Space Opera With a Twist

One Step Forward

I finished writing We Dare – Ghost Squadron No. 1 late last week, and after a weekend hiatus during which I replaced my old desktop PC with a new model, I’ll start the revision process later this morning.

The old PC, a refurbished Windows 7 box, gave me good service.  I wrote each one of my books with it; I did my graphic design on it, and I was running my business with it.  I can’t quite remember how ancient that HP Compaq is, but they stopped producing the CPU chip in 2009, which should tell you something.  It was giving me signals of impending motherboard failure for the last week or two, and I finally conceded it was best if I replaced the machine before everything crashed and my ability to work with it.

And so, I went out to our local Canada Computer store on Saturday and walked out ten minutes later with a new desktop PC.  Nothing fancy, but oh so much faster and more stable than the old one.  No more hiccups, no hesitation, no ‘not responding’ messages, no stuttering mouse pointer.  Yes, it runs Windows 10, which I dislike for its intrusiveness and bloat, but with Windows 7 support ending in the next few weeks, the writing was on the wall.

It took me a day to set the new PC up so that it runs like the old machine did, with every single one of the tools I need to ply my trade, especially my editing programs.  But to make sure they would work properly, I broke down and replaced my old MS Office version with Office 365.  I’m philosophically opposed to subscription-based software and privately believe whoever invented the concept should be drawn and quartered, but it seems to be the way of the future.  And because I’m in the writing and publishing business, I have no choice since none of my editing software works with OpenOffice or LibreOffice.  Ah, well.  At least my old version of Adobe Creative Suite (CS3, if you can believe it) still works fine.  The subscription on the newest version, CS6, is ruinously expensive.

On the truly bright side, I was able to transfer my web browser data from the old machine to the new machine – cookies, passwords, history, bookmarks, and all – via sync.  That meant I was up and running by suppertime Sunday without a hitch.  Now to revise We Dare.  My editor is expecting it in early December.


  1. xromad

    Eric, what do you mean your editing software doesn’t “work” with OpenOffice or LibreOffice? Do you mean their native file format, Open Document Format (ODF)? If so, why not just save in DOCX format?
    From what I’ve heard, users of Office 365 who stopped paying for the subscription have lost files they created with it. Hopefully you can save an lock your work so that Micro$oft can’t get their grubby paws on it.

    BTW, I use LibreOffice, SoftMaker, and Apple’s Pages & Numbers software with Mac OS. All of them can open and save DOCX & XLSX files. I especially like LibreOffice as it can open a plethora of ancient formats.

    • xromad

      That should read “…save and lock…”

    • Eric Thomson

      I use Grammarly, ProWritingAid and PerfectIt to clean up my work after it’s written but before it goes to my editor. Very powerful pieces of professional editing software, but they work with MS Word, not LibreOffice. I have LibreOffice and tried. I can run two of the three in their own environments for small chunks of text, but that’s not helpful when you’re revising a 100,000 word novel, so I’m stuck using MSWord to produce the final, cleaned-up product.

      All of my work is on a Linux home server because I refuse to use cloud-based storage, such as OneDrive. Good luck to Microsoft…


      • xromad

        But have you tried saving the LibreOffice document in MSWord’s .docx format? Wouldn’t it then be treated like any other .docx file? If not, I wonder what is the cause; perhaps MS hides “poison pill” code in its documents.

  2. Eric Thomson

    It has nothing to do with file format. I can open my MS Word documents in LibreOffice no problems. The three editing software programs I listed above act very much like a human line editor and proofreader, and show you where your prose is problematic, where you missed punctuation, when you’re repetitive, when you’re inconsistent with capitalization, punctuation – that sort of thing. They’re add-ons that work inside MS Word, but not inside LibreOffice.

    • xromad

      Ah, I see now. They are like extensions & plug-ins used with web browsers. I didn’t know that Office had plug-in & extension capability. BTW, I wish a lot of Kindle authors would use similar software!

  3. Alien Resort

    2009 really is old for a computer. I’ll bet you notice the difference.

    • Eric Thomson

      The difference is indeed noticeable.

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