Category Archives: Computers

iPad In My Hands

Last week, my iPad finally arrived. Yes, I’m a tad late to the party. But that doesn’t really matter. All in all, while I think it’s a game changer in many ways, and I love it, I do have some gripes, but the gripes mostly have to do with the way eBooks and other content is sold.

What I love about going to the bookstore is the way it’s laid out. You can walk in, see your bestsellers up front, then skip them and move into the category of your choosing. Most online bookstores seem to mimic this behavior to a degree. However, where they fall down is in the way you can actually browse a category.

In a regular book store, authors books are organized into two sections (often) – new books, and the rest, and those are alphabetical, generally. The books sit there, face out or spine out, right next to books by the same author, or right next to an author you may never have heard of. It’s EASY to find new authors (as long as their books are on the shelves) that are somewhat like what you’ve read (in the same basic category) but that are different, too.

In online book stores, it’s pretty damned difficult to find stuff from an author you’ve never heard of that isn’t a bestseller. On Amazon, you only get to see 12 titles per page, which means you have to click a lot to see more than a few books, where in a real book store, you can run buy a hundred books by taking a couple steps. In most online book stores, either I’m blind, or there is no easy way to see a list of authors in a particular category. I don’t know about you, but there are some authors I forget about unless I see their name. If they’re mid list authors, and I have to click 20 times to maybe see their latest book, I may never think about books in their back catalog.

The app store on the iPad has the same issue. There’s not an easy way to see apps that aren’t new or a best seller. In games (where I buy lots of stuff), the iPad interface lumps them all together – there’s no category options like strategy or rpg like there is on the iPhone/iPod app store. I’ll buy fewer games because I can’t find the stuff I want.

Basically, I just want ways to browse the back catalog that aren’t tedious, and that jog my memory about authors that I like, but don’t necessarily think about all the time.

StoryBox 0.0.52

I just uploaded StoryBox 0.0.52, after much delay. It’s got some better import features (specifically, importing to wherever you want to in a document), and some other bug fixes.

I apologize for it taking so long, especially after the initial flurry of activity. I don’t have a final release date. I have a list of things I want to get fixed before I call it done.

Now, just in case you don’t know, my livelihood comes from making games, and while StoryBox is important to me and my future plans, it doesn’t quite pay the bills yet, and bills have to be paid, so game development sometimes has to take precedence, which is entirely what has happened. And it will have precedence, unfortunately, in the near future. If you see posts about other things that I’m doing, specifically related to a particular game I’m working on (Infinite Suns), don’t worry that I have forgotten StoryBox. I haven’t. They both have to get finished this year, along with all the other work I have to do (like finding time to work on a novel, somehow).


In my “copious” spare time, I’ve been working on this little app designed for writers of novels. It’s more than loosely based on Scrivener, which I’ve come to love, and would use without spending the time to write my own were it not for one thing. Scrivener is only available on OS X. Yes, I have OS X, but it’s only on one machine, a MacBook Pro (which I love), and I can’t use it on any of my others like my desktop with the nice keyboard and comfy chair, or my tiny little Toshiba Netbook.

I tried out several other programs on the PC, none of which were for me. Liquid Binder is nice looking, but convoluted and not really suited to the way I want to work. yWriter seems OK, but it’s not oriented around the manuscript that you are writing. The manuscript window has no more importance than any of the other tabs, and it sits at the bottom of the window and is uncomfortable to work in. The other software I’ve found has also been unsuitable, for other reasons – restrictive workflow, clunky interfaces, and just plain ugly.

So, I started work on StoryBox, and I’ve been far too obsessed with it for my own good. At some point, I will make StoryBox available to the rest of the world at a fair price. I would be tempted to make it “donation” ware so that I’m not enjoined to update it all the time, but for the fact that, in order to make it behave the way I wanted and to have certain up to date UI features, I’ve had to purchase some third party components, and they’re not cheap, and I’m not likely to use them for any other project.

I have NO idea how many people are looking for this product, though I know there are at least a few. I’m mostly making this for me, and I’m not trying to clone Scrivener exactly. Scrivener just happens to have a workflow, or at least, allows a workflow, that is very close to the way I want to write, and I’m really just building StoryBox so that it allows my workflow.

I hope to have a beta before NaNoWriMo in November, but we’ll see how that goes. Right now, you can enter text into it, you can import an existing novel if it’s in plain text format (with some basic tags for chapter and scene breaks), but you can’t get text back out of it. 🙂 It’s got a full screen edit mode, and a synopsis and notes for each document. It counts words as your typing, but it doesn’t yet keep track of words across the whole project. There’s lots of work left to do.

Storybox Screenshot

I’m not much of a web designer, and certainly not much of an artist, and it’s obvious when you look at

For the moment, it’s just placeholder stuff. Some links to some sites I frequent. In the future, I may add a forum, and maybe some other resources, but I got tired of having the domain point to nothing.

LD48 #13 – Liftoff

I’m attempting to participate in yet another LD48. It’s a competition to see who can build the best game, based on a theme revealed at the start of the competition, in 48 hours… from scratch. Who knows how far I’ll go. I haven’t participated in something like four years.

I have an idea. I have an empty window displaying. I wonder if I can make this work.

The theme this time, is “Roads”.