My days are filled with technology that I’ve come to take for granted: my two bands of wireless internet, streaming movies on Netflix through my Xbox 360, taking video with my cellphone and instantly uploading to Facebook, YouTube or Tumblr. Yawn, I EXPECT that stuff. And if it isn’t working, I am pissed off.
Today though was a day where I sat back and said “DAMN that is COOL.” I’ll tell you why:
1) Skype + Android + NASA + UStream + ROCKET TO JUPITER
As I mentioned in my last post, the Gunny is at NASA for the Juno launch. The launch was delayed for a few hours as I learned by monitoring his Twitter feed. It took massive willpower on my part not to hate him when he got to see Bill Nye the Science Guy speak. But I overcame it. Suddenly a video call came in on Skype. It was Gunny on his phone, from the Tweetup “Twent”. I could see the other lucky bastards milling around and he took the phone over to a woman who follows me on Twitter (I assume from my Xbox days). She smiled and waved and said “Hi Trixie!” So I pretty much met someone I only knew from Twitter through my husband’s phone via Skype. For a moment, I was THERE. Then I watched the launch on NASA’s UStream channel with about 18,000 other nerds. If you can listen to a Mission Control checklist and hear the words “We are go for launch” without getting nerdwood, you are dead inside.
Later, Gunny got an autograph and photo with Bill Nye. I’m still battling the hatred on that one.
2) Roku 2 + Wireless Interwebz + iPad + Amazon + Netflix + Pandora + PayPal
When the baby and I visited Gunny in his new apartment outside Baltimore last weekend I became enamored of his Roku. When he first described it to me on the phone (It’s a little box that streams content to your TV) I was kinda “yeah yeah whatever”. But I actually got a chance to use this and really liked it. It’s got Apple-easy UI, it’s cute and simple and dumbass-proof. And it’s powerful!
Anyway, when I got back to Redmond I ordered a Roku 2 XS for myself and it arrived today. I plugged it in and went through set-up 1, 2, 3. Then when Roku needed an update I ran into trouble: It couldn’t connect to get the update. I tried three times and started to get frustrated. So I pulled up Roku.com/support on my iPad and started a livechat with a support agent named Mai. She had me reset the Roku (toothpick in the hole), and then everything was fine. I linked Roku to my Pandora account on the TV and then used the iPad to link my Netflix and Amazon Prime accounts. The thing that most impressed me–when asked for a credit card (for any Roku purchases) PayPal was an option! A delicious option! Roku is super cool and easy and I heart it. My ‘zoinks’ tech moment was that while setting up the Roku on my bedroom TV I didn’t have to leave the room. My iPad was there for support and account linking, and the PayPal option meant I didn’t have to go get my credit card out of my purse.
3) Dusty-ass papers + youthful ambition + USB Portable Diskette Drive + Amazon + Kindle
In 1992 – 93 I wrote a novel. I had a new baby and was going to college part-time. Somehow, without the aid of amphetimines I wrote for one hour a night on a borrowed PC and after 10 months or so I was done. When finished I sent it to exactly one publisher: Bantam Doubleday Dell. They told me no thanks and I said “okay then.” And this novel —The Sleepless Nanny — sat for nearly 20 years. One hard copy gathering dust in a box and the digital version on a floppy disk. Yesterday, I learned about Kindle Direct Publishing via a Facebook post. What’s this, I said… I can just upload a damn Word doc and hit ‘publish’? Like a freaking blog post?!
Thinking it would be a fun trip down memory lane I started re-typing the book into a fresh Word document. After five pages, my fingers said “fuck this shit.” As I no longer have a hole that will fit the 3.5″ floppy (three kids you know…) I ordered a USB Diskette Drive and paid the $3.99 extra for one-day shipping.
This magical portal arrived today and there it was, unearthed like Tutankhamun, my novel in some version of Word so ancient it might as well have been Linear A. I had to disable all kinds of shit meant to protect my computer from antediluvian 0’s and 1’s, but eventually my version of Word made nice with its great great grandma and I had my novel in a file I could upload to Amazon. So… it’s uploaded. It’s currently “in review” but in less than 24 hours it should be available for any curious Kindle owner in the US to purchase for $4.99 and enjoy. It will take another day or so to be available in the UK and Germany. My dusty paper, youthful ambition and Diskette Drive can now say “fuck you” to Bantam Doubleday Dell and an even louder “Fuck YOU” to my younger self, for giving up so easily.