Getting Involved

Have you ever wanted to participate in a convention? Not just attend, but actually be a panelist, or maybe do a presentation for the children’s programming track? Or maybe there’s a killer topic you’d like to see discussed in an a panel?

Many of the conventions out there are looking for someone just like you! Programming chairs are always looking for suggestions on workshops and panel topics. And if it’s something you’d be willing to run, that’s even better! (Likewise, most gaming conventions are looking for people who would like to run a game.)

So how does this work? All you have to do is ask! Just visit the web site for your convention of choice, find the contact information for the event’s programming chair, and send them your idea.

That’s all it takes!

Vocabulary Builder

I’ve created a new word recently. The word is “Disenclutter.” You can prove that it’s a word, because it shows up on Google. Granted, the only site it currently shows up on is my own, but that sort of nitpicking detail isn’t worth worrying about. Gene Weingarten used a similar technique when he coined the term “Googlenope” (a phrase which has no hits on Google). If it’s good enough for Gene, then by golly, it’s good enough for me. (Unfortunately, I don’t have the same audience size as Gene, so any and all help in expanding the usage of “Disenclutter” is most welcome.)
In order that the word might propagate with a minimum of confusion, it is necessary to understand the word’s origins
The root word is, of course, “clutter” which the Merriam-Webster online dictionary defines as: “to fill or cover with scattered or disordered things that impede movement or reduce effectiveness.” The past tense form is “cluttered” which, quite accurately, describes the current state of my guest room and possibly one or two other areas of my house (e.g. the upstairs and the downstairs).
Likewise, the prefix dis- is defined as meaning “do the opposite of.” and “en-” means “cause to be.”
Therefore, the verb “Disenclutter” can be understood to mean “causing all the disordered things impeding movement in my house to impede movement in someone else’s house instead.”
Feel free to spread the word! 🙂
(Need any CD boxes? Any 3-ring binders?)

Starship Farragut Crew Becomes Quite Animated

When the Starship Farragut Crew launched their series at last year’s Farpoint convention, they also announced plans to release new episodes at the rate of two per year. I was quite impressed by the boldness of their plans and even more so when they actually did it!

I had the opportunity to talk to several members of the group back in February, during this year’s Farpoint. During one such chat, someone, I think it was Michael Bednar, told me they had some big changes in the offing. About the only details I learned were that they would be doing fewer episode length productions, but making up the difference with more short subjects.

The cat is now out of the bag. Farragut Films has announced Starship Farragut-The Animated Episodes. The trailer currently displayed on the site’s home page shows a brief montage of clips from the existing live-action episodes (I recognized at least one clip from “For Want of a Nail“) and then cuts to animated clips done in the same style as the 1970s animated series done by Filmation.

No episodes yet, but I’m looking forward to seeing what they have up their collective sleeve.

Thanks to DaCap for passing along the news!

Links of Interest:

Scout Con

It’s not unusual for a convention to cross multiple genres — most SF conventions book a few Fantasy guests and there’s certainly no rule which says gamerooms are the sole provence of gaming cons. But every so often I still run across an event which manages to combine things I hadn’t previously considered.

A few weeks I was contacted by the organizers of Scout Con. It’s a one-day Science Fiction event in Tampa being run by the local Boy Scout council.

Science Fiction and the Boy Scouts? Well why not? A good number of SF heroes seem to live by the motto “Be Prepared.” That aside, I think it’s kind of neat that a mainstream civic group such as the Scouts would think outside the box and hold a con. When I was in scouts, anyone who watched Star Trek or read anything by Isaac Asimov or Douglas Adams was regarded as somewhat unusual; so this sounds like a promising sign for the future.

Now if only I could get the Jaycees interested in doing something like that.

Old Computers

Technology is one of those things where for the most part, things don’t improve with age. The main exception to this rule seems to be the old-fashioned division by hand versus trusting certain bits of silicon. (Thus leading to the expression/warning, “Don’t Divide, Intel Inside.”)
A couple years ago, an acquaintance gave me a notebook PC. It was in working condition, it just didn’t have a hard drive. (The original drive had failed and he’d decided to replace the entire thing with an Apple Power Book.) I tried to get a new drive from Dell, but eventually discovered they were no longer available. So the computer sat in my guest room, just gathering dust.
I think the correct term here might be “pack rat.”
A friend gave me a talking-to the other day and I resolved to do a bit more follow-through on my plans to Disenclutter™ the place.
So this morning I sat down and typed up a description of the notebook computer, making it clear that there was no hard drive.

This is an older (6 years?) Dell Inspiron 3000 notebook.
The specs are:

  • 233MHz Pentium MMX
  • 143 MB RAM
  • Swappable CD and Floppy drives (plus a cable allowing whichever isn’t plugged in to be connected to the parallel port)
  • PCMCIA Network and modem cards
  • Power supply

There is one catch: This computer has no hard drive. The original drive (3.2 GB, 2.5″ form factor) is no longer available from Dell and I haven’t had the time/energy/need to track one down elsewhere. The computer is otherwise in working order; you probably won’t be running Vista on it, but it should be fine for most word-processing or email tasks.

I then posted that description to the local Freecycle group.
The item was posted at 8:03 AM. Given the age of the computer, I didn’t expect there would be too many takers. In fact, I was a little worried some might accuse of me using the list as a means of getting rid of trash.
How’s that saying go? “One person’s trash is another’s treasure”? By 8:13 AM there were already seven people asking for the computer. Thinking that perhaps some had seen the word “computer” without reading the part about “no hard drive” I wrote back to the first one (for this stuff I figure it’s first come, first served) to make sure she understood that part. Yep, she’d understood that all along.
Evidently that computer still has some life ahead of it.