Nocturnal Lives

Musings from the mind of Amanda S. Green – Mother, writer, and possessed by cats

Tag: computers

Of computers and real life

Oh joy. There is one thing every writer fears — the loss of their work computer. It doesn’t matter if it’s due to a failing hard drive or something else. We worry about hours of work suddenly disappearing. That’s why I’m obsessive about making sure I have backups in multiple formats and on different media. Not that it helps me right now.

You see, my work machine, which is less than a year old, has been a bit problematic since I bought it. At first it was issues with the wireless. Even though I had it set to auto connect to the home network, more often than not, I’d have to manually connect. Then there was the little known feature of Windows 10 that set power saver options to turn off the wireless unless you were actively working basically all the frigging time AND the laptop was plugged in to a power source. The latter was easily fixed. The former took time.

Now, over the last several weeks, the bluetooth decided to go AWOL on me. Multiple calls to tech support, which included updating drivers and then removing drivers and reinstalling drivers followed by factory resets (2 of them) and the problem only getting worse, followed. Finally, it went from the laptop being discoverable by other devices but not being able to discover any to a power failure error. So, this morning I am trekking off to the local FedEx office to send the laptop back to Asus for repair.

And, from past experience, I’ll be 2 to 3 weeks without my work machine.

So, I’m not a happy camper, especially not when I think about how much I paid for the laptop. Still, it is under warranty and I will see what Asus does to make it right.

In the meantime, I spent much of the weekend, when not dealing with family stuff, setting up the old Asus as the interim work machine. That meant reinstalling some programs and updating others. It also means getting used to the keyboard again. It all seems minor but when you get used to the feel and sound of one keyboard, it is a bit disconcerting when everything is suddenly different — at least it is for me.

Anyway, I think I have pretty much everything loaded to get back to the work of writing and editing. At least I hope I do because today I’m working on a couple of editing jobs as well as starting to update my websites.

In the meantime (yes, I know, more author promo) have you checked out Dagger of Elanna (Sword of the Gods Book 2)? If not, please consider it. My cats are eyeing my ankles with a hungry look in their eyes. If you have, I’d appreciate it if you would consider leaving a review. Those reviews are important because they not only help potential buyers make up their minds but also because the more reviews I get, the higher the likelihood the book will start showing up on those “if you like this, your might like that” or “other customers also bought” lists. Thanks!

Confessions of a techaholic

I’ll admit it. When new tech comes out, I study the specs and do my best to see if it is something I might be able to use either as a writer or a gamer. It doesn’t matter that the tablet I have is still perfectly fine or the laptop still does the work I need it to. It’s the new shiny factor that always catches my eye. But there is something else as well. With the increase power and capability of tablets, and the smaller footprint even for those with 8″ or larger screens, I almost always have a tablet with me. If not, I have my Samsung Galaxy Note 4, Charcoal Black 32GB (AT&T) phone which is great in a pinch if I need to make notes or dictate something.

Something else I have found is that I don’t game on my tablets or phones. Between the Kindle Fire HDX 7″, HDX Display, Wi-Fi, 16 GB (Previous Generation – 3rd), Samsung Galaxy Tab A 8-Inch Tablet (16 GB, Smoky Titanium) and Note 4, I have one game installed. The Fire and the Tab are used mainly for reading. The Fire is exclusively for reading. The Tab I also use to write on in a pinch. Now, before you start asking me what bluetooth keyboards I use, I don’t type on it. There are some great apps that will translate handwriting to text and then there is the fact that Dragon is built in. That makes the Tab excellent for dictation. I simply sync it with my bluetooth headset and can dictate as I drive.

My go-to device when I’m away from the house is my Microsoft Surface Pro 3 (128 GB, Intel Core i5, Windows 8.1) – Free Windows 10 Upgrade . That has probably been the best investment I’ve made when it comes to portable tech that I can use as an author. As much as I liked my Apple MGKL2LL/A iPad Air 2 64GB, Wi-Fi, (Space Gray) — which has died an ignoble death — the Surface Pro 3 allows for seamless movement between it and the work laptop. It also allows for peripherals much easier than the iPad. Like the iPad, it is bluetooth capable. It also has a usb port on the tablet itself. The dock, which is invaluable if you plan to use the SP3 as your work machine, allows for more usb connectivity as well as offering an HDMI port. My only disappointment is that you can only hook up to a single external monitor (as far as I’ve been able to discover).

My secondary travel device is a Apple MacBook Air MJVE2LL/A 13-inch Laptop (1.6 GHz Intel Core i5,4GB RAM,128 GB SSD Hard Drive, Mac OS X) . It’s a great little machine but I am spoiled by the ability to use the SP3 as both a laptop and as a tablet. However, the Macbook Air, or something similar, is necessary if an author wants to upload their work to iTunes/iBookstore. Unless Apple has changed their requirements recently, you have to have a machine doing the upload that meets certain OS requirements. The last time I looked, an iPad would not work.

There are other machines in the house. I believe in having backups to my backups. Part of the reason is I do tend to replace tech before it dies — the exception being the iPad which, despite being in one of the best cases around landed wrong on a short drop and shattered and a Toshiba tablet I’d given my mother. Mom, much as I love her, can kill tech quicker than a hot knife can slice through butter. I am only half-joking when I talk about her walking into a room and everything electronic dying. The other part of the reason is I don’t want to risk my only work machine by traveling with it. (By the way, I’m the same with backup media. I have backups to the backups.)

Now, I find myself looking longingly at the new Microsoft Surface Book (128 GB, 8 GB RAM, Intel Core i5) and Microsoft Surface Book (128 GB, 8 GB RAM, Intel Core i5). Do I need them? Absolutely not. Will I get them? Not for some time because I don’t need them and don’t have that kind of cash to burn. But oooh, shiny.

The truth is, before I upgrade the SP3, I need to upgrade the work laptop. But even that isn’t necessary right now. So, I will put my credit card under lock and key and not let the shiny call too loudly.

Still, shiny.

 

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