We had another lightning strike yesterday; the surge protector seems to have coped with it, but my email connection became dormant, and I thought I had lost it. This, by the way, is still the beta computer I bought as a sort of insurance policy, the Toshiba has not yet been replaced —- our insurers came through with a cheque but a couple of days ago. Curses, I thought: I have a review due. I must put it on a CD, schlep it upstairs, and send it from the Prof’s. No. No way. An hour of Computer Rage followed, including an anguished phone call to the ever-patient Dr Biswell. Could I copy to CD. Could I hell. I kept being told that stuff was ‘write-protected’. In the end, I printed the review out, carried it upstairs, copy-typed it, and sent it off. I then rang the sweet young man who sorts out computers for us this morning, and squeebled at him. He tipped up in early afternoon with his usual air of calm competence. The modem promptly resumed service (having Bruce visit, with a fifty quid call out fee, is like taking animals to the vet, or cars to the garage; an expensive but instant solution to the article in question suddenly behaving perfectly normally). He then started in on the not-copying problem; it was striking me rather forcibly that on the computer was a much-rewritten draft of the current book, now weighing in at 130,000 words which is a lot of copy typing by anyone’s standards, which would have to come off it eventually. It turned out that the problem was quite simple: the machine didn’t have a CD burner. Since it didn’t have a diskette drive either, it was a complete mystery to me (and more significantly, to Bruce) how anything was supposed to come off it. It didn’t like my pen drive either, because it’s only got Windows 98 and that means it doesn’t know about pen drives. The Saintly Bruce turned up again just after five on his way home from work, with a NEW pen drive, plus a CD of ‘Getting a pen drive to work on Windows 98′ which he had meanwhile constructed, installed the software, and left. I promptly moved the entire contents of ‘My Documents’, including the aforementioned book, onto the new pen drive, which is an inch and a bit long, and cost about 40 quid. So now I have back-up. Then the question was, what was I to do with the pen drive so it didn’t get lost, punted into a corner by the kitten, or eaten by a dog…? So I have put it on my key-ring. It seems silly, really, that something capable of holding the Encyclopedia Britannica and the entire unabridge OED with plenty of room left over for the complete works of Dickens, can be put on your key ring, but that is the Modern World of Today..