Saturday took a different path to the one we’d expected. Instead of another day in Canberra and a visit to the swap meet we decided to have a look at lap tops and tablets at the local computer shop.
We’ve been connected to the National Broadband Network for about a week now, and will be paying for the internet access it provides whether we use it or not. Until recently we’d never had the internet at home, and we wanted to see some of the options available. Our home computer is about 7 years old and not compatible to the Wi-Fi connection provided through the NBN.
The salesman was surprisingly helpful and was able to explain things simply without any confusing, show-off computer-speak. He worked out prices for the two options we favoured and we went away to decide between them. Later that day we returned and bought a laptop, anti-virus software, and Microsoft Office.
We went home, eager to set it all up.
Firstly instead of merely turning on a computer that was immediately usable (as had been the case with previous computer purchases) we had to go through a registration and set-up process. It seemed simple enough, but took longer than I liked. Part of the process was selecting the kind of “English” keyboard layout we wanted. Foolishly I selected UK English, not realising that I wasn’t choosing something associated with spelling, where a choice for American English would have given me the foreign versions of English that are becoming increasingly and annoyingly common even outside of the USA.
Instead I was choosing a keyboard layout that meant the @ and ” keys were reversed. Annoyingly it seems like its a selection I have to correct every time I turn on the computer. The UK Keyboard layout has been made the default and I can’t seem to change that setting.
And then I had to try installing the anti-virus. I won’t go into detail, but I tried unsuccessfully several times before I realised I was following the MAC instructions instead of those for PC. That realisation didn’t help because I couldn’t find the PC instructions on the installation leaflet. By the time I realised I could go no further the computer shop was closed, so I had to put it all aside and wait until the next day to try and get the problems resolved.
I had a very restless night. I easily get stressed about technology that doesn’t seem to work as easily as it should. The next day I took everything back and after an hour with the salesman, most of the issues were resolved and I could return home to start using the new computer. (I still had to install Microsoft Office – something that presented a few new problems, but nothing I couldn’t eventually work out for myself).
We’ve now had home internet for about three days, and have realised that we weren’t missing out on a lot by not having it.
We’ve watched several YouTube videos. I’ve played around with my emails and blogs. We’ve checked the weather and viewed the weather radar, watching rain approach our town on screen before hearing it on the roof.
Overall there’s not been a lot that we’ve been able to do with it yet.
We don’t paly games, we’re not interested in Netflix, there’s no one to Skype… but it will make things easier when I’m away from work. I can keep my email inbox cleared, so I don’t return to countless unread messages after two or three weeks.
One of the few immediate benefits was being able to subscribe to Sarah Ward’s newsletter. I tried to do it from my work computer, but my employers security system didn’t like the subscription site. Newsletter subscribers are sent occasional short stories by Sarah. That’s something I’m looking forward to receiving.