Archive for April, 2011

Outlook 2007 and Internet Explorer 9

Monday, April 18th, 2011

Hmmmm have noticed that since I've upgraded to IE9, Outlook is continually crashing (and restarting). You can also reproduce the fault by clicking

Tools | Trust Center

I've tested it on three machines (both 32 and 64 bit) and does it every time.

I've done some searches but so far no one at Microsoft seems to be aware of this bug.

My only hope right now is to reinstall Outlook 2007 although if I'm going to do that I might as well save my time and upgrade to the newer version (something I've been procrastinating for ages!) I will let you know if it fixes the problem!

Update: Upgraded one machine to 2010 and it didn't fix the problem. It's likely that it's an add-in problem. Unfortunately add-ins are found within Trust Center. Running Outlook in safe mode doesn't seem to help.

OK this works: Solution (at least for now) - uninstall IE9. I did this by:

Windows Control Panel | Programs and Features | View Installed Updates

SelectWindows Internet Explorer 9. Click Uninstall.

If you try this always back up first! The system will need to restart in order to complete the process, so make sure you save any unsaved work.

PLEASE NOTE: I've moved this thread over onto PCDoc instead as it breaks my Vexentricity 'no tech' rule 😉 If you're still affected by this problem, please check for updates by following the link.

Changing Medium

Sunday, April 17th, 2011

Like many writers I'm grappling with issues in regard to my 'transition' to the role of screenwriter. Several people have expressed confusion that, because I'm already a writer, switching to writing solely for the screen should be no big deal for me. I guess I can see where they are coming from. To me though, it is much harder.

I am still in the stages where I find writing for the screen challenging, if not difficult. It's said there are four stages of learning, from unconscious incompetence (where you have no idea what you need to know in a given subject), conscious incompetence (realizing you don't know what you're doing), conscious competence (you're starting to get the hang of things, but you still have to think carefully in order to do it), through to unconscious competence (it all comes naturally - you don't remember the steps, you're just dancing!)

I'm hovering in between those second and third stages. This nomansland is an uncomfortable place to be and the only way to get out is through learning and practice. This is what prompted me to say that I am going to switch (for a while at least) to writing solely for the screen. And that takes a lot of discipline especially when you're not comfortable in a given medium yet.

I get ideas for stories all the time and yet, as they come up, I'm finding it hard to commit to writing these in the medium of script. It feels like a waste of a story! There, I said it!

Of course, the choice of whether a particular story is best written as a prose or script should depend upon what best serves that story. My big vexation perhaps is that most of my stories are probably better suited to the former than the latter. Yet I know it will take dedication to progress further in this field. The price of a few stories still feels quite high!

I hope deciding to write ALL my stories as scripts will be good medicine when it comes to learning the craft. Even if it isn't what's best for the stories.

Yet! 😉

Can a tech geek become cool enough to work in tv and film?

Saturday, April 16th, 2011

Can a borderline aspie tech geek transform themselves into a sociable screenwriter?

Can it be done? I ask myself this a lot. Whilst I can say that I'm trying to do this, I have no idea if I can actually achieve it. Writing this is the first step of trying to change what most people would consider very fundemental aspects of personality and character.

Most people like me tend to find a 'spot' in life where they can stay safe and secure. I found mine along with my husband in writing tech books, designing and programming multimedia sites and developing and teaching technology courses. It was awesome. We achieved it all together. We were a great team. He then got a job elsewhere - who can blame him for taking a great opportunity when it came along? Eventually it was taking up all of his time leaving no time for our projects. I carried on alone but gradually felt more and more sidelined as his half of our last name became more known than mine. We still worked together of course, that has never changed, but I was more and more like his assistant. And yes, this grated a little, or more truthfully, a lot. Striking out on my own was frankly terrifying. But I had seen so many wives in my position just give up and become a permanent fixture in their husband's shadow. I remembered my own mother telling me that I had to do things differently to her and to the previous generations of women in my family. And I had to teach my daughters the same.

Out of the blue in 2009 I signed up to do a Masters degree in Screenwriting. I can honestly say that I do not know from where the impotus to do that came. It was something that was not on my radar. I have written articles outside of tech of course and I consider myself, like most geeks, to be a full-blown story junkie (which I've written under a pseudonym until quite recently). But I really had no idea where the idea to embark on a screenwriting course came from. That I was accepted onto the course was an even bigger surprise. But apparently working in one area of the media easily translates - at least on the surface - into other areas of the media. According to one staff member at the university I seemed like the right fit as screenwriting is a combination of technical writing and story. From my point of view of course it did not look nearly so cut and dried. Starting out I realised I had a vast chasm to cross. Two years later, I still do.

The first residential course in 2009 for me was a real trial and I baulked at the first fence. I didn't have enough personal understanding of why I was there, my social skills were rubbish and being in a foreign environment for long days was just too much for someone like me - I was suffering the social consequences of working via the internet and writing within a partnership for over a decade. I resolved to spend the next year working on my social skills, improving my fitness and learning more about the world of the arts - which felt like a vast chasm in its own right from my safe perch in the world of science and technology. I joined a gym, went out to undergraduate classes in literature and screenwriting run by my local university's extra mural studies department and I took Open University courses in Creative Writing.

I made it through my second run at the residential course (mostly by being blatently honest about the difficulties I'd had the year before and by explaining where I'd come from in the world of shut-in geekery). In the first year of my course I have worked on understanding the nature of writing for the screen, and I'm at the stage now of realising just how very much more there is to learn. During the year I've continued to work on my people skills to some degree, but again it seems like the more I learn the more I realise I need to know. I've taken courses through Raindance and attended the London Screenwriter's and Comedy Writer's Festivals. And now as I near the end of the year, I sense that I am that much closer to venturing into the world with a qualification in screenwriting and with some aspiration to use it.

Of course any form of writing is largely a solitary activity and I am comforted that nothing really changes in that aspect of my life. But working as a screenwriter means sitting at large conference tables in crowded rooms thrashing out ideas and storylines. Screenwriting is also in large part about networking, which means meeting and socialising with all kinds of cool, artistic people. These people have Macs (and not because they want to use them to compare operating systems or for testing; these people ONLY have Macs!) They eat at exotic restaurants, wear designer labels and name-drop furiously (how DO they remember SO many people, let alone their work and connections?) I'm not a social person. I find social occasions very stressful and, like most people with the same problem, I try to avoid them.

I ask myself often why the hell my brain is betraying me by choosing to go into a field that is in direct violation of the number one rule of socially inadequate geeks: avoid going into social situations, unless it's with other socially inadequate geeks.

I will be honest, at this stage I cannot imagine that I will ever be able to cope, let alone that this could ever come naturally enough to be a normal part of my life. But I also believe that I can change this. I am intelligent, great at analysing and very capable of learning new things. I have a lot of personal development skills that I've put to good use in getting to where I am already. So it should be possible!

Which brings me to my purpose for writing this. To ask the question of my fellow nerd-kind: can a tech geek become cool enough to work in tv and film?

Changing Labels

Friday, April 8th, 2011

Yesterday. Momentous day. I decided that I'm going to put all my eggs in the proverbial basket and go full time on the screenwriting in one ginormous, hell-bent-for-leather, all-out struggle. I have another year on my MA Screenwriting course (assuming I pass this year) and I'd really like to say that I gave it my best shot.

For the last year I've been praying to the twin gods of past and future jobs. I've teetered on the edge of leaving behind my past life as a tech writer. And let's face it, mixing THIS many metaphors it's obvious I'm cut out for bigger and greater things! ;P

Anyway here's me, signing off from the past.

ps. BTW I changed my employment status on Facebook to 'self employed screenwriter'. I'm assuming Facebook actually interprets this as 'unemployed' because it immediately filled my sidebar with adds for PHP and C# Development jobs.

Oh ye of little faith Mister Zuckerburg...

pps. I'm off to the London Comedy Screenwriter's Festival tomorrow. Excited!

“More is Less” – First Poem NaPoWriMo

Friday, April 1st, 2011

"More is Less"

......................................
..........Cut-out-the-pauses..........
.........Leave-no-white-space.........
.....Push-the-furniture-together......
....Park-the-car-against-the-wall.....
...Crowd-life-right-up-around-you.....
...Build-yourself..a..little-fort.....
...From-pillows-books-and-blankets....
....Place-everything-within-reach.....
.....Stick-paper-onto-the-windows.....
......Shape-a-hat-out-of-tinfoil......
.........Lock-the-world-away..........
.......... Breathe-shallow............
......................................

Read more National Poetry Writing Month poems from The §purious Collective.

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