Well, as you read already, I bought a new laptop. The old one was getting pretty threadbare. CD drive no longer functions, battery lasts about long enough to boot up and shut down with about five minutes in between, USB jacks that are getting flaky, hard drive so full that everything is bogging down, and on and on. You know the drill. After several days wasted trying to burn files on a USB CD drive so I could delete them and make space on the hard drive, I figured it was time.

The new computer came with Vista Home Premium. Not by my choice, but that’s the only choice it came with. After a few days with it, I’m still getting used to it, but I can live with it.

Compared to XP-Pro that I was used to, it’s in some ways way different, but in most ways, especially underneath all the pretty trimmings, it’s reassuringly the same.

A lot of the things they changed, I wonder why they messed with them. For instance, the Start menu and Explorer panes all work differently. They do the same things, so why do I need to learn a new way to do it? I wish they had left them alone.

But once you find things… like the Control Panel another thing the looks different, when you finally find the place you want, it’s almost always reassuringly the same. Oh there’s a couple things that are different, but 80% is unchanged under the hood.

One thing that’s improved is the wireless networking page. Or even the networking in general. They have added a network “map” that graphically shows your network connection. If there’s a problem, it guides you right to whatever you need to do to fix it. Of course, that still doesn’t mean I can get it to connect to my old laptop with a ethernet crossover cable.

I tried the Windows utility that lets you transfer files and programs to a new computer. It worked, but it’s so cumbersome to use, I gave up. I didn’t want to transfer programs. I’d rather install them fresh. I’ve been updating to newer versions of several programs in the process. But for just moving big chunks of data, the wizard thing was too limited, even though it worked despite the refusal of the network to hook up over the same cable.

So I’ve been transferring files using an external USB hard drive. Kind of a sneakernet with big feet. I’ve been burning a few things to CDs and deleting them. But a lot of stuff, I just don’t want to move at all. That and there are a lot of programs that I had on the old laptop that I can live without too. Most of them, if I ever need them again, I’ll just download the newest version instead.

It’s nice to have a new computer, though. I’d just unplug it and go sit in bed with it, or take it out on the deck or something like that, but I still just don’t feel as comfortable with it as the old one. That’ll take a while, but it’ll happen.