Monday, October 1, 2012


For the past few days, I've been trying to get my electronic self in order--the aftermath of my laptop falling apart. It's hard to get 500GB of stuff organized on a computer that has less than half that space. I have my external hard drive hooked up, but I have to copy the files onto the computer to use them, I can't just work directly from the back up drive. To make matters more complicated, this computer doesn't have all of the programs that my laptop does.

I can work around it for the most part. I'd already switched to Gimp on the laptop (albeit I'm not great at using it yet), and this computer has Microsoft Office on it, in addition to iWork, which is kind of nice. I did forget something, however--This computer, because of the space issue, has never had adobe installed on it.

Back in college, when they had us taking graphic design courses as freshmen, I used it as an excuse to get the student edition of the Adobe suite. Photoshop, Indesign--all the fancy programs a student could want and that I never really learned to use properly because my brain does not work well in digital formats. I am much better with a pencil, paper, and a few pens or markers than I am with a wacom tablet and trying to figure out layers and effects.

But, anyway, because it was a student edition, it came with three installs only--and the laptop was my last one. Which means that in addition to loosing a bunch of very fancy programs I never really used, I lost one that I really need: Acrobat.

Sure, I could go buy it again.

For $199.

Right, like that is happening any time soon. *snort*

A quick search pointed me in the direction of OpenOffice. Ten minutes later it was downloaded and I was attempting to convert a file to try out the PDF option. An hour later my formatting was completely screwy, and it was easier to start from scratch with a new file, retype everything, and PDF-ify that. I spent most of Sunday night fighting playing with it, and it kind of reminds me of a bare bones version of Microsoft Works, which we had back in 2000. It might be clunkier, I'm not sure. Works was plenty clunky on it's own.

What this means is that all of my knitting patterns have to be rewritten or converted to work in OO. Which means I loose all of my formatting, my decorative elements, my's a pain. I have to rework everything, and it is seriously encroaching on my knitting/designing time. I'm taking a break form it now to complain blog about the experience, just so I don't throw my computer out the window. Or break down crying at the thought of all the time I spent getting those patterns worked up. I might have to chance opening the laptop, just for a little while, to do the final versions of two patterns just so that they're done, and I can start from scratch in OO for the next one.

Hopefully, this is only a temporary measure. I just have to make it until either I win the lottery or my tax return comes next year (probably February or March, since I usually do my taxes early), and then I can get George repaired (yes, I named my laptop. And my typewriter. So sue me) and go back to my old system and come up with another plan.

And maybe $199.


  1. I'm so sorry! I've been down that road several times myself.

    ...A typewriter would never do that...

    1. Alas, I have no way to create a chart on a typewriter. Otherwise, I would.

  2. Too bad to hear about your PC problems. You may be better off taking the drive out of your laptop and mounting it in an external drive case. Then you will not need to copy all your files. Windows may not boot from an external drive though, but at least you would save some time.
    OO is the same as Google is using on their online office package with a few tweaks. That would be another office option for you. I never used Google documents or office or whatever it is called, but I have used Picasa and really like it.
    I use OO & Libre Office and Gimp on my PCs, but I run Linux and do not have any problems with any of them. OO was originally a free version of Sun's StarOffice which I have not kept up with since Oracle bought Sun.
    Adobe has a free online PDF creator also. I never used that either since I use OO for most of my work. OO & LO will actually do more than any of the Micro$oft office packages. It just takes a bit to learn them. One of my biggest problems was that I did not know all the templates were on OO and not with LO. Once downloaded from OO and installed on LO I now have all the prefab document templates.

    Personally before buying expensive software, I'd put the $$$$ towards and ACER or other lesser priced PC, even Staple's had some nice ones for around $400 in this week's sales flyer. Tiger Direct, New Egg and Computer Geeks may have some nice feature powerful notebooks even cheaper.

    1. If I knew how to create an external hard drive, I would--I have another dead laptop I would love to do that with, but no one can tell me *how* to go about it, and the tutorials I've found just say, "find measurement x", but don't say anything about what X actually is.

      I considered buying a new computer, but the computers that are within by budget would laugh at me and fall apart right out of the box. I kill PCs from ten paces, which is why I'm a Mac-only kind of girl. I've even been known to take down our PC based cash registers at work if I'm on them for too long.

      I will look into those programs. Thanks for the suggestions.

  3. We use an application called Cute PDF at work, which acts like a printer function - but produces a PDF instead.

    However, if you use a mac it is built into their printer setup. Tough break! Certainly no substitute for Acrobat though.

    1. I actually tried going through the print function to make a PDF, but the option wasn't showing up--just my regular printer. I might see if Cute has a Mac version.