Coffee heat rising

Computer Spoofed…we think…

So I got an email, apparently mailed to my Mac inbox from one of my Gmail addresses, from some jerk claiming he’d seeded my computer with ransomware and demanding a fistful of bitcoins.

Heh. Apparently hadn’t noticed what’s happened to bitcoins. Oh well.

The reason I spend top dollar to buy Apple hardware is Apple’s customer support. So it was on the phone again to Apple, this time to seek advice. James, the guy who answered the phone this time, said he thought it was spam nonsense. However, we changed everything in sight and then some, deleting stuff I’d never heard of and updating others. And of course I had to change my gmail password, another PITA.

We never had to do this stuff with an IBM Selectric… 😉

DropBox supposedly provides some protection against ransomware. Unclear exactly how reliable or thorough that is…but it’s better than nothing. It doesn’t back up your programs, though it’ll hold most or all of your data and images. However, Time Machine does copy your programs.

So anyway, James didn’t believe the threat was real, but even if it was, we apparently addressed it.

Yet another tedious techno-time-waste.

In that department, I’ve made a couple of moves to cut some of the endless time suck.

Earlier this week, I dropped a particularly active Facebook group. That was too bad in a way, because I kind of enjoy that group. But as a practical matter, I diddle away altogether too much time on Facebook, and the various “notifications” the site sends out create huge logjams in my email inbox, even though I set the thing as best as I can to divert incoming FB messages to “Junk” or “Trash.” All that does, really, is simplify the opportunity to kill even more time deleting literally hundreds of pieces of email detritus. The other day when I cleaned out the email I had to delete well over 600 useless, redundant messages.

So this will help save some time on two fronts.

Meanwhile, another diffuse time-suck went away when I decided to post the rest of The Complete Writer chapters waiting to go up at Plain & Simple Press and set WordPress to schedule them for publication into the future. Then did the same with enough If You’d Asked Me squibs to last until the end of 2019, publishing one chapter or squib per bookoid every three weeks. This, then, creates three weeks in which to write Ella’s Story chapters, rather than trying (unsuccessfully, of late) to crank out one a week.

This will provide at least a shot at making some progress on Ella.

But of course having to dork around with protecting my computing empire from a real or spurious threat creates still more time suck: Every-goddamn-where I go on the Internet, I have to sign back in with passwords I can’t remember and so have to look up, or with passwords that no longer work and so have to be reinvented. GOD, how I hate this stuff! Like there isn’t enough to waste your time on…

Deleting all the cookies on both computers kindly caused the Washington Post to forget me on my two favorite time-wasting online games. I was aiming for 100,000 points and had just reached 95,000. So that’s discouraging enough to bring a stop to diddling away more time on that stuff.

And this will free up some more time for another 2019 goal: to send the “Drugging of America” proposal around to a bunch of publishers. Or an agent…really, you don’t need an agent to sell nonfiction. I had no trouble selling the three books I have in print through real publishers. But times have changed. Unfortunately, my agent passed away some time back, and my editor at Columbia UP disappeared awhile back. But…the woman who was senior editor when I was holding forth is still there, only as a much higher muckity-muck. She just sent a request for a donation (university presses are de jure if not de facto nonprofits). So I may send her a reminder of my existence and see if she or one of her underlings will agree to see a proposal.

Meanwhile, word just came down that Quora has given up some 100 million users’ data. Went there to try to change my password. I can’t find the original PW, so I must have failed to write it into the 20 goddamn pages of single-spaced passwords that resides, coded within code, on my hard drive. Godlmighty. Another time suck. Unless, o’course, I decide to just let that one go, too.

More of Ella’s story…the serial adventure

So here we are, one week into the scheme to serialize — online — not one, not two, but three books: If You’d Asked Me, Ella’s Story, and The Complete Writer.

This little adventure seems to be working on one level: Plain & Simple Press’s Facebook site now has something like a hundred “likes,” which I guess is to its credit. It’s kind of amusing to put dollops of these books online — in the case of Ella’s Story, anyway, it gives you an excuse to look for exotic images to decorate with.

Pretty time-consuming, though. The fiction piece is easy to put up, but the two nonfiction bookoids (If You’d Asked and Writer) require some fairly elaborate HTML formatting. I am not fond of coding. And there seems to be no simple shortcut to set up links for the tables of contents. Because I haven’t come up with chapter titles for the novel, I’m not building a TofC for that — at least not yet. Because…I can’t see how to create a ToC without having chapter titles: the code to set up page jumps from a table of contents entry to a title takes the reader to the line below the target text, so you have to have something to link to that’s above the first line you’d like the reader to see. I suppose I could enter some sort of symbol above the chapter numeral. But??? I dunno…let’s figure that out later.

Anyway, I uploaded Chapter 4 of the noveloid today: a flashback to Ella’s first meeting with Bhotil, in which she learns (to her dismay) that she’ll be living and working on one of Varnis’s two moons.

It remains to be seen whether loading a chapter a day, rotating among the three books, is a good idea. It does get something from each book online each week. This week we’ve seen  two chapters from Ella, two from Writer, and one from Asks. Next week two chapters from Asks and Writer and one from Ella are slated to go online.

This may be uploading content too fast, for a serialization scheme. In olden days when real magazines still existed, a publication like Saturday Evening Post came out only once a week. Pulp penny dreadfuls like Argosy came out monthly. So a serial story appeared weekly or monthly, not daily. It’s possible that daily publication is more than the market will bear.

On the other hand, it’s a different market and a different medium. Publish the stuff too slowly, and people may forget about it.

Then there’s the issue of keeping up with the schedule. Writer and Asked are complete, so it’s just a matter of copying and pasting existing copy, some of it already camera-ready, into web pages. But Ella is still in progress. To crank a chapter a week will be a challenge. Especially since I have no idea how Ella gets out of the predicament she gets herself into on Zaitaf.

This should be innaresting…