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August 2001 Review

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Well, it finally happened. The laptop computer I've been using for the last five years gave up the fight and died last Sunday. It was only a small laptop still running Windows 95, but it was enough for me. Most of my time on the computer for the first three years was taken up by writing. I used an even older version of LetterPerfect as my main word processor. I was used to it and it served me well. I don't need any frills, as I'm sure you know if you've read my previous Reviews. But there comes a time when the old has to give way to the new.

That was Sunday.

My laptop was never really happy handling large files on the internet, or with printing from LetterPerfect files using the Windows 95 compatible printer. It was doing this that finally seemed to be too much for it. Now my laptop tells me to wait while it attempts to restart from disc in progress, or something equally meaningless to me, then switches itself off. Some people in the know who I have spoken to about this have suggested that the hard drive is corrupted. Whether it is or not I can't say, but my wife pointed out the obvious.

"You've been struggling with it for over a year now, it's five years old, you're always saying how long it takes to load pages from the internet, why don't you buy a new one?"

She was right of course. My table was filled with cables interconnecting my computer, modem and printer. It was time to accept the inevitable.

Whether dead or not, my faithful, old and not so powerful Olivetti laptop is now back in it's box and stored away upstairs. The modem is also packed away. Now on my desk is my new Advent laptop that is apparently so fast it retrieves the pages from the internet before you've even asked for them. My table is now neater and clearer.

Yes, it is bigger and better. The screen is larger, and for the first time this allows me to see my webpages at home as they should be seen. For the first time I'm also using Microsoft Internet Explorer instead of Netscape. I'll miss Netscape, but never mind. All the fancy media plugins and down loads that enable you to see fancy videos and listen to music on the web are now mine for the asking. They're fun, but they don't half waste your time.

I now have Windows ME, access to the internet is quicker and better, the processor is probably a hundred times faster, it looks pretty in blue and silver, but it won't talk to my printer.

It could be the other way round, of course. My printer may be grieving over the demise of it's five year friend?

No, it's simply because I haven't got a driver for a Sharp 9200 that will work with Windows ME. If any of you out there have got one, let me know will you?

Letters

I've had one or two email letters, but of course, they've all perished along with my old laptop. For those of you who did email me over the last fortnight, please resend them. And as for the young lady who sent me her rough draft for consideration, yes, that's gone too. Please send it again, but try using a standard word format so I can open it easily. No fancy bat files that I know nothing about, they only confuse me.

To all of you I can only say sorry. Events beyond my control and all that....

Writing Progress

I suppose I was fortunate to get "The Return Of The Sixpack" finished and onto my website before the sudden death of my laptop. I always save everything to disc at the end of each day's work, but there are some personal files I had let slip. These were last backed up at Christmas. A bit of work to do there if I ever need to retrieve those letters.

"The Friendly Ambassador" had started beautifully and fluently, but I hadn't finished the day's work and got to my back up process when the laptop died. So all that's gone too. Only a day's work, but it's just so annoying trying to remember exactly what I wrote in exactly the same way. I was very happy with it, but I don't think I'll be able to replace it exactly. I'll just have to try my best.

I've been emailing and writing to various publishers and agents, something that I haven't done for some time now. I've had some more rejections and some interest. All I need is my printer to work so that I can print off some sample chapters. Oh, and there's those covering letters....

August's Short Story will be delayed until next month as I get used to another keyboard. It's amazing how different the new one feels. It seems more positive, but I sometimes get double letters when I'm typing. The layout is also slightly different. I'll get used to it in time, but it's all part of the "newness".

What do you think of it so far? Email me!

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