Shopping for a new computer and some work to set it up kept me busy on Saturday, when I wasn’t working on the house.
A desktop, by eMachines with a Sempron 3300+ processor. The machine is generic and basic but inexpensive and good value. It has Windows XP Home SP2 preloaded, 160 Gig harddrive, double layer DVD burner, card reader and USB. The video memory is shared, but there is an open PCI express slot. The memory is 512 MB, shared, so it’s actually 384 but I can gain with a video card or add memory. I got a 19 inch NEC LCD monitor though. I am tired of working on 12 inch laptop screen.
I got ride of MacAfee Anti-virus and security. As far as I am concerned, it sucks on all systems. Besides, I think it’s only free for 90 days and then the update demands start. I am behind a hardware firewall. I loaded AVG Free as a virus checker. I will be looking at some other preloaded software but I probably don’t need MS Works and other preloaded software and preloaded commercial trials.
Downloading and installing Firefox and Thunderbird was quick. Migrating the settings was tricky. There are instructions in an article in MozillaZine and it all worked, but it was not one-click. There were many files to copy and move into new locations and some files to export to text files on the laptop, and then import into Thunderbird. Thunderbird and Firefox import mail and address book settings from Outlook and Outlook Express quite nicely, and it was interesting that migrating settings between computers required so much tuning. On the other hand, it was all copy and export – no real digging into settings or editing files.
I loaded OpenOffice and trying it out. It seems to open spreadsheets and Word documents easily. It doesn’t seem to recognize Table of Authorities marks and tables in some of my old legal writing, and I don’t know if it supports that kind of indexing. I am not expecting to use it for work anyway. I am a short walk from my office and don’t really need to work at home. If I work at home, I can work in text and paste into Word at work.
I loaded my text editor and FTP program, and I loaded the Canon camera picture manager. The picture manager has some basic edit functions, and Canon supplies a photo edit program that handles my needs.
So far, it’s great. I see whole browser windows without side scrolling. Firefox and Thunderbird start fast. Thunderbird doesn’t slow down while AVG checks the new mail. Firefox doesn’t choke when it hits large pages, Flash, streaming media and images. The Canon software recognizes the memory card as if it was a camera and downloads the pictures fast. It displays thumbnails and opens digital pictures fast. The colours are great and the picture is sharp. I’m back in the 21st century.