I have a new friend, and a new enemy.

GNOME Sound Recorder is a neat little application for dictation. It's part of the GNOME Media package. I usually think of sound recording and processing as a job for Audacity or something. But that's sound editing. Basically, here's an app where I can just say "I want to record to a Speex file. I mash record, it gets saved. I mash stop, it stops recording." It's weird - most of the time, I'm just looking at how programs get better and better, have tons of features, and so on, and I've been very happy that Linux gets software like Audacity or Ardour. But here's a bloody simple app. It does exactly what I need for dictation. Nothing else. Doing dictations in Ardour would be a nightmare. Audacity can do it, but still needs to render the result to a file. GNOME Sound Recorder can just record stuff from soundcard, apply some GStreamer magic, and tadah, I get tiny little Speex files, 2 megabytes for 8-minute pointless rambling, or something like that.

And doing dictations has proved to be a really cool thing. I've again found myself organising ideas and getting new ideas while sitting here with microphone and stuff. It also helps me to clear my head a little bit and get some things down. I probably end up talking about same things over and over, judging from my coffee head and tendency to repeat myself. Though there's absolutely no worry that I'll be turning this stuff into a podcast or anything. No way.

My new enemy is EasyTimeline MediaWiki extension, mostly because it's - paradoxically enough - bloody difficult to get it doing anything, and ridiculously limited at what it does. Several required parameters for each timeline, all of which are impossible to remember. Syntax that was designed by some random user when they were bored. Documentation that is most assuredly Not A Tutorial. Good grief. After a good 30 minutes of tries, I managed to get a green vertical bar timeline with the text written with white font on white background. Yay. Apparently, I can't use the precision of days when specifying dates before Jan 1 1800, I need to settle for precision of years for dates before that. Okay, it was my bloody stupid idea to use dates like "630" for these writings. Oh, wait, since Avarthrel has used different calendar systems, maybe I could convert the dates to the earlier calendar, that would push the dates to, uh, 9000s. (Wonder if anyone has tried using those dates in EasyTimeline, let alone specifying dates where there's more than 4 year digits.) And of course multiple different calendar systems aren't even mentioned in the docs.

More like FeatureLimitedTimelineWithReallyComplexSyntax extension... clearly not sufficient for my purposes. I hope there's something better.