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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

I miss ELM.

I must be the only person in the universe who does. Or so it feels. :C

Tonight Gmail decided that y'know, panel email clients weren't bad enough. I've been happily avoiding email served up via panel for a long time. Eudora, Outlook, Pegasus, and Thunderbird are all that style. Gmail implements some of their worst features in a new way.

So now Gmail compresses the screen when you move down the email-list or open emails -- even though their top and bottom menu bars are clones, and don't need to BE compressed -- thus shrinking what you can see. How futile is that?

Gmail and Yahoo used to be like ELM -- you had a list of your emails, you selected the message, you read it. Panel readers break up your screen into compartments: the folder menu, the email-list, and the email you're reading.

I absolutely hate the panel format. Without reservation. Whoever invented panel-style email clients ought to be in a special place in hell (and I am not kidding).

The old way -- the list format -- was more like having an uncrumpled page. I can move up and down on that freely. I get the whole piece of paper as my screen when I open my message...

Well, mostly, but Gmail and Yahoo et al have been putting stuff in the sidebars, shrinking the screen where you read your email. Still, it was far better than the alternative:

Using panels is like having a scroll; my viewing options are limited, I have to do a lot of clicking and sliding to get anywhere, and each choice gets me a smaller area. [Gotta pin that thing open, but it keeps slipping!] It doesn't matter if I'm scanning the email-list or trying to read a message, I've gone from a full piece of flat paper to a 3x5 card.

I've used Outlook, and T-Bird, so this isn't guessing; I know what they're like, and I loathe them all.

What possessed Gmail? I don't know. I'd think that a bunch of clever geeks wouldn't do this.

After using Web email since 2000, of course I don't want 300 baud back. But why would I want a scroll flapping closed every time I read email??!!?!? Fighting email to read it -> counterproductive!

SquirrelMail, bless 'em, looks like the only email client who didn't go with panels, so... if I'm still frothing tomorrow, I may have a viable option. Thanks, folks!

Monday, June 20, 2011

The TV wall & agents...

From Jun 10, 2011's Real Time with Bill Maher: New Rules: "Pretty soon, all of television will be one long show called CSI: Vampire Idol." What's that? It's "where forensics experts solve murders committed by sexy vampires singing show tunes in front of Steven Tyler."

Remember the TV walls? I wonder if this is anything like what Ray Bradbury had in mind? :D

Bill's description of said show thanks to blogger Toe in the Water.

AAA will not expel agents turned publishers

In a separate statement released to The Bookseller, Cox said: "The code of conduct specifically excludes those involved in publishing from becoming a member, and it is only common sense that any member who subsequently becomes a publisher is no longer eligible for membership."

Wow. And yet, per that article, the agents involved feel there's no conflict of interest.

Kris Rusch talks about surviving the transition into the new publishing world we're in now -- and taking the time to get your sea legs. This is part of her Thursday blog series. I plan on catching up on these, since I know Kris has blogged before about the agent-as-publisher.

Here's Agents: Transition Part 3. (Yes, I know I skipped 2, but I have to go back and read that.)

Why do I care? Well, I work for editors, who have the authors whose books I work on. As a reader, I want to read books; as a copy editor, I want to work on books for readers to read.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

I have a theory.

Remember, way back in the day, when you'd get spam -- how you could hit Unsubscribe and it was accepted. Then you weren't bothered anymore. Nowadays you can't, because instead it means "Human at other end" and the sender[s] never stop.

An attitude shift, sure, but it's also something else.

I think skip tracers [collectors] have bought into that new system too. That a human answering means it doesn't matter if it's the human sought, it's human, and that's all that matters. The reason I think so is that my parents have been hassled by collectors for someone else. People who've never lived here; the previous owners of their current phone number.

When did half a loaf start to be more important? It's dehumanizing.

More, it's scary.

This is a little like a fairly chilling part of a Patricia McKillip book that I happen to love. One character tells another that being alive is the only criteria required.

So is it?

Monday, June 6, 2011

Style curiosity?

I've been reading through Ngaio Marsh's mysteries steadily.

Last Ditch has a style variation that appears to be the author's; I don't think it was a house style choice, but I could be wrong, of course. :]

On pages 206-207, there are two styles used:

  • "Doctor Carey" when beginning a paragraph of narrative;
  • but "Dr. Carey" when otherwise used in narrative
I don't have any examples marked from my own reading for dialog.

Why does this matter? Well, I didn't notice it myself until it was in two pages facing each other. This may have been a house style choice, it may not have, it's hard to say.

But I wonder. If this had been a job, I would have queried this.

Style choices matter. They'll be invisible to some readers, and not to others. Certainly this style question didn't wreck my interest in the mystery, but when confronted by the difference, I marked it. :D

In case you're curious, I read the hardcover edition from Little, Brown (1977).