Saturday, June 06, 2015

Hardware Upgrade!

I am writing this from a brand new computer! Yay! The PC I was using was seven years old, which, in computer terms, qualifies as advanced dotage. And it was getting increasingly annoying in various ways. Plus, it was running XP, whose lack-of-suportedness was starting to reach the point of actually being dangerous. Like, I couldn't install the latest version of Java. Or not without it giving me dire warnings about how it probably wouldn't work, anyway. Since I'm not yet ready to switch to doing absolutely everything via laptop -- I know, I know, I haven't given up my landline, either -- I figured it was finally time to replace the thing. Basically, I got a newer model of the same machine -- the Dell Inspiron -- because the old one worked fine for years and I'm far too lazy to research my zillion possible options and pick the very best one. (Hey, psychologists will tell you that doesn't make you any more satisfied with your choices, anyway.)

But, oy, why is something like getting a new computer up and running always so ridiculously complicated? Even just getting my hands on the machine was a frustrating process. First, the FedEx person left a "you weren't home" tag on my door, even though I was home. (I think I was on the treadmill, which is kind of noisy, and they didn't knock loud enough. Or, y'know, ring the doorbell.) After that, they'd only try to deliver it after 3:30, when I needed to leave for work. I ended up having to be an hour late for work just so I could wait for the thing on Final Delivery Day, because otherwise I would have had to drive all the way to Albuquerque to pick it up. I'm just glad someone was able to cover for me. I've had to make entirely too many trips up to ABQ lately.

And, then, of course, there's all the setting things up, and updating and registering and downloading and installing and file transferring, and beating Windows 8 with a stick until it behaves. Which you expect to take quite a while, but which somehow always manages to take longer than you allow for, ever after you try to allow for that. ("Oops, I didn't copy those game save files off the old machine! Guess I need to hook it back up and turn it back on... Wait, why is the mouse suddenly not working on it?!")

My big mistake, of course, was trying to set up a new printer/scanner at the same time. It's a wireless printer, which I figured would be nice. Fewer cables in the tangle behind the desk, and I'd also be able to print to it from my laptop or even my phone. Gaah, what an undertaking setting that up was. It went something like: "Wow, these installation instructions are confusing... Why is it not seeing the printer on the network? Oh, wait, there it is. Wait, why is none of my other stuff able to connect to the network now? How did this change my WiFi password?! Crap, what's the admin password for the router? Aaargh! OK, changed it back. Now I need to figure out how to give the printer the WiFi password. Clearly I'll need to plug it in for that. OK, now how do I... Man, this is the least useful help function ever. I'll just keep trying things that look vaguely like they might do setup stuff until I find it. Ah, there we go! Wait, the printer needs an admin password in order for me to give it the WiFi password? Were the hell do I find that?! This manual ought to win some kind of Most Craptastic Manual award. Half the entries say 'see instructions!' I thought this was the instructions! What is a manual if not instructions?! Oh, there we go. OK, and... It works! Wait, no it doesn't work. Oh. It's working now. I don't know why it's working now and it wasn't before. Or why the printer is listed twice on my devices list. But maybe I don't care anymore."

Inevitably, of course, you reach a moment where things finally seem to be more or less working, and then you suddenly realize that it's 1:30 in the afternoon, you've been at it since 9:00, and you haven't had lunch or, for that matter, breakfast.

But! Everything does seem to be working now! Yaaaaay!

And my brand new keyboard already has cat hair in it. So clearly everything is back to normal.


  1. I'm still beating Windows 8 with a stick. It never behaves.

    1. The key, IMO, is in installing software to force Windows 8 to behave more like Windows 7, including bringing the Start button back. (Although I understand Microsoft is seeing sense and reinstating it for Windows 10.) Beat it hard enough with the right sticks, and you can get your desktop to stop trying to pretend it's a tablet.