Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Publishing A Fishing Book — Trojan Torpedo! Bail out!

Happily slaving away Sunday evening and things are going very well. All the front matter done and dusted, the introduction and 7 chapters complete with illustrations and the layout all set up for full bleed, perfect page design, footers and headers all working as they should and all I have to do now is keep going till the end, save it as as big pdf file and send off for the first proof copy hopefully by end of January.

Then I notice strange things happening. Something's afoot in the Mac's handling of things, it's slowing up and refusing to work as it usually does but it seems like a temporary glitch that just needs a restart to fix — it hasn't slept in days and the poor thing is tired and worn out...

I don't get that far before having it freeze completely —very unusual for a modern Mac. I hit the off button, and restart.

Flashing folder with a question mark

?   ?   ?   ?   ?   ?   ?   ?   ?   ?   ?   ?   ?   ?   ?   ?

Oh shit...

It can't find its boot folder! Noooooooooo.........


Slow, slow, slow, but nothing doing. The apple Icon is there so it's found its boot directory but ain't able to get any further.


?   ?   ?   ?   ?   ?   ?   ?   ?   ?   ?   ?   ?   ?   ?   ?

Restart, restart...

Then it comes to life, but like a zombie on methadone, however, I have a desktop, of sorts...

Save, Save, Save!

I stick a memory card in the back and after an age, its icon arrives with me. I open it, open other folders and start to ditch whatever I can onto it. First is recent work — the book files. They go, they get stuck, the Mac freezes mid-stream, and this goes on for hours, and hours. While I have it doing at least something though, I can at least retrieve the important stuff, the stuff that otherwise must be rewritten from scratch.

HMS Quest has been torpedoed. There's a gaping hole below the waterline and it's only a matter of time before the inevitable happens. I'm there till five in the morning but in all that time manage to get only the smallest of document files off and whatever else I can pack in the lifeboat along with them before the good ship finally upends, gurgles, and sinks.

I've lost whatever wasn't backed up for good. The originals of ten thousand photos... they are kaput! All I have now is the copies uploaded to Picasa, and they'll never be fit for print at half resolution or worse. I'm resigned to the fact that I've lost all my stuff and all I care about now is the dread of having lost the computer to a hardware failure which would mean forking out £1,700 I don't have for a new one. Sod the passengers! Salvage the ship!

With gritted teeth I reboot the frozen thing and hope that I get one more shot at it just so I can insert the system disk in the slot and wipe the slate clean. If it refuses, all is lost. By a miracle it just has the strength and in goes the disk. It takes an age but its icon appears on an otherwise bare desktop, on which I click and command a total system overhaul...

I'm writing this, so I guess you know how it worked out. Two days of struggle later it's now as lightning fast as the day it was bought and though I'm missing certain crucial applications I can't live without and will cost half the price of a new computer unless I 'guest' them, I do at least have what can be got free and legit on the Internet and that includes the invaluable application the book is being created upon, Openoffice.

One day all data will be stored on the Internet you know. Computers will not need to store anything, just run. They wont even need applications because they'll just work over the ether and all be free to use too, mark my words. All you'll need to pay for is access rights, an annual license fee to a service provider who'll undercut the competition and prices will fall, fall, fall. Gone will be the day when you'll need to fork out the price of a second hand car for Adobe Creative Suite for just the few professional features you'll actually use repetitively. And gone will be the day when anyone will need to worry about being torpedoed by a Trojan horse...

But till then I have the sincerely held desire for the miserable low life who holed the Good Ship Quest to one day go to Hell where his scrotum will be pricked with needles, on the hour, every hour, for all eternity, and for his skin to itch ferociously and weep with pus each and every day of his worthless life till that day comes.


  1. Argh the dreaded lurgy Jeff, bloody viruses, glad you managed to rectify the problem.

    Your right regarding where data storage is heading and cloud computing over the next few years is going to grow and evolve rapidly, changing how we access and store software/data.

  2. I can't wait for then, Mark.

    I think that what some call the 'heavy lifting' work — the industrial scale image manipulation, the creative work, the heavy duty spreadsheets and generally involved work that require a big screen and lots of direct power will be the last to move over, but one day it will be possible to do without the bloody hassle!

    Tablets make light work of light work. I wish I could all the thing necessary on them, but they are a very long way from being able to actually create things from scratch as things stand.

  3. A Mac with a virus? Shirley not!

    Glad you got most recovered Jeff, don't you back up to an external drive at all?

    I'm intending to copy and paste all of my blog posts into word docs at some stage soon as there's no guarantee that they are safe.

    My blog reading list emptie ditself today, oh joy oh joy, why it did it I have not a clue but it does make you wonder how safe this all is

  4. Yep, there's one doing the rounds Rob. Backup? Whassat? I did have stuff backed up in places but took a silly risk being a Mac user that it would never happen. It did, I paid dearly.

    Backing up the blog is a good idea. I did it with mine and downloaded to my home computer — guess where they went? down the pan! Still, it's worthwhile should blogger go down between times. More work then...