The Computer is Dead! Long Live the Computer!

My office computer Polaris, five and half years into its five-year mission, has gone to the great computer heaven in the sky. My new computer is a Dell XPS tower, with lots of power and a great deal of memory (by today’s standards; tomorrow, not so sure). It was on sale at Costco for a good price. I decided to name it after another great computer, renowned for its stability and wisdom. Minions, fans, and onlookers, I present to you…HAL! HAL, meet your minions, fans, and onlookers! Long live the computer!


I like my new computer. Windows 10, on the other hand…? Well. Let’s just say that several hairbrained design decisions on the part of Microsoft developers made the transition a lot harder than it should have been. For instance, whose idea was it that when you enter the profile name you want for your account, Microsoft quietly truncates it and uses the short form for all your file paths—rendering impossible what you probably want to do, which is to mirror the setup of your old system. Document paths? Gone. Itunes playlists? Gone. Well, that ought to be easy to change, right? No, actually, it’s not. I did finally fix it—thanks to Google, other users, and a bit of hacking in the Windows registry. (On a new machine! Really?)

I also decided it was way past time for a new monitor for my poor eyes. My new one is much bigger, with higher resolution, and so on. Thought I, this should make all the text on the screen easier to read. Wait, what? Why is all the text now tiny? Oh yeah—more pixels per inch. Smaller letters. Okay, sure—but how stupid is that? My wife nodded knowingly and said she gave up on her office computer and just got used to reading small text. (Yes, you can go into settings and enlarge the text, but you degrade clarity and performance when you do.) Why has nobody fixed this problem? Are all those developers in their early twenties, with great eyesight? That must be it. Same idiots who use light gray font on websites. What did I say about walking on my lawn?

Still, I think HAL and I are going to be great friends. Right, HAL? Could you open the pod bay door for me, HAL? HAL?

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