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I am afeared.

So I got this new computer.

It is a Mac, as I have finally been persuaded that, in the last decade, Apples have advanced to a point where they are capable of running Painter at a speed that does not greatly resemble a dead frog in molasses. I would always have been a Mac person, because I have NO IDEA WHAT I’M DOING and they seem to be geared to that kind of idiot-proofing, at least comparatively, but I had to be an illustrator too, and that was simply not doable on Macs for many years, all bullshit about Macs being the premier graphics platform notwithstanding.

But now I have a Mac, owing the confluence of two factors—A) a need to rack up some serious business expenses to compensate for a big-ass lump sum book payment, and B) my old PC grinding slowly to a halt. (It was state of the art in 2007, goddamnit!) So Kevin put together the Ursula-does-not-want-to-buy-a-computer-for-a-long-time computer for me, and because it is a Mac, if it breaks horribly, I have someplace to take it.*

It is big. It was very expensive. Numbers were involved that made me break into a cold sweat, even with a wonderful friend who works at an Apple Store and got me the big uber-discount. I mean, this cost more than my first car. (Okay, my first car wasn’t anything to write home about, but it’s the principle!)

Kevin took it out of the box and started doing esoteric things to it. Apparently all of my computers can now talk to each other, which he thinks is really neat, and which fills me with a deep suspicion that the machines will be plotting against me when my back is turned. The word “sync” has been throw around a lot. I think “propagate” and “migrate” might have been in there, too.

It’s very fast. And shiny. And the keyboard is one of those obnoxious little chrome jobbies that scream “LOOK AT YOU, LIVING IN THE FUTURE!” and it’s just so damn shiny and efficient and revolting that I want to eat Doritos over it and bring it down to my level. And also control is not command and command is not control and it takes me ten tries to copy and paste anything and now I am bitter.

The problem—and I know this sounds stupid, but some of you will undoubtedly understand—is that my computer desktop is…well…home. In the days when I was moving every ten minutes and fighting off a nervous breakdown and taking anti-depressants and couldn’t eat and couldn’t sleep and was surviving mostly on stubbornness and the fact I still had deadlines, what settled me the most was getting my computer set up, because that was the only familiar setting I had left.

To make matters worse, I now have a new version of both Photoshop AND Painter, rendering my usual workflow problematic at best. (Painter 7 to Painter 11, bit of a switch. Photoshop is slightly less frightful, but still.) Kevin is doing this thing whereby I can apparently make my old computer magically appear inside my new computer as a virtual image dealie, but I do not place a great deal of confidence in this working, and anyway none of that matters because what the hell did they do to my scratchboard tool?!

Kevin, to his eternal credit, eventually realized that this was a traumatic experience for me, and sent me out to get gin. When I came back, he had changed my desktop to the chibi Ganesh that I have on my laptop, and I felt better. Soon I will have gin, and then I will feel better yet.

Meanwhile, have some art.

8 x 10 mixed media on print sealed to board

I recall people talking about sphinxes in the comments…anyway. This is honestly the sort of human face I feel most comfortable painting, possibly because the first artist I really really really wanted to be when I grew up was Susan Seddon Boulet, much to the eventual detriment of my ability to draw noses.

Anyway! 8 x 10, mixed media, lots of clear gesso and watercolor pencil and whatnot. Prints available, original for sale or will go to cons, you guys know the drill by now.

And now, to try and locate my fonts…


*This became really really important after my divorce, because I kinda married my tech support. At one point, Carlota called up another dear friend and said “YOU are going to make sure that Ursula never calls her ex-husband for tech support again!” To his infinite and eternal credit, he did so, until I got in a relationship with another tech guy. I hope to grow old and die with him, of course, but just in case, it’s nice to have Apple Care.

Originally published at Tea with the Squash God. You can comment here or there.


Susan Seddon Boulet! Holy shit, I remember staring at her unicorn calendar for hours. I think I still have it somewhere. Noses aside, that certainly wasn't a bad aspiration.

First off, Sphinx reaction: Eeee! ^_^

Secondly, good luck with the new computer. Even without changing religions that can be traumatic.

Yes, that sphynx is so, so very cute yet wise. ^_^

Oooh, good luck getting everything set up with the new machine the way you like it.

useful mac noob links:
http://osx.iusethis.com/ - good for searching out software
http://www.reddit.com/r/apple/comments/affl0/lets_put_together_a_master_list_for_new_users/ - new user software suggestions

I've already got her set up on the important ones - Adium, Thunderbird & Firefox. I've got her shiny copy of Office 2011 installed along with Painter and Photoshop and Fusion.

I think VMWare can run her old machine on this thing without breaking a sweat. And I suspect, run it better than the old machine did.

The tricky part was getting the scanner and tablet set back up, but she's getting the hang of it now.

For whatever it's worth, I haaaate upgrading any of my software packages because even though they often have these neat features, toots and whistles, I still have to go through several days of feeling as though someone has maliciously and with evil deliberateness moved my FOOD DISH!! It takes me a minimum of three weeks to stop stalking around the computer with my neck hackles raised and settle down to working again. I think it may be normal for those of our...ilk? Tribe? Artistic sensitivities? It will settle down as you find your scratchboard tool...and that will last until the next version comes out and they hide it again. ;)

I bought a new computer, because the hard-drive on the old one decided it had reached End of Line, and went from Windows XP to Windows Vista. Talk moving moving the food dish.

How does getting a big payment mean you have to rack up big business expenses? Wouldn't you have until the end of the year if you're worried about taxes?

Anyway, congrats on the new computer. I got my iMac in 2005 and it's still going strong, if it's any comfort.

The self-employed have to pay quarterly "estimated taxes." I'd guess this falls under the second quarter, so, need to spend it down by the end of June.

All hail the Mighty Apple Cheese Grater! :D

In other news, I really dig that sphynx.

In other other news, I realize I'm late with this but "Alsace" is pronounced "Al's ass". No, really.
It's a region of France that was contested with Germany for years and years, along with the Lorraine region.
And it's "d'Alsace" because "de" loses the "e" when the word starts with a vowel. So it's "de bois" and "d'orange".
Trust me, I'm a trained professional Frenchman. :D

I'm a mac user and switched from PC and use a lot of graphics programs a BUNCH, so feel free to ask me anything you want!

My computer has always been my 'home' too. Between flying back and forth and constantly changing dorms in college, it's my one sure-fire comfort.

It was very expensive. Numbers were involved that made me break into a cold sweat

SERIOUSLY. When I was first thinking of switching I asked people "so will this work for me or will I just end up throwing a $1000 Apple laptop out the window?" I figured I was guessing high, coming from the world of cheap Windows boxes...

And also control is not command and command is not control and it takes me ten tries to copy and paste anything and now I am bitter.

Yeah, that takes some getting used to. Oddly, for me the wildly different feel of the keyboard made the transition not as bad as it might have been. Also: War Is Peace. Freedom Is Slavery. Backspace Is Delete.

(If you're into that sort of thing, I used KeyRemap4MacBook to change the useless Eject key into a proper Delete, and also to set right-Option+arrowkeys to Home/End/PgDn/PgUp.)

I'm also thinking that the command/control thing should be solvable by remapping the keyboard. Ursula should decide if she wants to retrain or have Kevin do the necessary research to swap them around to the way they should be.

While the change in desktop is traumatic, the absolute pits is that all your reflexes are gonna be borked for weeks if not months. Aside from religion, you shove your mouse to the wrong part of the screen, and the command and control keys (har har) are wrong, and it is SO frustrating. I spent a longer time second guessing myself after I'd kind-of learned what was what.

>> control is not command and command is not control and it takes me ten tries to copy and paste anything

THIS. Well, bits of this. I use a PC at home and a Mac at work, and the keys I miss most are Home and End.

But after using the Mac at work, I go home and have to reach around that Windows key to copy/paste things. Ergonomically, the cmd keys in a better spot for shortcuts. At least I got the vital keystrokes mapped onto my tablet function keys for ease of use. Also a 2 button mouse is good to have on any computer Mac or PC.

Oh honey, I'm having anxiety attacks for you! Good luck!! (I can barely figure out how to turn a Mac on, let alone navigate one.)

Also, adore the sphinx. She is gorgeous. :)

That is the most perfect icon ever for this.

The Command/Ctrl thing for cutting and pasting REALLY got on my nerves when I still had my Windows desktop and often switched between that and the MacBook.

After years of muddling through with Windows (and even then I'd complain about how much easier things were with DOS back in the day *shakes cane*) I'm finally a Mac person. It's so very nice to have a computer that simply works.

Yes, pretty much. :) mind you, I was on Macs back in the 33 mhz days when they WERE a bit of a joke, and the 'simply work' factor was a lot more dicey then.

Worst that's happened to me so far with the MacBookPro is, running a heavy session in Logic Pro (multitrack recording) while I think also web browsing and what have you at the same time, on (checks) yeah, 4G of ram, I managed to wedge it so bad that nothing would respond at all. And it's a laptop, so I couldn't just unplug it because it was like 'wee! I can still do this for hours on the battery!'

If memory serves, I just held down the power button for a loooong time. Its little brain finally registered that I was pushing the 'FFS, stop!' button, and shut down, and started up just fine after. Gave me more grey hairs, but required no other servicing.

The 'walled garden' thing has its good points. Same with the phone. I don't jailbreak it, and it kinda just does what I mostly want without issue, day after week after month after year...

The problem--and I know this sounds stupid, but some of you will undoubtedly understand--is that my computer desktop is ... well...home.

No kidding. For me it's not the desktop per se (if there's an image back there, I never see it), but the virtual location of things and the fact that all the stuff I want to get to on the computer is there and I can get to it by the virtual hallways that I always use to get to it. If I keep banging into the walls and getting lost, how can it feel like home? Home is where you can go to the fridge in your sleep, rather than thinking about how to go to the fridge.

But there is certainly a visual component for me as well. We've recently been changing to a new and different IRC server at work -- we are a herd of telecommuting computer programmers; IRC is the office and break room and conference room and whiteboard for design discussions -- and it felt unfriendly and uncomfortable and unpleasant. And then I changed the background color on the IRC chat window I was using for the new server from the randomish color it was to a nice warm brown that was almost but not quite exactly the same as the one for the old IRC server, and suddenly it all felt like home too.

And don't get me started about LJ trying to take away my Dystopia theme.

Edited at 2011-06-11 12:55 am (UTC)

If you're looking for a scratchboard as just a program that lets you take random notes, there's a built-in app called Stickies. It's in your Applications menu, and it's lovely.

Here's some tips for using them.

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