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Beyond the Lone Islands

Saturday, 10 April 2010

A Computer Update Ramble

I've had my new computer for a week now. Strikes me that this is actually the first time I've set a brand new computer up all by myself. Most of my computers through the years I have inherited. Not the previous laptop, but I think I got some help getting that one "started" too. This time I only had help getting the box home from the store!

My new friend is blissfully silent, with bigger and better screen (17,3") and 10x the capacity of the old laptop. The hard drive of this one is 640 GB. And Windows 7 is definitely an improvement compared to Windows Vista, which I have on the old one.

... Or should I say... had on the old one... Because after being successful with installing this and that on the new one without problems, I got a bit over-optimistic about my abilites, and also tried to install something - an extra keyboard - to the old one. Which apparently it did not like. Anyway, it went on strike. When restarting it to complete that installation, I found that Windows no longer accepted commands from any keyboard to even type in the password!

... Fortunately, though, I also have Ubuntu installed on that laptop. And Ubuntu still lets me in. So at least I can still use it to access the Internet. (It might also be possible from U. to remove the faulty Windows files from the hard drive, but that's something I don't think I dare try on my own, since I'm not really sure which files do what.) Feeling very stupid about that experiment. But at least before I got all daring, I already had all documents and photos safely copied onto Bella (the new computer) (+ extra copies on an external hard drive)

Bella came with full license Photoshop Elements 7, which I have installed, but which will require some further "looking into" before I grasp all the possibilities. Meanwhile, I've also installed Picasa 3, which I've been getting used to over the past few months.

The big irritation at the moment is that every time I turn the computer on I get a pop-up window reminding me to install the trial version of the anti-virus software that came with the computer. Which I don't think I want. I have instead dowloaded AVG free, which has served me well for years on my previous computers. I suppose the only way to get rid of that pop-up window from Norton is to uninstall the whole thing, I just don't want to be too hasty about that decision.

I also have not installed Microsoft Office (which would also demand payment after a free trial period), but Open Office instead.

Windows Live Writer (blog editor) was included. I had already downloaded and tried that out a bit on the other laptop. It does give some interesting new layout possibilities. One thing I recently discovered though (has anyone else noticed?) is that Live Writer doesn't seem to accept collages made in Picasa.

With web browsers I've been a bit back and forth before... Right now I'm trying to get properly reaquainted with Mozilla Firefox. For one thing it has the advantage of being able to synchronize bookmarks even between Windows on one computer and Ubuntu on the other...! I decided to do a big clean-up among my old bookmarks, though. With too many, one almost loses the point.

When my brother was here for Easter, he also relieved me of the chrashed desktop, including the old heavy screen. Glad to be rid of it! It has been sitting there for 4½ months, just taking up space while being of no use at all... (My brother is also going to have a go at retrieving lost data from the hard drive. Or otherwise at least see to it that no one else can either.)

Bella, connected to all the extra appliances in the study.


Ginny said...

Wow, you've got some setup now! Ella, the little girl we babysit and you see on my blog sometimes- her nickname is Bella! We call her that all the time. I need to name my computer,as well. It's a pink Dell laptop. any suggestions?

DawnTreader said...

Ginny: I might have a one-track-mind at the moment, but how about Della then? ;)

GB said...

Della and Bell! I like it.

Glad to see you and Bella are getting on well. I'd never heard of Ubuntu. One more thing learned already today and it's still before breakfast (the other is that my ranch slider windows which appear beautifully clean are smeary when the early morning sun shines on them - a disadvantage of the low autumn sun).

Seriously though I'm glad that you have found a laptop and systems that you like. It's important to be happy with one's tools with cyberworld being such an important part of some of our lives now.

I, too, have ditched MS Office for OpenOffice. Mozilla is my browser for blogging but I've fallen in love with Opera - particularly for emails.

Good luck and I hope you and Bella have a long and happy relationship!

DawnTreader said...

Thanks GB. I used Opera for a while on my desktop (with Windows XP). I think I will try it out again. But right now I feel I have enough other experiments going so I'll wait a while with that.

rae said...

Wow! Command central! That looks like a lot of fun (a whole new world) and a nice, positive way to "start all over again."

Don said...

Congrats! (I bought a desktop with Vista... and sent away for a free Windows 7. I've just not had the motive to do the six hour upgrade... and tempt fate.) I'm surprised a different keyboard would be such a nasty event. Somethings that should be easy... aren't. Congrats again!


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