WordKeeperAlpha – July Update (Comments requested)

Happy ‘Murica day, folks! Hope that you went out and blowed some stuff up last night, drank some tasty drinks, ate some meat what was cooked on a grill. June was something of a slow month on WordKeeperAlpha when it comes to updates.  I was kept pretty busy with a certain troublemaker, pictured below, my anniversary and various other things.  Oh, yeah.  And writing.  Can’t forget about writing.

Pixel Trouble Swanson Pixel Trouble Swanson

July, however, is going to be a much bigger month.  I got to finally dig into things again today and set about updating files on the site that were falling behind.  Updated my version of bootstrap, and the theme that uses it, along with all the javascipt it relies on.  Sadly, that took a while, but I am working on some big new features.  Here’s what’s coming this month: (hopefully)

Addressing one of the biggest requests that I’ve gotten from you fine people, I’m going to be doing a major revamp of the Goal and Project pages.  I’m going to be separating them into separate pages and adding a host of new features to each one.  Among those features, is going to be choosing what Goal and Project graphs show up on you Home page.

On the Goals page I’m going to be adding statistics, such as: your words per day on a goal, the words per day you need to succed, stats on recurring goals (maybe) along with graphs for every goal, which you’ll be able to mark as favorites to show up on your home page.

The Projects page will include all the statistics that you see on the current incarnation of Projects, but include some more helpful stats.  I’ll also be adding graphs to each Project that you’ll be able to mark as favorites and add them to your home page.

Until I have some screen shots to show you what I’m working up, you’ll just have to trust me that you’re going to like it.  Other things that I’m thinking about, but not actively working on:

  • That thrice damned error that keeps the ‘Remember me’ button from working correctly on login.  I’ve spent hours and hours on this and as near as I can tell, I’m doing everything right but it just won’t stick! URG!!
  • Finishing the API, making a WordPress plugin that uses it.  WIll let you put your Goal and Project Progress up on your blog or website.
  • Author pages, the beginning of WordKeeperAlpha social.
  • Writing Sprints – more social stuff.
  • Writing groups – even MORE social stuff.

Those are the things that are on my plate right now.  That and one other thing.  Its been suggested to me a few times that I should do something to make some money off of WordKeeperAlpha.  My vision for it has always been to keep it completely free, and ad free, maybe put up a donation page or start a Patreon.  Buuuuuut, there’s always the possibility that if enough people were using WordKeeperAlpha, I’d be able to make enough money with it to make it my full time job, OR make it my part time job and writing my full time job (if I can make some money writing too…which I still need to finish a book for).  Still, I’ve promised that WordKeeperAlpha would always be free, and I’m willing to stick to that.  In fact, I refuse to charge for the core features that I’ve already developed.

My question is, and I’d really love some feedback here, what would you, my users prefer?  If I started a Patreon and a tip jar, would you donate or participate in the Patreon, were I to keep all features free forever?  What if I supplemented that with some light to moderate ads?  I know nobody likes ads, but they might be needed when I need to move WordKeeper off of shared hosting and to a dedicated server somewhere.  That sort of support doesn’t come free.  I know, I’ve been investigating it.  Another option is having some kind of “Prime” membership where everyone gets the basic features for free, but maybe API support and some of the more advanced social options or other features require a monthly membership?  I’m really not sure, so I thought I would ask for some of your opinions.  What do you think I should do?  When the time comes, that is.  This is probably a year or more down the road.  Rest assured, I will not be taking anything away from my existing and wonderful users, but these are things I have to think about.

However, if you’re looking for a way to support me now, consider giving WordKeeperAlpha a shout out to your writer friends on Twitter, or following me on Facebook, maybe write a blog post about your own experience?  All of these would help me find some more users, and drive me to pay more attention to coding and less to video games.  I’m not saying that new features are dependent on you guys helping me out, but there WAS just that big Steam sale.  Just sayin’.

Tor Boycott: Or a follow up to my last post

If you read my last post, you already know that I think that Vox Day and his “Rabid puppies” are a bunch of shitbirds.  For the sake of keeping this post short so I can go and write other more fun words, I’ll be brief.  

Long story short, Irene Gallo, the creative director at Tor said basically called the Sad / Rabid puppies a bunch of rascist, misogynistic neo-nazis on her private blog.  She’s not wrong, by the way.  Still, the shitbird in chief, Day (also known as Theodore Beale), took a screen grab of the comment, then sat on it for a month.  Knowing the time was write do to the tingling of his doucebag-sense, he released it a bit more than a week ago to stir up the puppies again with an extra helping of GamerGate bile.  

Tom Doherty, head of Tor, made a basic statement that kind of threw Gallo under the bus, and she made a broad apology.  That didn’t sit well with pretty much everyone else and cue the next big Vox Day caused fight since the Hugo’s ended.  Of course, he and his minions weren’t satisfied that Irene wasn’t outright fired for the simple act of speaking her mind, so of course, Day is leading a boycott of Tor books. 

Don’t mistake him. Day doesn’t give two wet shits about what Irene said.  He might be personally offended that she dared say anything about her male betters (misogynist that he is) but he doesn’t really care what she said.  More to the point, this is at least the second boycott of Tor books that Day has tried to get going among the trollish parts of the internet.  He’s had some sort of ax to grind against them for years, and I don’t know if its because they won’t publish his books or because he has some weird feud with John Scalzi and it just spills over onto Tor.

I should point out that while Day views Scalzi as his arch-nemesis, Scalzi really doesn’t appear to care one way or another about Day, beyond wishing he’d just go away.  Still, it was amusing to watch Day nash his teeth and turn green when Scalzi landed a sweet deal (millions of dollars) with Tor.

I seem to have digressed.  Right! Boycott of Tor, Vox Day at fault!  So, basically I don’t want Tor to suffer because Vox Day is the rabid puppy currently taking a dump on their living room carpet.  I’ve bought a couple Tor books in the last couple of days, and I’d encourage everyone else to do so as well.  Your options are many, and just about every one of them is a winner.  If I may, a few personal recommendations:

John Scalzi

  • Locked In
  • Red Shirts
  • Old Man’s War
  • Fuzzy Nation

Brandon Sanderson

  • The Way of Kings
  • Warbreaker
  • Mistborn: The Iron Empire
  • The Alloy of Law
  • Elantris
  • Steelheart

Buying more books is always a good idea, but if you do it now, you can show a great publisher that it doesn’t have to worry about feculant little turds like Day.  Lets show him that he really, truly, doesn’t matter, and then read a few great stories.

Why do we keep Vox Day around?

We all know a guy like Theodore Beale, aka Vox Day.  Well, alright, very few of us know anyone like Beale.  He’s an unrepentant misogynist, racist, egotistical asshat who has claimed that “white men just don’t rape anymore” among other reprehensible things.  So, really, I hope that you don’t actually know anyone like Beale.  More generally, we all know at least one unmitigated asshole.  Every time you find out that they’re going to be at an event you’re going to, you reconsider, just so you don’t have to interact with them.  At the end of the day, consensus is that we’d all just be better off if “that person” weren’t invited in the future.  After all, exactly how many times does he need to throw up on your nice couch before you stop inviting him.

I think we’ve officially reached that point with Beale.  He’s become the human equivalent of a tiny yappy dog dipped in cat urine.  He’s convinced that he’s a much bigger influence on the SFF community than he really is, but if it weren’t for the fact that he was so loud and so noxious, no would would even know who he was.  I could “do not link” his blog here, so that you could get to know his odious personality for yourselves, but I like you all too much for that.  And that, is really how Beale should be handled.  He should be forgotten, ignored.  Not invited.

Some people may or may not know about the whole ‘Sad puppies’ / ‘Rabid puppies’ issue that happened / is happening with this years Hugo awards.  If you don’t know what it is, then, here’s the short version.  A few authors felt that the Hugo’s were ignoring “fun” SFF in favor of “message” SFF.  “Message” meaning stories and authors who were pushing an agenda with their writing, specifically that of a feminist persuasion.  The original group gathered under the name of the “Sad puppies”, for reasons that baffle me still.  They are led by Brad Torgersen and Larry Correia and their goal was to essentially stuff the ballot for the Hugo’s with a bunch of “fun” SFF (not dirty feminist message books).  Beale decided to jump on the band wagon and rally his own unwashed horde of racists and trolls under the banner of the “Rabid puppies” and basically stuffed the ballots with his own drek and that of books published by his own publishing house.  Also, not dirty feminist message books.

A side note: Once an animal is rabid there is little choice but to put it down.

The sad / rabid puppy movement has viewed with varying degrees of disdain and has led to a lot of discussion on what can be done about it.  One option open to Hugo voters was to vote “no award” in the categories in which the puppies had stuffed the box.  Beale, being the delightful lad he is, threatened to use the existing Hugo voting system to more or less ruin the Hugo’s in upcoming years if the voters pushed for “no award”.

Undoubtedly, Beale see’s himself as the hero, fighting the good fight against the liberal forces that are encroaching on his world.  But as any good author knows, the villain always sees himself as the hero.  Unfortunately, Beale isn’t even the villain.  He’s simply the asshole who shows up at the party, already drunk, sexually harrasses a couple of the guests before defecating on the table before the police escort him from the premises.  And its time that we not only stopped inviting him, but stopped taking his calls.

WordKeeperAlpha Update – June 2015 Edition

Hey there, fellow Keepers. Yes, I’m calling you Keepers now. Shut up! You can’t tell me what to do! Ahem. Thought I’d give you all a heads up that I’ve just pushed out an update to the Progress page that should fix some problems that have been reported with Goals. This will also push out a some tweaks to how goals are displayed, and what you can do with them. Here are the salient points:

  • You can now create 1 day goals.  Going to be writing all day long, and have a specific goal for the day? Now you can do that.
  • You can now attach projects to repeating goals (daily, weekly, monthly, yearly).
  • Goals are now sorted differently.  Repeating goals are in their own list.
  • More information is displayed for goals.  Should be helpful.  I don’t know, I like it.  Let me know what you think.

So, as per usual.  I’m a one man shop, you’re all my guinea pigs. I’ve done some testing on these changes, but chances are that I’ve missed something.  Really, I’m watching Daredevil right now, and thinking about playing another couple rounds of Heroes of the Storm…so, most likely, I broke something trying to fix other things.  Please, let me know if you notice if anything doesn’t work.

As always, I’m working on more updates and upgrades for WordKeeperAlpha.  I’m going to try and finish up with the API here in the near future, and get a working example for other people to work with.  Very soon, you should be able to put our your progress to your blog!  This month I kinda dropped the ball on working on all my projects, so in June I’ll be kicking up my efforts to make up for lost time.  If you’ve got ideas or comments, please, let me know here through the contact page on WordKeeperAlpha.

Monthly update – WordkeeperAlpha & Impervious

Greetings fellow nerds. I write to you tonight from the comfort of my own home, drinking a nice Blue Moon Belgian Ale and listening to the new Nightwish album, Shudder Before the Beautiful.  Truly, life is good.  However, life has not been entirely productive this month.  Mid-month writing progress is kind of disappointing, as is work on WordKeeperAlpha.

I’ll admit it: I’ve kind of been wasting my free time for the past few weeks.  I’ve been hitting the video games a little hard and its been fun.  Soon enough, time gets away from you and you forget what in the hell you were even working on. Thankfully, last month went pretty well as I clocked in at just shy of fifteen thousand words.  My goal was to write for a total of twenty days, and I made nineteen.  That sort of goal seems to work best for getting my writing done.  You can kind of tell when I got serious about it.


April Writing - WordKeeperAlpha April writing – WordKeeperAlpha


With that knowledge, I’d have liked to do that again this month, but I’ve putzed away most of the days this month, and the rest of the month is filled with stuff.  I may be digging something of a hole, in terms of my word goals, that it will be hard to get out of.  Right now, I’m doing pretty well for my year goal, only being a few thousand behind total.  This month may be something of a low point for the year.  Speaking of which, here’s how that’s looking:


Graph for 2015, Generated by WordKeeperAlpha 2015 so Far – WordKeeperAlpha Graph


If you compare that to LAST year, I’m doing pretty good on my goals of writing more.  This is what last year looked like:


Graph of writing for 2014 Writing for 2014 – Graph by WordKeeperAlpha


Yeah, so if you were wondering, THIS is what’s so awesome about WordKeeperAlpha.  Being able to see that, despite how I feel, I really am doing better, is a huge boon.

So, I might not be making all my goals, but I have been getting much better about my writing.  And I’ve been focusing much better on Impervious.  I wish I was keeping to my one chapter a week goal, but as usual, there are extenuating circumstances.  Most of them are related to my inexperience in writing a whole epic fantasy novel.  Every now and again I come to a problem in the plot that can only be fixed by going back and doing about two weeks of work on worldbuilding and figuring out why something works the way I want it to.

Bah, but enough about that. While Impervious is my main project, I’m also working, if slowly, on WordKeeperAlpha.  So far this month, I’ve identified several areas to improve upon, marked down many new tasks to take upon myself for later versions and mostly played around with the code behind the scenes, making it a bit more robust and preparing it for future upgrades.  I know you, the users, might not notice much, but I AM working on it.

Something that’s really of note though, is that I’m rolling testing for the API.  By that I mean, the first function on the API is live and waiting for someone to try it out.  So, if you’ve got some coding know-how and want your blog readers to see your goals and progress on your blog or website, let me know and I’ll fill you in on what you need to know.  I’ve got another few features to finish before the whole API is good to go, but once it is I’ll work up some examples to make it more easily accessible for the non-tech savvy types.

Now, with my blogging duties done, I think I’ll get some work done on Impervious before I kick off for tonight. Later mi amigos.