February 18

Intermission – When Technology Fails



You can probably guess from the title that something didn’t go right today.

Ho-hum. My computer caught a virus (am I ever starting to like the idea of switching to Mac) and the repair shop is trying to get it back to me by tomorrow. It turns out the virus fried WindowsXP and it has to be re-installed.

So let’s turn this into something useful…

There you are – your computer is kaput – you still have writing to do, but no machine to send e-mail, save files, or send articles. AHHH!!! How do you make your daily blog post?!?

Your easiest solution might be to use a friend’s computer – even if it means going over to their house. In my case, I’m able to go to George Brown College and use their lab computers (an advantage of teaching there). You can also go to the public library, or – as a last ditch, emergency only option – you could use an internet cafe.

A cool and unique solution I know of here in Toronto is a laundromat that has computers installed with internet. Lots of folks make use of them while the washer’s going. It’s just $2 per hour.

That takes care of e-mail and internet access. Now what about your writing? What do you do if all your files are on the computer that’s now kaput?

Ah, ancient writer’s secret…it’s called the pen and the paper…

Maybe you’re smiling, or smirking, but I’m actually serious. I really do print out every version of a book I get back from my editor (for which I’m thankful that I can usually finish a book with just two rounds of edits). It’s always on my mind that technology can quit on you.

Remember that huge blackout a few years back? Imagine what it’s like just getting to your apartment when you live on the 34th floor.

Anyway, having a printed copy of current projects let’s you keep working no matter what happens. You can always go to Staples and buy some more pens.

For those more inclined toward using technology to cope with technology, there’s a simple answer to this type of difficulty, too. Just make sure you have a second machine to work on.

After all, how many people do you know who tossed a perfectly good computer just because they bought a new one? Yea, me too. And it’s really silly when you think about it. Here’s a perfectly good, working tool that can be packed up and put away for…just such an emergency.

And to keep your data safe, get an external hard drive and back your data up to that. For anything hugely important, you can go the extra mile and burn it onto a DVD for safekeeping.

In case you’re thinking all this safety stuff and backing things up is just a big waste of time…you should know that my external hard drive failed last week.

Yep…the backup got broke, and now the main machine is down, too.

Still think taking precautions is a silly thing?

When I get my computer back, I’ll get back on track with serialising Writing E-Books for Fun and Profit. When that’s done, I’ll move on to serialise The Instant Amazon Bestseller Formula and then I’ll be looking at a series on list building.

Have a good night, everyone.



articles, technology, Writing

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