Saturday, November 5, 2011

Fade to black and Open Office



My last few days have been tangled in a technology web of massive proportion (Hence the photo of a giant spider web in negative format, which I took a long time ago but seems appropriate today).

I'm certainly glad I didn't sign up for NaNo this year. I returned home from a day of family chores, fired up my desktop and found...a black screen.

I got help trying to reboot, save files, etc. The end result is most of my files were saved except for the latest version of my fairy tale novel, which was 70K. I think I may only have lost a few pages of the newest writing. I usually save to thumb drive every day but skipped one or two days, I think. Anyway, that's fixable because of the versions on the thumb drive. But the desktop needed a new hard drive and operating system. It doesn't want to accept my older Word, so I'm going to have to try to reach Microsoft service to see if it can be registered again. Otherwise, it was recommended that I try Open Office. So far, this free, downloadable, word-processor seems to open some of my documents but not all. I'm still experimenting with it.

Does anyone out there use Open Office? What is your experience with it and with sending documents out on submission?

Meanwhile, I have my handy laptop upon which I am typing this post. I have a new version of Word on it and may decide to switch to writing on it. I know, I know, I also need to put a backup on this and not just rely on thumb drives. Me and technology=chaos.

23 comments:

Catherine Denton said...

Oh wow, that's scary. I know, I'm not good about backup either. I'm so glad you didn't lose much.
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VR Barkowski said...

So sorry, Tricia. What a huge and frustrating struggle. I once had a work computer that suddenly stopped saving WORD documents. It was a nightmare of epic proportions.

I've never used Open Office but have heard a lot of positive things about it. These days I save all my files to Dropbox. Everything is stored somewhere other than my computer - just in case.

The Golden Eagle said...

I'm sorry to hear about your desktop!

There's OpenOffice on the PC that I'm using right now; I've tried it a few times, and it seems to work pretty well. I've never tried sending or opening documents, however.

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Catherine, VR, Eagle: Thank you all for stopping by! I'm still muddling through. I'll check out Dropbox, V, thx.

KarenG said...

I've not used Open Office. The few times I tried it I ended up deleting the manuscript I was supposed to edit. I've been afraid to go back since! Love that spiderweb photo, so stunning!

Wen Baragrey said...

I've used Open Office quite a lot, Tricia. The only thing about it that I didn't like was not being able to use track changes (a pain when you're getting edits back from your crit partners, etc). Other than that, it's awesome. My version saves to word files anyway and so there shouldn't be a problem with submissions. Just choose the option to save as word files (so long as that hasn't changed in more recent versions? It hasn't, as far as I know).

I still prefer word, though :D

I'm so glad you'd backed up so well, though!

Also, I love that photo! I've seen it before, I think, but I just love the lacey trunks of the trees.

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Karen: Eeeks! don't want to delete manuscripts by accident, no indeed.

Wen: Oooo, thsnks for the details. So much to think about...

TerryLynnJohnson said...

I had the same thing happen to me, but took it in to see the doctor. Much easier that way! And they were able to save all my documents, because unlike you, I didn't save my ms. on a thumb drive! You are smart! They put windows on and now I'm rolling with a new hard drive. Perhaps that will work for you?

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Terry: Wow, it's amazing how many people this happens to. I intend to get an external hard drive backup as well as my thumb drive! I've decided you can't have enough backup. What a world....

Jemi Fraser said...

What an enormous pain! My laptop has 'gone dark' twice now. I don't have a desktop. Both time I was lucky enough to not lose files, but the laptop had to go to repair land for 3 or 4 weeks each time.

Now I have an external drive I try to remember to hook up once a week or so. And I use Mozy's free online backup for my writing every day (as long as I remember). I like having multiple backups - escpecially during nano! Hope it all works out for you!

Jan Morrison said...

I have an external drive and I always save my wip to that each day. I sometimes also put it on my thumb drive and occasionally email it to a friend that has gmail so it is in cyber space forever. My photos are another worry. so much to being an adult these days. Think I'll take a nap. Oh, and I have open office and am learning how it goes. I like it so far.

MG Higgins said...

This is such a great reminder to buy a back-up hard drive. I use thumb drives too and, like you, don't always remember to use them every day. Gah!! Technology. I've used Open Office a little in the past, but not enough to recommend it or give advice. (BTW, If you use a Mac, NeoOffice is the version to use.) Good luck!

Bish Denham said...

I had a laptop that went AWOL. I had saved quite a bit, but still, I lost a lot of stuff, pictures mostly, that couldn't be retrieved.

I back up on jumpdrives, but I'm looking at getting an external hard drive just to be safe.

Julie Dao said...

That is so SCARY! Technology is such a help, but sometimes it's terrifying how easy you could lose a year or more's work. My laptop's hard drive died in college and I lost a 30-page lab report that was due in a couple days, so I've been there before and feel your pain. Thanks for the reminder to keep everything backed up.

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Jemi: Twice! And 3-4 weeks in shop!!! You poor thing.
I just backed up my laptop to an external drive and I will never end a writing day without putting whatever it is on my thumb drive.

Jan: I backup my photos on thumb drive, just like my documents. Whenever I forget to do it I worry about a crash--well, now I've experienced it and will be even more careful.
There is so much to worry about, isn't there? Thx for telling me about open office. I'm still not sure.

Mel: Someday maybe I'll have a Mac. Not yet, sigh.

Bish: Yeah, get that external drive. Safe is necessary, it seems.

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Julie: Oops, missed you somehow. that must have been so scary to have the lab report due and it vanished. I bet this scenario has happened to a lot of people. Backup, backup, backup should be a writer's mantra.

Medeia Sharif said...

Yikes. This reminds me that I haven't done my regularly scheduled backup.

I've lost work before, usually just a few pages or some edits, but it's never a pleasant feeling.

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Medeia: Eeeks,yes, backup. I'm still reeling a bit from this.

Sarah Laurence said...

How horrible! I'd strongly recommend putting your manuscripts on a cloud like Dropbox. It's free for the amount of storage you need. I also back up automatically with an Apple Time Capsule.

Faith Pray said...

Ouch! I'm so sorry about the lost words! Even a few pages of lost writing is painful! I hope your reconstruction turns out to be better than the original. Thanks for the reminder, too. I rarely back up my current work, but will now!

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Sarah: I have added an external hard drive to my thumb drive routine. I'm still skittish, though.

Faith: I've had a hard time getting back into writing. It took the wind out of my sails, but I'll get over it.

Hobo Annie said...

Thanks to my subscription to Paranoia Quarterly (which I pay three years in advance, just in case) I have learned to be very concientious in backing up to my thumb drive. And the external hard drive. And there's a copy on my laptop. And that new 32 GB thumb drive I got because it was shockproof. In case I drop it under a truck. So now I can relax and write. Hang on--gotta check to see if the drive is waterproof. Just in case it falls in my coffee.

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Annie: hahahahahahaha! thanks for making me laugh, which you do so well.:D