Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Can't Live With Them or Without Them

Photo by David Precious via Flickr.com
Tools of the trade, gizmos, writing instruments, and connections are the stuff writers can't live with or without.

In the past few weeks, I've spent countless hours getting two pieces of equipment updated. A good portion of that time was spent deciding what to get. When I make a major purchase, I take into consideration how long I might use it, and what those future requirements might be.

Since my laptop computer was on its last legs, I knew I had to either replace it or suffer without one. As a writer, even on vacation, I find it impossible to resist the urge to spend time on my work in progress, as well as promote what I already have out there. My Kindle Fire HD 8.9 turned out to be a nice toy, but not sufficient to suit my needs.

Computer sites and programs have become more and more memory intensive, so I bit the bullet and opted for a Dell laptop with 8GB of memory. That particular model has 500 GB on the hard drive, which I hope will be more than enough! That meant deviating from my beloved XP Windows into a Windows 7, but it turned out not too difficult to master. I almost broke down for a Windows 8, but had heard too many rumors of discontent to take that chance. I also purchased Microsoft Office 13 Pro, along with Acrobat XI. Then I had to figure out how to use the bluetooth mouse, and which pictures and documents I absolutely needed on the new computer, as well as how to install a very old address book program which had run in Windows 98. Surprisingly, I got that old program in, and everything is in working order!

My cell phone carrier's reception had gotten spotty, so a change was in order on that front. That meant new phones, since the current ones wouldn't work after the switch.I was intrigued by the Samsung S4, but would have settled for a new iPhone, if a larger screen had been offered. Though the DH uses his cell more for phone calls, I take photos, do emails and almost everything except talk on the phone. I broke down and ordered the Samsung S4, and a basic model for the DH. The process took two hours apiece at the carrier's store. Mine, of course, wasn't in stock, which meant a return trip and another extra long setup. Anyway, it's all done, even the rebate forms! Now, all I have to do is figure out is if there's any way to get rid of all those extra Google Plus contacts that somehow landed in my contact list. I'm not sure what I did to make that happen.

It was quite a hassle getting everything in place, but soon the annoyances will be a thing of the past. What about you? Have you made any major purchases for writing or promoting? Or, are you resisting?



Experience the diversity & versatility of Morgan Mandel. For romantic comedy: Her Handyman & Girl of My Dreams. Thriller: Forever Young: Blessing or Curse. Her short story collection sequel: Blessing or Curse. Romantic suspense: Killer Career. Mystery: Two Wrongs. Twitter:@MorganMandel Websites: Morgan Mandel.Com Chick Lit Faves 

27 comments :

  1. I'm resisting, because I can't find exactly what I want. I love my tablet, a cheapo Chinese knock-off (common here in Thailand) that I carry everywhere for reading. But I'd love to connect a keyboard to it. I tried a wireless rollout kb that sapped the power so much I won't get an hour's work, and the tablet doesn't support Bluetooth.

    When I find a cheapo solution that I can type with for a reasonable period of time, I'll fork out the bucks. Maybe next year.

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    1. Keep your eyes open for sales, especially when a new product comes out and they want to unload the prior model!!

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  2. Hi Morgan. Interesting post. I recently retired from employment now write full time. I took the opportunity to swap PC for an iMac coupled with the iPad I'm using to comment whilst on holiday. It meant a steep learning curve due to the different operating systems, but, hey, if I can do it at age 65, I'm sure it's a choice open to most writers. And I'd never go back to a PC now.

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    1. I was tempted to go Mac, but wanted everything compatible in our house - my desktop, the DH's desktop and laptop, so I resisted. I may breakdown and get an iPad when I see what the new offering is, or one of their older ones if they offer a discount.

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  4. My laptop's been on it's last legs for about one and a half years now. Finally decided to bite the bullet and will be getting a new one in the next few months - as soon as I've managed to save up enough. I'll worry about a new phone another time...

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    1. Hope you find one that you like, Eleanor. If you can hold out until Black Friday, maybe you'll find a bargain. That's when I got the DH's laptop.

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  5. I did ... I just purchased a Fender Hot Rod Delux III ... which sounds sweet ... oh, that's right, this is a site about writing ... sorry, my bad.

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    1. For a moment I thought maybe it was a new kind of phone. You never know!

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  6. When I needed a laptop, I had to deal with Windows 7 instead of the XP on my PC. Then when my PC died, I got the new Windows 8 all-in-one with a 27 inch touchscreen. I love it, and frankly, don't see much of an issue with the Win 8 OS... 99% of what I do is on the desktop anyway, so I'm rarely using that 'start' screen everyone grumbled about. Then, I needed a new phone and went with a Windows 8 phone because I thought it would be easier for the phone and PC to "communicate." I'm not thrilled with the phone's apps, but they say that's because the phone is still very new and things are improving. I never make phone calls with my phone (no reception where I live), but I like having it for emergencies, and to send the occasional text to Hubster, or update my FB page if I'm somewhere interesting.

    Terry
    Terry's Place

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    1. I actually got comfortable with it using keyboard commands instead of the "charms" which are anything but charming. ;)

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  7. If needs be, I can change over to Windows 8 on my laptop. I'll see when my desktop expires first. If so, I'll need to stay with the 19 inch screen, or get rid of my desk. I like my desk. It was a major purchase for me.

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  8. I had to special order my new laptop with Windows 7. We have a Windows 8 surface tablet which is fine for my hubby to look up sports scores and for me to check email while traveling. The apps proved impossible to work on. The keyboard is not meant for serious typists and the Word app would suddenly disappear mid keystroke and I'd have to go back and relocate the app. This is not progress. :) If it were not essential for what I do, I'd walk away from technology entirely. But wait, one must have e-mail or the world will stop revolving, won't it? You have to have email to do business now. Which means you need internet and WiFi. So we have became indentured servants to technology. I feel like I spend as much time battling viruses and hackers and backing up my backups as I do writing. Though I do have to say I enjoy Facebook and virtually hanging out with the BRP crew.

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    1. I don't mind the start screen, but it's hard to find things like when I use a flash drive.

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  9. I guess we have to take the good with the bad.

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  10. Mac person here too. So understand your decision though. I downloaded snow leopard and it disabled my flash. So basically I can't watch videos which makes me mad. I bought a PC and hate it, printer, and word for Mac this year.

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  11. Boy can I relate! My old Dell needs to be updated, so I bought a new computer with Windows 8 and still hate that software. But I finally got bloatware removed and loaded the programs I want and then it crashed - I had to reload everything to factory install and now have to do it all again! In the meantime, hubbo bought a Chromebook which turned out to be a great move. Love the thing for online work, it was cheap, he actually uses it which saves me research time, it's lightweight and lovely for travel... except it's yet another gadget. All of it is stuff that's way down on my list of things I want to spend time on. I'd rather be gardening! Or knitting! Or baking! Or painting!

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    2. Crashes are brutal. I wonder why yours crashed.

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  12. I'm one of those who resists until the last moment. I completely wore out my first laptop. Then again, it was old when I got it, but I had to upgrade when I could no longer open and close it. Heat from use had cause a hing to warp and it got worse every time. Being totally not rich, I too went to a Dell next and was very happy with it. Eventually my music file started skipping, so, since I didn't want to lose my books, and since we now had internet, I upgraded to a MAC. Talk about change. I had to buy a word program especially for it, and some of the things I liked about Word on a PC I now had to do without. Minor things though but still. At any rate, I will likely stay with this one until I wear it out too. Now the phone: Every time the company decides we need better transmitting equipment, performance goes down. At this point, it works so bad, we seldom turn it on unless we need to make a call.

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    1. I didn't do the last few upgrades on my iPhone because it was running out of memory. I had over 6,000 photos on it. They were also on my desktop computer, but I still wanted them on hand. Now, I can still use the old iPhone if I want to for music, Internet and photos, just not phone calls.

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  13. I had to buy a new wireless keyboard for my laptop, but that was due to my stupidity, not the old one wearing out. I have invested in Scrivener software and love it. I'm still learning all its tricks, but I don't regret the purchase.

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    1. I have a wireless keyboard purchased for my smart TV. The DH loves looking at Youtube on there.

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  14. Well...I'm in the thinking mode. The PC is old (I bought it used), and the laptop in inadequate. My pc's D drive has bad sectors, and that's where all my documents are. It's a bit of a time bomb, according to my computer guy.

    Having rambled on about all that, I'm thinking of getting a large laptop that works in my office and on the road. I've just returned from a 5-week trip, and my current inexpensive laptop that doesn't have my fonts and lots of other stuff on it was woefully inadequate. I'm thinking also of external storage in addition to purchasing space in the online clouds in case of a crash.

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  15. Ugh, Morgan! There is nothing more depressing and disruptive for a writer than having to spend time and money on new equipment. Double ugh, and throwing salt over my shoulder!!

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  16. Next step is a backup drive. I had small one, but it disappeared somewhere in the house and has been hiding for years. I figure by now it probably won't serve the purpose anyway. The only thing I wonder is if I need more than one drive if I'm backing up two computers.

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The Blood-Red Pencil is a blog focusing on editing and writing advice. Some of our contributors are editors, some are authors, and some are writing sheep. Yes, sheep.

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