Saturday, November 24, 2012



Back around April 2010, I tried to evolve a new way of working which would both compensate for the inadequacies of my memory—I have a form of dyslexia—and enable me to process large amounts of data with relative efficiency. Also, I wanted to improve my planning capabilities.

If this all sounds a bit much for a thriller writer—you have my sympathy. However, I’m intellectually curious; I have wide interests; and I write about economics as well--and economics should be fact based (though it seems to be adopting religious trappings where the Republican Right is concerned).

What prompted all this? I think it was sparked off by the fact that my favorite program, askSam was not being developed anymore—so I was going to have to find a replacement; and by a general feeling that I could not only do better, but would have to if I was to handle the workload of the modern writer. There was a time when a writer only had to write—possibly with some research thrown in. However, after the e-book revolution took off, it soon became clear that we writers would have to deal with many of the tasks traditionally handled by agents, publishers and other specialists—and that little lot, which included everything from dealing with the Social Media to book cover design—would be taxing in the extreme in terms of time, let alone innate ability.

When I started all this, I had absolutely no idea how much work would be involved or how difficult the whole exercise would be—and I experienced a few disasters on the way—but I am glad to say that, after two and a half years, I really do think I have found a way of working which is a vast improvement (and I wrote a book and a half—and much other stuff—in the same period). However, since it means working with a considerable number of powerful programs uploaded at the same time, my original laptop indicated that it was not up to the task by committing suicide.  

Well, I exaggerate, of course, but the point is that I was forced to abandon my little laptop—which had served me well—for a significantly more powerful HP Envy dv7 with an Intel i7 CPU.

Now my task was how to get both my programs and data from one machine to the other. On a Mac this is supposed to be a straightforward task, but not so where Windows machines are concerned. Windows, as we all know, was developed by evil demons not far from Seattle.

And I am not a computer guru. Worse, I have no natural talent for such technology. Hell, on my grandmother’s farm we ploughed with horses;and I did my military training with a bolt-action rifle! To say we were a technologically challenged household would be an understatement. We had a radio, but I grew up without television.

Today, I long-fingered the task on the grounds that Saturday is my self-designated day of rest; I wanted to catch up on my e-mail; and I was still decidedly unwell.

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