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Week #16: A mini-crisis

22 April 2014
Posted in: 2014 special, Tech, Writing | 1 Comment

52 weeks of reading and writing
This is going to be quick and dirty because I’m currently involved in some fire-fighting. I’m sure there’s a lesson in this for all of us, I’m just not sure what it is yet.

This is what happened:

lock and keyI usually password-protect all my writing work. Even on my own computer. I don’t know why—it’s a habit from the days I used to share my computer and I still do it. This evening, I found that the ODT file containing the manuscript of my latest novel wasn’t opening. The error message OpenOffice kept giving me was that my password was wrong. After a few minutes being convinced that I was losing my mind, I had the brainwave of trying another file, also password-protected, with a different password. And sure enough, same problem.

That’s when I realized that my brain was intact. But something else was Very Wrong.

I started to retrace my steps. The file had been accessible in the afternoon, so in what way had I tinkered with my machine since then? The answer: installed a new printer, including printer software, and when a message from Keychain popped up, I remember not paying too much attention to it and allowing it to go ahead

There was no need to panic too much since I Dropbox my work files every night and periodically take other sorts of back-ups. So I’d lost a maximum of half a day’s work, but it was still annoying (not to mention a jolt to the ego). In order to check if my files were okay, I went to Windows, copied the files over there and tried to open them. It worked. Phew. So I haven’t lost any of my work, just some time.

Now I’m off to figure out how to sort out the mess on Mac OS. I’m blaming the HP software for messing with it and find myself in the unlikely position of being grateful to Windows for keeping me sane.

Maybe that’s the lesson! And of course, there’s no excuse for not paying attention when messages pop up on your screen.

~PD

(Photo credit: ba1969)

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Week 7: New horizons and some ongoing ones

19 February 2014
Posted in: 2014 special, Tech, Writing | No Comments

52 weeks
This week 7 post is just a bit late, but for a change it’s not because of the usual excuse (in other words, laziness). In fact, I’ve been very busy with all things reading and writing—a publishing conference and a workshop on literary innovation in children’s writing.

Digital future

I was an accidental audience member at the Globalocal 2014 publishing conference on 13 and 14 February in Delhi, when I was asked to be a rapporteur. It started out as just a job, but ended up being a very interesting couple of days, where a range of professionals from publishing and other allied fields talked about how technology is changing the way we look at content, how we produce it and how we interact with it, consume it.

What was interesting was the CEOs’ Roundtable, where they spoke of the “disruptive influence” of technology on readers and reading. This is not disruptive in the destructive sense; rather, a disruption in the form of a change in established habits and norms. It doesn’t need to be spelt out—how we read is changing and if the publishing industry doesn’t want to be left behind, it needs to evolve and do it fast. My report on the CEOs’ Roundtable on the Frankfurt Book Fair blog is here.

The second day’s roundtable was on STM (scientific, technical and mathematical publishing), where there was a discussion on the changing nature of copyright. The other interesting concept I was introduced to was open access, a way to make publicly funded research available to the public (well, specifically scholars and researchers, who might be able to make use of such information. Emma House of the Publishers’ Association, UK, had spoken in brief about open access at the CEOs’ Roundtable, and this was further discussed at the STM one. My report for the Frankfurt Book fair blog can be read here.

Collaborations in children’s literature

This week I’ve been attending a workshop organized by Amanda Morrison and Robin Kershew of RKPix, funded by the Australia India Council, talking about the “digital disruption” and looking at new ways to collaborate and innovate on children’s content. Cross-cultural exchanges could play a major role is such collaborative projects. Participants include Ken Spillman, Priya Kuriyan and Chris Nixon. The workshop is still going on, so details will come along later.

Speaking of cross-border collaboration, especially between Indian and Australia, this is a good time to briefly mention an exciting project I’m part of: an anthology of young adult feminist speculative fiction, where ten Indian and ten Australian authors come together to showcase their ideas of a future world. I’m one of the co-editors of the volume along with Kirsty Murray, and Anita Roy is an associate editor. The book is titled Eat the Sky, Drink the Ocean, and is slated for publication in November 2014 (the Indian edition by Young Zubaan) and April 2015 (the Aussie edition by Allen & Unwin). More later!

~PD

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Sims 3: The madness continues

13 February 2014
Posted in: Gaming, Scratchpad | No Comments

This is an unscheduled post—and it’s all Marie’s fault who put temptation my way and caused me to stir up my Sims 3 legacy family. So, guess what happened within ten minutes of loading the game? I had twins, of course. It resulted in a seven-people household, with one toddler and two babies (which soon became three toddlers). Long story short, I’m quite impressed with my computer for handling it with nary a hitch; can’t say the same for myself.

The burdens of the next generation (generation four) lie on the shoulders of Myka Zara and the twins, Para and Laila. I’m not sure yet who the heir is. My sympathies lie with Para, because of her unfortunate rhyming name, but has she picked up the insanity—all by chance, I promise. :mrgreen: Now a teenager, Para also has the virtuoso trait, and is already close to maxing out her guitar skills. Older sister Myka and sane twin Laila are solid citizens, if a bit boring.

After the twins had grown into children, a spate of deaths in the household left poor Eli Zara (the daddy) reeling—first his mothers kicked the bucket; then his poor wife was electrocuted while trying some DIY dishwasher repair *innocent expression here*—and alone to raise his three daughters. Anyhow, he managed not to fall apart, mostly ignored the kids, and is currently involved in a fling with one of his married friends.

Meanwhile, three working generations of the Zara family have managed to stash a good amount of money in the coffers. Perhaps it time to build them a new house—you’ll be surprised how much happiness simoleons can buy my Sims.

~PD

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