Technology is our friend, but it sure makes a lot of work for us. At least it has made a lot of work for me. Dick’s computer was a cheap thing that wasn’t going to be used for much of anything. It was three years old and pretty dang tired of the whole thing. It stopped just being sluggish and got all the way to not doing anything.

Burning a CD, but this isn't what I did yesterday

When he reported this to me, I asked if this meant he was telling me he wanted a new computer. He hemmed and hawed. We tried a couple things with the old computer and it was cranky. It keeps saying the disk is full and it doesn’t want to play anymore.

We moved his most precious files off his computer while it was still working. There were a few documents and spreadsheets of importance, but most of his files were pictures. He doesn’t take nearly as many pictures as I do and he still had folders and folders of the things. He had 1.35 GB of pictures.

I was going to burn them to a CD from his computer, but it was only working in Safe Mode and wouldn’t do that much. So we moved his wanted files to a 2 GB memory stick and then went shopping for a new computer. We also went shopping for other things and after we got home, he got busy learning how to set up a computer.

On the way home, I mentioned that one doesn’t need a computer degree to set up a computer. It is all “follow the prompts” and I was sure he could do this himself. I would assist as needed. I had to find a WEP key for him but then he got connected to our wireless router and once that happened, he could get himself over to the wireless printer. He was doing great.

He loaded Office 2007 by himself, but even I had problems getting Outlook to like our ISP. I then asked what he wanted to do with the pictures. We don’t really go back and look at them. Each year, I make scrapbooks for the kids, but when I do that, I print out the pictures for us to keep, too.

But he didn’t want to really just throw all the pictures away. What to do? We both have DVD burners, but I only had blank CDs. I suppose I could have bought some blank DVDs and burned to those, but I didn’t think of it (and I’m too cheap).

I could burn his pictures to two CDs, but I did it wrong and ended up with three. It wasn’t a big deal and I was done. Then I looked at my computer. I had a bazillion or more pictures on my computer. I did have them arranged nicely. Each year was in its own folder and each month was separate and each visit in the month was separate (this is because of naming conventions).

And I had far more than 1.35 GB of files. I had more than 1.35 GB of files for each of the last three years. I was going to have CDs coming out of my ears. So I went through each folder, opened the pictures in  Microsoft Picture Manager, selected all, went to the edit menu, and resized them to 640 x 480. Then I had to save them. And then went to the next folder and did it again.

After doing that for each folder, I had a year’s worth of pictures saved in less than 500 MB and a CD holds 704 MB. I could save each year on its own CD.

That doesn’t sound so bad, but it took me nearly six hours to do each folder and save it. I ran in to some technical snafu that meant some of the files didn’t save right and I had to redo them. I figured out how to not make that happen again. On the last year, once I got down to enough space on the CD, I didn’t shrink the rest of the files.

But I got three year’s worth of pictures – thousands and thousands of pictures – on three CDs. Then I deleted the files from my computer. Thousands and thousands of files deleted. This set up my computer to be a mess, so the next thing to do was defrag the hard drive. I did set that in motion and then went to bed.

This morning, my computer is nice and neat. The CDs are stored and more than likely will never be looked at again. But I couldn’t stand to think of throwing out all those pictures. Some of them, taken by small children really should have just been thrown out as I downloaded them to the computer. But, it is done and it took a whole day.

So this morning, with nothing to do, I finally figured out how to get books I’ve downloaded to my Kindle. Gutenberg Press has a format friendly to Kindle and I had saved several books to my computer. But I kept thinking it was going to be too hard to get them to the Kindle. So six books sat here, mocking me for four days. I plugged the wire into the Kindle and into the netbook and it found some software to install.

It was all ready, what did I want to do? I asked to see the files, found where books were stored on the Kindle, dragged the books I had saved to my hard drive over. That was it. I have the books now on my Kindle.

Technology really is my friend. Making it all work together isn’t always easy, but how much easier than doing it all by hand.