Love it or loathe it:
Well let’s face it, the chances were I was never going to love it. Nobody else does so why would I? I had been lulled into a false sense of optimism, my chum Larry had demonstrated the new, improved, all-singing, all-dancing Apple wannabe. It seemed harmless enough. I should have paid more attention to the comment that it took him a week to get the damn thing set-up and he understands computers.
So then, faced with the prospect of more editing work and a couple of new writing projects on a small 10″ screen and 90% keyboard on my not-so-trusty net-book, I decided to indulge in a full-sized laptop. I knew I couldn’t afford a Mac so it was going to have to be the ‘dreaded Windows’. A pal offered to drive me to a not so local computer emporium. A pity it was Good Friday, the traffic on the M3 motorway offered the opportunity to sit and admire the cows in adjacent fields racing past the car. We left the M3 and discovered the highways and byways of Hampshire. Yes, I am back in Blighty at the moment, in case I didn’t mention it before.
In the hall of the Microsoft king:
The Toshiba something or other model was reduced by £70. Obviously a good deal then and only £10 more than I had planned on spending AND it came with Windows 8,1, which cures all the problems generated by Windows 8. Or not, more later. A glance across the aisle confirmed that there was no way I could afford a Mac so I purchased the thing. Now to make it do something useful. I purchased Windows home and student Office. A not-to-be-missed bargain of an additional £10 got me McAfee and some sort of cloud data storage. It turned out to be a bargain I should have missed. Having filled-out the form for the VAT refund and in the process discovering a rather hefty ‘processing fee’ that reduced the value of the refund, we departed the hallowed-hall and had a coffee, not to be confused with a McAfee.
Back at the ranch:
After lunch (thanks Bunny) I plugged in the new business tool and switched it on. The success of that simple process lulled me into a false sense of security and I set about installing the Office software. Firstly I declined to set-up a Microsoft account. That proved to be a mistake and one not easily rectified, despite being told I could easily do it at any time. After some two hours I had succeeded in finding the ‘off’ switch AND setting up a Microsoft account, there’s progress for you. I hadn’t succeeded in in installing Office, nor had I succeeded in installing the McAfee bargain. Except I had but the machine kept telling me I hadn’t. Did I mention I’d found the ‘off’ switch? Undaunted and well-impressed by all the new and exciting features of Windows 8.1, I installed Firefox as my default browser and failed to synchronise my bookmarks. At that point the IT team, Lauren and boyfriend Simon, returned from horse riding. We messed around with Firefox for a few minutes then failing in that turned to the more serious business of downloading Office, Windows 8(.1) helpfully repeatedly telling me ‘whoops, we’ve encountered a problem’. Indeed we had. Ironically, it was Lauren’s IPad (Apple NOT Microsoft) which guided us through the procedure necessary to download the Office suite. It would appear that others had been here before. Carefully following the on-line instructions we again failed in the download. Steve suggested disabling McAfee. Discovering how to do that took us until supper-time, bearing in mind this was now some five hours after I first switched the infernal machine on. Still, never mind, I knew how to switch the machine off. After various reboots I could unerringly locate the ‘off’ button and complete the three-stage new and improved shut-down procedure. Supper was good, thanks Bun.
Right you bastard:
Supper consumed,the machine sprang into life. There probably is a way to switch it on without having to enter a password. I did know how to do that on the previous machine but then it did have the old-fashioned, unimproved and obviously much less intuitive Windows 7 operating system. Ah progress, ‘wunnerful innit?’
I should mention that I had now installed Google Chrome as my default browser. It remembered my bookmarks. Whilst waiting for Office to allegedly download, we played around with some of the fun features of Windows 8.1. By now we had discovered that by simply typing ‘control panel’ in one screen but not another, you got to access said panel. Deep joy, only tempered by the message ‘whoops, we’ve encountered a problem’ message. I rebooted the machine. Getting quite good at that. Perhaps it’s all some sort of ‘hands-on’ training program? I’d like to get my hands round the collective throats of the committee of geniuses who designed it. I also discovered how to display multiple screens, a handy feature. Pity I’ve forgotten how to do it. Oh OK, I have no idea how I did it in the first place but I’m sure it’ll be really useful. Maybe.
A couple of hours later we might have finished downloading the Office suite. Or not, it was difficult to tell. In the meantime, I tried to install Skype only to be told it was already installed. After some tomfoolery, i.e. failing to sign-in by using my new Microsoft account as prompted by Windows 8.1, I successfully changed the Skype password and logged-in. There’s a new and improved Skype screen you know. If you were working on, oh let’s say an IPad or other touch screen device, you could effortlessly flick through the various screens to discover your contact list and how much Skype credit you have. As I don’t have a touch screen device flicking through the various screens is a rather tedious process. In a new and improved sort of way.
What’s it doing now?
Approaching midnight, the surviving member of the IT team (Simon) and I were uncertain as to whether or not the Office suite had been downloaded. Windows 8.1 appeared uncertain as well. More in hope than anticipation I tried to open Word. Hurrah! Er no, premature congratulation. It decided to become unresponsive and suggested I opened it in ‘safe’ mode. I did. It opened. I typed something. It went into full operating mode. Super job. I tried to open Excel. Aha, not yet finished installing and I think I had to re-input my Microsoft account password. Or it might have been the opening line from Psalm XIV, I forget now. Excel opened but Windows 8.1 helpfully told me to keep the Internet connection open as the installation was continuing in the background. Then it told me I wasn’t connected to the Internet. I checked. I was. Not according to Windows 8.1 I wasn’t. I browsed a couple of websites, checked my emails (lots of messages about changed passwords) transferred some files from my external hard drive, successfully opened them. I pinned and unpinned some programs (Windows 8.1 insists on calling them ‘Apps’) from the Start menu AND failed to make the desktop screen the default screen on start-up. Windows 8.1 persisted in telling me I wasn’t on-line. Then it told me the download was complete. Amazing, what a wonderful system. It can download ‘stuff’ whilst you’re not online. You couldn’t do that with Windows 7! Relieved and confused I switched off the machine and at 0130 went to bed. The whole process had taken from 1330 to 0130. This morning, on start-up, I discovered that my login password had been changed to my Microsoft account password.
Thank God I have Windows 8.1. It would have been a real nightmare installing Office using the original Windows 8.