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Give it to me straight


jadijohnson
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A few months ago, my old desktop computer took its last breath.  In a panic, I checked the internet on our family computer for possible solutions to revive the old girl.  I tried plugging a lamp into the outlet to see if it would work, and it did.  I tried replacing the power cord and got nothing.  I had to face the fact that it was time to buy a new computer.  But here's the thing.  I suffer from trust issues.  I was plagiarized back in 2008, and I never quite got over it.  I insisted on getting a new laptop that didn't require me to log onto the internet just to start using the thing.  But just reading the Terms of Agreement on this new device gives me the cold chills.  Can I really trust it?  That's where you come in.  Am I being extremely paranoid, or do my fears have some reason to exist.  If I never use the internet, is there any possible way my precious stories could be stolen?  

 

Thanks for your input.  I really appreciate it. 😊

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  • Rebecca changed the title to Give it to me straight

Well, jadi, you do have reason to be leery. It's understandable. However, you may want to start rebuilding your trust. But again, there is always a slim chance of pirating. For everyone. It just is that way and we just have to be careful and keep an eye out for it. I know that's not very encouraging but it comes with the territory. For you, deal with those whom others have dealt with and are trustworthy. If you never use the internet, sure your work won't be stolen but, at the same time, you will have a hard time marketing your work. And expanding your platform. Praying for you, sweetie.❤️

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I have similar concerns, more later, but the first step would be to disable cloud storage. They sell it as you can access all your files from anywhere, but so can anyone who hacks you account for whatever reason. Also. They have copies, and I do mean plural because they recognize things do fail and they don't want to lose your files.

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If you get a new computer, when setting it up if you don't plug it into the internet, then when it gets to the 'login account' section, it will let you create a local account instead of having to use a microsoft online account. This 'local' account creation is never seen on a new setup because people connect to wifi or plug in a cable during setup, but skip the wifi connection phase during setup and you can feel more secure with a local account.

 

Having a good anti-virus program and anti-malware program will help protect intrusions into your laptop. I personally use Avast anti-virus and Malwarebytes anti-malware, but there are many choices out there. Nortons and Mcafee are not good choices but people usually buy subscriptions because they come with the computers, but those companies pay a commission to the manufacture to include them. Trend micro isn't bad, but it may slow your computer down later on and AVG although free, usually is not as good as other products and also may end up slowing down your computer.

 

To transfer files from your old computer you can buy a 'hot-swap' box that plugs into a USB port. You simply remove the drive from your old computer and plug it into the box and it becomes an external drive that can be read like a normal portable drive. Then you can transfer or copy all your files to the laptop or even keep the drive as a backup copy of your files.

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Asmosathar, that's news to me about the hot-swap box. I'll check it out.

 

Jadi, I understand your concern. Another option might be to have a back-up drive that you only use to save your writing on. Write, plug in the back-up, save, unplug the back-up. Then feel free to use the internet, as your writing is only on the back-up drive, and you are the only one with access to it.

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7 hours ago, jadijohnson said:

A few months ago, my old desktop computer took its last breath.  In a panic, I checked the internet on our family computer for possible solutions to revive the old girl.  I tried plugging a lamp into the outlet to see if it would work, and it did.  I tried replacing the power cord and got nothing.  I had to face the fact that it was time to buy a new computer.  But here's the thing.  I suffer from trust issues.  I was plagiarized back in 2008, and I never quite got over it.  I insisted on getting a new laptop that didn't require me to log onto the internet just to start using the thing.  But just reading the Terms of Agreement on this new device gives me the cold chills.  Can I really trust it?  That's where you come in.  Am I being extremely paranoid, or do my fears have some reason to exist.  If I never use the internet, is there any possible way my precious stories could be stolen?  

 

Thanks for your input.  I really appreciate it. 😊

 

To be frank, if you are using Windows nowadays, you WILL be forced to link to an internet E-mail.

 

I write software for a living.  I deal with big systems, sensitive stuff.  Merely configuring Windows and setting up a OneDrive cloud drive does not mean that everyone is going to be able to see and steal your stuff.

 

My suggestion is that you spend the money, get a good laptop from a reliable outlet (Dell, for example).  Get a good, well-known device security system (I use Norton 360), and don't link stuff to people you don't know, or send your manuscript through e-mail.

 

If you can't trust a clean device from Microsoft, or Google, then go back to manual typewriters.  The VAST majority of the problems people have with PCs and theft is the nameless stuff they install (games and such) from small-time, unknown vendors because they like a Mahjong tile-set.  It is not from major vendors of software.

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2 hours ago, carolinamtne said:

Asmosathar, that's news to me about the hot-swap box. I'll check it out.

 

Jadi, I understand your concern. Another option might be to have a back-up drive that you only use to save your writing on. Write, plug in the back-up, save, unplug the back-up. Then feel free to use the internet, as your writing is only on the back-up drive, and you are the only one with access to it.

 

I also have a portable drive that I use to periodically back up my writing.

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Guest Spaulding
21 hours ago, jadijohnson said:

But just reading the Terms of Agreement on this new device gives me the cold chills.  Can I really trust it?  That's where you come in.  Am I being extremely paranoid, or do my fears have some reason to exist.  If I never use the internet, is there any possible way my precious stories could be stolen?  

I think the agreement is the only thing you can trust. After all, it's inanimate, so can't do a thing. Is it paranoia if they really are after you? If you have a computer there is no way out of using the internet. Even if you stay off it, Microsoft or Apple will update and add more of their junk onto your computer, which you can't stop but for so long. We have hit the days of Big Brother, but it's our communications devices more than our government. And we bought into it by ignoring and accepting whatever "they" think is best for us.

 

That all said, none of that had anything to do with your real question. Your real question is can your work be stolen? Sure it can. But there are options you can take to stop that. (Or make it close to impossible.)

 

First though, ask yourself the obvious question: Is it worth stealing? After all, any particular reason to upload it, except to get it into the hands of people who can help you make it better? And if that is the reason, why would a thief steal it if it's not ready to publish? I have had my work stolen, but I was young and dumb to assume anyone who wanted my free copy would attribute as the terms said. After all, is it too much to ask to attributed, if that was the price? (Apparently, it was. 🙄)

 

So, now I do the obvious. I only upload it onto writing sites that hide the critiquing page from search engine bots. That includes this site. (Haven't had the time or brain power to do that yet.) And all under the assumption that it isn't yet worth stealing.

 

After all, if they weren't lazy they wouldn't be thieves. Which is easier to steal -- something that needs work, or something that doesn't? Bingo. The reason I don't worry about someone stealing it. (Also helps that once I think it is good enough to sell, I go back and remove it from the critiquing site's storage.)

 

And, yes, I also knew someone who, not only got robbed of his work, but later on saw it published on a bookstore shelf. He did win the court battle after seven years, but second rights aren't worth anything, and the defeat was bad enough to make him stop writing. So, from his story, I also know not to give my story out to strangers, even if they were helpful beta readers all along the way.

 

So, should you trust? Genesis 6:5 hasn't changed. But there are ways to avoid being plagiarized. 

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13 hours ago, Jeff Potts said:

 

I also have a portable drive that I use to periodically back up my writing.

Oddly enough, I backup on a thumb drive... that looks like a teddy bear. 😊

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44 minutes ago, Spaulding said:

Oddly enough, I backup on a thumb drive... that looks like a teddy bear. 😊

 

OK, one note of caution: you might want to make several backups if they are on thumb drives.

 

Thumb drives are made cheaply.  The memory in those things tends to wear out relatively quickly.  After a while you start getting bad sectors, and that'll corrupt the files you have stored on there.  It's one of the reasons why I generally use portable hard drives.  Even better when you can get ahold of a SSD.

 

 

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22 hours ago, carolinamtne said:

Yes, if you never use the internet, your stories will not be stolen. But you will also not be able to access Christian Writers or any other resource that you may trust.

Thanks, Carol!  I'll still be using the internet on the family computer.  I just don't trust it with my flash drive full of stories!

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21 hours ago, zx1ninja said:

I have similar concerns, more later, but the first step would be to disable cloud storage. They sell it as you can access all your files from anywhere, but so can anyone who hacks you account for whatever reason. Also. They have copies, and I do mean plural because they recognize things do fail and they don't want to lose your files.

Would this only apply if I was using the Internet on that particular computer?  (I admit I'm a techno-zero, as my sister calls it!)

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17 hours ago, carolinamtne said:

Asmosathar, that's news to me about the hot-swap box. I'll check it out.

 

Jadi, I understand your concern. Another option might be to have a back-up drive that you only use to save your writing on. Write, plug in the back-up, save, unplug the back-up. Then feel free to use the internet, as your writing is only on the back-up drive, and you are the only one with access to it.

I'll be using the flash drive that contains all of my stories.  Is that what you mean? (I hope so!!)

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15 hours ago, Jeff Potts said:

Does it simply not turn on?  If so, it may be the power supply is toast.  You can buy a new power supply fairly easily.

Hi, Jeff!  I tried the lamp test (plugging in a lamp that you know works and seeing if it turns on).  I also bought a new power cord, but the computer still didn't work.  I would really love to just get my old computer working again.  One suggestion was changing the battery.  (My computer is a desktop.)

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15 hours ago, Jeff Potts said:

 

To be frank, if you are using Windows nowadays, you WILL be forced to link to an internet E-mail.

 

I write software for a living.  I deal with big systems, sensitive stuff.  Merely configuring Windows and setting up a OneDrive cloud drive does not mean that everyone is going to be able to see and steal your stuff.

 

My suggestion is that you spend the money, get a good laptop from a reliable outlet (Dell, for example).  Get a good, well-known device security system (I use Norton 360), and don't link stuff to people you don't know, or send your manuscript through e-mail.

 

If you can't trust a clean device from Microsoft, or Google, then go back to manual typewriters.  The VAST majority of the problems people have with PCs and theft is the nameless stuff they install (games and such) from small-time, unknown vendors because they like a Mahjong tile-set.  It is not from major vendors of software.

Hi again!  I'll only use the laptop for my stories, and I plan on using the flash drive the stories are already on.  I won't use the computer for anything else.  Will that keep them safe?

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Spaulding, thanks for weighing in on the subject.  Apparently, my work was good enough to be stolen from a major New York publishing house.  So yes, I have reason to be concerned!  I would only use the laptop to work on my stories.  Since it wouldn't be connected to the internet, I wouldn't be sending anything out to anyone.  I would use the family computer to do that...if I could find anyone I can trust not to plagiarize me!  Once bitten, twice shy!

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1 hour ago, Jeff Potts said:

 

OK, one note of caution: you might want to make several backups if they are on thumb drives.

 

Thumb drives are made cheaply.  The memory in those things tends to wear out relatively quickly.  After a while you start getting bad sectors, and that'll corrupt the files you have stored on there.  It's one of the reasons why I generally use portable hard drives.  Even better when you can get ahold of a SSD.

 

 

Well, this is terrible to hear.  The flash drive I have is the only updated copy I have of each story!  The old computer held the other copy.  I guess I better look into getting a portable hard drive!

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53 minutes ago, jadijohnson said:

Hi, Jeff!  I tried the lamp test (plugging in a lamp that you know works and seeing if it turns on).  I also bought a new power cord, but the computer still didn't work.  I would really love to just get my old computer working again.  One suggestion was changing the battery.  (My computer is a desktop.)

 

The only battery in a desktop is one that holds the date and time.  So, no, it's not the battery.

 

If you flip the switch on your PC, and the fans don't spin and lights don't flash, it's usually the power supply.

 

The power supply is a self-contained unit inside the PC.  The plug where the power cable connects to the PC is a part of that unit.  In order to replace it, you have to take off the case cover on the PC, unscrew the bolts that secures the power supply to the case, and unplug all of the cables that connect to the motherboard and drives.  Once unscrewed, is usually just pops or slides out.  Most PCs use power supplies with standard form sizes, and almost all of them have standard power connections.

 

While this all sounds complicated, most of the cables are all keyed - meaning that they will only go in one way.  This prevents you from plugging stuff in backwards.

 

A replacement power supply nowadays will cost you less than $100.00.  With labor, you're maybe talking about a $200.00 fix.

 

Some of this is me guessing what the problem is.  However, I've done more of my fair share of building, upgrading, and fixing PCs to be competent.

 

 

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1 hour ago, jadijohnson said:

Hi again!  I'll only use the laptop for my stories, and I plan on using the flash drive the stories are already on.  I won't use the computer for anything else.  Will that keep them safe?

 

No.

 

Any drive connected to your PC is like your main hard drive.  And if you're afraid that your hard drive will be scanned, those flash drives will also be targeted.

 

Edit: If you are really that concerned about someone stealing your stuff, I think you can encrypt your drive.  That makes your files difficult to decrypt should someone snag them.

 

That being said, I've never done it for my PCs and I'm fairly sure it'll slow down your PC.

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1 hour ago, jadijohnson said:

Spaulding, thanks for weighing in on the subject.  Apparently, my work was good enough to be stolen from a major New York publishing house.

 

Can you provide more info about this?

 

From what I've seen of the overall tech savvy of the traditional publishing scene, I doubt they'd have the intellectual and technological wherewithal to snag your manuscript right from your PC or even cloud storage. 

 

 

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