Tuesday, 12 May 2009
Computers. Of course, what else?
Computers. Apart from anything else I wrote this post and for some strange reason managed to lose it. Sadly since then, I have calmed down so it is no longer a virulent rant. Our first computer back in the 80s was an Amstrad and didn't even have a hard drive. I figured we didn't need to spend the extra so every time we booted up we had to faff around sticking a floppy in before we even got anywhere. It worked good as gold though, and we eventually flogged it around seven years later for fifty quid. Next up, an IBM. We graduated to a hard drive this time. It served us well. The truth is, it is still working some fifteen or so years later. Admittedly it had a bit of a blip when there was some rather heavy rain in Spain and it died on us. Easily fixed by a computer chap though who stuck a somewhat dangerous looking box on the outside – at this point it was too old to find a compatible drive to put inside – for the princely sum of around thirty or forty euros. For some strange reason I agreed to not bothering to restore the soft drive. That was not clever. I forgot I actually did use it occasionally. Note – all our computers and printers are now surge protected. We didn't know about them back then. But the time came for me to buy that Apple that I had always wanted – it's just that it's hard to buy a new computer when the current one works perfectly well, so I'd waited rather a long time. I bought a very elegant desktop. It is nice. It's an iMac or something and is now some few years old. Next up, buy the laptop. The MacBookPro. Seventeen inch screen. Made-in-China like every other computer but, - drum roll - Designed-in-California. Packs up after less than two years – more than one year of course, so the warranty is out. It's had a lot of use, but I don't think it has had enough to pack up after less than two years. And, what is particularly annoying is that I could have bought three HP laptops for the price of one Apple over less than two years. I do not want to buy a computer every year. I would much prefer them to last for ever and a day. I like Apple. I like the design. I like the simplicity of the operating system. At the end of the day, anyone in design/print/journalism etc is used to using them, and it is the computer of choice. But I have to confess that I am surprised at Windows. It has become very – sort of well, Appley. It is far more Appley than it used to be. What is annoying about using Apple, is the amount of stuff that is incompatible. This is not Apple's fault – rather the fault of the other manufacturers, whether cameras, GPS units, video cameras, modems, routers, whatever. Always having to specify 'I have a Mac' or 'Tengo un Mac' is a pain – apart from anything else, even when you have said that, it doesn't mean the person in the shop/on the other end of the 'phone knows what they are talking about. Having a Windows laptop as a back-up does not seem such a bad idea after all. But what I do not like, is the appalling McAfee security promotion on Windows. Not only does the irritating logo crop up endlessly, but helpfully the pre-set restrictions mean I could not access Safari, Thunderbird, and a couple of other programmes. Now, why would that be I wonder? I do not want to use Internet Explorer, and I don't like having my choices made for me. And another thing, the amount of adverts on the AOL/Internet Explorer browser are just grossly annoying. Stuff does take longer to load. Hal (3?) takes longer to start up than Apple Hals. For someone with little patience this is not good. Although Hal (2) doesn't start at all at the moment. But Hal (3) does go to sleep on his own nicely, so just needs a quick tap in the morning to wake up. He has a rather nice slide show. I like slide shows. He shows me an analogue clock. :) The basic software package is hum, minimal. Apparently I have Vista Premium rather than Basic. I wonder how basic Basic really is. It seems Microsoft has learned a trick out of Apple's book there by supplying very little apart from some nice entertainment packages. But therein lies the difference in the computer market now. It's about entertainment. In olden days you did at least get Word. Now you just get some tacky thing called Wordpad. Guess anyone who wants to use a computer for anything serious will get it paid for by work. I have no intention of buying Office, and one of the first things I did was to download OpenOffice. Can anyone really manage without a word processor???? The default email that comes up is – yes, Office. No, I don't want to trial it, pay for it, or have anything to do with it. There is a Windows Mail application and I downloaded Thunderbird. Not that I have got either of them to work successfully, something to do with having two conflicting outgoing mail servers I suspect. Always worked ok on Apple Hal though. I would like the date to be included with all the info stuff on the bottom. And the weather widget doesn't work for my part of the world apparently. In fact Gibraltar isn't even listed when I try and key in personal info. Maybe that's the difference. Maybe Apple just goes that tiny further. Not enough to warrant the price – or is it? Oh and note to Apple shop in Gib. Please do not make a note to say you have called me to update me with the lack of progress on the repair of Hal (2) when you haven't. I'm usually in, I've not missed a call, and there are no messages. So no, I didn't know until Partner went in the other day, that you had managed to get the install disk out and that you can't get anything up on the screen. Anyway, you've only had it a week, so I can't expect too much progress.
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