Thursday, January 17, 2008

a new addition to the family

After a while of being a one computer family (at home, at any rate), the spousal unit and I decided it was time to welcome a new bundle of joy. Many reasons for this, but with spousal unit working on the 'puter in the evenings, I could either watch television or stare at the ceiling...and they're about on equal levels in terms of productivity. I simply have too much writing to do, and I need to be able to do it more often, not less. Being lazy is fun, but it's not a career-positive move.

After a bit of hunting and comparing online, I decide on a nice-looking Toshiba laptop on sale at Best Buy. From work, I call the closest Best Buy store right before I leave, and they assure me they have 3 left. I get there, the sales guy can't find one after looking for about an hour.

So they call another store. I go there and get one. The sales guy can't understand why I want to buy a full-size mouse to go with my laptop instead of a notebook mouse. Frankly, I didn't feel like explaining that my desire for a laptop wasn't just because I like tiny, dainty things (resisting the urge for a sexist comment here). I also buy a router, so my humble abode can become a wifi hotspot in addition to typing zone...after all, I also need the ability to waste time effectively from the couch.

I get home, start to unpack, read through all 283 pages of the manual, and look at the's sleek, sexy, and gorgeous looking. I then boot it up, and it takes forever to start. Toshiba has also loaded about 20 icons on the desktop, because they assume (I guess) that anyone wanting a new computer must also want Vonage, Napster, or one of a thousand other pay sites/services. Damn you, corporate synergy.

So I delete the icons and try to erase some of the extra crap from the computer itself...but Windows Explorer then freezes and crashes....all within five minutes of work.

Now, I know a large number of computer guys (from various mailing lists and such), and none of them have much positive to say about Microsoft Vista, the new "state of the art" operating system. I have, in fact, been overwhelmed with an enormous amount of spite and vitriol aimed towards this operating system. In spite of it, I swore I was going to keep an open mind, but after less than a half hour of dealing with this OS, I hate it almost as much as I hate Word 2007.

This evening, a friend is going to help me rework the whole damn thing. We are going to downgrade to XP (luckily I have an extra legal copy) and then install Ubuntu as a dual booting operating system.

This is very much an experiment for me. I have toyed with open source software before...I'm currently weaning myself off Office and onto OpenOffice. Never before, though, have I made such a large-scale change, as we're basically going to go Total Recall on the unit. I have a techno-savvy friend coming over tonight, however, so we'll see how it goes. More importantly, we'll see if it's all technology that hates me, or just that technology coming out of a major corporation.

Updates to follow.

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