Thursday, December 19, 2013

Plugging in the Laptop

Back in September, when I accepted a job teaching 2 online classes, my spouse and I agreed that I would need a laptop of my own.  When I was in Office Depot buying a new mouse, I saw they were having a great back-to-school sale that was ending that very day.

I spent some time testing out the keyboards and looking at specs.  In the end, I bought one that had the biggest hard drive:  more storage space!

I brought it home where it sat in the box for 40 days.  I only took it out of the box when I needed to send part of the box in to get the refund.  And so it sat on the guest room bed for weeks and weeks.

I took it with me on our Thanksgiving travels, but I never plugged it in.  My friends began asking me, "Have you plugged in your laptop yet?"

What finally prompted me to do it?  I knew that my brother-in-law was coming, and that I wouldn't be able to be sure of access to the desk top that's in the guest room.  I knew that my final papers would be coming in and that online grades would be due the first week he'd be here.

One Sunday night a few weeks ago, I decided to be brave, and I plugged it in.  I spent some time teaching the laptop to find the Internet.  It took more attempts than I thought it should, but I was patient.

So, as an Internet surfing device, it was great--worst case scenario, I could get the work done for my online classes.  But I still need to be able to write on it.

Thus began the inner debate:  buy the newest edition of Microsoft Office?  Put a copy of 2007 on the laptop?  As an educator, I can get cheap access to Office, at $10 a year.  But it seems to be only applicable to one computer.  I now live in a house with multiple computers.

So, I decided to load Office 2007 onto the laptop.  It took me some time to figure out where the machine had stored it.  I still really don't know.  But now I have shortcuts on the desktop to get me to the programs that I need.

Now my next goal:  before the holidays are over, to get the important stuff from the desk top to the laptop.  What do I mean by important stuff?  All my manuscripts, all my folders . . . although this would be a good time to look at those folders and determine how many of them need to migrate.  I'd like to move the photos too--similarly, this would be a good time to make sure I haven't duplicated any of them--if I was really smart, it would be a good time to reorganize them.   Right now, they're mostly chronological.  I'd love to also have a section where pictures are organized by topic.  But what topics?  Sigh. 

Frankly, this workload is why I took so long to plug in the laptop.  I knew it wouldn't be a magical, plug in and ready to do everything I need it to do kind of experience.  And we were busy with renovating the cottage.  And I figured out how to do the online class stuff I needed to do with  all the other computers available to me, which meant I wasn't desperate.

And I was scared:  scared I wouldn't be able to figure it out, scared that I wouldn't be able to make it do what I wanted it to do--and more than that, scared that I'd find out I had bought the wrong machine.

Now I'm loving my new laptop, and I'm trying to forgive myself for taking so long to plug it in.  I could have had this zipping Internet experience earlier.  I could have been that much further along on writing projects. 

But the side benefit in waiting is that I was the one who set it up, instead of what usually happens:  I'm busy, and I ask my spouse to do it.  Since I've done it and figured it out, maybe I won't be as afraid when I get my next new piece of technology.  A smart phone, perhaps?

I'm thinking of my younger self, who would be amazed that I had so much computing power in my life that I'd put off using a laptop for a season.  My younger self would be shocked at how cheap a laptop is these days--heck, I'm still shocked.  My younger self, who tends to be judgmental, would castigate me for not getting more done, with these wonderful tools that I have at my disposal.

Like I said, I'm trying to forgive myself.  I can't undo the past.  I can only move forward into the future.  Look out, 2014, here I come!

1 comment:

Wendy said...

I've had a new (bigger) hard drive for my desktop sitting on my desk for at least 6 months. That question of what to move and how is what keeps it sitting on the desk leaving my almost full desktop almost unusable. Good luck!