Monday, November 19, 2012

The Transition

As I've been mentioning recently, my computer died. It was an old computer, and, by all rights, past its time. I knew it was going, and, especially, I knew the video card was going. I kind of hate video cards. I had a huge drama with Dell many years ago over a video card and my first laptop. The only laptop I've ever owned because of the drama over the first one and the fact that it spent most of its life as an over-sized paperweight. That's exactly what I need, right? I a $1500 paperweight that was too big to be anywhere useful while it held that designation.

The problem I have with getting a new computer is that they have always changed so much since the last  time I got a computer. What I want is not a new computer but my old computer back again but faster and more intense (any Star Wars person out there worth his salt should get that). I sort of have the same attitude about shoes. I hate new shoes. I hate looking for shoes. I hate trying shoes on. New shoes never feel right on your foot. Old shoes feel right other than the fact that they are falling apart and causing you to trip as the sole flaps around at ground level like a dog snuffling for food. And, you know, tape just doesn't work to hold the shoe together because it wears out too quickly as you walk around on  it. It doesn't matter, though. What you want is a pair of shoes that feels like that part but without the floppy bits.

Or maybe that's just me.

So I really didn't want a new computer; I really just wanted my old computer back the way it was when I first got it but still able to do all the new things that it wasn't really capable of doing. That's why I put off for so long doing anything about the fact that I new I needed to do something about the video card. Well, that and the fact that I really didn't want to spend the money on
1. a new video card in an old machine that wouldn't be able to keep up with the new card.
2. a new computer.
Money is always tight, and new computers aren't in our budget. But, as I said recently, I have to have the computer, so, when the old finally went off to wherever old computers go when they die (which, right now, is actually behind my chair but which will soon be the garage), I went and got a new one. Actually, the reason for the new one is that it was going to cost as much to get the old one going again as it is to buy a new computer.
[That's actually something I hate, the disposableness of technology due to repair costs making it more cost efficient to buy new stuff. It wasteful, and our society needs to do something about this issue, not that I know what  that should be, but we need new attitudes around this stuff.]

Another note: I've always owned Dell computers. This is not so much because I love Dell or anything, but it's always just sort of worked out that way. In fact, there have been distinct periods of my history when I have absolutely abhorred Dell (see the incident with the laptop (okay, so I haven't actually told that story, but I'm not sure you really want to hear it, because it involves something like 80 hours on the phone with Dell (and that's not hyperbole -- I actually spent 80-100 hours on the phone with Dell over issues with the laptop))), but we always ended up with Dell anyway.

I needed a new computer. I needed to not spend too terribly much money on it. I needed it now.

Of course, the first thing I did was look at Dells, and I liked the prices, but I needed more information (because looking at the specs is like trying to read a foreign language, and I'd actually do better with some of those). One thing that's different with Dell since the last time I got a new computer is that you can actually go to a physical store and buy one (and, if you don't remember/know of a time when you couldn't go to a store and buy one, that should tell you how long it's been since I had a new computer), so I started calling around trying to figure out what I should I get, and, then, going in to places to look at stuff (and get all of my documents pulled off of my old computer (which is anxiety inducing)).

In the end, I didn't get a Dell (but I did get my documents). What I got from pretty much everyone I talked to is that Dell has crappy video cards. In other respects, they make the better machines, but you better just plan to get a new video card right off the bat. And that was the decision maker, really, because, at the price point I was looking at, I was told by a Dell fan that I should go with the HP (which was also on sale) because, if I bought the Dell, I'd need to get a new video card for it, which was going to up the price $120, which put it out of the price I wanted to spend (which was actually $0, but, you know, those don't exist).

I own an HP, now, and I don't know how I feel about that. But it's less of an issue that I now also have Windows 8, and I do know how I feel about that.
I hate it.

Oh my gosh! What were they thinking?

I get that we're heading into a tablet world and that's why, in effect, I could even replace my desktop, right now, because tablets are driving down the prices on desktops and laptops, and that's cool, but I did not want Windows 8! I don't own a tablet or anything like it. I haven't even used the Kindle I gave my wife for her birthday, which is the first and only mobile tech we have, so this whole touchy/feely thing we have going with our new technology is bothersome to me. I don't like it, and I don't want to have it.

The forced leap from Windows XP to Windows 8 is not a fun one is what I'm saying here. I don't like the interface. I don't really like anything about it. Sure, I know I'll get used to it, just like breaking in that new pair of shoes, but, right now, I don't like it. And I certainly don't like having to adapt to a whole new system when I'm feeling stressed about losing a week of work and two deadlines. All of this while knowing, in my head, that one day Windows 8 will be the old pair of floppy sneakers that I don't want to get rid of.

Still, for the moment, can't I just have my old shoes back?

And this, women, is why guys never throw out their old shoes.
Just sayin'.


  1. Good luck learning the new system. Check for tutorials.

    I liked the flappy old shoes description. Made me laugh. I'm sure hubs had a pair of mocassins that were hot-glued with leather patches on the bottom, to make them last a bit longer.

  2. I have a HP. My advice is make sure you regularly save a system restore point. Eventually a windows update is going to mess with you and you'll have to roll it back.

    Good luck.

    Moody Writing

  3. Ironically, all I've ever owned are Dells. Never had any issues with the video cards though outside of one dying in an old machine. They do make good ones.
    Of course, we upgrade every two-three years. Yes, we have a scary amount of computers at our house as a result.
    Windows 8 - never!

  4. My daughter was having a new laptop as a joint Christmas present from pretty much everyone. We organised to get it for her early so it would come with Windows XP. It has a voucher for a free upgrade to Windows 8. I think she's using the voucher as a bookmark.

  5. As one can upgrade to Windows 8 from 7 for $40 right now, my IT guy says I should do it, but I am reluctant.

  6. The floppy bits are the best part of life.

    I sympathize with your buying a new computer; I hate upgrading to a new OS anytime, but then after a week or so I'm used to it and I can't remember ever having used anything else, so give it some time and maybe you'll love Windows 8.

    I do not get the Star Wars reference, and it's bugging me.

  7. D.G.: There's a tutorial on the computer. The issue is that those things only ever deal with the broad strokes and not the specific things that can hang you up. Like I was just trying to save the cover file for part 9 of Spinner onto the computer, and the system for doing that and getting something workable is completely different now, and it's not the kind of thing to be in a tutorial.

    mood: Is that an HP thing? I never had an issue with that with my Dells.

    Alex: Actually, Dell doesn't make any good video cards. They contract out to other people for them. They cards they make are basic place holders. So, yes, you can get a good card from them already in their machine, but it wasn't made by them.

    Sarah: That's probably a good use for that voucher. Good to see you around!

    Jo: Unless you have a tablet and really like that type of interface, I'd say to stay away from moving to 8.

    Briane: Maybe I'll like 8 eventually, but I think it's going to take a lot longer than a week.

  8. If you have computer questions, it's what I do all day. You are welcome to shoot me an email, and I will see if I can answer it for you. Other than that, best of luck with the new computer.

  9. I can really relate to this post, shoes and all.

    I've always had HP's and have been happy overall. I've never had one of my home computers crash, but just get old (by tech standards). I've had my present computer for maybe 5 years or so and it's still pretty good. Wish it were faster and more powerful but for the price I don't think I got a bad deal. I'd just as well keep this one for many more years if it stays at least as fast as it is now.

    Hope your new computer gives you enjoyment and functionality for many years to come.

    Tossing It Out

  10. Lee: I definitely think my last computer served me well. Other than the video card wearing out, the computer never had any problems that were caused by it. Hopefully, I'll be able to have the money set aside for a new computer before this one needs to be replaced.

  11. Michael: I appreciate that! If I ever have questions, I'll be sure to do that!