New Computer

By Jenny Lind Olin, Treasurer, Tampa PC Users Group

I didn't have enough memory -- Computer RAM Memory. Somewhere in the back of my mind I remembered that "You can't be too thin, too rich, too pretty, or have too much memory [RAM]." I had tried twice to upgrade the old computer with more memory, and both times the old computer didn't recognize the new chips. Never mind that when I ordered the computer, I asked for a computer that was upgradeable. Is that word, "upgradeable" an oxymoron?

What would buying a new computer mean? I could get the latest version of Windows Millennium (ME), thus no need to clean up the previous version. Two Pluses. I could get a cable Internet connection (Local Road Runner), so no more AOL taking over my machine. Two more Pluses. I could upgrade my word processor, spreadsheet, (Office 2000) which would have Microsoft Access so I could catch up in the Access SIG. Another Plus. I would have the latest version of Internet Explorer and could learn how to use Outlook Express. Is that a Plus or a Minus?

The downside was the cost, just about the same as the three-year-old computer cost. But it is just money.

I got interested in my old jazz records and wanted to play them and save the recordings on CDs. (I am way in over my head here.) I had also seen my brother using Napster to play around with his musical downloads and that looked really neat. With a new computer, I would download Napster, and when around him I would just pretend I had been using Napster all my life and what was the big deal. But I would need some spiffy speakers and the best sound cards (Sound Blaster Live) I could afford. No problem, it was just money.

I would need a CD reader and burner. Then I would need CD blanks and covers. And maybe labels. This is what brought up the question about the life-span of a CD (see our Tampa PC User Group's Online Discussion Group).

I now own an AMD 700 Duron Processor, 30 Gigabyte hard drive, 128 MB SDRAM. With this system I got Corel's WordPerfect Suite 8 which includes their QuattroPro spreadsheet program. This will work, and I can convert all my Word documents and Excel spreadsheets to this new format. I can save my worksheets to Excel format when I want to send them to others as an attachment on my E-mail. Still no database program, but there is time for that later.

I loaded my genealogy program, Family Tree Maker 6.0, without a problem, but I wasn't expecting one. The real problem was getting the large genealogy databases from the old computer to the new one. Most of my data files I could copy on floppies and then copy from floppies to the new computer, but my genealogy databases were too large to do that easily. So the Windows SIG at the last Tampa PC Users Group came into play.

I took both my old computer and my new computer and monitor to the meeting. Bob LaFave was arriving about the same time I got there, so he helped transport the components upstairs to the lab.

Before anybody else arrived Bob had both computers opened up and had removed the hard drive from the old computer (see photo in the Digital Photography article in this newsletter). Bob connected that drive to the new computer as a slave drive. He showed us how he looked at the diagram on the side of the hard drive and then changed the setting to match. After his demonstration of how to do the setup, it was time to transfer the data. The old drive was then considered the D-drive. He made a folder in the new computer called "Old Drive" and then we copied all the files from the D-drive (the slave) to the C-drive in the new computer. My antiviral program was working and did find a downloaded file from some e-mail that had a virus. PC-cillin 98 paid for itself that night. This process took awhile, so we went on with the regular program while files literally flew from one computer to the other.

With that process done, it was time to learn what I had to know to use Outlook Express for my email. I was not so lucky as to be able to transfer my email addresses and my favorite places from AOL to Outlook Express and Internet Explorer. I can't read them unless I am using the AOL program. I had to do them a few at a time. Still doing that to tell the truth.

To finish a message later, I have learned I can copy the message to the draft folder or I can save the file and the default is the draft folder. I can move a message to the draft folder by right clicking on the file listed and then select "move to folder."

I usually send a joke to several people on my list. I like to send them as blind carbon copies (bcc) so that the recipient doesn't have to go through line after line of addresses in the header before they get to the message. I know how I feel after scrolling down line after line after line only to find a joke that I have read so many times that I have memorized it. The other day I sent the joke off in a rush and forgot to put an address in the TO: box. AOL would not send a message without a TO: recepient. But since I had used bcc, the message went out as "Undisclosed Recepient." Neat. My name was in the FROM: box, so it wasn't as though the message seemed to come out of nowhere. AOL will not let you send a message without an address in the TO: box.

I have noticed that if somebody sends me a forwarded message it comes as a blank message, and there is an attachment. That makes it very easy to just delete (no guilt involved) the message as I have no idea what and from whom I am receiving (probably) junk. I also received a GEDCOM for my genealogy program and it came as an attachment, and the text was also in the body of the message. Every message is now a surprise as far as format is concerned.

As soon as I forget how to use AOL and I learn how to use Outlook Express, I will be looking for some other problem to cope with. u