Man Angel

I have been looking for a low-end laptop to use as a dedicated writing tool–lightweight and long battery life being the main criteria. It also has to run Scrivener, my primary writing software, which means Windows or Mac. The Chromebook looks promising, but doesn’t run either. Windows Surface and MacBook Air are on the shortlist–both would work–but both are expensive.
Then I ran across a review of the HP Stream. It is supposed to be a Chromebook killer and it looked like a possibility. It runs a full version of Windows, is light and the 13″ version costs only $229.

So, while out running errands today I was in Office Max and walked down the computer aisle. I wanted to hold one of these laptops in my hands to help me make a decision. They didn’t carry it.

As I was checking out at the front register I noticed a man standing at the front counter, being helped with a laptop. It was the exact model I was looking for.

The man was about 70, tall, maybe 6’4″ and broad shouldered. I was trying to look over his shoulder at the laptop which I surmised he had bought online since there were none on display. Finally, I couldn’t take it anymore. I leaned in and asked the store rep if they carried that model of  HP.  He said it was not on the shelves, but some had just come in and he had them in the back.

At that point I took a closer look at the customer. There is no better way to describe him than to say he had a kind face. Before writing that sentence I challenged myself to think about what actual characteristic made me think he was kind. I think it was his smile and something about the way his face looked soft with age. Then there was his voice. It was a calming voice, maybe even soothing and he spoke slowly and quietly, forcing me to slow down and listen closely. He had a lot of white hair and something about his slow energy made me want to take a step back and a step forward at the same time.

He showed me a review from the Wall Street Journal; he was very enthusiastic about the computer. He had been researching for some time for just the right solution and he was very sure he had found it. He was open and enthusiastic and as he told me his story he revealed that while researching this particular computer his current machine just died, completely quit.

I said, “Well, I guess you could look on that as a good thing or a bad thing, right?”

He replied, “Ohhh,” drawing out the ‘h’ and giving me a knowing look like I had something very important. “I have come to very much believe that many things that seem to be bad later on turn out to the best thing ever.”

I looked at him and he went on to say, “I know that for sure.”

We talked some more and I finally left the store and the man angel to his conversation about extended warranties. I think I am going to buy one of those HP Streams.

Posted in Non-fiction, Spirituality, Writing | Comments Off on Man Angel

Streamline Your Workshop Reading with Kindle

If you are involved in a writer’s workshop group you know that reading and tracking comments for all of your workshop reading  can be a challenge.   It’s easy to mail out the docs or post them on a digital share, but you then need to either print them or read them on  your computer–which I find to be tedious.

If you have a Kindle you can import common file types directly into a native Kindle format.  This allows you to comfortably page through the manuscript just like a Kindle book.  Plus it allows you to annotate the manuscript directly  in the file and then export those notes later to a word processor.

Even if you still need to mark up the hard copy this process makes it easier to keep up with your reading and you can easily transfer your kindle notes to the hard copy document manually.

Here are the steps:

  1. Find your Kindle’s email address on the Manage your Devices page at Manage Your Kindle.
  2. Attach the document you want to read on the Kindle to an e-mail addressed to your Send-to-Kindle e-mail. Note: Documents can only be sent to your Kindle devices or apps from e-mail accounts that you added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List.
  3. To have a document converted to Kindle format (.azw), the subject line should be “convert” when e-mailing a personal document to your Send-to-Kindle address.

To make this even easier I add a contact on my phone and when someone emails me a document it is simple to forward the mail, adding “convert” to the subject and within minutes I am reading on my Kindle.
You can also send files from your browser or your desktop.  Detailed instructions and policies can be found here:

Note that there is different email address for each physical or computer based Kindle device.

This service is free if your Kindle is on wifi, but Amazon charges a fee if you are syncing it through whisper net.

Posted in Non-fiction, Writing, Writing on Writing | Comments Off on Streamline Your Workshop Reading with Kindle

by Jeff Hoke

Posted on by Chris Ray | Comments Off on The Museum of Lost Wonder