Random Chaotic

A month or so ago, after being harassed by umpteen notifications, I updated the operating system on my computer. The only vaguely positive thing about the new system that I have found is that I now have the option of Dark Mode. I tried it for a while, but it was too much like living in self imposed Miss Havisham gloom, so I returned to normal mode. I rather liked some of the features of Dark Mode, but a liquorice coloured screen wasn’t one of them, regardless of the fact that all the reviews I read insisted it was ‘elegant.’ Why is a black screen more elegant than a white one? How, in fact, can a computer screen be elegant, it’s just a flat, backlit tool?

Two less positive consequences of updating are: a) the app that made my keyboard sound like an old typewriter no longer works, and, b) Scrivener, which I use every day to write, went all weird. 

Image from: http://flavorwire.com/486670/the-case-against-typewriters

Without the typewriter sound I no longer have that Hemingway at a campaign desk, beside a huge canvas tent, on the savannah feeling. And I really rather miss it. I know it doesn’t affect my writing, I’ve written more in the last month that I did in the preceding six, but it definitely detracts from the atmosphere somehow. 

The loss of Scrivener, on the other hand, would definitely affect my writing, adversely. It struggled on for NaNoWriMo, with certain quirks like underlining, in red, words that were spelt correctly, and refusing to let me do anything about it. But a message popped up yesterday telling me it would soon no longer work at all, and I’d have to buy the new version. That’s $45.00 I wouldn’t have had to spend had I not updated my OS. As I only have about four hundred quid to last me till next March that’s quite a large chunk of my budget. But the thought of trying to organise my book in an ordinary word processor like Pages or Word fills me with dread. I have done it in the past, and it’s a faff.

With Scrivener I can have everything relating to my novel in one project file. That’s all my research,  including images, sound files, and video; the outline; index cards (containing such things as names and brief bios of characters); comments, as well as the book itself broken up into chapters, scenes, parts – whatever, all of which can be rearranged by merely dragging and dropping them in the list on the left. And, I can work on two scenes/chapters at a time by splitting the screen, which is incredibly useful when editing.

This is two separate files from my virtual notebook, chosen at random just to show you what I mean.

 Luckily one of the prizes for winning NaNoWrimo is fifty percent off Scrivener 3 (I had 2.8), I’m just waiting for the winners’ code to come through. As a temporary fix, yesterday in something of a panic, I downloaded the trial version. Thus I’ve spent most of today swapping all my files from the old to the new, and reinstalling all my preferences. I sincerely hope I haven’t missed anything, but I probably won’t find out until I get to work editing the book.  

I’m now waiting for the arrival of ink cartridges I ordered early last week, so I can print the book out in order to read it and see where it needs to be fleshed out. Meanwhile I know I have a ton of research to do.


Header image: A solution to my ‘current reading’ problem: I’ve been struggling with books piled up all around me for months. I’d get irritated and shelve them all, but certain ones I hadn’t quite finished with would come out again, one by one till they cluttered the place up once more. I hate clutter, it makes me feel anxious, but I am hideously disorganised so it’s a feature of my life.  The trolley had been filled with scraps waiting to be included in a collage, bits of old string, random magazines, empty yogurt cartons that may come in handy… It was, in fact, an icon of chaos; so in a fit of pique last week I emptied it, found spaces in various cupboards for its contents, and repurposed it as a side table. It makes me very happy.

12 thoughts on “Random Chaotic

  1. That update has been a nightmare. Loads of bits of pieces no longer working as they should. I even got a message saying that my Kindle app would soon be out of date.
    I only managed 3minutes in Dark Mode.


      1. It messed up being able to comment on Blogger as well – I have that sorted now, but I wasted about 4hrs of my life trying to figure out how to make it work again.
        I have an iPhone… I just can’t put myself through the stress of updating it. I tried about a month ago, it wouldn’t update, and then the phone refused to charge for a couple of days, so I’ve let it be. I know that I will pick up my phone one day and it will be in meltdown, which will force me to try the update again. Apple can be a real bitch.


  2. I’m willing to bet that the keyboard sound you miss is a setting that toggles on/off. Check it out.

    Do you remember the promise of computers was to release us from all the drudgery? Look at us now! More addicted and addled than ever. Ink cartridges. Indeed!


    1. It’s an app called Typewriter Keyboard, and they haven’t either managed or bothered to update it to work in Mohave yet. I can still turn it on but only certain keys still make the sound, so it’s like typing on a keyboard designed by Captain Beefheart. Hopefully, they’ll sort it soon. Though I’m getting used to not having it, in the way some people have to get used to back pain, or failing eyesight.

      I do; for me there was no drudgery before computers, except the usual domestic stuff which I don’t mind, but now I’m a slave to this machine! The ink cartridges still haven’t arrived…


  3. My computer suddenly decided to start installing updates. I was terrified it was installing Windows 10 which I don’t need and would no doubt screw up everything in sight. Even when I turned off the computer, it was still installing the updates. Fortunately it wasn’t Windows 10 and I can see no change to anything at all.

    Glad to say I don’t have a smartphone, only a very old dumbphone.

    I also hate clutter. I’m quite good at throwing out stuff I no longer want or need. Except for books, which currently number about a thousand.


  4. I’ve heard that some Windows updates are terrible, I think Dave lost some precious music files when he inadvertently installed Windows 10. Still installing even when you turned off the computer sounds rather anxious making!

    Luckily nothing bad has happened with this update, and I’m now enjoying the new version of Scrivener, but I could have done without it, and spending the extra moolah.

    My smartphone gets dumber every day…

    I wish I was good a throwing stuff out, but I’m still scarred from throwing out a pair of green suede shoes by accident during a mass clear out over twenty years ago. The only time I ever get rid of books is when I buy duplicates of books I’ve forgotten I have, which is more frequent than it should be!


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