My old laptop, the one I'm using to type this post, has been seriously poorly for some time. In its declining years it's developed a whole panoply of ailments, all of them apparently chronic and some of them seemingly terminal.
On a bad day, it can take up to an hour to boot up, and if I have any more than two programs open simultaneously it goes into cardiac arrest and I have to defibrillate it.
It's been getting slower and slower to the point where it just hangs endlessly. I suppose the human equivalent is going upstairs to get something then standing on the landing for 10 minutes trying to remember what it was you've gone up for.
It's definitely knocking on a bit..... in human terms it must be about 125 years old (if you think of 1 computer year as equivalent to 25 human years) and everything about it is slow and outdated.
And this is a BIG BUT, my whole life is in there. Personal and business. When it comes to laptops I practice reincarnation, transferring files and photos from each successive ailing machine into the new one.
In essence it contains my whole life from the past 15 years, since I got my first ever laptop.
This makes it hard to cut the ties which bind us. But needs must and I'm being driven to distraction by the glacial speed, endless error messages and constant crashing.
It's time to bite the bullet and get a new laptop. For the past few weeks I've been meticulously reading reviews, checking specs and trying to find the best machine at a price I can afford. It doesn't have to be top spec, or play the latest games. I just need to be able to do basic business stuff, word processing, desktop publishing, spreadsheets etc, as well as handle photo and video editing.
Having done my homework, and identified a mid-range, mid-priced workhorse, I took the plunge and bought one over the weekend.
So now I have one burning question.....
Q: WTF is Windows 8?
A: It is a new circle of computer hell designed to turn a moderately computer-literate user into a gibbering wreck. That's what it is.
I feel as though I'm trying to learn a new foreign language, say Urdu or Chinese, which doesn't use our alphabet. It's completely counter-intuitive and it's driving me nuts.
After an hour or so of getting nowhere fast, I inadvertently stumbled into what looked tantalisingly like a familiar desktop screen. My joy was unbounded but short lived, as I inadvertently lost it again. Having felt as though I'd been wandering in the desert and found a miraculous oasis, it slipped away like a mirage.
Things keep happening out of the blue, like split screens, and ghostly icons down the right hand side. I suspect I'm hampered by not having a touch screen but it's a laptop with a keyboard so I expect it to work like one.
There isn't even a Start button. I have no idea how to turn the damn thing off.
And where are the programs?
And how do I put an email shortcut on the familiar desktop (always supposing I can ever find it again)?
It's going to be weeks before I can even think of trying to do anything productive on it. I have no idea if any of my suite of programs will work so I suspect the process of installing them may be fraught with difficulties.
In the meantime I'm committed to nursing this failing machine, while I try to get to grips with the new one. I'm going to do a thorough sort through of all my files and documents, and this time I'm only transferring stuff I need, rather than the whole kit and caboodle.
This will take some time. But that's OK because it will give me a chance to try to get the measure of Windows 8. Either that or it will be drop-kicked out the window.