Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Computer trials and triumphs

We seem to have dodged the winter storm bullet in the south of Iowa --- just a dusting of snow on the sidewalk and driveway this morning after a dry and sunny Monday. But that's not the case farther north and east in Iowa and elsewhere, where quite a bit of snow has fallen, is still falling and travel has been hazardous if not impossible.

Still plenty of snow, but only minor inconveniences. Like the circle driveway at the museum, where we really do need to install "Enter" and an "Exit" signs. With only one lane of traffic and no place to pull off, we're fine as long as everyone drives in the same direction. When that doesn't happen, vehicles end up nose to nose and somebody has to back out --- its a substantial back.


Speaking of the museum, we've been dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st century, computerwise at least. And if it weren't for Tim at PC Repair we'd probably still just be out playing in the snow rather than preparing to get back to work.

Our main computer died a couple of weeks ago after many years of honorable service leaving nothing to be done other than replace it. None of the data on the hard drive was compromised, so we were OK there --- almost.

The surprising thing (to me, at least) is that the new PC's tower is only half the size of the old one. This means it can live on the desk rather than on the floor --- no more crawling around when dealing with CD's, DVD's and USB connections.

The only fatality other than the old computer apparently will be its printer, not compatable now with either the new PC or the older laptop. If it actually had been working right before the crash it might be worthwhile to download a driver and try to get it going again. As it is, it probably isn't.

It'll take a while to get used to Windows 8, especially since none of us have really gotten used to Windows 7, the laptop's operating system. But that's manageable.

Tim also installed the wireless router we'd been thinking about installing for maybe a year, so now we're linked wirelessly to the newer printer as well as to the laptop and can actually share files.

The big problem, resolved by Tim and our friends at PastPerfect museum software with minimal fuss but considerable expense, was the digitalized cataloging data. This could be retrieved both from the hard drive and from cyberspace, where we rent a storage untit. But it was configured to work with our older and now-obsolete version of PastPerfect.

So the data had to be downloaded, shipped to PastPerfect, reconfigured there, integrated into updated software, shipped back and installed --- all done. We also added PastPerfect's multimedia package, which should have been part of the original purchase years ago but wasn't (who knew?). That means we'll be able to pair up cagaloging data with photographs of artifacts as well as with images of historic photographs and documents in the collection. I'm pretty excited about that.

Now, if there weren't so much work to do before annual meeting in mid-April, I'd take a long nap --- having exhausted myself watching Tim work yesterday. As it is, I'm going to have to get back to work myself.

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