Living in the future is awesome but it makes me feel like I’ve turned into my grandfather.

So much technology this week. So much wow.

A couple of weeks ago, my laptop shut down unexpectedly, while I was doing something. Since then, it’s been overheating (OK, it’s always run a *little* hot sometimes, but this was noticeable), I’ve gotten the Blue Screen of Death at least twice, and it keeps telling me to run diagnostics but then tells me that nothing’s wrong. PSYCH. It’s also been telling me things like, “your battery is at 80%, plugged in, and not charging!”. Er?

Yesterday it shut down again as I was doing something, and forget it. Restarting was not happening. I spent probably an hour and a half as it offered me restore points earlier and earlier in its life-cycle, but none of them would restore (even though it would think about it for a really long time before telling me that). Finally a “restore to factory settings” was my only choice. Did I want to back things up before then? Oh, sorry, just kidding, I can’t do that, Dave.

I had backed up when this all started happening, so it looks like I only lost a few things — most of the best photos I upload to Flickr, all the photos I took the other weekend of the property we’re going to try to buy are still on my camera, and with the exception of photo editing, all my HaldeCraft stuff is backed up online. Ooo. Except for my most recent quarterly sales tax file; it looks like I backed up the day before I did that, and then didn’t back up again. Whoops. Good thing they already cashed the check — guess I did it right, then! ANYWAY. My point is that I haven’t lost much. I had a bit of a flurry finding the disc for the program I used to make my yarn labels for HaldeCraft – those would have been a pain to recreate in a new program – but for the most part, backing things up to my super-old desktop computer, and relying on the cloud, seems to have saved me many a headache.

Yes, I have a super old desktop that I use as backup storage (I also bought a 500 gig external hard drive yesterday that I plan to start using weekly). I switched from desktops to laptops about… ten years ago, I think? My desktop is an old Gateway tower with a 3 1/4 floppy drive (and two CD drives) that runs a 2002 version of Windows XP. Need any floppies converted? I’m yer girl.

I moved to laptops for the convenience of movement. At the time we were going to Tim’s family up in Indiana once or twice a year, and I didn’t feel like lugging my desktop up in the car each time (I’d much rather use that room for my spinning wheel, or stops at yarn stores along the way). And it was easy to take when I did other travels, like to Scotland, or Boston, or weekends at Disney, or conventions. But… I think I burn through them. Either I use them more than they’re meant to be used (and the selling line “desktop replacement” is, like the cake, A LIE) or laptops are just more shoddily made than I expect them to be. I’ve gone through three laptops in the last ten years, and each new laptop has not been a planned, thought-out, researched purchase, but a “holy shit my computer just killed itself, what can I find today?”.

Hence my trip out to Best Buy yesterday, braving the Butler Plaza parking lot in the rain. I was going to get another laptop, but I did want to at least look at everything. I didn’t want to spend more than $500; I couldn’t remember if my last laptop had been $650 or $850, but even if it was the lower, that meant that it cost me about $216/year for the time I used it. I essentially rented it for about $20/month. OK, that’s not as financially depressing as I thought it was, but still. I wanted something that would maybe either last longer…? Or be more sturdy…? And I kept coming back to this “All-in-One” (although as my friend Hawk pointed out at dinner last night, “so, the laptop, not called an all-in-one, has the computer, monitor, keyboard, and mouse all in one unit… and the thing they call an all-in-one, has a separate keyboard and mouse?” HAH! He is right.).

I walked back and forth between the two computers to which I had narrowed it down. A laptop with a 17″ monitor (same as I had), with 750g memory… or an all-in-one desktop with a 21″ touchscreen monitor but only 500g memory. Both were within my price range. But I just wasn’t sure! I mean, stick with the laptop, even though I’m starting to suspect that maybe the way I use it burns it out? Maybe all my HaldeCraft photo processing, or having three or four programs all open at once, is too much? Or go back to a desktop, and sacrifice mobility? I emailed Tim, who helpfully said “go with the rectangular one.”

Well, as far as mobility goes, I also have a Nexus 7 tablet. I’ve been taking that out into the living room with me, or into the ceramic studio, when I’m working, rather than bring my laptop. We hardly ever travel any more, and when we do, I’m either too busy or don’t care to take out my laptop. So as I’m walking back and forth between the two computers, I’m also thinking about how I use my tablet, and pondering if I use my tablet now, for things I would have used a laptop for a couple of years ago, and I’m thinking about when/if we move in a couple of months and how I was planning on my laptop doubling as a TV in the workshop and how a bigger screen would maybe be helpful in that regard… and the long and the short of it is that I went with the all-in-one and since about 4 yesterday afternoon have been trying to learn this newfangled thing the kids call Windows 8. Which is frustrating as fuck, at first. I’m trying to like it, but I do feel like a crotchety old man shaking a cane and yelling at it to just give me my goddang desktop view again because whatever I just swiped gave me back those crazy cards and they all look alike and I can’t tell them apart and blargh. I also feel like I’m computing on an freaking IMAX screen, because thing thing is giiiiiiiiiiiant.

Oh! And one other technology thing happened this week. My old Snarkland email, which is still active but set to auto-forward everything to my gmail account, got hacked. I got a message Tuesday or Wednesday about how they had to deactivate it because of spam load on their servers. So I had to figure out where I go to look at that email (which I haven’t gone into since about 2010, whenever I ditched Microsoft Outlook and drank the Google Kool-Aid), I had to figure out what my password was, and I had to change the settings and put a new uncrackable password on there. Kudos to Laughing Squid for helping me get that all figured out, even though it made me feel creaky and ancient to not even remember where I go to get into the freakin’ email. HAH! But, all’s well that ends well.

So! Technology! New things! Shiny! Frustrating! Fun! All of the above!

6 Comments

  1. Alice Haldeman May 16, 2014 10:15 am Reply

    If you want to upgrade to Win 8.1, do it before you customize too much as there is a good chance you’d have to start all over. Don’t ask me how I know this – I’m sticking with 8. Long, painful story too awful to re-live in print.

  2. Bonnie May 16, 2014 12:29 pm Reply

    You are SO RIGHT. I somehow accidentally became the IT person (insert hysterical laughter here) at my work. This basically means I tell people that spam is a fact of life and maybe they should restart their computer and try whatever they’re doing again. I feel like I have to be positive about changes like moving to Windows 8, but inside I’m filled with rage and screaming at my monitor.

    http://www.peaceableliberal.blogspot.com

    • Lorena May 16, 2014 3:01 pm Reply

      Pretty much every single person I’ve talked to about W8 has said the same thing. Good lord. Did they not have a… a focus group, or something? Did they just… put it out, without feedback? Gah!

      http://www.snarkland.com/

  3. Beth May 17, 2014 3:22 am Reply

    Isn’t that weird how the response is so uniformly negative? I’ve had exactly one person speak differently about W8 – and he was a Microsoft sales rep in a Staples in LA. He loved it, showed us how slick and fast it was with a touchscreen. He was awesome! He made W8 seem awesome! Did I mention he was maybe 20? yeah. that. We went back and tried it all on the demo computer and hosed it in about 90 seconds.
    It’s a gift.
    I’m pretty used to my Windows 2012R2 servers with that interface, but I am NOT making my users move that direction this year. No solid reason to subject them to that pain. Every time you look for something, it’s down the rabbit hole you go. Ow.

  4. Joe Haldeman May 22, 2014 4:22 pm Reply

    I live out here on the frozen edge of the solar system, and have been an Apple guy since 1983. Sometimes I feel so without-it for not running Windows, but more often I feel relieved. I did both in tandem for a year in the eighties, then ditched the godless spawn of IBM, and most of the time I’m glad I stuck with the Mac.

    Saying this, I do have to admit that I do nothing sophisticated on the computer — just WP, mail, web stuff, and art. Seems to be all I need.

    Unca Joe

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