New Computers At Work

We got new computers at work this week, thanks to an extremely generous benefactor. We hired a company to make the change; they started last Friday so every day this week I’ve done nothing but work at getting my computer back to where I need it to be. Changing settings, loading programs, transferring registrations from the old computer to the new one, figuring out how to make our financial program work with the Vista operating system and on and on. It’s been stressful and the most annoying thing is the new “soft touch” keyboards. I’d asked to keep my old keyboard, and was given permission to do so, but as it turns out the new computers don’t include an outlet for PS2 connectors. The company that performed the switchover told me there is no way to connect my old keyboard to my new computer as the PS2 to USB cables he’s tried have not worked.

I learned by googling, as did our IT manager, that a converter is needed. The reason is that the old keyboards require more electricity than the new ones.

My coworker in the office next to mine loves the new keyboards. She doesn’t want me to have my old keyboard back because it’s beige, while the computers are black. I told her I do not care in the least what color my keyboard is. I even, I am ashamed to say, used a very profane cuss word to get my point across. Luckily my boss and the IT manager share my opinion so I will get my old keyboard back once the converter arrives.

Our IT manager chose Dell computers, which seem to get a bad rap for being junk/throwaway computers. Hopefully that won’t be the case. It would be disastrous to say the least to see nearly fifty computers fail before we could afford to buy replacements.

When we’ve had a change like this in the past, our previous IT manager made a point to get the new operating system on my computer (I’ve been there since before Windows 2000), as well as the new Office Suite. He would do this at least 3-4 weeks ahead of anyone else, which was to his advantage because everyone asks me for help with their computers. Our current IT team did not do this, and I explained to them that it was important. The IT guy did give me Office 2007 at home a couple of weeks ago, but I don’t use these programs at home as much as at work. As a result, all week long I’ve been at the same place everyone else has been all week long. Learning Vista and learning Office 2007. This put me into a very stressful situation as I’ve been fielding questions about programs I hardly know.

The most interesting thing about the week is I learned why I prefer (need!) what is called a “clicky” keyboard. Here is a quote from the site Clicky Keyboards:

Buckling spring key-switch keyboards are technically superior because they provide visual , tactile and auditory feedback. Rapid typing occurs as a result of one finger completing a key stroke, while another finger is preparing the subsequent key sequence, and other fingers are preparing to convert the user’s thoughts into action. Each key has an individual weight to it, and experienced typists can apply sufficient, but not extra, force to achieve their goal. (Of course, if the user needs to look down at the keyboard and find each individual key as one types and only uses 2 fingers, that person is a “hunt-and-pecker” typist and types at 10 words per minute (WPM) and probably does not need a technically superior keyboard.)

The most widely produced buckling-spring keyswitch keyboard is the IBM model M keyboard. When pressing an individual key, the operator is physically applying increasing force (approximately 30 – 40 grams of force) against a coiled spring. The spring provides slight resistance, so that you can rest your fingers on the keyboard and not cause an accidental or inadvertent key press. Once the spring travels a particular distance (approx. 2.5 – 3.5mm), the spring reaches the “catastrophic buckling” point and produces an audible click at the same exact instance that the computer records the keystroke.

Isn’t that fascinating? Especially the part about visual, tactile and auditory feedback.

On one occasion when the IT manager was in my office with one of our IT team, he asked where a certain laser printer had come from originally. He said, “They chucked it into the dumpster this morning, and I had never seen it before.”

This seems to indicate that they threw away all the old printers, keyboards and who knows what else. The really sickening thing about that is we’ve regularly benefited from company that gives electronic products away free to non-profit organizations and depends on donations from companies that are upgrading their computers. This company works with a tech school to repair and refurbish computers. Maybe they had more than enough donations. But it is still sickening to think they threw those things into the landfill. Why not donate to the thrift stores in the area? I just don’t understand people sometimes. This is not the first time my company has thrown perfectly usable product into the garbage, to my chagrin. I was even accused of being a tree hugger when I suggested they donate unused building materials to Stardust during our remodeling several years ago.

But enough of that, how was your week? I’m planning to make another batch of Weed Soup today, my garden is overcome with weeds and I need to harvest some. :-) My Swiss Chard is big enough to harvest a few leaves so I think I’ll take some of those, too. I’m also planning to get another bed of my garden planted this weekend. I ordered new seeds and am so excited to get them into the ground.

Have a lovely day!

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2 comments to New Computers At Work

  • a.b.

    Mrs. A,

    Regarding throwaway computers, I just got a dell mini to replace my ibook, as another apple was way out of my price range. My husband, his brother, and dad all build their own computers, but when they don’t have time to build, they buy dells. My mom has had a dell desktop quickly approaching 4 years old, and it works as well as the day she got it.

    I think the throwaway comment goes across the board with PCs, just because of the rapid increases in tech quickly devalue the computer and you know how people have the latest and greatest.

    For a fun frugal note, I bought my first ibook at a pawn shop in 2000, one of the clamshell ones like in Legally Blonde only mine was grey (a bit more powerful). I kept using it through this year when my needs overwhelmed its capabilities, and then converted it to a DVD player for travel. Amortized, that little laptop has cost me about $53/yr and its still going!

    [Reply]

  • Stephanie

    I can’t believe they threw all that out, though I know it is common in corporations. I’ll take their junk! :)

    [Reply]

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