Sunday, 9 October 2011

Out With The Old...

It's been a stressful week and my new computer relationship isn't working out. At the moment it's not a happy one.

Having returned from a wonderful holiday visiting my sister in California, I was looking forward to knuckling down to my novel. Firstly I was going to write a blog post about my visit, as I hadn't seen my sister in five years.

Have you seen that advert on television - the one with the "noooooo" face, when your computer 'does one?' Well, no sooner had I'd laughed at the advert, than I was making my own "noooooo" face!

The mouse arrow locked, the key pad didn't work and I was stuck. Of course I tried the famous tried and tested cure-all. I switched the computer off and on again. But no. My mouse had squeaked its last and my keyboard didn't respond to desperate begging.

Having run the Toshiba help line, which cost a fortune per minute, it was recommended that I have my data recovered. What about me? I needed to recover too! Then I realised he meant that it needed saving onto a hard drive.

This is where I hide in shame and you tut at me. It had been about six weeks since I'd saved my work. (sounds like I'm back in the confessional box) I know, I know! It's my own fault. I broke the golden rule. But how many of us finish a few hundred words and put the kettle on? Or someone calls you from another room. I just got out of the habit, and as is always the case, the best lessons are learnt from mistakes.

Having got a quote from a recovery service who said I had to POST my computer to them for a fee of £200, I decided to go to my local PC World. Well they were wonderful, or at least a young man called Steve was. He calmly explained that if I a bought a cheap hard drive, he'd recover my work, if it was possible!!

If it was possible??? It hadn't occurred to me that it wouldn't be possible. I think I frightened him with my "noooooo" face again! I had a novel, half a new novel, poetry, short stories, photographs....well you know what we writers have on our computers. I didn't have a choice. I had to trust him and leave my years of work in his hands. The twinge I got when I walked out of the store was similar to the feeling I got when I left my children at nursery for the first time when they were four. Could others care for something that is precious to me, as carefully as I do?

Don't you just hate it when someone says they've got good news and bad news for you? Do you take the good news and run so you don't have to hear the bad? Do you hear the bad first and hope the good out-weighs it?

I asked for the good news. He'd saved all my data! Hooray! What could possily be bad after that?

The bad news was that it would cost almost as much to fix my three year old laptop as it would to buy a new one. AND it would have to be sent away so I couldn't write, tweet, blog etc for a week. I can't say it was an easy decision to say good-bye to my tired Toshiba. I knew his idiosyncrasies, I knew what buttons to push and was comfortable in his company. Now I have a shiny new Dell. I haven't got to know him yet and I'm still a bit wary. He makes strange noises, has different buttons, feels different and I think he's a bit domineering. I suppose we just need to spend some time together and get to know each other.

One thing he hasn't got that my old computer had.


Not a bean. Just dull pictures of flowers which he gave me as a gift when I bought him. I clicked on 'photos' and there they were. Drooping and glaring at me in a too-bright-yellow. Where were my precious family photographs? My holiday photographs? Hundreds of them. Then I thought that my old computer must have held onto them as a desperate bid to take him back. (I really wish I didn't give objects anthropomorphic qualities. It just makes life more stressful and guilt-ridden.)

Should I encourage my old and new computers to connect and work together in harmony - sharing the photos? Or do you think I should get a solicitor involved?

I think I'll go back to Steve at PC World!


  1. I feel your pain Ange! I find computer breakdowns very stressful especially when you're paying £30 a minute to be asked 'Have you switched it off and switched it on again?'. A relief though to hear you were able to get your books back - I think I would turn to drink if I'd lost mine. Hope Dell-boy gives you your holiday photos - would love to see California.

  2. Good thing you uploaded so many of the pics to Facebook! Nearly as good as mailing them to yourself. Which reminds me: do mail your chapters to yourself from now on, ok? That's the best way of backing them up. And oh: much fun with your new Dell. I hated mine. Gave it away after a couple of months. Hope you like yours better!

  3. Oh, Ange - I really feel for you, especially after a great holiday. And I squirmed when you mentioned the backing up - my husband goes on like a broken record about it. And do I remember every single time? Of course I don't. My computer had to be overhauled recently and was completely wiped - fortunately hubby is anal about saving all the photos on a stick!

    To cheer you just a little, I've given you a Friendly Blogger Award (I almost missed you since I believe Janice has given you one) but I'm highlighting many of my blogging friends on my blog and really don't want to miss you from my list! You can pick it up any time it's convenient. And good luck with your photos!

  4. Oh Angie, I feel for you, so I'm sending you our hot sunshine, it might not sort our all your problems, but I tiwll make you go yeeeeeees, instead nooooo! Hugs x

  5. Thank you lovely ladies for your support and encouragement. And a big thank you for my award Rosemary. You've made my day! : ) xxxx

  6. Oh that's awful Ange! I hate it when this kind of stuff happens and to lose your holiday photos too - its not fair and I was really looking forward to seeing some on the blog. It's really reminded me about backing up my work and I think Miriam's suggestion is a really good one. The trouble is it's just so easy to forget...

    Hope you get to know your new Dell better soon, maybe even strike up a happy and long lasting and stable relationship!

    I guess one thing to be thankful for is that there are Steves in the world!

  7. Good luck with your new baby Ange, so pleased you writing wasn't lost
    m xx

  8. My computer has been on the naughty step three times already this morning. I might need you to give me Steve's number, Angela.

  9. Thank you Avril. I'm not asking much from my new relationship with my computer. Just that he does as I tell him!! (hee-hee) ; P xxx

    Thank you Megan. I can't tell you the relief! I have certainly learned my back-up lesson!! (New fiction group tomorrow related to Nottm Writers' Studio. I'm looking forward to it.) xxx

    Three times in one morning Keith? That is certainly a worrying number!! Don't forget to BACK UP! See you next week at writing group. I don't know if I have time to write for Manuscript of the Year. I'll try! : )