Saturday, May 23, 2009

Technology Catchup

I noticed recently that my last Technology post was seven months ago. That post, entitled Took the Plunge, represented the final episode in the get-my-husband-a-new-computer saga that began in December 2007 and ended in July 2008 with the purchase of a MacBook (laptop). Well, one thing led to another, and now we have an iMac (desktop) as well - for me! We have also changed internet service providers and all the associated equipment. Nothing short of a technological revolution underway, so here's a chronology of all the changes.

September 2008 - Purchased my new iMac (20 inch screen, 2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor, 2 GB RAM, and 250 GB hard drive). Driven by the desire to change internet service providers, I thought I needed to replace the 10-year-old desktop that hosted the DSL modem and wireless access point associated with my Verizon service. As it turned out, I'm not so sure I really needed a desktop computer for that purpose, but that's what I got and it's gorgeous.

October 2008 - Dumped Verizon DSL in favor of Time Warner's Roadrunner high-speed cable internet service. Created a secure wireless network using the Time Capsule (Wi-Fi base station and 500 gigabyte hard drive) purchased in July with the MacBook. Here's a close-up of the Time Capsule, adorned with a turtle from my collection.

December 2008 - Began doing MacBook backups using Time Machine, the new Leopard (Operating System 10.5) backup function that automatically backs up all new or modified files and has no perceptible impact on performance. I love it!

January 2009 - Started One to One classes, learning about all things Mac. For $99 you can go once a week for a whole year to an Apple Store for individual instruction on some aspect of Mac computing. It's way more fun than reading manuals and help files all by myself at home! Inspired and informed by the One-to-One classes, I've moved my digital life to the Mac. I am now using the Mac Mail program for email. I have loaded all my music into iTunes. I have my iCal (calendar) up to date and sync both music and calendar with my iPod. I use MobileMe for mobile calendar access as well as copying files back and forth to my work computer. I have started working on organizing my pictures in iPhoto. I have learned a little about Garage Band and have plans for cleaning up and organizing the mountain of music files one accumulates learning traditional Irish music. Yesterday I explored iWeb, the Mac's graphical interface for website publishing.

February 2009 - Trouble in paradise: the MacBook refused to go onto the internet and backups stopped working. Apparently the network card died, so Apple replaced it and restored the operating system software. It ran like a top when we got it back 8 days later. No charge, of course, since it's still under warranty. However, the hard drive had been renamed during the software reload and so the nifty automatic backups were all "confused" and didn't work.

April 2009 - More trouble: my son's 4-year-old PowerBook would not boot up. A technician in the Apple Store ran a utility which repaired some permissions and like magic, it came back to life. This scare was my wake-up call on the subject of backups. After a One-to-One session on Time Capsule and backups, I was able to resolve the issues with automatic backups on the MacBook. While I was at it, started backing up the iMac as well.

May 2009 - Connected the Powerbook to the Time Capsule and attempted a drop-and-drag backup. I managed to move all the documents and about half of the music files before the copy function started getting hung up. After a bit of troubleshooting, I concluded that the problems stemmed from the fact that the Time Capsule is built to work with Mac OS 10.5 (Leopard) and the PowerBook runs on OS 10.4 (Tiger). A few days later I bought a Western Digital 1 TB MyBook, an external hard drive, for backing up the PowerBook. This drive is compatible with both Mac OS 10.4 and 10.5 so it will work now and later when my son gets the new computer he's been lobbying for. I hope to do the Powerbook backup this weekend.

Reflecting on my computer escapades recorded here, the words of Gilda Radner's Roseanne Roseannadanna character spring to mind: "it's always something..." Listen for that phrase in the clip below, which has absolutely nothing to do with computers!

© 2009, Linda Mason Hood 
Truffles, Turtles & Tunes Copyright Statement

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