Monday, October 4, 2010

Guest Blogger - Alice Duncan

Whoo, boy, I can’t think of a single worthwhile thing to write for this month’s blog. It’s a darned good thing I don’t have to do this any more often than once per month, isn’t it?

In a way, my inability to think of anything to write is good because it means that September wasn’t quite as awful as the other months in this particular year have been, although I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time on the telephone with computer gurus, including my beloved grandson, Riki, who’s a very accomplished computer geek, bless him. It’s weird when people remote into your computer and start doing things while you’re just sitting there watching the cursor float across the screen and open and close things. In spite of my anti-virus program, Avira, which is supposed to be really good, my computer managed to pick up a virus (kind of like I got pneumonia about a month after I got the pneumonia shot a couple of years ago). Still, remoting into someone else’s computer is kind of like magic, in a technological sort of way.

Anyhow, to cure the virus, Riki told me to install a program called Viper Rescue on a flash drive and then run it on my computer. Man, did that thing work! It not only erased the virus, but it stripped my computer of my web-page-making program. Naturally, being me, I couldn’t find the disks for the program (I probably gave the stupid thing away during my recent fit of house cleaning in order to get ready to sell this house, which not a single person has bothered to look at so far, and move). Therefore, I had to buy another copy of the same program. Fortunately I managed to find one on eBay for cheap(ish). Sigh. I don’t have money to throw around, y’know?

Then my iPod refused to recognize books I’ve downloaded from, so I had to call Audible. Their technician, who, I think, lives in India or Pakistan or somewhere like that, managed to fix that problem. He remoted into my computer to do it, which was again kind of interesting, although the important thing is that my iPod and my computer are now on speaking terms, and I’m listening to CAUGHT, by Harlan Coben, as I walk the wieners in the morning. Phew! I don’t know what I’d do without my iPod, which my daughter Robin gave me a couple of years ago. It’s amazing how attached one gets to technology when one isn’t looking, isn’t it?

Then yesterday my ISP began refusing to send outgoing mail, so I spent an hour or so on the phone with a representative from Cable One, my provider. He remoted into my computer, too, but couldn’t fix the problem. He did, however tell me lots of interesting things about computers, none of which stuck in my leaky brain. He suggested I call Riki, so I did.

Bless Riki’s heart, he doesn’t mind helping his idiot grandmother from time to time (at least, if he does mind, he doesn’t let on). By that time I’d looked up the problem of Windows Mail not sending outgoing mail on the Internet and discovered I should have something called Windows Vista Service Packs 1 and 2. When Riki called me after he got off work, my computer was madly installing Service Pack 1, so he couldn’t help me. He asked me to call if I still had the same problem today, and he’d remote into my computer. He said he thought he knew how to fix the ISP-not-sending-email problem.

So I awoke this morning to the stirrings of several dachshunds who wanted their breakfasts, only to discover that my ISP is again sending e-mail! Success! Of a sort. Now my Pandora Computer Radio refuses to work on Firefox, and my computer isn’t allowing me to install Adobe Flash Player, even though, until this morning, I could listen to Pandora all day long on Firefox if I wanted to (I like to listen to music while I write and/or edit). Pandora still works on Internet Explorer, though, so my life isn’t completely music-free. I still can’t delete a whole bunch of messages that have been sitting in my Delete Box since May. Also Spybot Search & Destroy isn’t working correctly, either. Sigh. I think my computer hates me.

Come to think of it, maybe September wasn’t such a great month after all.

One good thing happened, though! I got a whole box full of ARCs of PECOS VALLEY REVIVAL from my publisher, and I’m going to be giving away three of them during my October contest. If you’d like to enter same, please send me your name and home address at , and I’ll toss your name into Daisy (by winner-picking wiener dog’s) special contest doggie dish. If you’d like to read the first chapter of PECOS VALEY REVIVAL to see if it’s your cup of tea, you may do so here:

Thank you!


  1. Computers are such wonderful tools - but so much can go wrong, it is frustrating!


  2. Now I've managed to upload an upgrade to my web page program, but I can't get the thing to upload onto the Internet, and my web page has disappeared. It must be some kind of gift. Or maybe I'm just cursed.

  3. Alice, without my engineer geek husband to help, I'd be the Geek Squad's permanent customer. Sorry you're not having prospective buyers storm your door. I know it only takes one, but hordes make us feel better. Good luck.

    By the way, I'd love a copy of Pecos Valley Revival--or anything else you write.

  4. Ooh, Alice, sounds like you need an exorcist! I hope you get all your computer woes solved soon. Fingers crossed.

  5. It's all fixed!!!! After panicking and writing my particular computer nerd (my site's hosted by Nerds on Site) and writing to Serif, the manufacturer of the web-site program, and even getting a sympathy call from my nerd, it turns out it wasn't my fault! The web hosting service was down last night, and now everything's okay. My supply of Xanax supply has lessened considerably, however :)

    Wish I had a geek on-site, Caroline, but my computer nerd grandson lives in California. For some reason he doesn't want to move to Roswell. Go figure :)

    I think my computer DOES need an exorcist, Liz! How are you doing? I've been thinking about you a lot lately.

  6. Be careful while walking the doggies and listening to an ipod. You will not hear anybody creeping up behind you, nor the wail of sirens of emergency vehicles who have no intention at stopping at the red light.
    My computer behaves properly and does give me any surprises. It helps that I worked in IT as a technical writer for 8 years and at Philips for four years. I try to keep just the essentials on the computer - all Microsoft products, Norton Security, Roboform, etc. I never use freeware.
    Have a good day, Alice and "hi" to Miss Daisy!


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