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Travis: Upgrading to new computer headaches
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Around 20 years ago my bedroom TV committed murder/suicide. It was sitting on a gate leg table whose leaves were folded. The TV was one of those very large and heavy ones, and its weight must have made the table legs begin to separate. That slight tilt led to the TV jumping to its death in the middle of the night, and it took the VCR with it. The crash scared me and my husband to death.

Well, now my computer has done the same thing, committed murder/suicide. It didn’t jump to its death; it just went pop and was gone. Maybe it electrocuted itself. Anyway, it took the printer with it. My printer was working fine, but it is so obsolete it will not plug into anything you can purchase today.

I really can’t complain. My computer was so old that it could apply for a learner’s license if it wanted to drive. It had had its motherboard replaced as well as its fan and mouse. (I don’t know what a motherboard is but it almost sounds indecent. I want to giggle when I say it.)

But I still have the original keyboard. Someone said to me, “You have a keyboard that is cream colored?” I assume that means it is really old.

It was running on Windows XP which was an upgrade. I think I started with Windows 98.

I spent about two weeks reading ads, asking friends and acquaintances for advice and coming to The Covington News early to research computers and prices off the clock.

There are so many choices out there today. Not like when I bought my recently deceased device. Did I want a tower and monitor? Did I want an all-in-one? Did I want a laptop or did I want a tablet? I didn’t know. My children lobbied for a laptop because that means I would need Wi-Fi. If I had Wi-Fi, all my grandchildren’s various iStuff would work at my house. And believe me, they have iStuff.

The best two pieces of advice I got were “make a choice and don’t look back” and, from my husband, “buy the newest thing because it will last you till you die” (his standard comment about a new car).

With the kind assistance of a much younger computer wizard, I have purchased a printer, a lap top computer, a keyboard (because I was certain I could not type very fast on a laptop) and a very spiffy (strong, fast?) router that will support all iThings.

The wizard unpacked the computer and set up the router. I could never have done that. The computer comes with Windows 8. It looks absolutely nothing like what was the desktop of my old Windows program. It’s pretty and it’s colorful, and I got a five minute tutorial from the wizard and another five-minute tutorial from my first-grade granddaughter. (Oh, the ignominy.)

So far I have managed to set the time and unpack the keyboard and attach it to the computer.

After a long talk on the phone with a troubleshooter for my Internet provider, I am now able to send and receive email. I was used to Outlook Express, but now I have to go to Yahoo. I’m getting used to apologizing and citing my age to people on the phone who are computer literate. This young man was very nice, but he had to somehow take over my computer from where he was and do it himself.

I have installed an anti-virus program all by myself. It took me about five times. I kept putting the CD in and listening to its whirring. Then the screen said tap here. I tapped the screen, I tapped the keyboard of the computer in various places. Nothing. I took the CD out and re-inserted it. And went through the whole rigmarole again and again.

Finally on one of my tries, I accidentally clicked with my mouse and voila up came instructions. I can follow instructions and was OK from then on.

I have found the Internet and know how to get online. I have downloaded solitaire, but I don’t know where it is on my computer.

Still to go are unpacking the printer and following those instructions so the printer can talk to the computer. And I have to download Microsoft Word.

Oh well, tomorrow’s another day.

Paula Travis is a retired teacher from the Newton County School System. She can be reached at