Susan Vaughan here. Yes, it’s the holidays, and the next year is nearly upon us. I’d intended to use the month of December, at least the lead-up to Christmas, to make progress on the new book. Alas, the folders of research notes, plot threads, and Chapter 6 are still waiting, and I can hear inside my head my state detective Justin Wylde and my heroine Sheri Harte mocking me.
I’d hoped to wait until well into 2019 to buy a new computer, but the old laptop was quickly giving up the ghost. That was the only thing it was doing quickly. Opening files or programs, checking my sales, updating my website (more on that later), and doing anything on the Internet was slooooow. Yes, I’m smiling in the picture, but that was before… Then the keyboard had issues. So I was forced into making a decision. Laptop or desktop. Friends on Facebook persuaded me that a desktop model made more sense. I’d have a bigger screen that was directly in front of me, no bending over. If the keyboard breaks, people said, you can buy a new one cheap. If the keyboard on a laptop breaks (which nearly happened), the laptop is toast.
So I purchased nifty desktop components customized for me at Rockbound Computer in Rockland, Maine. Rearranging the desk/shelving unit my husband had made for me was a challenge, and threading the various cords behind and below was another. But oh, no—I couldn’t get online. No Internet. It was a tense weekend until I could get assistance from the guys again. It was a shock to me that desktop computers don’t automatically come with WiFi, and a shock to the guys at Rockbound that I didn’t have high-speed internet with a router. I live on a rural peninsula, down a dirt road that the local high-speed company won’t serve, so for this household, it’s a “hot spot” aimed at a tower across the river. Not high speed, no streaming or downloading movies or robotic devices here, strictly lower tech. The advantage is I’m not lured away from writing or editing by shiny new toys. So the Rockbound guys added WiFi to the computer and I was set.
Or so I thought. Again, slow and unreliable Internet, but I figured out why. The computer is in my basement office, and the hot spot is upstairs so it can connect with that distant tower. More assistance from the guys linked the computer and the hot spot to an “extender” (a router of sorts—don’t ask me) halfway between. Whew. I’m in business, I said. I could make progress on “Hidden Obsession,” a sequel to my published suspense novel, Primal Obsession, and Justin and Sheri would stop mocking me and get to solving a murder and preventing more.
So before beginning, I decided to upload the new author photo of me to my website. If I’d left it at that, I’d have been fine. Instead, I noticed the wording in the page header was a little off. Instead of “Author of Romance… Suspense… Adventure” as my tag line, it read “Author of Romance… Adventure… Suspense,” which didn’t have the same rhythm. I’d created this DIY website in 2015, so of course I’d forgotten the way to change a header. I won’t go into the boring details, but I ruined the header completely. After three different tech support “chats,” I learned that my template was outdated and no longer supported by the host. So when I attempted to “fix” the header, the lack of “support” was why the plug-ins didn’t function. So I’ve had to choose an entirely new template and attempted to set up the headers and other elements. Aargh. I’ve now consulted a designer who tweaked my mess.
If I needed further proof that technology hates me, while I was writing this post, all of a sudden my screen went to snow, not the blue screen of death, but snow, like a television screen when the feed is lost. I checked all the cords, and everything was connected. Thankfully, when I rebooted the computer, all was well. So everything is working—for now—and I can continue with “Hidden Obsession.”
But after the holidays. So Happy Boxing Day and Happy 2019 to you all! May you be blessed with good health and good fortune.
I can so sympathize, both with the rural living and with how fast technology changes. I did my original website with a program that no longer exists (probably too easy to use) and added to it using a totally different system with the result that when I had to revamp the whole thing I had no choice but to start from scratch. At least we did finally get high speed internet and WiFi here, but we were stuck with dial up for a long time, which meant that if I was online doing research the phone wouldn’t work. Of course, sometimes that was an advantage!
Kathy, I have experienced all of that, exactly. Add to it that I discovered today that my new desktop computer has no speakers. I need to buy those separately. Actually, I was enjoying the quiet, but I’ll probably need them. Happy New Year!
I feel your pain, Susan. I am a technical Luddite. Recent thought I’d redo a simple flyer/handout. I realized it would take me a week to format it, got sensible, and hired someone. But when computer woes strike? My language deteriorates fast. Like this week, when the printer and computer have stopped speaking. Sigh. When it makes our lives easier, it’s a gift. Otherwise, our electronic friends can quickly become electronic enemies.
Exactly so. I don’t know the technical jargon and simply cannot keep up with the fast pace of development. Thanks, and Happy New Year!
Oh, sympathy! I now am relatively up-to-date, but it took a couple of months last spring and early summer, when I had other things on my mind … and Geek Squad making regular visits. (I have a desk top, too.) Been smiling this week as my Christmas guests discover that they can’t always use their phones when they are “out in the world.” No wonder I hardly ever use mine, and still deend on a land line. And – Happy New Year!
I have smiled when guests couldn’t use their phones or tablets at my house, but it meant more time visiting. If only I’d had a Geek Squad… Thanks, and back atcha!
Golly gee, you have my sympathy! I would have been huddling in a corner … actually, I would have been baking, my stress reliever of choice, LOL. I have no patience with technology challenges. Luckily my hubby does so I frequently resort to calling out “Sweetie, can you tell me how…?”. And then I promptly forget what he told me. Pen and paper are so much easier!
Pen and paper, yes, I’m with you there. I do wish my hubby had yours’ technological chops. I’m the so-called expert in this house. Happy New Year!
Oh Susan, what a journey. I hate having to buy new computers. I don’t want to say how old my desk top (which I loooove) is. I back up. Back up. Back up. Just in case something should happen to it. And I feel your pain about the Internet. Living in the mountains of NH, we have the same issue trying to get a good signal despite a router and network extender. Best of luck with the new book!
Thanks, Nina. Yes, backing up is what I kept doing with the old laptop, which is still sitting here, just in case. At least with the extender, I have pretty good speed. Still no ability to stream or anything much beyond a short video. Happy New Year!
Because I travel from Maine to Florida every year and back again, a desktop computer didn’t work for me. So my husband bought me a separate full-size wireless keyboard that we attach to the laptop when I am home, and when I travel I can just take the laptop. It works pretty well for me.
What a great idea to have the full-size keyboard. I needed a bigger screen though. I do have an Acer netbook for travel, thus the desktop. Thanks for writing and Happy New Year!