Everything's Up-To-Date With ms_meme

by ms_meme

Many of you have heard the song “Everything's Up to Date in Kansas City” from the musical Oklahoma. Everybody and everything in Kansas City goes about as fer as they can go.

I wrote a few new words to that song. Not singing it, but if you know the tune maybe you can hum it as you read the words.

Everything's up to date with ms_meme

She's gone about as fer as she can go

She's got a new computer with two gigabytes of ram

That's enough space for her to grow

Everything's like a dream for ms_meme

She feels like she's in a magic show

None of her programs with each other have to compete

Everything keeps a workin' she feels so complete

She can surf the net with pleasure it is so very neat

She's gone about as fer as she can go

She's gone about as fer as she can go

About a month ago I got an email from a neighbor saying she was getting a new computer and was taking her old one to the recycling bin and did I want to fool with it before she dumped it. And like a salivating fool I said sure. It was brought to my house within the hour along with the disks etc etc etc from brand X. This gift was mystifying and Vistafying.

My husband does not compute. That is good because there is never any competition for computer time. It is bad because he thinks you just turn it on and do whatever. While I have rolled my eyes and gritted my teeth at his naivety, and I am forever grateful for the support and help he gave me and for the help and support he will continue giving me. He knows that when I am happy with my computer the whole house is happy.

Many people in the forum have aided me with various things. Some of my problems stemmed from the fact that my computer was just not powerful enough to do a lot of things I wanted to do. So I am sure those helpers are more than happy that I no longer have a slow computer to complain about. My old computer still was/is a good computer and would have seen me through. But getting this newer model was like Christmas.

Everyone knows you don't get free stuff without paying the price. And it didn't take long for the piper to appear.

I immediately wanted to see what was what. The good thing was my old monitor worked with the new computer. Next we tried my keyboard. I love my old keyboard. I have used it since 2000. It was back when they gave good keyboards. Ones that don't make any noise. But of course it didn't have the modern usb connection, so it would not work. And my mouse was the same way....no usb connector. I thought that would be easy to solve and went off to Walmart for a new keyboard and mouse.

In the mean time, in between time I needed a working computer. And I did have a working computer. It was sitting beside the new computer with all the wires etc on the desk/table. But I had to undo the monitor from the new and crawl around down on the floor unplugging and replugging to the old.

I am not complaining because most of us do this all the time. It just goes with computing. But how many times in a month is one expected to get down there? At least three or four times a day I would say.

Sounds like I knew what I was doing. Sounds like I was going step by step with just a few ups and downs under the table. Nothing could be further from the truth. And here is where I am going to mention forum member Just18. I will speak his name only once. Wouldn't want to embarrass him. But without his constant help and monitoring, I would never be relating this tale. I was never left by myself to solve something. Although he never gave help without expecting me to learn something, he always made sure I was doing the correct procedures. I thank him and hope I retain a fraction of his lessons. He will be referred to as “the tech.”

With the new mouse and keyboard now connected I was ready to boot the new computer. And it opened up beautifully and I beheld the mysteries of an OS that I thought I had left behind three years ago. And my friend had left a lot of her secrets behind. So trusting.

Did I mention I had to go to the bios? To me the innards of my computer are actual physical places. When I access the Internet I refer to going “up to the news or up to the forum” because the choices are at the top of the screen. If I use Gimp, Inkscape or LibreOffice etc, I am going “into” the choice. Booting another install of PCLinuxOS, I imagine myself going “over to LXDE” because I see the partitions and it is “over there” to the right someplace.

When I need to go to the bios, I go down, down, down. It is like going to an old basement with no lights and a dirt floor and everything is unfamiliar and if you forget what you went down there for, you have to come back up and get the directions again. And there is a hidden passage to get you there and if you miss the F2 express you have to start all over again. On one of many, many trips there I copied in my very best handwriting everything on the boot menu, as I could not take a picture. It was like copying inscriptions from an ancient Egyptian tomb.

But I needed …

to go to the bios …

to change the order …

to boot the CD …

to partition the drive …

to install the OS ...

on the house that Dell made.

But getting a bit ahead of myself.

Before I dared turn on the new computer to the internet, I needed some anti-virus. Fortunately I had a program on my old computer which was a dual boot. I transferred the exe of the anti-virus to my USB drive. Also on my USB was the live cd of 2011. I could then access the USB on the new computer and transfer the exe of the antivirus and run it. And it did work. So up and running on the new computer.

Or so I thought.

This narrative may seem confusing, mixed-up and out of order. And that is exactly how everything was happening. It seemed the new keyboard I bought did not work. I had not realized this because I only needed the arrow keys to work in the bios. There was no reason to type. It was only after accessing the Internet and trying to type in passwords that I realized the keyboard was not working. So for the next four days I was back and forth to the store returning and buying new keyboards, connecting and disconnecting to my other computer, connecting to the tech and shedding copious tears.

And thinking “Dell = _ell.”

Then relief came. My friend said her new computer came with a new keyboard and she gave me the original keyboard and of course it worked.

When you have been given such a nice gift from a friend, you dare not be too pushy. You must gently ask her for help and be humble when receiving. I needed her assistance with some things and had to bide my time until she was ready.


But with a tech it is different. I expected my tech to give help/advise 24/7. And business must have been rather slow for him, because he was always available and more than exceeded my expectations.

We wiped the HHD and did some partitioning and installed PCLinuxOS 2011. I say this with such ease, but for me it was not easy. But I am getting better and my understanding of the process is improving.

For the next week I went back and forth to the old computer making sure I saved what I wanted and transferred it to the newer computer.

Next my friend and I installed brand X on its partition. My friend insisted I install brand X. And because of a couple of bizarre reasons, I wanted the dual boot. That's my alibi and I'm sticking with it. I have told her all about Linux and tried to make sense of what I was doing. Mainly her response was, “I'm glad you're having fun.” I must not have explained it very well.

The last thing to do was get rid of the old computer. My tech asked what I would do with it. I planned to hit the HDD with a hammer and be done with it. He suggested removing the HDD from the old and inserting into the new to give more storage. This never happened as it was not compatible. I mention it because once again I needed to unhook everything and open up the tower on the dining room table and take pictures and then put everything back together. Enter husband who did all the heavy lifting. He was ever so happy that it would not work.

We ended up wiping the old hard drive completely and setting up one new partition. I say “we”, but all I did was copy paste commands into a terminal and crossed my fingers that the tech was not wiping my USB drive. So the old computer is ready to have a light Linux install if ever needed. I might just get it out and practice installing on it. And then I might not.

I have cleared my work area of all the extras and am now enjoying the computer.

There is still a lot to do with getting other things to work like I want, but the main install is completed. My old printer had a parallel port instead of the usb connector, so it can not be used. My friend donated the printer that came with the computer as she got a new one. I have yet to set it up. Am I lucky or what!


The experience I had for a month was nothing different from what others have done. But it could all have been completed in a day or two. And I know that many of my forum friends would have come to help me in a second if they lived closer. There is something in us that wants something so badly that we will go through torture to get it. I wasn't going to give up on getting this computer to work.

While I was going through this experience, I mentioned my troubles to parnote. He was the one who suggested I write something about it. If parnote were to contact my husband and the tech to write up the experience, I wonder what it would read like. Three sides to every story.

Is this the end of my projects? Is this the end of the help I will need? Right now I'm up to date and I've gone about as fer as I can go, but I don't think my favorite tech will be out of a job too soon.