Friday, April 01, 2011

Help! Something ate my computer

Why is it that writers are so rarely tech-savvy? With a few exceptions, writers of my acquaintance muddle along trying to figure out why their toolbars keep disappearing and how to design a simple email flyer that doesn’t resemble a child’s attempt. Actually, most children these days do a better job.

So please forgive me for forgetting to post my blog last month. I have a good excuse: my computer died.

I loved that computer. It was old (1999, I think). It was outdated (anyone ever heard of Windows ME, which stands for Millennium?). Microsoft, Flash and Adobe refused to support it any more.

I couldn’t shop on Amazon, because my computer froze. My project of reissuing out-of-print books, including my half-dozen Regency romances, on Kindle depended entirely on the good graces of my not-quite-as-decrepit laptop.

Yet I worked happily along on Word 2000 and Windows ME, writing my Safe Harbor Medical miniseries for Harlequin American. Coming next: Falling for the Nanny in June 2011, followed by The Surgeon’s Surprise Twins in October.

And then, splat. The thing refused to boot up. A sector on the techno-blah-blah had failed. A virus? Old age? Or possibly a household curse – my husband’s laptop went kablooey a few days later, although for different reasons (overheating). The only saving graces were 1) I back up my data, so I didn’t lose anything important and 2) my laptop still functioned.

Anyway, there we stood in Fry’s Electronics, with a scary assortment of screens blinking at us. Thank goodness my husband wasn’t intimidated, because I felt like Audrey Hepburn in Wait Until Dark. I can report that we bought a computer and a monitor and brought them home. I immediately went back to work on my laptop and left them to blink at me from across my office.

That was a month ago. Since then, we’ve gradually configured the new computer. I have no idea what Word 2010 is all about, because the geeks moved everything around. My husband managed to copy my programs from the laptop onto the new computer using something called Parallels, so now I have Word 2000 installed. The only problem is that it copied over the files for Word Starter 2010 (don’t ask what that is), which has disappeared. And my pictures migrated to an entirely different program, as did my email. For all I know, they're wandering around the neighborhood, frightening the pigeons.

I’m still working on my laptop. I swear, I’ll move to the new computer before my next post, a month from now.

But don't count on it.


Pamela Stone said...

Hi Jacqueline,

In a past job I was a computer tech. Actually that past life was around the era of your dead computer. Funny thing is that after I got out of that field, I am almost as lost as anybody else on the new technology. Frustrating, especially when we totally depend on our PC.

Jacqueline Diamond said...

Thanks for posting, Pamela.

I wish the tech types would confer with writers before they changed the word-processing programs. They seem aimed more at designers and accountants. But I'm sure designers and accountants get overwhelmed by the changes, too.

Estella said...

I am technologically challenged. Anything goes wrong and I have to have My computer tech son come for a visit.

Linda Warren said...


I know the feeling. The day after I sold my first book my computer wouldn't boot up. It died! I thought I'd lost everything and I did lose a lot, but, thank God, I had my manuscrpt on a disc.

Good luck with the new computer. I'm technically challenged. LOL


Barbara White Daille said...

Jackie - good luck with the new computer. I just cringe at the idea of having to buy another one, as it's such a steep learning curve with new technology.

A friend of mine is always saying: back up, back up, back up. A good reminder to me.