Friday, February 4, 2011

LONG AGO AND FAR AWAY

Tricks learned as a journalist have served me well over the years. Taking notes, taking photos or just recording thoughts and feelings help flavor a news story of magazine article. Over the years, the tools changed but the habits prevailed. Moving from the news genre to writing fiction was not much of an adjustment for me because I had all those old habits. My first novel was written in the cab of a truck in Prudhoe Bay Alaska; one hundred and twenty thousand words, all handwritten on scraps of paper, can labels, and sometimes even college ruled tablets. Once back to the “lower forty eight,” this manuscript was typed on an IBM electric typewriter; complete with carbon paper. It was rewritten several times so consequently retyped as many times. I was really getting sick of the story.
(I wish I could tell you that OIL SPILL was a huge success. It wasn’t…but it was a learning experience. It revealed to me the corrupt aspects of the publishing industry; BTW the sleaze factor is still prevalent.)
Then along came the Personal Computer. The first one I bought was a TANDY from Radio Shack. One had to program it in BASIC Level 2. Then IBM released the XT with DOS, then the Mac 512. I had the all – 386, 486, with every conceivable storage device.
Now, thanks to my brother, I use a 64 bit laptop with the almost latest gadgets and software. A 16” screen and live streaming internet. I’m confident I only use two or three percent of the computer’s capability and it’s too big to pack around. I think a lot of folks have those reservations, hence the popularity of the tablets. They are very portable. Also the minis; portability versus true laptops.
I yearn for Windows 98 and my old Panasonic Tough-book (magnesium case, rubber keys, etc.) It’s stored away with some of my other treasures and it doesn’t make sense to travel north to fetch an old reliable that isn’t worth $50 bucks. So I decided to try something else.
Back in “The Day,” NEC made a neat little hand held. It wasn’t all that powerful but it had a decent sized keyboard and was a fine word processor. Last week I bought one on E-bay. I should have it next week. I anticipate the step back will allow me a step forward in production. I’ll give a fair report on my decision.
Bob

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