Today I exchanged money for a large rectangle comprised of plastic and metal. It’s a substantially better rectangle than my previous. It has about twice the space of my last one (despite being roughly the same physical size), is more powerful (despite being equally useful as a blunt instrument), and is just as fast – though I haven’t tested out either’s aerodynamics in the garden yet.
Okay, to forgo the deliberate jocular vagueness, I’ve bought a new computer. It’s an Acer V3-571G.
I leave behind a Dell Studio 1535 laptop. Over the last three years it has served me very well, but in that time I’ve been unable to stand the dumb little problems it has accrued:
- Sometimes it won’t shut down properly. Or start up properly. It can take 10-20 minutes just to figure out that I pressed the power button and that means it should do one of two things – turn on, or turn off. Other times when I want to shut down or restart, it hangs on the logging off screen.
- Sleep mode basically doesn’t even exist. It doesn’t power down, it just reboots back to the login screen when I close the lid.
- When I’m playing Doom, I frequently have to hit two movement keys at the same time. This is all too much for my lappy’s fragile comprehension, and it doesn’t register when both keys have been released. I end up careening into pits and backwards into walls far too often as a result. This doesn’t happen in any other program, funnily enough, but no, the problem is definitely with my lappy. Even odder, I can go months at a time without noticing or even being able to deliberately trigger this problem at all. Then it suddenly comes back and makes my gaming life a misery.
- The top keyboard buttons don’t work – the eject button and volume controls in particular.
- The touchpad is a nightmare to use – it’s undersensitive and placed awkwardly. Multiple times now, I’ve accidentally brushed a finger against it and found that the text I’ve been typing has promptly emmigrated to another country. I’ve never gotten used to it.
- It takes 20 minutes or upwards to perform some tasks. Cakewalk Express, Windows Media Player, Winamp, and Reason notoriously don’t even load for that amount of time.
- It goes through horrendously long periods of total unresponsiveness, during which the mouse and keyboard and all presently open windows work, but nothing else does. I can’t even load the “Open” dialog in Notepad.
- Only one of the speaker input ports actually works – and that one only works if my speakers/headphones are plugged in at a funny angle.
The issue with being unable to load or even do anything for minutes at a time was particularly prevalent at the Battle of the Bands. It completely hung just as we were going on-stage. This “technical difficulty” ate up about five minutes of time that could’ve been spent blasting some rockin’ tunes, but instead was spent staring at a screen waiting for it load – in front of about 200 people. Needless to affirm, I’m not going to be taking this thing to any future live gigs.
Then there was the débâcle involving Windows Effing Update. I mistakenly shut the machine off at the wall in the middle of a rather substantial update, permanently screwing up a good portion of my hard drive. It wouldn’t load Windows at all at that point. I had to get a new hard drive. Luckily I did manage to procure a device for connecting the messed-up hard drive to the “new” computer, recovering the files I needed. In the end I didn’t lose much, but I would’ve much preferred it hadn’t happened at all. Atrociously annoying.
No amount of periodic cleaning or registry fixing has addressed any of these niggles, though I suspect a full rebuild (a process I’m terrified of) might do the trick. Will get to that once the transfer of files to the new station (or at least a backup drive) is finished.
So yeah, I’m a little bit happy to be working on a slightly more reliable computer for the moment. The AU keyboard layout is definitely going to take some getting used to, though. Need to give it a road test regarding its handling of Reason and its performance within a live set. I should be capable of everything my old lappy was, and then some. That’s the theory, anyway. 😛