Sunday, 23 April 2017

The new laptop - first impressions

I am writing this post from the third (counting out company one) computer I have had in my life. Given the fact my parents bought me my first one in 1999 (and I was one of the last children at school to have come into possession of a PC) that the most recent one is a brand-new one, jaw might drop open.

My first PC was the one I would tamper with, could take it apart and put together again, swapped components with my classmates etc. After seven years of service it gave way to a belated 18th birthday gift, a brand-new HP notebook bought in summer of 2006, prior to the outset of my studies. It broke down once, in 2010, then in 2014 I had it thoroughly cleaned of dust, the operation which cost under less than a hundred zloty that gave the notebook a second life and a speed boost. It served me really well, despite running on obsolete Windows XP and crying out for more RAM and faster processor at times. It has not given up a ghost typically; instead, its cover’s wear and tear reached its limits and the right hinge cracked. The estimated cost of repair was at least PLN 200 which prompted me to look for a new notebook, rather than sinking money in a device which on account of its age could pack up any time soon.

Since I have had good experience with HP devices (the one many not share) and having heard several times of badly defective Acer notebooks plus being fed up with my company Lenovo laptop, I decided to focus on HP portable computers only, knowing I would not repeat such good purchase as the previous computer had been. After all, more than a decade has elapsed and in terms of IT hardware, this is an era. For the sake of good order, I have not bought a state-of-the-art computer, since as I use it as Internet browser, a mailbox, a typing or calculating machine, a simple photo editor or a media player, the most advanced components would bring little marginal benefit and measurable marginal cost. I spent two thousand zloty on the new machine and after three weeks of using it, I do not regret not expending more money.

Though the technology has moved forward, in terms of ergonomics a step backwards has been made. I confess not to be fond of 16:9 screen proportions (I have got used to it) and I found 4:3 much more practical. Also all today’s notebooks have much less ergonomic mousepads. While choosing a laptop I paid much attention towards the pad (I have learnt not to use a separate mouse), bearing in mind how impractically it is designed in my company Lenovo and how it winds me up every time I use it outside the office. The pad in my new laptop has two separate buttons (not being a part of the pad as in lousy Lenovo), however lacks the scrolling surface to the right the previous one had. Well, one can get used to everything.

Using Windows 7 at work and Windows XP at home I did not observe much difference between the two operating systems. Upgrading to Windows 10 was thus a shock, yet I wanted to buy the most recent version of Microsoft’s operating system to avoid seeing it being rendered obsolete before long. Functionalities of Windows 10 best illustrate what stride has been made in terms of IT and what is the direction of changes. I would best call it a shift from owning to sharing and a shift from offline to online. Needless to say, my first steps with the new computer were dealings with privacy settings and turning off several spies built into the system and turned on in default mode.

Configuring and personalising the system is far more intuitive than in its previous versions. It seems the contemporary devices and operating systems are designed to be fool-proof. If you need a device to run, after a few clicks it is in the operational mode, while if you desire it to run the way you want it to, it takes a longer moment to tweak with all the settings and to disactivate the redundant functions. Though I appreciate how the modern devices take care of themselves, I actually lean towards being an aware technology user who gives up on convenience and prefers to retain control over his machinery rather than lets them look after themselves.

Hope the new device will serve me well for years to come, however I realise no matter how much I care about this device with limited durability, another decade in service looms out of reach.

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