- Singers wanted: Lititz Community Chorus re-forming
- Landis Valley gunsmith builds long rifle for museum’s auction
- The bugs are back!
- MC seniors capture first place at Science Olympiad
- Woodridge Swim Club to host beer fest May 6
- Fast times at Warwick Driving Park
- Pretzel Fest returns May 6
- Easter Egg Hunt List
- King Lear: the method to the madness
- Irish dance showcase at Warwick High School
Dick’s ‘gigged’ up
Friday, July 29, is the very last day you can upgrade to Windows 10 for free. What happens if you don’t upgrade?
Windows has guaranteed to provide upgrades to Windows 7 and 8.1 for the next 8 years or so, so if you want to continue with those programs, you have no need to rush into Windows 10.
If you are running XP or Vista, there’s a good chance your computer doesn’t have the guts to handle Windows 10. And there’s a good chance you’ll buy a new computer before support stops for Windows 7 and 8.
I upgraded a couple of months ago because: A) I like shiny new things, and B) I upgrade my photo and graphics programs regularly and newer versions generally run better on the latest operating systems.
I’m neutral or somewhat pleased with most of 10. I have taken a shine to the photo editing tool that comes with it and which is good for basic things like color and exposure correction, straightening (I have no idea why ALL my pictures are crooked), cropping, etc. It of course doesn’t have the horsepower of dedicated programs like Adobe Photoshop or Corel Paint, but it’s quick and convenient.
One thing I absolutely hate about 10: It jostles my desktop icons. I like a neat and orderly and uncluttered desktop. My Windows 7 icons were soldiers. Now, whenever I turn my computer off, the icons move to random spots on the screen. Totally annoying.
Millions of other Windows 10 users have complained on the Internet about the same issue, and maybe with their soon-to-be-released anniversary upgrade, Microsoft will take care of this annoyance.
I’ve had a computer in my house since 1986, that’s 30 years. That first machine was a Tandy Radio Shack Model 2000, with dual floppy drives (the 5.25” kind that actually did flop), 256 kilobytes (kb) of random access memory (RAM) and an 80186 CPU running at 8 megahertz. I’m typing this on a sort-of Dell computer with 8 gigabytes (gb) of RAM, three USB ports (instead of floppy drives, sort of) and an Intel Core I5 central processing unit (CPU) running at 2.5 gigahertz.
The TRS 2000 cost me $1,599 for the basic machine, plus $129 for a 156k RAM upgrade (the salesperson said I’d never use all that capacity) and another $200 for a monochrome monitor, for a total cost just shy of $2,000, or about $4,300 in today’s money.
My sort-of Dell has 31 million times more RAM than the Tandy 2000, and the CPU runs at 312,000 times the speed. The Dell cost me $700 last year. If I had wanted to buy that much CPU computing power in 1986, it would have cost me about $7 million in today’s money. Or $3 million in 1986 dollars, which would still have been a lot.
I use a sort-of Dell because last year I spilled coffee on my old laptop, which fried the motherboard. Mentzer Repair Services at 10 N. State St. in Ephrata cobbled my present laptop out of a used Dell body, a refurbished RAM and a solid-state drive (SSD) instead of the usual hard drive. Hard drives use a spinning disk to do their work, while the 1 terabyte SSD is more like the card in your camera, and has no moving parts. I like it.
In the preceding four paragraphs I have shared with you my total knowledge of how computers work. I may have gotten some of it wrong and I’m not totally confident of the math.
Nevertheless, I am fascinated by the things computers can do for us, with us and to us, not just the mechanics and the computation, but the sociology, psychology and philosophy.
In these columns, I plan to share my wonder and klutzy adventures with you, and I hope you’ll share yours with me so that I can share them with other readers.
Editor’s note: Dick Wanner admits to being of a certain age – he was born after the introduction of the abacus, but a decade before Univac. He does not claim to be a geek or a nerd — maybe nerdy — but is absolutely computer dependent. He finds computers and the world we humans increasingly share with them fascinating, frustrating, inspiring and, at times, a little scary. He plans to share his thoughts and yours in these regular columns.
Dick Wanner is a staff writer and photographer for the Record Express. He welcomes reader feedback at email@example.com.
About Dick Wanner
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