Tuesday, December 21, 2010

My New Computer

The computer we've been using for, oh, about five years or so, was due for replacement. It had gotten very slow and aggravating, so my son who does all of our IT set-up got us a new one. This is a machine that he built, with lots of (all the things that make it work faster and better that I can't think of the acronyms for) along with a new keyboard, etc, and installed it. The old machine had the XP operating system; the new one skipped over the discredited Vista and has something called Windows 7. Well, it's different but similar. Different enough so that I have to do many things in slightly other ways than I used to and it's really slowing me down.

The new computer is very fast and that part is very satisfying. The downside, however, is the keyboard (or "keyborad" as I've typed at least 500 times by accident). It's not an expensive one, and I'm thinking that if you're going to get spendy on any one thing, it should be the keyborad. The old one I had was a heavy, expensive one. I got it (second hand) because it was just like the expensive one I used to have at work that I liked. Unfortunately, that one wasn't like an army blanket: I couldn't steal it.

Anyway, the new keyborad (might as well do what comes naturally) is a cheaper, plasticky thing that takes more deliberate pressure on the keys and likes to ignore the space bar a lot.

The real point of aggravation is the spacing between the very top line of keys (the F-numbers row) and the second row, the numbers and more importantly, the back space key. When you have a crappy keyborad, you especially need the back space button a lot. My old keyborad had a lot of space between those two rows, like 3/8 of an inch. This new one has about 1/16 so it's really easy to get into the F-numbers row by accident. I discovered that the F-12 key, right above the back space, is the Death Key. At least on this computer. When you hit the F-12, it goes irrevocably into the computer shut-down mode. So for example, if I am writing one of my posts like this, it all goes away.

I'd like to plug my old keyborad back in right now, but it has the round plug. My new computer only has USB sockets. You can get little adapters to go from one to the other, but we tried the $2 one and it didn't work. There is another one for $10 and I may have to get that one. It would be worth it.

Isn't it amazing how quickly expensive electronics become obsolete? At five years of age, my old computer was considered ripe for being done-for, just on the basis of age alone. Not long ago, I was at the Goodwill Outlet store where they sell all the dreck that doesn't move in their retail stores. The Goodwill Outlet store is not like the Donna Karan outlet store, for sure. Anyway, I found a little Minolta DiMage Xi digital camera in the electronics bins for 49 cents a pound; at 5-1/2 ounces, what's that, about 17 cents? This camera came out way back in 2002 and cost $449 new. It's rated at, if I remember correctly, 3.2 mega pixels. Now you can go to Walmart and get a 8.1 MP for what, $50? The little Minolta DiMage isn't worth anything; you can see that quickly online. However, because nobody wants this obsolete item any longer, the special proprietary batteries that it takes are very inexpensive now as well as wall chargers.

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