I was working on The Perfect Wife today at a local bar-restaurant, and once again, I was amazed at how well the Internet has allowed me to work anyplace where I can get a cell phone signal or a Wi-Fi connection.
I use a variety of computers depending on what I’m trying to accomplish. I’ve always been a Windows person and ragged on Apple users as having drunk the Kool-Aid. Boy, was I wrong, and I admit that I’ve tasted the Kool-Aid myself, and it was good!
As a sucker for electronic toys, I admit that have way too many computers. I’ve been disappointed with most Windows laptops, primarily because of their touchpads. Most Windows laptop touchpads don’t work very well except for Lenovo machines. My day job is as an engineer and generally speaking, the majority of we geeks use Windows. I’ve bought multiple Windows laptops over the years and have been disappointed with most of them.
A few years, in a weak moment, I purchased a MacBook Air as it was so light, but I worried about it having an I5 processor, which with Windows machines generally means it is slow. But boy, was I surprised as it never lagged, and the battery life is phenomenal. Generally, with a Windows computer, your battery life is 4-5 hours, but my Air would run over 10 hours without breaking a sweat.
After thinking about it, I realized that it made sense. The Macintosh operating system is based upon the UNIX or Linux operating systems and is fast and energy efficient. I learned UNIX in college, and the commands are basically the same as the Mac operating systems.
What I found with my MacBook Air is that the keyboard is great, and my typing speed greatly improved over my Windows laptops. The Air ran my Microsoft Office Suite of programs fine, and I was in hog heaven as we say down home. The touchpad was to die for and never gives ghost touches or other abnormalities that Windows units are famous for.
At work, I have an iPad for those times I have to go out in the field and work. A couple of years ago, I had a need for a laptop to perform some field testing that required a full-blown computer. I asked our IT department for a laptop loaner, and they gave me a Lenovo unit. I thought, “God, this thing is a turkey. Black, bulky, and not sexy at all. But, opening the lid and typing on it, I was in love!”
Lenovo makes business laptops and it will never win a beauty contest. It has mechanical keys that remind me of the old-style “clacky” keyboards we used to have. Other than the noise, it has the best keyboard on a Windows laptop. I loved it so much that I found a used one on Amazon for $300, and spent about $300 on it for a new SSD, more memory, and a new battery. While not sexy, it has a long life, fast, great keyboard, and touchpad. While the unit is about five years old, I have a fantastic laptop that I’ve only got about six hundred dollars invested in. It’s perfect for those times when I need a Windows laptop.
About a year ago, I bought a new 2021 16-inch M1 MacBook Pro, and I’m now firmly in the Apple camp, especially for laptops. Battery life is now about twenty hours, and I never worry about running out of juice. Macintosh keyboards are close to perfect, and it is now my second love.
Anyway, I’ve gotten off track as usual. My initial point for this post was to discuss using cloud storage to make my writing as seamless as possible. I like to work on a story when I get a few minutes of downtime. Like when you are waiting at the DMV for license plates. Having a laptop with all the tools makes my life easier.
The problem is corralling your word processing files, but when you access the files from different computers, how do you keep everything straight? I’ll tell you how I do it, and if anyone has a better idea, I’m all ears.
I use a RAID-equipped network storage drive (NAS) on my home network. RAID is a type of storage that uses pairs of hard disks that store two copies of every file independently on each drive. Saving a file to my QNAP NAS drive is automatically stored on a secondary drive. If one drive fails, the storage unit will automatically switch to the backup drive and warn you of the failure.
My document files are normally stored in the cloud. I use DropBox for that. The only gripe I have about DropBox is that the personal version only allows three devices to be connected to the same account. So, I had to upgrade to the business version for about $100 a year which allows me to connect an unlimited number of devices. I don’t need the storage space but simply the connections.
I access the document files using Scrivener or Word from both Windows and Macintosh computers. The file format is the same, no matter the operating system.
The only warning I have is that if you use Scrivener or a program that automatically loads the last used file, turn that off because it will corrupt your documents.
Assuming you are working on “My Story” on your laptop. Then you fire up Scrivener on your desktop to edit a different story. In the default mode, Scrivener will open the last story you edited on your computer. And if it was “My Story,” then Scrivener will attempt to open the file from the cloud automatically.
This causes the document to be open on two computers. When you close “My Story” on the computer to start a new document, Scrivener will save My Story in the cloud. But then, when the copy that you’ve been working on gets saved to the cloud, DropBox will realize that it has two different copies of the same file and mark them.
The next time that you open the file, you’ll have to figure out which copy is correct and, in the worst case, have to try and merge two versions of the same file.
Simply setting Scrivener not to open the last file worked on solves the problem. The only other issue I’ve seen is that DropBox, by default, throttles uploads and if you are working off Wi-Fi, then make sure DropBox updates to the cloud before you close the lid. I turn off the upload throttle to make the update as fast as possible.
So, to sum up, I use my laptop or desktop to edit my documents in the cloud. I make sure that the cloud files are fully updated before closing the lid or turning off the computer. As Scrivener and Word files are compatible with both the Windows and Macintosh operating systems, no matter which computer I’m using, everything works.
Then every few days, I use my desktop to update my network storage and copy the cloud set of files to the network. There is a free program, FastCopy, which will just update new and modified files to the network storage drive. That way, you don’t have to recopy all of the files, only the ones which have been changed. FastCopy’s on a Japanese website, and you kind of have to guess how to download it, but it’s pretty easy.
I’m finishing up on The Perfect Wife, and it’s currently at 53,000 words, so it will end up long enough to make a decent print book format also. It’s another MILF Hotwife story and will hopefully be kicked out pretty soon.
I’ve been concerned about SmashWords being acquired by Draft2Digital, but my sales seem to be holding up and actually increasing. I sell primarily through Amazon and SmashWords. Also, Kinky Literature, but they pipe sales through Amazon and SmashWords, so I didn’t include them.
I just received an email from SmashWords that their third-party vendors, Apple iBooks, Scribd, Nook, etc., had sold fifty-five stories, so I guess everything is working out. To date, through SmashWords and their third-party vendors, I have sold 5,300 copies of my stories which has impressed the hell out of me. This does not count the stories distributed through Amazon, which is a separate account.
Below is a screenshot of the note SmashWords emailed me:
One of the nice things about distributing your stories through SmashWords is that if you meet the qualifications for their premium status, SmashWords will push out your stories to a number of booksellers without any effort on your part. As shown in the screenshot above, I sold 55 books without lifting an extra finger.
I’m Larry Archer, and I write erotic stories for the huddled and yearning masses in both print and electronic format. Foxy and I are swingers in real life, and I write about the things we do and see. While the Lifestyle is not for everyone, it’s been fun for us. My smut is explicit and hardcore but with a somewhat plot. My porn stories are generally positive and fun as this reflects how enjoyable swinging has been to us. If you’re interested in checking out my stories, I publish at all the typical outlets.