Sunday, November 01, 2009

Merlot Red, too

On Thursday night my laptop dropped dead. The external keyboard hadn't been registering every stroke, so I plugged in a new keyboard and that was fine. I woke up in the middle of the night to an eerie glow from the Blue Screen of Death. A groggy poke at the laptop led me to believe it was doomed and an attempted reboot in the morning confirmed that it couldn't boot. The master of computers came home on Saturday and broke the news – the hard disk was toast.

After some searching it turns out I have copies of The Novel and The Half Novel on the shared drive. Good. (Nanowrimo starts today, but I guess for me it didn't.) Several major things I was working on are only on the laptop disk though, along with some softwares that keep count of how many copies are registered and for which I might not be able to get new keys. The reason for RAID and all the other types of continual disk back-ups become obvious at times like these, but of course I will forget immediately and not set anything up. And don't tell me to keep files in the Cloud. I live in Southern California where the clouds are apt to evaporate at any opportunity, so I don't trust it.

M of C quickly got down to specifying a replacement for the six and a half year old Dell. It was fast enough, I told him. "You can't get anything less than six times as fast," he said. The disk was big enough, I told him. "You can't get anything with a disk less than ten times the size," he said.

On an unrelated note, all my frying pans (skillets) also gave up the ghost over the previous few weeks, and so there was nothing for it but to head to Macy's for a box of cookware. I forced M of C along with me today and as we walked out burdened with non-stick, he casually mentioned that the world's second only Microsoft store was here, in this very mall.

Of course, we went. The store had first opened its doors on Friday, just a few hours after the laptop shuffled off the mortal coil. A coincidence, I am almost sure. It was packed – there must have been sixty or seventy people in there, along with a school group sitting in front of a huge screen. One standout thing was watching the store guy demonstrate the new touch screens by touching a Google Earth picture that just happened to be on the screen of a computer being tested by an older man, probably seventy, as we were walking past. The screen twisted under the store guy's touch and as we walked on I looked back to see the man gleefully experimenting with this new type of interface, running around Google Earth and dumping the picture upside down with a broad smile.

Store guy said it had been this busy since the hour they opened. The atmosphere was more of an interactive art display than a store, with people from four to seventy tapping away and big displays of the planets of the solar system on the walls. M of C talked me through two or three Dells with the help of the store guy. Upshot was it cost me half as much for about ten times as much computer, the store guy put it together in front of me and Microsoft Office and the printer were free. It even has a backlit keyboard, though I have yet to find out why, exactly, one might want a backlit keyboard. Could it be that some of those people from 4 to 70 playing checkers on touch screens are not – gasp – able to touch type? Say it ain't so!

It's a Dell Studio XPS 16. I know you were dying to know.


Bruv said...

Hi Sis

Happy New Computer!! Hope you have a happy and fulfilling life together.
You seem to have made a rapid transfer to technology in the past 6 months as you were saying that you had a mobile Phone that only made telephone call and nothing else!!
The backlit keyboard would I imagine be very usefull when you are playing Counterstrike with the lights out, 24" screen and surround sound to get the atmospherics up.

Peromyscus said...

That must be it - playing Counterstrike with the lights out! I can just see me doing that.

My mobile is a BlackBerry. It does lots of things. However, I haven't been a very demanding owner. This morning I discovered Maps, which was helpful. One day I might find GPS and then it'll be very helpful. I just HATE telephones. It's not the mobility, it's the phoning part I don't like.

Bruv said...

Hi Sis

Hey, I am 63 and I play Counterstrike with the lights out, no other way to play it!!!!

I like the spec on your new computer, I am sure you will have got the "leather highlites" to go with the Merlot Red. As you know I build my own computers and on the latest one I have built I haven't bothered with RAID I have a 1.5TB HDD as the main and a 500GB as a backup built in. They are programmed to back up critical info every week, so the most I would lose is a weeks doodlings and a few photos, but as I have several thousand photos in there losing a couple wouldn't be a disaster. Unfortunately this wouldn't help you with your specialist software and keys.

The biggest problem I have found with upgrading (here I am assuming that your new laptop is loaded with Windows 7) is compatibility and the lies that equipment and software manufacturers put out. For instance when I upgrading to Vista Ultimate, Epson said that there was no intention to update the drivers for my A3 Epson 1600XL scanner and it was therefore obsolete if I upgraded, presumably to make me dash out and buy a newer model. Lo and behold 6 months later there is a universal driver for the scanner on their website, which even has a couple of extra utilities built in. Good job I am lazy and didn't rush out to buy one!! This weekend I ran the Win7 update compatibility program and it is already telling me some of my USB connected devices are obsolete, but are they???


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