December 24th, 2006
No, this photo wasn’t taken this weekend. It was taken during the big ice storm that swept through this region in January ‘98. This morning, as I look out the window into the backyard, I see green grass and falling rain. It looks like we’ll have a green Christmas — which is actually fine by me. So, why am I reminded of the ice-covered picnic table?
I’ve just spent the past day or so configuring two laptop computers. Last night, I came across the icicle table in the older of the two laptops. It brought back some memories of the ice storm, so I thought it would make a good photo to head up this piece.
It’s interesting how these computers work, isn’t it? They’re rather like little time vaults. You have all sorts of memories stored up in them — photos, emails, bits of writing, data, and other odds and ends. I actually have several time vaults here — various incarnations of Macs dating back to an ancient 512 that I used when I was editing two agricultural journals in the 1980s. Looking back, it’s amazing to think of what could be crunched out of one of those little machines using an early version of PageMaker. The 512 now sits in a box in the studio building, abandoned c. 1993, when I bought a Mac Performa to use for writing and illustrating teaching manuals. I also hammered out many an essay on it while working on a graduate degree. What a workhorse of a machine it was. From there, I moved on to an iMac around 2002, when I got heavily into photography and working with video. A Mac laptop was added a year ago for when I’m on the road, although, I must say that it’s become my everyday computer. Every one of these machines is an archive of what I was doing at a certain point in my life. To switch one of them on is almost akin to stepping into a time machine and zipping back ten or twenty years.
So, that’s what I’ve been doing this weekend — revisiting old time vaults as I configure a new laptop for myself, and reconfigure my current one to give to my Mom who has been wanting a reliable, easy to use laptop. This one has certainly served me well and should be a great fit for the task. But that leaves me attempting to move a big chunk of my life from one computer into its successor. However, as somewhat expected, nothing ever works quite the way you think it will. The new laptop doesn’t run Classic 9 O/S, so older programs and their accompanying files won’t work. I did know this beforehand, but decided that I would go ahead with the transition and try to find a way to deal with the problem as, at some time, I’d eventually have to. That’s what I’m doing this weekend — dealing with the problem. It’s going okay, but is rather tedious and there have been a few annoying little surprises (I’ll spare you the details). I suppose I should have anticipated that things would not go entirely smoothly when the fellow delivering the new laptop backed his truck out the lane and ran over our rural mailbox — an inauspicious entrance for the new arrival. However, I think things are gonna work out alright – in time.