Thursday, February 25, 2010

Dull Computer Tasks

Well, I'm typing this from the floor of my study, where I've set up my shiny new computer. The old one isn't really powerful enough (memory or speed) to handle animation work for/with the school, and the boys needed a replacement for the ageing and temperamental laptop that they've been working from here at home. The connection was obvious: update time.

Of course, it's never so simple as that, is it?

I sent out a half-dozen requests for quotes, to a range of Launceston-based suppliers. Three of them actually replied. Of the three, two completely ignored every word I wrote about "please don't bother trying to sell me security-ware or antivirus wares. I will manage that for myself", and tacked prices for enormous, kludgy Suites for the Lazy Brain-Dead User onto the quote. (Yes, Norton. I'm looking at you.)

That left only one. They seemed good -- the quote was very reasonable, the machine fit the specs I requested, there was some useful advice and alternative suggestions attached. There was something that struck me as odd about the phone number, though. When I rang them, I figured out what it was: they're based in Hobart.


Still, they offered a three-year hardware warranty, and they do have a Launceston office to handle service issues. And they were truly helpful. So -- faced with such a mighty plethora of choices, I got up at 0630 this morning, and made the drive to Hobart. I was there for about fifteen minutes, picking up the system and handling the paperwork. And then I turned around and drove all the way back again.

Three hours either way. Eh. You get that. I liked the people I dealt with. I'm confident that if something goes astray, I'll get help out of 'em.

Of course, that doesn't alter the fact that migrating all of my working software and documents from one computer to another is a big, fat, hairy job. And on top of that, I've allowed myself to be persuaded to try Windows 7. (According to all sources, it's what Vista was supposed to be. Except functional.) But this system has a dual license. I can revert to XP if Win 7 sucks.

So far, so good. I've set up the browser. I've hooked up the network cable: no troubles getting online. I've ported my weird little email client through, and made it work. I've brought trusty old Yeah Write across, and installed Abiword. I've transferred tonnes of old documents and photos without a hitch.

I reckon I've got about two more days worth of this kind of work before I can hand the old machine over to the lads and plonk this one down on my desktop. Boring, boring, boring...


  1. I will be making the jump to Win7 Soon enough. I ignored Vista and stayed with XP, so there is no easy upgrade option and I am simply going to have go with a clean install. I'll port all the pics/docs up onto an external HD, then port them all back once Win7 is in place. And of course there will bot LOTS of re-installing, downloading and updating. As you say, boring, boring, boring...

  2. I'll be interested to hear what you end up thinking of Win7. My new computer has Ubuntu Linux, which is even more tricky to move to. *sigh*

  3. 3hrs each way... well at least Tasmania's nice driving country. Keep it up, you could maybe enter the tractor in Targa next year?

    As a Mac user (as distinct from a Mac fanboi) I don't envy the amount of startup effort that goes into setting up PC systems properly. Sure there's a lot more tinker-ability, but you pay for it in labour time.

  4. I feel your pain. I am midway through setting up the husband's new laptop. It's times like these you realise just how much crap you manage to collect.
    I found windows7 ok so far, after successfully avoiding vista, all I can offer on it is that it seems a lot like xp but with fancier packaging. Here's hoping Gate's Groupies got it right this time.

  5. Good now you can get your ass on Twitter!

  6. Arr, that joy which I don't need to worry about anymore. It amazes me the Microsoft haven't made a nice transfer client like OSX has. Good luck with all the downtime.

  7. Just remember the natural state of a computer is broken. Good luck.

  8. Like most of you, I dodged Vista. More accurately, I had the incredibly unpleasant experience of putting it into action on Natalie's laptop... whereupon I promptly resigned as her IT officer.

    Win7 is, so far, not horribly painful. But... WTF is wrong with the goddam 'search' function? How come it can't actually FIND anything? Jeezus! How the FUCK can you fuck up something as simple as a 'search'? It's just about the most basic function a computer can manage!!!

    Jennicki: just for you, here's a sample of my ass, on Twitter: "Ppphhrrrt!" "Poot!" "Bblblbblblblbphrrt!" "Splublblblub!" "Splattogg!"

    If you need more, I can always go on a beer-and-chili diet for a few days.