Scrivener & HTML

I’ve finally downloaded the latest upgrade to Scrivener for Windows, after putting it off for several weeks. Normally I download Scrivener’s upgrades as soon as they are available, always on the lookout for the frequent small improvements the programmers at Literature & Latte send out.

This time, however, the first item on the change list was the announcement that Scrivener would no longer include HTML coding on clipboard output.

To be honest, I had no idea that copy-and-paste from Scrivener included HTML, but I had noticed that as soon as I began writing my blog posts in Scrivener and copy/pasting them into WordPress, my WordPress posts appeared in 14 point rather than 12 point type. I habitually write in 14 point Times Roman in both Scrivener and Word, much easier on my eyes, but trying the same copy/paste from Word only produced 12 point type in WordPress.

So when the Scrivener upgrade said it would no longer put HTML on the clipboard, I realized what was happening. Sure enough, when I looked at one of my WordPress postings in the “text” view (rather than the “visual” view which I use to finalize posts) it was loaded with HTML coding, way more than I would ever have the patience (or knowledge) to do by hand.

I was pretty sure I had seen something in Scrivener that would allow me to export individual documents in a variety of formats (rather than go through the rather complicated Compile feature), and after searching through most of the menus I finally found it (in the most obvious place): File/Export/Files (or Ctrl+Shift+X, for the keyboard-oriented).

Unfortunately, that didn’t work. It produced a file that opened with Internet Explorer, but when I copy/pasted it to WordPress, none of the HTML coding came along.

So I went to the Literature & Latte web site forum section and hunted around until I found a post from someone dealing with the same question, where I learned that there is a “copy special” item on the Scrivener edit menu that allows copying several different formats to the clipboard. After several attempts I have discovered that Edit/Copy Special/Copy as HTML will get me most of what I want, if I paste it into the WordPress “text” editor rather than the “visual” editor. Then it took a trip to the WordPress forums (via Google) to learn that it takes “Shift+Enter” to add a blank line in the visual editor.

I don’t know why the clipboard output in Scrivener has been changed. From the description in the change list, I’m guessing it must have been causing a problem for people copy/pasting to Word or other word processing programs. I’ve spent way too much time finding a work around this morning—but then, time spent learning something new is never wasted.

Another Computer Adventure

Last night when I went to bed, a few minutes before midnight, all was normal on my computer. The background was a lovely beach scene. My email was open and ready to handle all those important communications that come in overnight (mostly ads). All was well with the world.

This morning I got up with plans to accomplish all sorts of things. I only go to work on Tuesdays through Thursdays, so I have four days for reading, writing, shopping, whatever. High on the list for this weekend is judging three long entries for a writing contest and emailing them back to the coordinator (in Australia!) by Monday night. I was halfway through a printed copy of the first one, but the other two were waiting on my computer.

I was not entirely surprised to see a black screen on my computer monitor when I rounded the corner from the kitchen this morning. Happens sometimes, when the monitor goes to sleep. But this time no amount of hitting Enter or jiggling the mouse restored the screen. Nothing there but the cursor.

So I turned the computer off. Had to do it with the on/off button, since I couldn’t see anything on the monitor. When I turned it back on, I saw the Hewlett Packard welcome screen, so I knew my lovely big HD monitor hadn’t died (actually, the cursor proved that). But that’s all I saw, and then it disappeared, leaving me with the black screen again.

So I hit the button again and tried starting the computer in Safe Mode, not entirely sure what to do when I got there. That gave me reassurance that the monitor was working properly, but it didn’t get me into Windows. I tried running the memory check. Took forever, and found no problems.

So the next time I restarted the computer I hit the system recovery key, which took me to a section of the HP help software I’d never visited before. From there I could try System Restore, which also told me that there had been an update from Microsoft during the night. Apparently that update didn’t work, and as far as I can tell, the non-working update was the source of all my problems.

Alas, System Restore didn’t help, either. I tried that twice, using the two latest restore points. Back to the Help Screen. System Recovery was definitely a last resort, since it would wipe out my files and any programs installed since the original set up. The computer is almost five years old. Although I recently ran a USB drive back up of my documents, and I have an external hard drive back up system in place (although I’ve never had cause to restore anything from it), restoring the whole system would be one heck of a job.

Start Up Repair looked promising, so I tried that next. By this time I was looking up computer repair services in my local phone book (see, phone books still have their uses!). By the time Start Up Repair had run twice without success, I had called one of the numbers and gotten a promise of a call back when the phone person found a technician available. I set Start Up Repair running again and retired to the couch with the morning newspaper (which I much prefer to the on line version).

When the phone rang a few minutes later, it was a political call, from a real live person, and I’m afraid she got a rather short-tempered response from me (even though she was with the party I plan to vote for). The Start Up Repair program continued to run, the little green bar going back and forth, restarting the computer once or twice, while I worried about all the things that might not be on my recent back up. How long would it take to reconstruct all the information in my password logger? At least my email, including those unjudged contest entries, was in the cloud. If I had to, I could go into work (thirty miles away) and use the computer there.

By the time an hour and a half had gone by, I was back at the phone books. The Start Up Repair program was still running, and I was seriously considering hitting cancel, thinking it was caught in some sort of circular trap, when suddenly I heard the familiar sound of Windows starting up. My beach scene was back. My calendar program appeared. I called the computer service to cancel.

I still haven’t had breakfast, but I’ve printed out those two contest entries trapped in my computer. I’ve made back ups (both digital and printed) of my password program. I’ve run yet another USB drive back up. The attempts at System Restore said no changes had been made, but I had to reinstall Adobe Reader and the icon for Word has mysteriously changed. But my current work in Scrivener is intact and nothing else seems to have been affected.

I have not rebooted the computer or attempted to reinstall those pesky Microsoft updates. I’m not going to do either one until I’m forced to. I’m just glad to have my digital life back.

And I’m wondering if it’s time to get a wireless router and a back up laptop.


Routing the Cat

I went a few rounds with my work computer this morning, and in the end came up with a remarkably low tech solution (and without the help of the fellow with the thick foreign accent who called out of the blue claiming to be from the “Windows support service”—I didn’t stay on the line long enough to find out how he thought he was going to fix a problem that we didn’t have).

The problem we did have seemed to involve QuickBooks, the bookkeeping software we use for almost all our clients. I’d been having occasional problems with QB locking up or otherwise misbehaving lately, but I just blamed it on the ever-increasing size and complexity of the software. This morning I had entered several long, complicated deposits when the software began locking up on me and then, after I closed the program and/or rebooted the computer, coming up with one excuse after another to keep me out of the client file. QB couldn’t find the file, or I didn’t have permission to use the file, or there wasn’t enough space to record the transaction. Or there was just plain no connection to the office WiFi network and the client files stored on another computer.

After numerous rounds of frustration (and after losing the long, complicated deposit twice), I realized that all the trouble might be related to the network connection. So I went into Jo Anne’s office to see if she was having problems. She was working on the cloud-based version of QB. She hates the cloud-based version, but it was working.

Kiko playing paperweight

Kiko playing paperweight

When I looked around the office to the network connections a few feet from Jo Anne’s computer, I saw Kiko the bad-tempered calico, one of our three Scorekeeper office cats, sitting on the wireless router. She loves the tangle of cords and cables under that table, and Jo Anne and I don’t understand the mess well enough to move the router and the print server to a less feline-accessible location (assuming, of course, that such a place exists). Kiko has been suspected of disconnecting my computer from the print server by sitting on that, so I shooed her off the router, set it upright, and went back to my desk, perhaps thirty feet away. The bars on my network icon had jumped from two to four.

I tried moving the router to the top of a nearby storage carton, but Kiko sat there staring at it, clearly plotting to drag it back down as soon as I turned my back. “Put a box over it,” Jo Anne suggested.

That required laying the router back down on its side on the floor—it may be a “wireless” router, but it’s connected to the rest of the tangle by at least two cables—and covering it with a smallish cardboard carton.

I had no more connection trouble for the rest of the day.

We have no idea what draws Kiko to the router and the print server—warmth? vibrations? secret electronic messages from feline aliens headed this way in spaceships resembling empty grocery bags?—but when I left work this evening, she was sitting on the box over the router. I have a feeling my low tech solution may not be permanent.

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