Tag Archive for: computer woes

Whatever Happened to My Scroll and Quill Pen?

by Linda Rodriguez
When I was miserably sick just
recently, I started re-reading Virginia Woolf’s letters for comfort
and delight. (No, I’m not afraid of Virginia Woolf, nor should you
be. The title of that play by Albee was a terrible canard. She’s one
of the most readable writers ever and a fabulous role model for women
writers, but that’s another blog post.) Virginia (we’ve long since
become BFFs, even though she died before I was born) is a gossipy,
humorous correspondent and makes great fun of herself (along with
others, usually famous), so there’s a lot in her letters about her
sloppy writing and the blotches caused by the nib of whatever dip or
fountain pen she was using that day or about how lazy and awful she
was for typing a personal letter. She also gets a lot of laughs out
of describing her mishaps while printing (in the day when each letter
had to be set individually by hand and a sudden bump could knock the
whole tray of type to the floor entailing picking up and sorting all
those tiny t’s and i’s). I’ve been having so much fun with her
letters that I’ve continued dipping into them just before bed after
long, long work days. (I completely read and ranked over 40 poetry
book manuscripts in five days to finish up several postal bins I’ve
been working on for a contest and meet a deadline.)

As luck would have it, my laptop
started showing some possibly ominous symptoms of decline. Now,
long-time readers of this blog will remember the hell I went through
some years ago when my dog broke my laptop’s hard drive, and I
discovered my husband had “borrowed” my jump drive and lost it,
as well as the external hard drive we’d used to back up the computer.
(To be fair, he did eventually find the big external hard drive
months after the emergency was over.) Then the brand-new laptop
bought to replace it crapped out on me within two months, so I had to
wait for the company to try repairs and then give up and send me a
new laptop. Consequently, I was not inclined to wait around until my
laptop gave up the ghost (even though I had everything backed up
twice to external drives and to the cybernetic cloud, as well), and
since a good laptop deal had just shown up in my inbox from the
company that made my other laptops—reader, I bought it.

What this has meant, however, is that
I’ve had to set up a new computer and transfer everything I want from
the old one, all while feverishly working to meet multiple deadlines
(the poetry contest was only one). Almost always, one of my two sons
has done this for me in the past. The oldest has his own very
successful computer consulting business with major university clients
around the country. (Why didn’t I go into engineering and computers
when I was young? Oh, yeah, the first PCs didn’t show up until that
oldest son was already in school.) The youngest one is an academic,
but a tech-meister, even if his Ph.D. is in medieval English lit. The
oldest was out of town, working at Stanford, and the youngest has
just been made dean at his university and is embroiled in the budget
for the humanities division and can’t really spare the time since
he’s facing a tight deadline, as well.

So here I am, trying to uninstall all
the memory-hog programs I don’t want that came with Windows 10 (I am
emphatically not a game person so why won’t you let me take
Xbox off my laptop?), so I can install the things that I want, like
Scrivener, Evernote, Dropbox, my daily planner. Here I am trying to
find and download the right driver for my laser printer, which is a few years old
but reliable. (What do you mean, you don’t make that model’s driver
available any longer?) Here I am, trying to create the recovery media
you told me to make, Microsoft—without telling me I would need a
16G flash drive that was empty and couldn’t be used for anything
else, even if it had extra capacity, until I got into the middle of
the process that I had to go to a website to find. (I mean, honestly,
the geeks who designed all this might have tons of empty 16G flash
drives lying around, but I’ve only got two little 2G ones for taking
files to be printed at Kinko’s or something, one empty 8G and one
almost-full 8G that I use for quick back-ups of things I’m working
on, one 64G flash drive that’s my permanent back-up flash, and one
half-full 90G external hard drive for ultimate back-up, and I suspect
the average non-paranoid-of-hard-drive-failure person doesn’t have
nearly that many!)

And I still haven’t really begun
transferring files, of which I have many, many, many. I’m a writer,
remember? That’s what I do—write.

I’ve suddenly become nostalgic for the
splotchy dip pen and crotchety hand-set type of Virginia’s day. I
mean, Shakespeare never had a computer—or flash drive or printer
driver or software package—and no one’s really outdone him yet,
have they? I think the secret must be the scroll and quill pen.
That’s what I want!

(And no, I wouldn’t really give up my
new little, featherweight, PURPLE laptop with the 10-hour battery for
anything. I even wrote and posted this blog on it.)

August Highs and Lows

August is my birthday month. I’m at an age where I’d just as soon forget birthdays, but since I’m getting so old, my kids seem to think it’s remarkable and we should all celebrate. So that’s what we did and we all had fun. We had dinner with two of our daughters and their husbands and my youngest granddaughter, who is 17. I was thrilled that she decided to stick around to celebrate with her grandma.

I got a new computer at the beginning of the month and of course had a guru transfer everything from one to the other. Of course not everything transferred–I have 3 old versions of Word Perfect filled with files as well as my Word files. We managed to find them finally.

What didn’t come through were all my addresses in my address book. I now have Outlook where I had Outlook Express before. It may be a better mail program, but it certainly is confusing. Not only did I lose addresses, but I lost all my groups which I’m still working on.

The guru spent 4 hours at our house the first day and after I played with the computer and found out what all else was wrong or I couldn’t find, he came back for another 3. Thanks to Mozy, an offline back-up service, I restored some missing stuff.

And this all ties back to my age–I’m getting far too old to keep learning all this complicated stuff. Had a big promo weekend that was great fun. Headed to the coast where I participated in a library’s book and and craft fair, saw old friends, made new ones, stayed in the Santa Maria hotel where movie stars and politicians stayed in the hotel’s first years–still a fabulous place. We headed down the coast to our kids’ house and before the birthday celebration, went to the movies, out to eat, and I was the “cultural” speaker for a women’s group. No one fell asleep and they laughed a lot, so I think I was happy. Of course that was part of the highs.

Another low was losing my Internet connection on the little Acer computer I take with me on trips. I did something wrong–think I can fix it, but the whole weekend away I was unable to get on the Net and do things I needed to do.

Another high, headed up to the mountains and spoke to a writers group connected to the Willow Bridge Bookstore about working with small presses, and the changes going on in the publishing industry right now. I love that bookstore and I always see old friends there and make new ones.

Received the cover for my new Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery, Invisible Path, and also the galleys which I’ve corrected and sent back.

So, though August has been a bit bumpy, I lived through it. Now, it’s on to September and new adventures which will include promoting Invisible Path.