Grateful for our computer
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Posted: 06/06/2008 6:06 PM
I’m grateful for our computer. Its killer feature was the price. Zilch! The other killer feature that convinced us to adopt it was the fact that it was a PC – and our family didn’t have one. We lived on a rural property without running water, telephone or internet connection, and our good friends offered us it, because our Amish outlook on life was starting to worry them.
My five year old son knew how to set up a HF radio and converse on it. My eleven year old could outride any city kid on her horse. My fifteen year old was more skilled at bush mechanics than most men twice his age. Hubby could fly a Cessna. And me – well I knew how to start a 5KVA generator and prime a bore, so we weren’t really backward. Although I suppose we were (and still are) just a little Amish.
It’s a little hard to review our non-Amish computer. It isn’t a no-name. At least I don’t think it is, because it has a name - Iwill - in proud green letters on the front of the grey box. And as for its specifications I know it is 850 Mhz and 40GB. It says so every time it starts up.
Iwill is also decidedly durable. I’m not sure how old it is, but only one component seems to have quit so far and that’s its backup battery. Whenever you start Iwill up, it thinks the date is 1 January 2000. And you have to press F1 to get it to continue to load Windows. And then you have to tell it today’s date. But that doesn’t really bother us. I mean, humans get Alzheimer’s so why not computers?
Iwill gets reasonable marks for usability. Its main switch at the back of the grey box is a little dicky, so if you even brush your hand near it, it tends to shut down. Providing you avoid rummaging around its rear however it’s happy to continue to tick over like a faithful old generator.
Iwill has two ports at the front which are easily accessible The mouse is plugged into one and the printer into the other. It’s a bit of a juggling act sometimes if you want to plug in an external hard drive or download photos from a digital camera – when this happens you have to pull the printer out, but it doesn’t happen much.
Iwill performs well for its age. Its speed doesn’t really bother me. Where we live there is just time to get up…time to go to bed… and lots of time in the middle during which we have to get lots of things done. And if Iwill sits there blinking for 30 seconds longer than the latest posh machine – so what?! I just make myself a coffee or do a few dishes.
Its value? Iwill is priceless. It has opened up a world of information to us. These days hubby can get out of bed and learn about anything from pyrolisis to DC converters whenever he feels like it. And then he can climb back into bed in the wee hours of the morning and enthusiastically tell me all about what he’s learnt, thanks to Iwill. Lately some unfeeling members of the family have been giving Iwill endearing names- like a stone-aged piece of junk. But he isn’t that at all. He’s a valuable accessory to our family – almost a family member.
I’m not sure whether Iwill is expandable. I do know he has 40GB of space and 38GB is used up. We are getting around this problem by plugging in an external hard drive, loading our photos onto Iwill, and then transferring them over to the hard drive and deleting them off Iwill. A little cumbersome maybe. But it’s working so far.
I have not attempted to introduce Iwill to anything like Windows Vista, Linux or other curios that are unfamiliar to me. I am still teaching the rest of the family how to word-process basic documents and send email so I don’t think anyone in our household is ready for the superior stuff anyway. Not that we’re Amish or anything…
I’ve never brought up any service or warranty issues with the family that gave us Iwill. One day when he stopped working, hubby unscrewed his covers and blew him out with compressed air. He appreciated the cyclonic treatment and started worked again. I wish I could say the same thing about our cathode ray monitor. It frequently blinks and you never quite know if the screens gonna go blank on you in the middle of typing something, so you have to save files frequently. I’d really like a LCD monitor one day – and maybe something bigger than 15 inches – but I stay grateful for what we’ve got anyway.
Having said that though - it'd be nice to have a Ultimate UMPC to our name. So we could pass Iwill onto some other Amish friends we know ....
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