Thursday, January 10, 2008

Life happens.........

Like I said when writing about my plan for 2008 - life happens.........

In my case it was a spill from a cup of tea over my laptop keyboard. It was not impressed. First, it started to do funny things to the screen and then just seized up and refused to recognise me at all when I tried to log back in. I guess I could get it fixed but I wasn't at all optimistic that was a worthwhile option. Plus it was overdue for renewal so I decided it was time to get out the plastic and to find and buy a new laptop.

So - as my other computer was still 'out of sorts' I had to get a new computer without an Internet connection. Long story short - I hit the newsagents for the PC mags, scoured local suppliers and rang a few numbers. Last Sunday I came across an amazing deal at the Sony Centre down at Bluewater ('he who must not be bored while I sketch' will start preening when he reads this bit as it was his suggestion that we took a look!) and I'm now the proud owner of one of these - at a great discount on the normal price I hasten to add! I have to confess I had to smile when I saw the tag line of 'raw power with refined style'. That's exactly it in a nutshell. Plus it came pre-loaded with all the software I needed (some with trial licences) so all I needed to do was take it home and fire it up

Or so I thought!

There followed the long read of the manual, useful books (I'm a Dummies fan) and more reading of the PC mags

Followed by a visit to a local computer shop for a new external hard drive for back-ups (did I mention I'd forgotten to back up as my previous one was almost full!). This time I got a VERY BIG one!

Plus I had to purchase a new modem router as the old one wouldn't support Vista. And do you know your WEC from your WPA? I didn't - but I do now!

Then I needed a new Internet security suite as my previous one was no longer listed in the PC Pro A list (see the product reviews).

Then I had to go back again as didn't have the right discs for the recovery discs - once I'd worked out how to do them........

Finally, I'd read as much of the manuals as I could cope with, had slowly pieced everything together - and I couldn't get an Internet connection. This last bit has taken over a day to sort out and after a very helpful chap called Kevin at my ISP provider confirmed that everything was set up as it should and that everything was working - but that there was a conflict somewhere. We've still not got to the bottom of it all and I'm not online as I'd planned - but I am online at long last.

Of course one of the big reliefs is that most of my reference images are archived in Flickr and most of my useful links are sitting in my "Resources for Artists" Squidoo lenses. I've lost a bit - but not as much as I could have done. I've just got this the small problem that the new security suite won't let me have access to the site as yet or a number of others which also have adverts!

Meanwhile I've zapped my way through rather a lot of paper which needed to be eliminated with my new heavy duty shredder - bought on Friday as I needed to do something during the blogging withdrawal symptoms ;)

I've also been able to do a bit more reading about 'design and composition' as a bit of light relief from reading about LANs and WANs and diagnostics and labelling all my new cables (always a good move!). So I've very nearly got a plan of action put together for design and composition - which will hopefully start very soon. However, everything is going to be a bit slower for a bit as I'm still getting to grips with a new computer (and a new keyboard), a new operating system, new software, a new security system and a new Internet connection..................

But first back to the system and software updates and the registration processes - and I must remember to go and make another cup of tea as well!

PS I knew Vista was big and often requires new hardware to run - but have you seen the size of the Windows Vista for Dummies book?!!!!!


  1. Katherine:

    You should be able to recover all the files from the old laptop hard drive. The drive is hermetically sealed so probably not damaged by the tea. Any decent computer shop should be able to remove the drive and copy the files you need onto CDs. There are connector adaptors that inteface laptop drives to the connectors used in desktop PCs. That's what I used when I migrated from a defunct laptop to a desktop.

    Good luck.

    Jim, Florida

  2. Thanks Jim!

    I was hoping something like that might be possible. I do know I'm going to have a go at getting them off. I can even remember the names of the folders that need saving!

  3. Ahh, computers... nice to have you back, Katherine.
    I also have a lovely relationship with a computer geek named Kevin. Although marrying someone to get friendly, knowlegable 24/7 tech support probably isn't an option in your case!

  4. Thanks Miki and Tania!

    I think 'he who must not be bored while I sketch' might take a view on that one. However I'm the computer nerd of the two of us and truly appreciate those who know lots more than me!!!

  5. What a drama Katherine! Glad you're sorted. If you do have accidental damage cover through your contents insurance you really should claim too, to offset a bit of the new purchase. Though I hate PCs (I have to say that to keep my official Mac fan license) the Vaios are lovely. Another friend's computer died last week so I'm worried there's something going around! ;)

    Your comment about Flickr is very timely, as a site I've recently discovered just did a "lesson" on Photo Sharing today. So this is something I'm going to do very soon (this week) as part of a system overhaul. I'm going to back up my entire system to my iDisk and my business images to Flickr I think. Here's the site:

    If you can't get the files off a local laptop repair place may be able to - they pull out the hard drive and put it in a little external case that can be plugged in (firewire or usb) into another computer and the files pulled off. Said friend above paid about £60 to have to done.

    We missed you for a few days there, welcome back to the real world!

  6. Thanks Tina. This was a laptop which was given to me (which is the only reason why I have two computers!) and is at least five years old so it was very much on its last legs given the pace of change in technology terms. I knew I needed to upgrade - and very soon.

    I'm not even sure it was the tea that got it as during the 'kaput' phase it behaved a bit like those computers that get bugs. Screen started to move and expand and contract and then just disappeared into a black hole. When I switched on again I got lots of horrible noises and it refused to recognise my windows log in password - so I'm thinking it probably ought to be a case of download and disnfect!

    However I am looking at getting the warranty extended for accidental damage - if it was the tea then that will have been the second laptop which disliked a sloppy dunk executed by me!

    I took a look at the imacs - they're looking very expensive these days! The financial 'bath' currently being taken by the firm behind PC World (which has just issued a profits warning) means that they have flooded the market with laptops. Quite a lot of them seem to be being sold at or near 'cost' and their action seems to be reverberating round the rest of the marketplace. Which was very nice for me.........

    In fact - when I think about it's probably a jolly good time to buy if you have the cash and need to replace or upgrade!

  7. Okay - please write note to self: If I spill tea on my computer, I must dash into neighbour (who has a computer) or an internet cafe and post a note on my blog to the effect that - I am well - My computer isn't!
    I've been worried sick about you and I bet I'm not the only one!
    Congratulations though, on the new gadget - I can relate to that and 200 to 300GB of hard disk! Wow. I couldn't give up my Mac though - could never afford to replace all the software I've invested in. Delighted to see you back :)

  8. Katherine,

    You have my sympathies. this seems to be the year for computer problems of all sorts. glad you've managed to triumph. i've had problems of my own here but i'm now back on track. hopefully Jim in Florida's suggestions will prove true and you're able to recover what you lost.

    I had to chuckle when you mentioned pouring thru many manuals. I received a new camera from my son at Xmas. just today and after studying all the attending manuals that came with, did i feel confident enough to download the software and get this camera operating. now to learn how to use all the many features.

  9. So glad you are alright, like Robyn, I was worried! We got Vista about a year ago and love it! As long as you have enough memory, it's good.

  10. Glad you see back! I always get concerned when a frequent blogger doesn't post for a while. Glad to hear it was only your computer that was under the weather.

  11. I missed you too and glad you are back. My hubby is not computer anything. And when I get him online to surf thru some site he wants to see, I won't let him have anything liquid near the keyboard. I saw one at a former job that fried when "given a water bath".

  12. Hi Robyn, Billie, Rose, Laurel and Jeanne - it's really nice to see you all back on my screen as well - I missed everybody!

    Robyn - I'd heard about how big Vista was and that 300GB hard drive was very, very tempting. I checked my hard disc this morning and it's already got something like 45GB used up.....

    Billie - the worst bit is you keep reading lots of different things and you can't remember what you read where - and whether it was definitive advice or just somebody's opinion. It was nice to have somebody to talk to this morning as there was one bit of information which was absolutely essential which was nowhere in the books I read! (Make a very careful note of the key to your wireless modem router - that's the only way in!)

    Rose - other than the size of Vista I'm quite liking it - but the jury is out on Microsoft Home Office.........

    Thank you all for your thoughts and messages

  13. Oh serious sympathy, I have SO been there. I'm skating on the edge of disaster now, with an older computer just chock full of graphics and doing very weird things. Consequently I back up FREQUENTLY, because I've lost a lot before.

    I would hate having to go through all that...I just have this fantasy of being able to get my work done. I know, silly me.

    And welcome back!

  14. I too worried about you when you didn't appear for awhile. I'm glad to hear it wasn't you, but your computer, painful as that is to setup, sort out and pay for!

    Welcome home.


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