Tom Flanders World

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Tom Week – IFTTT

IFTTT (If This Then That)

Rube Goldberg photo - IFTTT

I came across this cool website/app called IFTTT that connects everything with everything else. It has hundreds, if not thousands, of interconnections. Social media working with Android apps. Communication apps working with schedulers. The list goes on and on and on.

Unfortunately, having wired together so many APIs already, I can’t find anything I need it to do. Hmm…how can I use this to annoy the so-called President?


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Sleeper – 100 words

Bus Stop photo - sleeper

George saw the woman crying. Not his problem. He didn’t make her cry. Then the ghost of his mother’s guilt grabbed him by the ear and dragged him towards her.

“You OK lady?”

If George was any less a man the look she gave him would have been fatal. She put her head down and returned to her sorrow, then jerked upright. “George?”

He looked carefully but did not recognize her.

“No, you don’t know me.” She said. “I used to sleep in your car.”

The bus came, she got on. George, frozen in shock, waved as she rode away.

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Hemingway App Review

The tag line for the Hemingway app is, “Make your writing bold and clear.” More like bland and dull.

Hemingway photo

OK, that’s a bit rough. The biggest problem with this program isn’t the writing rules it tries to enforce. The user interface was was designed by someone unfamiliar with computers. Basic functionality like opening and saving files is absent. The edit window disappears under the top menu, making editing difficult. The write and edit modes have so few differences, switching between them is useless. (Edit is the view with the reports.)

The Reports and rules are clear and accurate enough. However, if you follow them all to the letter you’ll be removing everything from your work that makes it your work. For example; the program complains that for one of my stories use too many adverbs. Three. Not three per sentence, or per paragraph, but three for the whole story. And none of them end in “ly.” The program suggests that I shouldn’t use more than one adverb per story. Yikes!

The rest of the rules are a bit more reasonable, but all should be considered suggestions rather than rules. The trick is to know the rules well enough that you can successfully break them. That takes some confidence in yourself. That’s still something of a struggle for myself.

Eating your own dog food

To give a real world example I ran the above text through the app.

  • It tells me that the writing is at a 5th grade level and that that’s good.
  • It says I’m using too many adverbs, successfully and “ly.” (Oops.)
  • One phrase, “however”, has a simpler alternative. (I assume they mean “but.” Not the same.)
  • Two of the sentences are “hard to read.” (An arbitrary word count. Not a test of complexity.)

So pretty good. Perhaps my writing isn’t as exciting a I imagine.

Note: This review is for the free Windows app, not the paid version.

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TomWeek – Spanish, Random, Pia Zadora

Lucha UndergroundI’m learning Spanish!

Yo soy Tom. I installed this cute little app on my tablet. It’s called DuoLingo. It gives me five minutes a day of Spanish lessons. It’s amazing how much Spanish I’ve already learned from watching Lucha Underground. Just getting started but I’m prepared now if I go to Tijuana and have tell someone that I am eating apples.

Random Thoughts

This week I think I found a label that others may call me.
Hungry ghosts in carpools are warning of gentle endings.
Seriously Mr. Trump, it’s called a tie tack. Have Ivanka buy you one.

A Career in Three Quotes – Pia Zadora

“Hooray for Santy Claus!” – As a Martian child in SANTA CLAUS CONQUERS THE MARTIANS

“I’m sorry, I can’t hear.” – On not knowing the words to the national anthem (faulty earpiece)

“When I’m high, I AM Odetta.” – As a beatnik in the original HAIRSPRAY


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Ted Moving – 100 words

Ted Moving Warehouse

One day when Ted was a teenager he tried speaking entirely in song lyrics. It was a total failure. First, the only lyrics Ted knew were from punk rock songs. Punk rock just isn’t as conversational as, say, opera. Second, Ted’s family thought he was skitzo and assumed this was just another symptom.

Years later, sitting in an empty warehouse loft, waiting for the moving truck to bring his furniture, he remembered that day. Laughter, tears and vomiting followed.

The truck arrived and the rickety elevator kept working as load after load of his stuff was scattered about the room.

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