Buck Rogers Zapata

Space ship
Felipe at his desk at dawn.

Boy, I’m loving this move into the 21st Century, cyberwise.

After getting my new Hewlett-Packard All-in-One last week, every day brings new adventures and discoveries, 99 percent of them positive. I should have upgraded years (or months) ago.

Normally, I bound out of bed about 6 a.m., pour coffee, which is already waiting because I went modern on that long ago, grab a scrap of dry toast and head upstairs to see what’s happening in the world.

Especially what sort of madness the Obama Brown Shirts are up to, the most recent being their plan to require movie theaters to install staggeringly expensive equipment so blind and deaf people can be “included.”

It will likely put lots of small neighborhood and art cines out of business,* but no matter because absolutely everyone must be “included” in spite of the pain it inflicts on others, the 99 percent.

More PC bull-hockey.

The H-P All-in-One starts in a few moments, unlike the old computer which could grind on for up to five minutes before I actually saw anything, and even then it often would freeze repeatedly in the morning as if it were actually waking up from nightmares.

Lord, I used to cuss.

First off, I open Grooveshark to start some soft sounds, and then I go about my news-reading business and communication.

And all so fast!

One surprise problem was that my printer did not work with Windows 8, and the printer was a relatively recent purchase, a couple of years ago, which is quite recent in my residential cyberworld.

So I returned to Office Max in the state capital yesterday and bought a new printer, an Epson. And get this: it’s a scanner and a copier to boot! And there is more! It gets its orders via those waves floating in the air.

I do not grasp how that works.

Another beautiful thing about my new H-P All-in-One is Skype, which I have had for years. On the old computer, before using Skype, I had to get down on my knees with a flashlight to connect the headphone wires behind the tower which sat on a low shelf of my custom-made desk.

And when I finished my phone call, I had to get on my knees again to disconnect those two wires and reconnect the single wire that permitted my speakers to work. Receiving Skype calls was not an option unless I could get down on my knees to switch wires before the caller hung up.

I couldn’t. Calling me on Skype required an appointment.

All that has changed. Initially, I was happy because the plugs were up here right in front of me, and I could switch wires easily. And then, quite by accident, I discovered that I did not have to use wires at all.

I could just talk to the freaking monitor! Imagine my glee.

New discoveries appear daily. It’s a whole new world.

And I’m really loving it.

* * * *

* More of the Bumbler’s job-elimination policies, chasing an impossible egalitarian world no matter the ghastly consequences.

(Space ship art by Andree Wallin.)

27 thoughts on “Buck Rogers Zapata

  1. Could it be that your new HP has a SSD (solid state drive)? Not a whirling hard disk anymore. Not only do these start up and awaken from sleep much much faster, they are less prone to self destruct (thereby losing all your files, music and photos, unless you’ve backed it up regularly.) Along the same lines, it has been generally agreed that all hard drives will eventually fail, not “when”, unless you scrap the computer before it’s unexpected demise. So backing up to an external storage device is prudent if you value your files. I currently have three backup drives for two computers, plus a third, bulky black box that is presently obsolete. I’m looking forward to when the backup drives are also SSD.

    I am in the habit of leaving my computer on, all the time, unless I’m traveling. It has been said that apart from the convenience of almost instant access, you avoid the surge of electricity that comes from a boot up start.

    Thus my nerds of wisdom for the day…

    Don Cuevas


    1. Señor Cuevas: Nerds of wisdom always appreciated. As for being backed up, I’m all ready pretty backed up. Been thinking of subscribing to one of those cloud backup services. But I really don’t have much to be backed up aside from photos and music, which I have done to a portable hard drive.

      As for whether my new machine has SSD, I got no clue.


  2. One of the reasons for backing up the entire computer, not just selected folders is that in case of a disk crash, the entire OS (Operating System) can be restored, intact, with all your system preferences, and especially, the registrations of licenses of third party programs you may have purchased. There may also be invisible files useful or critical to operations that manual drag and drop backups don’t get. Otherwise, there may be a serious hassle in recovering the licenses and readjusting the preferences. I don’t know how it is on Windows, but that’s how it works in the Mac OS.

    The backup software I use does a complete scan the first time, then incremental scans of “new” files or “different” files, so after the first, thorough pass, subsequent passes are much briefer.

    Don Cuevas

    Ps: SSD costs a lot more, although the prices are dropping. They are something similar to the flash or pen drives used for storing smaller files, on the go. Also, with SSD, you get smaller storage capacity for more money. But, IMO, it’s worth it. My newer laptop has a 256 GB SSD. Still, quite a lot more than the older laptop, with only 150 GB!

    A couple of years back, the logic board failed on the older laptop. A friend lent me his, a smaller and earlier version. I was able to start up his laptop with my fortuitously just backed up external drive, and run my computing world on his, with very little difference in appearance. There was just a slight performance hit, due to less RAM on his.

    Read the bill of particulars that came with the HP and it should tell you what you have.

    I am giving you 2 1/2 gold stars for baking up to a portable drive. You’ll earn 5 stars when you do complete, regular backups.


  3. It’s been a long time since you experienced the joy of a new hard drive/new computer, which is similar to the joy of cooking and the companion volume, the joy of sex. It is downright orgasmic. One big difference between men and boys are the price of their toys.

    In a sense, however, we are all victims of planned obsolescence, so our computers and gadgets become obsolete, that is, unfashionable or no longer functional after a certain period of time.


  4. IMO, the Cloud back up is one of last resort. Could as a back up to the local back up. You have to have an Internet connection to recover your files, and it could be a slow download. But worse, the upload time could be lengthier.

    I have a free DropBox account, mostly for transferring shopping lists and the like to my iPod Touch, but I rarely use it. I will admit that it has unfulfilled potential.



  5. Finally, you can put away the cans and strings or re-purpose them for some other use.

    For as much stuff as you have (assuming) you can pick up a USB thumbdrive for 30 bucks or so, that will hold all your music, photos and other nonsense. Or for $150 bucks get the massive portable hard drive which also connects via the USB for your backups. The problem with off-site backups is they are slow, depending on your internet speed and/or costly if you need a lot of data.

    The thumbdrive should be sufficient, I will guess.

    Those Apple people need all that other stuff because their non-crashing machines crash. Ask my wife. Her new laptop for which she paid twice as much as my PC laptop lasted exactly 4 months after the warranty from Apple. I think Apple fans are finally figuring out that it look pretty but is a ripoff.


  6. Hmm — listening to you go on about “new” technology, it is kind of like hearing from someone that thinks fire was just discovered. You berated we more technically savvy as having too much time on our hands — now you may have bought yourself some additional time moving faster with your new H-P All-in-One. And doubt the new HP has an SSD drive. In any case, congratulations.


    1. Señor Calypso: Perhaps fire has been around a while for you and your ilk, but it’s a new event here at the Hacienda. And as for the “berating” I have done in the past of you gizmo freaks, it was due to all the gizmos here, gizmos there, gizmos everywhere. I have seen your desks. You people simply love gizmos. One pretty much avoids gizmos with the All-in-One, a concept that is perfect for people of my ilk.

      I accept your congratulations and appreciate them.


  7. I like the picture of Felipe at dawn. I chuckled a bit at the image of you connecting and disconnecting wires while bumbling along on your knees. Whenever I visit my aged mother, I had similar experiences trying to coax more life out of her aging computer. Last year, I bought her a new Apple all-in-one. It made my life simpler, and I think hers, too, although she won’t admit to it.


    1. Laurie: I am pleased that the picture gave you a moment of pleasure.

      When I moved to Mexico in 2000, in order to communicate a bit in those distant internet days, I set up WebTV for my mother, and she used it till she died nine years later. It was a prehistoric system.


  8. An external hard drive 500GB, about $60 USD for either platform — PC or Apple. I recommend. Backs up EVERYTHING on your computer.

    If using the Apple iCloud first 5GB is free.


    1. Andean: I already have an 80GB external hard drive that is serving me well. Still haven’t filled it up. I try to live lean.

      After iTunes corrupted all music on my computer some years back, irreversably, I have been a foe of that cursed firm.


  9. I am waiting for Felipe the Awed to be flummoxed over flat screen televisions. How do they get people that small inside that skinny screen?

    Speaking of which, I a still no closer to buying a large flat screen with some high quality external speakers. We may have dueling revelations.


    1. Steve: I am way ahead of you in the TV department. Last spring we bought a 32-inch internet TV by Samsung. Before that we were at TVs in about the same era as the computer. The difference is shocking — shockingly great. I do want to get some external speakers. Saw some good ones at CostCo the other day that I would have bought on the spot had we not just minutes earlier bought the new computer at Office Max. Buying both on the same day would have given me sticker shock.


  10. Windows 8 was specifically designed to start up fast. Put that on new hardware and it’s a good thing your coffee is already made, or the computer would be waiting for you.

    I have two external backup drives onto which I back up all my photos, music, documents, and videos. If the hard drive dies, I’ll figure out how to restore the system and applications. But I don’t ever want to lose my photos, especially.

    I keep thinking I should put one of the external hard drives in the garage in case the house burns down. (Garage is about 30 feet away.) But given the revelations about the NSA, I’m not storing anything in the cloud. If the government wants to see my files, let’m work a bit, I say.


    Kim G
    Boston, MA
    Where we’ve gotten used to Win 7, but have little enthusiasm for Win 8, especially since it has done its best to hide everything.


    1. Kim: I had a hard drive commit suicide about eight years ago, and it took every photo I had snapped during the construction of our house. Gone, poof! I have since learned.

      I don’t know to what you refer about Windows 8 hiding everything. I have found it quite upfront. Most things are in different locations than they were on XP, but with a little attention I find them. Of course, your being one of those high-tech guys you likely are referring to all manner of detail that I don’t care about anyway.

      As for Windows 8 starting quickly, boy, does it ever. Love it.


      1. Your experience of losing photos is why I have everything on two computers plus two backup drives too. The only way I could lose everything is if the house burned down. Which is why I really should keep one of those drives in the garage.


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