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21 February 2011

Posted by DMC on 21 February 2011 in Diary |

A truly exasperating day. This new laptop is really playing up. Not only is my voice activation, Dragon, only working intermittently, and then very slowly and inaccurately, but in addition Outlook, my e-mail provider has also gone berserk. The entire contents of my inbox have disappeared and I have been through every possible means of recovering them, without success. Add to that my Sticky Keys also failing to follow the normal commands so that for some time I was unable to paste in my current blog entry, and the reader will understand the reason for my exasperation.

When I started off with computers around 25 years ago, with a state of the art Amstrad. I think it had something like a 1 gig (?) Hard disk and a quarter of a gig of Ram ( Random Access Memory). My faithful secretary Doreen was convinced that it had a mind of its own, whenever she managed to lose a document. I unkindly, but I hope gently, tried to persuade her that it was just not possible and the computer only reacted to whatever command you gave it, which is what I truly believed that time. Now I am not so sure I was right. Doreen I think I owe you an apology. This present laptop with its 320 gig hard disk, it’s fancy dual core processor and 4 gig of Ram, certainly does seem to have a mind of its own. Thank heavens Abilitynet also recognise that it is not just me being stupid and they have applied to the MND Association to replace it with a different model. If approved, this will take a couple of weeks or so, so in the meantime I will just have to do put up with  the aggravation.

Having said that I cannot resist recounting an early experience with this Amstrad, which I hope will be an object lesson to all relatively new computer users and convince them not to allow the computer to dominate them but to realise that, ultimately, they are the Master.

What happened was this. I got so frustrated with this early machine that I thought that the only way to improve its performance was to increase the Ram to half a gig. I purchased the other quarter of a gig for the princely sum of £32, which was quite a lot of money in those days and for which today you could probably get  a 250 gig hard drive. I was then told by the local computer wizard it was going to cost me another £50 or so for him to ‘ install’ this new Ram. I was so incensed at this that I decided I would have a go at doing it myself. I had absolutely no idea what to do but having removed the computer casing from the tower I was confronted with a hideous mass of bits and pieces. A hurried phone to a mate in the know told me where to find the ram alongside of which there was a spare slot into which I was to insert my additional Ram. Unfortunately, I did not realise that the little plastic bits sticking out from this new component were essential for fixing it in an upright position. I snapped them off before inserting it only to find, to my consternation, that it kept flopping over. Another hurried phone call to my computer wizard who informed me that I had probably messed up the motherboard and that I would have to spend around £130 for a new one. Refusing to be beaten I overcame the problem by taking four plastic golf tees and shaving their stems into a thin blade, and jamming one at each end on both sides of this new component and to my delight found that the computer worked perfectly and continued to do so until I replaced it, a year or so later, with something more modern, and I donated it to the local primary school.

I think there is a moral somewhere in this tale. Something on the lines of Don’t let the bxxxxxxx grind you down!

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