Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Small Publishing: Computer

As H2NH Publishing expands, it needs a publishing platform. I do all my writing on an Asus EeePC netbook with Ubuntu using FocusWriter. I have Windows XP on the other partition, and it is from there that I do all the publishing, using Microsoft Office 2007 and GIMP, etc. I can theoretically do it all in Ubuntu, but I like Word better than LibreOffice. You can see the (mostly) current H2NH publishing workflow here.

But, as I move up the publishing ladder and contemplate going into POD, that's just getting ridiculous. It's a 10" screen, and you can't layout a book on a 10" screen. Not to mention that InDesign cannot actually run on my netbook without waiting a minute between each click. Horrifying. I need my eyes to read with, people. So, H2NH is currently in the medium-term planning for a Business computer. I'm OS agnostic, with some reservations, and I need the lifecycle to be at least five years. (I buy a netbook every two years and give the old one to a deserving case.) So, let's get into the nitty-gritty with a number:

Budget: $4500-$5000 (read: ~$1000/year)
Makes for three options. I'll put them in rough order of convenience: 

Option 1: iMac 
Software - ~$1,500
Office for Mac Home and Student 2011 - $120
Adobe Creative Suite 5.5 Design Standard - $1,300
Hardware - ~$3,000
iMac 27" with a solid state hard drive, and upgraded RAM.
Thoughts - 
This has the advantage of being incredibly easy to lug around a jungle, and it doesn't take up a lot of space. The disadvantage is that there's no Apple Store or anything, and I'd prefer to support my own damn self anyways. STILL, it's pretty, well-designed, and runs cool in my tropical existence. Software-wise, I'd have InDesign and Word and everything would just work. If it didn't, I could just reinstall from a base image. The main disadvantage is that I'd have to use Mac OS. If you can't dick around with your computer, what's the point of even having one?

Option 2: Built PC running Windows 
Software - ~$1,800
Microsoft Office Home and Business 2010 - $200
Adobe Creative Suite 5.5 Design Standard - $1,300
Windows 7 Ultimate - $320
Hardware - ~$3,000
A veritable beast of a machine, acquired of Newegg and assembled by myself - $2,000-$2,500
Display (touch-screen) - $500-$1000
Thoughts -
First off, yes: $320. Are you f*ckin' kidding me? I have a philosophical objection to paying that much for a mere operating system. Esp. one that isn't all that great. But, the advantage of a massive touch-screen makes this a viable option. Also, my hardware budget will go much farther than with Apple, so I could load this thing down with RAM and a sexy video card, and still have cash left over for a great display. The added benefit of knowing exactly where every component came from can't hurt for purposes of providing my own support, not to mention a robust cooling system for use in my tropical paradise. Put it all together and I'd have a beast. A sexy, sexy beast. Still...Windows...urgh.

Option 3, AKA the 'free option': Built PC running GNU/Linux
Software - $0
LibreOffice - Free
GIMP - Free
Scribus - Free
Ubuntu, some flavor thereof, or some other build entirely.
Hardware $2,500
A veritable beast of a machine, acquired of Newegg and assembled by myself - $2,000
Display - $500
Thoughts - 
If I were daring enough to go free software for this publishing adventure, this is what I'd do. It'd be the same machine as above, but without the fancy touch-screen. It'd run fast, smooth, and delicious. Like a penguin-flavored ice cream. The problem is that Scribus isn't InDesign, and LibreOffice isn't Word. Yet? I'm sure I could make it work, but do I want to?

So...yeah. At some point I'll just flip a coin. What do you use, small publishers?
feel free to comment

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Lazy Writer Eats: Delicious Salad

What am I up to today? Eating Delicious Salad! As everybody knows, vegetables are brain food. And the working writer needs all the help he can get. (Isn't fish brain food?) Shut up.

What you'll get.
What you'll need. Fresh
Egg, ver' expensive due to flooding. (Chickens can't swim, I guess.) Hardboiled.
Cabbage. Remember, if there are worms on it, you know it's organic.
Onion. Lots of onion.
Corn, steamed, shucked.
Red beans, for protein.
Some weird meat substitute thing you found in the market. It's taro!
Red onion, for color.
Tomato, which is actually a berry. Supreme Court said so.
Exploded rice. I don't know the real term, but it's for texture.
Cucumber. Because why not?
A bowl, preferably one of the cool ceramic ones.
Salad dressing (not pictured), not too sweet.
A fork.
A girlfriend, for steps three and six.

Step 1. Assemble the ingredients
Step 2. Cut them up as per custom. Steam the corn, hard boil the egg.
Step 3. SEX, possibly some booze
Step 4. Place all ingredients in bowl.
Step 5. Salad dressing, to taste.
Step 6. Eat, talk about your feelings.

Total cost per bowl: ~฿25. That is, less than a can of beer.

Lazy Writer Eats series...
Lazy Writer Cooks: Boiled Chicken
Lazy Writer Cooks: Cup Mama
Lazy Writer Drinks: Thaiball
The First 200 Days, i.e the exciting saga of two-hundred straight days of blogging and learning about writing, is available at It should, by now, be free. If not, find it free for all formats on Smashwords, and do me a favor and click the 'Tell us about a lower price' link on Amazon to speed up the process. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll read a blog. Also, there is business drama. It's like Moneyball without the editing. Also, no baseball.
More exciting blurb: The First 200 Days (200th post)

What food do you make?
feel free to comment
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