Friday, November 25, 2016


Ever since I first started computing with the above picture computer, one thing has been sure, computers go obsolete. Actually I still have the above pictured computer and it still works. But it has the computing power of a cellphone that has been dropped off a hundred story building and run over repeatedly by a herd of elephants chased by a string of steamrollers. It sits in my basement waiting for some day when I would like to dust it off and display it in some fashion.

My everyday computer, while more powerful, hasn't been supported software wise by Microsoft and others for several years. It runs Windows Vista, which I hated from day one and still to this day. It is a platform no longer supported which means if something happens, you are SOL. Many software developers no longer write their software to work on Vista since it is no longer supported. I can't update my web browser to the latest because of the OS and thus website are starting to no longer load correctly or even work on the old versions of web browsers.

As old computers tend to do, it has also become arthritic in its age. Often, it now requires multiple boots to get it up and running with everything running (that can still run) and even then, it takes about 15 minutes to boot up completely. There are corrupted files everywhere which means that sometimes the computer will freeze up now and then. A clean install of the OS would solve all those things but that takes me back to the beginning where they don't support the OS anymore.

So it was time to get a new computer. It looks just like the older one but is running Windows 10 which is supported OS. I had a laptop that had Windows 7 on it and absolutely loved it however in the dead of the night, Windows somehow started putting Windows 10 on it. It of course hung up and became a door stop for almost a year before one day I sat down and figured out how to get it to finish the install. Since I had written it off, I poked around and actually found that I liked Windows 10.

Thus far, the swap has been relatively painless compared to other times. When I got my last computer, I made the decision to save everything that I cared about on a separate hard drive than the OS. This makes it much easier to find thing and back them up. I opt for a cloud based backup software that takes care of it automatically. So when I got my new computer hooked up to the internet, I simply logged into my online account, switched my subscription to my new computer and told it to restore the files. With all my pictures and music, I have around 400+GB of stuff backed up. It has been working on it for about five days now and is about half way done. The one drawback is that they throttle down the connection a bit so a whole bunch of people restoring their computer don't bring the entire system down. However, the computer is still absolutely functional while waiting so unless I need some particular picture or song, things work out great.

Right now, my old computer still occupies the place of honor on my office desk and the new one is sitting off to one side. I've been using the new one a few days already and as I find some odds and ends, like how to transfer my iTunes favorites over to the new computer, I have to switch and grab the appropriate file. When I get to where I think everything is running fine on the new computer, I'll swap it for the old one and let the old one sit on the floor nearby for a month or so to make sure. When I'm sure, I'll probably grab the hard drives out of the old one and stick in the new one as backup just in case they are ever needed and send the rest of the computer to computer heaven at the recycling center. I'm guessing computer heaven will end up someplace in China.


sage said...

It is amazing to think back to our first computer and how limited it was--I have always been in the PC crowd (starting out with a DOS computer with 64k of Ram and a 5 1/4" floppy drive and a 20 meg hard drive). My first apple was an ipad which I am using with a keyboard to write this reply.

Kelly said...

My first computer was a Commodore 64 and my monitor was a TV! (I have very fond memories of that setup) I then transitioned to Dells and stuck with that brand once I made the switch to laptops. It wasn't until I had to get one on the spur of the moment and bought another brand that I had a poor experience. It led me to get a Macbook Pro this summer and I think I may never go back to PCs.

I have a love/hate relationship with iTunes and I'm afraid if I start talking about it here it will ruin my day. So I'll stop now.

Ed said...

Sage - I still remember being awed about the idea of a hard drive. What do you mean I don't have to stick in a disk to work on something!?

Kelly - I love my iphone and I think my wife's ipad is pretty great too. However, I just can't bring myself to get a Macbook. Mostly because I still would rather work on a desktop than a laptop. Perhaps some of it has to do with my love/hate relationship with iTunes. For a company that prides itself on its intuitive interfaces, I find iTunes an exercise in frustration every time I have to do something.

Kelly said...

My brother finally made the leap to an Apple desktop and absolutely loves it. I just prefer the convenience of a laptop.

My biggest peeve with iTunes is that you can only store what you've purchased from them in the cloud. I spent HOURS of my life uploading music from CDs to my iTunes then would sync it to my iPod as a back-up. It wasn't until I got a new laptop that I found out only the purchased music was in the cloud and there was no way to move the uploaded stuff over. If I tried to sync my iPod to the new laptop, it would have caused me to lose what was on the iPod and not on that current laptop. I'd previously backed up my iTunes account on an external hard drive (not sure how I did that, but googled and found a way), but that device isn't compatible with my Macbook and wouldn't be complete at this point, anyway. I moaned over all this with the folks in the Apple store, but it's pretty much my tough luck. So.... I just keep my iPod in its dock in the Bose player (which won't accept my iPhone due to change in charging port size) and pray it won't crap out anytime soon. (it's ancient and I'm sure won't hold a charge away from the Bose) Of course I still have most of those original CDs, but there were a bunch that the Oxford American put out each year that I would pass on to others once I'd uploaded them. Unfortunately much of the music is so old (as in 20s and 30s) or so indie, that it can't be found at iTunes. *sigh* I guess I should be glad I never invested in the hardware to upload all my vinyl as well. Grrr.

Ed said...

Kelly - I have been able to download every song I've ever purchased on iTunes onto my computer but like I said, it isn't a straightforward process. When you are in the music tab looking at your library, you have to go into "View" and then "View Options" and then make sure "iCloud Download is selected. This gives you a column that you can then sort by so all your iCloud purchased items are all grouped together. Once grouped together, you should be able to select them all, right click and then select "Download". Of course, it doesn't store them with the rest of your music so I have to select on, right click and say view in Explorer Window to find their location and then copy them to the location where I store all my other music on another hard drive.

A lot of steps for just a Save As command and pointing to a location!

Kelly said...

That does sound awfully complicated! I'll admit that I rarely go into the iTunes on my laptop anymore just because they've ticked me off about my uploaded (imported) music. I never listen to it there, preferring to use my phone... but don't think it's any trouble to load it there now that I have "their" product (Macbook). It's actually quite easy to manage the music on my phone and as long as I'm on wifi, can listen to the songs still in the cloud without having them on my phone.

It's the whole business of importing all that music from CDs and not being allowed to store it in the cloud that got to me. I'd never have given away the ones from the Oxford American if I'd known at the time.

Pumpkin Delight (Kimberly) said...

Oh, there's nothing like a new to computer! After using an outdated one becomes the norm, the new one feels as fast a rocket ship. I love that! :) The small little changes or tweaks though are frustrating at first. You will soon get used to those and they'll be the "right" way, until the next time.
I have only used laptops as my personal computer for several years now. There are times I wish I had the larger screen of a desk top, but the portability is key for me. I made the switch from PC to Mac about 4 years ago. At first I wasn't sure the transition would work as I was a PC user for so many years and my school district uses PCs. But the transition was easy, and I'm now a Mac snob...the PCs at school drive my crazy with their inefficiency.
That picture above of the ancient Apple brings back so many memories. I took a special after school computer class in elementary school when we got 12 Apple IIEs. We got to sit in the teachers' conference room with these tan boxes and were just amazed what they could do. I played a lot of Oregon Trail on those bad boys! It's amazing what the advancement has been in our life time.

Kelly said...

I had to laugh at Kimberly's mention of Oregon Trail. I think every school district must have utilized that game (whether on PC or Apple). All three of my kids played it at school (and at home, but not on my Commodore 64...that computer used cartridge games like Donkey Kong and Dig Dug). And how about Where in the World is Carmen San Diego? Memories, memories.

Ed said...

Pumpkin Delight - For years, I've made the excuse that I didn't want to make the switch because of all the programs that I used that were PC specific. Since that time however, I can't think of a program that I now use that isn't offered for both versions. But I do still use a lot of software that was paid for well over ten years ago and still use that I would have to purchase again to make the switch.

I like choice when it comes to buying things of quality. For now, Macs are known for quality (well at least their phones are) but when the day comes that they aren't anymore, I hate being forced to take the latest offering when they have no competition to push them. This is part of the reason they are known for being slow to adopt new technologies.

Oregon Trail! I hadn't thought about that game in a long time and I still have a version that works on the Apple IIe that I have in the basement. I should drag that out simply to play that game with my two girls. What a hoot!

Kelly - Although I am familiar with the name, I can't say that I've ever seen a Commodore 64. My first exposure to a computer was the one above and I'm pretty sure at the time it cost more than my first car that I bought did! I thought the day my parents came home with a second floppy disk drive that we were really living high on the hog!