scribbles tagged ‘Sparkle’

welcome Sparkle!

Monday, November 5th, 2012 | tags: , , , , , ,  |

Sparkle on my tableSparkle a ‘Champaigne’ coloured Acer Aspire S3 Ultrabook running windows 7 home premium joins my list of personally owned computers, dating back to 2004. Hooray!

Here’s how it all started:

In 2004 my employer provided me with a really good laptop and didn’t mind me using it at home. No need for a 2nd computer.  Until a 17 year old Swedish exchange student moved into my life, my home. My official role was “Host Mother”.  I didn’t think I’d be chosen when I offered my skills to the local Scandinavian society:

I drink, I smoke, I work long hours, live alone with 2 cats and have absolutely no experience of being a parent or living with teenage kids except with my brother but that was over 20 years ago so it doesn’t really count. If she and her mother are OK with that then I guess we can work something out

Much to my surprise, and slight horror, they choose me – for a year. At work my Canadian manager  told me I was crazy.   Unconvincingly, I tried to reassure him:

She’s a half Finnish Swede, studying cookery, we’ll work something out

Dad:

You’re crazy, I left Scandinavia to get away from the bossy women and you’re inviting one home!

When a 17 year old moves into your home, is studying at Redmond High School (almost everyone’s parents work at Microsoft), you have to make sure they’re equipped with a computer.  I bought a HP Compaq and set-up a home wireless for her. She would be able to do schoolwork with privacy in her room, or join me on mine downstairs. There were times when we sat next to each other on the Sofa using MSN Messenger to talk to each other.  It was surreal and fun. When she left, she left the laptop.

Quickly I got used to personalising the machine and not carrying my work laptop home.  I started blogging and met other people who had their own laptops and blogged. I was hooked.  Sparkle makes me smile, helps me to sparkle.

Meanwhile, a few of you may remember my blogging from these laptops:

  1. Tinkerbell Silver HP Compaq Windows XP Home  - suicide in 2006 (Motherboard failure)
  2. Darling Maroon Sony Viao Windows XP Home  - retired in 2008 (XP irritatingness – traded-in for Sparkle)
  3. Neverland Golden Sony Viao TT Windows Vista Professional - suicide in 2010 (Hardware failure – power socket – much loved and missed)
  4. Cupboard Maroon Sony Viao Netbook – Windows 7 Starter - suicide in 2012 (Hardware failure – Screen-crack, touchpad left-click not working, some keys getting fussy and CRAP performance. I never liked the Cupboard much)

Can you guess how long I expect Sparkle to last and the likely main cause of her demise?


11 bits of fabulous banter »

a few tricky questions

Saturday, November 3rd, 2012 | tags: , , ,  |

Display model (not powered-up)Before parting with my hard earned cash in return for a plucky little champagne coloured Acer Aspire S3 with an Intel i5 processor there were a few tricky questions that the store staff were well placed to answer.  Here are the questions I asked and the sales assistant’s answers:

  1. Does the £150 trade in money back offer apply to all of the new PCs on display? (assistant: I don’t know I’ll just ask…)
  2. Are there any conditions on the trade-in of a laptop? (assistant: I don’t know I’ll just ask…)
  3. The free upgrade to Windows 8, do you do that in the store for me or do I have to take the new machine home and upgrade it myself? (assistant: I don’t know I’ll just ask…)
  4. How do I get to the control panel on this Windows 8 machine? (she showed me some Windows 8 features)
  5. Do you have one of these in stock? (assistant: I don’t know I’ll just ask…)

She was trying hard. She was very personable, probably new to the job. I smiled at her and waited patiently while she researched the answers to my questions. I hope I was reassuring because she must have felt a bit bad about not knowing the answers.

I walked out of the store with a box under my arm, £350 on my credit card bill, and a smile on my face.

 


2 bits of fabulous banter »

BONKERS price matching

Thursday, November 1st, 2012 | tags: , , , , ,  |

Sparkles boxFrom all the advice and a bit of playing with some Windows 8 laptops in store my plan was emerging. Fermenting ideas. The strongest ideas bubble to the top. The bubbliest plan is to buy:

  1. Windows 7 laptop – with hardware that meets with windows 8 requirements
  2. Intel i5 processor as minimum – I want fast
  3. Something pretty – not chunky but doesn’t need to be too small as long as it’s light enough not to pull my shoulder muscles
  4. Find a way to take an image of the Windows 7 drive then use the free upgrade to Windows 8 and take an image of that.  Try it out and go with my preferred image.
  5. Ask for the Google Nexus 7 tablet as a birthday or christmas pressie.

I LOVE my plan.

Gosh, I’ve gone and gotten all happy and I haven’t even spent a penny yet!

I know which of the in-store laptops were most appealing and an online search found that even the manufacturers refurbished version was £200  more than the instore model I’d seen, and that was BEFORE the £150 cash-back trade-in on my ‘old’ laptop.

All the online versions were not only more expensive, they were quoting a 3 week delivery period, what’s up with that?!  Walking out of a store with a laptop under my arm is the cheapest and quickest option!  Thomas and I roll up at PC world who are selling the Acer Aspire 3 for near £200 less than thier ‘Currys’ store.  Oddly, Currys had a price match promise – but why buy more expensive and have to claim the money back in a price match within the same company – BONKERS!


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blue screen of temporary illness

Tuesday, October 30th, 2012 | tags: , , , , , , , , ,  |

PC demo zone on Windows8 launch dayEver since the Cupboard’s face got smashed in I’ve been asking friends and colleagues for advice on what I should do – what sort of computer I should get and when.

My UK friends give diverse advice which naturally mirrors their own preferences. Though the IT professionals quickly get side-tracked onto talking about virtual machines - getting terribly excited at the thought. They seem to run substantial Apples with dual-boot from which they control lots of virutal machines. Not really for me.

I’ve also been popping into local shops that sell computers – Currys, PC world, Comet, John Lewis .   In these stores I get the pleasure of chatting to young handsome fellows who’re very excited about the prospect of being able to save up for an Apple iPad. Cute, but not actually too helpful for me – they aren’t good at ucovering my criteria and herding me towards one of their products. I’ve got wads of dosh in my pocket for something special, yet no-one’s selling to me. They’re selling to themselves. Most bizarre.

On the day that Windows 8 released I pootled along to Currys to play with a copy on their display machines. Everything started well:

  • No queue outside the store of people waiting to get their sticky hands on the new fancy OS. Such good fortune. I do dislike all the jostling and the lack of diversity when everyone plumps for the same thing. Even the store’s Demo stand was enticingly empty.  I felt good.
  • 5 assistants all ready to help me and the other customer in the PC section of the store. wonderful. I do like having someone on hand to spend time chatting with me – especially if I’m planning on spending more than £200.
  • A queue around the Apple stand.  Baffling.  Such ugly and expensive machines. Still not much choice – they’ve side-stepped having to make all the decisions that I’m about to take on…. which manufacturer, which processor type/size etc. More spacefor me to explore!

Store copy of windows 8 on release dayI wandered over to the windows 8 laptops that looked about the right size and design funkiness. Oh, a small blue one with ripples on the lid (Acer Aspire One).  My first experience of Windows 8 was a message that says:

 “Automatic Repair couldn’t repair your PC

Oh how I laughed!

A young assistant noticed my standing looking at the computer, giggling,  he swooped in and offered his help.

wendy: is this manufacturer installed windows 8 or a windows 7 machine that’s been upgraded in the store?

assistant: it came from the manufacturer with windows 8 on it

wendy: it’s not working, that’s not good on a demo machine is it?

assistant: it just means it didn’t shutdown properly, that’s all, I’ll just reboot it

 

I fell over

LAUGHING

(no broken bones)


7 bits of fabulous banter »