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Archive for June 15th, 2007

Summer Makes Me Happy

Friday, June 15th, 2007

summersunset.jpgIt’s summery today. The sun is hot, there is a slight breeze and a few clouds. I started the day too early after a very late night trying to transfer files over to the new laptop.

I didn’t sleep much at all because I met some Habibi Dancers for a rehearsal at 11am. Well, just after 11. I don’t dance really well that early, but it was good to start the day that way.

The transferring is going slow but no corruption so far or anything. The only program hiccup so far is the palm device synchronizing software. I think I need a new Palm Device/PDA. I can not find ANYONE in my local scene who has used a palm and Vista. Jan in PA, you’re the only one I know with experience… I’ll be writing you soon for more details!

It has felt like I lived a whirlwind here this week: a million errands, a million stores, yesterday a new key for the car hoping to avoid replacing the ignition. Today groceries at three stores including the vast asian market on the very east side of East Lansing. Picked fresh rhubarb at Mom’s house, too. Will try a few new foods this coming week, which will be pleasant.

We (Brian and I/The Fabulous Heftones) go to Chicago next weekend for the Ukulele Jamfest, after a few weekends at home. Fortunately this will probably be only one overnight.

Next weekend is also the first outdoor music festival of our year. Charlotte, MI has a bluegrass festival each year and it brings folks from all over the US and Canada at least. I’m not really big on outdoor anything (other than my porch) but the music and the people bring me back every year.

Maybe we will go jam at Charlotte on a weeknight… Brian plays very good banjo. I’m pretty terrible at trying to jam with bluegrass (or old time fiddle music for that matter). He likes it when I go with him although I feel like a fish out of (musical) water. The people are friendly and welcoming, it’s just that I feel pretty clueless trying to play along with songs/tunes I don’t know and which have different chord progressions than I usually play.

Anyway I’m trying to get into the polymer clay studio here and I guess I just avoided it for ten minutes as I typed away…

The photo is our side street behind the house, just as the summer sun set a few days ago. Look at that light filtering through the trees. At times like this the country invades my city neighborhood and I have the best of all worlds.

So Far, Pretty Good

Friday, June 15th, 2007

I’m working with two laptops on my desk right now. I tell you what… having the old one in working order and in-hand is so much nicer than replacing a broken or stolen machine (having done both). Fortunately I do back up all important data every night and I can restore, but installing programs is more touchy than data, especially with old or downloaded (rather than purchased CD) program installers.

The Good:

  • Instant connection to the internet via both Ethernet cord/cable and wireless.
  • Keyboard is rugged and a little wider than my previous 3 laptops.
  • Eudora (2005) installed and ran, though I haven’t tried to transfer my current data over yet. This was my most important concern.
  • My File Transfer program (for copying web pages to the internet from my hard drive) works (2004).
  • My HTML editor (web page writing program) Arachnophilia 4.0 works… and it’s copyright 2000.
  • Firefox Browser, current version 2.0, is really happy. That was sure to be a no-brainer but it pleases me anyway.
  • Lotus Organizer 5.01 (copyright 1999) starts up like a champ.
  • The touchpad/glidepad mouse works well for me. It is smallish as compared to my VAIO and other similar machines. The smallness did not agree with some reviewers when I read reviews online. I declare it just fine.
  • I was able to burn a CD successfully (this almost never worked on my last machine).
  • Vista is still very pretty. Color can soothe this savage beast, and it’s a good thing it can.

The Bad:

  • This monitor is the same measurement, 12.1, as my last one. I did see that it was “wide screen” in the specs but did not realize how much of a typed page that would cut off at the bottom of the screen. In web pages and word processing, I’ve lost screen real estate unless I go to a seriously tiny font that doesn’t work well with bifocals. For example: I can not see Knitty’s full front-page photo unless I scroll down. Pout.
  • Since I use my laptop as my primary (only) computer, and I work a lot with printed 8.5×11 paper/portrait which is much taller than wide, this screen disappointment is not a happy discovery. I don’t watch movies (they do benefit from the wide screen), and this machine is not really intended as a game machine, so I am disappointed. I do admit that same width makes a larger keyboard if I look at the bright side. That will be good when I’m on the road and do not have an external full-sized keyboard plugged in. At home the extra width will give me no advantage.
  • My Palm Device (Handspring Visor NEO) has synchronizing software which is copyright 2002 and it will not install. It worked fine in XP but actually aborts the install with a DLL file error. Not fun. I probably will need to buy a new Palm device, not the end of the earth. If I need to pick this or Eudora as my big problem, I’ve got the right one.
  • The laptop itself is sort of ugly, which sort of bums me out when I first approach it. Part is black, part is silver. Very business, very conservative, boring beyond words. I miss the purplish-gray (color, if subtle) of the VAIO machines. I’ll get over it. As I said, I can decorate it with fingernail polish in a year, once the warranty expires.

At this point there is no need for a title “The Ugly” and I am grateful. I still need to install Quicken 2003 (I have a CD version so that is great) and Microsoft Office, as well as PhotoShop which I don’t expect to be any problem. There is a version of MS Office 2007 in demo mode on the machine right now, as well as Works 8 which may also be demo software.

I may play around with them and take some screengrabs before I uninstall and go back to the older version I paid for outright. It is VERY different, even menus are hidden and vastly changed. It even saves in a different format than the one we’ve had in MS Word since 1997. Yuck. I’m not ready for that at this time.

So far, my worst nightmares have not come true, and I figure I will adjust to the less irritating issues. I wonder if anyone out there has a palm device (palm operating system) that they love and that is not super fancy. I don’t want a $400 gizmo, I want a simple and lightweight carry-along. Any advice?