Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Reading In Bed


I spent most of yesterday doing chores, catching up on those neglected during NaNo--laundry, clutter. I was holding out as reward some uninterrupted face-time with a novel. But by the time I had dealt with the last load out of the dryer and then gotten a shower to shed the grime of the day's efforts I was so exhausted all I could do was collapse on the bed. I was asleep well before 11pm which is quite rare for me.

I woke at 4AM. I could have easily gone back to sleep but the lure of the page and the quiet of the house encouraged me to reach for the book. I made a cup of Ginger Peach Green Tea and settled on the bed. Even Merlin, our Ginger Tabby, must have felt the magic of the moment because he did something very rare for him. He climbed onto my lap and kneaded and nestled and fell asleep, remaining there for well over an hour. And he did that twice in less than two hours, returning after a brief excursion to the food and water dishes. He is a fairly standoffish kitty so when he deigns to settle on my lap I feel honored and somewhat in awe.

Ed had the day off because he will likely have to work both Saturday and Sunday. He spent the day on the bed as well. But whereas I sat at the head propped by pillows, he sat on the foot, on the corner with a TV tray to his left and a TV tray to his right. Each one holding a laptop. Yep. Heard that right. Two laptops. Mine and his. He got his Xmas early when he was surprised with a pay raise retroactive to September in last Friday's paycheck and the unexpected extra was just what he needed.

His computer is another investment in our future not just an Xmas toy. He had been using my laptop for some purposes but found it inadequate for much he wanted to do. Mine was essentially a students computer and already four years old (it was a 2004 model when I bought it in late 2005) and he needed more CPU speed and more RAM and more hard drive space. He needed a programmer's machine. And that's what he got. His Toshiba is four times more powerful than mine and cost a hundred bucks less than mine did three years ago.

Well he spent today getting some of his stuff off my computer and doing other maintenance tasks on it. Many of them more overdue than the laundry and clutter tasks of yesterday. I've been complaining for months and months about the slowness of my computer. Even after he installed extra RAM last summer, tripling it, and raved at the difference, I still complained. He blamed my useage habits--like having too much open, not closing the browser often enough, not restarting often enough... But when you know it is going to take twenty plus minutes to get back to the desktop a restart is not easy to commit to.

Well the other day I did a Google search on speeding up slow computers just to educate myself on the issue and I found several sites with what looked like good information, including freeware programs designed to fix some of the common problems. After reading about it, I thought it sounded like one of the issues might be a cluttered registry--from frequent installing and uninstalling of programs. Which was something he was always doing because he loves to testdrive applications. So I told him about my research and about the links I'd collected and asked him to try to address the issue before I have to leave for Longview sometime this month. (Won't know when until the rehab/nursing home near Sacramento California releases my Mom for travel two to three weeks from now if all goes well.)

Seeing as I was intent on reading and studiously ignoring both the TV and my laptop, Ed decided today was a good time to tackle this. Via the links I'd collected he found his way to some helpful freeware. One was a program that uninstalls applications and reveals the stragglers left behind afterwards so they can be removed. One was a registry cleaner. And one of those or another one altogether happened to show the available memory in all drives and it was showing that RAM contained only the original 256 Megs. Something was wrong with the extra 512 he had installed several months ago.

This is so typical. I knew at the time that there was no noticible difference in the performance of my laptop after he had installed that extra RAM. But his effusive excitement about it at the time made me feel like a silly whiner because afterall he was the 'expert'. But he is like that about so many things. Wanting something to be true so bad he makes it true, if only in his mind.

Well, he opened the drive compartment again and took another look at the RAM chip and figured out that it hadn't snapped into place correctly. He got it working this time, confirming it by opening that ap again to see if it registered and it did. Then he did a restart and the two of us timed it from the second he clicked the restart command. It took six and three-quarter minutes to be back to a fully loaded desktop. Since we didn't time it after the uninstalling of his huge developer's applications and the registry cleanup but before he fixed the RAM there is no way to tell how much of the difference to attribute to the extra RAM and how much to the other things. But cutting restart time by 5/6 seems huge to me.

Other things that are faster: loading big applications like Open Office suite, photo and graphics handling programs; switching between windows already open on the desktop; streaming videos; games; animations; web pages with lots of graphics and scripts. These things take five to fifteen seconds now rather than fifteen to fifty an up.

It is almost like having a brand new machine. I'm eager to explore its possibilities all over again. But not as eager as I am to get back to reading. I have been promising myself a fiction fix for weeks and weeks.

0 tell me a story:

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