05 January, 2011

In Which I Babble About My New Machine

After nearly six years, I've finally broken down and bought a new computer.

My previous machine was a refurb HP Pavilion that had a whopping 50gb of memory and a processor that can only be described as not up to snuff.  Oh, it was fast when I got it (replacing an HP tower from the mid-90s, mind you).  And it served me faithfully for many a long year.  But the time had come.

I meant to get a Sony Vaio.  But whilst shopping for new machines for both myself and my intrepid companion, this one at Staples caught my eye.  It's an HP Pavilion dv7-4171us.  It had all the proper specs and a companionable keyboard.  And it was on clearance.  I walked out of the store, looked at a couple of reviews online, and marched right back to the store.  It's a good thing Staples is within walking distance.

And I'll tell you something about this computer.  I hated it last night.  It's not the old familiar machine, it's not got my stuff on it, and keep in mind that I hadn't used a new operating system or much new software in absolute years.  I'd been running an ancient version of Windows Media Player, had to have an external soundcard because its own card had crapped out, we were still on Windows 95....  It was old.  But it was what I knew.  And now here's this young whippersnapper having the audacity to look all new and different.

Not to mention, Monotype Corsiva has vanished from the face of the earth.  Open Office hasn't got it.  The new trial version of Word hasn't got it.  The starter version of Word hasn't got it.  And I refuse to cough up hundreds of dollars for a software package I'll only use the word processor and occasional spreadsheet on.  So I spent an outrageous amount of time last night trying to figure out another way to get my favorite font, only to admit defeat in the end.

And the Windows Media Player graphic equalizer has odd ideas about how it should deal with my music.

And then I had to spend hours fixing the fonts in my writing journal, which is up to nearly 800 pages.  Can't just do a simple highlight-and-change-all because I use a variety of fonts to draw attention to various bits.  Note to Microsoft et al: stop getting rid of fucking fonts.

So I hauled me arse in to work after a measly three and a half hours of sleep still hating life, the universe, and everything.  I dragged the computer along.  I neglected my in-between-call reading in order to load shit from the external hard drive and start mucking about.  I figured out how various bits worked.  I got shit loaded and arranged.  I discovered new and interesting bits.  I got used to the way it works, and started enjoying some of the newfangled features.

I discovered the Beats Audio equalizer. Holy fucking shit.  I am sitting here right now listening to Lesiem through my Sennheiser headphones, and I can hear bass.  ZOMG WTF?!  This, my friends, is what happens when you get a powerful sound card.  Still needs some tweaking, but mother of god, this is amazing.

There's still kinks to work out.  Some genius of a designer decided that a laptop could have a bulgy battery, which means there's a weird ridge digging dimples into my knees.  I need a right-angle adapter for the headphones, because the only jacks are on the side, and the computer's already almost as wide as my chair - tack on the three-inch jack, and you've got issues.  I'm still trying to figure out how to sit comfortably with it - the fit's quite different from the old one.  The screen needs manipulating before the color's true.  But those are minor things.

And now that I've got the sound and word processing mostly sorted, I'm just a little bit in love.  I'll even learn to love that battery pack.  We're on battery right now.  We have been for hours, and it's got hours more left in it.  Damned thing certainly provides the juice.  Once I have one of those laptop desk thingies to keep it from dimpling my knees, we should get along fine.

And the screen's big enough that I can set it on the recliner's footrest and still read it.  I shall have to investigate the possibility of a wireless keyboard so I can really get comfy.

So, upshot: I'm finally on a modern machine.  My, how things have changed.  And let this serve as fair warning: I might gush about it occasionally.  But right at the moment, I'm gonna go put it to work writing a novel, baby, yeah!


Anonymous said...

Congrats on the new computer! I love that feeling you get when getting a new piece of gadgetry and seeing everything it can do that the old can't. I hope you get as much life out of this one as you did the old one.

Silver Fox said...

Do you have Windows 7? Are you using both OpenOffice and starter or trial Word?

Word 2007 with XPPro has a way to download new or custom fonts, and maybe OpenOffice does also.

This website has the font for free; it looks the same as the Monotype corsiva on my Word 2007. Be sure to hit the small download below the font info, not the big blue download on the side (that's an add).

Otherwise, if you're using Word and that doesn't work, DM me.

Chris said...

I bought a kick ass desk top from Dell about 6 years ago. At the time it had all the bells and whistles - and (I think) a little man inside to ring the bells and blow the whistles. But it was beginning to get a little long of tooth and I considered buying a new outfit. Then, a few months ago, while I was running a "restore", I lost power. The whole computer just took a huge dump and I couldn't boot it back up no matter what I tried. It was 5 years out of warranty so I was screwed.

Anyway, I called Dell and asked if they had a (XP) restore disc they would send me. After getting bounced around a half dozen times I finally wound up with a tech support guy in India. He took down some info and said he would send me something.

A few days later a UPS guy rolled up with a big box from Dell. In it was a mind blowing ($800.00+) Studio XPS. I thought I was dreaming. I called Dell and they informed me that the tech guy, on his own, had decided that since they didn't have a restore disc, they would just send me a whole new computer - for free. All I had to do was send them back the dinosaur/boat anchor it was replacing - and they paid the shipping to send it back! I'm typing on the new Studio right now.

Cool story, huh?

Cujo359 said...

Sound is much better now on all but the most basic computers. Definitely worth a listen if you can get certain bits of broken software out of the way.

Suzanne said...

congratulations dana

its always a hassle when ya get a new machine getting it set up the way ya want it - but the faster speed usually outweighs that. add in the new bells and whistles (like bass) and your old machine will soon be forgotten

Woozle said...

Transferring fonts is easy. In Windows 9x, they're in c:\windows\fonts (or something similar). I'm not sure where they are in W7, but (a) it's probably a folder like that, and (b) I think you can right-click on a font file and "install" is either one of the options in the pop-up menu or else it's a button on the Properties menu.

If your old drive isn't handily installed on your new beast and you're not up to monkeying around inside it, get an external drive enclosure and you can plug it into the USB port. (This presumes that you're up to monkeying around in the old beast just a bit...)

Hope this is helpful. IM me if you need a walk-through.