Using Longer File Names

As I continue to add files to Dropbox (internal link), I realize their total may be in the thousands. While I should neatly organize all my documents into appropriate folders, I know that’s not going to happen. Instead, I increasingly rely on the Dropbox search mechanism.  Longer file names help.

Instead of naming a file: Background_on_Humboldt, I now try to be more specific and add key words that will help me later. My new file name may be:


Perhaps unique to Dropbox and the Mac is that words don’t need to be separated by underline marks. If I write HumboldtCounty as one word, Dropbox will seize on just the Humboldt part if I search for that name.

How long can a file name be? There’s disagreement here. But it’s probably over 200. (external link) And Windows and Mac operating systems may differ. For Windows machines, path length is important. If you have folders within folders then the path to a file gets longer and longer. That takes away from file name length.

In the case of a file named Jensen, see how the path name increases in character as folder names increase?


It’s no longer a six character file name but 34. This path consideration may not be a problem with Dropbox hosted files. You would, however, run into a problem if a particular program could not handle that file name length.

I’m also starting to date files whenever I can. This will help me organize automatically. So this file should actually be (instead of what I wrote above):





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Buying and Flying a Drone Part II

I flew the drone (internal link) yesterday on its first real photography flight. Some observations.

Flying the drone for me as a beginner is rather terrifying. I was first afraid this whirling dervish would fly off and leave or crash on the ground, spinning itself to death as the four propellers chopped the machine apart. I’m getting over this feeling as I fly more. Make sure to calibrate the unit before each flight.

  1. Still air is mandatory when first flying. Combatting wind is not want you want as a first experience.
  2. You need to be in a calm, isolated space when you first fly. I was able to fly yesterday at a remote horse ranch, free from other people and distractions. That helped.
  3. It’s really difficult reading the iPhone screen while at the same time keeping an eye on the drone overhead. Ideally I’d want to fly just looking at my smartphone’s screen, however, I’m not that good yet. There’s too much going on. How’s that?
  4. There’s a wireless link between controller, smart phone, and the drone itself. To keep that going, the drone app has many, many settings on the screen. It takes about ten minutes of fiddling with all these settings before you launch. Get familiar with the app before you fly if you can.
  5. Had terrible problems with photographs being overexposed. Resetting the camera to its defaults solved that problem. The automatic exposure setting should be good for most conditions.
  6. Results were good. Still photos come in at five megs, which will be fine for publishing. I’ll get the aerial shots I want for my next writing projects.
  7. Getting the video off my iPhone is confusing. Still working on the best way. Diji has an app in which you can add music. Going through that step creates a movie which you can then download. But I haven’t figured out how to simply download the raw movie file.
  8. Glare on the iPhone’s screen is a big problem. I’m looking for a shade. Spending extra on a drone that uses an iPad as a screen might have been a better choice.
  9. Much to figure out.
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Happy Thanksgiving!

In America we celebrate Thanksgiving, a holiday which means just that. Time to be thankful for all things great and small. I’m thankful to have been published three times this year in Rock&Gem magazine. Right now I’m working on two more articles for them, again on speculation (internal link). This will keep me busy while waiting word on my book proposals.

Do you have a hobby or interest compelling enough to write about? I’d encourage you to research magazines in your field. Even if you have to write on spec, even if the pay is only an honorarium, query an editor to gauge interest in your subject.

Not an expert? Don’t worry. Find the right market and write from the viewpoint of an enthusiastic newcomer. Show doubts and questions and how you will resolve them with dedicated learning and research. Again, enthusiasm always helps.

Working up a long article will get you endlessly editing and researching and securing photographs and doing everything a good writer should. Writing credits are good for the ego and resume building. Most importantly, it keeps you about your work. Something to be thankful for.




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Blogging at Another Website

I’m adding industry news to a site I developed (external link) to support my book proposal on Nevada agriculture.

My original thought was that would be a simple site, just a skeleton to show a perspective co-author (internal link) or publisher that a website would accompany my title. But perhaps can do more, perhaps it can draw in potential readers.

To attract more eyeballs I’m going to blog once a week or so on current Nevada agriculture news. You can see the current post here (external link). This will be part of the promotion every publisher expects an author to do. Now, if only I could find a co-writer or a publisher.


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More From Stanton Delaplane

Dog walking in New York City. Stanton Deplane’s (internal link) spritely writing brings it alive. This gentle humorist won the Pulitzer Prize for reporting and worked for the San Francisco Chronicle for over fifty years. I think his writing on animals were his best work. The late 1950’s was a time when in much of America, dogs roamed without a leash.


February 26, 1959

These are the in-between days in New York. Not quite the end of winter, not quite the beginning of spring.

“I don’t really know what to do with Stonehenge,” said the lady in front of my hotel. “He simply can’t stand Florida.”

Stonehenge, it turned out, is a bored-looking poodle. Like other dogs in the Elegant Eighties East, he wears a simple silver collar and a short Jacket. He looks at the passing traffic through half-closed eyes. A good deal like a banker surveying the usual menu at the University club.

His Jacket is plaid. Authentic Stuart Hunting tartan. He is a dog with money.

We are staying at the posh Stanhope Hotel. Fifth avenue at 81st street. The doorman knew me by name within half an hour after I registered.

He wears a plum-colored topcoat with a flash of red waistcoat beneath. This is not a gaudy neighborhood. But between the plaid jacketed dogs and the red-breasted doormen, we have our moments of color.

This is an aristocratic neighborhood. Across from the gray, bare, wintered trees of Central Park. Across from the imposing Metropolitan Museum of Art. If we wish to refresh our culture, we can walk across the street and look at the high class mummies in the Egyptian section.

“Stonehenge,” said the lady, “really prefers New York.” Stonehenge sat quietly at the end of his morocco leash. He nodded briefly to a passing pair of dachshunds and snubbed a young cocker.

Down at 493 First avenue, we have a guest house for dogs who prefer New York. Who cannot stand Florida.

It is called the Courtyard. It is run by Mr. Henry J. Lindner Jr. of New Orleans — possibly the first man to come to New York and realize a smart dog’s feelings in such matters.

“City dogs,” said Mr. Lindner, “prefer to walk on a leash. They prefer to have someone walk with them. Some like to walk on grass, whereas others would rather walk on a terrace.

“We try to determine their desires and provide what they wish.”

For rich animals like Stonehenge, Lindner provides a city home while the rest of the family goes to Miami.

Reservations are required, naturally. (Just as they are at my hotel. We must keep up the barriers.)

A dog lodging with Lindner— “we don’t like to call it a boarding house”—are assured of quality company.

Elizabeth Arden’s German Shepherd, King, is a regular visitor.

So is Dorothy Parker’s miniature poodle, Cliche. The register has names of most of the elite of New York City dogs. And a dog can simply drop in—with proper credentials. Just drop in, have a steam bath and freshen up for the evening. Or simply lunch on a low-calorie lean beef dish, so popular that Lindner is thinking of packing it for the retail market.

The upper East Side dog, being an apartment hotel animal, is generally small. Just big enough to fit under the TV set.

They are walked in the brisk mornings by uniformed hotel help. The more citified dogs walk the sidewalks along the apartment houses. A few venturesome beasts heel-and-toe it across the street in Central Park.

They all wear Jackets in this chill weather. But they are rather plain in the way of collars.

“I never let Stonehenge wear his ruby collar until after six in the evening,” said the lady. “Only a thin silver chain during the day.”

Stonehenge lifted one eyelid and looked at me. When he saw I had neither a plum-colored topcoat nor red waistcoat, he dropped it again and his lip came up in a genteel sneer.


Unknown artist. Not a part of the original column.


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Point of View

“So much for Objective Journalism. Don’t bother to look for it here – not under any byline of mine; or anyone else I can think of. With the possible exception of things like box scores, race results, and stock market tabulations, there is no such thing as Objective Journalism. The phrase itself is a pompous contradiction in terms.”

― Hunter S. Thompson, Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ’72

Every writer should acknowledge their point of view. Refusing to admit bias or preference brands a writer as elitist and out-of-touch. While not every article or essay may be controversial, owing an explanation to the reader, a writer should identify opinions as their own whenever necessary. Or write in a style that leaves no doubt.

And, if you are going to be honest with controversy, you might as well go all the way. When Thompson was sent to cover the Kentucky Derby horse race he didn’t innocuously title his essay, instead he labeled it with the same ferocity as his writing: The Kentucky Derby is Decadent and Depraved.

A few years later Rolling Stone had him cover another race, the 1972 presidential election. He wrote like this: “Hubert Humphrey is a treacherous, gutless old ward-heeler who should be put in a goddamn bottle and sent out with the Japanese current.”As Klingon Commander Kor in an old Star Trek episode once remarked, “Good, honest hatred. Very refreshing.”



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More on Deleting Commas

Adding or deleting commas is a good way to vary your writing. I’ve written on this before. (internal link)  First drafts have too many commas. Revise. Be aware, though, of any change in emphasis (see below). Remember, too, that despite our desire to add or remove a comma, the first responsibility of a sentence is to make sense.


Once in office, Trump can quickly alter his Supreme Court agenda.


Trump can quickly alter his Supreme Court agenda once in office.

Note the last word in the first sentence is agenda. And in the revised sentence the last word is office. You may elect to keep a comma if you think a particular word must be emphasized or used last.

More examples:

Later Sunday afternoon, demonstrators planned to assemble at Oakland’s Lake Merritt.

Demonstrators planned to assemble at Oakland’s Lake Merritt late Sunday afternoon.

In San Francisco, about 150 protesters congregated Saturday afternoon outside the Civic Center BART Station . . .

About 150 protesters in San Francisco congregated Saturday afternoon outside the Civic Center BART Station . . .

As participants assembled to march, a man walked by and jeered.

A man walked by and jeered as participants assembled to march.

Friday night in Oakland, about 100 people marching through downtown were monitored by police in riot gear.

About 100 people marching through downtown Oakland Friday night were monitored by police in riot gear.


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