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Archive for January 10th, 2010

Almost There, a Tentative Sigh

Sunday, January 10th, 2010

Just for something new to chat about, I’ll mention that Brian and I sang at Altu’s newly-expanded restaurant last night. Now there is a proper raised stage, and the restaurant has a totally new, relaxed feel. There is plenty of room for large groups now. It feels so lovely, I hope it brings abundant new business to her in these uncertain times.

Back to Geek, Geek, Geek…

The computer transition is almost done. I expect that my next blog post will be typed on that computer rather than this VISTA machine I’ve had just over 3 years. This is such a big deal that I cried when I saw my Africa trip photos on my new computer, with no hassle.

I had three main complaints about the VISTA/Toshiba. (A minor one was that she was ugly to my eyes; remind me that this matters, the next time I think it does not.)

My Ugh List

1. The mouse would go on strike, sometimes for 45 seconds at a time. I would wiggle the mouse back and forth, and that pointer on screen would just sit there. At the same time, I could arrow up/down, page up/down, use keystrokes such as Ctrl-P to do commands like “Print.” The mouse would do whatever it wanted. I’m sure the driver was the problem but 3 years later there is no updated driver on the Toshiba site. Frustrating!

2. There is only one Ctrl key on this keyboard. I am someone who learned computers before there was any mouse. I type very well, and it is easy for me to memorize keystrokes. The previously-mentioned Ctrl-P command to Print, is not do-able with my one left hand, on this machine. I need a left hand for Ctrl and a right hand for P. If I had 2 Ctrl keys it would make the mouse thing less of a bother. I miss that, often.

3. VISTA has far too many security features. It asks you to confirm things you obviously just told it to do. This is not just a delay but an irritation.

I had to set up Adobe InDesign to “Run as Administrator” for it to work consistently. But the roughest one for me was when it told me that I did not have proper permissions/authority to open up the images imported from my XP computer. When I could not open my Africa Trip pictures, it kicked me in the gut.

My  Good-Stuff List

1. I must say there are a few features I like in VISTA. My favorite one is a button in the File/Save and File/Open boxes called “Recent.” I save things in many, many different places on my computer. This lets me see the ones I’ve recently worked upon, without having to navigate all over to get to that folder/document.

2. I also like that the Start Menu can be “stuck” in place if you click (in both VISTA and Win7). For example, Start/All Programs/Microsoft Office… if I click there, I can take my mouse away from the menu and see the list: MS Word, MS Excel, MS Outlook, etc… (in Windows 95/98/ME/XP you had to hold the mouse still, there was no making it sit still and wait).

3. As much as I dislike the layout of the Toshiba keyboard, it has not broken yet. The Ctrl key and the Shift keys sometimes go “crunch” when I press them. However, every key works 3 years later, and not a one has fallen off. I am very hard on keyboards. I type a lot, and I type “hard.” My first (beloved) VAIO laptop, a gift to me over 10 years ago, finally had to be replaced when my backspace and space bar keys fell off, and the keyboard (part alone) cost $400.

4. The Toshiba held up to its reputation as a workhorse machine. I think the only repair I’ve had was to replace a power supply, in 3 years.  I wish they would have put up a driver repair for the mouse problem. Probably I would have lived with the other problems longer, had I not been tempted to scream several times a day when the mouse would go on strike. I was tired of getting angry so often.

Cool statistic: It took ten hours to copy 27 GB of images from my 8-year-old XP machine, to an external USB hard disk drive. It took ONE hour to copy the same images from that same USB external hard drive to the Windows7 machine. Things have improved vastly(hardware *and* software) since the early days of XP. This is a good thing.


Maybe once I get settled in a bit on Windows 7, I can report to you all about what I like/dislike about it. There surely will be items on both sides of the fence.

Right now I like that I can see My Documents and Public Documents in the same window. They call this the “Documents Library.” I think this will be handy for those who have public documents they share with others in their network (as I have).

The taskbar is not at all like the ones we have had in Windows since Win95. It looks more like a newer MacIntosh. This will take a small learning curve for me. I wonder how my retiree students will do with it, if they get computers for home that do not match those in my classroom?

Knitting? I Think about it a Lot!

I’m not sure what happened to “Knitting for Myself Month.” There has been a little bit of knitting, all sorts of small objects, some for me and some not.

Little objects fit the bill, as I can take them to wait in line at the PO or a restaurant. My dream projects require home knitting, and that is not happening right now.

But I now see myself going from computer change-over to tax records season. Administrative month, more like it. Maybe knitting needs to wait for February?