GETTING A NEW COMPUTER
I got pulled kicking and screaming into the new computer age. Loathe to upgrade, I waited until my computer crashed with no hope of revival to throw in the towel. First decision was what machine to get. I browsed the aisles at Office Depot and Best Buy but saw only one model on the floor that I liked. The sales guy said it was out of stock. I called another store, and that person said it had been discontinued. So I went my previous route and ordered direct from Dell. I got an Inspiron 580.
After a breathless wait, the new machine arrived about a week later. I just needed the CPU because I had all the peripherals. Or so I thought. When I saw all the usb connections on the CPU and the parallel and serial ports on my printer and ergonomic keyboard, I gulped with dismay.
Fortunately, I’d saved the extra usb cable that had come with my monitor, so we switched cables and that worked fine. Then we found a usb cable for my five year old printer, too. My computer consultant fussed with the printer driver and got it to work.
No luck with the keyboard, though. It’s years old but has saved my wrists from carpal tunnel problems with its split keyboard and touch pad. So add this item to the List of MUST HAVES:
- New ergonomic keyboard
I already knew my scanner wouldn’t work and set that aside as a loss. Add this as a maybe:
- New Scanner (or more likely an All-In-One color laser printer)
Next we start up the computer, connect it to the Internet, and install my only new program so far, Microsoft Office 10 ($279.99). I knew I’d have to buy it because my version from 2003 was seven years old.
My heart sank as I tried to install my other essential software that now has to be replaced:
- Screen Shot by Parsons Technology that allowed me to print whatever is actually on the monitor screen with the Print Screen button on the keyboard.
- Adobe Photodeluxe. I’ve been using a free version for years. Maybe my camera program will work instead. I have to install that disk yet. Let’s hope it works.
- WordPerfect. All of my old files are in WP, so even if I want to use Word primarily now, I have to remove the WP codes before converting the files. I still need WP for things like my brochures since I don’t have Microsoft Publisher. But after installing WP 12, my Outlook crashed. I restored my computer to an earlier restore point and Outlook worked again. WordPerfect Office X5 is another expensive program at $159.99. I don’t want to get it unless I know it’s compatible with Outlook 10 but I may have to take the chance.
- Dragon Naturally Speaking Preferred 10. I have version 9. It would not install on Windows 7. Dragon 10 says it works with Vista 64 bit and will work with Windows 7, but is it really made for the new system or will they be coming out with an upgrade soon? I already turned down the chance to get Dragon 10 for the initial upgrade offer of $99 and now I’d have to buy it for $199. Plus the specs say you have to have a processor with SSE2 instructions. They refer you to a free online program to determine if your computer meets this requirement. Why does technology have to be so complicated?
Meanwhile, I am struggling to figure out how to do the simplest things like address an envelope, change the font, and print selected pages in Word 10. Everything seems to be there but in a different place. Where is the Select All button? How do I change the lines per page? What are all these new tabs for?
I am so lost!
Next Day: I’m getting used to this interface and even learned how to print what’s on my Internet page by using a new tool call Snippet with Windows 7. I’m ready to resume my normal activities and will just have to learn as I go. Still have to add Dragon and WP and my photo program, but one step at a time.
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