Posted by: Mark Nielsen | December 9, 2009

Getting It Right (Digitally Speaking): aka “To PC, or not to PC?”

It’s a pipe dream: finally stabilizing my platforms and getting all my incoming and outgoing data straight. It will never happen.

Like an alcoholic, I need to stop all the denial, admit I have a sickness and turn all these zeroes and ones over to a Higher Power, the Original, One and Only #1.

In the mix are three desktop computers, a Blackberry smartphone, my old but still usable iPaq/Windows PDA, two or three versions of my addressbooks and maillists, an off-brand digital music player, a semi-retired Palm Treo that I still like to create documents on, our Comcast cable network, a Playstation 2, two HDTV set top boxes (in IL and rural Wisconsin… where signal strength is nil) and several extremely dated non-digital VCRs, tv monitors, VGA computer monitors and whatnot — units that I’m still trying to drag into the 21st century, where everyone else considers them obsolete.

I keep thinking I can do it. I CAN get them all the way I want them — all updated and properly configured and talking to each other in the same language (Quick! What’s the difference beween ActiveSynch and HotSynch?!). But every time I try, I just dig myself deeper into a hole.

The latest hole involves trying to reinstall or replace a corrupted version of Outlook 2000. It’s bundled with the rest of MS Office Professional, so it can’t be removed separately from the other programs in the suite. And before it got corrupted, Outlook was the main repository for our snailmail addresses, our Christmas card list, and for printable labels. So now I have to resurrect our old Pentium 3, a circa 2000 HP Vectra, with its own bugs, because it has a workable copy of Outlook. But it has a rather dated addressbook inside of it, one which is different than the Outlook Express addressbook on my synch-able Treo. Getting the picture? 

It gets worse: in trying to roll back this new (circa 2005) computer to a 1997 version of Outlook (yes, I’m an idiot…), that ancient one also would not install the way I wanted it. Plus, in removing it, I ended up losing (or at least losing track of) my working version of Outlook Express, the main program I’ve used to email for lo these many years. So for the time being, it’s webmail, or else use our old computer’s Outlook or Outlook Express. (However, that computer, soon to be Graham’s, has no modem, so I have to temporarily move the LAN cable from the “good” Gateway to the mediocre HP ). Or else I gotta check and send all email on my small-screened Blackberry. There’s just no winning.

Thus I really love the current Macintosh ad, with the woman complaining about how all she’s ever known is Microsoft frustration, so why should she upgrade to Windows 7?

Personally, I made the switch gradually from Mac (where I started and functioned quite happily for ten years) to Big Brother Microsoft in the Nineties, as I ended up using MS so much in the workplace. But I never lost my affection for the intuitive ease  and good engineering of a Mac. And now, the headache of the PC problem is getting unbearable. So the next computer I buy is going to be a Mac again.

But it will be a lightly used iMac laptop, running last-generation software, that I can get for about $250. Because  apparently this leopard cannot change his spots, no matter how hard I try…



  1. Sorry to hear you are having so much trouble with your computers..Don’t frett ! You are so much more than just your computer,you are Spirt,Knowledge,Kindness and Soulfullness all in one….Love Mom

    • Thanks Ma!

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