Hump Day: Old Bessie scrapped to make way for new computer

Hump DayHump Day
By Brian Cormier
Wednesday, March 6, 2013
Moncton Times & Transcript
Editorial section

This is the first column written on my new trusty computer. The old “untrusty” one — which was a new trusty computer itself way back in 2007 — is now relegated to the corner of my office, turned off and empty after six years of continuous use.

When I bought the computer back in 2007, it was top of the line. Friends were envious. It was a great computer. It took me awhile to get used to the new operating system, but I eventually figured it out and within a few weeks my fingers were flying over the keyboard and a few clicks of the mouse could get me in and out of programs and documents at lightning speed.

Six years later, though, it was a certified clunker. What was so shiny, new and fast in 2007, was beat up, out of date, old and slow as molasses in 2013. It would freeze on a regular basis. The infamous BSOD (blue screen of death) would pop up from time to time. It would crash. Eventually, I spent more time waiting for programs to open on the computer than I spent using the programs themselves.

By last Friday, I’d had enough. I used the computer for business. I couldn’t risk having a data disaster and losing everything. (Yes, I learned a long time ago to back up everything, but still.) What should take me five minutes to do was taking three times that long because of computer issues. When that happens, it’s time to make some decisions.

I’d done my research and decided on a model I wanted. I learned a long time ago not to post to Facebook or Twitter and ask for advice on what to buy. That’s when the debates would break out on what was better. Some loved OS X-based systems. Others loved Windows-based systems. If you’re reading this and don’t know what either of those are, then count yourself lucky. Some days, I wish I didn’t either.

At about 8:15 p.m., I decided that enough was enough. Sorry, Old Bessie, but it was time to send you to the glue factory. I hopped in my car and headed to the other side of town on roads that were much more slippery than they appeared. In fact, I saw three cars off the road in a span of about one kilometre. That was the first time I’d ever seen something like that!

Despite the terrible road conditions, the falling snow was making the city quite pretty. If the snow isn’t going to melt, it might as well be white, is what I say. Is there anything grosser than dirty snow? It’s bad enough that it’s winter, but at least it’s a lot more picturesque with freshly fallen white snow.

It was probably the fastest computer sale the clerk had ever made. All I had to do was double check to see if they could match a price I saw advertised elsewhere (they couldn’t because it was a different model) and then I just told her to bring it to the customer service area so that we could complete the purchase and setup details. Once the decision to put Old Bessie down was made, the execution was swift.

With that said, I do have to pay some respects to the old girl. She was responsible for allowing me to stay in touch with friends and earn a living for nearly six years. She had certainly earned her keep. With her by my side, I’d gotten myself in trouble a few times and gotten myself out of trouble a few times, too. I even told the clerk that I felt like I was bringing my pet to the vet to have them put to sleep.

And what’s a new computer without upgraded software, eh? I decided to upgrade everything else while I was at it, too. Live dangerously, I say! It would be a new and modern technological era in my life. Productivity would skyrocket. My fingers would have flames coming out of the tips because I would be able to work so fast!

When all was said and done, I arrived at home with my new purchase the next day after it was set up and plugged it in. Old Bessie now sits in the cor ner of my office – unplugged and feeling a lot lighter now with all that data transferred to another machine.

I sat down, turned on the new super-fast technological wonder and it booted up immediately. Then, I looked at the screen and wanted to cry. Nothing was the same as my previous computer. Everything – and I do mean everything – was quite dramatically different. More productive? I could barely figure out how to surf the Internet or send an e-mail. Where were the buttons for that? Why did everything look so alien?

Welcome to the joys of a new computer. After a few minutes of wondering what in the world I’d got myself into, I managed to find a YouTube video and a tutorial on how to use my new operating system. OK, I thought. That isn’t so bad. Within a few hours, I’d managed to set things up quite nicely and figure out what button did what.

Most things were much better than my old computer — but some things weren’t as good. It’s kind of like buying a new car. Sure, that new car is better, but why in the world are the cup holders over there instead of over here? Why is the dashboard clock on top of that instead of beside this?

It just takes some getting used to. What I do know, is that when I open a program now, it opens. There’s no more freezing and crashing. There have been a few blips along the way in setting up the computer the way want it, but nothing I couldn’t handle.

I hope this new computer will be just as good to me as the last one. Old Bessie, you’ve earned your rest. To the new kid on the block, I say, “Let’s get ready to rumble!”

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