Thursday, July 07, 2005

The bullet has been bitten

No, this has nothing to do with the gun mentioned in yesterday’s post. Nor with the demise of personal responsibility. Unless, that is, you count personal fiscal responsibility. (Meaning “money management,” for the vocabulary-challenged among us. Ordinarily that might include me, but I have my fabulous reference, the “Dictionary of the Moment” to help me along.)

No, the “biting of the bullet” of which I speak refers to the fact that Carol and I, after many months of talking about and thinking about buying a laptop computer, have now done the deed. Our new Dell Inspiron was delivered yesterday evening.

We tend to be very tight with our money when a major purchase is involved; “major” defined as anything over a couple hundred bucks. As a case in point, it took Carol nearly two years (along with some favorable economic conditions) to decide to buy our TrailManor pop-up camper/trailer/RV.

Anyway, we agreed that having a portable computer to take on our trips would be a good thing for a lot of reasons. With the ever-expanding availability of Wi-Fi, much of it free, internet access will be handy. Add a GPS receiver and some mapping software and we’ll never get lost again!

Plus (and don’t tell Carol this), I’ll be able to write and publish blog posts while we’re on the road! I’ve not mentioned that benefit, because she might see it in a slightly different light (as in “liability”).

There WAS one condition, though. I had to agree to let her participate in the new computer setup at her own pace. And I had to be patient with her.

Last night we began.

I gave her the mouse and watched as she turned on the new machine. Before Windows even loaded we first sat through all of the Dell “Welcome” screens and requests to register everything. We couldn’t do that, I explained, until we actually got Windows running and set up the wireless network connection to have internet access.

Carol: “Why can’t we do that now?”

Me: “You have to do that from within Windows, and Windows hasn’t started yet.”

Carol: “Why?”

Me (in a patient tone): “Why do we have to do it from within Windows, or why hasn’t Windows started yet?”

Carol: “Yes.”

Me (in a still-patient-but-slightly-strained tone): “Windows is the operating system, and you have to have it running to tell the computer how to connect to the—”

Carol (in a not-quite-patient tone): “Yes, I know that, but why doesn’t Windows just start? It always starts first on our other computer.”

Me: Sigh.

Once we made it past the Dell messages and Windows actually loaded, I told her I wanted to turn off the default sounds that accompany start up and exit, logon and logoff.

Carol: “Why”

Me: “Well, they’re annoying. They take time to load and run, and I’ve gotten used to not having them.”

Carol: “I never heard them on our other computer.”

Me: “That’s because I turned them off.”

Carol: “Ok, but are you sure it won’t hurt something to turn them off?”

Me: Sigh.

Soon it was time to actually start loading software. Carol uses Adobe Photoshop a lot on our desktop and wanted that loaded first. We put in the CD and made it to the screen asking for the product key. These groups of numbers and letters had to be entered in just the right order or the program wouldn’t install, I explained.

Carol: “Why?”

Me: “To make it harder for people to just copy the CD and spread the program around for free.”

Carol: "Ok, let me do it. Are they case-sensitive?”

Me: “I don’t know. I don’t think so.”

Carol, waiting: “How can we find out?”

Me: “Just type them in; I don’t think it matters.”

Carol: “But what if it does?”

Me (a little strained, but still patient): “If it does, we’ll retype them in upper case.”

Carol: “Why not just type them in upper case first?”

Me (not much patience left): “Please, just type them in any case you like.”

Carol, still waiting: “So which one, upper or lower?”

Me (jaw tightly clenched): “Please. Just type them.”

Carol: “So, is upper OK?”

Me (about to lose it): “Yesssssss.”

Upper case worked just fine. As, I’m pretty sure, lower case would have also. But we’ll never know.

Next we came to the EULA. (No, that’s not related to “euphemism” or “euthanasia,” and has nothing to do with mercy. There WAS no mercy last night!) That stands for the End User License Agreement. It’s a bunch of legalese about 10 pages long that nobody ever reads. Below it are two small check boxes: one for “I accept,” and one for “I decline.”

Carol: “What’s that?”

Me: “Just click the ‘I Accept’ box.”

Carol: “But what’s it say?”

Me: “I don’t know. I never read them. Something about the software not being guaranteed for any specific purpose, and you won’t sue Adobe if it messes up your pictures.”

Carol: “What if it does mess up my pictures.”

Me: “It won’t.”

Carol: “Maybe I should read it.”

Me (a hint of sarcasm creeping in): “Did you read the one on the copy in our other computer?”

Carol (innocent): “Well, no.”

Me: “Did it ever mess up your pictures?”

Carol: “No. But still... maybe I ought to glance through it.”

Me: “Why? If you want to use the software you HAVE to click the ‘I accept’ box whether you like what it says or not. Do you want to use this software on this machine?”

Carol: “Yes.”

Me (voice rising): “PLEASE. Just click the ‘I accept’ box.”

Carol (accusing look): “You SAID you’d be patient!”

There was more, but you’ve read enough for now.

Yes, we’re still married. For now. But tonight we get to set up the desktop resolution and other settings. (Sigh).

This might have been a bullet better unbitten. (Oooo. More good consonance.)


Anonymous said...

DOn't hate me, but I'm with your wife on this one. I know nothing about computers. At all. I once called my wife at work to tell her the computer beeped twice, displayed message x, and then froze. She said "I'll tell you exactly what you should do. Put your hands in the air. Now slide away from the desk, leave the room, and don't go back in until I get home."

But you do have patience, I must say.

And frugality. It's been three years considering buying a new mountain bike. My 1992 Raleigh is a bit creaky, and laughed at by others.

Nankin said...

Earle, loved today's post. My ex-hubby used to get livid because I didn't want to know HOW the computer worked. I just wanted to use it. He spent more time programming and reconfiguring the damned thing than actually using it.

I just bought a Dell Experion about a month ago for the express purpose of taking it to New Mexico next week so I could work on my writing. I'm so glad I did.

VikiBabbles said...

This reminds me of something.

My husband and I absolutely CANNOT do anything like this together. We've gone through several computers, and they were always my dominion. When we bought our last desktop, a couple of years ago, he decided he wanted to know exactly how to do things, and he wanted me to "train" him. After fifteen minutes of me saying things like, "just let me do it," grabbing the mouse and madly clicking through things, he got all mad, and I said, "You know what? I figured out everything I know just by doing it. Nobody taught me shit. You want to figure it out, you figure it out. If you fuck it up, I'll just have a nice excuse for sitting at the desk all day re-loading windows." He doesn't ask anymore.

A couple of years ago, he finally got me to agree to learn how to shoot a shotgun. He dragged us (me and the kids, and of course the Brittanys) pheasant hunting with him, and at one point asked me to hold the gun, and wanted to show me how to shoot. I tried, I missed (according to him, nearly missing the dogs), an argument ensued (with me holding the shotgun, mind you) and I realized it would definitely NOT be a good idea for my husband to teach me how to shoot a gun.

Shortly after that, I signed up to do a women's shooting class with the Illinois DNR. John was all pissed off because I was going to let some STRANGE men teach me how to shoot a gun, and I said, "Honey, remember when I painted the linen closet, and you stood over my shoulder telling me how to paint, and I stood up, turned around, and plastered your face with blue paint? Well, imagine how it would be if you stood over me while I held a shotgun in my hands." After a few minutes of silently staring at each other, me watching the wheels turn behind his eyes, I added, "Being an inexperienced gun user, it wouldn't be that hard for me to claim it was an accident."

When I returned from the gun shooting class, all hopped up on testosterone (because that's just what happens when you spend all day shooting guns), he said, "So, you want your own shotgun for Christmas?" (I am well aware that this actually meant, "Do you want me to buy that ridiculously expensive shotgun that I've been lusting after for a few years, and call it your Christmas present?"

I said no, then we went to the basement gun safe to put away the gun I had used that day, and he said, (and this is to make up for you missing out on Karen's Friday Sex Festival) "Could you just hold the gun up, point it at that wall, I just want to see how you hold it." Foolishly, I agreed, and when I put the gun down and turned around and saw him salivating like a drunk at a strip club, I realized what it was REALLY all about.

Of course, none of this could make any sense, as I've been sitting outside on my back porch with my laptop and a succession of vodka tonics for several hours now, but I'm not going back to proofread. It's a comment, for cryin' eye.

Karyn Lyndon said...

Yes, nice consonance. And congrats on your new laptop. Now we can have minute by minute posts of your golf...zzzzz

Anonymous said...

Oh dear, that sounds like me. My brother has no idea how a computer works and phones me everytime something goes wrong or how to copy and paste or how to configure something. I am afraid, I am not a good teacher.

Candace said...

YOU are a saint!

Candace said...

(sorry, I forgot to add that to the last post)