We’ve been at the Placerville Elks Lodge (click here to read our earlier review and see photos) in Shingle Springs, California, for five days, a whirlwind of New Computer Craziness interspersed with relaxing visits with my (Laurie’s) parents, welcome oases of calm in the chaos of technological upheaval.
Sounds pretty dramatic, doesn’t it? That’s exactly how it felt to me! Doing the endless research, making the buying decision, and handing over the credit card was just the beginning. Switching from our old computer to a new computer, with a new operating system (Windows 7 64 bit vs. Windows XP 32 bit – and no Vista in between) seemed like a daunting task to me – and I was prepared for the worst.
I’m so, so happy to report that everything is coming along excellently, so far. Maybe my obsessive preparations paid off, or maybe Windows 7 is as spectacular as early reviews promised – whatever the reason, the transition (still happening) is going well.
We’ve received several emails asking for specifics:
We bought our computer (on Monday) at Best Buy, so we can take it back to any Best Buy, anywhere, if we have problems. This is important to us, since shipping a computer back to the manufacturer can be problematic if we are moving frequently and camping at state parks, COE campgrounds, or in the boondocks of the southwest.
Because our prior Toshiba gave us four years of trouble-free, heavy-duty daily usage, we stuck with Toshiba. Besides, I feel their pricing is super-competitive in the category of computer we purchase.
The new computer is a Toshiba Satellite A505-S6980. Windows 7 64 bit Home Premium. Intel Core 2 Duo T6600 processor. 4 GB DDR2 RAM. 500 GB hard drive (our old computer has 2 GB memory and 80 GB hard drive and was sufficient for us!). 16 inch widescreen display. 4 USB ports. And, unusual but important for us: a 12 cell battery, giving us in excess of 5 hours of battery operation. Wow!
We paid $599.99 for the computer, on “special” at Best Buy this week. We added a 3 year service plan for $179, a first for us. The service plan covers one new battery in the 3 year period (any time after the first year). Since replacing a 12 cell battery is expensive, we decided it was worth the extra money to cover the battery and any other problems that arise.
We added $70 to have the Geek Squad “optimize” the computer before we took it home: make sure everything worked (including all USB ports and the built-in WiFi connection), removed all the trial software we didn’t want, activated the 30 day free antivirus/antispyware program (Norton), download and install all the Microsoft updates, and make the Restore disks (there are 5 of ‘em). Yes, yes – I could have done all that myself, but my plate seemed overflowing already. Those $70 bought me several hours and great peace of mind.
The problem I DIDN’T expect, or plan for: where would we keep an extra computer? It doesn’t seem like a big deal, does it? But it was. We actually need a new, bigger motorhome now, with at least 3 slides. :) In lieu of that, I spent all day yesterday (after dropping Odel at the golf course) looking for the new piece of furniture we needed to provide some extra shelf space.
I started at Ikea (with lunch, to fortify myself) and spent 2 hours examining and measuring every piece of furniture that seemed like a possibility. Everything was TOO BIG. How disappointing!
Okay – implement plan B. Off to Target, where I found exactly what we needed within 10 minutes. As I was loading my cart, Odel called from the 18th hole – 30 minutes until he was ready to go. Zip, zip – another charge on the credit card (just $60, less than anything at Ikea) and I was off.
Odel is an astute reader of his wife’s moods. As soon as we got home, we set up the new shelves – then he took himself off to the bar in the lodge for a beer while I bustled around with vacuum and dust cloth, cleaning and rearranging my nook. I am so pleased with the result!
Microsoft Money 2003 (where I have more than 10 years of financial information stored) works – a total miracle. Microsoft doesn’t even sell a “Money” product any longer, so I was really worried about this since upgrading to a newer version is not an option.
My Canon Camera connected with no problems, and I’ve transferred all our photos from the old computer. I’ve download both Picasa 3.5 and Windows Live Writer, so blogging can resume.
Our old (at least 8 years) HP printer/copier/scanner works, with drivers included in Windows 7.
Our Verizon USB aircard works, with new software I downloaded from Verizon with help from the friendly Verizon phone rep.
I need to keep plugging along, but YES, we are over the hump!