Wednesday, January 11, 2012

IT Fail

My little NetBook has died. I mourn its passing. I have to come to rely on it completely in the last couple of years. Not only is it my lifeline during my early-morning Starbucks writing sessions, but I also take it on holiday with me. This year it's been to Egypt, where it witnessed the birth of my new horror WIP. It's also been to New York.

I used to do all my writing on my Dell laptop, which sits docked in my Writing Corner. When I decided to be more disciplined in my writing, my husband suggested we get a NetBook, which was much more portable than the laptop. It's fair to say it revolutionised my writing habits.

The Dell laptop is seven years old, and has been getting decidedly slower and clunkier of late. In fact, when I turn it on I have to go away and do something else for twenty minutes, because it takes that long to think about things. So my main gift this past Christmas was a shiny new laptop running Windows 7. It's lightning fast in comparison to the old one.

But, on New Years' Day, the NetBook died. Literally. In the morning it was working fine; I went back to it a few hours later and tried to wake it from its sleep mode, and couldn't. Continuous restarts failed to get me past a black screen with the words 'failed to find operating system' on it. Apparently this means the hard drive has failed. Getting it fixed is going to cost almost as much as a new machine, and even then there's no guarantee we can retrieve any of the files.

I am, on the whole, pretty good at backing up. I transfer all my writing files between the laptop and the NetBook regularly, and every so often back them up onto the desktop PC as well. However, I'm not so diligent about doing this every day. I'd made a start on editing my short stories for the collection, and hadn't copied them over anywhere. This wasn't the end of the world, as I was able to retrive my Stumar Press editor's copies from his email to me, and it just meant having to do them again. However, when I had my novel critique session for the second Shara book, I made notes as we went along on the NetBook. That I hadn't copied anywhere, and so it's lost forever. I do have the hard copies from my critiquers, but the idea of making a document with my own notes was so I would have an easy-to-access precis of what I need to fix in the next draft. Bummer.

What's most inconvenient, however, is not having the NetBook to carry to my writing sessions. That I really miss. Not wanting to expose my shiny new laptop to the hazards of Central London, I have had to resort to hauling out the old Dell again and taking that into London with me for my writing mornings. It's very heavy. And as I said before, it takes a long time to warm up.

However, I have learned my lesson with regard to backing up. This little guy in the picture was one of my stocking stuffers. I call him Robbie. He's a USB flash stick with 8GB of memory. I have copied over all my WIPs onto him, and I carry him around everywhere. Every time I write more words, I copy them over straight away.

Having just forked out quite a lot of money on a new laptop, replacing the NetBook has to wait a while. In the meantime, I have to either get used to lugging the ancient laptop around, or I need to rearrange my writing schedule to give myself more time to write at home. Because I really don't want to use the IT fail as an excuse to not write. Much as it's made me realise how much I rely on technology, that would be a poor excuse indeed.

2 comments:

Sonya Clark said...

Sorry about your NetBook!

That is the cutest little flash drive.

J.C. Mogensen said...

My condolences for your loss, may god have mercy on its motherboard. As a person who's suffered the passing of a friend (gadget) taken too soon, I send my sympathies. In lieu of flowers, I will suggest using Dropbox for your files, you get 2GB free and backing up is as easy as hitting the save button.