Skip to content

Taken by Technology

April 25, 2012

Hopefully, by now, I hope I’ve made it clear I am an old, died in the wool, tried and true computer techie.  For me computers are tools.  Computers are meant for dealing with huge amounts of data, like for international banking or insurance companies or scientific applications, like figuring how many feet there are between here and the moon, and how to steer a rocket ship that is going there.  Social Networking shouldn’t be handled by computers and their technology, as far as I’m concerned.  We should be talking to each other, and, even then, only about relevant things.  I don’t want to know every time you munch on a hostess Twinkie.


Back in October I succumbed to the repeated suggestions from so many of my friends to do something with my monthly stories.  I collected them and decided to issue a book.  Being a victim of the current assumptions that computers can now do everything for you, I googled on the current methods of book publishing.  I watched a bunch of you-tube videos on self-publishing and I downloaded this and that and diligently followed all sorts of confusing instructions that got me nowhere and wasted reams of paper and ink cartridges.  Finally, one evening, after pulling out half of my long hair it struck me —  I’m try to make a book, and, guess what, I’m a highly skilled printer with years in the profession.  I have made many books very successfully and very professionally, so many years ago, using the pre-computer methods.  Screw this computer stuff, I hand made 100 quite adequate hard copy books that seemed to satisfy everyone.  People would look at my books and always say something like “wow, this looks like a real book,” and I’d say something like, “well, I’m a real printer, why not a real book?”


So, in time for Christmas, 2011, I pretty much got the 100 books delivered.  I got lots of compliments, almost no complaints and lots of demands to not let the effort die on the vine.  Since the 100 handmade books didn’t make the New York Times best seller list, I didn’t make any money on the 100 books.  If I was going to pursue the effort, it would have to be in a low cost mode, my usual mode of late.   Presenting “Small Mountain Rambles” as an e-book was the obvious solution.  As is my wont, I gave myself a deadline: have the e-book out by the end of February.  However, promptly just after New Year’s day, my little netbook computer blew up.  Zip!  No e-book without a computer.  I put out a call for help and got a new (used, but new to me), more capable machine.  It took about six weeks to salvage the netbook’s hard drive and then set up this new machine to my professional, exacting standards.  Now I could restart the e-book effort.


Being the snotty, consummate perfectionist that I try to be, I felt I had to have this new, revised edition of SMR (Small Mountain Rambles) be a more professional presentation than the a quickly thrown together assortment of casual essays that comprised the original edition. I worked to include some newer material as well as all upgrading the original stuff, bothering to get it nicely groomed, updated and polished.  Okay, done with that about a month ago, now, finally, to e-book.


I had revised the original computer file about a million times since this all started back in October.  I ended up with a computer file that I am quite proud of, actually, about 350 pages long and lots of pictures.  One reason I got into the printing profession was that I’m a fan of “fine book,” books who are themselves pieces of fine art in and of themselves.  I added nuances to this e-book file to have it get as close to being a “fine book” as the software would allow me.  Well, the software hasn’t allowed me to get anywhere with it.  I have attempted to upload my book file many, many dozens of times over the past four or five weeks, always to get some sort of error message about my uploads.  Yesterday I spent nearly an hour with one of the techs at the e-book software site and after straightening out a few hidden glitches, the tech on the other end of the line told me I had produced a very clean book and she was impressed.  I attempted the reload the file ten times after speaking with her yesterday and they all still failed.  One again, I was pulling out my long hair and throwing my stupic computer across the room, hoping to destroy it.


Like so often happens, sleep made me a genius.  My months old file had a million echoes in it, false images and unresolved code; the slimy “ghosts in the machine” the science fiction movies refer to.  I woke up, built a completely new and ultra clean, naked file.  There wasn’t one bit or byte of info in it.  Piece by piece I copied all the 350 pages of text to this new file, successfully uploading each new addition to it and finding this ever growing e-book available on the internet.  Tomorrow I will start adding the pictures.  Hopefully, at-end-of-day tomorrow, I might finally have something of worth to sell to the general public, the true end of all this.


I’ve been doing totally unproductive 16 and 20 hour days for the last month and now, today, I cracked the nut.  Congratulations to me and my stubbornness.


Technology has taken me out of the loop and mule-headedness has brought me back.   Whew!




From → Uncategorized

  1. E. A. Peregrine permalink

    Is it going to be a FREE e-book?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: