Monday, January 14, 2013

We are experiencing technical difficulties

That is not a picture on the screen; it is a flickering screen.
The HP G42: a great little laptop.
I don't think I ever gave an update on the laptop repair. That post ended with the laptop in several pieces. Weeks later, after a failed attempt to replace the cables, Peter simply put the whole thing back together and, guess what! It worked!

Although Peter did achieve a miracle almost as astounding as turning water into wine, I was pretty sure that the fix was only temporary. Well, last week, it started flickering again, worse than ever. So I acquired a used laptop through Kijiji, a laptop that was reviewed as having a fantastic monitor - something I want for my photo editing. I'm working on it right now, and I can tell you the graphics are wonderful.

Setting up the new laptop went pretty smoothly, but then I made things more complicated. I decided to:

  • Use the old laptop as a desktop computer
  • Install a new printer
  • Transfer all my files from the old computer to the new one using DropBox
What could possibly go wrong?

I should note that, although Steve is a software engineer and works in high-tech, I am our household IT manager. I update the software and networks, I manage our antivirus subscriptions, I select and connect all peripheral devices. 

The one thing that I had worried about - and which had caused me to defer replacing our 32 GB desktop (lol!) that was still on Windows XP - was transferring the modem. Turns out, all I had to do was move the Ethernet plug from the desktop to the laptop. If the network was ever offline, no one noticed. 

I've got most of my programs installed and running smoothly (including e-mail).

The printer, however, has been a real nut to crack. I have the driver CD, but Steve's and Peter's netbooks do not have CD drives. And even with the CD, my computer refused to acknowledge that I had the correct drivers. 

I'm still working on that. With much frustration.

While that was going on, I uploaded my kazillions of files to DropBox. DropBox is an excellent way of sharing files over the Internet. You upload the files to, then anyone with access can view or edit the files from their own computer. The way DropBox works is that it synchronizes to a folder on your computer's hard drive. 

I made two mistakes:
  1. I accidentally uploaded the same HUGE directory (all of my photographs from 2012 - about 20 GB of data) at least THREE TIMES to different places in my DropBox account. 
  2. I copied the files to the appropriate directories on my new laptop but did not delete them from DropBox, thereby making a FOURTH copy of the same files.
I made the same mistake with other directories. The upshot was that the 680 GB hard drive on my new laptop was 80% used up. On top of that, we used 110 GB of data, well above our allowable monthly plan. We've never come close to that before. Ouch!

And everything started to churn soooooooooooooo slowly!

So, I decided to burn the files to DVDs, to save disk space. I've already done so a couple of times, but was worried about corrupt files. You can never have too many backups, right?

That's when I learned that the DVD drive on my new laptop is not functional. It handles CDs just fine, but as soon as I insert a DVD, it thrashes and buzzes something awful. Even worse, there is no manual eject button- it only has a software eject, which does not work consistently. I've tried downloading drivers, but they either do not install or they fail to solve the problem. 

Since I bought the laptop through Kijiji, I have no warranty or service coverage. Looks like I'll be taking it in to the shop sooner rather than later. 

On the bright side, the old laptop still burns DVDs, so I've reduced the DropBox burden down to less than 10 GB. It's connected to the printer and not having any problems at all. Like I said, it was a great little laptop, it just didn't have a working monitor. I miss it already.

And the kids are loving the improved performance of the laptop compared to the old desktop. 

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