Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Can't do without it?

Sometimes it is quite useful not to have that essential piece of modern equipment to hand. I do often wonder how  we used to manage back in the days of typewriters and GPO telephones with party-lines - and fourpence halfpenny stamps. But it can be useful when writing a story not to be able to solve a problem or find out an essential piece of information within minutes.

If Tom Sparrow, the lead character in my current novel, had a mobile phone in his pocket in chapter two, life could well have been a lot less complicated for him. And my novel would probably have to have started at the current chapter six.

So what brought this on? Techno troubles, that's what. All was going quite well until my desktop pc told me I needed to install the driver for my printer. So I tried to reinstall but it wouldn't work. The machine kept telling me that I needed to install the driver. And then I couldn't access my external drive. Drive not connected, so the machine said. No usb ports working at all.

Suspecting the worst I dug out a spare machine and set that up and apart from various programs I'd installed on my old machine, all was fine. Then, not convinced that it was a hardware failure which had caused the problems on the old machine, I decided to try it with Knoppix, a boot from CD version of Linux. All works fine and there is nothing wrong with the hardware. So it looks like the problem came from some automatic update. So do I go back to the old machine and sort it out? No, I think I'll install Linux on it and call it a new machine and see if I can avoid that infuriating grinding to a halt every so often with Windows.

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