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"Gleep" is a word from my distant past, from my college days in the chess club at Northwestern University. It's what you say when you suddenly realize that you have have just made a very bad move, your opponent has just made a very good move, and/or your position is hopelessly lost. Started as the favorite expression of one guy, but the whole club soon picked it up and started using it, and GLEEP actually became the name of our NU chess club newsletter.

I hadn't uttered a "gleep" in decades, but one escaped my lips this morning, when I sat down and logged on to AOL and suffered some sort of strange computer hiccup... after which, suddenly, my Personal Filing Cabinet and Favorite Places were both completely empty.

More than three thousand emails and a couple of hundred bookmarks wiped out in the blink of an eye.


This sort of thing used to happen every six months or so with the early versions of AOL, but the more recent versions seemed to have fixed the problem, and I haven't had my bookmarks or filing cabinet vanish on me since 1998. I thought the system was finally stable, and got a bit complacent, I guess.

Of course, there are now automatic backups built in to the system, and of course I have been trying to use them all morning, to see if I can get anything back. So far, no good. In the immediate aftermath of the catastrophe, as I was still trying to figure out what had happened, four new emails arrived in about a minute. I deleted them and went back to troubleshooting. Unfortunately now, when I try the restore function, it just seems to restore the four post-gleep emails, and not the thousands of older ones that were sitting in my filing cabinet last night.

I haven't given up yet, but I am starting to feel glum.

Some days I truly hate computers.

Lest anyone have a heart attack, let me hasten to add that this has NOT affected A DANCE WITH DRAGONS or any of my other work-in-progress. I do my writing on a completely different computer than the one I use for email and the internet, in part to guard against viruses, worms, and nightmares like this. My work machine does not even use Windows (which I loathe). I write with WordStar 4.0 on a pure DOS-based machine. Mock if you must... but WordStar and DOS are both stable as rocks, and never give me the sort of headaches I get from Windows. (I won't even talk about Microsoft Word, about which I have nothing printable to say).

So my novel is safe. It's just my emails that are lost.

I suppose, if I can't fix this, I could try to look at it as a sort of liberation. Last night I had more than three thousand emails awaiting answers. This morning I have none.


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Jan. 5th, 2007 08:20 pm (UTC)
Call AOL, see if they have any better way of restoring it?

Not that calling them would be a less painful experience than losing stuff in the first place...
Jan. 9th, 2007 03:51 pm (UTC)
I hate having to defend Microsoft, but I actually think Windows XP has been a rock solid OS. I've used it since release, and had maybe three crashes tops ... all of which were related to some massive video editing I was doing, and a faulty driver in a legacy capture card.

Word is a much different experience than Worstar, no doubt, but the most recent releases have been absolutely solid and ridiculously flexible. I work on literally thousands of pages of legal documents a year, and once I actually trained up on how Word handles things like codes, tables of contents and footnotes, I've found it very reliable and easy to use. If anything, the problem with Word is that it simply does too much. They need a "simplicity" mode that is just a basic WSIWYG text editor.
Jan. 5th, 2007 08:21 pm (UTC)

Well I hope you manage to get them back, Hopefully there werent a lot of important buisness related emails. I actually welcome a purge of my bookmarks once in awhile, as I rarely ever tidy up my old ones.

good luck
Jan. 5th, 2007 08:22 pm (UTC)
Great googly moogly, I loved WordStar....
Jan. 5th, 2007 08:24 pm (UTC)
Yes, the awful Microsoft Program proves to be really unstable. And that cases cause much unprintable comments indeed.
Jan. 5th, 2007 08:25 pm (UTC)
How come those kind of things can still happen in this day and age?
I'm shocked. Well, I shouldn't be surprised, since it's AOL. I must say, I'm really glad with my Firefox.

Oh, and I think Windows XP is stable. Actually, I only have problems while playing some games, because of my graphic card. Elsewise, I never seem to have any problem (and certainly not with Words, even though I can have something like 6 pages opened at the same time -_-'). And I didn't have any virus or worms in *years*. It's just a question of how you handle the net, I guess.

Anyway, I know those kind of things are frustrating, and maybe you'll see them back, one day... or not. Good to hear it didn't affect your work though. I guess that this would have been really really bad.

Good luck with your mails and bookmarks. And with your work too (this cannot harm, right? XD).

Jan. 5th, 2007 08:31 pm (UTC)
Lots of lost mail.
Gleep indeed!
I hope you get to retrieve them somehow. I'd give you some tips if I had any, but I'm a complete loser when it comes to computers and co.
Luck to you, sir!
Jan. 5th, 2007 08:32 pm (UTC)

2007-01-05 08:31 pm UTC (link)
Comment Posted Successfully
I've been fighting with Word for the last two weeks; it's apparently trying to eat all my work, because it keeps giving me massive error messages and closing down on me. Needless to say, I've been backing up like a mad person ...

In other words, I sympathize.

Jan. 6th, 2007 02:32 pm (UTC)
Install OpenOffice. It's free, it can read Word files, and it's *not* Word. Maybe it'll work when Word doesn't. If it doesn't work, either, something else in your system is hosed. Make a backup in a format that doesn't require Microsoft software, reinstall you OS or install Linux (I use Debian Linux Stable). If that doesn't work, it's probably hardware.

Jan. 5th, 2007 08:32 pm (UTC)
I think your computer has a virus. It's called AOL...

I am sorry to hear about that, though. You might try a few google queries? See if there are any thoughtful suggestions on the net?
Jan. 5th, 2007 08:33 pm (UTC)
backing up bookmarks
You might want to try building up your bookmarks on a site like Yahoo http://bookmarks.yahoo.com They have an import function in case you saved any bookmarks in a file on your hard drive.

Or maybe someone has a niftier, yet not cumbersome idea. :)

Jan. 5th, 2007 08:35 pm (UTC)
Not that I'm a mac-vangelist, but have you ever considered trying an apple machine for writing? Programs like Ulysses have become pretty well respected in the last few years... though I can definitely understand the attraction to a clean and simple interface that uses DOS as that's one of the major things proj. management software packages like Ulysses attempt to simulate.
Jan. 5th, 2007 09:45 pm (UTC)
You really want to inflict Ulysses on him? What are you, some kind of sadist?

(Clue: I, too, write novels for a living. And I use a Mac. Okay, Macs plural. But I wouldn't recommend Ulysses ...)
(no subject) - radial_jives - Jan. 6th, 2007 12:22 am (UTC) - Expand
Jan. 5th, 2007 08:37 pm (UTC)
Wow, so my favorite courtly intrigue fantasy writer (and one of my favorite writers of any genre) is alumni of my alma mater? Well that brightens up an otherwise dreary friday afternoon.

I know you get tons of the opposite so I'm gonna say that although I adore the Song of Fire and Ice saga and am eagerly awaiting DofD, there is no need for explanations as to why it is unfinished still. I'll read it as soon as its printed, but its worth the wait.
Jan. 5th, 2007 08:38 pm (UTC)
I would personally break the world's record for most sudden and intense heart failure if I learned that Dance with Dragons was stored on an AOL server somewhere.

Jan. 5th, 2007 11:16 pm (UTC)
Not if someone else beat you to it. Ouch.
(no subject) - trklement - Jan. 9th, 2007 08:27 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jan. 5th, 2007 08:39 pm (UTC)
I have no good advice to add, as I dropped out of technical school because I decided I loathed it. I'm sure the other commenters have better advice than I could ever dream of offering.

But I'm curious... does gleep stand for something? When I was in high school, my friends liked to use the word fubar (fucked up beyond all recognition). I just found that interesting.

I used to use aol, actually, many years ago. I just got dsl through our phone company after we bought our house a few months ago, and dropped it. I pretty much just use gmail. I love it to pieces. And I have 98 invites, if you'd like one. :)
Jan. 9th, 2007 04:18 pm (UTC)
Ah, Gleep. I used to read a lot of Archie comics digests as a kid, and picked up "gleep" from there. I occasionally use this word myself, though no one else I know does. I think it was a slang word used in the 1950s...maybe 60s?
Jan. 5th, 2007 08:45 pm (UTC)
Be careful or your adoring fans will take this as an excuse to send you three thousand more pieces of email... *G*
Jan. 5th, 2007 08:47 pm (UTC)
Bada bing~

This is a pay software:


This is freeware. It looks ancient, but I found recent references that it works on AOL 9.

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George R.R. Martin
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