Laptops. You Just Gotta Show ‘Em Who’s Boss

A commentary for all hard-working bloggers, writers and commentators who have seen their work mangled by a vindictive piece of plastic, silicon and wire powered by electricity.

This is a true story, not 30 mins oldWIN_20180727_19_28_44_Pro

 

 

 

My dear wife is possessed of a particularly truculent machine whose ways are steeped in indolence and malice.

This morning for a reason which in a fit of bare faced effrontery it claimed was an ‘error’ the device refused to print a Word document. As my darling girl had other tasks to attend to and I was in a combative mood (Spring has come far too early for my likingPicture_of_Thomas_Carlyle ) I volunteered to take on the beast.

 

 

The first thing I noticed was it had slithered on to Airplane or Air flight mode which is something I find very annoying and personally cannot see the point of, you seem unable to do anything useful with a laptop while flying about the place. I daresay there are many worthy and experienced folk who can conduct valuable work on their machines while at 10,000 feet in the air. I am not one of them.

Anyway having got rid of that piece of nonsense I expected better of the machine. No, it refused to see the error of its ways. Insisted the printing request was still and ‘error’ and had also planned with the browsers to not to offer any solutions. This was also annoying, whereas IE just comes up with a feeble message about  not being to find anything some idiot at Microsoft Edge/ MSN without any concept of the mindset of an average user annoyed and in a hurry has contrived ‘Hmmm….there seems to be something ‘ with the inference this is the users fault rather than Microsoft/MSN. There must be more damage done to machines and blood vessels through this Microsoft/MSN tomfoolery than anything else it has contrived.

Quite naturally as any normal laptop user I had reached the anger-management stage.

Since it was my wife’s machine I shut it off; counted to ten to make sure I had not suffered any brain damage, went to dry the dishes, then switched it back on.

There was an ominous silence, followed by some lurid screen colour which reminded me of runny custard which had become the habitation of a particularly nasty bacteria, and the infuriating message ‘Just a moment’ followed by the whirly thing. I suspect the whirly thing is a device included to mesmerise the user into a lightly passive state in which they cannot use another device to send justifiably abusive messages to the laptop manufacture and of course Microsoft.

I quit the room to do other things, to return to find after at least 5 minutes the whirly thing was still there and the custard had definitely mutated into a toxic slime.

At this stage I did was any well adjusted and mature male would do, I addressed the device in a tone of gathering violence in these words:

“Work. You (redacted) useless piece of (redacted)” 

and as I was holding, not wearing one of my light house shoes, struck it lightly (you must take my word for it) on the plastic side of the screen.

At which point on came the Screen Saver and the printer burst into life.

I defy any expert professional or amateur in matters of laptops and their programming to offer any of their technical explanations as to why this worked. Where all honest and hardworking users of laptops know full well:

The evil things respond to anger and are cowardly when confronted by good honest human rage.

sturm_drang3

And some people think computers will take over the world!

I would as soon suggest the UK government knows what it is doing over Brexit.Theresa MayBritish Cabinet…..

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Interludes with Cortana

So, new Dell laptop. Fearlessly and without the aid of any children or grandchildren I switched it on, and at once was assailed by this maiden of loud cheery voice who informed me her name was Cortana and could she assist me. She was astute enough to suggest I might want not to have her talking to me, and that was ok by her, which was fine by me, cheery voices are not required when setting up a new computer, not in this house anyhows.

Now all was well, save for trying convince McAfee I have a two year subscription in force and not their tweedly 28 day free one…I sense phone calls are in order, never much fun when contacting computer helplines, no matter how much info you have prepared for the call someone always manage to find some obscure question to ask you.

Well, truth be known that WAS my only problem. I have a new one; this lady Cortana. She has taken to asking me odd questions. I was about to check something  and Type Search when the following announcement appeared:

Remind me at Saturday 6pm

Convert 172 inches into centimetres.

This troubled me greatly. In the first instance I could not recall having put aside any time at 6pm on the coming Saturday for anything whatsoever, it was a possible blank piece of the day for me to do so as I wished. Then there was this question of converting 172 inches into centimetres. Why should anyone should think I wish to know how many centimetres are equivalent to 14 feet 4 inches was beyond me, there seemed no possible use to the business to my mind. Admittedly if you are one of those people who concern themselves over quantities of the consumption a particular species of edible fish and wished to demonstrate this in terms of length there might be some use. But for myself it was a random subject of no interest.

By good fortune though other domestic matters took my attention, such as trying get my other computer out of its state of complete cantankerous faux-collapse. As the fiendish device had been foiling my attempts at productive work for weeks and I now had a more sober and responsible machine, this task I set about with a cavalier attitude and the craven thing sank into meek submission.

Feeling quite superior, I went to checking with my new model and found Cortana was now advising me

My groceries are arriving

Flight BA 196

At this stage it was obvious the young lady was getting quite giddy in her attempts to be helpful. If she had troubled to consult a Google map or whatever else, she would have noticed the nearest supermarket of note is but three miles from our house and does not have a runway. This however did not occur to her for in her excitement she had now imagined a stalwart pilot had manoeuvred their craft into a 90 degree climb to be over our home, at which point bold members of the crew would be deploying parachuted goods to land all over our street. As I had not been consulted over the order, goodness what Cortana assumed would arrive. Happily the air space above our home was only intruded into by one light aircraft about its own business.

It now remains to be seen just what the lady will have believed to be of import to me, there are obviously a myriad of possibilities, and to suggest one might seem rude and spoil her fun.

Once the initial shock is over, the best strategy is to accept these little eccentricities for what they are.

Ah…..Those Re-writes….Right?

I can understand why some fellow writers dislike or dread the require re-reading or revision of The First Draft. funny-victorian-era-photos-silly-vintage-photography-9-575132ee985f9__700Yes, typos and minor grammatical errors are bound to be encountered. The true misery comes when what you originally remembered as an erudite speech by a principal character now reads like something you’d overhear at a bar late-night time, or you find out that another principal character far from being a reflective and incisive person, when placed in the context of whole book is a stultifying and repetitive boring pedant. And then worse of all; half way through the plot seems to have evaporated. It happens. I feel your pain, I have been there.William Shakespeare

Now personally, not truly being wholly respectful of Reality I tend to enjoy dip into the ones created in my books where everything is mine, mine all mine! Except of course when the characters take over and require me to chase after them and find out just where they have gone.Sprinter

So there was/is Patchwork Warriors First Draft completed and wasn’t that a cool way to end this volume. Well, I says let’s see what is what.

Naturally there was the usual battle with Microsoft Word and the justifiable expletives outrage1-620x350 at it over Reflexive Pronouns and other obscure rules of grammar which might be important in a business presentation but mean nothing in the world of literary endeavour. (I mean, be fair who interrupts your discourse with a cry of ‘You used a reflexive pronoun!’ and claps their hands over their child’ears?…..Really? I must come and stare at them).

The first problem was a usual one for me; I hate villains, blaming ‘successful authors’ for using Cliché Central to meet the deadline. So this really nasty guy had ended up like something out of pulp melodrama, longjohnsilverall that was needed was a moustache and lines like ‘ Har-har! In Me Power’, or one of those dire half-paragraph god-complex asides beloved of serial killers. Well as much as I hate the little toe-rag I had to put some back-bone and originality into him. This had its benefits, this caused me to delve more into the scientific/magic background of the world. So all good.

Next came an issue which sneaked up on the proverbial outside rail. A nick-name used by one character to another; it had seemed to lend a flippant air to their relationship, but after reading it over and over and over I had to admit it was unoriginal and not the sort of thing the one character would have used, anyway there might have been a copyright issue. So recourse to the one useful Word trick ‘Ctrl+F and select ‘Replace’…. Wow 75 replacements…who’d have thought it???happy-face-clipart-12

Then going back to the scientific/magic background, as I footled about, the part of me fascinated by Quantum Physics and Cosmology began to nag away with questions like ‘How do they do that?’ or ‘Yeh, but if that is so..well what about that?’. imagesC0U7V2EDThis started a dispute with my literary imagination which demanded if I was intent on writing an alternative scientific treatise or a fantasy novel, ‘cas if it was the former then the imagination was going to take a walk. So over a coffee and a dish-washing duty it occurred to me this was a fracture society still grasping with fragments of knowledge, so who would know everything….well no one of course. (Naw, one character with encyclopaedic knowledge of the world and massive controlling powers is no fun at all in a fantasy novel, ends up coping -put all over the place).

Then there was the dropping out of bits which were long asides and all fun slowed the pace down, or were now redundant with other changes…..Some were not bad, so Highlight; Ctrl+C, then over to a document I keep for bits I might use again and Ctrl+V and back to the novel and ‘delete’, so nothing really lost.b85885aa0fd01f0cbebaa2798639b472

The book is thus morphing, which is how it should be and it’s good fun, because I do like my central characters and one of the villains and it is nice to speak to them and exchange ideas…..yes you can do that, it’s perfectly alright; don’t worry about that ‘Reality’ thing.

If this sounds very familiar to you, congratulations you are on the Good Road. Rewards yourself as follows

Buy yourself a book, you can never have too many books and anyway it’s all part of the literary process.

Treat yourself to a cup or mug of tea or coffee of your choice.

Have a biscuit or snack of course choice.

(The above are important to maintain your energy levels)

Indulge with 5 mins of 8d8f41c1217d3007621ceda397c48ef6

At your favourite media target.

And strive on writing! cropped-24th-nov-1

In Praise of the Soaring Spirit of Liberation of Human Endeavour

As you may recall I expressed a certain measure of distress at the complications I was encountering when operating my WP account ‘Curiouser and Curiouser,’ said Alice…(smart young lady)

I experimented by utilising the operating system known as Micr0soft Edge. There was a marked improvement in both the speed of accessibility, the ease of operation and the general flexibility in using WP.

Thus deducing that the problem must lie with the general operating systems within Internet Explorer I have say without fear of contradiction or appearing gauche.

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to IE  8, 9, 10 0r 11.357624 (recurring) or whatever they’ve come up with.

I’ve always maintained the dignified approach is the best.

Ah well must be off chores are calling 35fe5d2718a60f4046d53bdc1e2bd495