Posts Tagged With: computer

I Buy A New Computer…

My Toshiba Satellite computer is 6.5 years old…a dependable workhorse…that was showing signs of getting tired. Since I recently installed the 4G modem and router in the motorhome…the cpu would occasionally load up to 100% capacity…locking up the computer and requiring a re-boot to be functional once again. In addition the brightness on the screen was showing signs of diminishing with age and trying to brighten it up via the control panel had little effect. So…I began considering a new computer. Here’s old dependable…

But I really loved my Windows XP operating system and hated the idea of parting with it…but facts are facts…nothing lasts forever and change appears to be the only constant in life. I hate the Windows Vista operating system (which Mary has on her computer and loves) and now that Windows 7 is here…it appeared it was time to go ahead and take the leap.

Last Friday while in town I needed to stop at Wal-Mart and while there stopped by to look at computers. They did not have many on display…perhaps 12…but one of them happened to be the Sony Vaio VPCEH11FX…a very nicely designed unit. Wal-Mart price $499.

Next I decided to stop at the nearby Best Buy store where I was likely to see more computers on display. I immediately zeroed in on the Toshiba Satellite’s…when all of a sudden….there it was again…the Same Sony I saw at Wal-Mart…only at Best Buy the price was $479.

I tend not to be an impulsive buyer…so I didn’t buy it…then. Instead I returned to the motorhome and fired up old dependable…to begin my research of the Sony computer. I’m an ex-engineer…I just cannot help myself…I need to feel comfortable about what I am buying. Several hours later over the next couple of days…the research was completed and I was ready to buy.

Part of what my research revealed is that all companies online are selling this computer for $549…all except Amazon…who usually has the lowest prices…was selling it for $599. I never thought Best Buy would have the best price…I thought they would be the highest. But in this case they were the Best Buy!

So, yesterday back I went to Best Buy and did the deed. Here’s the Best Buy page on this computer…

http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Sony+-+VAIO+E+Series+Laptop+/+Intel%26%23174%3B+Pentium%26%23174%3B+Processor+/+15.5%22+Display+/+4GB+Memory+/+500GB+Hard+Drive/2925714.p?id=1218364889388&skuId=2925714&st=2925714&cp=1&lp=1

Here are two photos from the Best Buy website…

If you are interested… here is a short video review of the computer in white…I bought black…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v-Ahb0OQDKE

One of my decision-making factors was that Geeks On Tour…RVing computer experts (husband and wife) who travel the country teaching RVers about computers…both own Sony Vaio computers and speak very highly of them. Here’s their website link… http://geeksontour.com/

Another deciding factor is that I’m a quasi-Sony fan having owned a number Sony items over the years. Last week I just bought a new Sony digital camera. Being an ex- quality control engineer I’ve alway associated the Sony name with quality.

When I went back to Best Buy yesterday,,,I went to look for the Sony computer,,,and couldn’t find it by looking for a $479 price tag. I asked a sales associate where was the Sony compter? We looked together and found it…at a new price of $449. The price dropped $30 over the weekend. So the moral of this story is…it pays to do your homework. In this case…knowledge that it was the right computer to buy…plus a $30 price reduction, Such a deal!

And so I now start the process of learning a new computer, operating system (Windows 7) and the transferring all of my files from the old to new computer. Here’s a photo showing my transfer station with the new computer on the left and old dependable on the right… making it easy to sit before both computers as necessary…

For your techies…the new computer has an Intel Pentium B940 Processor which just came out in June of 2011, 4GB Ram, 500 GB hard drive and a 15.5 inch screen. More than enough computer for my purposes.

All original material Copyright – Jim Jaillet 2011
For more information about my three books, click this link:
http://lulu.com/panamaorbust

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First Test Photos On My New Camera…

This is going to be a little tricky to explain and show…

The first three photos were taken at 3648×2736 pixels. The fourth photo was taken at 4912×1080 pixels and the last three photos taken at 640×480 pixels.

If your computer screen is like my 6.5 year old…the maximum pixel setting is 1024×768 pixels. Mary’s new computer of about one year old has a maximum of 1366×768 pixels. That means you can never truly see “the big picture” on a computer.

So the first four photos are about 4-5 time larger than your computer can show you. But I have re-sized them all to the 1024×768 size…so..if you click on each photo individually…you should see them as full screen on your computer.

The last three photos were shot at 640×480 pixels…so they are smaller than your full-size computer screen.

Bottom line…to see the photo as the largest whole picture on your computer screen…simply click on each photo! That’s easy! If you have a 1024×768 computer screen it will fill the screen. If you have a 1366×768 it will almost fill the screen.

These first four photos were taken yesterday at about 10:00 AM under still cloudy skies…at the highest pixel setting of the camera…

First up the road in front of my motorhome…

Then down the road…

Them my site…

My first panorama shot at 180 degrees…there another setting for 227 degrees which I did not try…

Then at 3:30 PM at the lowest pixel setting in the camera. These were shot in HDR mode for high sun and shade contrast where are supposed to better see into the shadows rather than have it be black…

Up the road…

Then down the road…

And finally my space…

Lastly…please remember that these are my very first photos with this camera…aka…I don’t know what I’m doing…or better said…I’ve not yet learned how to take maximum advantage of this camera’s abilities. There are ways to “peak” a camera. That…will come with time.

All original material Copyright – Jim Jaillet 2011
For more information about my three books, click this link:
http://lulu.com/panamaorbust

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609 Words About Modern-Day Customer Service…

It’s really hard to find! How’s that for a few words?

I’m lucky in so many ways. One on those ways is that I have little interface with the outside world…outside of my peaceful, quiet and serene RVing lifestyle world. I went paperless about one year ago and that appears to be working well.

But…every once in a while…I do have to interface with the outside world. And every once in a while…I need assistance…sometimes to file a compliant …more often than not…about poor customer service.

What ever happened to real customer service? It seems to me that…in today’s modern world…that when I seek some form of assistance…the person/company to whom I am making the request makes an instant evalation….is there any money associated to why this person is bothering me???? If not…customer service…never heard of it!

And don’t you just love those automated menu-answering systems that never seem to address my particular problem and won’t let you speak to a real-live human being…but instead justs keeps your going around in a never-ending circle?

And then…finally when you do get to speak to a real live human being…I wonder…with their personality and so-called assistance…which seems to be most of the time…no…you can’t do that instead of… of course..you bet no problem. How in the world did they ever get a job as a “Customer Service Representative”? They do not have a clue as to the meaning of the words! It seems like there’s a formula…the larger the company…the lesser the understanding of customer service. When you’ve got millions of customers…why care about one person and their tiny little problem(s)?

But…there are exceptions to this general rule. The old one-in-a-million trick!

Because of my reclusive life style…my major interface with the outside world is through either a cell phone or computer. Do you now that a mere six years ago…I had neither in my life? Anyways..both of these methods are through a company known as Verizon Wireless.

I’m happy to say that Verizon Wireless seems to understand the words customer service and…most of the times…not always…I’m satisfied with their attempt at customer service.

Now…ABOUT MY ONCE-IN-A-MILLION EXPERIENCE! If you are a regular follower of my Blog you know that in my last two entries I’ve described the physical process of shifting Internet Gears from 3G to 4G. Prior to the actual switching…there was lots investigation/homework to be done regarding what equipment choices to select.

Along the way I happen to connect with a delightful gal in Verizon technical support by the name of Peggy…and let me tell you…she is very knowledgeable…and just a hoot. This lady fully understands the words customer service! She could make millions teaching customer service…if anybody cared enough to want to learn about it.

Anyway…she has provided me with outstanding customer service…and you won’t believe this…she actually gave me her email address (they do not have individual phone extensions) so that I might contact her directly if I had any further questions/problems. CAN YOU BELIEVE THAT? It’s true! Now…when I have another question’problem…I send her a brief email and usually within a very few moments…she is back in touch with me! Fantastic! It almost takes my breath away!

I was so moved by her level of customer service I actually went out of my way to identify her supervisors so that I could send them an email message about her outstanding customer service.

Whew…as you can tell…I was really moved by my experience with her. Peggy…thank you…you are truly one-in a-million! You’ve made me a very happy camper!  🙂

All original material Copyright – Jim Jaillet 2011
For more information about my three books, click this link:
http://lulu.com/panamaorbust

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COMPUTER GENIUS OF LAS VEGAS

I’ve owned a computer since 1983. You’d think by now, I’d be quite knowledgeable about computers. Nyet! It doesn’t work that way.
Being a writer, I used it like a typewriter. I never put fancy scrolls around my Christmas letter, nor included pictures, or made a column…nothing- just typed. To type and correct errors without getting out the eraser and, later, the fabulous product, Whiteout?  Yahoo! Like throwing away the iron when perma press came on the market!

For what I paid for my Commodore 64, I could buy three far superior computers today. Who would ever have thought one would need more megabytes than 64?
Hah! Fast forward to 2011.  Now, I depend on that little black box and I use it every day. It functions like a phone, a camera, a typewriter, a video producer;  it brings me music, entertainment, and laughter. The list goes on and keeps increasing.  The catch is, they have to work efficiently.

I bought a new computer Dec. 7th and hadn’t been able to use it. It came without an email program and without many of the basics operating software we’ve become used to. It took my partner 6 hours to download an email program that I hated.
Enter computer genius Sam Valapp. First, he reconfigured my machine and customized it by loading my old program from my dying computer and added some new things. Then, he returned yesterday and got my web-cam and power point to work. When I asked him what type of computer he uses, he told Jim and I that he bought parts and built his own. Now that, my friends, takes genius. I’m sure there are others like Sam, but he came to the door, took the computer away and returned it like a new born baby. Ahh. I am a happy camper.
If you live in the Vegas area, I gotta tell you, Sam’s the man: www.computerhighland.com

Just give him a call at 702-415-9996.

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CHANGING GEARS IN CONNECTICUT

Flying Southwest has become a habit. The comfort of a free check-in bag; getting your boarding pass on-line, open seating. I like it! The crew is great. No meals, simple snacks and drinks. Works for me. Regular food service is a difficult manuever on a plane, anyway. A good excuse to take yourself out for breakfast, or lunch. On my last leg from Vegas to Hartford, (economy, doncha know) the Flight Attendant announced that the smoking area was open-on the wing. If you can keep your cigarette lit, she will give you a free ticket!

One attendant, (her name was Sandy,) was studded with colorful, clever little pins given to her by customers. I wanted to take her picture and she told me no, I could get arrested. Hmmm!  It seems they feel endangered by that act, too many loonies out there. So, along with nice customers who give pins, are the loonies. I asked another flight attendant and she explained it was against company policy.  We do live in strange times. I had to settle for a photo of the airplane after landing in Hartford. It was raining. A good change from the sweltering weather my “weather whimp” partner has been living through, and complaining about, while I returned home for my family reunion.

Jim the mule, struggling with my heavy luggage. He’s such a clown. My luggage is easy rolling. Now, to use his genius to diagnose my put-put computer and hopefully rescue 3,000 pictures into a flash drive before it fails. Changing gears, back to some sight seeing instead of trouble shooting sprinkler clocks, hey…life on the road is interesting and invigorating. 

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Another First And Fun Experience…

Jim says:

A couple of days ago I got a telephone call from my oldest (15) grand-daughter. I was especially happy to hear from her since that rarely occurs. She told me that she had got a new computer for her recent birthday that had a built-in camera and how would I like to do a video chat? You bet!, I told her and we agreed to try to connect the following day (yesterday) at 3:00 PM after she got home from school. We did and it was a great experience for me.

Since she has been about 12, she’s started to develop her own friendships and we rarely talked on the telephone. Even when we did, she basically would provide only one word answers to my questions…but yesterday was really different. Not only were we able to see one another, we had a 30 minute chat! It was really nice and I’m already looking forward to the next one.

Picture
The first video chat with my oldest grand-daughter.

In May my laptop will be five years old. About four years ago I bought a web-cam specifically to do video chats with my family while I’m on the road. At that time my son told me his computer was really old and slow and he needed to replace it…he never did. That combined with his working long hours resulted in no video chats. Thanks to my oldest grand-daughter, perhaps that will now change.

I’ll be arriving at their home in Connecticut in 29 days and perhaps I can help them set-up so we can do this with them as a family unit. I’m certainly hoping so….

As a side note….I’m currently visiting friends in Summerton, South Carolina and am located about 10 miles from Interstate Highway 95 in a bunch of trees. Result…very low cell phone and Internet signal. Once again, our cell phone amplifier system has come through. Without it, I’d have no communications. I’m really glad we installed it as we are using it more than originally anticipated. Even though I do not get to see my family in person all that often, it sure is nice to be able to communicate with them via phone and Internet on a regular basis. Video-chatting makes the experience much more enjoyable!

All original material Copyright – Jim Jaillet 2010
For more information about my three books, click this link:
http://www.panamaorbust.com

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