Thursday, 28 April 2011

Ee - I hate it!

Of all the grammatical errors and misspellings that have elbowed their way into modern print, the one I hate the most - right at this moment, I mean; it might be another tomorrow - is the misused ee ending. Not so very long ago, within easy memory, it was straightforward. The ending was borrowed from the French and it followed the same rule as the French.
So an employee was someone employed by and employer. A payee was someone payed by a payer. And so on. But now, an attendee is... Well what, for heaven's sake? A conferee is... Banned from any conference I organise, I'm telling you.
But the worst is standee. Ouch and ouch and please don't!  You see it on the buses: to carry 50. 42 seated and 8 standees. Ghastly.
But wait a minute, this could be ok. Yes, of course. The standees are the poor so-and-sos on an early bus home because their date didn't show. They were stood up.

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Why does it have to be difficult?

Why do computer geeks never seem to tell you all that you need to know? I'm trying to get up and running  with Linux but I constantly hit a brick wall. I'm sure that if ever anyone asked a computer geek for directions it would go something like this:
Traveller: Can you tell me how to get to Boggins Gardens?
Geek: Easy - you go in through the green gates opposite Boggins Hall.
Traveller: I know that but I don't know how to get to the green gates.
Geek: That's easy as well. You start from here and you go in the direction of the green gates.
Traveller goes off in despair and asks an Ordinary Person
OP: Oh, you don't want to bother with that. Just get the Gates bus. It's much easier.

Anyone out there know where I can download a beginning beginner's guide to starting to get started? I thought I had found one but it assumed that I was migrating from MSDOS.
I'm convinced there is a big conspiracy keep us all with Windows or Mac, or else to provide work for all the folk who've come through over-subscribed Geek Studies degree courses.

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.