Tuesday, 20 October 2009

A world apart

It's been a funny year for computers. I am not a generally consumption-oriented person. I like to get something good and hang onto it. Hence the combined middle-agehood of the household cars, clothing from op shops, decade-old shoes, piles of books from uni (20-ouch years ago now), old furniture...the list goes on. But we have cut a swathe through computers over the last 12 months. Our back landing is piling higher and higher with casualties.

The last Mac lasted about 7 months. Admittedly it was used when we got it, but it curled up its toes and gave up right after the big dust storm. It was a G4 "windtunnel" and I guess the windtunnel sucked up a bit more dust than was optimum for operation. We now have a G5, elderly in computer terms, but it seems to work just fine.

But it does mean days, if not longer, of discombobulation, finding a new computer (thank you eBay and Mr Blithe), waiting for parts (in this case a specialised Mac cable that didn't come with the computer and had to be ordered from the Apple Store). The trusty iMac keeps the household plugging away in times like this, slow but so far reliable now that its blown-out connection to the internet has been jerry-rigged. That was a storm about 18 months ago. But you have to work out what was on which computer and what version and what needs to be done without the backup of computerised records or even a browsing history. Memory sticks are very helpful here.
I know that time is passing me by though when memory sticks have more memory than the first computer I used.

I hear people talking about the need for taking precautions and I have to tell you here that the computers are about as protected as they can be in a regular household. There are surge protectors, safety switches and backing up (perhaps not as frequently as required). I think that this is just rough terrain for computers. There's wind, dust, heat, cold, power surges, lightening strikes, storms and general wear and tear.

Early settlers didn't have computers but they faced all these things and more. And they didn't have the internet to order things delivered to one's house.

The new desktop image on the G5 is of the Brisbane River in 1870. I stare at it when I am meant to be working, trying to get an idea of what life really was like back then. It is such a world away from computer problems. Can I get my mind around it? Should I even try?

No comments: