Why do I not have an icon for hopping up and down in glee?
Earlier today, kniedzw posted about a program called Stellarium. Alas, it seems to base its Julian/Gregorian switch on the continental one in 1582, so in order to calculate anything for Midnight Never Come I have to do the adjustment myself — England didn’t switch calendars until 1752, on account of viewing calendar reform as some kind of sketchy papist plot. But with that done, I could, if I chose, find out what phase the moon is in and where it stands in the sky when Lune goes sneaking outside on March 6th, 1590, to meet with someone in the orchard at Richmond.
Computers are awesome.
But the biggest help is much less impressive. All I have to do is type “ncal -J 1590” into my unix prompt on sundell.net and I can find out what the dates should be for certain events I have taking place on Fridays, because my computer obligingly spits out a Julian calendar for the full year. And if I stick “-e” into that command, I can find out the date of Easter that year, which is actually relevant to the plot.
Computers are freaking awesome.
The fact that I can get this kind of information without leaving my office chair — okay, so at the moment I have to walk into kniedzw‘s office for Stellarium, since I haven’t installed it on my own computer — it’s just phenomenal. I said last year that I couldn’t imagine running Memento without the Internet, since even if it was occasionally inaccurate, it offered me a far greater wealth of information with far greater ease than anybody could have dreamt of ten years ago. I likewise couldn’t imagine writing Midnight Never Come without computers. Aside from the issues of writing a hundred thousand words longhand, I wouldn’t have Stellarium, the unix cal command, online access to the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, and dozens of other resources I make use of every single day.
Computers are the most awesome things EVAR.