Computer problems: Much better than a toothache

posted in: Books, Knitting, Publishing, Web/Tech | 5

Still no pictures here.

Computer saga, with perspective

As Buddhist monk and simply wise-person-in-many-dimensions Thich Nhat Hanh observes, the good thing about a toothache is that it teaches us how nice it is not to have a toothache. I extend this teaching to the understanding that a mess of computer problems is also much less painful than a toothache, and working computers are much more convenient than malfunctioning computers.

To recap, with some updates:

  • The original computer (code name A3) that was doing strange things was sent back to the manufacturer (after many days of online and phone contact with tech support and many drastic actions here). I’ve received an e-mail saying it will be back some time in the middle of next week, although no human communication to indicate what the problem might have been. The assumption is that the problem has been fixed. This computer will now become my daughter’s, thus improving and speeding up her work with the Nomad Press images (she is using a nine-year-old P3, 448MHz, maxed out at 768MB RAM, code D1; she will have a two-year-old P4, 3.0GHz, 4MB RAM, that being A3).
  • The replacement computer (A5) I ordered for myself arrived and after six days (including many drastic actions like restoring factory defaults three times) was shipped back to the source. I don’t know whether that particular machine is a lemon or whether some of the non-essential software was interfering with the installation of the software I need to run, but PCConnection graciously agreed that it was time to give up on it.
  • The exchange computer (H6) that I ordered was listed as "ships in 2+ weeks," which was really bad news but after another day of research it looked so much like the best alternative that I figured I’d just have to tough it out for another two weeks. The great news here is that my call to one of the manufacturers to ask questions about my specific needs connected me to a young woman named Cressida in the sales department. I said, "I do print publishing. I tend to have InDesign, Photoshop, and Illustrator open simultaneously, and I put together large files that may contain as many as 600 linked images." Cressida said, "Ah, I know your problem. I’m a graphic designer." ! She steered me away from both computers I was considering and toward another, saying, "THIS is what you need." It’s no more expensive than the ones on my list. So I ordered it, thinking that I’d limp through the waiting period by installing the most essential programs temporarily on the laptop, which is a Linux machine but does have a small XP (Home) partition on it.
  • However, the laptop (T4) has only 256MB of RAM (it was bought to run Linux, after all; it didn’t need much RAM . . . which puts me in mind of my first computer, which did very nicely with 64KB of RAM, although of course it didn’t multitask). Adobe Creative Suite 2 requires a minimum of 384MB to install. There are ways to force the Adobe installer to work with less RAM (as little as 100MB), but even if I did that it’s not like I could then open an InDesign file for a heavily illustrated book. The laptop is upgradeable. The RAM for it, ordered at 3:30 on Thursday afternoon for overnight delivery (extra cost), will, through the peculiarities of order handling and shipping, arrive by overnight standard delivery by 3 p.m. on Monday. Oddly, if I’d chosen regular shipping (USPS, probably Priority Mail) it would most likely be here now. Oh, well. (According to the tracking number, it arrived in town at 5 this morning, but it’s not like FedEx would let me drive out to the depot and pick it up. The depot is closed.)

I have written in my head, but not gotten onto this blog, several posts on how it’s a miracle that any small business survives. This is just one of many of the amazing types of hurdles that small businesses deal with every day.

Taxes are due in ten days, too.

Knitting helps

So yesterday I left town. Sometimes it’s good to just change the view completely.

I went to Denver for three other errands, listening to Thich Nhat Hanh while I drove.

Along the way, I got to visit A Knitted Peace for the first time, and there was a Habu trunk show going on. Very cool stuff, including two pieces I might even wear . . . although I don’t get dressed up enough that I’d use them more than once a year.

I learned about String too late for a visit. Next time.

After my errands, I ended up at the Tattered Cover on the way-south-end of the metropolitan area for Stephanie Pearl-McPhee’s road tour appearance. I sat near the back, next to Erynn and and Isaac and Isaiah, whose photos are on Stephanie’s blog, as well as two Wyoming folks who’d driven 4.5 hours to be there (one of whom I knew from Cyndi Lee‘s knitting circles at the Yoga Journal conference in Estes Park . . . nice to see, and visit at length with, someone I knew!). I also got to briefly see Amy Clarke Moore and her daughter Hannah, a child whom I had only previously seen in photos. If there were a cutest kid contest and Hannah was in it, the other kids would all be very worried and might even go home, no matter how cute they were.

Stephanie is, of course, very talented both on the page and in person, putting together excellent humor and thoughtful content, and I brought home a copy of her new book, Things I Learned from Knitting (Whether I Wanted to or Not), which will be very sanity-inducing to read while I am waiting for my current band-aid computer (D2) to load Firefox (4 minutes), move an e-mail message to a folder (30 seconds to 2 minutes) or pick up mail (20 minutes or more, although I usually leave the room during mail pick-ups).

During the Yarn Harlot event, I finished the hand-dyed rayon Landscape Shawl variation (based on Evelyn Clark’s pattern), with 1.5 inches (3.75 cm) of yarn to spare. Photos when possible.

I have also finished my acupuncturist’s cotton chenille cardigan. When I left for Denver, it was drying on a towel after its initial washing.

Sometimes knitting progresses when other things don’t.

Shifting sands in the publishing world

In another development this week, Amazon is attempting to force authors and publishers who use print-on-demand (POD) printing technology to use the printing service that Amazon owns to produce copies sold
through Amazon. If the publishers and authors don’t agree to this change, their books’ "buy" buttons on Amazon will be
disabled. Amazon is also setting the pricing and discount structures
for the sale of these copies. Although Nomad Press doesn’t produce its books
with this technology and is not affected by this move,
we have been vulnerable to other Amazon policy changes. "Amazon is attempting" means, essentially, "Amazon is doing this." They do hold nearly all the cards in the game they’re playing.

Some very good news conveyed by e-mail

My copy of Stephanie’s book is unsigned. The south-end Tattered Cover is very far from my home, so I left without waiting in line, although I sent hello-and-hang-in-there-on-the-tour-blitz messages to her with friends. I got home before 11:30 p.m. but didn’t turn on my computer. It would have taken most of an hour to retrieve e-mail.

When I fired up the old machine (D2) this morning, I discovered the following lovely message from my stalwart primary contact in the technical solutions (I think "solutions" is much better than "support") department at PCConnection, with reference to the "ships in 2+ weeks" exchange computer that was plugged into their ordering system for me late on Thursday:

  • "Deb, The units are due in today. John"

! ! ! !

I think that counts as a miracle, right up there with completing the shawl and the cardigan within inches of the last of their yarns.

Facebooktwitterrss

5 Responses

  1. Joanne

    Hurray for the new computer! I’m so glad you took a day away from all this. It seems like an extended version of “a watched pot never boils” or something. The Yarn Harlot is always a good diversion, and I think it was great that you took time to remember knitting, yarn shops, editors and authors, –why you do all these heroic computer efforts in the first place. 🙂

  2. amy

    Hi Deb,
    I’m glad your computer problems are getting sorted out. It was good to see you, too! I think Hannah is awfully cute, too, but I’m a bit biased. She picked out a pirate book after Stefanie’s talk and has been running around singing, “yo ho ho an d a bottle of rum!” (Her dad taught her that!)
    See you,
    Amy

  3. Dina

    Hi Deb,
    Very glad you got to see the harlot. I’m going tomorrow night in Annapolis – never mind its sales conference week!

    Did you see Steph’s comments about Denver? Exactly how I feel after every visit: breathless and sunburned!

    Take care,
    Dina

  4. Joan

    Deb,

    Weeks ago you mentioned Eric Maisel’s “Van Gogh Blues” and I want to deeply thank you for this recommendation. Meaning crisis is, apparently, how I’ve been living my life for more than a decade. It’s so exquisitely wonderful to have my sorrows/lostness/depression expressed in a way that makes sense and touches my heart. The book often brings tears to my eyes: being understood matters. That there are clues to stepping healthfully into and sticking with creativity is exactly what I need now. Thank you so very much for writing about “Van Gogh Blues” on your blog.

    And, good luck with the computer woes. 🙂

    Joan

  5. LynnH

    Wow. Extra-good knitting luck, and turning-around computer luck at least in the “delivery-time department.” I would say it’s your turn for a long string of good-luck stories by now!

    I am all hyped to order RAM tonight myself, for my laptop. With VISTA, 1GB is not enough when I’m processing a handful of Photoshop images. So I’ll have 4GB soon. And the cool thing? The price has gone down about $40 since I got the laptop a year ago. Very cool.

    Glad you got to see Stephanie and enjoy a mass-knitting-fun event. She is such a wonderful person, and laughter is such a healing force. I will see her on Friday here, in Ann Arbor (an hour away).

Leave a Reply