Monthly Archives: October 2013

Search Engines and the NSA

I’ve been thinking. I know that is a dangerous thing especially for a writer.

With the high profile cases over the last few years where the prosecution has brought in computer forensic to show how the accused use the internet to search for ways to commit the crime and get away with it. Even worse lately with the NSA spying on all of us looking for the use of key words. While Google is turning over our search history and Facebook is giving them access to our posts.

What must the NSA be thinking about some of us writers?

Let’s say I am working on a book where they assassinate a head of state, of course my head of state is fictitious but I want it to be as real as possible. I might do Google searches of assassinations from the past or ways to assassinate a nations leaders. I might look at ways to get out of a city even if it’s been closed off or the protection a leader might have. How about ways to get around the ever present video cameras? We’ve all seen on NCSI how they use cameras to track villains. I might even look at how a head of state might enter the UN in New York. Buildings a sniper could use, even finding out about sniper rifles, etc.

If I wright about a terrorist group setting off a dirty bomb in New York. I might research wind patterns ways to affect the largest number of people. How to conceal the bomb, how to get it into the US even how to build one. They could poison a city’s water supply. What would I use to slowly kill the largest number of people before they figure it out.

All these could trigger the NSA search and before I know it the Feds are breaking down my door to have a little talk with me I’ll never get my first book done because I’ll be rutting away in some cell with no one knowing my whereabouts. For all I know this post might be all it takes to get my locked away for life plus ten years.

It’s not as bad with fantasy, I doubt elves, dwarfs, etc would be much of a trigger though maybe it is some kind of code I don’t know about. Science Fiction could get one in trouble.

Maybe the CIA did have Tom Clancy killed because of his internet search history. They were afraight he might fly a jet into the capital building and kill everyone.

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Not everything I do has to do with my books. My old friend Tom have become involved with Vintage Computing. We started up All Things DOS a vintage computer website. This week I have added some 2,500 Documents to our site. We currently offer more than 10,000 vintage games and applications available free to our site members. For those with slow download speeds We offer a disc burning service for a small fee.

All Things DOS currently has more than a dozen Vintage computers in our collection. The Commodore Vic-20 and C-64, the apple ][e the Macintosh 128 (the first Mac) the Macintosh SEHD, the TRS-80 Model IV and CoCo, the original IBM PC and XT, just to name a few. With 25+ years in the industry I am the technical guy. My job is to fix what I can. I have a pile of computers waiting for my time.

Today I am working on an Epson Equity II+ computer, it’s only problem is it needs a new battery. Latter I will be testing a Compaq Portable 2 which needs a new hard drive. Waiting for me is the Macintosh 128 or M0001, this was the first Macintosh model and the inside of the case is engraved with the signatures of the development team including Steve Jobs. This system is displaying the sad MAC telling me that it has a bad memory chip. I have the replacement, I Just need to get it installed.

After my stroke, my dog Tristan, started a Blog. Being a dog, he needs lots of help. Tristan tells me he needed his own blog to help him recover from the stress of almost losing me and my being gone, hospitalized, for over a month. Tristan’s a good dog but I don’t always agree with his ideas. I am attempting to teach him to watch out for the auto-correct on the iPad. Like me Tristan is a bad speller. We create new ways to spell all the time. What can I expect I am his daddy after all.

All-in-all I tend to keep myself busy which in part is why my writing is taking so long.

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Open Office Writer

Although I have been using Microsoft Office for years and love it. Lets face it I have taught hundreds of classes on how to use it. Not everyone can afford it. There is a free Alternative Apache offers OpenOffice a an open platform Microsoft Office compatible program. It offers just about everything Microsoft does best of all it is free. OpenOffice my not off all the bells and whistles Microsoft Office provides but you can’t beat the price. Recently we upgraded a couple of our computers. After other expenses we couldn’t afford to buy new copies of Microsoft Office so installed OpenOffice instead.

Those who know me know I am not a fasts typist. I like to call myself a Biblical Types Seek and ye shall find some keys take more seeking then others. Nevertheless, I still like to use the shortcut key strokes for many tasks. For instance [CTRL+B] for Bold and [CTRL+I] for Italics don’t forget my personal Favorite [CTRL+Z] for oops I didn’t mean to do that undo. Lets face it we all make mistakes sometimes. Did you know that [CNTR+A] selects everything in the document. The CNTR key is right under the SHIFT key. I’ve been known to aim for the SHIFT key hit the CNTR key by mistake, select my entire document and replace it with what I am typing. Because I am not a touch types I spend more time looking at my keyboard than at the computer screen. I may type two or three lines before I realize what I have done. Because of my knowledge of the program I can copy what I have typed then undo the mistake and finish by pasting in what I was doing. Yes I confess I have been known to erase dozens of pages with just a few key strokes. Thankfully I know how to fix it.

I use to think keyboard shortcuts were just for fast typists after all it takes time to reach for the mouse and then refind your hand position. The truth is I use them all the time. Apache provides a list of keyboard shortcuts. I have included their list for OpenOffice Writer below. Many of these are common Windows Shortcuts. Honestly, there are many I never use. Pick and chose what you like then ignore the rest.



Shortcut Keys Effect
Ctrl+A Select All.
Ctrl+J Justify.
Ctrl+D Double Underline.
Ctrl+E Centred.
Ctrl+F Find and Replace.
Ctrl+Shift+P Superscript.
Ctrl+L Align Left.
Ctrl+R Align Right.
Ctrl+Shift+B Subscript.
Ctrl+Y Redo last action.
Ctrl+0 (zero) Apply Default paragraph style.
Ctrl+1 Apply Heading 1 paragraph style.
Ctrl+2 Apply Heading 2 paragraph style.
Ctrl+3 Apply Heading 3 paragraph style.
Ctrl+5 1.5 Line Spacing.
Ctrl+ Plus Key(+) Calculates the selected text and copies the result to the clipboard.
Ctrl+Hyphen(-) Custom hyphens; hyphenation set by you.
Ctrl+Shift+minus sign (-) Non-breaking dash (is not used for hyphenation).
Ctrl+multiplication sign * (only on number pad) Run macro field.
Ctrl+Space Non-breaking spaces. Non-breaking spaces are not used for hyphenation and are not expanded if the text is justified.
Shift+Enter Line break without paragraph change.
Ctrl+Enter Manual page break.
Ctrl+Shift+Enter Column break in multi-columnar texts.
Alt+Enter Inserting a new paragraph without numbering.
Alt+Enter Inserting a new paragraph directly before or after a section or a table.
Arrow Left Move cursor to left.
Shift+Arrow Left Move cursor with selection to the left.
Ctrl+Arrow Left Go to beginning of word.
Ctrl+Shift+Arrow Left Selecting to the left word by word.
Arrow Right Move cursor to right.
Shift+Arrow Right Move cursor with selection to the right.
Ctrl+Arrow Right Go to end of word.
Ctrl+Shift+Arrow Right Selecting to the right word by word.
Arrow Up Move up one line.
Shift+Arrow Up Selecting lines in an upwards direction.
Arrow Down Move cursor down one line.
Shift+Arrow Down Selecting lines in a downward direction.
Home Go to beginning of line.
Shift+Home Go and select to the beginning of a line.
End Go to end of line.
Shift+End Go and select to end of line.
Ctrl+Home Go to start of document.
Ctrl+Shift+Home Go and select text to start of document.
Ctrl+End Go to end of document.
Ctrl+Shift+End Go and select text to end of document.
Ctrl+PageUp Switch cursor between text and header.
Ctrl+PageDown Switch cursor between text and footer.
Insert Insert mode on/off.
PageUp Screen page up.
Shift+PageUp Move up screen page with selection.
PageDown Move down screen page.
Shift+PageDown Move down screen page with selection.
Ctrl+Del Delete text to end of word.
Ctrl+Backspace Delete text to beginning of word.
Ctrl+Shift+Del Delete text to end of sentence.
Ctrl+Shift+Backspace Delete text to beginning of sentence.
Ctrl+Tab Next suggestion with Automatic Word Completion.
Ctrl+Shift+Tab Use previous suggestion with Automatic Word Completion.
Alt+W Spell checker dialog: Call back the original unknown word into the text box.
Ctrl+ double-click or Ctrl+Shift+F10 Dock or un-dock the Navigator, Styles and Formatting window, or other windows.


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This Weekend

Well I am waiting for the birth of my newest grandson; this will make four grandsons and only one granddaughter. My wife has been with our daughter for the last two weeks.

I ran up to see her this weekend for her Birthday.

Somehow I still managed to get four pages written on the first book of the Elvin Lords series. I’ve got about 50 pages written in Microsoft Word on standard 8.5 x 11 page size. It still has a long way to go. This is the first of the series I shared with my future wife many years ago. She has been pushing me to get it done.  This one’s for you my love.

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11 month since my Stroke

It is said there is always someone worse off than us. September 30th makes eleven months since my stroke. As bad as it was for me I think of what Kat went through. I got a helicopter ride from beaver to Salt Lake. Kat however was on her own to drive not knowing what she would find. She stopped in Orem to pick up Jessica who finished the remaining hour drive to Salt Lake.

As for me I slept the next couple of days. While they told Kat I might never wake up.

When I arrived at the VA hospital’s rehab unit I found myself with several other stroke survivors that had all been there many months. Most didn’t get to go home for seven month or more. A month later I was home having progressed beyond any of them. I don’t know if I was the only member in the group but I was the only one who attended the Sacrament meeting offered at the hospital.

Kat was blessed to find a room at the Fisher house where she met with several other wives whose husbands were much worse off then I was. One woman whose husband was in late stage cancer having only days left to live. She forgot her troubles as she became a shoulder to cry on for these other women. Yes there are things I still can’t do and likely never will again be able to. But I am here. I have my loving wife and family and soon another grandson. Life is good. God never promised it would be easy only that it would be worth it and it is. Live may not be perfect but it is very good.

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