Wednesday, December 19, 2007


For a few weeks I tried to get my busted old computer fixed, but after wasting a bunch of money with no results, and being the sort of person who is easily attracted to shiny new things, I said "To hell with this!" and bought a new computer.

Unlike last time, when I bought the cheapest machine I could find that wasn't actually steam-powered, this time I spent a little bit extra and got a unit that should last for a few years. Behold the mighty Core 2 Duo E6750, with a 2.66Ghz Intel processor, 2Gb RAM, a 160Gb HDD and a video card which should be able to cope with even the most demanding games. Plus it lights up blue when you turn it on!

It's so nice to have a new computer. All the USB ports work! There are no weird viral glitches in the web browser! And most importantly, it plays the MST3K DVDs that my living room DVD player refuses to recognise!

On the downside, I've been forced to spend the last two nights reloading all my software and generally wrestling it into compliance with my wishes. I had to change the screen resolution, register it with Microsoft (and receive my free Mark of the Beast), load up the software for the printer and the camera, install the version of the Office Suite which came with my old computer (and again register it with The Dark Lord Gates), configure a new internet connection, download my preferred email viewer and persuade it and my ISP to get along, transfer my old documents and photos from my old hard drives... sigh. None of the tasks were particularly difficult, but they were tedious and time consuming. So then I loaded up Starcraft, and revelled in once again having the ability to splatter little cartoon soldiers from an isometric perspective.

As I told a friend, it was like shooting pure heroin into a vein after nearly a month of cold turkeydom.

Naturally, the biggest obstacle to my computing happiness came from the Apple Corporation. I found a disc with an old version of iTunes on it, which loaded up easily enough, but transfering nearly four and a half thousand songs from my old hard drive proved impossible. Apple doesn't like people fiddling with iTunes - it prefers them to use it, in the prescribed ways, preferably while gushing about the eye candy on the interface.

iTunes: Here, let me configure all of your music. You just sit back and admire the sleekness of our design.

Me: Thanks, but I want to...

iTunes: No, you just leave everything to me.

Me: But I don't want...

iTunes: Look, see how the border of the screen looks like brushed stainless steel! See? Pretty!

I looked at the Apple website to see how they suggested rescuing music from a broken computer. Their suggestion was to burn my music onto CDs and physically transfer them across to the new computer. Which is basically a subtle Apple way of saying "screw you, loser".

Eventually I gave up on a straight transfer and just copied the files from the iPod itself to the new iTunes. Even this was only achieved by luck - in the piles of paper scattered around my home office, I found a printout of some instructions for doing this that I'd found on an internet site a year or two ago. Of course when I looked up the URL to get a little bit of text that the printer had accidentally cut off, I found that the entire site had been erased and replaced with Standard Apple Marketing Gush #4.

Now I know how those guys in Invasion of the Body Snatchers movies feel when they come home and realise that their loved ones have been turned into pod people. Unlike the litigation-happy shysters at Microsoft, Apple just seems to absorb dissenters into the collective and then blank them.


Anonymous ultrabert said...

Not to burst your bubble, but to your "a video card which should be able to cope with even the most demanding games" I submit Crysis . I hear tell the game's engine (funnily enough, called the CryEngine2, made by Crytek, ... I guess they thought they were onto something there with the whole Cry thing.) has latent features not even implemented in video cards at present.

"Yes I'd like to enable 'Induce Quantum Wormhole to parallel dimension to observe real near-future, nano-suit enabled warfare'"

Crysis with all the sliders turned up makes Elbonians of us all.

1:55 PM  
Blogger Blandwagon said...

Fortunately I am a cheapskate, and only play games that have come down in price below $30. So any crises I may have about Crysis should be safely removed until 2011 at the earliest.

In the meantime, I hear there is this fascinating game called Half Life 2...

3:02 PM  
Blogger emawkc said...


It will be easier if, like the remaining non-pod people, you just sit, close your eyes and relax. Struggling only makes things unpleasant.

Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated.

11:02 PM  

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