What a week!
First, an apology for the delay in posting. If you have the time and energy to read this post in full, you’ll understand why it’s late.
Last week’s episode of this series suggested I was on track for the edit. Raring to go, in fact.
I hadn’t bargained on the continuing power of technology to defeat creativity.
Regular readers will know my iMac began to play up on 2nd February, when I contacted Apple to resolve an issue. That involved deleting the OS and reinstalling it and, of course, reloading all the back-up data from my external hard drive and iCloud.
For a short while, the computer appeared to perform relatively well. Until I decided to delete some files as part of an occasional housekeeping project. It slowed down, occasionally hung and, eventually became impossible to use effectively.
I researched online, during the short spells the system allowed me. Came across some advice on a forum and, as a result, tried some new software, MacKeeper, which told me I had problems, and how! The software could probably resolve these, but I’d have to buy it, of course. Of the several options, I chose a one-year subscription at £107.40, which I could’ve done without spending (Much rather use it to enter writing contests!).
Downloaded, the software went through its processes and, guess what? The system worked no better, though the software had found and even resolved a lot of issues. As part of this process there was an invitation to ‘ask an expert’. So, why not?
After a brief chat online, I let the techie into my iMac and he rummaged around. There was a solution, but it would take time and, guess what? The service wasn’t free, but an add-on I’d have to pay for. The cheapest option was a 6-month contract that included monthly services after the one time fix. It came in at £354.00!
I explained to the nice man that I’m a pensioner and, in common with 97% of writers, don’t make enough money from writing to even pay tax on it. He consulted a supervisor who came up with an offer to do a one-time fix for £170.00. Still too much. I could take the machine to a relatively local shop and have the same thing done for £90.00. They offered me the service for £88.00. As that would save me a lengthy journey, I accepted.
It was now approaching the evening of 16th and I watched as Dev took over my machine and started his investigation. I won’t bore you with the details, but I spent a large number of hours over the weekend in front of a screen controlled by various techies so I could do those things they couldn’t manage remotely, phoned their help line several times (free), chatted with 5 in total, and, on all 3 days, completed the processes after midnight. The final session, which was the one that worked, included again deleting the OS but this time using a ‘clean reinstall’ which involved downloading the OS onto another external hard drive (fortunately I had a small spare in a drawer) and then reinstalling it from there.
The final 2 techies then started reloading my data from the hard drive and iCloud, a process that I continued from Monday and completed around midday on Tuesday.
I spent the rest of that day trying to find the current WIP on Scrivener. The techie who’d reinstalled data from my external hard drive had done so manually, as there was a suspicion that one of the files on there was responsible for corrupting the OS. But, as he hadn’t reinstalled all the apps at that time, the Scriverner files hadn’t been reinstalled. My external hard drive is 1TB and at full capacity, as the iMac constantly backs-up and then deletes the older back-ups when it needs space. It took a while to find the files for Scrivener, but, eventually, I was able to restore them. Hooray!
Next, I had to review a book I’d been reading. I use MS Word for such short pieces so, naturally, I opened it.
It’d only let me read documents. It needed a verification code to open properly. MS Office 2011 came with the iMac when I bought it as a retirement present for myself 5 years ago. No disc came with it, and no documentation I can recall. I started to hunt for some way to find the verification code. After an extensive online search, I recalled my brother, Steve, once solved this problem for me on an ancient PC. I gave him a call. In the ensuing discussion, he mentioned an MS account. If I had one, it’s possible they might be able to help me.
I looked up MS and entered my email and sought a forgotten password. It appears I have no account under that email address. I opened a new account. After a brief search, I found an option to chat online. The techie, another helpful guy, investigated the situation and told me I definitely need the verification code. I explained, also mentioned my circumstances. He suggested I buy the new suite, as the 2011 no longer has any support from MS. It’s way beyond my budget. I explained again the full circumstances of my situation and he excused himself to seek advice from a supervisor.
They offered me a one-year subscription to MS Office 2016, free. I jumped at the chance and accepted.
On investigation, I discovered no obligation following this offer, so I downloaded the suite (there was, of course, an invitation to ‘renew automatically and earn an extra month’, which I ignored).
Finally, I can now actually get on with some work. The computer seems to be working as it should, my data is now uploaded, and I’m set to go.
However, the whole situation has somehow soured my affair with the Mac. It has many endearing qualities, but the difficulty of solving problems when living in a rural area make it a poor choice for the future. When I’m ready to replace, I’ll go back to Windows, with all its faults and problems. Those can, generally, be solved relatively simply and at less expense.
So, yesterday, I spent the day updating the editing docs for the WIP, following the work with pen and paper. I need these docs on hand during the edit, so I printed them out and organised a board on which to pin them. That took most of the remains of the day, and then I had to get ready for my badminton club in the evening, so that’s where I left it. No time left to pen this essay as the weekly instalment of the progress on the due date, yesterday.
Next week, I hope to provide you with some real movement on the book, on a much shorter post! That, after all, is what I’m really all about.