Friday, September 27, 2013

My Love/Hate Relationship with Technology

I don't think I've made any secret of my love of technology and gadgets. This blog alone is proof. In about 4 months, it will be 3 years since I turned my author's website into this blog, and I don't think I've missed posting more than a couple of days in all that time. In addition, I love looking at all the new gadgets, the new toys (the new Kindle Fire HDX 8.9" makes me drool). Now and then I actually buy one of the new gadgets. And I love, love, love the Internet...except when people post horrible, mean comments addressing total strangers in ways they probably would never--hopefully--address them face to face (I think we've all seen those types of comments). But mostly I love the Internet.

There's so much knowledge sharing going on out there, so much fun stuff, so many gorgeous images. Look up an obscure fact? I'll find it. Find out why my refrigerator isn't working? I'm on it. Shop for interesting gifts not readily available in stores? I'm your woman. It's fun, it's easy, it's awesome. And therein lies the problem. It's often just too easy to spend far too much time there.

Still, I'm a writer. I have a book coming out in a few days. I can't afford to not be on the web. I need to network. I need to push my baby in front of people's faces. I want people to read my book. I love that book! I'm supposed to be selling it.

But...I also need to get to the writing and step away from the Internet. I really do. I need to get the next book written. Which is why--lately--I've been turning to one of these.

Well, okay, not that particular laptop (that's just an online image), but an old laptop I bought years ago, which has Microsoft Word on it, very few other programs and (here's the important part) ABSOLUTELY NO ABILITY TO ACCESS THE INTERNET. Seriously. I bought it on sale for a song, it was my first laptop, a discontinued model, and not long after I got it home, I realized that no matter what I did, it would not connect to my network (okay, that's not completely true. If I set up some cables, clicked my heels together and crossed my fingers, sometimes it would manage to hook up...slowly, but if I searched for wireless Never. It just wasn't going to happen). I suppose I should have returned it, but...I had a desktop, and I hadn't really bought the laptop for the purpose of web surfing but for writing when I was away from my desk. So I kept it. And when I needed it, I used it (even though I still prefer a desktop most of the time).

Later, I bought a netbook. It's nice. It's a bit slow and the keyboard is a bit smaller than I like, but it's not as heavy as the old laptop and it does access the Internet. And therein lies the problem. I'm weak. I'm human. Leave me with a desktop or a netbook with an Internet connection and I just might end up looking for interesting videos for the blog or posting tweets or Facebook posts for books. There are days when I practically have to slap myself to keep from opening the browser and hopping on the Internet train.

So, a few weeks ago, I dug out the old laptop. I dusted it off. I fired it up, and...voila! I finally admitted that old and all, no programs other than word processing and all, like Charlie Brown's Christmas tree, it really wasn't such a bad little laptop after all. It wasn't a total lemon.

Because set up at the table, surrounded by all my notes, on what might seem like a hunk of junk to most people, I type. I write. I get things done. And I find that this old laptop, warts and all, may well be the best writing machine I've ever owned.

But don't worry, Internet. I'll be back once my pages are done for the day!


Mary Preston said...

We have so many whiz bang gizmos around here, but I still prefer the old PC. I get comfortable in my chair & enjoy. The screen is lovely & big, the keyboard just right. My children just don't get it. Smaller is better as far as they are concerned.

Myrna Mackenzie said...

Mary, I hear you. I have a Kindle Fire 1st gen, I have the netbook. And while I like the Fire's ability to access the internet on vacations, for everyday use, I still love the size and ease of a desktop. No, it's not portable, but I like having a large screen and being able to see all of the page without scrolling. I keep hearing that desktops will become dinosaurs soon. I just don't see it. Desktops still serve a purpose.

Laney4 said...

I am the proud owner of a very heavy, gigantic executive desk. Along the back of this desk (left to right) are my fax machine (rarely used, but a Godsend when needed, plus it includes my telephone), my tower (with easy access to my floppy drive-gasp and my USB drive-that should be used daily-ahem), my speakers and flat-screen monitor, three transcription machines for my business (micro cassette, macro cassette, and digital), and my laser printer. Along the front half is my pencil sharpener, pens/pencils in a mug, call display, keyboard, mouse, and colour printer. And I still have room for several piles of paper for my WIP!

Now why would I want to get rid of my inner sanctum? I have everything around me, including 3 drawers to the left and 2 on my left, plus cabinets and a microwave (moveable) cart behind me. I love it here!

I bought my husband a laptop almost two years ago, which he uses daily. He doesn't type very fast (using the forefingers only), so he doesn't care that it has what I think of as a screwy keyboard. He never uses capitals nor punctuation, so why learn? LOL. I found that when *I* used a laptop, I hated the smaller keyboard. I type faster than most people I know, and that slowed me down tremendously. Scrolling is a royal pain and a giant time waster (to me), so I would prefer my mouse attached (which I've done for my husband). A laptop screen had to be in just the right position to see, which is now difficult with my bifocals, whereas my own monitor and chair have been set to where I can most easily see the screen. I can print any time I want. I can scan/photocopy while typing away.

Life is good with a desktop ... for me.

Myrna Mackenzie said...

Elaine, Oh yes, I had forgotten the fact that the laptop screen has to be in the right position. That's usually not a problem since I set up in the same place every day, but moving around or in sunlight? Adjustments are needed. I bought a small wireless mouse just to use with the laptop and netbook, because I really don't like the touchpad. It sounds as if you have a great setup!