Tuesday, March 14, 2006

A Tale of Three Computers

My computer woes continue.
I've been limping along with my laptop since November.  Screen is shot, and I can only boot in VGA mode.  Not ideal.  And whatever mucked it up (some sort of software conflict, I think, because it all came to a head after I re-installed some printer drivers) is slowly strangling it to death.  The system moves so slowly.  I tried to reformat and reinstall, but the computer, which thinks it is smarter than me, won't let me overwrite with an older operating system (I've updated along the way).
Heavy sigh.  So when my brother came to visit a few weeks ago, I asked him to bring a spare.  He brought a big old Gateway computer and monitor for me.  I don't even know what the system specs are on it.  He installed my version of Office XP and left it.  I bought TurboTax on Friday and tried to install on my laptop.  It wouldn't work in VGA mode, so I turned to the trusty backup.
Initially, I couldn't get the CD drive to work, so I couldn't load on the Gateway either.  Time to recall my trusty Mac.  I had given it to Susan, who used it for awhile, and then it was passed on to her father, who used it for even a shorter while, and it was sitting in a basement, so I thought - if nothing else, I can use it to load TurboTax and maybe surf the net.
So I set up the Mac in the back bedroom where the cable modem is located (it doesn't have a wireless card).  Man, it's been a long time since I used a Mac!  I quickly discovered why it was no longer being used.  System 8.6 was great when I bought the computer, and it still worked when I retired it in 2001, but it just doesn't cut it in 2005.  I couldn't even upgrade it if I wanted to.  And I had 64 meg of RAM on it. 
Yeah, so that's pretty much dead in the water.
Back to the old Gateway.  Lugged that upstairs too, and was finally able to load TurboTax (if my brother was able to get Office XP on there, then the CD drive did work - I just needed to fiddle with it a bit.)  But when I tried connecting it to the internet, I still had problems connecting.  I can get an IP address, but it takes forever for a page to load, and more often than not?  Page not found.  When I know damn well it's there.  I've got problems with my cable modem too - but I already knew that.  Need to schedule a service call.
So guess what I'm doing with my tax refund?  Yup, a new laptop.  I'm actually thinking about leasing one.  It makes sense - why pay to own something that's obsolete in 3 years?  Why not lease one (for same amount) and trade it in for a new model when I'm done?  I think it's possible - I've heard about some lease deals through Lenova, a Chinese company that is taking over production of IBM laptops.  We'll see.
In the meantime - blogging will take place On Company Time because that's the only reliable internet connection I have.

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