Old Dog, Old Tricks

Turns out that the room remodel hasn’t solved all my problems. The little bedrooms are adorable, but the playroom still needs its shelves rehung and the reading nook lacks chairs. The office is Choxie brown with white polka dots, and the desk and file cabinet scream cute, but I can’t say that I’ve returned all my crap to the desk drawers or even installed the printer driver on the computer. The computer is my big excuse now. After losing that week of work with the inconveniently timed BSoD (which required CDs I just hadn’t thought to bring on my vacation), I spent several days trying to get the computer back the way it was. (Fortunately, I decided to back up all my files before going on a trip. I lost nothing on the hard drive anyway.) Then… then… I may or may not have dripped some water from my hands on the computer and caused the spritzle-sparkle that fried the motherboard. I have dripped water from my hands on the trackpad and keyboard many times, but this was up by what I thought were speakers on the sides of the laptop near the delete key.

They weren’t speakers. They were air vents. And a goodbye to you, Mr. Dell Inspiron 1501. The diagnosis was a few days in coming, because my first order of business was to see if files I had spent all week on were retrievable. I asked the computer repair guys to pull them off first. They were. It was very exciting. Then I panicked for the rest of the afternoon about whether or not the files were retrievable and started imagining worst case scenarios. We actually price shopped laptops–I was sure I needed a new one within days. When we got home, though, I pulled the old Macintosh PowerBook laptop off of a shelf, and pulled the jar containing all of its keyboard components out of a drawer, and reassembled the damn thing. I was up and running for work again. Thank god. This bought us time to comparison shop better, and a newspaper ad from the Sunday paper identified a $500 laptop at Office Depot that I now proudly own.

Gateway M2414u

It was cheap because of the color. It’s a pastel pink with gray and white accents, and it’s the technology age equivalent of a poodle skirt. I have no idea who the intended buyer was, but it makes me want to get strange men coffee. It came with Vista, which I have no real complaints about beyond it being different from XP and the fact that I’ve somehow established a Shared File network that I don’t want. It also asks for administrator permission every time I try to delete a file, which kinda bugs. I am digging on the processor and the RAM, which far exceed my former capabilities–and I never really thought of the Dell as that slow! The hard drive is decadently large. It is bigger than my backup drive (which can’t be synched to Vista, it seems, so I have to remember to transfer everything over by hand instead of relying on a scheduled process, which makes me nervous). Considering I hadn’t even filled up the 80G storage space on the other computer, and this one has 250G, I am practically looking for crap to download.

The coolest thing about this new computer is that it comes with not only a DVD burner and a built-in Web cam (I know those are stock items), but also a CD Label Burner. You purportedly put the CD in upside and burn a label right onto it, and then you flip the disc over and burn the content. Way cool. I am already excited about burning copies of our poor, poor children’s DVDs and keeping the originals out of circulation. In typical style, this idea has not yet moved from theory to practice, but you have to admit it’s a great one! I am lazy, true, but I also don’t have any blank DVDs in the house. There is a switch on the lower left side that has a piece of orange tape over it that I am leaving in place. It says “OFF Wireless ON” and it is in the Off position. I don’t know what it’s for. I am already wirelessly connected. I am also totally stoked that my MS Office 2003 CDs that came with the Dell when I got it not only loaded right up but that I found help for a quirky problem online to make them work flawlessly.

I installed everything 2003 without uninstalling the trial versions of 2007 that came on the computer, because I wasn’t sure if 2003 would even load and I really needed to be able to work with Word. They seemed to go OK–the programs all appeared in my Start menu (which I don’t care about) and they all opened up. I got this dialogue box telling me that I had to accept the terms of agreement the first time I opened them, so I accepted. No big deal. But every single time I opened a file I would get first a dialogue box that said I could not perform the command because the dialogue box was open and then a new instance of the license agreement telling me to accept the terms. Every time. You could click twice on the first pop up by hitting OK and it would go away, but it was annoying. Looking around online I got the same useless help, from people on forums and the official support page. I had no templates stored to delete and I seriously wasn’t about to go eff around in the registry. That was way too hard for what I was sure was an easy problem.

I finally found some guy online who said to open the computer in Safe mode and accept the license agreement from there. It worked perfectly. No more dialogue box warnings, no more license agreements. Now I must give mad props to him and his website.

Jon-Paul, The Award-Winning Vocalist from the UK.

You may have seen him on Yorkshire television. I think you can book him like you would book a band for a wedding or a corporate event. I feel bad promoting him from California because I am sure that you, my Reader, are in the United States, but one never knows when trans-Atlantic romance will strike. It almost struck my friend just last month! He looks like he has a lot of fun!

The Wedding Singer

So those are my thanks to you, Tablet PC Guest at the Technology Questions forum. You have no idea how much those windows bugged me, and how easy your solution was to implement. And now this old dog up to her old tricks will try to bribe Fella and Filly into their naps and then she’ll take a shower and then she’ll try to focus on her work for money again. Is it 10:37 already?

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