Monday, April 6, 2015

I've Had It!

I reached the breaking point a few days ago. I don't want this to come as a shock to anyone, so I'm going to lay it out there. I've had it with my computer. We're done. It will be retired soon.

I've had an extensive career in the computer industry working on the first IBM PC with a 10Mb hard drive while I was in the Air Force. that, I played around with a Commodore 128 even going so far as to digitize the opening credits of a home movie based on The Adventures of Reztap. Yes, the book has been around in various stages for a very long time. I'll count it a blessing that VHS is nearly extinct and the likelihood of me appearing as Chuck in a pink shirt on some You Tube channel is incredibly remote. The film exists but I'm fairly certain it has been lost to the sands of time. Ask me at ApolloCon or Sasquan why I appear as Chuck and not someone else. It's an interesting story.

I used a Xerox Star computer, what could arguably be called the forerunner to Windows. I was at the forefront of networking technology and the internet in the military when Novell 2 came out and actually became a network engineer using Novell 3.12. I've seen my share of PCs in that space from the Zenith Z-100 the way thru the different PCs that came out on a bevy of government contracts sporting Windows 3.11. In later years I watched PC technology on the Microsoft version grow and expend, at times being infuriating in it's complexity or bugginess, but also nodding my head at some good engineering or, at the very least, some savvy use of monopoly muscle to absorb and defeat competitors.

All the while I wished I could afford the other personal computer branch of technology that seemed more interesting and better engineered. It could not use monopolistic muscle because it didn't have it. This was, of course, the Apple computers of the day. I remember using Apple IICs in school when I was younger. I had a friend had an early Macintosh computer in the late 80s and it seemed it could do so any more wonderful things than the plain PC I owned. But, I was in the military, attending college and raising three daughter(with the invaluable aid of my lovely wife...okay, I really aided her.) There was no way I'd be able to afford the Cadillac of computers for the day.

Jump forward to my current PC. It's not current, but it used to be stable. A Windows 7 operating system on a modest PC. Nothing fancy, but powerful enough to do some graphic manipulation and, more importantly, easily able to allow me to write on. At least, it was until a few months ago. The computer is completely updated, has virus software installed and doesn't appear to be bogged down by and spyware. It is, however, making it nigh impossible to write on. Every few seconds or minutes, it varies, the application I'm working on will "lose focus". If I'm writing something, it will simply stop capturing my keystrokes and words and move focus to another application or just to nothing at all. Sometimes it comes back and continues to take my words, while missing a large (or small) chunk of what I've written. It drove me crazy editing book two, Reztap and the Quest for the Insane Moth. I had to correct my corrections,and then go back and correct those. I've tried writing book three, but I'm simply getting mad at the computer. Not healthy for combating writer's block caused by the problems in the first place.

As I need to a computer capable of doing professional level voice over work as well as allow me to simply write, I finally made the switch. My Apple iMac should be arriving this week. I'll be learning a new operating system somewhat. I have used Apples before but, other than my iPhone and iPad, I've never owned one besides an eMac a friend of mine gifted to me years ago. I used it to edit video back then and was suitably impressed. It isn't functional for what I need it for and was outdated years ago. Now, with at least a temporary ability to afford the somewhat high end computer, I've finally taken the leap.

Did I try to fix my Windows 7 PC? Absolutely. It just became a hassle to search for solutions, implement them and have them not work. In a business setting, I would simply reimage the computer - set it up from scratch and reinstall the necessary drivers and programs. I can envision doing that with my current computer and losing touch for days as I try to get it up and running again. That is too much time and way more trouble than I want to go through. I will probably still utilize it for a while as I transition over to the Mac, but other than this blog post (which has been interrupted multiple times by that infuriating focus loss), I will likely never write on it again. I know, Windows fans will ask why I didn't get a Windows 8 computer. The answer is simple. I didn't like it. I've done some consulting work on the side and I just didn't care for the metro interface. Doing the voice over work I want to do (audio books for Reztap on the immediate horizon) is simple on the Mac and always a bit more of a work-around on the PC. I get the gut impression the work will be substandard from the PC. It has been that way in the past. I'm simply jumping ship now while I've got the chance.

Don't get me wrong - I'm certain I'll still be doing consulting work (or more) with PCs in the future. This is the first time a Mac will be my primary personal computer, though. Wish me luck. Now I have to figure out how to get some ancient Windows programs to work on it to support my tele-RPG game with my friends in Illinois and Colorado.


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