Monday, March 29, 2010

Trouble in "Blog into Book" Land

WHEW!!! Do you know what this is?I will tell you. It is a picture of what your computer screen looks like when you are creating a blog book out of your blog using blurb's BookSmart software. It is an image I thought was gone FOREVER from my screen. (Side note, I feel like a complete and total GENIUS that I even knew how to put a shot of my computer screen on here).

I wrote a few months ago about having finished my first blog book. It was so exciting, but a lot of work, so I didn't even want to think about working on the next one for a long time. However, a burst of . . . a burst of . . . well, a burst of something -- book making energy? came upon me the past month or two and with that burst of book making energy, I spent hours getting another book nearly ready to print. It was nearing completion (which for some reason I have established as about 200 pages per book) when our Windows went out.

At first, we were afraid our hard drive had crashed. And instead of thinking of how many times people have told me to back up things like all our family photos (which I haven't done since moving back here), all I could do was clutch my stomach in nauseous fear that my HOURS of work on this book were forever gone.

I really have spent many hours working on it. I am much better at manipulating the layouts this time around and have found that I can nearly always get each page how I want as far as words and pictures being where I need, etc. But doing each page just right takes so much work. Plus, I must have loaded my pictures in poor quality on my blog originally because each time I try to make them one bit big in my book, I always get a warning that the image quality is crummy. That's fine because you can just browse and get the images from your pictures on your computer, but when you have posts with tons of pictures and you are trying to go find them all again, it is not much fun.

When I thought that what I'd done so far was maybe gone forever, I simply couldn't imagine redoing all those same miserable pages again. I didn't think I could stand the hours of arranging the same ones over again.

When we realized it was just our Windows, Mike was able to restore everything, and my book stuff still appeared to be living on our computer, but the software would no longer acknowledge it. I couldn't import it, I couldn't start a new book even. It was a mess.

I'd had a problem at one point with my first book (and again with my second) that had required the blurb customer service folks to step in and force me to email them things I didn't know how to email and import things I didn't know how to import, but, in the end, had fixed my book. This time, however, they weren't finding my problem so quickly.

The first customer service person I got after our Windows crash didn't know what to make of it and sent me up a notch to "Padraic." "Mike!" I'd said, "It's Padraic again! He was the one who helped me the last time . . . and maybe even the first time. Padraic will surely know what to do!"

Mike told me that he was starting to feel suspicious of Padraic. Perhaps, he suggested, Padraic was sending these errors my way from some remote location in hopes of continuing our computer lingoed correspondence. He wasn't sure that he liked me sitting there all alone, emailing Padraic the issue with our software.

"But I LOVE Padraic," I protested, "and," shaking my fists in anger at the computer, "I HATE Padraic!"

I then told him that if I could keep Padraic, he could have Fiona. (Fiona being the host of an AM Irish music hour after the Garrison Keiller show -- I don't know that Fiona is much of a husband stealer, but, I greatly envy her lovely Irish accent and can only assume it acts as a powerful Siren's call). Or, (thinking along the lines of radio), I offered Dr. Laura -- if he preferred.

He conceded that Dr. Laura would surely know how to properly treat a man, but admitted to being terrified by her. So, we were at an impasse. In the end, however, I and my problems were too much for Padraic to handle, and he cast me aside to his supervisor -- Craig.

Craig was all about business and assumed I knew more about computers than I did (judging from the instructions he gave me), so this meant I had to pull Mike in every time Craig emailed to say, "Umm, can you do this for me? I don't really understand a word he's saying . . . what does navigate to C:/users something something mean??" And Mike, Craig and I would slave away at trying to figure the problem (with no Padraic, Fiona or Dr. Laura even).
After about two weeks of this, I was feeling certain that the fault was somehow permanently associated to something that had happened with our Windows issue and the work I'd done on my book was gone for good. Then, today, customer service man Craig asked me to send a screen shot of some error (and that's how I learned to do that genius screen shot business that is not at all one bit genius, but shows how computer illiterate I am). He then told me to drag some file out of its location onto the desktop. Well, that was easy enough. So easy I didn't even have to wait for Mike to come home and do it for me. But, surely, too easy to be the answer to it all. But then . . . it was! I gave a little gasp of joy and disbelief when I clicked on my little BookSmart icon and it happily opened and showed me my books -- just as I'd left them on our last parting!

That's a long boring post, but I am literally sighing in relief. And I am so happy that Mike and I aren't going to leave one another now for any customer service representatives or radio personalities.


Tia Juana said...

Oh I want to scream and jump up and down for you - literally screaming for joy over your found blog book! Believe me, I KNOW how much time you put into it! I KNOW because I have done nothing for the last month but blog books! And all those other people getting involved? Can't imagine because when I'm blog booking, I just want to blog book and not be bothered with anything else. So yay! for you and blog blooks!

I just finished up blog book number 3 yesterday. It is all of 2009 and when I uploaded it to publish/order, I was told it would be $89.00 per book. Ai yi yi! I do not have that kind of cash right now - to buy a book, let alone 5 books like I have for every other book - one for me and each of my kids since it is sort of a family journal of sorts because they are the stars. So yeah, i've got it done but I can't afford to buy it. Sheesh. But still, so happy for you.

And, when are we kidnapping Sara?

Tia Juana said...

I like how I called it a blog blook. That is what I'm going to call blog books from now on ... blooks.

Tia Juana said...



Between my courage to go private and your courage to change just the smallest little thing that is so hard for you to do, well, look out bloggerdom, Nancy and Jana are taking over the WORLD!!! (Well at least stories about chickens and children....)

Krista said...

Now you are one blog book pro! Don't you feel so much more informed now? You could probably teach Padrais (or something like that) how to do his job now. Good for you! Hey....I don't know how to do a screen shot. I'm impressed.

Perla said...

i was feeling very nervous reading this post because i've been working on book #2 for quite some time and the thought of losing it is...horrifying. almost as horrifying as picturing mike and dr. laura together.

Brett said...

I am so glad you found it and I am so jealous! Now you can teach me?

marzee said...

I like this pic of you and Mike - very cute. Also - the last comp tech guy i worked with had the same last name as me. I felt like I was talking to my long lost cousin. It was so fun!

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