This weekend something shiny arrived at the house. I could barely contain my drool. A brand new laptop! No more banishing my wife from the living room so I can write in the evening (truth be told, she tends to self-banish herself to where there are fuzzy blankets). I figured I’d take a few minutes and talk (brag) about which laptop and what accessories I chose and why.
The Laptop: I picked a Lenovo G500. It’s their bare bones model and one of the lowest price points they offer. Turns out that it doesn’t matter in the least. Why? Because I’m the Sweatpants Guy of computers. Imagine you’re at the gym, and you look at the other people working out. There are muscly guys admiring their pipes in the mirror, also some moms that can run for 6 hours straight on the elliptical trainer. Then in walks some guy in gray sweatpants that look like they’ve never been worn. He takes a few laps around the machines, pokes the “Peck Deck” to see how it works, and then ends up on something like an exercise bike because it actually looks like something from the real world. That’s me with a computer. I don’t even do a third of the things that this computer is capable of, never mind one that could conceivably launch the space shuttle. I haven’t been into PC gaming since the original StarCraft came out. I was in high school and I think there might have even been a 19 at the beginning of the date. I want to be able to run word processing software, check email, and maybe stream a video once in a while. These are all a cinch with the G500.
The Bling: My one and only accessory is a thumb drive, and that has a story with it too. I knew the computer was on its way (UPS actually let me track it from Shanghai), so I stopped in at Best Buy to pick out something that could transfer and store documents from PC to PC. My wife, who is the techie of the family, was with me. When we got to the rack of thumb dives and exterior hard drives, I told her that I needed something that could hold a lot of hefty documents, some over 100,000 words long. She explained to me very slowly(actually very nicely), that in modern terms, a War and Peace sized document, was a peanut of data. I picked up one that can hold 16MB, apparently thousands of documents. Grand total: 10 bucks.
Software: My choice of a word processor was the hardest decision. I’ve grown up with MS Word and it’s always done what I needed it to. Somewhere along the way though, I heard that there might be something else out there. While haunting writing blogs and forums, an unfamiliar word kept on popping up. Scrivener. Let me take a moment to mansplain what Scrivener is. It’s sort of a word processor, sort of a planning tool. The functionality of a word processor is the same as Word, but it’s made so that you can break up a document into lots of small pieces and then shift them around. For a fiction writer, that makes it much easier to move around scenes and see where they fit the best. There are also a lot of features for planning and outlining. I didn’t really plan my current project, but when I get to the editing stage, I think this will all come in handy.
I also decided to go with Libreoffice for a word processor when I want to just do the basics. I’m using it right now to write this post. So far it seems to do the job, but it will take a bit of getting used to because I’m so used to the look of Word. It was free, so then there’s that. It may come to pass that in three weeks I’ll be running around the house threatening dishonor on you and dishonor on your cow, and break down and shell out for Word, but for now, I’m 100 bucks richer and doing fine.
The only other thing worth noting, is that this is my first time with Windows 8. As a person who’s had Windows since the 1993 version, I wonder if they couldn’t have made it a bit more intuitive to use. I know they’re trying to integrate a mobile platform for all devices, but the first time I used an Android it took me ten minutes to figure out. For this thing I had to Google how to shut the damn thing off.
If I make any big breakthroughs or add on new technology I’ll make an update. For now though, I’m just a happy kid trying out a new toy.