“Plot is a literary convention. Story is a force of nature.”
Teresa Nielsen Hayden

author: Nicole J. LeBoeuf

actually writing blog

when your laptop starts singing Daisy it's time to move house
Wed 2016-04-27 00:41:45 (in context)

Hi! So, I have all sorts of reasons for the recent radio silence. They are all totes valid, too. Probably the most immediate reason is having begun last week the laborious process of replacing my 5-or-more-years-old laptop.

It wasn't the purchase that took forever. That was simple. That was, pretty much, me walking into Best Buy, finding the very small selection of laptops that weren't touchscreens or any of that expensive nonsense, and locating the display model that was all but labeled HEY I HEAR YOUR ASUS IS DYING HAVE A NEW ASUS JUST LIKE IT ONLY NEWER AND FOR A LOT LESS MONEYS.

Details for them what wants 'em: It's an X540, the one with an Intel Core i3, 4Gb RAM, and 1Tb storage. $329 before tax when I bought it on April 13th; $299 today. (Drat.) Battery is emphatically not customer-serviceable, but I'm no stranger to opening up laptops. The keyboard layout is exactly the same as the old, which is handy, except that they put the power button where the END button ought to be, and the END button on the 1 key on the number pad. This resulted in hilarious unexpected shutdowns until I finally went into the Power Options, found "Choose what happens when I press the power button," and chose "Do Nothing."

No, the thing that's taking forever is moving all my stuff and things over. It's like moving house. All my habitual programs, all my customized settings, all my files. Digging up my EditPlus registration key, which was on a decade-old ZIP disk buried in the closet. Locating and installing fonts I'd thought were standard installation features but in fact were not. Stripping the DRM off those ebooks that still need it so I can access them on the new machine. Learning that my Firefox and Thunderbird profiles will take all night to copy over.

All these file-moving operations were made even more tedious by the old ASUS's efforts to reassure me that, yes, I was right to finally replace it. Several times a day it will restart for no apparent reason, or its wifi adapter will have another existential crisis, and I'll have to start a multi-hour file transfer over again. At least the wifi failures are no longer a factor now that I've cabled the old ASUS directly into the router. As for the random restarts, I'm beginning to think that the horrendous noises I thought were a dying fan are in fact a dying hard drive.

And then there's Windows 10. Windows 10 is like Windows, Childproofed and Shiny. Like, who would ever want to edit the parameters of their wifi profiles, right? Who'd want to manually assign them a priority order when Windows will figure it out for you? Connecting you to some ambient unencrypted hotspot instead of to your own home network is just how Windows shows it cares! I'm Cortana! Ask me anything! Why don't you want to ask me anything? And why would you possibly want to prevent Quick Access from accumulating recently accessed locations to itself? I mean, yes, that means that your "Writing" folder shows up twice, because you pinned it there and you accessed it recently, but Windows knows your writing is just that important to you! And why, for goodness sake, would you ever want to create a shortcut in your start menu? Why would you want to manually edit your start menu at all? Wait, what are you doing with that Classic Shell install file? I can't let you do that, Dave...

Well, most of the kinks have been ironed out, most of the files have arrived at their new home safely, and almost all the programs I use in the course of the day have been installed. I'm living and working on the new machine now, and only occasionally going back to the old ASUS (or, in the case of one DRM-locked ebook, the old Dell) for tidbits and scraps.

And the new machine is light and fast and quiet and very nice. It's amazing how much less reluctant I am to boot up the computer and get to work when the computer isn't whining, clicking, wheezing, randomly falling off the network, or randomly choking up over mundane tasks.

So that's where I'm at. One of the places I'm at, anyway. More tomorrow...