Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Of work, writing, and tech

I have never wanted to make my blog about work, or complaining about work, or even just talking about what I do for a living. That said I'll try to keep this pretty short. I think I need a new job. Not just something like what I'm doing with a different company, or "same shit different day" as the sages tell us, but genuinely a new job. For the last ten years (maybe more) I have been clicking a mouse for a living. As I type this my hands are paining me. Both arms end in a dull throb with fingers. This is getting to be more and more common. There's Advil in the kitchen, but that's a dangerous game to play. It's not a big stretch from, "I think I'll take an Advil or two to take the edge off this pain," to "I can't get through the day until I've taken my Advil." What terrifies me more than anything is the possibility that I've abused my hands so much for so long that my problem isn't so much a repetitive motion strain, but early-onset arthritis. That's probably over reacting, but it's something I think about. So, yeah, I could probably use a new job.

This is kind of tough because I don't get a lot of time each day. Between my day job and other things I get somewhere between twenty minutes and two hours a day that I could realistically use for writing. To a greater or lesser extent I do use that. I've been working on a story featuring a character I'm kind of proud of, and that's been going well. That narrative has reached up over the 20,000 word mark, and around 35 pages, single spaced. That's pretty exciting. I also have three or four different short film scripts that I'm working on. These fall under a couple of different categories. At some point I would like to produce these, in fact my goal is to do two next year. Another big reason to write them is as an exercise, preparing me to write a couple of very heavy feature films that I have rattling around in my brain.

The technological awesomeness of the moment for me has got to be the market that is springing up around "netbooks". Netbooks are very small computers made by a number of companies. These computers are based on the Intel Atom processor and are fairly low power machines by most standards, but they are good for some very basic things. For the most part none of them have an optical drive, their screens aren't any larger than 10 inches, and their hard-drives tend to be (comparatively) small. However they are ideal for writing on the go, a basic computer for getting online and writing email, and for a second computer when you don't want or need your more powerful notebook. There is quite a variety of netbooks produced by a number of companies including Asus, Acer, and HP. Netbooks got started running versions of Linux, though many are now running a stripped-down version of Windows XP Home. The best part is they are all relatively low-cost. Prices range from $400 up to around $800. On the high end, you're probably better off spending a little more for a full-on notebook, but up to that point the Netbook is a good alternative if all you need is a basic utilitarian computer.