Thursday, July 17, 2014

Exceeding limitations

Last week a disaster happened. A disaster of such epic proportions that my heart sank, I cried, I stormed about, I swore furiously in person and on Facebook. You see, my computer died. My laptop which is the centre of my life. Which I need to work, socialise, relax, generally live life. Which had not been backed up for 6 months. It was dead.

I am, however, blessed with a large number of highly geeky friends who came to my rescue and resurrected it enough for me to get my data off. As luck would have it I was also in the process of buying my work laptop from my old job which is closing down, so I had a new device. But its hard drive really wasn't big enough for me, and while I had the data from my old machine, it was in fragments.

So last weekend, I dug deep, found my inner geek, dusted her off and set about creating myself a new life partner (aka working laptop).

I would say I speak tourist level geek. Just as tourist level french will let you order a coffee, say hello and introduce yourself but not have an actual conversation, tourist level geek means you have some idea what is going on when the techies get together and can occasionally interject with a comment that makes it sound like you know what you are talking about but doesn't actually mean you know how anything works. And as a tourist in the geek space, I generally call on an expert when I need anything significant done. However I do have expert level google skills (seriously you need it found, I can find it), so last weekend I decided to put those skills to good use and set up my own computer.

I am very proud to say that in the course of one rainy, cold Saturday I
- bought a new hard drive (250G SSD for those geeks playing)
- installed it and set it up from a system image and system boot disk I had created
- installed all my needed programs
- found a program to rip a backup from my iPod to allow me to set up iTunes (one of the few things we couldn't get off the old computer)
- recreated and improved my old file structure
- cleaned out the files (soooo many drafts are now gone)
- and customised all the displays.

S, who has a degree in computer science, wandered into the room at one point and remarked that he should have left me to set up his computer.

What it really proved to me is that like so many things in life, we have more capability than we imagine. I can't do the amazing things that my techie friends can, but I can use the tools that clever people have built to achieve what I need to.  And it reminded me that most things in life come with some sort of safety net so it is worth giving new things a go.

And if nothing else, when my geeky crowd start talking about the computers they have built, I can talk about my new laptop!

Have you surprised yourself with what you can do recently?

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