I have no one to blame but myself of course as I answered people’s questions about what I would like for Christmas this year. They all seem to be computer related directly or indirectly. So in one day I acquired half a dozen things which require either a huge online manual or one of those books I call the bible for ……… whatever it is.

First up, new software for the Mac. Microsoft Office for Mac, Home & Student Edition, 2008 version. Now I have used Office for years but in a much more ancient edition. The Old Scientist upgraded to 2007 on his Windows machine just before Christmas and told me that there had been some pretty big changes so I thought I would ask for the program for the Mac. It came with this “free” very neat little folding notebook mouse, which fortunately is just plug and play. So that required no skill to get up and running quickly. The bible for the program comes from the library at the moment but I will be buying one as soon as I decide which one suits me best.

I rather fancied one of these digital video frames and tossed that notion out randomly at one stage. Naturally someone glommed onto it and I was presented with one to organize and load with photos. It came in a huge box with a smallish manual, although we all know that these getting started manuals never tell you anything you want to know and I have no idea how anyone manages to get the item up and running with only those slim volumes to guide one. I am sure I will enjoy the slideshow of photos of my granddaughter once I get it sorted out. I’ve been putting it off for the moment but I should bite the bullet soon.

I’m still struggling with Photoshop Elements so I was grateful to receive Photoshop Elements 6 for Mac -the Missing Manual. Of course it’s a not only a chest crusher but also not something you can pick up and read page after page. It’s really a reference book although you do have to explore what the program has to offer as well in there. One of the problems is that I have so many photo editing programs on my computer, what with iPhoto and Gimp and Picasa, none of which I have mastered except perhaps iPhoto, which has its limitations, or even scratched the surface, as it is hard to decide which one to use. And I keep dabbling with one or the other. But let’s face it, does anyone ever master any of these programs these days? They are so complex and overwhelming that I am sure that most people use only a small percentage of their capability.

Last but not least, I was given my third iPod. From my first iPod mini I fell in love with the iPod. iTunes, the organizational software for the iPod is brilliant. I also love my iPod touch but it has turned out to be too bulky for a lot of occasions. So I coveted an iPod nano. A red nano, my favourite colour. You can only buy the red one from the Apple store and if you buy it online you can have it engraved, which my daughter did. But did she choose some wonderful quotation to use? Or some soppy message? Nope. Just my name and telephone number. Sigh.
Now having two iPods already you would think I would have no trouble whatsoever but of course improvements have been made since my last one. This one has an FM radio which is no problem but it also can take videos. What the heck? Why on earth would you want to take a video with your iPod? I guess the teen market is driving the features these days but frankly I think it a total waste of memory. But we shall see, we shall see. Maybe I will love it, when I figure it out that is.
For those who missed the first installment of the saga it is to be found here for Saturday Photo Hunt under the very fitting category, Technology.

For eleven long months I have not been able to print wirelessly from my MacBookPro, so in desperation we finally splashed out and bought the Fancy New Printer, a Canon MX860 which is a network printer. Not totally top of the line but second down although new ones seem to be issued very frequently, as this one only became available in August of this year.

While this device comes with a rudimentary setup manual one is directed to the 900 page plus online manual, incidentally with no index, for further instructions. Luckily Canon has telephone support and it took three telephone calls, one of which lasted for a hour, before all three computers were up and printing. Yes, finally, the MBP was able to print wirelessly.

Well this fancy device is a multifunction printer which also scans and faxes as is so common these days. Now we have it printing let’s try scanning shall we? First the desktop but no joy there. Then the MBP. Same story. Oh I guess we should try the Dell laptop. Miracle of miracles, it worked! One out of three. Well we do have a separate scanner of course but this thing is supposed to work!

More phone calls to the technical help line followed. The MacBookPro was up and running next, but after an hour trying to get the desktop computer functioning wirelessly the technician finally gave up and said why don’t you just plug it in with a USB cable, since it is right next to the printer. Sigh. So much for the new improved technology.

Now the Old Scientist is very techie indeed and I often wonder, how do ordinary people deal with these issues. He doesn’t do Macs so I was the one who talked with the tech people for that one. I must say they were very patient and precise with their instructions but it does sound like a job that could get old very fast.

After all that, we have decided that it is time for a new desktop computer, so I can hardly wait until that gets introduced into the network system. What fun it will be, as every time we change one little thing the whole system falls apart, until days later and many frustrating hours of struggle, most of the problems have been solved.

At Christmas, when my daughter and her husband visit, we will have 6 computers running off this home network as they bring their two laptops wiht them. How did we get so dependent on these machines? I mean does every family have a computer room like us? Two desktops, two laptops, two printers and a multifunctional printer, plus two scanners and two webcams. For two people? Shakes her head. It truly is the computer age in this household.


I am certainly a big fan of technology and I like to have the technological toys like an uptodate laptop and an iPod touch. When all goes well I am delighted with technology. But when there is a problem it is the most frustrating thing in the world. Apologies for the photos, you know the idea is the thing on this blog, not the brilliant photos.

Old Canon printer

For 11 long months we have been unable to get my MacBook Pro to print wirelessly through our home network. The others, PCs, worked just fine. So giving up we purchased, at great expense, a new fancy network printer. One week later, with much consulting of the Canon help line, we have two PCs up and running and one MacBook Pro still unable to print. Today we consult the poor technicians once again and the Old Scientist lives in hope that we will finally succeed. I am more skeptical. Ain’t TECHNOLOGY grand?

Fancy new Canon printer, with 900 page online
manual without an index. They have to be joking!