Friday, January 2, 2009

The Mystery of the Hard Drives by Morgan Mandel

I'm blessed and cursed with two computers - a desktop and a laptop.

When I write or market, I love to sit down at my desk and use my ultra fast desktop computer with the large screen. The setup is easy on the eyes and comfortable.

I also love the convenience of walking to and from the commuter train with my lightweight laptop computer slung over my shoulder. Once onboard, I can do the same things I can do at home with the desktop computer.

Now, here's the catch. Sometimes I save files on the hard drive of my laptop computer. Other times, I do it on the desktop's hard drive. To make things more confusing, my laptop is the only place I can sync my Iphone photos. However, I can send emails from my Iphone to the account I'm not using to send the email. (If I send it to the same one I'm on, yahoo won't show it). Anyway, these emails will show up on both computers.

I also own a small Canon camera which I use for flash or telephoto pics, plus movies. The content from that camera is saved on an SD card. I can use either computer to do the transfer.

Sometimes I work on my novels at home on the desktop, other times on the train.

If you've been following my clues, you can already detect the drawbacks suffered for the sake of owning two computers. Today, I wanted to change a photo on my website, the program of which is stored on my laptop. After a search, I found the photo in the other computer.

Last week I wanted to use my laptop computer to spend time on my novel. I wasn't sure, but I seemed to remember the last time I'd worked on the novel was on my desktop at home. It wouldn't be a good idea to add to the confusion and change the file until I knew for sure. When I got home, I compared the file dates and discovered the desktop was the correct spot for the file.

To solve at least that part of my mystery I've decided to always send myself an email of the work in progress every time I finished working on it. That way both computers will contain the correct file.

Do any of you have similar problems? If so, what solutions do you use? Or do you operate out of only one computer? Please share.

Morgan Mandel


deola said...


Jean Henry Mead said...

Fortunately, I don't have to commute to a job, so I do 99% of my writing on my desktop computer and save the laptop for long trips or to play games such as chess and solitaire. I can see where it could get confusing unless you use jump drives on both computers for backups.

Morgan Mandel said...

Jump drives are great as long as they don't get lost - they're so small they're hard to keep track of.

Morgan Mandel

Robin Minnick said...

Having worked with as many as 4 computers at once -- whatever one was handy for my location, and only 1 was a laptop -- my solution was much like yours. I always emailed my latest work files to myself -- usually at more than 1 address. Text files are so small, I could send complete book ms if I wanted. I did often back up with a jump drive too. (I'm a belt-and-suspenders kind of person)

Ben Small said...

I don't have to commute, but I have three computers I use, two desktops with large screens and a large screen laptop. Frankly, I use the laptop whenever I want to sit somewhere else, or of course, when I travel. One desktop I use for research, the other for writing. I know I could just get two monitors and maybe a new video card to handle them, but this setup works well for me. I have them networked but often use thumb drives to move stuff back and forth. This can sometimes get confusing, however, but that's the price for convenience. I love computers, what can I say? I've had at least one since 1983. Oh, and I've got five more old ones stored in the garage. Just can't bear to part with them. Every once in a while, I have to dig around and plug them in for something I think I may find. Yes, I copied stuff over from old to new, but still, sometimes I find I forgot stuff.

I'm waiting for the men from the Funny Farm to come get me.

Dana Fredsti said...

I use a USB drive to transfer things from work to home - I only use my laptop at home, but I will try and get stuff done on my breaks at work so I like to have backups of all my current projects. I use my Alphasmart for writing on the Muni!