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Technology, I fear thee - The Fucking Bluebird of Goddamn Happiness [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Zoethe

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Technology, I fear thee [Mar. 26th, 2009|12:14 am]
Zoethe
[Current Mood |cynicaldisgruntled]

I am a two-computer person. My laptop sees the bulk of my active work, but I still have a desktop that is the donkey-in-harness, circling tediously to handle the daily grind of documents coming in, and managing the printing and faxing duties of my office.

Thing is, I got my desktop in my first year of law school. In computer years, this puppy ought to have already been reduced to a fossil fuel to power bigger, better machines.

It's slow. Agonizingly slow. "let's put on a movie and maybe read a book chapter between documents" slow.

Which is weird to me, since it flashed along like lightening when I bought it, six years ago. I guess it's flashy computing capability has not kept up with the times.

Ferrett has been after me to replace it for over a year. In truth, it's been at least 6 months since I did anything meaningful on it - it has been storage of pdfs and nothing else, replaced in daily life by the laptop.

But it's hard for me to cast off a faithful - if slightly dull - friend. It feels like a betrayal.

And once the desktop gets replaced, I know it's only a matter of time until the lure of speed makes me take a second look at the laptop. This faithful beast has hauled me through the last two years of law school, through the bar exam, and then two years of private practice. I can't even imagine replacing this fine workhorse - a machine that has quietly shouldered sub-zero temperatures and jittery, mile-long trudges down city streets a thousand times - with some other machine that might be a prima donna. Finicky. Given to fits of fury or spells of the vapors.

This WORKS!!!! I cling to it like a coachman to the buggy whip long after the time when he should have surrendered to the inevitable and learned the tricks of that horseless carriage.

There may be a job for him, escorting pasty Americans around the grounds of Buck House. But there is no refuge for me.

I will have to face the next set of upgrades. Whether I like them or not.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: wdomburg
2009-03-26 05:22 am (UTC)
I think I out-luddite you. I built my current desktop in 2006 to replace the prior one (built in 2000) only because a company shipped me two processors by accident and then told me to keep the extra.

My servers have been running since 2004, but I got them used. They were originally built in 1996.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2009-03-26 05:25 am (UTC)
Ah, but you have skilz.

I am okay with software, but first you have to make the machine I'm working on a toaster.

Sad.
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From: (Anonymous)
2009-03-26 12:53 pm (UTC)
Heh. A lot of it is just that I'm a lazy, undemanding user; my day to day applications largely the same as they were ten or fifteen years ago.

Oddly when it comes to desktop software, I'm somewhat hopeless. I only know how to do the barest of formatting with a word processor. Spreadsheets are just dumb grids. Graphics software is for little more than cropping and resizing. Presentation software? Huh? Just give me a dry erase board and some markers. :)
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[User Picture]From: wdomburg
2009-03-26 12:56 pm (UTC)
Meh. LiveJournal is being it's usual broken self. Spits out "Your login cookies have disappeared?", I choose to post as LJ user, put in my credentials, click the box to login and it posts the comment anonymous anyway. And fails to log me in.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2009-03-26 01:07 pm (UTC)
Stupid lj.

Oddly when it comes to desktop software, I'm somewhat hopeless. I only know how to do the barest of formatting with a word processor. Spreadsheets are just dumb grids. Graphics software is for little more than cropping and resizing. Presentation software? Huh? Just give me a dry erase board and some markers. :)

If we could just meld our brains, we'd be an unstoppable computing force! ;-)
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[User Picture]From: wdomburg
2009-03-26 02:51 pm (UTC)
Or a blender full of goo.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2009-03-26 05:05 pm (UTC)
Such a pessimist. ;-)
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[User Picture]From: zenithgryph
2009-03-26 05:23 am (UTC)
I get sentimental about the weirdest stuff, too...
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2009-03-26 05:26 am (UTC)
Glad to know I do not stand alone.
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[User Picture]From: reynai
2009-03-26 05:58 am (UTC)
I am commenting on this entry with my beloved 350mhz desktop, still the workhorse and primary computer for damn near everything I do -- it handles Flash like a country road would handle rush hour in Detroit, and using Youtube gives me about a 50/50 chance of crashing my browser...

But I've had this computer since 1995. That, and since it still is running '98, there are a number of older games and such that it is actually still capable of running, because XP/Vista isn't fully backwards-compatible.

I do have another computer, for more modern gaming, for watching videos with, and for itunes... but it feels like it would be a betrayal to completely give this computer up.
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[User Picture]From: merle_
2009-03-26 12:33 pm (UTC)
Exactly. My Win95 box is not at all sluggish, I just know what to run on it and what not to run. And in general what not to run is easy, because so few things are that backwards compatible. Editing documents, playing older games (which I prefer), surfing the web with plugins/Java disabled? Absolutely no problem. And it boots in mere seconds.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2009-03-26 01:04 pm (UTC)
Yes, but I'm asking the desktop to run my client management software, and that's just overwhelming to the poor beastie.
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[User Picture]From: merle_
2009-03-26 04:24 pm (UTC)
True, there are times when you are just forced to upgrade.

Luckily, cheap and powerful Win boxes run about $400 these days if you watch the sales. It is insane what you can get for a pittance.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2009-03-26 05:20 pm (UTC)
Yes, of this I am glad.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2009-03-26 12:47 pm (UTC)
Speed isn't everything, right?!!!
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[User Picture]From: greybeta
2009-03-26 06:56 am (UTC)
Even the best workhorses have to be put out to pasture some time. Somebody told me once that the problem with cutting-edge technology is that it keeps getting dull...you have to keep sharpening it.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2009-03-26 12:48 pm (UTC)
I know.

But...Vista. [shudder]
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[User Picture]From: wrendragon
2009-03-26 07:11 am (UTC)
My other half's desktop has sat completely ignored since he got a laptop that could do it all, but better. My 'laptop' is one of those cute little Acer Aspire One netbooks, which is awesometastic for school and travel but also means my desktop still gets use when I actually want to see things at a decent size.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2009-03-26 12:50 pm (UTC)
It's just hard to get rid of something that still works. It's creaky, yes, but it works.
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[User Picture]From: tevriel
2009-03-26 09:19 am (UTC)
I would just caution you to consider upgrading necessities BEFORE your hardware craps out on you in some fashion...

My laptop is only a few months old, but on past performance, it will be a number of years before I want better. My desktop, however, is Much Older, and I want to upgrade it somewhat, at least...
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[User Picture]From: tevriel
2009-03-26 09:20 am (UTC)
Oh, also, since I got this shiny new laptop, my some-years-old desktop has been largely unused - I don't think it's been plugged in in about four months - but that's largely because I'm rarely in the same building as it is, and never for more than a few minutes.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2009-03-26 12:51 pm (UTC)
This is one of the reasons I'm considering said upgrade.
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[User Picture]From: mishamish
2009-03-26 12:28 pm (UTC)
Well, when you decide it's time to say goodbye to an old friend and hello to a new one, let me know. We hvae an account with CDW Legal Sales and we could probably get you better deal than BestBuy or wherever. Plus, you know, if you wanted to take that opportunity to look into the document management software or dictation (OooH! Hire Ferrett to Transcribe for you!), or any of those other things that our sales rep is always trying to interest me in...
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2009-03-26 01:03 pm (UTC)
Ooo, can you send me some info?

I will never need dictation software - I type about as fast as I think!
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[User Picture]From: kmg_365
2009-03-26 01:14 pm (UTC)
I guess it's flashy computing capability has not kept up with the times.

Isn't bloatware a wonderful thing?

How much free disk space do you have on the desktop?
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2009-03-26 04:21 pm (UTC)
A fair amount. It's the memory and processor speed that's the problem.
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[User Picture]From: sunfell
2009-03-26 01:32 pm (UTC)
I'm a four-computer person. (I'm trying to cut down, honestly!) I have a malfunctioning 8 year old box, a poky 6 year old lappy, and a brand new netbook and super mega-whomp box.

They do slow down- it is a fact of life with Windows systems. They get all gunked up with temp files and prefetch, and cookies, and defragged- and cleaning them out and degragging them regularly does help, as does maintaining the registry and all that. But the best thing to do is to create a pristine image of your drive, and every so often, reload it.

Here's a recent post I made on the subject.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2009-03-26 04:45 pm (UTC)
I try to keep it cleaned up, but it's a pain. Good recommendations for the next computer, though!
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2009-03-26 04:52 pm (UTC)

Re: The answer to all computer issues: Linux

The only thing is that the old computer is the wireless conductor for our printer. Also, it is where the scanner scans to. And faxing.

Maybe rethinking the structure of our computing should be considered.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2009-03-27 11:16 am (UTC)
Except for its tendency to occasionally drop off the network. For which a monitor that we don't bother to turn on except for those occasions.

But that would mean a faster laptop, anyway, since I have been splitting the duties of my bloatware between the two machines.

And this one has worked so consistently....

The agonizing continues.
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[User Picture]From: tormentedartist
2009-03-26 02:38 pm (UTC)
I type this on a 2003 g4 powerbook. Honestly you would expect that this computer would be slow as hell. BUT...I had a virgin 250 gig hard drive installed and its pretty fast. Although it was slightly faster...when I had less crap on the hard drive. So moral of the story is to get an external and keep your hard drive as clean as possible.

Of course this may not work for Windows computers, but it would seem that a hard drive is a hard drive no matter what OS you are running.
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[User Picture]From: tormentedartist
2009-03-26 03:09 pm (UTC)
The funny thing is this is a second hand powerbook. But having said that I HATE the fact that the CD/DVD drive doesn't have the manual eject button. Because a disc will eventually get stuck. Hey it happened to me. I tried everything to get the damn disc out and I'm jsut gonna have to go give someone 90 bucks to get the thing out : ( But other than that... macs are the way to go. I hear all of these bad things about vista, which looks amazing btw but still blows.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2009-03-26 05:06 pm (UTC)
Yes, but my business software doesn't run on Macs.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2009-03-27 10:59 am (UTC)
I know. I am jealous.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2009-03-26 05:01 pm (UTC)
My problem is slow processing speed.
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[User Picture]From: cinema_babe
2009-03-26 02:51 pm (UTC)
Ahh this has such resonance for me. I can't bear to part with any of my CPUs, I have every one except for the first one.

I bought my desktop the first or second year I was married (98, 99, 00?) It's so old, that when it was new it came with Windows ME as the OS. But yet there it sits on my desk, lights ablinking, still ahumming.

I've transferred all of the critical files over to my laptop (which became my primary computer a long time ago), and I could easily hook it up to my printer but I can't let go of that workhorse of a desktop.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2009-03-26 05:04 pm (UTC)
I'm hearin' ya.
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[User Picture]From: hippie_mamabear
2009-03-26 03:41 pm (UTC)
I'm not even sure how old my laptop is. I've been using it for two years. My husband used it for about a year before that. It was bought, used, for $200 on Ebay.

When it arrived, several of the keys didn't work, and the battery only kept a very short charge (5 minutes max). Over time even more keys stopped working, and the battery died completely. It runs hot, so i have to keep an external fan plugged into it at all times, and if it gets dusty at all, the whole thing has to come apart, get cleaned, and go back together.

The asshole at the local computer repair shop actually told us "laptops don't come apart. Sorry." so my husband found an exploding diagram online, and does it for me fairly regularly. Seeing him hunched over the coffee table with all those tiny parts strewn about is always terrifying--will it ever come back on? It's like waiting on a relative to come out of surgery.

I use this thing daily. It has all of our gaming logs (why do i keep them?) and our family pics for the past two years. Tons of pdfs. What if i get a new comp and all this stuff doesn't transfer over? It's a really frightening thing to ponder.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2009-03-26 05:17 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I can see that.
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[User Picture]From: zodarzone
2009-03-26 04:08 pm (UTC)
The OS on my college computer doesn't accept a date after Dec 2007, and right now it's not recognizing the existance of the secondary harddrive, the one with all the important stuff on it.

Sometimes I'm reminded of the way my last dog slowly went blind, deaf, and just a bit loopy beofr passing on.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2009-03-26 05:18 pm (UTC)
LOL!
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[User Picture]From: kisekinotenshi
2009-03-26 04:45 pm (UTC)
I generally will keep a computer until it really breaks for keeps. Unfortunately, my first computer, which was a clamshell iBook (yes, the colored one), was half-killed due to the idiocy of my ultra-luddite aunt, who left it on but not plugged into a power source for two months. Somehow, this caused it to never function without a power cord again (I guess the battery just died). It still continued to work well enough until someone (we're not sure who) stepped on it and broke the screen. I was about ready for college by then anyway, so I just got a new one, which worked fine for four years, then the motherboard died (or so we think) and I just got this one a year ago. So far, no problems. I admit that I'm rather hard on computers, I prefer laptops because I like portability, and I'm not exactly gentle with them. I've been known to drop them, kick them, almost step on them (the other night I almost did because my cat got under my feet at the wrong moment and I tripped)... n.n;;; I'm sure if I was more careful, they would last longer. Still, I'd rather spend $1500 every four years than get a junk PC laptop for $500 every year and a half.
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From: diatryma
2009-03-27 12:51 am (UTC)
I am getting ready to seriously phase out my desktop. Going on seven years old, some of its issues can't be fixed-- doesn't like to turn on if it's been off a while-- and it's kind of a mess internally... but although I have a laptop and it's sitting next to me, I still use this one. Habit.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2009-03-27 02:02 am (UTC)
It's a dear old friend....
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From: thetisra
2009-03-27 03:06 am (UTC)
Technically you're a three computer person... The iPhone counts.

If I were you, I'd just replace both with a powerful laptop. Problem solved! Plug the laptop in to the printer, etc when it needs to be, and move down to a one-computer person :)
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2009-03-27 11:21 am (UTC)
Ah, but you forget that there is another person working in the household who uses the printer via wireless.

Dedicating the old desktop solely to printer/scanner fax duties may be the optimal solution.
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