Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Hello New Friend

The old laptop is dead. Long live the new laptop. (Thanks, Mom and Dad!)

My new Gateway laptop definitely counts as a new friend... a new friend with a learning disability that I call VISTA. Here are a few tweaks that have helped us work together better: I've disabled the Google toolbar that made Microsoft Word run so slow. I've learned not to type my novels while in the "Review" tab so that I can type at full speed instead of g..o..i..n..g...v..e..r..y...s..l..o..w..l..y. I've also clicked the "disable all enhancements" button so that even though I don't have any enhancements loaded, Media Player 11 won't stutter through most of my music.

Now that we've overcome those few obstacles, we get along very well indeed. I'm thoroughly enjoying the extra memory (RAM and Hard drive). I like the way my new friend doesn't eat directories when I boot up. I like the crisp clear monitor and the firm yet slightly bouncy click of the keys. I even like the gadgets, except for the slideshow... which, when enabled with too many pictures, makes the file directory lock up. And, while this may be a bit shallow, it's shiny and lightweight. But the best part is that my new friend doesn't make horrible clicking noises and then spontaneously power down.

I think we'll get along just fine. I've even started a new novel.

Monday, December 10, 2007

So Long Old Friend

My laptop is dead.

Or rather, is dying. My laptop has been through a lot over the years. It survived drops, tumbles, and even grape soda. (That would be from the day my novel sold.)

The grape soda incident (and the resulting sticky keyboard) is the reason I no longer have open beverage containers around me while writing. Everything must have a lid.

The one thing my wonderful little personal writing assistant has not managed to overcome is time. My laptop is five years old and has developed a computerized case of Alzheimer’s. Now on each and every boot (when it manages to boot) I’m surprised by a new subtle or overt alteration to the file structure. What will be lost this time? A file? A directory? Last time it was the entire applications directory.

I feel fortunate, however. It did manage to continue booting long enough for me to make backups of all my important emails, files, ect. I am writing this blog on said laptop since it is unusually warm today and the laptop seems, like my own prematurely aching joints, to do better in a warm environment.

Could it be repaired? I guess so. A new hard drive would be required and while I was at it, a new keyboard (no matter how many times I have taken the old one apart and cleaned it piece by piece, it still sticks), more RAM (it only has 512k of RAM which seems to be developing a few quirks of its own). For the price of all that, I could get an new low-end laptop that will do what I need it to do, essentially word process and check email with the occasional dash of web surfing for research.

Still, it’s hard to let go. I know that five years old is geriatric by technology standards, but I wrote the bulk of my first published novel (STAKED by J. F. Lewis, coming March 11th, 2008 from Simon & Schuster Pocket Books… sorry, it’s a habit) on this laptop.

Is it bad that I can’t wait to get my new laptop? ;)