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Be Careful What You Wish For
Sunday 17th February 2013The thing I hate most about the modern world is the obsolescence built in to almost everything you buy.
It first hit me a few years back when I called the dishwasher repair man. He peered into the machine dubiously before asking me how old it was. When I told him he took his head out of my machine and straightened up, shaking his head mournfully. 'Three years,' he echoed. 'Well - it's bound to be on its last legs.'
Anyway, it was my firm belief that things you have paid hundreds of pounds for should last at least ten years (if not a lifetime) that made me put off and delay buying myself a laptop.
I very much wanted one because I wanted to spend more time working on our website but I couldn't quite resign myself to the fact that neither my desktop (approx. 5 years old) nor my netbook (maybe 4) was up to the task.
But eventually, in November last year I bit the bullet and bought a Compaq CQ58. 'It comes with Windows 8' the salesman in PC World told me and I was thrilled.
I thought, you see, that I'd be stealing a march on Robin who is always ahead of me in the technology stakes, but this time I'd got there first. Ha!
I assumed Windows 8 would be a speedier, definitely superior but generally similar version of whichever Windows it was I was working on before.
How wrong can you be?
Windows 8 bears absolutely no relation to what went before. I couldn't work out how to open things up, or close them down. The screen flicked and whizzed and spun about seemingly at random and if I ever left a page I could never find my way back to it.
Well, November quickly turned into December which was so busy that I didn't really have time to sit down at a computer anyway. Then we had two weeks off in January. And then we came back and I sat down to do battle with this infernal machine.
But I couldn't work it out. Nor could Robin. Even our token young-ish person Adrian was no help.
So I went back to PC World where they all looked very shifty and nervous and admitted that yes other people had found Windows 8 difficult, and no they didn't really have much experience of it themselves so, no, they couldn't help.
The problem, one of them explained, is that Microsoft really designed Windows 8 for use on a tablet. On a laptop it just doesn't work so well.
Well ,by chance I found a technical wizard in the nearby Vodaphone shop who - as techno wizards always do - solved all my problems with a flick of the wrist. His name is Dean and he could not have been more charming nor more helpful, but if I blinked I missed what he did, and even if I didn't blink I certainly couldn't repeat what he'd done once I got home. Even when he wrote out a list of instructions and I followed them, the thing I was trying to do just didn't seem to happen. And anyway, packing up my laptop and driving half an hour and finding a parking space and queuing to see Dean every time I want to load a new photo onto our website just isn't practical.
And then by wonderful, glorious chance I met another wizard who has offered to remove Windows 8 from my machine and replace it with a Windows I can actually work.....
Oh frabjous, frabjous day!
Sometime soon, if you see a new photo on the website you will know it took me five minutes rather than five hours to get it there. I HOPE.
In the meantime may I leave you with a word of advice. If anyone ever suggests you try Windows 8 run away screaming Nooooooooo.
PS Having posted this blog I clicked on Google because I wanted to access our Facebook page. The machine screamed at me in large typeface:
VIOLATION YOU HAVE NO RIGHT TO ACCESS THIS PAGE WITH THE CREDENTIALS YOU HAVE PROVIDED and there was some code number to make it look doubly important.
But then - highly unusually - it let me do exactly what I wanted. I rest my case.