February 21st, 2008

Help!

Y'all, I am so freaking frustrated right now, and I would appreciate any advice you could give me. Let me preface by saying I am pretty good with some areas of computerishness--I know HTML, for instance--but I'm not interested in computers. I'm only interested in what they can do for me, so I've always learned exactly enough to keep me going and no more. Sometimes I have made forays into keeping up with technology by reading egghead computer magazines, but they are geared toward people who care, or who regularly buy stuff they don't need, not to people like me who want this equipment for function only.

My computer started to act funny about a year ago, and my husband and I figured it might die soon. Actually the start button stopped working, but my husband was able to fix it by taking the front cover off. So I've been turning it on using the interior power switch all this time. NO, we did not consider this enough of a warning sign to go make the big purchase, but I did buy an external hard drive.

The external hard drive was one of the more expensive models because I didn't want to skimp on something so important. (See the guilt action: if I hadn't backed up my files, I would have deserved what happened next.) However, when I got it home, it had one small page of instructions and a help site that was impossible to navigate, and the menu page when I plugged it in was not user-friendly at all. Still I managed to copy my files, I thought.

Well, the computer finally died last Friday. It wouldn't turn on at all. Later when I came back into the room after I'd had a good cry (kidding!) it was turning on and off rapidly without the monitor ever lighting up, and there was a distinct odor of burning electronics. Off I went to Sam's Club to buy a new computer, and I downloaded the contents of the external hard drive onto it. But a lot of the files are missing. Whole folders. Question 1: Do you have any experience with these gadgets, and is this common with them or am I doing something wrong? Question 2: Do you think it would be worth it to take the old computer to a shop and try to have them download the contents of the hard drive onto the sketchy external hard drive or onto CDs or something? I have not taken a computer to a shop since 1992, and that was a bad experience. Theoretically it seems to me that if the problem with the old computer is electronic, the contents of the hard drive should be intact and folks in the know could just extract that physical component and plug it up to something else. But maybe I watched too much Star Trek: TNG back in the day.

On my old computer, I was using Microsoft Front Page to create my web site. I think it must have been part of the old Office suite I was using. I am notorious for not buying new technology until my old stuff dies. Guilt factor again: I felt righteous when I bought Office 2007 along with the computer at Sam's Club. It didn't contain Front Page--I couldn't find an Office suite that did--so I also bought Web Easy Professional 7, figuring I could join the 21st. Everybody seems to have web capabilities that I didn't have with my old programs, starting with animated gifs.

Well, this program makes animated gifs all right, but it doesn't let me flip back and forth between WYSIWYG (not sure if I'm using this term properly, but I mean you can manipuate web page elements that look approximately how they will look on the page) and HTML coding. It just uses WYSIWYG and creates a file with a non-HTML extension. Question 3: What program do you use to play with web pages, and how do you like it?

On my old computer, I also had...okay, now I can't find the name of the graphics program. They all sound the same [Edited to add: Paint Shop Pro]. But I downloaded it for about $99 after nephele explained to me why my jpeg graphics were turning fuzzy online. Previously I'd been using the PhotoStudio software that came with my scanner to create graphics, but it wouldn't allow me to save things as gifs! I could dig up the name of my $99 program and download it again, but I guess it wasn't the most user-friendly program in the world now that I think about it. Question 4: What program do you use to create graphics? Question 5: Am I correct that I should be buying programs on CD rather than downloading them from the internet, so I can install them on the next computer after this one blows up? Or is that foolish, and I should be buying new programs every time anyway?

God. My new computer won't even speak to my printer because it's six years old. Me: "There's nothing wrong with this printer. It's almost like they WANT you to buy a new printer!" Husband: "Duh." We traded my printer with my husband's, which is newer. His printer refuses to print envelopes or labels, just stuffs the paper in its mouth and gnaws on it. I feel like I'm sitting in a dark room with sunglasses on. Keep repeating to self: Remember when you wrote and revised an entire manuscript on a typewriter. Remember when you wrote and revised an entire manuscript on a typewriter. Remember when you wrote and revised an entire manuscript on a typewriter.
  • Current Mood
    frustrated aaaaaarg!