I’ve been without a real computer for almost a month now. My Acer went beserk and we couldn’t find out why, so I decided to breakdown and buy a new laptop. I chose a Dell because I had had a Dell laptop and also a Dell DeskTop. So I bought an Inspiron over the internet, directly from Dell, opting for the upgrade to Windows XP instead of the dreaded Vista that I suffered with on my Acer.
The problem started as soon as I unpacked it. It seems to be incompatible with our router, so I’m stuck sitting at a traytable, connected to the modem and sitting on a kitchen chair. Not the best setup for me to do much. I’ve been using my old Dell laptop, which is wireless, up in my bedroom, but it’s missing keys and the cover for the CD disc drive. So now we’re getting a new router and reprogramming all three computers we have. Such a waste. I was happy to find that my new computer is compatible with our printer/copier/fax machine. I was sure I’d run into trouble loading it, but it worked! woo-hoo!
I have to remember what it was like when I got my first computer, in 1988, which was a Gateway. It ran at 25mHz, which was very fast at that time. It had nothing loaded on it. I had to use DOS as the operating system. I took the whole computer to work and had one of my co-workers load a start-up menu (there were no icons), WordPerfect 6, and a couple games.
I went on line then, at work, and discovered the internet. I only used it for online shopping, which was, and still is, very cool. But back then, there were no protection programs, like Norton or McAfee, so you shopped at your own risk. I first went on the internet at home a few years later and discovered e-mail, but very few of my friends had email addresses, so I had no one to email to.
I was fascinated when TV commercials added their website addresses. At the time, only about 25 percent of Americans had computers, or used the internet, so I felt bad for people who would have liked to call the company by phone. Now, it’s rare to find anyone without a website. All the restaurants around us have websites with menus, which is great for takeout. I make hotel and air reservations online. I’m a Facebook user, so I know what my friends are up to. I see their pictures and they see mine. Well, they did. My camera seems to be incompatible with any of our computers, so I can’t export them to my new computer.
I also use the computer to read the news. We get a local paper every day, but to be honest, I only read it during the school year to see if my son’s name is in it for making the Principal’s list. I read the Philadelphia Inquirer on line, and read the headlines on my Yahoo! home page. Plus the Hollywood gossip.
Online, I can see my son’s acting profile, on the site that just about all agencies and casting agents use. I also get email notifications for auditions as well, so it’s important that I have a working computer, or my son might miss a big opportunity.
I used my email to stay in contact with a friend who was in Iraq for nine months. He didn’t give a lot of details (I’m not sure if it was just him, or the Navy who didn’t want details given out), but it was good to know he was okay. Funny thing is, since he’s been back, I’ve gotten maybe three emails from him. The phone is just easier.
Oh, and I pay all of my bills online. It takes about twenty minutes and well worth it. I know they’re paid and not lost in the mail. The only bill we have that can’t be paid on line is our water/sewer bill. I’m not sure why they don’t have a website. Our water bill is always late, because my husband and I forget to write the check and mail it. We actually had our water turned off this Spring because we didn’t pay our bill. It was just an oversight, but it’s hard to be without water, even for a day.
Computers are a wonderful tool, when they work. But when they don’t, we go a little crazy. When I worked in Florida, we had bedside computers in our ICU and did all of our charting on it. It took about two weeks to get used to them, but when we did, we loved them. When the system was down, and we had to go back to paper charting, we realized how much our computers helped us with time management.
So I hope to be wireless soon. I have a lot of ideas for articles in my head, but my back can’t take the kitchen chair very long. I hope by this weekend, we’ll have a new router and I’ll be wireless again. Funny thing was, we drove down to Alabama this week to pick up my son from Space Camp, and I didn’t take my computer!
And every hotel we stayed in had free internet access. Go figure!