Sunday, August 08, 2010
Don’t You Just Love It? - Christina Hollis
It cost a fortune to mail heavyweight fiction submissions and include return postage, so in the early days I wrote far more in the way of magazine articles and short stories. Then I got my first computer. That was a whole new experience. My original model was cutting edge but it is slightly water-damaged now, owing to Noah’s storage system in The Ark. It didn’t use disks or USB’s for data storage. Instead, at the end of each working day I had to copy everything I’d written onto cassette tapes (another sunset industry!) .
Since those far off days I’ve had a succession of computers. Each one has been orders of magnitude more powerful than the last. This means they replicate any mistakes at warp speed. Now, after an unbroken line of PCs, my current machine is a MAC. Why? Apparently ‘because it is less prone to attack by viruses’.
There’s a reason for that.
Unfortunately, it is so obvious that it glides right under all the techies’ radar.
That is why my very latest gadget is rarely out of my sight. It’s an Alphasmart, as used and raved about by top author Nicola Marsh. It’s a keyboard with a tiny memory - and that’s all. No Sudoku, Spider Patience, calculator, calendar or Internet distractions. It’s the next best thing to writing on pencil and paper - the big advantage being what happens when you’ve finished. Instead of laboriously typing out each word from my handwritten script, I simply unite the Alphasmart and my computer via a one-way cable. With one press of a button, everything I’ve just written is uploaded straight onto the MAC. There’s no paper trail, no trip to the Post Office, and no postage costs. Things move faster too. Using the Alphasmart means I’m incapable of surfing the net when I should be writing. I’d have to fire up the conventional computer - a task too far when I’m snuggled up inventing stuff.
Taken all round, the Alphasmart is computing’s answer to Fred Astaire - unspectacular to look at, but it never stops working and is outstanding in its field. It’s my pride and joy. Thanks, Nicola!
Has one particular bit of new technology improved your life?
Christina Hollis writes Modern Romance and Presents Extra for Harlequin Mills and Boon Limited . She works by hand, by way of computer keyboard, and sometimes even by the light of the moon...
Posted by Lee Hyat at 1:37 AM