Thursday, June 13, 2013

TOYS OR TOOLS?



I ended up with an apple I-pad the other day and began taking stock of all the electronics I own.  It’s disgusting!
 My first novel, OIL SPILL; over three hundred thousand words, was hand written, then typed on an Olivetti portable, and later retyped on an IMB electric typewriter.(with carbon paper)  I progressed to a Mac 512 for my first non-fiction book; THE BACHELOR SURVIVAL MANUAL.  Since most of my writing was done out on the range, I returned to the Olivetti portable because I could fit it into a custom saddlebag. The first draft of my quasi successful novel, PARTNERS, was hammered out in the desert pastures of my ranch in Southern Arizona. I was able to do all the rewrites of PARTNERS on a Compaq laptop; a 386 DOS clunker. Since those early computers, I stayed a few generations behind.  One of my favorites is an old Panasonic ToughBook (military style specs) that runs on windows 98. It has neither USB ports or internet capability.  But it is still in use here in my home.  It’s slower than the second coming but it’s tough, works fine as a word processor, and saves all the data on a 3 ½ inch floppy drive. I modified the saddlebags I used for the old Olivetti to carry the ToughBook.  That old system travelled horseback, went sailing, motor homed all over the west, and traveled Central America via bus and planes.

I have another, older laptop that uses Windows XP and although internet capable, I do not allow it on-line.  I keep it pure for my writing projects.

I have a third laptop that is a 64 bit, Win7 configuration.  My brother sent this unit to me several years ago. It’s as current as I need. Those three machines are my tools.  I write my novels, my blog posts and communicate with the world using the social networking systems.  I have two other tools; an Android smart phone that fits in my pocket and my Kindle.  The Android has dual SIM chips, wireless capabilities, a TV, and keeps me connected whenever I’m away from my desk; like my hammock or out at on the beach.  The Kindle has changed my life; reading wise.
All my other electronic apparatuses are toys; gadgets.  I’m going to sell the I-Pad and the Net book and perhaps give away the Sharp Zaurus which I only use when the power goes out.  Neither the I-Pad nor the Net Book are a tools; they’re toys.   To some, however, these gadgets are their tools. I have a friend who runs several businesses from all over the world.  He operates with his Blackberry and I-pad.  He’s a technical genius and does more on his smart phone than can be imagined.

On the other side of the coin, my old friend Michael Blake (Dances with Wolves), still writes everything in longhand and uses a secretarial service to convert to convert his work to a digitized format.  I have another writer friend that dictates his novels and has them transcribed later.  I guess the sound recorder on his cell phone is his preferred tool.

Whatever is your tool – cherish it and keep a back-up. (Keep your pencil sharp, Michael)

Since I am an INDIE, I need to be on-line throughout the day to manage my promotions via Face Book, Twitter, and other social media groups.  I usually use my newest computer for these tasks.  I have my “Novel” computer alongside and use it only for creative work. In my Living room I keep the old Toughbook ready to go. I use it to do most of my Blog stories. Once in a great while I will retire to my hammock. (4 or 5 times a day) Since I take my phone into the other rooms, I use it while holding down the hammock.  It keeps me tuned into the promotional side of my business.  The phone does everything the I-Pad and the net book do -- so they are just gadgets in my life; extras that should be eliminated.  The big question is…WILL I SELL THEM??  

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