Back in the day – no, this isn’t going to be a story about walking through knee-high snow on my way to school in the ‘60s. It could be, but it’s about a different day. The day when I had one PC and it ran DOS. Email and the Internet weren’t things – that day! Getting a new PC was easier back then. In that day, you could back up your stuff (your files and your programs) and you could restore it to a new machine and use it. Yep, use all your stuff. Just like that. Along the way to making everything easier, we threw the concept of easy migration out the Windows – pun intended. Of course, there was less that we could do, but we didn’t know that yet.
Three weeks ago, I sent the manager of my department a link to a larger capacity hard drive for my Windows laptop under the subject line:
“Can I have one of these?”
Several years ago, I would have just ordered the drive, but succession planning has convinced me to give him control over my budget. Now, I have to ask. In any case, I had been running out of room. I was constantly moving files back and forth between our servers at work, Box, DropBox, ShareFile and One Drive. Actually, One Drive is so confusing, I haven’t really used it much, even though I have access to 1 TB of space.
I remember when a terabyte was an unimaginable amount of storage. Then my daughter bought me a 1 TB USB backup drive. Instantly, I had a terabyte of storage just laying on my desk. Then Flickr gave me 1 TB of storage for photos. Then I bought a 3 TB MyCloud device from Western Digital. Three Ter-a-bytes! Three! All of a sudden, a terabyte was “one terabyte? Just one?” 1 TB lost its mojo. DropBox wants to sell me 1 TB of cloud-based storage for $99 a year. $99? Are you crazy DropBox? That’s like paying $99 for air. I digress.
This isn’t about cloud-based storage.
While my laptop was undergoing its hard drive transplant, I decided that I would use my MacBook at work and my old laptop at home. I have a MacBook because I write Apps for our employees to use on their iPhones and iPads. I could use the MacBook for everything, I suppose, but I’m too much a PC kind of guy for that. Still, I figured that I could do it for a few days. You can do anything for a few days.
I have a new MacBook, too. I’ve had it for a while, but I hadn’t set it up.
It was time to bite the bullet as it were, and upgrade everything. I’ll spare you the gory techie details and the logic behind my situation but I had to upgrade to Apple’s latest operating system and development environment, apply nine million Windows updates and install Office-365 on both my laptop and my Mac. Then, I had to install a new password manager and log back into everything, everywhere.
I spent a lot of time over several days last week and weekend upgrading, downloading, installing and configuring. Again, I’ll try to be brief (stop laughing). I’ll give you the high points of my frustration in its two main categories:
ThinkPad vs. ThinkPad – Check out the two photos of the ThinkPad keyboards. Those are the keyboards on my old (home) and new (work) laptop. There are two changes that are driving me bats. First, they moved the Delete key (along with the PgUp/PgDn/Insert/Home/End keys. In moving between these two machines, I am constantly hitting the wrong key and when one of the wrong keys that you hit is ‘Delete’ your day isn’t great.
Second but less obvious is the way the keyboard light is activated. ThinkPads have this very cool little LED at the top of the screen that shines on the keyboard. I use that a lot. On my old laptop, I turn that on by pressing Fn and PgUp. On the new one, I press Fn and the space bar. Pressing Fn-Delete (the key where PgUp used to be) on the new laptop, does nothing, but pressing Fn-Space on the old one changes the screen resolution. No, I don’t know why it does that but it’s annoying.
Mac vs. PC – Some of my ‘Apple’ friends will be laughing soon, but there are just some things about the whole Mac experience that I – don’t – get.
Why do the Min-Max-Close “buttons” have to be on the opposite side of an application’s window? Couldn’t Apple and Microsoft agree on a consistent approach? Upper right or upper left guys, it really isn’t that hard, and why can I close a window on the Mac but still have to ‘Quit’ the program? Also, I am sure that there is a protocol for when to use the Shift-Control-Option-Command keys, but I – just – don’t – get – it.
I realize that I do this stuff for a living. You’re probably saying “suck it up Dan, they pay you to do this, we have to do it for free.” I look forward to a day when I won’t be working with multiple machines, but in some ways, having them this past week was a blessing. I’m not sure that I could set up a new computer today without an old computer nearby.