Miracles DO Happen! AEON Timeline…

AEON-screen capture

I’m no longer blinded by chaos.

With the complexity of my projects, I’ve been trying for the past three or four years to find a timeline program that would keep me inside the boundaries of sanity. I tried project management programs (MS Project, Turbo Project, Openproject), Database management programs (MS Access*, MS SQL* Server, MySQL*). Finally, the closest thing was a nice, but limited, Open Source program – The Timeline Project – available on Sourceforge.net, which I’ve been using over three years now.

  • I really need a ZERO DAY based timeline, in addition to more conventional options – seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks — you get the picture. Even millennia-length events. Heck, I might even need to manage a timeline based on cycles of intersecting moons, or the breeding cycles of 30-foot praying mantises. OK, that last one MIGHT be a reach… haven’t tried it yet.
  • I need to be able to easily link characters, places, items, and even some complex concepts to events in the calendar.
  • I need something that is much less expensive than a semester at the University of Colorado. OK, that might be a little bit of exaggeration.

Then TA-DA! Following up on a post in the Pikes Peak Writers mail loop – from Barbara Samuel – I downloaded trial copies of AEON Timeline from Scribble Code software. After only 2 days of trials (they allow you 20 days), I licensed copies for both my Windows-based machines and my iMac!

And have been charging ahead every since. I completed two novel timelines in the past couple of days. Check it out and have some productive fun!

Disclaimer – I have no connection with any of the products or services, mentioned here. And I pay for them as does anybody else. I do like to shout it out when I come across something that solves a problem…

And… c’mon, you see it coming… Makes my life easier.

Cheers, Ron

*Of course I had to write all of my own code for the database platforms — all of which were too rigid and constraining.

 

Attention span? What atten…

Raise your hand if you’ve heard somebody say, “nobody is reading because the kids today don’t have the attention span of a [insert cliched comarison here.]

What if it’s not an attention span problem, but the same problem that everybody on this bloody planet has today?

Too many things to do, and not enough time to do them. What if we’re trying to do things that take hours when the available snippets in our lives only last for minutes?

What happens when we gear our output toward filling those brief instants, rather than creating something that may force someone to choose between reading your work and watching the latest blockbuster on a streaming download?

Debuting at this year’s Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers Colorado Gold Conference is Takin’ It in the Shorts, a workshop about tailoring your work to the snippets of available time in people’s lives.

If your not already registered, do it NOW! Earlybird pricing ends August 15, 2011.

Ron

Not a Geek? Naming conventions

One of the simplest things to do up front that can save hours of headaches later is the implementation of naming conventions for all the the components of your website.  Proper naming conventions work no matter what programming language or web development tool you use, and they can avoid problems with various server operating systems not recognizing components.

Avoid the Subscription Blues

The beginning of a new year is always a good time to think about ways to save some money on your annual subscriptions for a lot of software packages, primarily security and financial software. A few examples:

Security Software:

This is software for internet security, firewalls, anti-spam, anti-virus, anti-spyware, etc. Most of these packages, whether integrated suites or individual products, require an annual subscription in order to keep the programs and the signature files up to date. In most cases, the cost of an annual subscription is equal to the initial purchase price.

Most of these vendors are quite happy to have you set up an auto-renewal account with them. You just provide them with a credit card and every year they simply bill the card for the full price of a subscription.  This process is very handy for you. You don’t have to remember to renew the subscription or order software updates.

The process is also very nice for the vendors. They don’t have to sell you again. They get their subscription fees right away, and they don’t have to worry about competition. Every year, at least until the card’s expiration date, it’s a done deal. No effort, no worries.

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