Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Agony and the Ecstacy of Computers

My husband gave me an Apple computer for my coming birthday. Make that coming birthdays -- plural. It's a restored Apple, thus more affordable, but we don't buy computers everyday. It's supposed to be as good as new, and I'm hoping this is true.

Now, my husband has always been the expert I consulted for problems with my old PC. He works on a PC and has for years and years, and knows tons of information for when things go wrong. But even he was stymied by the last problem I had. We took it to the shop, and the man there told us it was clean, no viruses, but even HE could not fix the problem. Instead, he offered to buy it so he could use the parts. (That says something about the PC's state of being, despite years of loyal service.) I felt guilty, as if I'd sent it to the glue factory.

But then I found I was getting an Apple. None of my writing friends has EVER had problems with an Apple. No one my husband knows has ever had problems with an Apple. (I suspect this motivated him a little: the fond hope that I would not be showing up at his office door, a sad look on my face as I uttered sentences that usually began with, "My computer just....")

Since neither of us has ever had an Apple, though, we are embarking together on a journey of demystification over the instructions. I'm armed with a copy of "Macs for Dummies" (after reading the author's assurance that no one in that series really thinks the reader is a dummy). We have lots of little instruction booklets for various software alwready installed or to be installed. At the moment, my Internet favorites, my pictures, and my word documents are on a flashdrive, along with my Outlook mail, all awaiting downloading. (Thanks goodness for Hotmail.) The Apple layout is different, to say the least. When I check out icons and navigate around various sites on the Apple, it feels a little like showing up for Spanish class with a French grammar book: Yeah, there are basic similarities, but there's a world of difference.

So presently I'm working from my husband's "back-up" PC; the one he can use if his main one is in the shop for any reason; the one I could use when my old one was in the shop. This whole transition thing, has left me a bit up in the air. I am avidly reading "Macs for Dummies" in the hopes that I will soon be whizzing around with confidence checking e-mail, Internet favorites, and word documents with no problems. No problems at all. Cross fingers.

What about you? Have you ever had to make the transition from one computer to another? If so, how long did it take? Who do you consult when things go wrong? Or are you one of those lucky computer users where nothing goes wrong at all?


Rachna Chhabria said...

Congrats Elizabeth, on you new computer. I am sure you will learn fast. As for me, whenever I am stuck I seek the help of one of my good friends. He is an expert. But I am also self learning so that I become self reliant and do not need anyone's help.

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

Hi, Rachna, I'm with you! I want to be able to do what needs to be done myself. This time I am studying the manuals, etc.

Julie Musil said...

Yay for Macs! We got ours last year and LOVE it. Yes, we went through some clunky time while we tried to figure it out. Our 13 year old son is a magician with this thing, so that's nice. One thing we learned: if it's difficult, we're doing it wrong. Everything on the Mac is easy (drag and drop, etc). Just look for the easiest way to do it, that's probably the right way!

Good luck, have fun, and when in doubt, check out Apple's forums. Lots of pros there.

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

Thanks for the good advice, Julie. We actually took it in to a computer expert to have him transfer my Internet favorites, e-mail, pictures, and word documents. I hope to pick it up tomorrow. (I'm working at my husband's computer at present.)

Ah, these 13-year-olds. Experts already. It's wonderful how easy the kids are with everything we find so daunting.!

Clementine said...

Ugh...I feel your pain! Switching computers is always a big deal. I hope the transition goes smoothly. We had our hard drive rebuilt when it crashed (three years ago) and when I got it back, it worked even better than it did before. Hopefully, that will be your experience as well!

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

Thanks, Amy. I'm still sorting out the differences in how to use PC and how to use Mac. (But I really like my Mac already!)