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Archive for June 13th, 2007

I did it.

Wednesday, June 13th, 2007


I bought a laptop. It is not as cute as the first 3 laptops I owned. (The first 3 were adorable SONY VAIOs and the first one was particularly purple and particularly tiny at 3 lb and an inch thick.) However, it has all the hardware specs I wanted, and a price I was really amazed with given those specs. I figure as soon as the warranty expires I can decorate it up as much as I want… Like this palm device I decorated (with fingernail polish) for Altu in 2005.

High-Tech Local Shopping

A cool thing happened… I was able to find out online if my local store had one in stock. It did, I reserved it on a web page and had a day to pick it up. I printed out the confirmation screen, took the page to the shop and got out of there faster than I would have if I needed to find a sales guy who was free. Very, very cool.

Stuck, I Guess

I got good advice to buy a Mac (Apple MacIntosh) which maybe I should have taken… but this box was less pricey for the same specs, compared with a Mac laptop machine which I would then have re-set-up to run Windows.

I’m really stuck with Microsoft, I teach folks to use Windows programs and spent 6 years in corporate training so I really really know many Windows programs (especially Word, Excel and Access) backward and eyes closed. I feel today as though I can’t afford a learning curve even if I were not teaching Windows one day a week.

It has Windows Vista. I should be celebrating but until I install all my normal important software programs (Eudora Mail, Lotus Organizer/Calendar program, Quicken, Firefox browser, Arachnophilia HTML/Web page editor as well as Microsoft Office XP, Access 2002, and a few others I don’t use as often)… and see if they work OK, well, I’ll be a bit on the edgy side.

Hurry Up and Wait

I have a busy life until tomorrow night, so for tonight I just started the laptop and got it running briefly. I changed the colors (end of that average blue) but that was about all I did so far. I am able to surf wirelessly using MS Internet Explorer. Could be worse, for sure.

The biggest deals are Lotus Organizer and Eudora email. A friend works for the government and she has Lotus Organizer 6 and synchronizes it with Windows XP to a newer palm device than I own. I’d be OK if I had to buy a new version and a new device… that would be easier than learning a new program. When I did a really thorough search a year and a half ago for a calendar program, I did not find anything that did the few most important features I use in Organizer. Cross fingers there.

And Wait Again…

For the record, it takes forever to start up Vista the first time. There are about 3 stickers with legal notices on the box before you can open the box. Then when you open, there are three stickers with more legal notices before you can open the plastic bags containing the laptop.

Once you start the computer you wait and wait and wait for the “first use” of Vista. Then when it wakes up you get a legal notice with something like 32 detailed items you must agree to before clicking “I accept” or you can not use the machine you just paid for.

I am willing to bet that the attorneys who write those notices would not read the blasted notices sometimes. It took me forever. I read them and did understand for the most part but it did not make me happy. It’s a lot like making a deal with the bully on the playground so you can go home via the fastest route, when the bully doesn’t own the playground in the first place.

What Got Away

I do understand why more folks are going to Linux every second. Brian was right, if I’d stuck an Ubuntu (one “flavor” of Linux which is a ***free*** operating system that works on the order of Windows or Mac OS) CD in that machine I would have been up and running in a very short while. Instead of reading the ninety-fifth paragraph (or so) of legal warnings associated with fearful legal departments and the like.

Enough grousing here in writing. I don’t like to whine here and I’ve done too much of it.

The Good Stuff

But for the record, Vista has pretty colors. My screensaver looks like bubbles (think Lawrence Welk if you are old enough) but rainbow-colored over the screen. Pretty. Microsoft does pretty very, very well.

Oh… and I did have a good omen. When I was in the checkout lane buying the laptop, Julie (knitter, contra dancer/caller and Folk Festival employee/organizer) came over to say hi. She’s shown here with two pairs of socks she knit in my First-Time Toe-Up sock class.

Julie is a ColorJoy woman if I ever met one. She is rainbow colored a lot of the time. If Julie was there, that bodes well for the purchase. Or so I say.