A new year, new plans, new technology—now, it’s not that I’m afraid of change or learning new things. Quite the contrary. I embraced color television, word processing programs, and watching the GPS while driving on a six lane highway. All those radio waves, microwaves, sound waves, and high frequency waves which zip through my head and my liver are okay with me. Bring on the Bluetooth if it means fewer cords collecting dust behind my desk. Hey, and I love my Kindle. It’s just that—sometimes—I want merely to relax and read or write or research without having to learn a whole new system.
For Christmas I received a new laptop computer. I suspected it was coming. Early in December, after hearing my repeated complaints about the broken quotation mark/apostrophe key and the slow processor, my husband started spending quality time with Consumer Reports Online and probing me about my preferences regarding computers. I admit telling him I could live without a touch screen but wanted the fastest and newest technology otherwise. After all, a new computer will have to stay up-to-date for the next six or seven years if past habit serves.
My suspicions were confirmed the day my thoughtful husband practically pushed me out of the way to get to the door and accept a laptop-sized box from the UPS man. On Christmas morning, I saved that package to open last. On Christmas evening, after all the holiday hoopla ended, around 9:30 P.M., my helpful husband glanced through the quick start guide and told me all I needed to do was plug in the machine, press the power button, and follow a few easy on-screen directions to be up and running. With enthusiasm and great expectations, I set up at the kitchen table.
Uh. Windows 8.1. New look. Apps? Charms? Sliding across the screen? At 1:00 A.M., with a lump in my throat and tears of frustration in my eyes, I went off to bed.
The next morning, I spent more hours learning Windows 8.1 before I almost threw the pretty silver laptop onto the floor. I had explored the Apps, practiced screen slides, discovered a right click will bring up hidden buttons, and found the settings which let me actually see my e-mail messages. My Facebook log-in wanted to allow Bing to access my friends, and when I declined, the FB App disappeared from the start screen. What?!? There seemed to be no way to type a Web address into an address bar. My chest was heaving. I needed to hit something or pull out my hair.
Along came Mr. Patience, vowing to get it all figured out; my husband discovered how to add a new user so he could access his e-mail from the new computer. He tried the Apps and monkeyed with the mouse strokes. Then, this guy (who often tells me, “You resist new technology. Use the remote for that.”) mumbled something about wishing new systems were more intuitive and headed for his office and our older desktop computer.
The good news: After more investigation, I found the desktop on Windows 8.1, transferred my files from my old laptop, found “Internet Explorer,” accessed my Blog, and realized that applications would now be on the screen as Apps rather than on a Start Menu. My optimistic belief that I would really be able to use my new laptop left me lighthearted at the end of the second day.
Okay. So—in with the new—as long as I can use my old skills to employ and enjoy it. Day three—we shall see. Meanwhile, a very Happy New Year to all.