Saturday, January 17, 2009

The soul of the machine

As you know, when working on a computer the "Oh, sh!t" moment can come at any time.

On PCs it's often the dreaded Blue Screen of Death. That's one of the countless reasons I made the Big Switch to Macs about six years ago.

Because I do some editing at home on my iMac and some in the office on my PC—emailing files back and forth—I run the risk of files being corrupted in one fashion or another.

My company, being a leader in the IT field, has a computing infrastructure that keeps the Blue Screen at bay. But the system can't do anything about what can go wrong when one uses different versions of software on different operating systems.

Since I mix and match, so to speak, this is one message I fear: "The default format for Word 2004. This format is shared by Word 97 through Word 2003 for Windows, and Word 98 through Word 2004 for Mac. Compatibility check recommended."

I recently lost a full day's worth of edits (at home) on the endnotes section of a book I'm editing. When I opened the files in the office, all the superscript numbers in the text and their partners in the endnotes had changed from arabic to roman.

Lesson learned: Don't change computers midstream through a project.