With the time gone this weekend and having Friday off of work, Busy Steve is busy dodging 8-balls on what feels like a bumper-pool table.
The Auto Critique Wizard. I haven't played with it, but I'll agree with Jay Lake (from whom the link is grokked), that this is something that has been sorely needed. I do have a lot of trepidations, however, that it's not going to be much more than a "Microsoft Word Grammar Check" and "Wordle" analysis, maybe on steroids. There is a free level of membership, but it's very limited (3 submissions of less than 400 words per day). Four-hundred words is barely two pages of text, and while the "pacing" and other checks might work, it's not a very helpful level for a novel (even if you're only producing 1000 words a day). Looking at a manuscript narrowing your focus to 2 pages doesn't help much (of course, they offer to critique more for actual money). But it's there to let you see if the tool is worth your while. If you're having a problem finding a critique group, this may be a good option (again, I haven't tried it). But I'll restate my ever standing luddite status regarding tools of this kind (you may remember the "Are you a Man or Woman in writing" tools a fe wears ago). What they state it will check for can be reduced to some simple metrics (active verbs, word frequency, sentence length and prevalence of conjunctions, passive constructions, etc). If that's all they do, I wouldn't recommend using it (other than the free level). If there's some actual AI going on underneath, it might be good. (Grokked from Jay Lake)
"The House of Representatives just proposed to cut more than $169 billion from SNAP, formerly the food stamps program. Some representatives argued that feeding hungry people is really the work of the churches… These representatives are essentially saying that every church… needs to come up with an extra $50,000 dedicated to feeding people — every year for the next 10 years — to make up for these cuts… each congregation will have to spend approximately $50,000 to feed those who would see a reduction or loss of benefits." You know that whole sub-argument going on about how "charity and social help is the providence of churches" which started with G. W. Bush and his Faith-Based initiative/cabinet post? Here's the check and the fiddler is tapping his foot impatiently. So, America's Churches, are you up to the task? Here is the bed you made (okay, not all of the churches held to this idiocy, but they didn't really speak out about it either), now lay in it. And for everybody else, this is why the government is involved in the social network, because churches aren't up to the task. (Grokked from the Slactivist)
I'm awfully sorry you're having a heart attack, but would you mind paying your outstanding hospital debt before we treat you? Okay, it may not be that bad, but embedding debt collectors in the hospital? Doesn't the phrase "shake-down" bring shame to these people? I know, I know, gotta make those deadbeats pay and it's the result of the rise of the MBA in management. Nope, the health industry doesn't need any stinking help or regulation (note, some of these non-health related people may have had access to healthcare PII because of where they are physically located - that's a violation of federal law). Also, please notice some of the industry inside information on there. "As hospitals struggle under a glut of unpaid bills… financial pressures are altering the collection landscape so that they are now letting collection firms in the front door… To achieve promised savings, hospitals turn over the management of their front-line staffing… and their back-office collection activities… The more than 5,000 community hospitals in the United States provided $39.3 billion in uncompensated care — predominately unpaid patient debts or charity care — in 2010, up 16 percent from 2007…." I wonder if the Churches can help pick up that bill (see link above about hunger)? And definitely read the second page of the article. (Grokked from Jay Lake)
Alligator Quotient: They didn't even miss me.