Sunday, November 21, 2010

Malware and Jane Austen

There has been no blogging for nearly a week because my computer got hit with a nasty Trojan that required it be put back to factory conditions with a Restart, a process I could no more do than fly. Fortunately my son was able to talk me through it from 3,000 miles away (Thank you again, Brian!) This took the better part of three days, including installing four years' worth of Windows updates (old computer), buying and reinstalling Word, trying to figure out how the new, more cluttered version of Word functions (I don't like it), and changing passwords on everything. Three writing days lost to somebody else's maliciousness.

During those three days, on a much different note, I attended Mary Robinette Kowal's reading at the University Bookstore. She read from her new novel, SHADES OF MILK AND HONEY, in which Regency gentlewomen, in addition to acquiring the accomplishments of music, drawing, needlework, and dancing, can also learn domestic magic. Mary perfectly combines the Jane Austen tone with an interesting magic system appropriate to Austen's sedate plots. In addition, Mary, a professional puppeteer with theater training, is a fantastic reader, playing the part of each character and even throwing in a five-minute shadow-puppet show written in the late 1700's. She wore full Regency dress (with an offer to describe the underclothes) despite the fact that Seattle is currently having below-freezing weather with a threat of snow. All in all, it was one of the best readings I have ever attended. Oh, and the book is great fun, too -- I have read it. On a Kindle, which would have bewildered Austen. But at least my Kindle does not seem susceptible to malware.


Joe Iriarte said...

I attended more or less the same reading at Dragon*Con. She is easily the best at giving readings that I've encountered. (I've never had a chance to attend a reading of yours, so no offense there.)

Gary Gibson, science fiction writer said...

I'm sure you've heard people say all this before - and it's perhaps too little too late - but you might consider checking out the free open source alternative to Word called Open Office. For writing needs, it's just about as good as Word.

Otherwise, you might want to take a look at a piece of software for writing called Scrivener. A lot of pro writers apart from myself have come to swear by it. It's not free, like Open Office, but it's cheap enough it might as well be. I almost don't know what I'd do without it now.

Nancy Kress said...

I'm not computer savvy (a gross understatement!) but Word is now pretty much the publishing industry standard, which ties me to it.

Bryan H. Bell said...

I'm a former IT guy from Microsoft and Sony. I regularly help out my non-computer savvy friends with their computers. I do it for free because I just love helping people fix their computer problems.

If you'd like, I'd be happy to help you with any computer issues you may encounter in the future. No charge. I live in Seattle (actually Issaquah), so I could provide help at your home if necessary.

Anything to keep you writing! :)

Nancy Kress said...

What a generous offer! If I get in more trouble, I may take you up on it. Can you email me (through my website) your phone number?