Remember the other day I said I was in a “spring cleaning” mood? This weekend, it extended to include my computer. My poor old Sony Vaio laptop died a while back. It was a good little workhorse–I’d bought it in 2007 as a refurbished computer, though technically it dated back to about 2003 according to the Sony people when I registered it. So it’s paid its dues. But now I had to make a decision: replace it with a new Windows-based laptop, or go completely with my used Mac 11 inch Powerbook as my laptop and my Windows-based PC as my desktop.
Sound confusing? It has been.
In order not to distract myself with all the ‘business of writing’ stuff that I have to deal with now I’m published, Gizmo Guy set me up so I can use my Windows-based PCs for the business stuff–blog writing, etc, and my Mac for the writing end. He came up with this neat little device called a KVM that hooks up both computers so they can share the keyboard, monitor and mouse. I swore to myself that when I was on my Mac I would not flip over to the PC to check my email. BUT over the past year while I’ve been using that setup, I’ve come to a couple conclusions:
1) Saying I won’t check my email is all well and good, but I often found that … yeah, I checked it no matter what computer I was on. Oh well, so much for good intentions.
2) Occasionally I ended up doing ‘business’ stuff from my Mac instead of my PC and saved files on one or the other and lost track of where they were. Ooops.
3) my eyes do NOT like working on an 11 inch screen when I’m using it as a laptop itself. It’s just too darned small.
4) Mac uses software that doesn’t run on PCs. To whit, a writing program called Scrivener that I’ve been using to write the next in the Hauberk series. It’s a really cool program that lets you set up your manuscript so with a glance you can see point of view and summaries of the scenes and all sorts of neat-gee-whiz tricks. I know other authors who swear by it. And it should work for me too. Except any manuscript I’ve written on it? Well, I’ve never actually finished anything on it. I keep second guessing what I’m doing and moving scenes, deleting scenes, changing things. Texas Tangle? I wrote on my PC using good old Word. Not only did I finish it in four months but I subbed and sold it. Chad’s story? 15 months and I’m still going. Andy’s story? Almost a year now. It’s just too danged tempting to change things around and question what I’ve already written instead of moving forward. I decided this week not to work on it anymore and to work on Word.
So … since I’ll be working exclusive on Word which can run on either Mac or PC, why spend the money on a Mac? (Yes, I know! Mac’s don’t get hit with viruses the way PCs do, but is that worth twice the price?) Anyway I ended up buying a brand new Windows-based laptop complete with docking station yesterday. (Woot, I’m so used to having used computers it’s a real kick to have something brand new)
The plan is that it’ll be my main computer so I don’t have that “which system is it on?” problem again. And being it’s a laptop it has that added bonus that if the power goes out, I don’t lose my document. (Double woot) Of course, it means I’m spending the day moving all my files over from the one system to the other. I’ve got documents that date back almost 20 years–files that were originally stored on 5 1/4 inch floppy disks, which changed to 3.5 inch disks to hard drives. (And backed up on zip disks and CDs.) Time to make some DVDs and get them off the hard drive, don’t you think? Yup, spring cleaning takes all forms.
On a semi-related note, the boys are scouring the garage to see what they can put out in their yard sale. They’re much more brutal about getting rid of all the stuff we’ve gathered over the years. Guitar Hero is even going through Gizmo Guy’s clothes closets. And my bookcases (which I’ve told him are definitely off-limits.)
By the way, I’ve been thinking this laptop needs a name. I know it sounds silly, but I feel like it deserves an identity. Any suggestions for a name? It’s black with silver swirls on the cover … and a real powerhouse.