Jun 082018

Another strong round of thunderstorms came through the area yesterday, which cooled things down a bit but made it impossible to do anything outside. But that’s okay, I had plenty to do to keep me busy inside.

I spent much of the day writing and knocked out a little over 5,000 words in my new Big Lake book. This puts me over 50,000 words and well into the downhill side of the story. I’m working hard to get it finished and out sometime this month.

We did go out twice yesterday, once about noon to pick up our Ford Explorer after the repairs were finished at Leon’s, the garage we use for our automotive work. Then around 6 o’clock or so there was a break in the weather and we decided to go to Goodrich Seafood, a small place located on the water a few miles south of us in Oak Hill that is a favorite with the locals.

As much as it had been raining we thought we would have the place to ourselves, but there were quite a few people who must have thought the same thing. The food was good, as always, but we made the mistake of sitting near the rear door, which opens onto a deck with an outdoor dining area. We knew better than sit outside, but even close to the door where we were the mosquitoes managed to get inside every time somebody came or went. So I left with a very full stomach, and three or four more big welts from bites.

In other news, I’ve been experimenting with a couple of different smart phone apps. One is Winegard’s new TV Signal Finder app, and I have to say I’m impressed with it. It makes it easy to find both TV satellites and free over-the-air HDTV towers wherever you happen to be traveling. You simply use the Antenna Pointer option, which first shows a map with the locations of all nearby broadcast towers, the distance between the RV and those towers, and a list of channels and stations available. Then you click on the AR icon on the map to activate the smart phone camera, which allows the user to rotate their smart phone 360 degrees to find the desired tower and best angle to point the antenna. It also shows things like trees, buildings or hills that might block a signal.

The app also includes a Satellite Pointer mode that finds satellite locations and clear openings for pointing your antenna. As with the Antenna Pointer mode, the app will also let you know if the satellite signal could be blocked by an obstruction. The app works with BellTV, DIRECTV, DISH or Shaw Direct. It requires a smart phone equipped with a camera, GPS, and compass. You can download it free in the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store. For more information about the TV Signal Finder app, go to http://www.winegard.com/apps.

I’m excited about another free app I’ve been experimenting with called Speechnotes. It’s a voice to text app that seems a lot more user-friendly than others I have seen. When I first bought my Dragon Naturally Speaking software I also bought the Sony digital recorder they recommended, with the idea that when I’m away from my desk I could still dictate into it, and later transfer everything to whatever manuscript I might be working on at the time.

I never was able to get that to work, despite many online queries and calls to both the company that makes Dragon and to Sony. But with Speechnotes I can dictate things and email them to myself, then cut-and-paste them into my manuscript or whatever else I want. I’ve tried some other apps but found them much more limiting in how much I can dictate in one session, the ability to use punctuation, and things like that. So far I haven’t run into any of those problems with this app, and I’m looking forward to using it more as time goes on.

I’m not sure what’s on the agenda for today. Terry has a doctor’s appointment in the early afternoon, and I want to return something to Home Depot. After that, who knows? We are supposed to have more rain, so we will probably come back home and I’ll be back at work crunching words. We’re in the summertime sales slump and hopefully a new book will pick things up.

Be sure to enter our latest Free Drawing. This week’s prize is a box set of my good friend Mona Ingram’s The Women of Independence e-books, with four stand-alone stories of women who deal with life and love in the small town of Independence, British Columbia. Besides being one of the nicest persons you will ever meet, Mona is also an outstanding writer and romance fans love her books. To enter, all you have to do is click on this Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name (first and last) in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn Sunday evening.

Thought For The Day – Nothing stays the same. It either gets better or it gets worse.

Nick Russell

World-Famous, New York Times Best Selling Author, and All-Around Nice Guy!

  One Response to “Writing And Testing Apps”

  1. I’ll try Speechnotes. Voice Journal wasn’t great, and Google docs got the words more accurately, but turns off too soon if you pause.

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