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My new computer: initial impressions

December 25th, 2007 Comments off

Merry Christmas everyone! I’ve been customizing my new computer since 10:30 pm last night. Well, I did get six hours of sleep in there too.

My computer was delivered yesterday before we left for my parents’ but I didn’t have time to turn it on until we got home. We unpacked the box and set everything up before leaving, however. I have to give Dell credit – everything is packed well and the software is extremely organized; they even mark the CDs to let you know what software is already pre-installed on the machine. It made setting everything up (hardware-wise, at least) effortless.

I have to say, the tower and matching monitor are very sleek looking; prettier than I was expecting. Everything runs fast on my new machine too. But you knew this entry was going to focus on the things I don’t like, right? Of course you did. This is in no particular order, just some annoyances I’ll either get used to eventually or rectify in some manner as I learn more about my new machine and Windows Vista in particular.

1) The CD-DVD RW drive isn’t really designed to be used vertically because I think Dell assumes people are going to set it up horizontally. I personally don’t like turning it on its side and putting the monitor on top because I don’t like looking up at my monitor. I keep mine low; probably lower than most, but that’s the way I like it.

2) The monitor height is not adjustable. I did know this beforehand, however, but figured I could manage. What’s more annoying to me is because the monitor is wide-screen, I lose vertical desktop space. Perhaps this is something that requires getting used to, but I find no reason for extra width since browsing typically requires vertical movement. I’m very tempted to go back to using my old LCD monitor which I love. It doesn’t match the tower, though, and I’m big on aesthetics, so I will have to think about it some more first since the tower is now on my desk in the back corner.

3) The fonts Vista uses are taking me time to adjust to. They don’t look as sharp as on my old machine even though I am running at the monitor’s native resolution and have tweaked all I can find to tweak. This is particularly noticeable in Firefox in the tab I’m currently working in because when the text is bold I see a purplish fringe around the letters unless I view them straight on by adjusting my position or the monitor angle. I know I’m super sensitive to stuff like this since many people, including my husband, don’t notice what I’m talking about. It still bugs the crap out of me, however.

4) I can’t use my Logitec wireless mouse and keyboard because the one connection is PS2 and my PC only accepts USB connections. Until I buy an adapter I’m forced to use the included keyboard and mouse which are very basic.

5) Windows Vista assumes you’ve never seen, let alone used, a computer before so they hide basic settings that most savvy users like to tweak. I had to visit forums and help sites just to figure out how to change some things I had no problem locating in Windows XP. I mean who needs their icons to take up so much space on their desktop? I am not blind for christ sakes. If I’m running in a super high resolution don’t keep my icons huge. That’s just retarded.

That all being said, I am really enjoying the speed of my new machine. Programs load quickly, as do websites. I can only imagine how much more awesome it’s going to be this weekend when I quadruple the RAM. And can I just say how sweet USB 2.0 is? Many of you have been enjoying its benefits for a long time but I was stuck in USB 1.0 land even though technically my old computer supported 2.0. I could just never get it to work. Transferring files to and from my iPod isn’t painful anymore.

Also, my computer came with Yahoo! Jukebox which rips CDs in the exact manner I want to. I couldn’t get iTunes or Winamp to extract songs in the format or file name I prefer but Yahoo! does it quickly and easily. Now I don’t have to download and install MusicMatch (my previous cd ripper of choice). Oh and it recognizes my iPod which for some reason Windows Media Player does not. I thought maybe on the new machine it would detect it, but nope. It tells me to connect a portable device even when it’s already connected.