Category Archives: technical help

5

A techie holiday wish

Hey folks, I could really use your thoughts on this one…

As Sharon noted below, we’ve been doing a lot of work on our computer systems here at DGLM–brand new server, new webmail system, even a new postal meter. And with that, I’ve been trying to figure out what computer configuration makes the most sense for me when I need to do work at home–because I am waaaay out of date.

Right now, I’ve got an ancient Macbook (one of those white ones with the chipped casing not-so-affectionately known as a “crackbook”) that I use for writing, editing, and the internet. The webmail system is fairly good for email, but it’s still a lot clunkier than even my iphone (a 3GS, but can’t do much about that until the contract runs out next summer). And for reading MSS, I use a 2nd generation Kindle, which I’d love to replace as well.

For MS reading, I’m thinking an ipad is the way to go. And from Michael Bourret, I gather that email will be a lot more functional on an ipad than webmail. Certainly the ipad will be better for web surfing than what I have now. But when it comes to writing and editing, it’s hard to imagine using an ipad, even with an external keyboard–so maybe a new laptop makes more sense? I’ve never had problems reading on a laptop, and I guess I could suck it up with the kindle when I’m on the subway. But I’m also a total cheapskate when it comes to tech, so I’d really rather not invest in a laptop unless it’s a vastly superior solution.

Well, since I’m sure you writers out there have similar computing needs, what’s your set-up? Do you use multiple devices? If so, what? Any PC users out there? Ever since my old Dell got overtaken by viruses, I’ve steered clear of PCs, but Mike Hoogland’s been singing the praises of the new Microsoft tablet/computer combo–anyone else tried one of those?

5

Non-linear reading (or why the Kindle drives me nuts)

Howdy, folks! Hope everyone had a good restful Labor Day, and that you’re feeling recharged for autumn. Writing from cold, rainy NYC, it sure feels like summer headed out the door in a hurry. Of course, it will probably turn scorching and steamy again by Friday, but right now it’s one of those gray early-fall days where all you want to do is curl up in a corner with a good book—or codex,  as this insightful piece in the Sunday Times Book Review puts it.

It’s certainly thought-provoking to consider how e-readers restrict non-linear reading, and I was most excited to see Lev Grossman identify my biggest beef with the Kindle. Whenever I have an e-readers conversation with editors, we almost always agree on how great they are for reviewing submissions—I certainly don’t miss the days of dragging 300-page manuscripts home in my bag every night. But it drives me crazy that if I start reading a manuscript at my work computer, I cannot for the life of me find my place on the Kindle when I get home, no matter how many searches I try. Invariably, it’s just a long skim from “Locations 1-32” until I find the chapter where I left off—and Lord help me if I left off mid-paragraph or the document doesn’t have chapter headings!

So kudos to Grossman for pointing out this issue, and hopefully the good folks at Amazon will read the article and figure out a solution. But in the meantime, does anyone have any suggestions for how to find your place more easily? Any tricks? I’d love to know—especially on a cold, wet day that’s tailor-made for dipping into a book without having to hit the Next Page button ad nauseum.

Welcome to the new DGLM blog and website!

Welcome to our shiny new home, blog readers!  For the new year, we bring you a new DGLM site, a merger of our website and blog.  Thanks to everyone who made suggestions a couple months ago on features and tech questions—where possible we’ve incorporated your feedback, and other things we’re keeping in mind in case we can implement them in future.

We’ll be blogging as usual over here at www.dystel.com now instead of at Blogger, and there are also some other things for you to explore over to the right (unless you’re not currently reading this on the site itself, in which case you might want to just poke your head in and take a look!).  You might be interested in learning more about us and our clients.  If you’re an author looking for representation, perhaps you’ll want to peruse our FAQ, Submission Requirements, Who We Are and What We’re Looking For, and Nonfiction Proposal Guidelines.  Need something new to read?  Check out our Staff Recommendations, Recent and Forthcoming Titles, and What We’re Reading in the column on the right. Maybe you want to know where we’ll be?  We’ve got a calendar with our upcoming conferences and events in that sidebar as well!  Of course, if you’d like, please feel free to use the links over there to Subscribe, Follow, or Like us and share our site with others!  The new blog should start feeding into our Twitter and Facebook accounts today, so if you’re already following us there, you don’t need to do anything.  If you’re reading us in a blog reader, please subscribe to the new RSS feed.

Make yourselves at home!

As always, we want to hear from you!  What do you think of the new digs?  Any suggestions for improvement?  Glitches we may not have caught?  (We hope not, but let us know if so!)  New features that you’d like us to consider?  We can’t always implement everything recommended to us, but we’re always open to hearing your ideas.

12

The sharpest tool in the shed

by Lauren

I’ve had technology on the brain this week.  Recently, our server failed us in catastrophic fashion (apparently Outlook doesn’t like it when you save all your emails forever and ever just in case you need information later–who knew?), and as the company’s liaison to our IT company, it’s been my good fortune to orchestrate its replacement and the lengthy process of moving from one to the other.  On top of the system upgrade, I’ve been working on a couple new things for the blog (stay tuned for fun changes coming up!), so I’ve been thinking a lot about how dependent we are on technology and how tough it can be to figure out what’s new and worth investigating.

Finding a new tool can change everything.  My mind was blown a couple years back when I found out that you could change existing text from ALL CAPS to various other options in MS Word with the press of two buttons: Shift+F3.  And I can’t imagine how I managed to regularly read any newspapers or magazines or blogs before I found Instapaper and Feedly.

So I’m wondering, as writers or editors or readers, what technological tools do you find that you couldn’t live without?  Have you found, say, a trick in a common program that changed your life?  Or an app that makes you more productive?  What websites make your social networking efforts easier to manage?  Any techniques to make editing easier?  Let us all know below–who knows how many hours you might save of us!

8

Technical difficulties

by Lauren

Hello there, blog readers!  I’ve recently been alerted to a couple technological snafus related to our blog.   Fortunately, you guys have been super helpful in the past, so I’m coming back for more.  In the eternal tech conundrum, it’s near impossible to troubleshoot a problem you can’t replicate, so naturally both these things don’t appear to be an issue on our end (and we haven’t changed any settings recently, related or otherwise).

First DGLM client Joelle Anthony let us know that sometime in April or so, she stopped being able to comment on our blog.  Here’s what she says:

“Just so you know, what happens is I click comment, the window opens, I type my comment, I choose my name and URL (I’ve also tried anonymous) and then when I hit post, instead of word verification coming up like it used to, everything just disappears and I’m back reading the comments that are already there.”

She can comment on blogs where comments are formatted like this: http://anthonysundaysoup.blogspot.com/ but not on blogs where comments are formatted like ours: http://ramblingsofadevotedbookworm.blogspot.com/.

And second we heard via Facebook from reader Mark Janousek that lately our blog entries don’t show up in his Facebook news feed.  I suspect Facebook’s the culprit here, with their constant setting switches and such, but I don’t see a way to change those settings. 

I still get the blog feed on my Facebook and have no problem commenting on our blog.

So for both questions: a) does anyone know why that happens?, b) does it happen to anyone else?, c) has anyone narrowed down the circumstances under which it happens to a narrower set?, and/or d) does anyone know what settings I need to tweak?

If you can’t comment, please feel free to email me at labramo@dystel.com with any answers to the above!

Thanks in advance, guys, and thanks especially to Joelle and Mark for giving us the heads up!