I began writing so long ago that my first computer was a Kaypro word processor. It was known as “the tank” and was recommended for writers. No hard drive at all. Just big floppy disks and two slots. Actually, when I think back, I worked in an office on Long Island, New York earlier than that. We had an IBM Selectric equipped with one of the very first commercial computers. It was loaded with a reel of tape punched with information. It sat behind my desk and when I loaded a formatted letter into it, it sat there and typed until it came to a personalization, then paused until I turned around and entered a salutation or other uses of the persons name, then it moved on. Meanwhile I was usually typing away on my boss’ dictated letters. Talk about a challenge.

At any rate, this I tell because it’s important to my story that you know I’ve been computing for many, many years, and we won’t discuss how many. At my first job in Arkansas we had a Mac with a screen that was about six inches across and up and down. That was a newspaper.
So, we come to the reason I’m ready to kill my computer, much as I wouldn’t want to do without it when I begin to write. Recently I was forced to load a Word program into my laptop. I’ve always used Word Perfect. Learning Word has left me nearly bald. (pulling it out, don’t you know?) but I’ve just about figured out everything, except what I forget from day to day.
I agreed to help judge a short story contest, and the stories were sent to me in a ZIPPED file. Some were Word documents, others were RTF, which supposedly any program will open. Yes? No. The Word stories opened just fine, but I can’t get the RTF stories to open, with the exception of one. Now, that doesn’t make much sense, even to someone who accepts that computers are self-centered and will do whatever the heck they want to, no matter what.
I’ve been reduced to tears more than once trying to accomplish something out of my area of so-called expertise. This time, it’s pure anger and I’m glad I don’t have a hammer handy.
So now, if you’ll forgive me I’m going to bat my head against the wall for a while, then ask the sender to please send me the stories in Word and not ZIPPED. Perhaps, then I can finish my judging and get back to writing.

About veldabrotherton

For thirty years I've been a writer. Publication of my work began in 1994 . I'm pleased to have recently settled with Oghma Creative Media as my publisher. My brand is SexyDarkGritty and that applies to my western historical romances, mysteries, women's fiction and horror novels. I recently signed a contract to write westerns again, and what fun it's been working on the first one. If I weren't writing my life wouldn't be so exciting.
This entry was posted in judging short stories, Kaypro word processor, short story contests, Velda Brotherton, Winzip, Word Documents, Word Perfect Documents. Bookmark the permalink.


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  2. Velda,You're singing my song. I started out with a Tandy Model 16K cassette tape drive computer in 1980. A real electronic dinosaur. If the electricity flickered, I lost everything I had written. I also used Word Perfect for years and grudgling learned most functions of Word because I had to, but I still grit my teeth when it won't accept incoming submissions. Grrrrr.

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