Saturday, May 10, 2008

Another New Computer

Seems like every few years (like, about four), I need a new computer. Not that there's anything terribly wrong with the old one, but I continue to require more horsepower. Last time it was doing intensive graphics and photo work. This time, it's video editing. So I bit the bullet and plunked down $1200 on a new HP quad-core machine with a 22" LCD widescreen monitor. It's been a pretty easy conversion, but there are a couple of things to get used to and discover:

1. Vista. I've raged on about Vista in an earlier posting, so I won't belabour the point again. Once you get used to getting nagged about everything obvious (e.g., click on a program to install it, "Are You Sure?", "Are You REALLY Sure?" arrgh) it's actually an okay OS, and it has some cute features, I suppose.

2. iTunes. What? Apple won't let you move your iPod's contents back into a new iTunes? Apparently, this is to stem piracy, but my Goddess, this is insane. Fortunately there are a lot of inexpensive ($20) software tools out there that let you get around this and get your valuable (and legal, dammit) music back into your computer. But, what a stupid assumption that Apple makes - that you're a criminal first, and a new computer owner second. Double arrgh.

3. No more RS-232 serial port. Many of you won't know what that is, growing up in a USB world. Back in the old days, a serial port was the 'de facto' way of getting information from one computer to another over a long distance. I had an old Wacom pen tablet that used a serial port, but now it's in the "yard sale" pile. I had to buy a new Wacom Bamboo to replace it.

4. Old software doesn't work. I have over a hundred programs on CD-ROM that are compatible with various OS, particularly XP. But, some of this stuff doesn't work on Vista, oh no. You have to purchase a new version. Triple arrgh.

5. File transfer - thinking ahead saves time. Fortunately for me, some time ago I stopped saving my precious work on the central hard drive. Instead I have most of my files on external USB drives (with backups, of course.) So, there were gigabytes of stuff I didn't have to transfer off of the old machine - it was already offline. So here's a tip - if you're thinking of upgrading any time soon, go buy a cheap ($100) big USB drive and drag your files into it. I use the C:\ drive as the backup drive, not the source.

Now, let's see how that iTunes backup is going...


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