Category Archives: computer

Back to Mac

Image representing Apple as depicted in CrunchBase

I took the plunge a couple of weeks ago and decided to return to the Apple fold.

I used Macs of various sorts through a good part of my paid-work life but had migrated to a PC late in my career and through my second round of grad school. As a statistician, I was concerned about what analysis packages would be available for Mac. I had started my family history endeavours using Family Tree Maker on a PC. So I stuck with it for 15 years.

My previous machine, a 6 year old Dell something-or-other was a large, heavy laptop. I was getting frequent blue screens of death despite my scrupulous management of security, updates, and all other types of safe-computing tasks. I lost a keycap and the associated attachment thingy which was annoying as I couldn’t fix it myself. It was painfully slow. I never updated past Vista as I was worried that my printer wouldn’t work, a problem I’d had in the past with an HP printer.  I use an iPhone and an iPad, ITunes to manage my music and books, and have progressively moved to the cloud with my documents and family history stuff.

I had no more excuses, and the blessing for the expenditure.

When I was in Ottawa last week, I transferred data from my Dell to my brand new MacBook Air, an amazingly easy process if you have a network connecting the machines. I did it on my mom’s WiFi network. Overnight. (I had a lot of photos that weren’t yet uploaded to PicasaWeb.

I tried the Safari browser for a few days but am so used to Chrome that I moved back to that. I love that all my bookmarks and extensions moved seamlessly to my new machine.

I’m still getting used to the slightly different keyboard layout and the clickable trackpad. The gesture interface is similar to the iPad so that’s easy to figure out, although scrolling is backwards. (Well, actually the Apple scrolling interface makes more sense, directionally, than the WIndows one, but I was used to the latter.)

Ancestry.com

I still need to get Family Tree Maker for the Mac, the ancestry.com product. There are probably other programs that I will need, but so far, things are going just fine.

Finally, this workhorse is tiny. I got the 13″ screen, but even so, it’s about 1/3 the size of the Dell (width-wise) and seems to melt into my desk when it’s open. I may want to invest in a larger screen sometime down the road, but for now, I believe I have found computing perfection.

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Loose ends are getting gathered.

Many things are finally coming together.

  • My new laptop arrived yesterday and I’ve transferred most of my data over from my old one. It’s a lovely thing, with green satin lid, large glossy screen, and Windows Vista which doesn’t seem as bad as all the reports and, frankly, is not that much different from XP, at least in terms of the interface.
    I can’t find my CD copy of Quicken though. I purchased it last summer when we arrived in Toronto and were living in the condo. I simply cannot lay my hands on it and I need it to transfer all our financial files to my new machine. I will do a detailed scour of the house today to try to locate it.
  • I have been in touch with a behavioural therapist/trainer for Wilson. He’s a doll in many ways, but he’s got a lot of anxiety and is dangerously prey driven. That includes people, other dogs, small animals, and anything that deigns to come onto our property. Jana will come out Tuesday afternoon for 4 hours of training and we’ll see how it goes. She’s with Bark Busters and the organization has been recommended to us by multiple people. I just need to be able to have a plumber over without Wilson barking his head off for two hours.
  • My car is scheduled for repair starting on Monday. The total (including rental) is about $1300….I’ve learned not to be surprised at how expensive it is to have a few scratches and dents taken out of a car. But that’s why we have insurance. Because I wasn’t at fault and got to the car to the Collision Reporting Centre within 24 hours, I don’t even have to pay the deductible.
  • I’m back on track with my cleaning schedule. I’ve flipped between Flylady and the Motivated Moms planner, and am on the latter these days. I like her system because it’s slow and steady. A little bit every day and pretty soon the house is looking fine.
  • Alex was all in a tizzy because he is behind in his community service hours for school, specifically for Religion class. He is a peer tutor for math and science but he hasn’t had much business so doesn’t have the requisite 20 hours. I have lined him up some tutoring with one of his cousins who’s in Grade 9 and having trouble with math, and he’ll start that tomorrow. He and his father are also going to make some casseroles as part of a ministry that our parish has, making meals for the Good Shepherd Centre. The parish provides the recipe and large aluminum foil casserole pans. Parish members make the casseroles and then drop them into the freezer at the parish on an on-going basis.

Loose ends are getting gathered.

Many things are finally coming together.

  • My new laptop arrived yesterday and I’ve transferred most of my data over from my old one. It’s a lovely thing, with green satin lid, large glossy screen, and Windows Vista which doesn’t seem as bad as all the reports and, frankly, is not that much different from XP, at least in terms of the interface.
    I can’t find my CD copy of Quicken though. I purchased it last summer when we arrived in Toronto and were living in the condo. I simply cannot lay my hands on it and I need it to transfer all our financial files to my new machine. I will do a detailed scour of the house today to try to locate it.
  • I have been in touch with a behavioural therapist/trainer for Wilson. He’s a doll in many ways, but he’s got a lot of anxiety and is dangerously prey driven. That includes people, other dogs, small animals, and anything that deigns to come onto our property. Jana will come out Tuesday afternoon for 4 hours of training and we’ll see how it goes. She’s with Bark Busters and the organization has been recommended to us by multiple people. I just need to be able to have a plumber over without Wilson barking his head off for two hours.
  • My car is scheduled for repair starting on Monday. The total (including rental) is about $1300….I’ve learned not to be surprised at how expensive it is to have a few scratches and dents taken out of a car. But that’s why we have insurance. Because I wasn’t at fault and got to the car to the Collision Reporting Centre within 24 hours, I don’t even have to pay the deductible.
  • I’m back on track with my cleaning schedule. I’ve flipped between Flylady and the Motivated Moms planner, and am on the latter these days. I like her system because it’s slow and steady. A little bit every day and pretty soon the house is looking fine.
  • Alex was all in a tizzy because he is behind in his community service hours for school, specifically for Religion class. He is a peer tutor for math and science but he hasn’t had much business so doesn’t have the requisite 20 hours. I have lined him up some tutoring with one of his cousins who’s in Grade 9 and having trouble with math, and he’ll start that tomorrow. He and his father are also going to make some casseroles as part of a ministry that our parish has, making meals for the Good Shepherd Centre. The parish provides the recipe and large aluminum foil casserole pans. Parish members make the casseroles and then drop them into the freezer at the parish on an on-going basis.

My computer finally died.

The screen, to be precise. And I’ve known it was coming.

I’ve owned this Dell Inspiron laptop for about five years and it’s been great. I had to replace the motherboard (under warranty) just before I submitted my thesis (yak!) in 2004, and I’m on my second battery. It survived being in the trunk of my car when I was rear-ended outside of Charlotte, NC and came through with just a slight gap in the casing.

But a few months ago, the screen started to look pink at startup. Then one of the hinges on the top broke and I was only able to hold the lid in a couple of (open) positions, or else I had to lean it against the wall. Yesterday, my screen started going black 30-45 seconds after startup. Everytime. Plus my battery was wearing out. I.e., not worth repairing.

I had been toying with going back to Mac. Michael got one for Christmas and it’s very sexy, but I have enough PC apps to make it a pain to switch, and there is always the possibility that I might go back to work, likely not into a Mac environment. So I pulled out the Consumer Reports back issue on laptops and sure enough, Dell is still near or at the top. I put in my order this morning and should have my new Spring Green satin-finish Inspiron 1720 (with matching soft case!) early next week.

I’ve been good about backing up all my files, and have made a list of all the software I will need to install when it arrives. I can still use my current machine if I plug it into Alex’s monitor (which is what I’m doing now). So it should be straightforward to transfer all my data over our wireless network, right?

I’ll keep you posted.

My computer finally died.

The screen, to be precise. And I’ve known it was coming.

I’ve owned this Dell Inspiron laptop for about five years and it’s been great. I had to replace the motherboard (under warranty) just before I submitted my thesis (yak!) in 2004, and I’m on my second battery. It survived being in the trunk of my car when I was rear-ended outside of Charlotte, NC and came through with just a slight gap in the casing.

But a few months ago, the screen started to look pink at startup. Then one of the hinges on the top broke and I was only able to hold the lid in a couple of (open) positions, or else I had to lean it against the wall. Yesterday, my screen started going black 30-45 seconds after startup. Everytime. Plus my battery was wearing out. I.e., not worth repairing.

I had been toying with going back to Mac. Michael got one for Christmas and it’s very sexy, but I have enough PC apps to make it a pain to switch, and there is always the possibility that I might go back to work, likely not into a Mac environment. So I pulled out the Consumer Reports back issue on laptops and sure enough, Dell is still near or at the top. I put in my order this morning and should have my new Spring Green satin-finish Inspiron 1720 (with matching soft case!) early next week.

I’ve been good about backing up all my files, and have made a list of all the software I will need to install when it arrives. I can still use my current machine if I plug it into Alex’s monitor (which is what I’m doing now). So it should be straightforward to transfer all my data over our wireless network, right?

I’ll keep you posted.