Posted by: Kim | March 8, 2007

Knitter or Techie Geek? You decide!

I usually write/blab/converse about knitting on this blog.  It’s what I like to do with my free time (and always what I like to do when I’m shirking some other duty).  But I’ve been hiding my “Mr. Hyde” side from all of you.  I am a techie geek.

I think it all started when I purchased my first computer in college–a Kaypro Expansion Unit Plus with an 8086 processor, two 5-1/4″ floppy drives (no hard drive) and a 9″ monochrome monitor.  I laid down the cold hard credit card that Citibank handed my unemployed self for the computer and the student version of Word Perfect for Dos, and for $1,000 I had just purchased my ticket out of using the computer lab with all of those other schmucks.  When I discovered a year later that my neighbor and friend (who was a Computer Science major in the Business college with me) had just bought his own system with a 286 processor and I found myself experiencing computer envy—THAT was the moment I became the geek.  It was so much faster than mine, and he could dial in to the school’s computer lab mainframe to compile our programs we’d written for class!  Yes, you’d think that he owned a Porsche Carerra GT in my eyes while I was driving my Yugo.  Damn him!

Over the years since that time, technology has progressed at lightening speed and so has the list of computers and upgrades that have marched through this house.  After moving to San Diego, I got a job in Operations at a company that manufactured computers for the ruggedized market, and my knowledge and thirst for more accelerated.  I had a phase where I built our home systems myself, since it was WAY TOO EXPENSIVE to buy them from someone.  Yes, this was before Michael Dell revolutionized the market by changing the model to offer inexpensive integrated systems directly to consumers.  Why didn’t I think of that?  Oh yeah, my nose was buried in the computer ads lusting after a better video card.

I no longer build my own boxes.  Frankly, it’s just too much hassle for the price you can get new boxes for nowadays.  (OK, I’ll admit that we have a micro ATX board, processor and memory stashed to rebuild the desktop box up in the office.  It’s Kato’s fault.  He’s a geek too.)  I still look at system specs in ads with the same lust (insert Tim Allen grunts–More Power!), but much of my computer part expenses have been replaced by yarn expenses.  Not a bad trade-off, actually.  At least the yarn isn’t going obsolete!  Besides, I switched over to being more of a laptop user when I bought my first one about six years ago.  I love the portability!  Once I installed the wireless network in the house, it sealed the deal.  Why be chained to a desk?  I started with a Dell Inspiron 8100, which I loved—great keyboard action and with the second battery, I could leave the oxygen cord behind for hours.  Then a Compaq Presario arrived a couple of years later.  The only reason I switched was for the power and features and it was offered to me at a great price (I’d tell you, but then I’d have to kill you).  Due to the faster Intel processor (read power-sucking life force), the battery life wasn’t as good as the Dell, but it was a 17″ widescreen versus my old 15″.  Much better for movies in the bathtub!

Over the last 6-12 months, my now nearly 4-year-old Compaq had been experiencing battery life issues.  I had bought a new battery, but it didn’t seem to help.  OK, I just have to be plugged in as much as possible (crap, isn’t that like a desktop?).  Then, the connection point between the AC adapter and the computer started failing.  It would switch to battery power even when plugged in, and I confirmed that it wasn’t the adapter itself.  It was internal.  My poor laptop was now in the late stages of terminal techie-cancer and I needed to replace him.  But what to buy?  I’ve also been through my share of laptops from work.  Staying away from HP was high on the list—our IT department gave me a brand new 15″ and I managed to burn through it three times due to internal heat issues burning out the USBs.  My last one was a Sony Vaio with a 12.1″ screen, which has to be the ultimate road warrior system–lightweight for lugging around the airport, but with the extended life battery, I could watch a movie on it and work while flying back from Germany or Taiwan.  But I’ve retired from that life and 12.1″ screens don’t work well for bathtub movies.  I returned to my first love and ordered a Dell E1705 last week.

Tuesday was the big arrival day.  I was so excited, I couldn’t even knit while I was waiting for Brown to arrive!  When he finally came down our street about 11:30am, I was like a kid at Christmas—still a geek, huh?  Here are photos of it out of the box and booting up for the first time.

Dell laptop closedDell laptop booting

The keyboard action on this thing is just like my old Dell (swoon!) and it doesn’t sound like the jet engine that my Compaq does now.  Gotta love Intel Core 2 Duo processors!  The one curve ball was that I needed to shift to Windows Vista.  While I may be an early-adopter with the hardware, I don’t like the idea of taking a new OS only a month after its release.  I like to wait until after the first major service pack is out.

I’ve now spent the last 48 hours transferring data and setting up e-mail and such on the new one (this is the first post from the Dell).  My next post will be about my impressions so far of Vista.  I guess it couldn’t have been so bad—I actually had free time to work on DH’s sock last night!



  1. I’d be interested in how it all goes for you. I think my old laptop is on its way out too. Unfortunately I’m not a techi geek, I have no idea!

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