Monday, May 21, 2012

It was time for a new computer

It was time: time for a new computer.

The main family computer was six years old, a lifetime for a computer, and though its operating system had been upgraded with good results, its limitations were getting obvious. It was not capable of running the latest OS. Of greater concern was the other computer — the one I used for most of my writing, emailing and other tasks. It was 10 years old, or a little older. Its very design had been abandoned. And though we had been awed by it when we first bought it (the first new computer we'd ever purchased), it was so outdated and slow that it could not perform currently routine tasks. You Tube might as well not exist because the older computer's processor was too slow to run video.

Having used Apple Macintosh computers for more than 20 years, our choice of which new computer to buy was pretty simple. I only had to go to the Apple store and pick one. I had a few questions: What is the best way to transfer my data from one computer to the other? Will my email, music  and photos migrate intact to the new system? Will my existing WiFi network be compatible with the new computer's OS? Of course, I was assured. We're talking about Apple Computers here, not some needlessly complicated, error-prone, obtuse Microsoft system. So with a few mental notes from the instructions I received about how best to transfer data, I laid down my credit card, picked up my box full of new computer and walked out of the Apple Store.

After getting home, I set up the data transfer as suggested, linking the old and new computers via an ethernet cable and used the built-in Migration Assistant to do the transfer. It took a lot longer than I had expected, giving me time to cook dinner and take a shower while I waited.

After that was when the disappointment came. With the data transfer complete, I checked the computer and found a few things missing: My calendar, my emails, my music and my photos. For the first time in two decades, I was disappointed in an Apple product, but it was too late on a Saturday night to call Apple Support, so I investigated data migration instructions and prepared to redo the whole thing, one element at a time.

It was during this process that I decided to update some software, requiring me to restart the computer. When I did, I discovered something I had not considered: The new computer listed two log-ins — the old one that had migrated over from the old computer and the new one that I had created during checkout at the Apple Store. When I logged onto the old user ID, lo and behold, there was my data — all of it, just the way it had appeared on the old computer.

Chalk it up to Operator Error. And I am the chagrined but happy operator. The family has a new computer, capable of downloading pictures, editing photos, handling video production, etc., etc., all at blazing speed. My wife will be the primary operator on that computer. I will used the 6-year-old computer to do my writing, word processing, etc. at a pace that is several times faster than was possible on the aged 10-year-old.

I haven't decided what we'll do with that other log-in and user ID.

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