Sunday, March 20, 2011

We Seem To Be Experiencing Technical Difficulties

Not my actual computer.
The good news is, I got a new computer!  Yeah!  It means I can retire Granny (as I'd begun calling my eight-old-year previous computer,) because she'd gotten pretty winded getting up that hill, loading up webpages, and performing... pretty much anything I asked her to do, though she'd plug away gamely at a task, even if it took her all night.

Nowadays these young whippersnapper computers can play a YouTube video and run a slideshow and recalc a spreadsheet, all in the time it took Granny to groan into action and say Welcome to Windows.

So, I've retired Granny.   Passing her along to somebody who isn't 100% convinced a "new" PC is better than the great one he had built in 1986, even if that one does only have 4G total memory.

So, hooray, I got a new computer, and... oh no, I got a new computer.  This means I have a lot of technical things to do, and technology... is not my strongest skill.

Remember these?  Yep, those were the good old days.

I've spent a fair amount of time communicating with ISP techs whose names are probably something like Rajafajaneeferdeefer Shrinimokirajaputtem, but who told me they were named "Rocky" and "Juliet."

So far, I've spent three hours hooking up my old, still works great, workhorse laser printer.  This entailed:
  • Discovering new 'puter did not have a parallel port, much like malls no longer offer hitching posts for one's carriage horses.
  • Trip to Fry's to buy cable with a parallel connection at one end and a USB plug on the other.  Plus an extension for said extremely short cord, since I find it inconvenient to keep my printer under the frickin' desk.
  • Hooking up said cables - done!  Computer says, "You're kidding me, right?  I got nuthin' here."
  • Eventually I figured out I not only had to load the printer driver onto the new 'puter, but a driver for the actual cable.  Who knew even cables had drivers these days?  Luckily, when I checked the plastic clamshell packaging the cable had come in, which I'd been about to throw out before severing an artery on the razor sharp edge, they'd included  the cutest little disc.

  • To which my new 'puter said, "Oh, hell no!  I don't know where that 'cute little disc' has been.  Ain't you never heard of communicable viruses?  You better download the driver from the website, I ain't loadin' nuthin from some freaky little disc."
  • So I did and this time, it listened when I said, "Load this, bitch, or I will hurt you," and I've now printed several things onto the old printer, and that was another thing off my list.
 I had to do this, because I wanted to print the rebate coupons for various products I've purchased.  Step one, get the printer to function.  Step two, go to the website, listed right on the rebate receipts: 
 stuff like:'re-givingyouanymoney/65039677895044785_042311.pdf.  And print.  Easy-peasy!

Did I mention my typing is almost as weak as my technological skills?  With any single mistyped character pulling up a screen that almost shakes its head at me and says, "You poor, poor thing."

I've been loading programs from CD's, because that's how I roll.  Then trying to find where they went, because they weren't in the "All Programs" section of the start menu, they weren't in the list of Office or other products.  When they said the new computers were better at gaming, I wasn't thinking hide-and-seek or peek-a-boo with my programs.

It almost drove me to slitting my throat with that deadly sharp clamshell package edge, but instead I settled for a cardboard "paper cut" on the inside joint of my index finger that almost exposed the bone.

Yes, it's been an adventure.

Here's the thing, though.  If you write, if you dream, someday, of becoming a professional writer... mastering (or at least coming to an armed truce with) the current technology is part of the job.

If you're fabulously wealthy, and you write simply to amuse yourself whilst your staff of pet accountants tallies your doubloons and you've got a staff of "hot and cold running secretaries" a la Jubal Harshaw in Stranger in a Strange Land, you can bypass this, of course.  If you're the average struggling writer, you've got to do your own dirty work.

Which means, learning to use your new computer.  Learning the current trends (This includes following blogs, like agents' - and mine, of course.  Are you following me yet?!)  Marketing and branding yourself.  Blogging.  Doing research.

Writing?  Sure, if you can find the time.  (You poor, poor thing.)

from cchen at Flickr
If you don't hear from me for a while, I am either fortifying myself with a margarita, before tackling yet another set of tutorials with those annoyingly cheerful voices... or I've decided to make good use of one of my clamshells.

Happy writing!

Any suggestions for what I should name the new 'puter?
If you can't tell, she's got something of a 'tude, 
though she is fast and efficient.