Thursday, October 4, 2007

Vista Views and Laptop Love

I honestly never thought I would have an opinion one way or the other in the controversy that seems to be raging over the new Vista system that is being implemented on new pc's covering the country. I've heard the fights from both sides... and while I didn't really care one way or the, I will confess my leanings were against the newcomer - if for no other reason then I dreaded having to relearn all my VERY basic computer skills. By sticking with Windows XP, I knew where my stuff was, how to access it, and even how to branch out a tad bit into unfamiliar waters without worrying I would cause my computer to first implode.... and then possibly melt into a puddle of steaming goo. Ever since watching Tron as a child, I've viewed most computers with a fair amount of distrust and distaste. My relationship with the Prime Geek didn't help matters any. In efforts to “improve” my computer in some esoteric manners that only he could fathom (Yes, honey, I'm sure it went faster after you rebuild the widget and formatted the whosit to bypass hyperspace.... I just never really saw much difference.) I would be rendered first computerless while he cackled and rebuilt... then the inevitable return with nothing where I remembered it being. The computer might have been better in some way... but as all I use the dread machines for is writing and surfing the web.... it all was a bit beyond me.

But then.... my computer finally died. Even the Prime Geek's mystical skill with all things sparking were of no help. Granted... to be fair, it HAD suffered through two small electrical fires, one cat peeing on the works, at least three lightening strikes, and numerous drops from varying heights over its eight year life. I fought hard for another tower based computer system. It was what I knew, and I've always secretly viewed those people who jaunt off to coffee shops to work on their great American novel as posers of a sort. Call me old fashioned, my view of the writer at work came straight out of Little Women. Give me a garret, a stack of paper, a quill pen and I can write the world. Force me to work with battery life, mocha shots, and a crowd of black turtleneck wearing semi-intelligentsia's.... and I get cranky. I like the deep strokes of good keyboard, I like my monitor to be both large AND slightly above my line of sight. I, frankly, didn't want anything to do with a laptop. The Prime Geek insisted if I was going to take the next few years and try and see if this writing thing was ever going to be more than a oddly frustrating and sadly consuming hobby I needed the mobility of a laptop.

In the end, I was beaten. Quite simply.... he bought the dratted thing and was going to be the one to maintain it, so my ability to argue was somewhat limited. Also.... if all I could come up with was a slightly whiny “But I don't know how.....” I just had to accept I was beaten and adjust to the fact I was getting a laptop and was going to have to just suck it up and learn Vista.

The laptop arrived and within an hour, it was set up in front of me and I was told to get on with it. Now, a few days later, I have come to a few conclusions.

One. Vista? Not really all that big of a deal. Now, the Prime Geek isn't one to let things stay as is... no no, the lad is always chasing after the bigger and the better. So before the laptop was even turned on, he installed the full complement of memory possible in the computer. With that installed, the huge lag time everyone seems to loathe isn't an issue. Vista takes almost of full gig of memory? Not a problem... I've got an extra three to run after that. With one move, the biggest complaint was taken care of. Any other complaints can be answered by simply restating the rather sad truth. I use this as a typewriter, a way to surf the web, a cd player, and a source for crossword puzzles and endless games of Majong. I have few other requirements or needs. Thus, no matter all the other options available, this is fine.

Two. The whole laptop thing? Better than I had dreamed possible. Yup, the simple fact of being able to switch what room I'm working in is wonderful (Happy hon?) As any writer can tell you, simply getting up and walking around can help jog things loose. The ability to get up and leave... and still be able to work is something I can get behind fully. I don't have to put off working on material because I have to head out of town for the day, no more transcribing barely legible notes scrawled on a napkin from a cafe... I can work wherever I need to. Nifty.

Lastly? Perhaps having a wireless internet connection isn't such a great idea. The ability to answer e-mail or watch YouTube where I once simply had a moment of peace and..... shall we say singular concentration might be a sign of the end of our civilization. If I put a microwave and a small fridge in there I might never have to leave the room.

One the other hand, it does free up a lot of space as I no longer have to carry three or four books into the smallest reading room* with me.

Now, I realize with this blog posting I'm veering a tad away from my nerdly roots and beginning to stray into the path of geekhood.... but let's face it. YOU try sharing a bed and a bathroom with the Prime Geek and not subconsciously absorb a few techno odds and ends! Tomorrow it's back to the Natural Nerd grind.

*As described by the Great Pratchett.


ThePrimeGeek said...

For anyone interested, we actually bought a pair of these:

and loaded them both up with this:

We both have *gasp* mathing couples laptops. The jury is still out on how I feel about that, but I will say this: these things positively scream. I'm talking inmappropriately transgressed primate here.

If anyone wants a technical dissertation on the ins and outs of these guys, and why we picked them, say so, and I'll yap yer ear off.

Mark said...

Naww I was just wondering if I could get her to transcribe my book? Between the brainstorm and the computer my ideas get lost so I write to a tape recorder for my short stories, and i have 6 or 7 micro casettes with my stories on them and I can't find someone will to transcribe them for me :( Sicne she's so jazzed about her new 'puter, I thought I could con errr invite her to help with my talented ramblings yeah, that's it help.... :)

Pagan Blacksmith said...

Jena, If the PG wanted to be truly green concious and a royal pain to you, he would have removed the MS product and opted for a Linux distribution, such as Ubuntu.

Muwahahaha! The only thing more fun than hacking someone else's programming source code to get a computer to do what you want is to be beating hot steel into conformity.

Enjoy the new machine(s).

P. Blacksmith

ThePrimeGeek said...

Ubuntu would have worked, but since it came with a Vista Home Premium install, and with 4GB Ram that install is very happy, and since J loves her some Win-specific games, I figured it's be better to keep Vista.

Of the 7 PC's in the house, two run Linux variants. I'm debating on using Ubuntu or XP on the one going in the Jeep. I have to admit, I'm leaning toward XP...