#Throwback Thursday: This Way Madness Lies…

Looking back on this moment of insanity, reminds me of just how far I have travelled!

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I have found yet another way to drive myself mad. After the recent debacle with a mobile phone, I swore never to dabble with technology again…

But… for some peculiar reason, and I have no idea where it came from, I want a tablet or an iPad. Basically, something simple that will replace my laptop. I discover that pads cost a lot of money, and to pay out for something that I might not be able to use seems a bit silly. So I found a tablet with Windows 10 on it at a bargain price, and I was committed. Probably should be one of these days, but that is another matter!

Now, I have heard all the flak about Windows 10, but resolved to master it. After all, if my main PC goes, I will have to anyway, right?  But I had enough fun with Windows 8 and should have known better.

The first thing you have to do is enter your Microsoft password, and everything is supposed to fall into place.

Only it didn’t.

Not at all.

Then I tried to set up my emails, but it wasn’t having a bar of that either. They just wouldn’t sync. And you never get an explanation with technology, do you?

Just a big fat nothing.

I remembered reading somewhere that the first thing that has to happen with Windows 10 is a hell of a lot of uploading. I checked this out, and there was a load there to be uploaded, but either it wasn’t ready, or didn’t really know what it was supposed to be doing. That’s when I switched the damn thing off and went back to the normality of my PC. Three days later, the upgrading did begin, indicating progress of some sort.

As to the rest of my technical world… the main PC is still buffering/crashing all the time and being generally annoying. WordPress has decided to muck about with any attempt to publish a post… What I wouldn’t give for a system that actually works!

Maybe the problem lies with the fact that my main PC is Windows 7, the laptop is 8, and the tablet is 10, maybe they don’t get on with each other? But why wouldn’t they?

There seems to be a constant battle between me and all three of them and I spend most of my days waiting for one machine or other to actually do something. Something I want them to do that is!

The men in white coats are waiting just around the corner, I just know it!

Several days have passed, and my desire to be more streamlined and efficient hasn’t…

I have seen an android tablet on Amazon, going for a song AND no Windows of any number! This could be the answer to my prayers, supposed to be easier to use …

I’ll let you know next week!

 

 

 

The Mind of a Killer!

 

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I am in the middle of a technophobic meltdown at the moment, and barely keeping my head from exploding with frustration. I want to take an axe to every piece of equipment in my office and take up knitting again. (not really an option!)

Everything computer connected has been driving me nuts for a while now. Crashing, buffering or just plain ignoring me. So I decided to change browsers. Don’t ask me why, but I thought it was a good idea at the time. Well, you have to blame something, don’t you?

I switched from Firefox to Internet Explorer, only to discover I was no better off, and in some cases, worse than before. And in the process, I have lost all my bookmarks, and several programmes that I use a lot, like Buffer and Grammerly.

It has been suggested that I upgrade to Windows 10, and/or get a faster hub, all of which sounds like madness to me, but might be the way forward one of these days.

So I have spent two whole days and most of my evenings, trying to sort myself out again. Nothing else has been achieved in the mean time and I am not happy about that at all. Right when I was getting everything uncluttered and streamlined to help my appalling eyesight and failing brain cells!

But as they say, this too shall pass, and the sooner the bloody better!

What passes for normal service around here will, no doubt resume sometime over this weekend, and I am truly looking forward to it!

Waiting …

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At this time of year, I am usually beginning to think about next year and all the things I plan to do. But it can be a bit depressing, reminding you of all the things you meant to do this year.

So I resolved not to do it again.

I am at the ripe old age now when all forward thinking starts to slow down, and mine seems to be at a standstill.

Since my encounter with cancer this time last year, dread has been having a running battle with my optimism. Some days are more positive and dread retreats into a corner, where it sits and glowers at me. It feels a bit like waiting for a train, only to hear the message “We apologise for the delay, but the next train has been cancelled…”

Waiting has never been something I have excelled at, but I have learned to be patient over the years, but this year has  really stretched it to the limit. You see, no one has actually said that the cancer has gone. The lump has been removed, so I should be fine, but until I hear those magic words, I will remain  ‘worried, from Hampshire…’

Gradually all through the summer months, I thought I had learned to ignore the lurking shadow of doubt. The fact that I had a book to finish writing helped a lot. But other parts of my life were suffering instead and most of the time I lived like a hermit, hardly ever leaving my office. Gardening was done out of desperation, when the grass and the weeds threatened to advance on the house. I stopped caring about how I looked or what I ate.

Consequently, I ended up looking like a well-fed tramp. My hair was too long and I looked like a witch. Luckily, the day I noticed all of this was one of the good days, and I resolved to pull up my socks.

I was surprised when the letter arrived, as it wasn’t quite the Christmas present I liked getting and I wasn’t expecting anything until the new year when my check-up was due. It was an appointment to be “imaged” again by the radiography team at my local hospital.

On Monday, they will do extensive imaging to check the site of the surgery and the results of the radiotherapy, and assess the healing process. The letter also warned me that I would not be told anything at this time; presumably, I will have to wait until February and the check-up appointment.

Have they any idea what my brain will do to me in the coming weeks?

 

How do I hate Thee…?

(With apologies to William Shakespeare, but this rant is long overdue…)

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Sometimes I hate my PC and the internet so much I want to run screaming from the building and never stop. I used to blame my technical shortcomings, but I have since learned that it is all due to a conspiracy. A conspiracy designed to instil insanity in the population, and the last time I looked, it was working well enough on me.

“Make a fantastic book cover on Canva, it’s soooo easy a child can do it!”

“Free book trailers made easy!”

This might be true, if their sites didn’t slow down and/or freeze every two minutes. This is probably another conspiracy to make you pay out for the better versions. Either that or these sites see me coming!

“Don’t worry about passwords – log in with Facebook/twitter etc.”

Really? This would be great if it always worked and recognised you next time!

And my latest beef. I wanted to improve my email signature, but couldn’t find the place to do it. Everywhere I looked for help said the same thing, that the link was on the left side of the menu… only it wasn’t. Several people on Google told me that too, so who knows, maybe I am crazier than I thought!

And finally, I have to include all the things I successfully did yesterday. For some reason or other, they will not happen again today!

Most of you will know by now that I never give up without a fight, but I have to admit that I can see the day approaching when I will have to stop fighting. It is getting too hard for my advancing years, and I am getting really tired of getting nowhere fast.

I know I have learned a lot, and in a way, this only makes it worse, for my logical mind refuses to accept that I might not be able to go much further.

I find myself thinking about all the craft and artwork I used to have time for, and the call to return is getting stronger. Of course, all of this is probably academic, as one of these days, I won’t be physically capable of any of these things, and that is a day I am not looking forward to…

Even posting this, it took three tries before I managed to get the right images!

 

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On a lighter note, we have decided to gather up all those short stories that have been cluttering up our filing system, and publish the collection on Amazon.

Eleven very different stories from both myself and Anita, some funny,  some sad, but all worth reading.  Amazon Link:  myBook.to/Shstories

Can an ebook be a stocking filler?

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So many empty promises!

 

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I have posted about e-mails before here . About how rewarding, interesting and useful they are. However, just lately, something has been happening to them.

Something bad.

Something that is ruining not only my enjoyment, but also possibly the future of communication as we know it too. Most days I find informative articles and valuable information, all shared by fellow bloggers. Sometimes we meet new people who have just begun to blog, wanting to join our list of subscribers. Then there are all the people we discover who we want to follow. It is a huge worldwide social club, one that has taught me almost everything I know about blogging and social networking. Some of the best hours in my day are spent reading e-mails.

That is, until this new menace started appearing. Every single one of them promising a gift, a prize or some other amazing offer. All the ones from the companies you don’t have dealings with are bad enough, but at least you know for sure you haven’t qualified for any of their offers. But what about the ones from the companies you do use?

It can be quite disconcerting to read that your favourite store has singled you out (as a valued customer) for this huge discount. Hard not to click on that one!

They are all bogus claims, trying to get you to click to register your claim, and once you do, you open the door for any malware they have at their disposal. I can no longer tell the real from the bogus, so I ignore them all. And every day there seems to be more and more.

I often wonder how many people are fooled and taken in by these claims, only to have their systems corrupted or worse.

Hopefully this menace will die a natural death, but I know what will happen. These people will come up with yet more ways to wreak havoc, as it’s what they do. I just wish they would leave my e-mails alone!

Reasons to Continue…

(from the archives 2015)raindropsx2

I am beginning to think that becoming a successful author must be as difficult as winning the lottery. Either that or you have to be born lucky.

On my quest for a brilliant book and perfect cover, I have had to stretch my brain quite a lot. Not for the writing, that’s the easy bit, but all the rest of it. All that hunting for the right cover image, not to mention the marketing and promotion.

All of this of course, involves that demonically possessed box of tricks on my desk. You probably call yours a computer, but I am not so polite!

That thing that crashes or freezes at just the wrong moment, usually when I have spent what seems like hours trying to do something, only to lose it. That place where all knowledge lies, IF you manage to find it and have the kind of brain that can first decipher and absorb most of it.

I am not computer literate, but I do enjoy a challenge. The fact that I have managed to learn so much is testament to my stubborn streak and unending patience, remarkably well demonstrated by my latest endeavours.

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So, back to the one problem I cannot seem to resolve, which is manipulating images to come up with new and exciting covers and pictures for the blog.

I had read somewhere that removing boring backgrounds and substituting better ones was easy, even without Photoshop and I was determined to learn how.

I spent more time than I could spare, watching endless demo’s and tutorials, only to try it for myself and fail miserably, cursing my brains inability to understand what must be simple for most people.

I gave up for a while, admitting defeat and resigning myself (and my books and blog) to mediocre images. However, the bit was still between my teeth. I had to learn how to do it, somehow there had to be a way. YouTube is a wonderful place for learning how to do almost anything your heart desires, and it really is amazing what you can find when you look.

While I was browsing, getting annoyed that all I could find were Photoshop posts, I suddenly realised that the word PowerPoint sounded familiar, so I investigated. Sure enough, it was included in the Word software I have on my PC. I discovered I could remove the background of any image that I had, and it was sooo easy.

So who needs Photoshop anyway? I hear it is expensive and complicated, so that rather excludes me. I try to stay away from things like that.

Who am I kidding?

Since then, I discovered Canva and Picmonkey, both brilliant sites for mucking about with all those images, and managed to learn all about scheduling on Buffer, which is invaluable if you want to be effective on Twitter.

So the beat goes on, and I’m not finished yet, as I suspect I am barely scratching the surface of what I could learn if I try…

Mind Blowing…

 

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There are times when I want to run screaming away from my office and everything in it.

Yes, it was one of those days when I had come up against the proverbial last straw and just knew I couldn’t take any more setbacks.

This post is hard for me to write, because I am one of the most stubborn persons on the planet. I rarely give up or give in, but I have come really close this week.

Even though, when I think of all the things I use every day, I am undeniably proud of my progress. For a dyed in the wool technophobe, I amaze myself sometimes.

With one exception.

I seem to be developing a phobia about book covers. Quite apart from the trouble of choosing the right one in the beginning, I keep changing my mind. And if you have ever had to change one of your book covers on Amazon or Goodreads, you will know what it entails. Unless the trouble I encounter is down to me again, of course.

 

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Last week, after finally deciding which covers I wanted to use, I uploaded them on Amazon. I have done this before and usually after a day or two, the new cover will show up. But not this time though.  So a swift email was sent to ask why.

Changing your covers on Goodreads is another kettle of fish all together. I know how you are supposed to do it, but their site is so complicated, I find it quicker to ask one of their regulators to do it.

I was almost getting a handle on all of it, only to discover both of the book links were broken.  Same books, but…

All of this has gone a long way to convince me never to change my mind again, a necessary step to salvage what’s left of my sanity. And, quite apart from anything else, I have better uses of my time…

 

Why I hate computers!

Harried writer

For a start, they make me feel even more stupid than I actually am. (I have conducted significant research into this, and know this to be true. For no one could be as stupid as I feel when faced with all their shenanigans)

Since the arrival of all this nonsense about Windows 10, my computer has been doing some really strange things and I’m not convinced it’s just a coincidence. Weird stalling at first, followed by mild confusion (not mine, yet)

Then the buffering started.

Over the weeks, I have devised a method of dealing with these problems. From changing websites, and sometimes this works, as particular sites seem to suffer with these problems more than others. To switching off the internet and playing solitaire for a while.

See how resourceful I am?

Yesterday was bad. The buffering seemed to go on forever, no matter what I did. Even the CTRL+ALT +DELETE trick refused to work. Nothing responded to my delicate touch, so I decided to switch the blessed thing off at the mains.

What followed was surreal.

I turned everything off at the mains and waited. Nothing happened. That annoying little blue circle continued to circle. I stared at it, unsure of what was happening.

Minutes passed and still nothing happened.

The computer had to be possessed by the devil and I finally had proof.

My brain must have had second thoughts about this, for it started to look for the real reason. The relief when I discovered I had switched off the wrong plug was palpable. I may not be insane after all, just stupid.

 

Switching it off (for real this time) didn’t work either. I had visions of carting the PC off to the repair shop, and all the inconvenience and expense. The nightmare was getting worse by the minute. I ended up doing all my routine tasks on my laptop, while running a systems check on the PC. After many false clues and failed procedures, it turned out I had far too many things happening at start up. Not that I fully understood what this meant. I had to indicate which ones to turn off from the start menu. I hesitated. Was this a good idea?

I have done some stupid things like this before, and learned the hard way to never do anything I didn’t fully understand. So I tentatively deleted one or two and tried again. No change. Again with the same message.

I was getting desperate by this time, so took a leap of faith and deleted them all. After a restart, the PC worked quicker than it had in ages and my sanity was restored.

But not for long. Soon the buffering returned and my sanity turned tail and left the building.

For two days I tried to find the answer. If it hadn’t been for the laptop, I would have had to take the damned thing back to the shop. Instead, I googled the problem and found a helpful help screen for Firefox. They suggested several reasons for my dilemma, so I systematically tried them all. It was the second one that worked, something about an unresponsive (or broken) plug-in.

Still not sure what this was all about, or what went wrong, but (fingers crossed) everything seems to be working well at the moment…