Sunday, April 30, 2006

Out with the Old, In with the New

Symptoms: Failure to boot. Loss of records. Black screen with error message. Recovery system missing approximately 2,000 files needed to run Windows.

Diagnosis: Hardware failure. Specifically hard drive failure.

Reasons to panic: 5,000+ music files*. Three and a half years of pictures**. Word documents full of writings posted and UNposted for the blog. The beginnings of a story I am trying to write. Numerous letters and old writings from school or prior years.

Solution: Ask boss for the day off, have that granted, go to the local Mega Electronics Retailer (MER) and pray for tech guys to solve the problem if I provide enough plastic.

Result: MER has my old hard drive right now and they are able to do data rescue to provide me all my music files, my pictures, and Word documents. The old computer system still has some working parts, but I did not pick up a new hard drive. Instead, I have a shiny new laptop computer. Friday was one of those days where things can go wrong, really, REALLY wrong and I can stay happy by treating myself with something special. Call it spending money, but I prefer to think of it as mental health recovery.

What sold me on the new computer? The idea of wireless Internet. It is that simple. I’ve been debating purchasing a laptop prior to another great vacation (and with the mini-trips in May, it will work out) so that loading pictures from our camera cards would be an option. Now it is an option. Nice, huh? But the wireless Internet. Here’s the cool thing. According to the man at MER, the wireless Internet should have a pretty decent range. As in I could possibly be online at Perkins or even the Chalet***. I could bring this computer to my mom’s or dad’s and still be connected to CABLE Internet. How nice! Is technology not amazing?

I also picked up a wireless mouse, since adjusting to a touch-pad is something I’ll get mad at myself for ages. I have a ten-key pad (wireless) that also goes with the system. A few months ago, I purchased a headset and it is compatible with this system.

While I lost a bit of software from the big problem, most of it is recoverable for little cost. Adobe Photoshop Elements is a program I have on disc**** and there was a nice deal on Microsoft Office (student version – I am still in school although this is not my main purpose of the computer). Once the tech guys come over on Sunday afternoon and set up my virus protection, my spyware protection, my wireless Internet, and do a nice clean up of all the junk the factory places on the computer (how many different Internet providers/services need to be pre-installed?), I will download the latest version of iTunes and be rather content.

Adjusting to the new keyboard is interesting and I’m trying to find the best way to be comfortable with the new system.

Oh, and this thing has a cool feature. There seems to be some new technology in DVD-burners. It has a feature called, “LightScribe” and it will burn labels right onto the CD/DVD. How cool is that?


*Granted, over 4,500 of these are backed up. It was more the thought of having to reload all my CDs and reorganize the backed up files on old discs.
**While all the pictures up to September 2005 are backed up and the majority of the newer pictures are loaded onto Flickr, this caused more than a moment of panic. At least all the pictures from Portugal are on 2 DVDs somewhere in DM’s possession.
***The range is something to test. I don't think I'll have that great of range with the router I have. But I can use other networks, if the owners have not secured them. I'll have to see what is available in different areas.
****If I can find the disc for Adobe. I have the box, the manual, and the tip card. But the disc itself is missing. This is bothering me to a great extent.