Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Apologies and Computer Woes

My lack of posts here begs explanation. Even the short version is long and involves computers, contracts, deadlines, two novels, and a 92 year old with dementia who is now living with me. It gets better (the amount of crazy in the world boggles the mind), but I did say I would give the short version.

Glorified Doorstop
The demise of my fourth PC in seven years was the icing on the cake. I'm not particularly hard on computers other than I hammer at the keyboard for long periods of time. I don't play games on them. I use really good security. I manage email, research a little, dabble in social media, and make the occasional online purchase. My units have all been desktops, so it's not like I jostle them or carry them around. All I do is write and sit back to talk on the phone occasionally.

There's one consistent factor about when my computers fail: Windows. Yes, updates to Windows. Uploading a new version of Windows. Things involving Windows.

Because I had heard horror stories from other authors about losing files, even entire books, to the new Windows 10 upgrade, I kept telling my Windows 8 machine to not do it. Not while I was dealing with the blog tour for Adored and not until I had finished writing Victory Portrait. I needed to get that novel to the publisher by the first week of January.

There was Christmas. There was travel. I had an elderly relative moving in and needed to do things to the house to get ready.

And then one day Windows did some sort of update anyway. It kept loading files onto my computer. The next morning, my computer did not start. According to the geeks that Windows update obliterated the operating system--my machine literally no longer had one--and most everything on the hard drive. Worse, the computer resisted every attempt to boot it, or install a new OS. It was like an alien had moved in and removed all possibility of communication.

Things like this have happened before. I lost stuff, good stuff, but not everything. It's always painful. I'm an artist. I can create and recreate. But this time I was beyond furious. Didn't the universe know I was swamped?

Of course it did. The universe likes to pile on.

It took three weeks for the geeks to pronounce my machine deader than the proverbial doornail. In the meantime, I had to settle the elderly relative, deal with his health issues, conduct the Adored blog tour, and finish my novel. Unfortunately, a Windows update had also killed off my husband's PC the week before. (Notice a pattern?) Though he got his machine back to running, it was now missing half his programs including the one I needed, Word.

Machines still working and available: iPhone, iPad, and a Surface tablet my husband had given me for my birthday. I had put Word (Office 365, actually) on the Surface so I could write when not at my desk. Office 365 gave me my cloud drive...and the first third of my novel.

I started hammering out Victory Portrait. Yep, I wrote that novel on a Surface tablet. I was a few weeks late on my deadline, but the book really turned out well. That tablet deserves a prize. (Yes, I know it is a Windows system...and now it too is trying to update to Windows 10. I'm terrified.) In any event, look for excerpts from Victory Portrait and a cover art reveal soon.

Deadline behind me, senile old person in house, and with time to breathe, I have purchased a new computer.

Live Long and Prosper

I am writing this post on my new MacBook Pro. My husband (still nursing his disgust at his own machine's fail) said "Buy an Apple." All three of my techie offspring said "Buy an Apple." A few fellow writers joined in with the same advice. My three Apple devices have never let me down. Heck, the senile relative is using my old original iPad to play Yahtzee all day long. Apples are pricey, but I was mad enough to do it.

As my sister-in-law likes to say, "You have to spend to save."

I think she means buying in bulk on sale at Costco, but that's a philosophy I can work with.

Glad to be back.


  1. I am so glad to have you back! I suspected something along these lines from your facebook post but yikes -- I had no idea of the scale.

    Hope that you get as good a run out of your Mac as I've had with mine!

    1. Hi Gillian! *hugs* Yeah, that was the biggest computer fail yet, and I've seen a lot of them. Both my husband and me. Filing our taxes on an iPad was a new experience for us, but it worked. The Surface worked, too. Hooray for devices. :) For the last decade, every time a computer failed, my kids would listen to me grouse and tell me to get a Mac. "But I understand PCs. They're cheaper. They're more flexible," I'd say. After losing all that time, work, and money spent on geeks, the cheaper argument no longer is valid.

      I already like Mac quite a lot. Once he's fully customized, I think it might just become love. :D

  2. Welcome back and sorry for your loss. : (
    So happy to see you joining the Mac user group. I have always had Macs and have helped purchase them for friends & lovers. With user experience and access to over 16 Macs over the years, I have never experienced a problem that wasn't fixable within 24hours... and not many of those. Plus the Apple support is fantastic, they will simply exchange your device for a new one if they can't fix it if you have the Apple Care warranty. The only non Apple device I chose to own is my Kindle Fire. So welcome to the friendly easy-to-use-intuitive world of Mac! : )

    1. Thanks, Alex. :) There are a few differences to learn my way around, but I'm definitely loving my Mac. It's a very well-behaved machine. And polite! LOL