Friday morning came. Decision time. There are road works in progress at the important and busy Angel crossroads and the traffic, especially buses, is slow along Upper Street, so I thought it best to walk. I reached the shop at 9:27 and the technician, I will call him M, was already there. He unlocked the door and let me in.
I told him I had decided to go ahead with the purchase of the laptop and therefore wanted the work halted on the desktop machine. I would give this back to E, who had made it for me, if he wanted to do something with it.
“Well, if that’s what you want,” said M. “But there are still one or two things I want to do with the desktop first.”
He is a very conscientious worker. I waited while he finished off what he wanted to do. He told me that there was currently no sign of a virus on it but that to be sure it was clean, he would have to reformat the hard drive, flash the BIOS and reinstall Windows. In the meantime, he was copying the data off my Lacie external hard drive, prior to reformatting this to render it clean from any virus infection. As there was a lot of data on the drive (for one thing, all my photos), this was taking time.
The laptop came with Vista installed (growl!) but with the option to replace this with XP Professional. I obviously chose this latter option. I also wanted my data copied onto the hard disc and an anti-virus and firewall installed. This was agreed. I was then able to cart the desktop home.
Later, I returned to collect the new laptop. It is slim and elegant and, of course, it is silver! I refer to it as my silver surfboard. After all, it is for surfing, though not of the wet kind.
I also have the desktop running temporarily (hence the monitor behind the laptop), but I am running it in parallel and not sharing any files with the laptop directly. My main problem was that my password file, which contains all my passwords and without which I would be seriously inconvenienced, existed only on media that might be contaminated. The file is very big and I baulked at the idea of copying it manually.
In the first picture you can also see my famous phone. Both computers can connect to it, the desktop by Bluetooth and the laptop by cable (I haven’t got around to installing Bluetooth on it yet). So I decided that it would probably be safe to copy the password file, which is a plain textfile, to the phone, which has the Symbian operating system, and then copy it from the phone to the laptop. This would avoid using any possibly contaminated Windows media as intermediary.
Now begins the process of familiarizing myself with the laptop. I tend to be a little heavy handed when typing so I have to learn to be gentle with the dual-purpose touch-pad with is very sensitive. Already, after only a couple of days, the display of the desktop looks big and crude, compared with the small, neat display of the laptop.
The desktop used to sit on a split-level computer desk but this would have been unsuitable for use with the laptop, as the upper shelf left no room for the screen to open. As we still haven’t got our custom-designed corner shelf cum table made, as a temporary measure we bought a cheap desk from Argos for £30 or so. It came as a flat-pack, of course, and I went to fetch it with the shopping trolly.
The flat-pack was 4 feet long and weighed 21 kilo. It happened to be chucking-out out time for the schools, so I had to compete for bus-space with fractious schoolkids. The trolley showed an amusing tendency to overbalance at critical moments, which all added to the fun. I eventually got it home and we assembled it.
The desk is rather crowded at the moment as it accommodates the laptop, the desktop system box with its associated monitor, keyboard and mouse, our 10-socket “power tower” electric power supply, a 7-port USB hub and, of course, my wonderful mobile phone. There isn’t even room for a cup of tea! Just as well really, as it would be too easy to knock over. Not a good idea among all those electrical and electronic devices…
I am slowly getting back to normal (or what passes for normal chez les tigres) but if you have left a comment and I haven’t responded, I apologize and will get there soon. I have not yet been able to recover my email address book, so if you want me to email you, please email me first! (My email address is near the top of the sidebar, where it says “Email me here”.)