Saturday, September 30, 2006

Technology upgrades and dreams of glory

When I was young I used to declare boldly, "I believe in the future of technology." At the time I was saying this I was more into Science Fiction than actual technology. I'm not sure I had ever seen a real computer although my father's company claimed they used one. Still it sounded cool at the time. Now that I am a good bit older and have spent many years in the working world of computers I still can say boldly, "I believe in the future of technology." I can also say, "I believe in our technological future." While the difference between those two statements is not as clear cut as I wish there is still a significant difference between what is obviously the computer version of the industrial revolution and what humanity decides to do with it.

Sometime during the night my keyboard died. It had been part of one of those nice cordless mouse keyboard combos by Logitech that were rather exciting a few years ago. Now they are old hat. I had lost the cordless mouse earlier this summer due to water leaking through my ceiling. That was an a/c horror of apartment living experience that is best told on days when you are totally bored. When that happened I pulled out the spare mouse, a corded optical one, that I'd gotten a while back just in case. That was a nice tiny upgrade. The optical part meant I no longer had to clean the mouse. I could just merrily run it over any flat surface and it would work. I didn't find the cord upsetting although my cat, Hyram, objected to his not being able to shove it to the far side of my desk when he decided to usurp its considerable surface by turning it into his lounging place. For those interested, Hyram is a male flamepoint ragdoll who weighs almost 20 pounds.

My keyboard died at just the wrong time. I had classroom assignments consisting of 2 journal/reflections on teaching and a lesson plan to write. First it was limping badly. The keys, when struck, would do nothing, or something, or way too much of something. I stumbled through the journals cutting them in size by half and went to class feeling unprepared. When I got back I decided to take the keyboard apart and try cleaning it. It didn't appreciate my efforts and bit the dust entirely. Realizing it was time to buy a new keyboard and I thought I'd go online to find a good price inconveniently forgetting that I needed the keyboard to type web addresses into the browser. Out came the seldom used on screen keyboard which let me type in a hunt and peck fashion using my mouse. I located the nearest BestBuy and headed off to shop.

What I found at the store was that there were two major manufacturers who put out most of the mouse keyboard combos and these were quickly going the way of the cell phone. I haven't got a Bluetooth yet and didn't think I wanted one on my keyboard. So I gladly and frugally avoided the $179+ offerings which included more extra buttons than I would have been able to keep track of. Even avoiding most of the fluff I still had to upgrade. I didn't like the feel of the Microsoft mouse scroll wheel which was smooth. Logitech's clicks. I didn't need a gaming keyboard because I don't do first person shooters. I wasn't adding this to a laptop so I didn't need extra security. Eventually I settled on a Logitech LX710 Desktop. I'd like to say that it was the cool design of the mouse and keyboard which sold me on them but what really clenched the deal was the length of time the batteries would last and the 5 year guarantee. Yeah, I know...practical and boring. Still it is really frustrating to replace a mouse because a button dies and I've done that way too many times. So boring and guaranteed is preferable to flashy gizmos that stop working with frequent use.

Now I'm home and the new hardware is installed. All is safe again and I am working at my usual speed. But the trip to BestBuy gave me food for dreams. I saw a really nice Gateway that had an AMD chip and almost 3 gigs of memory. It looked so cool and was only $1100 on sale. And then there was the Sony Vaio to match or beat Susan's baby. I can't afford it now but maybe in a year... Oh well, I have tons of time to dream. I do like technology and when I get my first teaching job I am going to reward myself by getting that longed for laptop with a really good screen, lightning speed and I might even get the fingerprint security to protect it. I even know somebody who will help me set up the wireless network in my house. Wifi here I come.

No comments: