Tag Archives: technology

The Hair-pulling Joys of a New PC

The author’s dreaded but inevitable challenge of the old reliable laptop deciding it’s time for retirement. Oh my goodness, talk about the drama! I knew that my lovely laptop that  ushered in all three of my novels was starting to slow to such a point it was taking thirty minutes to boot.

I postponed the decision to go computer shopping. I did lament over it with comments like “I think I may need a new computer” and “I hope this laptop lasts a little longer”. The biggest challenge is reloading all of the programs I use on a regular basis.

One of those programs is my writing program. I spent a bit of change on it a few years ago and have taken it for granted that I would be able to transfer it seamlessly to the new PC. Nope, it isn’t recognizing my license number. Do I really want to buy a new program after forking over money for the new computer?

The answer is no. So, I’ve emailed the company praying they will assist me and I can return to writing my long-awaited book (although, I know I’ve kept my readers waiting too long).

The point of all of this blogging is primarily a writer’s opportunity to publicly wail and thrash around throwing words instead of physical items out there. Now, my hissy fit is finished, and I wish each and everyone of you a good day.

What I Love About My Fitbit

OMG! Will this woman ever stay on a topic — like writing?  Or living in a small town?

Nope. Sorry to disappoint you, but I am a flitter. I flit from one topic to another in conversation, linking thoughts in my head which no one else sees as being at all related to the discussion at hand. It is also not so out of the norm for me to write about inanimate equipment that I love (remember my love affair with my kitchen faucet or my romance with my commercial-grade floor buffer?) That being said, it does make sense for me to write about my Fitbit, because it has become a part of my daily routine which includes writing tales of mystery, suspense and on occasion — romance.

So, what do I love about my Fitbit?  Well, the first thing is that it wakes me up every morning at 6:30 am with its vibrating buzz on my arm. Without it, I would sleep too long and wake up grumpy because I overslept. It gets my butt up out of the chair while I’m writing, so I can take a stroll outside or around the house to keep my blood flowing.

Some of my best story ideas come to me while I’m exercising. It’s a form of meditation for me, and my Fitbit helps keep me on target each day.  When I find writing to be difficult, the band on my wrist provides me with the solace of knowing  I have accomplished something today, even if it’s only a specific number of steps and active minutes.

It is strange to think how a watch has become such an essential part of my day. In fact, I resisted purchasing one while others were singing praises about theirs. I thought I didn’t really need to count steps because I was already using an application on my phone to track my workouts. Strange to think that something I felt I didn’t need has become such a part of who I am in the past year.

What I love most about this little black band is that it has kept me goal-oriented throughout the year. Exercise helps to keep my mood light so I can smile in all those selfies I post online. LOL! It has helped me drop another size in clothing, and boy, do I love that!

So to celebrate I have ordered some different colored wristbands for my little motivator. I’ve stuck with basic utilitarian black since I got it Christmas of 2017. In 2019, we are going to be styling.

I have a GIF for that…

I posted my blog on the #OneMillionProject blog in response to all of the GIF messages and emoticon ridden messages I receive.  I mean they are cute and funny.  I use them.  But it got me to thinking about social media and how it drives our culture.

Read ” Will Imagery Replace the Written Word” via Blog Posts

Addendum to “Building Your Social Media Audience? Keep Your Safety in Mind” Scam Article

This article from the Huffington Post is an interesting read if you want more info about how romance scams on social media work and hear from actual victims of romance scammers, and the victims whose faces and identities are used to perpetrate these multi-million dollar crimes.

How A Billion-Dollar Internet Scam Is Breaking Hearts And Bank Accounts – HuffPost https://apple.news/AR3sO3hJvQi6k9fEJl-I-MQ

Building Your Social Media Audience? Keep Your Safety in Mind

Firstly, this isn’t an article about how to grow your social media audience.  It is a warning for those new writers venturing out for the first times on the net to market their books.  I recently saw a post by another author about her internet troll/stalker, and how frustrated she was dealing with this person.

The author was young and beautiful.  In my ignorance, I thought she was the common target for those who are looking to scam a woman on the internet, but I was wrong.  At 56 years of age, I have found myself becoming more and more cautious of each friend request I accept.  I question if the photographs on the profile are legit or someone else’s stolen for whatever nefarious purpose.

I’ve learned about Romance scammers who look for middle-aged (that’s definitely me) and lonely ( this is something I’m not) women with the thought of flattering them, romancing them and then trying to get money from them.  They will use photos of attractive males and females (beware guys!) stolen from real people.  Some will use pictures of military men and women with a fabricated story of loss.  Widowed with child(ren) and wanting to find someone with a kind heart, these scammers will be texting you and many other potential marks at the same time.

I did some research on the military aspect and found on http://www.cid.army.mil/romancescam.html  warnings concerning romance and online dating profiles from service members deployed in Afghanistan or elsewhere.  Even military personnel are at risk for these scams.  They have a Sextortion brochure that is very informative on this subject.

Some of the “Red Flags” they’ve identified are valid for both civilians who are targeted by scammers posing as US military members, and for active duty military members who have become targets themselves, and they include:

  • Unknown persons contact you online and attempt to friend you.  You may even have mutual friends or primarily military members as their friends.
  • The scammer uses poor grammar and sentence structure when messaging.  Their responses don’t always make sense as if they didn’t understand the question or they are awkward sounding.
  • The person wishes you to engage in an explicit video chat or exchange graphic images almost immediately after initiating contact.
  • They call you by endearments very quickly after becoming friends.  This assists them in the multiple messaging they are engaged in.  They won’t have to remember your name.  Everyone is dear, gorgeous, or babe for example.
  • A video call begins with the female in a state of undress or engaged in a sexual act.
  • They ask for money so they can visit you, get much-needed military equipment, etc.

Opening your marketing to the public means you will encounter a variety of people from many different walks of life.  I’m a cautious individual, and I’ve been surprised at how an innocent exchange about writing can quickly shift as the communications attempt to cross a line.

These are the steps I take to secure my privacy while continuing to interact with the public as I market my books.

  • I only post vague information about myself and my life.  I don’t post any photos of my family.
  • I don’t post personal phone numbers, email addresses or home addresses.
  • When I’m asked a personal question about any of the above, I indicate this is private information.  Sorry.
  • I look at every Twitter page, Facebook page, etc. for the person asking to befriend me.  If there are a variety of entries on various topics, especially books and we have multiple mutual friends, I will accept.  But if they have one or two posts, the account is new, or they have photos or postings I find objectionable, I delete the request.
  • My friend’s list isn’t viewable by anyone but me.
  • I don’t allow Messenger calls from anyone.  (I have had several attempted calls.  Unbelievable!)
  • If anyone crosses the line — I block them, unfollow from every platform, and if need be, report them.

I’m cynical by nature, and I do not need flattery to build my self-esteem, so the attempts that have been made towards me have fallen flat.  Initially, I thought it was funny and would message a bit to see where the scammer would take it.  Not anymore.  The frequency of these attempts is sobering.  I worry about other people who may through their good natures fall victim to these efforts.

Not everyone is out to scam.  Our society isolates so many people, and social media seems like a perfect solution for meeting others and finding new friendships.  Just remember to stay aware, keep professional when promoting your business, and if something doesn’t feel right, go the extra step to take precautions in regards to your privacy.


My Time in Front of the Camera

Even when I was younger, I hated having my photo taken.  I’m showing my age here, so bear with me–do you remember that episode of Friends where Chandler has a problem smiling for the camera?  Yup, that’s the one.  Funny, right?  Definitely, if you aren’t the one facing the lens.

I am the female version of Chandler.  I think I have the best smile possible and as soon as someone says “Cheese!” it’s over.  My sweet look of serenity has been replaced with the look of a rabid chipmunk on ecstasy, no less.

I have a sister who has perfected the art of looking decades younger as soon as the smartphones come out.  Understand, I’m the person who takes photos of others and then I hide in the back row if I have to be in one.  I’m only 5’3″, so the back row of any group except pre-schoolers means I’m invisible.

“See my shoulder.  That’s me at the Coliseum!”  You get it.

I’m not terrible looking, but my facial muscles haven’t gotten the message yet.  I have a photo or two that I look okay in, but taking selfies to get one decent photo is a  full-time job.  Thank goodness, we have digital now.  Back in the olden days, or should I say my youth, you took a photo or two and after they were developed you picked the least offensive one to use for whatever project needing an image of yourself.

If I take one thousand photos, the odds are, I will get one I won’t find too horrific, and I’ll recognize it immediately and can delete the offending ones forever.  That’s a pro for digital.  The con is everyone and their half-brothers have a camera to take that one photo when you have your mouth stuffed full of pizza or when you are captured in the worst angle possible.  Is that my @** or a Volkswagen?

I hate when people say, “Get my best side.”  For some of us, the best side is back behind the camera.

Today, I had to do a YouTube video.  Not just one snippet of time where I need to contort my features into something pleasing, but minutes of me flipping my hair, rolling my eyes, and showing my old lady face on a medium that can be transmitted around the world.  The incessant babbling of the newly deranged is more coherent than my moments on camera.

Finally, after 45 minutes and about 20 takes, I come up with the least embarrassing video.  I’m sure by the time it’s edited they will remove everything except my rabid chipmunk smile and the two short sentences which will actually make sense.

I wonder if therapy will help?



Earlier in the week, I laughed at a terrible proofreading mistake I’d made when I forgot to remove a sentence I’d reworked.  It resulted in two sentences using variations of the word “Devastated”.

Tonight, I feel the word acutely.  I just accidentally deleted my almost completed Chapter 27 in Winter’s Icy Caress.  I’m using a new program and despite the backups the program makes and its constant self-save feature.  I’ve lost the file forever.

I’m going to bang my head against a typewriter (I don’t want to destroy my laptop) and cry.  I will also curse, but I refuse to write the words I will think and more than likely say.

Wish me luck!

An Electronic Love Affair, Of Sorts

I received the email from my cell phone provider telling me it was time to move on, upgrade, etc.  Up until this point, my cell phones had been more utilitarian and nothing like the mini computer / phone I currently use.

My phone had been beside me on all of my walks providing music to motivate me.  It helped me navigate strange roads and even learn a “poco” bit of Spanish.  Obviously not enough.  Now I was being told it was time to leave it behind.

True, it really didn’t have enough memory for my growing collection of apps.  I put all of my photos and books in the cloud, but my music and apps like Facebook took a lot of megabytes.  I’d always have to delete one app to load another.  Sigh.

It was time to take the leap.  Of course, once I arrived at the store, I deduced none of the penny phones would do.  I stood before the display of the newer generation of phones.  With all of my apps, it wouldn’t make sense to change brands. One phone was less money (which is code for still a shitload of money), but it was smaller in size than my current one.  I had enough problems with typing on my faithful little blue phone.  No way would this one work.

The other potential replacement was much larger.  It had a lot of GB’s, 64 GB’s to be exact.  What couldn’t I do with so much memory?  It would be easier to type on, easier to read my books when my Kindle wasn’t available to use and it was BIG!  The American way of thinking is ‘the bigger, the better’, right?

I told them to ring me up.  What was a few…several hundred dollars compared to the new relationship I would be developing with my new buddy?   This phone would be in my presence more often than my husband.

I took my new rose-gold lifeline-to-the-world home with me.  After downloading all of my apps again and getting familiar with it, I had a sudden shocking realization.  My new phone wouldn’t fit in my back pocket or any pocket.  It wouldn’t fit in the armband I specifically purchased for my cell phone for easy access and convenience during my long walks.

Just like a real love affair, sometimes the little irritating traits don’t show up until after the commitment has been made.  And as we do in real life, we adapt and accept those quirks, because you can’t live without them anymore.