Whew! Gotta start trying to post more often, but as far as writing goes I’m being pulled in a dozen different ways and getting to the blog has fallen down the list. This is probably bad as no one wants to come back to a blog that’s never updated, but something’s got to be sacrificed, and no one is paying me to write this blog. Any takers?
I spent some time over the weekend organizing and re-filing the masses of hardcopy manuscripts I have. Not only do I keep everything – I have stories and novels written when I was 13 and in dire need of a kick in the ass – but I keep everything on paper, too. Not to say I don’t have electronic backups; everything written pretty much after 1996 I have on disk somewhere and even the old HC has been scanned to PDF files, er most of it anyway. But I still print out a hard copy of everything and file it the old-fashioned way, because, you know, no one has ever made that file format obsolete, and no one has ever stopped making paper, dig? If you ask which is more likely to be readable by our alien overlords in 2000 years, paper or PDF, I’ll go with paper.
In fact, if the house burned down and I was able to only save the backup DVDs, the first thing I’d do is print everything out again.
I mean, looking back, electronic files have a shitty record for me. When I was a kid writing short stories on my Commodore 64, I used something called KWrite (I think that was its name–no relation to the KDE word processor used in Linux these days). I still have 5.25″ disks with KWrite files on them, unreadable by any modern computer. Sure, assuming those disks are still viable I might hook up my old C64 (yes, I still have it) and somehow extract those files, but it wouldn’t be easy. And what would I extract them to? Paper, probably. Maybe I could convert them to something usable by modern PCs, but it probably wouldn’t be worth it. Thank goodness I *do* have a HC of those early, awful stories.
Then, a few years later I got my first PC, second hand from a friend, a creaky old 386 model. I installed Word Perfect on it and have a ton of files from that era as well. WordPerfect still exists, of course, so those files aren’t lost, but they might as well be since I won’t dish out the $$$ to buy a copy. Then there was the brief, hellish tour of duty with MS Word, and now I’m comfortable in my Linux dotage, using Open Office and loving it. Chances any of those file formats will be usable in 500 years, assuming my hard disks and DVD backups survive? Approximately zero, I think.
Chances the paper will still be readable? Pretty good.
Anyway, part of the reason I am pressed for time is these damn cats. I have four of them, and this is what they think of me working:
Translation: not much.
Finally, for those of you who have read through this whole post: I need a title for Avery Cates #3. For some reason, I’m halfway through this one and a title eludes me, which rarely happens. It needs to be punchy like its predecessors – The Electric Church and The Digital Plague. A three word phrase with an adjective vaguely connected to science etc. How hard can it be?
Damn hard. If anyone has a suggestion, feel free, though note that I will shamelessly steal it from you if it’s any good and offer absolutely no credit, so be warned.