Sunday, October 28, 2007

With fear and trepidation...

Friday afternoon I finally (after putting it off for nearly a year) went and bought a new laptop! I had promised to give my old laptop, which is nearly three years old, to my niece for her and her son to use. He just turned 13 years old last week and really needs a computer for his school work. Anyway, that and an upcoming research trip provided the impetus for me to finally get it done. I also wanted to be able to use a portable scanner with the laptop. Back in June I had purchased a Canon LiDE 70 scanner but the old laptop only has USB 1.0 and the scanner didn't work well with it. So, I took the scanner back.

It took a couple hours Friday evening to get the new laptop setup and running. It's an HP with an Intel Core 2 Duo processor, 250 GB hard drive, 2 GB of memory, and Windows Vista Home Premium. Also has a built in WebCam, LightScribe DVD Reader/Writer, and other stuff. No manual, so I don't even know what some of the buttons on the laptop are for or what some of the software does.

Getting a new computer can certainly be frustrating. Making sure the computer works, loading a program then making sure it works before loading the next one, etc. Trying to figure out what all needs to be loaded, wondering if the old software will work with the new operating system. Oh, the joys of technology!

First thing after making sure the laptop worked was to download the anti-virus software. Getting connected to the Internet was a cinch; I just plugged in the DSL cable and Vista recognized the network immediately. Cool. It also told me there were two wireless networks available for use but I wasn't brave enough to try either of them. It didn't take long to download and install the program. After rebooting I let it scan the hard drive to ensure that no virus had gotten on it while it was unprotected.

The laptop came with a 60-day free trial of an Anti-Virus and Internet Security program that I didn't want to use because I like the one I've been using for the past 2 years, that happens to be free. The pre-installed anti-virus was annoying because it would automatically start up when the laptop was booted up and then it would display a warning message when I went to close it - caution you won't be protected if you don't complete the install, etc. I finally figured out how to disable it from automatically starting and then removed the program completely.

Next thing to get loaded on was Legacy, the genealogy software that I use. No problem there either. And it opened my databases just fine. What a relief that was!

Two years ago I had purchased an iPod but after getting only a couple of CDs imported into it I had to disconnect the USB2 port that I had added to my desktop computer. Long story, but apparently there was a conflict with drivers and the USB2 port didn't want to play nice with the other drivers. Loaded the iPod software off the CD okay. As soon as the iPod was connected it immediately told me that the software was out of date, so that had to be downloaded and installed, which took quite a while. But now, after several hours of loading CDs, I have more tunes on the iPod, and, as Martha Stewart says, that is a good thing. I don't have all that many CDs (have lots of cassette tapes though) and it is a rather odd collection, I suppose. Some pre-Beatles classic 60s songs, Garth Brooks, John Denver, Kenny Rogers, Mannheim Steamroller, Neil Diamond, Ray Charles, Marty Robbins, Roger Whitaker, Roy Orbison, Chicago, and Blood Sweat and Tears. There are a lot of other singers/groups that I like, I just haven't bought any of their CDs.

I have Office 2000 on the desktop 'puter but thought I'd give Open Office a try on the new laptop. Not sure how that will work with sharing files between the two. I haven't tried opening any of my Word files in Open Office yet. It will take some getting used to. As will figuring out Windows Vista!

The only hardware I've added besides the iPod is the new Canon LiDE 70 scanner. It is working great, no streaks like with the old laptop when scanning larger images. I've done several tests and they came out nicely. Yeah!

So far, knock on wood, Windows Vista hasn't caused me any problems. But I don't have “everything” loaded on to the laptop yet. Still have to get email setup too. And I'd heard all kinds of horror stories regarding Vista. Perhaps I'll get lucky with this laptop though. I can dream, right?


Charley "Apple" Grabowski said...

I hate switching computers but I love all the new bells and whistles with each upgrade. I hope your new setup works out well for you.

I'd like to know how you like open office. I've thought about trying it but it remains on my "one of these days" list.

Take out Marty Robbins and we could have the same collection. I'm holding out on the iPod until one of my kids decided that they need a newer, better one and pass the old one off to me.

Jasia said...

Oh boy! A new toy! Good for you!

I'm getting a new computer this week too but mine is a desk top.

My laptop (a few months old now) is an HP too. I've come to love it. I know what you mean about not knowing what all the buttons are for because of no manual. I still haven't figured out half of mine! LOL


Becky Wiseman said...

Apple - I'll let keep you updated on Open Office once I get into it a bit more. I like the laptop ;-) just not the hassles of getting it ready to use.

Jasia - my desktop pc is older than my old laptop and has some issues (no USB 2.0 and the CD drive doesn't work) so it will have to be replaced sometime also. Would like to get a new digital camera though since the one I have was bought in 2000. Not sure which will come next - the desktop or camera.

I went out to the hp website and found a manual for the new laptop so now maybe I can figure out what all those buttons and flashing lights are for!

footnoteMaven said...


There is nothing I like better than a new toy, but I know just how you feel.

I received my new iMac, iPodtouch, Wacom tablet, and Canon D20 camera last week.

I am paralyzed with excitment and fear.

High performance gadgets, low performance operator.


Thomas MacEntee said...

Hey Becky

Good luck with the new laptop. I took a different route when I upgraded this time - my laptop was 4 years old (which is more like 20 years old for an IT professional like me!) and on its last wheezing legs. I bought a desktop - which I really hadn't thought of doing.

The new Dell desktops are much more compact and the flat screen monitor is over 20" wide - good for me since I am near-sighted in one eye and far-sighted in the other.

And I stuck with Office 2007 - I sort of had to since I train users on Microsoft products at my firm and it gives me a jump start on the upgrade.

And I love my iPod! Up to 9,000 songs now but not much you young 'uns might recognize: john gary, matt munro, dean martin, peggy lee, jo stafford, dinah shore. To me , there is no good music after 1964 when those long haired boys from Liverpool invaded the USA.

Ok - your friendly genealogy techno-geek is signing off!


Steve Danko said...

Looks like everyone is getting a new computer, Becky. My old laptop just quit working when I was at NEHGS in Boston. I bought a new Sony VAIO notebook and have been very happy so far.

I, too, got frustrated with my old antivirus program that took forever to do its thing when I booted up the computer. I switched to a comptitive product that I'm much happier with.

Like Thomas, I'm using Office 2007. It's so different than previous versions of Office that it'll take some getting used to.

Now I just need to get a new scanner. Like the old computer, the old scanner died. I wonder if the fact that all my electronic equipment seems to wear out is any reflection on my work habits?

Thomas MacEntee said...

Good point Steve made on anti-virus. I had re-upped my yearly subscription for Symantec/Nortan Internet Security and Anti-Virus in August before I bought the new desktop.

Over the years I have become more and more disenchanted with the Symantec product - way too intrusive, too many updates that just would hang up my whole laptop, and expensive.

After 10 days I asked them for a refund and got it - no questions asked. By then the new desktop arrived and I had selected Trend Micro PC-illin. Trend Micro anti-virus and security products were rated #1 in Consumer Reports a few months ago and believe me I have no regrets. Updates don't seem as intrusive, runs smoothly etc. I'm very happy!

Becky Wiseman said...

fM - sounds like you are going to be busy learning some new stuff too. Like you, I am a low performance operator when it comes to all this new-fangled hardware and software.

Thomas - I was going through some paperwork and discovered that the laptop is five years old, not three! And my desktop computer is seven years old - and my digital camera was purchased in October 2000 so it's seven years old too! No wonder things aren't working the way they should. I guess I really am due for upgrades! LOL.

Steve - Since I'm no longer working, I don't need to have MS Office (for working on work projects) and I'm used to the Office 2000 version. I haven't done much yet with Open Office but it was way cheaper than going with Office 2007. Either way, there is going to be a learning curve.

The only thing I have to complain about with the new laptop is the reflectiveness [?] of the screen. During the daytime my apartment may as well be outside for all of the ambient light that comes in the windows from both sides. I love the speed of USB 2.0 versus USB 1.0 and am amazed how much quicker it is moving files to a thumb drive or external hard drive as well as scanning. Amazing. I did have some problems with the large HP Scanner that I have (wonder how old that is?) but was able to download new drivers off the 'net and it is working like a charm. So far, so good.