Computer Shopping

I hate doing it. Mainly because no matter how many times I read about it, I still don’t fully grasp the nature of memory, RAM, processor speed as it pertains to what I need. I know that higher numbers for each of those means better, but I hate the idea of spending money on more than I need. I have no concept of how many gigs is suitable for what I do, or how fast the computer should be to give me what I need. None. And it’s hard to research something that is so specific to an individuals needs.

Maybe if I did all of this more often. You see this is the first time in eight years I have done this. Eight years this month, in fact. No, I am not exaggerating; I have had this eMachines T6528 for eight years. The company had only just been sold then, and according to my recent research, it no longer operates, even as a subsidiary of something else. My type of computer, literally, no longer exists.

Before I got this, I hadn’t really shopped for a computer much at all. Usually I just inherited computers from family members who didn’t wait eight years to replace their desktops.

It has had its quirks and pains in the ass over the years, as you might expect from a bargain computer. (Which even when new, it was.) Many a times I have had to stop myself from putting my first through it. Yet with some expanded memory here and there, it has held up more than one would think given the time frame of its use. The fact that it remains functional enough for me to do my everyday computing on it falls somewhere between amazing and miraculous.

But it is time for it to go. I need to move on. Should have before now, I suppose. But money is always an issue. Almost as important as that though, is that I’m used to the damn thing.

Even if I had the money, I don’t think I could change computers every two years. (They say that is the national average.) I spend a lot of time on my desktop, and I get accustomed to its look and feel. Changing something so intimate so frequently is not my style.

Well, that’s almost true. I actually threw away the keyboard that came with this machine. I never got used to that. I went back to the keyboard I had been using for years previous. The key board, in fact, was inherited when I was in college. I have been using the same keyboard for most of my adult life. 99% of my fiction as well as my blog posts, (all three blogs I have kept over the years) was composed with this keyboard. They don’t make this thing anymore either. I doubt it will be compatible with the new computer, so its days are probably numbered as well. That will be the real thing to get used to. The physical sensation of writing each day with a new keyboard.

But then again it’s not the only thing one gets used to after working on the same desktop for eight years. There’s  the specific pitch of the clicks on a keyboard. The screen resolution. A computer takes up a certain space in your room, and it becomes in some ways like a piece of furniture. You just don’t move it that much. You’ve perfectly calibrated the sound in the speakers the way you want it.  Plus a lot of emotion happens near or with a computer. I don’t have an emotional attachment to it per se, but when I think that I have had the computer longer than I have had Facebook…when I realize how many people have come into and out of my life since I have owned this thing, it’s kind of profound.

All the love notes and fights that have taken place solely by way of this machine…this eMachine in fact that nobody makes anymore.

Not to mention all of my shit is already on here. The thought of moving it from one machine to another gives me a headache.

But not as much of a headache as what I have to go through to boot this thing up in the morning. This is one of the main reasons I can’t wait for a new one. Here is the process…

I push the button. It whirs and clicks to life, but it’s a bit of a lottery. You see about 50% of the time since I have owned it, it fails to boot up. Which means I have to perform a cold shut down and start over. (Never really a safe thing to do.) I’ll know right away if the next boot up is going to take by the lights flashing on the keyboard. But this is not the end. Because for whatever damn reason, if the boot-up is not successful the first time, it must be done twice in a row for the computer to function properly. Otherwise, the monitor goes nutty. So as soon as I know the second boot-up has succeeded, I have to perform another cold shut down, and boot it up yet again. I have to hope that the second one also takes. If the lights come on, I am good to go shower, and give it the 15 minutes it needs to warm up.

If, however, the lights do not come on, I need to cold shut down again, and again wait for two consecutive boot-ups to take. The record (so far) for times I have had to boot up and cold-shut down this thing before it got it right? Twelve. (12). Took me close to have an hour between booting up and being able to do anything on this computer.

If the new one boots up in less than ten minutes, it may just throw off my entire day.

I’ve been reading up on Windows 8, which any new PC comes with now. (I cannot afford the absurd prices for Macs.) Looks weird, but that’s what it is now. Same with Word 2010. Though I may look into some free office software that isn’t Microsoft-based. Either way, Word 2003 isn’t going to cut it anymore. I am very much used to that as well, but the world as a whole is moving on from it. If I don’t make the change now, it won’t be too long before my documents aren’t compatible with anything anymore.

Writers are creatures of habit in many ways. As are actors. And in most cases I myself am as well. Since I am all three of those things, (writer, actor, and me) you can imagine there will be a bit of an adjustment period to all of this. But it’s for the best, right? I already have a nice, middle of the pack Dell picked out that seems to be suitable. I’m just afraid of making a mistake I have to live with for the next decade or something. These things don’t grow on trees anymore than money does.

But hopefully I can figure it out. It feels too much like luck lately that this computer hasn’t just blown up. I guess all mediocre things must end.


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