“Things work until they don’t.” A doorman at my building offered that consolation when I was chiding myself for not replacing my ancient desktop computer before it died last week. I appreciated his sympathy, but it would have been better to replace the computer before it didn’t function. You can wait to buy a dishwasher, but a computer holds irreplaceable contents.
No, I didn’t lose all my files, but there were enough complications for me to think about becoming more tech savvy. As I set up a computer by myself for the first time in my life, I regretted taking technology for granted when it works.
Actually, computer shopping had been on my mind for a while, since the iMac was at least a decade old, but the machine kept soldiering on, giving me no warning of its imminent demise.
Sitting in the living room one evening, I heard the familiar Apple chimes. Either the computer itself or a ghost had done a reboot. The iMac was caught in an endless reboot loop. I grabbed my cellphone and trudged down to the building’s business center to use Wi-Fi (more on Wi-Fi to come) to google a fix, but none of the recommendations worked.
Since I had intended to replace the iMac, what did it matter that I couldn’t revive it? The big problem, which I still need to tackle (advice welcome), is how to wipe clean the hard drive before the machine is recycled.
Also, not being able to get into the old machine, I couldn’t transfer files from it. I can retrieve files stored in iCloud. But I’ve discovered that I neglected to back up contacts, so now I’m lacking everyone’s postal address. Plus, all the sticky notes with messages to myself are gone because backing up the desktop did not include backing up sticky notes on it.
I still have to investigate how to copy all the files from the cloud to my hard drive, but I’d bet it can’t be done in one fell swoop. For the time being I’m telling myself that the cloud is the safest place for them.
How nice it was in my working days to have an IT person. Adam set up my old computer, which I bought when I retired. As I unplugged it last weekend, a black box connected to it by a USB cable entered my consciousness as if I were seeing it for the first time, even though I’ve dusted it for years. I suspect it’s an external hard drive. If my files are in it and not in the iMac, I don’t have to worry about wiping clean the computer hard drive. I’d better find out, and while I’m at it, learn how to retrieve the files.
If it weren’t for my knowledgeable niece Sarah, who had advised me on the computer purchase, I wouldn’t know that I don’t need to buy a new printer. The MacBook Air recognizes the old HP’s print software but not its scan software. “You can scan with your cellphone,” Sarah informed me.
You think tech obliviousness is excusable in a 72-year-old? Then here’s another example: I didn’t realize I’ve had Wi-Fi for years because RCN’s cable installer had connected the modem to the iMac with a cord. I’ve been trekking down to the business office every time I didn’t want to use cellphone data. When I called RCN last week to ask about getting a different modem for a laptop, I was surprised to hear that I have a Wi-Fi modem.
How do people know these things? I wonder. I doubt they read user manuals from cover to cover. Paying attention might help; I could have wondered what that black box was for when I dusted it.
Most likely I’ll fall back into obliviousness soon enough. But while I’m excited about the new computer, maybe I will read the user manual.
MEDICARE OPEN ENROLLMENT ENDS TODAY
Today is the last day to switch your Medicare Advantage or supplement plan for 2021. When open enrollment began, I was debating whether to stay with the top-rated Humana Gold Plus Medicare Advantage plan that has served me well for seven years or to switch to a plan accepted at a nationally ranked hospital.
I was relieved to find out that I can have both Humana Gold Plus and a nationally ranked hospital: both Northwestern and Rush are joining the Humana Gold Plus network on January 1. Better yet, Rush recently opened, a quarter-mile from me, a state-of-the-art clinic with primary care physicians, specialists, lab services, and imaging tests.
Some people prefer to pay the higher price for Traditional Medicare so that their choices aren’t limited to a plan’s network providers. In Chicago, where you can be in the network of a top-20 hospital and its physicians, I don’t anticipate any reason to go out of network.