Thursday, August 07, 2008

Laptops and fishy things

You may remember, back in April, that The Builder’s laptop upped and died on us while we were visiting Austin in Japan. Screen gone. Effectively no computer. No means of communication with the outside world, given that our phones also didn’t work. Fortunately, we could use Austin’s Macbook.

I bought a Mac myself when we got to Melbourne. We had left the Dell at Austin’s place. Collected it when we got back and brought the body home with us. I gave a bit of thought to buying it a new screen, but rapidly decided that it had been driving us batty anyway with its performance and that a replacement would be the better way to go, if we actually needed two computers.

The body sat in the corner, gathering dust. From time to time The Builder investigated Dell screens on eBay. I continued to argue that, if we really needed two computers, a new one would be better. The Builder, being a thrifty soul, felt that making do and mending was the way to go. Ordinarily I would agree with him, but the Dell was going to require quite a lot of work to get it back up to scratch.

I ran all this past my pal Gavin. He also thought that a new laptop would be better than patching up the old one and drew my attention to the existence of Linux based internet browsers. They actually looked as though they would do quite nicely, and were only £50 more than a new screen on eBay.

So, we called in to PC World on our way home last evening and looked at the internet browsers. They were rather cute. The keyboard was a touch on the small size for someone with large fingers, but we figured he would get used to it. You probably couldn’t do very much more than just browse the net with them, but then The Builder doesn’t do much more than that. And should he need to, there is still the Mac. We’ll have one of those. Alas. There were none in stock. No worries – we’ll have one of those other ones instead.

The boy went off to look for one. While he was doing that, we wandered off to look at the laptops. And found a perfectly serviceable laptop (although a brand I had never heard of) for a mere £100 more. Runs on Vista but that probably won’t worry The Builder. The boy came back. None of any of the internet browsers anywhere to be found. But that was OK because by the time he got back we had decided to abandon the browser idea and just buy a new laptop.

And so we did.

We also bought one of those electronic photo frames. With a weather station attached. Because we were playing with the display model while the boy was collecting the laptop. A true impulse buy!

I spent a merry hour or so setting up the Ei-system so it does what The Builder wants it to. The only problem came when it was bedtime and we wanted to turn it off. I couldn’t find a way to do it! I could log The Builder off. I could make it go to sleep. I could do a number of things that I can’t think why you would want to at the alt/control/delete stage. Turn it off? No. Even pressing the off button only put it to sleep. We left it sleeping, went to bed and I had another look this morning. Took quiet some puzzling – but eventually I noticed the electronic Off Button hiding in the corner!!!

Tony asked why a Microsoft based laptop and not another Mac. Finances, I fear. A new Mac would have set us back not quite £800 and the Ei-system was a mere £300. Couldn’t quite justify spending nearly £500 more on what is really a second laptop.

Haven’t set up the other new toy yet.

On Tuesday evening, we got home to find Steve Next Door hanging over the fence, brandishing a plastic bag containing a freshly caught trout. Nice. We like trout. While The Builder was putting up a trellis in the greenhouse and generally doing useful garden things, I gutted and cleaned it (lessons remembered from fishing with Tony when I were no’but a lass!) Then I filleted it, much less expertly, never having been called upon to fillet a trout before – and not really having a suitable filleting knife. We didn’t eat it on Tuesday evening because I had prepared pork chops in the morning ready for that evening’s dinner. We did, however, have them last night, with potatoes, courgette, broad beans and a mountain of runner beans from the garden. That trout was absolutely delicious. So were the vegetables, but the trout was a real treat. It is a great pleasure having amiable and generous neighbours.

I spoke to Stella yesterday morning. She is sounding very chipper and quite cheerful and is still on course to go home on Saturday. Tony has returned to playing golf.

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