Friday, October 15, 2010

New computer

I just bought a new computer, thanks to Cardgrrl pointing out to me this good deal:

My current one is also an Acer laptop. I've had it for 4 years and 8 months, doing hard daily duty, and I have liked it. But it has been showing signs of age and possible failure to come. The case is cracked. The display has a two-inch vertical band that is lighter than the rest of the screen, which seems to be due to a wonky connection between the screen and the graphics card. The DVD player croaks sometimes. The battery no longer holds a charge of more than 10 minutes or so of work time--enough to shut down properly when the Nevada Energy blacks out the neighborhood, but worthless on a cross-country flight. It is subject to random crashes that are becoming increasingly scary, looking nearly lethal, and requiring more time and finesse to recover from.

It would be nice if computers sent an explicit message, like, "I'm going to die one week from today, so this would be a good time to shop for my replacement." But they don't. Which means that you have two choices: (1) Wait for it to die. This means frantically trying to do comparison shopping when you need the replacement now, plus the obvious problems trying to get precious files from old to new. (That's less of a problem for me, since I have both an external hard drive backup and Carbonite off-site backup. Kind of belt-and-suspenders, but it helps me sleep well at night.) (2) Buy a replacement when the old one is still functional, which means foregoing what would possibly be many months or even years of service from it. Given the age of the current machine, the amount of wear I've put on it, and the signs of trouble it is giving me, combined with my general aversion to risk, I think Cardgrrl is right that option (2) is wiser. I can take my time moving files and getting it set up and making sure everything works, while the old one is still holding in there, before I make the final jump from one to the other.

So now I'll have four times the hard drive space (though the current one is only half full, so it will mostly go wasted), a much faster processor, longer battery life, a card reader for my digital photos (no more hauling out the USB cable!), a built-in webcam instead of the clip-on one, a Blu-Ray player, and Windows 7 instead of XP. And it costs half as much as I paid for the old one. Seems like a worthwhile upgrade--maybe long overdue.


The Poker Meister said...

17.3" - Almost just as useless on a flight as your old one. Too big for a fold-out tray. You ought look into pairing it with a netbook for flights, if you're so inclined.

BTW, the resolution on this laptop is pretty decent for the price; 1600x900 will allow you to comfortably fit quite a few tables at once. Seems like a pretty decent purchase.

gadzooks64 said...

I was going to send that Woot deal to a friend of mine who also needs a new laptop.

Check out Windows Easy Transfer tool for moving all your files and settings from the old machine to the new one. It is a very handy tool.

Windows 7 is awesome. I'm a big fan and upgraded all the machines we own.

Also, check out for installing a plethora of freeware in one fell swoop. It will automatically opt you out of any tool bars, etc., that the software likes to install.

I'm giddy for anybody that gets new technology. It's always fun and exciting.

Anonymous said...

You are going to love Windows 7. Wow, I can't believe I just said that.

Boot-up time to donking around on FullTilt is measured in seconds instead of minutes, and reboots are only required about once every 2 months or so.

Microsoft finally got it right.

JP in Philly

Rakewell said...

Thanks, Zooks. I may end up putting in a desperation call to you for tech support if the set-up and file transfer process makes me scream in frustration.

gadzooks64 said...

Happy to help.