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Thursday, July 14, 2011

By John Gilstrap

I forgot, okay?  Last week, I was immersed in ThrillerFest, reconnecting with the stunning brain trust that is a conference of thriller writers, and I completely forgot to post a blog.  Sorry about that.

But this is a new week, and it's marked by both great news and terrible news; elation and frustration.

First, the good: A few weeks ago, I posted a blog that I called Serendipity, in which I recounted a customer service triumph involving the Hilton Garden Inn.  At the time, I hinted at a coda to the story, and now I can report that Hilton Garden Inn placed an order for 700 copies of my new book Threat Warning, to be distributed to their managers around the globe.  We'll be holding a ceremonial signing at the HGI property in Fairfax, Virginia (near my home) on July 28, and with any luck at all, we'll attract some media interest.  I think it is so cool when random encounters end up in such great results.  (I've actually never signed that many books at a sitting, so I'll be interested to see how my hand holds out.)

Now for the bad news: Last week, Microsoft sent me a "service pack" update that turned out to be "corrupted" and contained a "fatal error" that required me to return my computer to "factory settings."  In layman's terms, I believe that means they poisoned my computer and destroyed 17.6 gigabytes of data.  Gone.  Poof.  Not so much as a "sorry, John."

In an interesting bit of irony, the only way to access Microsoft's technical support is through their website, to which I didn't have access because they, you know, poisoned my computer.

What keeps this from being a total disaster is my new cyber-hero, Carbonite.com.  It's a service that's nearly free of charge (a few bucks a month) that backs up all your data every day to their system.  After this catastrophic loss of data, all I had to do was tap into http://www.carbonite.com/ and sign into my account.  Click a few bottons, and a few days later (that's how long it takes to restore 17.6 gigabytes), I'll be good as new.  I hope.  (I'm knocking wood.)

So, here's my question for the Killzone techies: Next time one of these service pack upgrades pops up in my system, am I supposed to ignore it?  Or do I just make sure that Carbonite and I remain friends?

I hate computers.

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