Wednesday, March 16, 2011

My New Toy

by Annette Dashofy

As last summer drew to a close, I swore I would own a new laptop before the 2011 camping season. My old one was sluggish and temperamental. Even Microsoft Word didn’t work right on it. Since I spend a lot of time at our camp writing while Hubby fishes, I really need a fully functioning laptop.

Last Friday, I did it. I ordered my new HP laptop online after falling in love with the in-store display model (which, alas, was the only one left). It wasn’t due to arrive until today. So I planned to blog about how eager I was to get my hands on my new computer.

But to my surprise—and delight—it arrived a day early! It’s like Santa showing up on the morning of Christmas Eve.

I wonder if Daylight Saving Time and setting our clocks ahead had anything to do with it. Hmm.

Anyway, what follows is a diary of my first day with my new toy

10:15AM. Mr. UPS arrives with my package. Squeee! With Kensi kitten eagerly watching (new toy for me means new box for her), I very carefully slice through the tape and try to determine out how to get the thing open. The fact that I can’t figure which tab is in which slot of the cardboard box doesn’t bode well for the rest of the learning curve.

10:30AM Read the START HERE instruction sheet. Step One: Unpack the Box. If I hadn’t already managed that much, I wouldn’t have found the instruction sheet. Doesn’t bode well for the level of help I’ll get from these instructions.

10:45AM Have managed Steps Two and Three: insert battery and plug it in. On a roll.

Except the next step involves turning it on and going through the on-screen set up. Being not entirely a novice with new computers and electronics, I suspect this may take considerable time. And I have to take my mother to her tax lady for a noon appointment. So I decide to wait until I return home to continue. I satisfy myself by admiring how pretty the new case is (it’s GOLD) and by threatening Kensi to keep her little kitty paws off it. (She’s already lost interest in the box.)

2:00PM Mom’s taxes are done. Hubby has headed off to work. Time to play.

2:30PM Set up has gone remarkably well. Now comes the first big test. Software installation. Namely Microsoft Office. I’ve been using Office 2003 for quite a while now and really don’t want to have to “upgrade” to the 2010 version. I’ve heard nothing good about it. The question is will I be able to use my old software on my new computer?

4:30PM It would appear the answer is YES! Now I’m happy. I’ve updated everything that seems to need updating at the moment. I’ve transferred home movies from my desktop to the new computer and even learned how to burn a DVD. Neither my desktop, nor my old laptop, had a DVD burner, so I couldn’t do much with the home movies I’d made with my Flip Camera. Now I can! Oh, and I’ve copied my current work in progress onto the new computer, so I can work as well as watch movies.

5:00PM I’m exhausted. Just for fun, I sent my first email from the new computer, tweeted to Twitter on it, and tested out Hulu. The picture and sound quality is exceptional.

And with that, I decided to shut it down. I still have plenty to do. I can access my Yahoo mail, but I still need to set up Outlook. There are plenty of files to copy over to it yet. However, the major hurdles have been crossed.

It’s been a good day. No disasters. Everything works the way it’s supposed to. I may have had to search for a few things that weren’t where they used to be. But all in all, I’d say I’m ready to hit the road. Let camping season begin!


Martha Reed said...

Congratulations, Annette! Very funny post. Getting a new toy is always fun and love is definitely part of the equation.

Joyce Tremel said...

I love new toys! I got two of them for Christmas: hubby got me a laptop, and the kids got me a Kindle. I'm in tech heaven.

Son #2 picked the laptop for hubby, so it does way more than I'll ever need.

And I'm still running Office 2000. I really should upgrade one of these days, but it works just fine.

PatRemick said...

I liked this post, although it made me feel very delinquent. I have had a new laptop for a couple of months but have only barely been using it -- I think I'm afraid of the learning curve and all the work it will take to convert. You have given me new courage Annette! (and I like Microsoft 10, too!)

Annette said...

Pat, you're the first person I've heard say they like Microsoft Office 2010. I had 2000 on my first computer years ago and then switched to 2003 when I bought the new PC and laptop in 2005. Joyce, I don't recall what the differences between those two were, but I know there was no learning curve. I understand there's a considerable learning curve between '03 and '10.

C.L. Phillips said...

I made MS-Office 10 look like the old version by customizing the commands. My toolbar has my favorite six commands front and center.

Can you imagine the number of bugs Microsoft could fix if they would only quit adding features to Office? Seriously, how many features do we need?

Confessions from an Apple Fanboy...

Annette said...

C.L., when the inevitable day comes that I have to switch to 2010, I'll definitely come to you for instruction on customizing it.

Jenna said...

Congratulations! New toys rock!!! Between you and me, though, I hate laptops. Can't work on them. Work on the full size desktop with keyboard when I write. Although I did enjoy the iPad I bought for the trip to Norway... A little learning curve there too, and it was different typing on the screen - I had to slow down because my fingers kept slipping - but gosh, what fun!

Annette said...

Jennie, I also prefer the desktop for the bulk of my work. I'm writing this on it, as a matter of fact. But I need the laptop for when we go to our camp. I do a LOT of writing there. Plus, I've been known to sit with my laptop on the couch in the evening with the TV on and catch up with email, Twitter and such.

By the way, my computer-loathing husband has laid claim to the old laptop. It will stay at the camp this summer and serve as his own personal DVD player.

Gina said...

Jennie -
I'm with you. I'll take a desktop over a laptop any day. For writing. I do use my laptop to play solitaire.
Annette -
Congrats! It's also nice that you like some version of Word. I detest each and every one of them and long for the days of MultiMate, when my word processing program would do what I told it to and not continually try to guess what I might (and DON'T!) want it to do.

Annette said...

Gina, I imagine my fondness for Word comes from the fact that I took a CCAC class on it a number of years ago, so I know something about how to make it function for me. But they changed so much for the 2010 version I fear I'd have to take another class to re-learn it.

I think we all prefer the programs we first learned. Then they go and "improve" them. Change isn't very often improvement. Much of the time it's just CHANGE.

Gina said...

Annette -
The first one I learned was WordPerfect. MultiMate was the one that really worked. And, yeah, I've learned about how to disable the most annoying aspects of Word, but it has an even more annoying habit of spontaneously re-enabling those aspects. I hate it.
- Gina