Thursday, January 7, 2010


I’m currently going over the copy edits on my next Kendra Ballantyne, Pet-Sitter mystery.

All submissions and edits used to be done strictly on paper. Now, they’re mostly electronic, which is faster and less expensive and works great! The copy edits use what used to be called “redlining” in my earlier days as an attorney. Each time a contract was changed by one negotiating side or the other, that attorney would make marks in red ink showing what was deleted or added.

Now, changes are done on computers in different colors and balloons that appear in the drafts that arrived in my e-mail. One color shows the editor’s changes and questions, another the copy editor’s, and a third shows my responses and changes. It’s really easy this way.

Mostly. I’ve found that the size of the type is small enough that even I, who can read stuff that’s quite small, have to strain to see it, and I can’t play around with it on the computer to enlarge it for easier reading. Fortunately, I have a pair of glasses that works well for this use.

I’m wondering, though, what other technological wonders I might be missing. The Consumer Electronics Show is in Las Vegas this week, and I might have been able to find some new gadgetry to look forward to there--something even more exciting than tracking changes. My husband and I have attended in the past, and it’s amazing! I’m sure it would be even more amazing to someone who actually understood what all that technology was about.

Since my passion is pets, I decided to virtually visit the CES show, so I went to its website and searched for “pet products.” What came up included iPod docking stations shaped like frogs, including a music decoding system for pet dancing (whatever that is); a number of links to different kind of virtual mouse products--and as anyone these days who uses a computer knows, that kind of mouse isn’t either a pet or any other kind of rodent; and not much else on point. A search for “animal” brought up animation, and a warning that no live animals are allowed in any of the CES exhibits. A “dog” search located lunch--lots of references to hot dogs. And “cat” is apparently an abbreviation for things I don’t purport to understand--maybe a reference to catalog numbers.

I’m sure there are oodles of things being displayed that I’d adore using... someday. Once I figure out what they are and why they’re indispensable.

Even so, it’s probably just as well that I’m at home editing now and not at CES. Is anyone out there a technology fan who’s attending, or would like to attend, the Consumer Electronics Show? What new gadget would you recommend?


Camille Minichino said...

My husband, an early adopter who got me a DROID for Christmas, would love to attend, but doesn't travel. I'd love an easier way to get both email and phone in one device without dozens of apps I don't want , but clutter the landscape, and use up time in booting and space.

By the way --
I think of myself as technically literate BUT I had a hard time with Track Changes! Every time I opened the doc, everyone's color had changed, for one thing.

I limped along and was able to finish, but it wasn't pretty!

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

I'm thinking I need to bite the bullet and buy an electronic reader. When I need books, I need them NOW, and I'm tired of both waiting and paying shipping fees. I know these will improve as time goes on, but I think of technology as a moving train. You have to hop on somewhere or you're stuck standing at the station. What do you all think?

signlady217 said...

Linda-"cat" might refer to the wire diameter: "cat 5" is one I've heard my husband talk about quite a bit (he's a phone systems/electronics technician).

Joanna-the jury's still out on e-readers. I think I'll wait till the price comes down and the technology improves. I do have several friends that travel a lot that have one, and they love theirs! Hey, I still don't own a cell phone, so I'm way behind everybody else I know!

Terri Thayer said...

I just finished a copyedit of FALSE IMPRESSIONS and the tiny type drove me nuts. I like to print the pages and do my copyedits there first.

Other than that, the new system works fine for me.

Linda O. Johnston said...

I'm impressed with your techie knowledge, Camille. I've seen DROIDS advertised but know it would take me a while to figure out how to use one. The colors do change for me in track changes, BTW, but each person's remains consistent with the new color, at least.

Joanna, I'm tempted, too, but haven't yet taken the jump...

Signlady, I guess the wire diameter is important in technological things, so that could be the answer.

I agree with you, Terri, but these days I am trying to use less paper so I'll muddle through using the on-screen technique for now.

Betty Hechtman said...

I have a kindle and think it is convenient if you're traveling, but I still buy paper books.

I have a BlackBerry and really like being able to get my emails without my computer. The camera on it is quite good and easy to use.

Like, Terri, I print up the copy edit. Somehow it is easier for me to see how all the parts fit into the whole on a paper copy. That is pretty much how I feel about the kindle too.

Camille Minichino said...

I'm also still waiting for an e-reader that's backlit. But I love Joanna's train analogy!

Linda O. Johnston said...

I'm amazed at what a BlackBerry or similar gadget can do but I've just been drooling over them and still have a regular cell phone. I like Joanna's train analogy, too --and I think I've gotten onto a car that's still attached to a slow local! Someday, I'll transfer to an express, I hope.

Linda said...

I honestly don't want to live without my PC, laptop and certainly my Internet, but there is something about holding a printed book in my hands that I never want to give up. I am hunting a reasonably priced manual typewriter for my writing area to use as inspiration because I remember all my school papers being typed (with carbons and onionskin copies). Does anybody else ever want to interact in more traditional means--letters instead of e-mail; a real phone call instead of a text message or tweet; or even better, a personal visit with someone? Or have I become hopelessly old-fashioned? Is it wrong to think of technology as only one of the possible ways to interact? Thanks for the topic. It will be a great discussion point with my crafting friends the next time we meet.

Linda O. Johnston said...

A real typewriter, Linda? What a great and--today--unusual idea! I still like the old kinds of interaction, too. Surely there's still a way to do both!