Thursday, 31 October 2013

The Funny Side To A Laptop Crash - Read This And Find Out!

For anyone who has experienced the dubious pleasure having their laptop or PC crash, you'll know it's no laughing matter, especially if it results in hours, maybe even days of work being lost. But, I recently discovered this delicious little gem of a poem, called, Hello, by the clever and talented British poet and short-story writer Symon Silvester, on Jade Reyner's blog - Jade's Jungle.
I've been given permission to reproduce in full.

Read and have a chuckle.


Hello? Is that the help desk?
Can you help me please?
It’s my damned computer
It’s giving me grief!


Have I got Windows?
Well, this is a room with a view.
Oh I see what you mean.
So that’s the Start menu!


Well I clicked and double clicked
I even clicked thrice.
All I got was a message
Saying something not nice


I don’t know what happened
I was just checking my email.
I opened a file
And it all went to hell


You mean I’ve been infected?
I’ve got a worm?
Can you get it out?
I have a CD to burn


I am so sorry
I don’t mean to sound thick
But how do computers get a virus?
How can they get sick?


What should I do?
I tried turning it off.
What the hell do you mean
Everything is going to be lost!


Can’t you do anything?
Repair or reboot?
I have a deadline to meet
It’s me they will shoot.


No I can’t wait
I can’t queue.
I need help right now
That’s why we employ you!


Get up here now!
I’m on the fifth floor
Turn right at the coffee machine
And knock on my door


Shall we say ten minutes?
What do you mean in an hour?
I said right now
I have a fatal error!


I don’t care about the network
That’s your concern
I have lost my work
And have a cd to burn


You know for a help desk!
You aren’t much bloody use
What do you mean
You aren’t going to take that abuse?




© Symon Silvester 2013

Monday, 28 October 2013

My Computer Crashed Loading Anti-Virus Protection!

I've been without a computer for nearly a week. For those of us who cannot live without our laptops, that can pretty much cause a nervous breakdown! I wasn't able to write my blog, access my email, write the next instalment of my book (well I probably could have done so the old-fashioned way - in a notebook), and catch up with my favourite blogs. When I tried to do those things on my Samsung phone, the battery couldn't cope. I was recharging every couple of hours.

So, what caused the crash? An anti-virus download. That simple.
I have a Mac (love my Apple Mac!) and it's never been a problem. On the contrary, it's got to be one of the easiest laptops to use and navigate. I just wish I'd been told it doesn't need any anti-virus protection as it's already installed on the hardware. And as long as you keep installing the updates, there's no problem.

But no, I wasn't told and ended up believing some techno-wiz (NOT) in a retail store who informed me that even my beloved Mac is no longer immune. He showed me the Norton anti-virus software FOR MACS, and I was sold. Needless to say, he earned his commission that day.
My bad for not checking, and for believing the persuasive blurb on the packaging!

For six months everything seemed okay, then came the first update. Of course I downloaded it. Who wants to be without malware protection these days, as there appear to be just as many criminal organisations as there are killer viruses! Wouldn't surprise me if there were more.
Anyway, download gets two-thirds of the way... and everything shuts down. No lights, no action, no life. No matter what I tried, nothing could bring my laptop to life.
For the next few days I got to know the people at Apple Support - I think they got sick of hearing my sobbing voice - but even they eventually gave up, too. Unfortunately, with the crash I also lost my internet connection and in order to reinstall the software on my laptop, I needed to access internet.
What happened to the good old CD one could just slot in and everything would restart?? Heaven help us all if all electricity fails and there is no internet? Actually, I think they recently made a movie about it.
So here I was caught in a vicious loop and getting more desperate.
I was falling further behind in my work, my nerves were at breakdown stage and all my plans for the week were shelved while I dealt with this malware protection monster!

I had no choice but to go out and buy myself a new laptop. Yes, I purchased another Mac, while crying on the shoulder of the young man in the Dick Smith Electronic shop who was serving me.
"Bring your laptop in. We can fix it, no problem," he'd said.
I stared at him like as if he'd just dropped down from Heaven! And true to his word, in less than a day, my old Mac was fully restored and not a single file had been lost.
Thank you to the techo-wiz's at Dick Smith Electronics, Erina Fair, N.S.W. They also told me that Apple Macs DON'T NEED extra virus protection, as it's inbuilt into the system.

Now I have two laptops. I decided to keep one for my manuscript and the other for all my internet stuff. That way, if something like this ever happens again, I have another to fall back on. But, there's no way I'll ever install any Norton product on my computer. Sorry, but my trust in their product has been destroyed. Never again do I want to experience such a week-from-hell as a direct result of downloading their software.
Once is enough.

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Why I'm Choosing Not To Be On KDP Select

Here is the rub we authors must contend with - to KDP Select or not to KDP Select, that is the question! (with apologies to Shakespeare) For my part, I have chosen NOT to include my debut novel, BLOODGIFTED, in this selective Amazon program even knowing I will be penalised for that decision by receiving only 35% royalties instead of 70% in some lucrative markets - India, Brazil, Mexico and Japan.
But, that's my choice. I live in a democratic nation and I'm used to that.
So, why have I opted out? I have pragmatic as well as ethical reasons.

1. I was always taught never to "put your eggs in the one basket."
Why risk your hard earned book(s) with only one distributor? Should something happen and Amazon comes crashing down - yes, the Titanic can sink! - so would your only market place. It's the same as placing all your money into one investment scheme, which as any stockbroker will tell you, is a risky thing to do.  I don't believe in risk taking.

2. I mistrust exclusivity - there's ALWAYS a catch!
With Amazon's KDP Select the catch is, you must withdraw your book from ALL OTHER distributors, thereby limiting the visibility of your book - and it's selling power. It's literally taking away your choice to have your book visible on every other online retailer - Sony, Apple iTunes, Barnes and Noble, KOBO, Smashwords...etc.
It's a fabulously effective way to destroy their competitors and become the monopoly I believe they're aiming to be.
I don't trust monopolies for the same reason I hate dictatorships.
A democracy is held accountable and responsible by having a firm opposition. The same is true for business. Competition breeds a healthy economy. Limit that in either sphere and you end up with a dictatorship in one, and an avaricious monopoly dictating prices in the other.
So, to increase the selling power of your book, you need to have it with several online retailers, and never in just the one. Put your book on Amazon AND Smashwords. 

3. Readers have their favourite forums from which they choose their books.
Some people prefer to buy their books only from Apple, while others head straight to B&N or KOBO... etc.They wouldn't even look at another retailer. That's customer loyalty. By being exclusively in the KDP Select program, an author is not only limiting their book's exposure, but ignoring more than 60% of the reader population.
Recent stats have shown that Apple is now second only to Amazon in their sale of ebooks. Therefore, you really need to be with both.
So, here's my book on the Smashwords site - BLOODGIFTED, Book 1 of the Danotnville Legacy 

4. I don't like being pressured into opting into a program by threats of lower royalties. 
Such an action usually produces the opposite effect on me. So, call me a rebel!
I figure the lower royalties I earn with Amazon, will be offset by the number of sales I'll receive by keeping my book with Smashwords, and having it distributed to a host of other online retailers.

Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not saying don't distribute with Amazon at all. That wouldn't be productive either. In many ways I think they're excellent. Just click on the link above and you'll see it leads to my book's page on their site. But, don't be exclusively with them, as you won't be doing yourself or your book a favour.

All I can say is,
Long live competition!