Friday, August 05, 2016

A New Computer and Associated Grievances

I bought a new computer in late June, after knocking a glass of juice into my old laptop.

The thing went schizo for a day or two -- anything I tried gave nothing but repetitive beeping and a flashing screen and similar craziness. So the next day I went out to buy a new one. I can't live without a computer. I was thinking of getting a new laptop anyway, since the one I had was a little over three years old, with the associated crud.

I bought an HP Envy. It looked good and was a price I was considering. 2.7 GHz, 8 Gb RAM, 1 Tb storage. Great graphics, not that I use that much. I didn't need anything big, I just needed something I could rely on.

Unfortunately that wasn't what I got. It came with Windows 10, and I bought a discounted version of Office 365, which includes Word 2013 and Excel 2013. Both are junk. I have a lot of spreadsheets, keeping track of things like ice extents and surface temperatures, and there are several that Excel 2013 simply cannot open -- it crashes. Sometimes it crashes just after opening a file, sometimes you have to drag down a row and try to update a number. Crash. Unrecoverable. No information about why or what's wrong.

Same for Word 2013 for some documents, especially when I try to insert new information, like an image.

I have been using Excel for, I don't know, about two decades. I have spreadsheets that were first constructed in Excel 1998 (I think), then were moved to Excel 2003, and then Excel 2010, all with no problems.

But now Excel 2013 doesn't like them, and I suspect some of that information will ultimately be lost. Some of this information is 25 years old -- I've been weighing myself everyday since mid-1991, with troublesome results to be sure, and tallying my expenses since I became a freelancer, and entering it in a spreadsheet (or a notebook before SSs that I later transferred to digital).

From what I can see, Excel 2013 and Word 2013 are no better than beta versions. It is a crime that Microsoft is trying to pass these off as usable software. At the end of my 12-month subscription I will look to Google Docs or Open Office or something. Maybe I'll go back to spiral notebooks.

This hasn't been the only problem. Half the time anymore, it seems, I don't know what my computer is doing -- I only want to get it to somehow maybe work. There are so many Web sites that call so many other Web sites that it's impossible to keep track of, cookies and security checks and virus complaints, and the updating of it all is a big chore that I'm still not sure is finished, almost a month and a half later.

Shockwave sucks and frequently crashes after 30-40 tabs. My old laptop could often have up to 100 tabs open with no problem. Chrome extensions stop working. For a week or two Chrome would barely work at all.

I've never encountered problems like this before whenever I moved to a new computer -- and I bought my first PC in 1991. Then new ones in, IIRC, 1996, 2000, 2003 or 2004, 2008, 2011 I think, 2013 and now 2016.

Also, I had been using Mozy as a free regular backup, with, I think, 2 Gb of free storage. So I could least count on this for crucial files, mostly spreadsheets.

But after getting a new computer and logging onto Mozy from it, Mozy had deleted all my files from my old computer because, as far as I can tell, I logged in with a new computer. Nothing was recoverable. Piece of shit.

Luckily for me, when I went back to my old, juice-infused laptop after a couple of days to try to recover at least some files, it seemed/seems to work just fine. Explain that. So I got what I needed, even though some now seem incompatible with Excel 2013. They open OK, then either barf immediately or barf after new entry of a single piece of data.

Even some Word files won't let me add to them, like a new image. And these aren't the only problems, just the ones I'm especially pissed off about tonight. Help pages are out-of-date and no longer applicable. In fact, about half the apps I try to use on the Internet have out-of-date information and only work if you're lucky. It's all gotten so mediocre.

In short, this has been the worst experience I've ever had updating to a new computer. And you'd think it'd by now be getting easier, right? I expect most of the shit is with Microsoft software, the OS and Office 365. I've never moved to Macs because of the price, but next time I update I will think hard about again trying to use MS.

And I'm kinda just getting tired of it all. I've been using computers since I was a Jr in high school (and a year earlier if you include my beloved Texas Instruments 58 handheld calculator, which only held about 65 lines of code, but frankly was where I really learned, as a kid in my bedroom and sitting in the car when I took my mom to the grocery store, most of what I know about programming a computer), and email since 1983. I first used the Internet in 1987 (IRC), and discovered the Web in 1994. Cool, yeah. But I'm getting a little tired of it, because often it now seems only like a chore.

Computers -- well, at least PCs -- still require too much maintenance under the hood. They're still too much like cars in the '20s or '30s. When I first started driving in high school I had a VW bug, and it was always getting a flat tire or the headlights were out of alignment or something. It was the only car I ever had an accident in, and that wasn't even my fault; some old lady pulled right out in front of me and my brother when I was coming down a hill back from golfing. I don't carry tools in my trunk anymore -- I just call AAA for the very very occasional problem, and whip out my credit card. Acceptable for better or worse. So when are computers going to ever be turn-the-key and drive? There isn't a lot I want to do -- email, Word docs, Excel SSs, a little 25-line Python programming every great once in awhile. Is that really too much to ask?


Unknown said...

Sounds like you have malware. Try running windows defender. If that fails download the free version of malware bytes and run it.

If you google repair Windows 10 you can get more info on repairing.

Could be due to other causes like a defective hard drive or memory. Look up how to run scandisk.

Newer versions of Windows and office are stable products. What you describe should not be happening.

I worked in a computer help desk for 17 years. Before that I was a researcher for 25 years.

Dano said...

Same thing with me, we did the switcheroo and wife bought new and I'm using her (fairly new HP). I still go back to the old Dell, the new Windows and Word/Excel suuuuuuuck. Ugh.