Monday, March 30, 2009

Formatting Cross-References in InDesign

For years I used FrameMaker to layout my books so that I could take advantage of its robust cross-referencing. I was so dependent on its power that I stuck with it as it crashed continously and made me jump through hoops to get images and color the way I wanted them. But when I got my Intel MacBook, I had to say goodbye... Frame wouldn't run on Classic and Adobe decided not to upgrade Frame for OSX. So, I went back to InDesign and marveled at how my fingers still remembered so many keyboard shortcuts from my PageMaker days.

But if you've seen any of my books since then, you'll know that I have really had to tone down my penchant for copious cross-referencing. No longer! Though I tend not to upgrade unless I have to, InDesign's new cross-references had me chomping at the bit. And I have not been disappointed.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Ada Lovelace Day, or On the Shoulders of Giantesses

Suw Charman-Anderson put out a challenge to her readers to honor Ada Lovelace, the first computer programmer (ever!) by writing blog posts on March 24 about women in technology whom they admire. So, Happy Ada Lovelace Day!

Although there are many women in technology who I admire, among them Dori Smith, Molly Holzschlag, Robin Williams, and Lynda Weinman, there is one who was a particular inspiration to me: Laura Lemay.

I don't know Laura personally, but when I was just learning HTML, she had three or four books already out on the topic. And though I found the information in her books useful, among other sources, what really inspired me was her attitude. She was a really smart programmer, and wasn't shy to tell you about it. I loved that she was a woman. If she could do it, I could do it.

Thanks, Laura!

And now she has chickens like me!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

March Maple Madness

I'm driving along and I see steam pouring out of a sugar shack and I just have to stop. It's so beautiful the way it flows out of the roof and fills the air with the sweet smell of maple. And it's so magical to take tree sap and turn it into sweets. I've been making myself stop and take pictures, since they won't be boiling for much longer:

Lawton Family Sugarhouse, Williamsburg

I realized I still hadn't been to South Face Farm, probably the biggest Maple Syrup producer in Ashfield, and the weather was improving fast, so I took a detour on the way home. I was not disappointed. South Face Farm is a gorgeous place,

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Complacency, Listening for Signals, and Luck

I was talking with a friend the other day about chickens. She wants to get some, but not as many as a typical minimum order of 25. We want to get some more, so we thought we'd do an order together.

She's never had chicks before so I was giving her advice about equipment (a waterer, a container for food, a heat lamp, and most importantly a predator-proof brooder box for

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Do someone a favor by asking for a favor

I'm really into genealogy. Though it goes in phases, when I'm into it, I can stay up every night for weeks pouring through old census records and out of print books on 19th century Virginian families, of which I've yet to claim a link. I've traced my roots back to 17th century Maryland, Ireland, and Scotland, 18th century Holland, 19th century France and England, and both 20th and very early 17th century Spain.

I was recently in Estepa, in the south of Spain, the town from which my great-grandparents emigrated to Hawaii in 1907, thanks to a promise of steady employment in the sugar plantations there. After a couple of random emails to city government offices in Estepa, someone gave me the email of a guy who shares my last name but is no relation, as far as we can tell. But he was very friendly and

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