Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Looking back over the year--and a lifetime

All the talk the last couple days about the new year and exciting hopes and dreams for a great year has made me forget to reflect on the wonders and excitment of this last year.

So much has happened and I've grown so much, and learned so much, and met so many amazing new people here on-line that I can hardly even grasp it all. I've even outgrown a computer purchased only about 8 months ago. That's a first. I've outgrown a couple of computers in my life. It usually took several years however. The first computer I ever owned I had for an amazing TEN years before I felt the need, or desire to improve on it. It's funny really. Purchased back not too long after the time computers had just begun to evolve as family playtoys rather than lumbering corporate room hogs my first computer was pretty advanced for its day. Having stalled my hubby off in his insistant demands that a computer would make my writing life easier, and be more fun than my beloved Selectric I finally gave in.

He'd owned a couple of computers prior to my initial foray into the electronic superage. Kind of clunky, extremely limited in comparison to what we now know as the PC his did a lot of rudimentary 'cool' things and even played a few neat games, other than that his first one ran on the old DOS system, then his second had a windows edition that had to be opened up from DOS. After that he got (whispers reverently) a laptop--that really was amazing back then. It was one of the first of its kind--yeah Bob was the pioneer in electronic gadgets in our house. It too ran on a windows shell operated from DOS. A little while back he dug that old elephant out of a closet (pack rat that he is) and tried to power it up. He called me and asked me how my memory was. I asked him why? He wanted to know if I remembered the old DOS commands--as if.

At any rate, it was about the time of that gadget that I acquired reluctantly my first computer. A huge Gateway PC with -- oh I can barely remember now, but lets just say WAY less than a gigabyte of memory LOL but that space seemed HUGE and unfillable. I'd never need anything bigger than that--surely.

It too ran on a DOS based windows platform, what was it called back then 3.0 or something like that? I had that old reliable clunker for 10 years and it served me well right up until its dying day...however, it didn't come with a modem, and as the Internet became more popular, remembering still though that the Internet of that time was still kind of a playtoy where only the most intellectual whispered amongst themselves of a mystical language called HTML which could open up the blocks of servers like AOL communities and expand into the (insert star wars theme here) WORLD WIDE WEB.

Just the name world wide WEB was enough to envoke shivers of awe and fear. It sounded so complicated, and so did its required knowledge in order to get through to it. Still, the gurus of that time promised unlimited capabilities to those who could venture from the safety of the cocoons set up by the few servers at the time that offered basic things like chat room communities and extra games and such.

Back then, though, the Internet was a baby so the fact that my clunky old 3.0 no memory computer was just fine with me. Hubby's laptop did connect, and I really didn't find the Internet all that amazing after some initial fun playing in chat rooms subsided. Hubby had been right though, my big old PC made writing SO much easier and more enjoyable and I could watch the words appear on my MS Word program page like magic, backspacing over errors (wonders of all--no white out needed!), and compiling manuscript size files that could be printed out on my -- don't laugh now -- dot matrix printer with the click of a mouse.

Then it happened -- a trip to a friends house where she'd just gotten a new computer. I had to go see it, of course, and sit down and stare in wide-eyed amazement at the screen produced when she clicked on the connect button. What happened in those 8 years or so since I'd played on hubby's laptop (sounds kinky doesn't it?) The Internet was an amazing place now.

No need to know the mysterious language HTML, it now ran underneath the operating system where you didn't even have to see it if you didn't want to. You were just there. Floating in cyber-space--caught up in the web.

Oh, now, I had to have this. In 1998 I'd found a brand new obsession.

I ran out that day and bought a brand new Gateway PC. To be honest I don't remember how much memory that one had. It had WAY more than my first old clunker but it seemed too much because I hadn't even begun to fill up my old hard drive--there was no way I was going to fill this one up so that was all well and good. Little did I know that with the Internet came all kinds of new toys, obsessions, and knowledge of a world and things in it that would quickly fill up that hard-drive like no amount of manuscript pages ever could.

I had that computer for about 3 years when I had to bid farewell to it and purchase one with a bigger memory. Along with that came a 98SE op system that made 95 look like a toy and room for bigger and better programs. I learned a whole lot on that computer and cherished it for several years until finally early last year (boy that sounds funny since last year was only two days ago) I broke down and upgraded to a 40 gig Dell with windows XP.

I love my new computer, if you can call it new, but I can not believe how limited 40 gigs seems now. Even last spring that seemed like such a huge amount of space, but having come so far in my new obsessions with videos and having so much music available now I've found myself filling it up quicker than I could have ever imagined.

No problem though, just buy more toys. More add ons. Last year saw an additional external dvd burner drive added, a three-in-one printer, copier, scanner from HP added, a digital camera, a new microphone, and just recently a brand new external 160 GIG (yes say that with awe and think no way I'm ever going to fill that up--uh huh) harddrive.

Problem solved, right? I won't outgrow this computer too soon with all that extra stuff on it--well...

I've run out of USB ports.

I can't add a single new thing. (I'm running out of outlets too, but that's another story. I have more surge protector multiple outlet thingies under my desk than I ever thought possible. If I happen to look under there when I clean --luckily that's not often--it's kind of scary looking).

I just found a product on Amazon though... external USB ports. I can expand this computer with up to 7 external ports. My beautiful, sleek Dell is beginning to look like it's on life-support with all the wires coming out of it.

Maybe it's time for a new computer.

Happy New Year.

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