16 01 2011

Today’s victory is to embark on my first ever computer file back-up plan.* I bought an external hard drive (it is so tiny, it’s obviously magic that allows it to hold a kajillion bytes-of-some-unrecognizable-denomination) and am currently in the “Initial Backup” phase, which is likely to take the better part of the rest of my weekend.

*Thanks to my sister Jill for her strong encouragement toward this project!

In addition to being an intelligent grown-up decision (baby steps!), this backup device will also help to ease my anxiety regarding my laptop and the current economic state in which people are brazenly and assily (word of my own creation) helping themselves to the personal contents of my neighbors’ homes. I have unfortunately been sensing a slow decline in my laptop’s function and performance over the past 6-12 months. It started with a sudden and seemingly random loss of speaker output. They worked one morning, and did not work that afternoon. And they have not worked since. So I got some external speakers, significantly decreasing the portability factor of the laptop! But at least I have sound. Likely a related issue, the microphone feature has also been rendered defunct. This came to my attention as I was attempting a Skype call with my friend Paula in Portland. I could hear her (through the external speakers only, obviously!) but she couldn’t hear me. Nor could she see me, but that’s understandable as this ANCIENT laptop (circa 2005!) does not have a webcam. Solution: break out the old hands-full microphone! Portability factor now even lower.

Next break-down was the Power button. Does not work. At. All. Push it, and nothing happens. Really jam it down in there (probably a really bad idea actually), and nothing happens. Luckily this machine has a “media quick start” feature in which a swipe of the touch pad at the top of the keyboard will directly open the media menu. I simply close that menu to access my desktop. Roundabout means of access, but effective. Of course, I recently made the “mistake” of shutting down my computer one morning instead of closing it up to put it to “sleep,” and the damn thing ran the “Shutting down” screen for more than 15 hours. It would probably still be running if I hadn’t disconnected the battery to force it. I realize this is not likely the finest technological solution.

I also have a very finicky CD-ROM drive. As in, it may or may not register to the computer that there is a disk with a program to run or a song list to play/input. This is increasingly frustrating since I just bought TurboTax 2010 and can’t get it to install or open. Somehow I intend to win this particular battle. Hopefully with a simple tactic such as restarting the computer.


A Macbook is looking more and more enticing. If only they didn’t cost DOUBLE what a PC laptop does! Of course, if I would stop buying cross-country plane tickets every few months, I’m sure I’d be amazed at the balance of my checking and savings accounts, and the prospect of paying double wouldn’t be so daunting!

For now, I’m making do. And the file backup is a good start on the road to protecting information, past projects, future endeavors, and some really great music.




One response

21 01 2011

#1: “On/Off” is absolutely the finest technological solution.
#2: MacBooks from 2005 probably don’t work that great today either, so…
#3: I can send you the Skype headset I got for x-mas if you want. Then you’ll have a mic. I don’t need it with my MacBook 🙂

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