Wednesday, March 25, 2009

a new star in the firmament

Remember the '59 Ford pickup you restored in high school? It was the most beautiful thing you had ever seen.

Or the stereo equipment you cobbled together to create the best sound of 1969?

You look at photographs of them now, and the memories are great. But an objective eye certainly would not see the dream you saw forty years ago.

Well, that is about how I feel about the computer setup that I have lashed together for my move south.

Taken separately. they are technological miracles:

  • The little Sony notebook that is light enough to carry everywhere, but is powerful enough to act as a CPU.
  • The Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) that will act as a voltage regulator, a surge protector, and a backup power to supply to give me enough time to shut down programs -- in the unlikely event of a power failure.
  • The miniature backup drive that will store 465 GB of data.
  • A wireless keyboard and mouse to give me the freedom to wander away from the computer -- at least, until my eyes start failing.
  • A 22 inch flat screen monitor hat will keep my eyes in focus -- and will be a great movie screen substitute.
  • Sony speakers -- not as good as some I looked at, but I already owned them. No live performance sound here. But, even live performances are over-miked these days.

Taken together, it could play the ugly step-sister in a Cinderella pantomime. But, it is my link to our little electronic community.

I want to thank all of you for suggesting fixes for the problems I ran into yesterday. It turns out that I have an ethernet port on the laptop. In fact, I showed it to someone the first day I owned it. Beth reminded me that I knew more than I remembered.

And the monitor was just as easy -- a simple Fn F7 gave me all the flexibility I needed. Several of you reminded me of something else I had forgotten from my PowerPoint training days. One month away from the traces, and I forget the obvious.

So, there it is. It is not a restored pickup or a well-proportioned stereo rack. But it will work quite well for me.

That is -- until the salt breeze starts reducing everything to its component parts.


Islagringo said...

LOL! In the unlikely event of a power failure? LOL! Just glad you got yourself organized. We would all hate to lose touch with you!

Beth said...

I like the TV tray that doubles as a key board tray. Very fancy.

Steve Cotton said...

Wayne -- I had trouble finding a way to convey irony over the power issue. Italics are an ironicist's best friend.

Beth -- Nothing too good for my version of a '59 Ford pickup.

Calypso said...

Very nice hombre - well thought out. I think we have the exact same HP monitor (an excellent one btw). I too use an outboard wireless keyboard and mouse (MS).

Type on...

Steve Cotton said...

Ah, the electronic equivalent of a blessing from the pope.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, F in Mexico City seems to have several power failures per week. Apparently it's caused by people who drape wires over the lines in order to steal power. I asked him how many people were killed annually trying to steal something worth 20 cents a kilowatt, but he said he hadn't heard of anyone being killed this way. Amazing is all I can say.

I think that uninterruptible power supply could be your best friend, at least as far as power surges are concerned.

By the way, and I don't mean to be too sarcastic here, but I can't resist either. Your laptop comes with its own uninterruptible power supply: the battery.

Best of luck with Mexico's power grid. We will all be breathlessly awaiting updates.

Fond Regards,

Kim G
Boston, MA
Where I get miffed if I have to reset the clocks more than once a year due to power failure.

Steve Cotton said...

Kim -- You are a banker. You see nothing but beautiful sunrises in the future. I am a lawyer. We see doom around every corner. You are, of course, correct that my laptop has the best builtin UPS known to engineers -- its own battery. But my lawyer head (please note, I did not refer to my heart) reminds me that I am the kind of user who runs his battery down almost to zero before putting it back on the charger. That, of course, is when the power goes out -- just as I have started drafting The Post That Will Change Absolutely Everything.

Don Cuevas said...

I too was wondering about that UPS.
Where we live, the power goes out regularly, from a minute or two up to 14 hours once.

Because we're on a wide area wireless network (I believe that Constantino is also), when the luz goes out we don't have Internet.

Then it's time to break out your favorite computer solitaire game. Or open a book.

Don Cuevas

Steve Cotton said...

One of the reasons I am taking a pile of books with me when I leave. I almost ordered two new ones today.