29 March 2011

Rainy day activities

We are having a rainy week and we need the rain so no complaining. It's amazing how fast the ground here can dry out. We had so much rain all winter, but no matter. It's archi-sec outdoors now — or was until Sunday.

So what do you do on a rainy Monday? Especially on a Monday when there's not cooking to do because lunch is leftovers? Well, a major computer upgrade, that's what. Yesterday Walt installed Windows 7 on his seven-year-old computer.

One thing I brought back from the states was a pair of 1 GB memory chips — DDR PC-3200 memory modules — for Walt's Dell 4600i, which he bought in 2004. That brought him up to 3 GB of RAM in preparation for the Win7 install.

When a computer is that old — in dog years, one year equals seven, and it's about the same for PCs — you have to expect problems. Surprisingly, there weren't that many. The main one that cropped up has to do with the on-board Intel video adapter in the old Dell. That adapter does not support something called DirectX, so you can't customize screen colors as easily as with a DirectX-compatible adapter. Maybe a new graphics adapter is in order — and on order.

I'm expecting the pond to start overflowing again.

There were some problems with importing bookmarks into Firefox, but those mostly got resolved. The old bookmarks were saved by the installation program, I think. But finding them is not that easy. I'm not sure about the status of all that. By the way, all the old applications have to be re-installed too. And we've got a new version of Microsoft Office to deal with too — Walt uses Office, but I don't.

Last week's feu de jardin

There's a new version of Photoshop Elements to learn and explore. I brought that back from the U.S. too. The version we had before was in French, so not only do the menus in the new version have commands in different places and orders, but now they are named in English rather than French. How do you say accentuation, renforcement, or calque in English? We'll have to figure it out.

All in all, there were no major hiccups in the installation process. The Win7 installer was slow and the installation was long, but it went smoothly, saving the old Windows XP files so that W. could go back and find the documents and photos he didn't want to lose. He had backed up all his photos to a separate hard disk, so that they were safe and sound.

A new rain front is moving in today, so more computer configuring and cursing are going to be the main activities around here. Meanwhile, our spring crops — collard greens, mustard greens, salad greens of different kinds, radishes, and leeks — are getting a good soaking. It's just what they need.


  1. You might want to think about using a bookmark sync add-in for Firefox, so if you have multiple computers, you have access to your bookmarks, history etc on all of them.

    I use Chrome browser more as FF got too slow over the years and that handles that background sync by default. It's great that I don't have to think which computer I was sitting at when I visited a site.

    We're having a week of rain further south too - I'm very pleased about this as I'd reseeded and extended the lawn and this has come just at the right time.

  2. Computers seem to age pretty quickly. I wish I could put a new program or two into myself to keep me running better and to upgrade my memory;)

    It's cool that you are enjoying crops from your garden. I didn't plant any here and wish I had.

  3. I'd rather have toothpicks jammed under my fingernails (or go to a Palin rally...sorry, Desiree, but I couldn't help myself)than upgrade my software! Continued good luck to you!

  4. For those who have a lot of other free software that needs to be updated from time to time e.g. browsers, Skype, media players, ... may I heartily recommend ninite.com

    It allows you to select a large selection of common software packages and it will create a customer installer for you. When you run it, it will check whether you have the latest version of each piece of software, and if not, download it (in correct language and 32/64bit version) and install it all without you having to deal with a lot of licensing dialogs etc. Brilliant!

  5. I tried that bookmark sync and I don't recommend it. I have W7 on my desktop and laptop, but there are differences between them. I'm not sure why, but I bought the upgrade for the desktop and the laptop came with W7 installed.

    Mike, thanks for the ninite.com recommendation.

  6. Mike and Starman, thanks. I guess I should go back to Chrome for a while and see if I like it better.

    Evelyn, the crops are just starting to sprout, but we are looking forward to the harvest already. With this rain and the mild temperature, everything is growing nicely. Yes for that memory upgrade...

    Chris, interfaces change. We must be resigned to it. One programmer's improvement is another user's learning curve.

  7. I've just bought a new Dell to replace our 7 year old one (snap!). The transfer of data seemed to go OK but having an Outlook 2010 issue at the moment as it's trying to download 10000 old emails from the server. Yikes!
    I also use Chrome BTW and love it.


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