Thursday, March 6, 2014


Sorry for such a long time away for the blog.

I rely on a google phone for all my internet, and I live in the boondocks where one bar out of seven is typical. I live on the edge, and most of the time it works fine. One bar is really all I need most of the time. But for the last three months, 3G was out, and when I could get on line it only lasted for about 30 seconds.

Today it's back up and working.


So, I got a 'new' computer over Xmas.

New, however, is not the right word for a 2002ish Gateway desktop.

Whenever I get a new computer, I have to customize it, as most people do, with all those little software programs we just can't live without. I also know enough to realize that it WILL CRASH, and backup disks need to be made AND TESTED before it gets turned into my new writing computer.

I'm a fan of XP. I know it and all its quirks and I don't like change when what I'm used to still works.

I also believe in backups and redundancy. PCs should always have 2 hard drives AND a USB thumb drive for multiple reasons. First, as an author, it's always a good idea to save copies of what you're working on in multiple PHYSICAL places (2 hard drives and a USB drive). My archiving Macro writes a copy of whatever I'm working on in a folder on each Hard Drive and the USB drive every 20 minutes. I've had Word garble a paragraph in the middle of a save before, but with archives being saved every 20 minutes, I'm always able to dig out the original paragraph and fix it. It costs about 500mbs of HD space to archive a novel as it's being written. But sometimes, instead of messing up a paragraph, the entire drive becomes corrupt and, in those cases, it's great to have a second physical HD inside the computer, with a mirror image of the work. And the USB is a fantastic way to transfer it to another computer, or take it with you in case the house burns down (yeah, I am that paranoid).

But duel drives have other benefits. When editing video or making DVDs, it's nice to do all the reading from one and the writing on the other, this, when done correctly, can speed up video processing greatly by cutting down on the seek time of the heads. If you listen carefully to a PC while it edits a huge file, it sounds like it's scrambling eggs. Doing the reading on one and the writing on the other takes a lot of that scrambling out.

But having dual drives goes beyond that.

Even an old XP install disk that gives you a 30 day temporary pass, installed on the 'extra' drive as the new master, will let you make a backup image of the original HD (make sure it excludes NOTHING). Then you swap them back to the OEM as the master and the extra as a slave and 'restore' the backup overtop the 30-day temporary HD. This lets either HD boot for when you eventually have problems later on, and gives you a restoration point to work with.

But all this takes time.

When I was in my twenties, or even my thirties, this kind of thing was fun. Installing, fdisking, burning disks, testing builds. But I'm not in my twenties or thirties. The last few months have been annoying and distracting my from writing.

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