I’m temporarily stuck with Windows 8 on a notebook computer because I’m in the process of “repairing” my desktop PC (which runs Ubuntu Linux, by the way). This is one of two notebook computers I brought back from the United States. A bilas of mine (Alex) was the recipient of the other one and it’s identical to this one.
The Metro Interface
I think the requirement to go through multiple clicks to get to the desktop or anywhere else is crazy. The interface is obviously designed for a mobile device… why force it on desktop or notebook computer users?
Then there are the “apps”. Is it too difficult to include a “close” or “X” button on the interfaces for them? I found out the hard way that I either had to do some fancy mouse maneuvering, close them with the task manager or do the alt-F4 routine for each one. I absolutely hate the new Skype for Windows 8 – it takes up the whole screen. With a large screen like mine, why are they forcing me to be in a constant state of maximized?
I’m sure I can find some third party applications to make things a little easier, but I don’t plan to use this notebook computer with Windows 8 on it for very long if I can help it. In the meantime, I guess I need to learn enough about Windows 8 to keep doing what I would normally do on a daily basis.
My Desktop Computer
It ran perfectly when I left the Philippines. Before I locked my bedroom door, I unplugged everything electronic in the room – the AC unit, the TV, the computer monitor and the computer power plug. The monitor and the PC power plug were both plugged into a UPS, which is where I unplugged them, but I even unplugged the UPS.
When I arrived on Monday night (today being Thursday) and plugged everything back in and powered up the PC, I was shown an error that was something like “warning: case open error, press F1 to continue”. I hit F1, figuring it was just one of the many glitches I’ve come across in my many years of computer experience. It wasn’t until I spotted an error with the virtual machine settings (using more than half of the installed memory) that I checked the memory chips in the BIOS. One of them wasn’t being seen by the system.
I pulled the machine apart this morning and Alex came over to help me clean the inside of the case. Humidity plus dust creates caked on, moist dust, so blowing it out with any kind of air wouldn’t clean the CPU or fans. He used a small paint brush to get most of it and I scraped some of it off with various instruments (the opposite end of tweezers, a ballpoint pen, etc.). I definitely need to clean the innards more often than once a year.
Alex bought two chips at a computer store and it ran me 1100 pesos (around $28 US dollars), which is comparable to what I’d have to pay in the US. After he put everything together, there was still an issue – it was shutting down on its own for no reason that I could find. Oh well, I guess I’ll be opening it back up again tomorrow and checking all the connections and so forth.
My Notebook Computer
I didn’t buy it (it was a gift), but still… I don’t like notebook computers for various reasons. I don’t need the mobility. When I go somewhere, I tend to leave everything at home. I don’t want people trying to reach me while I’m on the move. I’m old school – people can wait like they used to do before cell phones became popular. Yeah, it’s been a long time.
Luckily, this computer has a built-in microphone, built-in speakers and a built-in webcam. I’ve already tested it with Skype and it works without having to adjust everything. I even figured out how to turn off the trackpad using the double-tap routine (I plugged in a USB optical mouse). If I need a bit of privacy on Skype, I can use the headset from the desktop computer.
If I find I need to use this notebook computer for more than a few days, I may end up backing up Windows with Clonezilla and replacing it with Ubuntu Linux or Linux Mint. Windows 8 is not an improvement over Windows 7 or Windows XP. My older son has Windows Vista on his desktop PC and well, um, yeah, Windows 8 is an improvement over that.
The Tasks Ahead
I dread the installation of software because there’s so much I need to install to match what I was using on the desktop PC. I’ve already installed Skype, Notepad++, Firefox and Dropbox, and I still need to install Libre Office and probably a dozen other things I haven’t remembered yet.
I’m not complaining, even if it sounds like it. At least I have a working computer of some kind. I was hoping to set up this notebook PC as a backup computer to the desktop PC – I just didn’t figure it would have to be used as a backup computer so soon.