New Friends, Linux Frustrations, and an Uncertain Future

Hi all! It’s been days since I posted, so clearly it’s time to subject you all to another rambling blog post.

New Friends

First off, Peter and I headed out to Oregon over the weekend and came back with new friends! Reptile friends. Say hello to Chrysanthemum, my new bearded dragon:

She’s been very good. The car ride didn’t seem to stress her out at all, and she ate well Sunday night and yesterday. She hasn’t seemed interested in food today, but given that she’s almost definitely suffering from relocation stress that’s hardly unreasonable. I’m looking forward to getting to know her better and helping her grow up big and strong. Even if it means fishing cockroaches out of a cup with tongs two times a day. (It’s not all glamor in reptile keeping!)

Peter got a ball python that has been christened Rigatoni. He is still hiding in his enclosure. He was very brave when we first met him, but now that he’s got a new home he’s busy being a tiny crunched-up ball while he gets used to everything. Absolutely normal. Reptiles aren’t quite as flexible as dogs and cats, but that’s okay! They’re still total sweethearts.

Linux Frustrations

I spent an unhealthy portion of today being distracted by my Linux install. My main struggle with using Linux is that a lot of things work *almost* right, and fixing them is a matter of some head-banging effort. Lucky for me, the Linux community is pretty good at discussing answers to common issues. The downside is that sometimes it’s damn hard to find which of those discussions is going to actually help you.

I recently switched window managers on my Ubuntu install to Lubuntu/LXLE. This has been good, in that the performance of my little laptop is now a lot better, but quickly became a pain when I realized that a bunch of the things I’d figured out now had to be re-figured out. This included:

  • Bluetooth
  • Getting bluetooth audio to actually work correctly
  • Configuring pulseaudio (and fucking around with alsa on the way)
  • Fixing all my trackpad settings
  • Trying to get a OSX virtual machine set up for Scrivener, only to realize it’s not worth it (more on that below)
  • (This one was new!) Getting Teamviewer to be at my monitor’s native resolution. (I got within six pixels, close enough!)
  • Being vexed that occasionally the lock screen decides the right password isn’t right, and that it doesn’t like me, so I get to hard-restart the machine.

It was almost enough to break me and get me to re-install Windows 10. But I worry that I won’t be able to do as much on the machine (LUbuntu is really lightweight), and more importantly, it won’t solve my biggest issue.

Ubuntu doesn’t have full-featured Scrivener.

The lack of Scrivener on Linux is killing me. The Windows version runs fine under Wine (though it’s not a pretty program), but there’s some key features missing from it for me. The first and foremost is that revision mode isn’t supported. I use revision mode constantly for revising The Shivering Deeps, and not being able to do that natively has sucked hard. I’ve been using TeamViewer to access my Mac at home, so it’s not the end of the world, but it’s not great. The second feature that’s missing is snapshot comparison. I don’t actually use the direct comparison feature that much, and from what I understand the Windows version can still take snapshots, but it would be nice to have.

It’s frustrating. Rumor has it that Scrivener 3 will bring Windows and Mac into parity when it comes to features, but who knows when that will be. Until then, I suppose I just have to be patient. Woe is me and all that. It just sucks to have a machine that’s so close to being awesome, and only held back by *one program* not being as feature-complete as its older brother OS version.

This actually got me to the point I was briefly considering trying to develop an open-source Scrivener equivalent, but I’m not sure I have it in me. It would be an interesting project, though, and I’m sure a free equivalent (especially one that’s compatible, somehow, with .scriv files) would be well-received.

An Uncertain Future

I’m facing a bit of an uncertain future, in addition to all this. I’m a couple months from my job (likely) ramping down dramatically, and I don’t know what to do with myself after that. The issue is that they still want me around, but the work will probably become sporadic. This wouldn’t be too big a deal, except it could also involve heavy travel, which would wreak havoc on any schedule I try to put together at a new job. This has me in a bit of a jam to say the least.

In light of that, I haven’t been super proactive in applying for new gigs. I have been looking into freelance or entrepreneurial opportunities, on the grounds that I would likely enjoy them more than a traditional job *and* they’re more likely to be flexible. So far I’ve been considering:

  • Freelance web design/development, with a focus on restaurants and other places that need basic but well-designed sites.
  • Possibly social media assistance as part of the above.
  • Freelance writing
  • Opening an exotic pet store with Peter (Reptiles! Birds! Fish! And dog food, we guess.)
  • Taking a part-time job that customer-service focused, to improve my skills and qualifications for future library work.

I don’t have any idea where I’m going to end up yet. All of the gigs sound fun to me, but they’re not exactly easy to bring into reality. That said, I should figure out something soon, or I might be boned. Suggestions, advice, job offers, and mysterious sacks of money from unknown and shady sources are all welcome.

And that’s it for now! I hope your lives are all going well, and if you want to talk about any or all of the above, please drop a line in the comments.

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