Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Nobody on their deathbed ever regrets not spending more time at work

Worry not, Phill – I'm still alive! But my computer isn't quite yet. After getting a new desktop to replace my ever malfunctioning old one, I was in the middle of rebuilding it from various back ups and other sources . This took quite a while, and some things are possibly lost for good. I had to type the pilot episode script for my Red Planet entry in from scratch, copying from a paper copy, because the last time I backed things up, I'd hardly started it.

It was quite amusing: after having desperately searched every scrap of paper in my office, finally finding my activation key code, then chatting to a Final Draft support techie in the U.S. using some rather nifty InstantService web-chat instant messenger doodad, and getting the software un-registered from the broken down PC, and re-registered to my new one, I then copied the backup files from my portable hard drive, and – trembling,and with bated breath – clicked to open the file marked 'Life Support – Episode 1' . This is the extent of what I'd written before backing up:


That was it. Thank the Great God Aethismo I'd printed it out, that's all I can say. Except to add: if anyone who gave me notes has still got a copy of my one page series outline, could they send it to me, please? Don't seem to have that at all, any more. Do regular backups, ladies an gentlemen: learn from my stupidity.

Anyway, I was in the middle of rebuilding the computer when my monitor stopped working. I couldn't afford to replace it until pay day (this Friday just gone – it arrived today) and before that I was making do, using my old RGB projector hooked up to the PC and blasting the screen image all over one wall of the room – it's hard on the eyes (and the screenwriting process: see your script's faults writ large!), so progress has been slow.

I had the natty new netbook too, of course; but, enter another thief of my time: the day job. Don't get the wrong idea - I love my day job. But this time of year is always frantic and fraught. I work as a project manager for a team designing web sites and web applications. It's work I like, and I always find that the writing I do is better when I have a stable and enjoyable job of work to pay the bills; so, it contributes to my proper job too.

And, despite working for a financial institution, my day job seems for now to be unaffected by the credit crunch - fingers crossed. Certainly there's a lot of work coming in for the team. Too much. The problem is that big institutions, even in the web technology area, err on the side of caution (except, obviously in the area of mortgage lending, but let's not go there) and a change freeze operates throughout December when I can't put any websites live.

So, the year end rush of projects happens in November as people use up their budget, instead of in December when people want to be on holiday. It's nice in a way. But it means that round about now I'm horribly busy. It was the same last year too – I had a working computer then, but I was also writing a feature; I seem to remember a November of the comments section bursting with chides for my not posting enough. Plus ca change.

Anyway, all is fixed up now, and by the end of Friday the day job will have settled down too. Expect more blather here then.


Jason Arnopp said...

Hooray. Lord Perry returns, and this time he's backing stuff up on a regular basis!

Phill Barron said...

I, for one, am relieved by both bits of news.