOU ARE. FREEZE. DO NOT MOVE. Not just at me, but all of the travelers who happened to be wandering through the hallway at that moment.

Some of the TSA guards then backed up against walls in the hallway, and sort of barked at anyone who tried to move a few feet away from their "spot," like towards chairs to sit down or whatever.

One TSA guard jogged ahead, back towards the arrival gates (United, this was Terminal 7). At first I assumed maybe it was some weird security drill? A few of us asked what was going on, and got terse answers, like, "Security review." WTF? 5 minutes passed. 10, 15, 20. The two teen Japanese tourists about ten feet behind me looked utterly dazed -- welcome to America, guys. I was really jetlagged and cranky, wanted to move a few feet and sit down, but the TSA lady nearest me kind of snapped at me to stop and stay frozen where I was when the order went out.

After 30 minutes, the TSA people said, okay, you may leave now. And everyone unfroze, and went and got their bags. No explanation. I guess I should have pressed for an explanation, or demanded to know why we were being held without our consent and without a provided reason, but I was really tired and just wanted to get the hell out of there and go home. Perhaps I was wrong to have just walked away.

Has anyone else out there experienced this kind of thing in a US airport? Was this some sort of weird TSA fire drill, or was there an actual security incident with a perceived imminent threat?

The guards were all just sort of standing around scratching their heads, looking bored, I definitely didn't have the sense there was any urgency. But they held us there, standing, frozen, for 30 minutes.

I may or may not have blogged about this before; can't really remember. I vaguely recall a tale of an English journalist being held for a day and treated like a terrorist for no good reason whatsoever. In any case, I have no intention to put up with being treated like this if I can avoid it at all. (via)

Wowio

September 2nd, 2007 by Reinder

Wowio is supposedly a rather good way for webcartoonists to get their e-books out and even make a bit of money through the advertising Wowio embeds in the e-books, but when I try to sign up so I can try it out and see how it works, I get this. Boo hiss.

Ironically, their About us page says:

WOWIO opened on the World Wide Web in August 2006 endeavoring to dramatically expand access to important written works by eliminating the economic, geographic, and logistical barriers of readers while also ensuring that content owners are fairly compensated.

Looks like they've got a long way to go then. They also require authentication for downloaders of the free e-books and limit the number of downloads per day. On the whole, I prefer the system that Joey Manley's Modern Tales uses. How about rolling out this feature for Webcomicsnation, Joey?