I always like to run computers into the ground before I replace them, and today my school laptop foundered after six years of steady use. Blue Devil was purchased as part of equipping our brand new Science Wing back in 2003. It’s a Dell Inspiron 5100 running Windows XP on a 2.4 GHz Pentium 4 microprocessor with 512 MB of RAM. We purchased six of these units, one for each lab, and all but two had already been retired by other frustrated teachers.
But Blue Devil had hung in there until today, when the district’s new Lightspeed Security Agent software humbled her. The security software was running the CPU and disk so hard that the unit was virtually unusable and by noon had overheated to where it shut itself off. I reported the problem so that Tech Services might eventually look into it, but clearly it was time to move on.
Thankfully the district bought some science laptops last summer, so now I’m using Bland Devil, a Dell Latitude D630 with a terribly boring appearance. I thought Inspirons were uninspiring, but Latitudes lack any attitude at all. They bring drab to a whole new level. But inside that boring Latitude case is a 2.0 GHz Core 2 Duo microprocessor and 2 GB of RAM, so at least it can stay afloat while running the security software. One thing I don’t like is its 16×9 ratio screen, which is not a good match for my 4×3 ratio LCD projector: I lose screen height on the projection when cloning the display. But I shan’t complain much, since I’m lucky there was anything available to take Blue Devil‘s place.
Thankfully the new machine is still running Windows XP and not Vista, which I despise. And I suppose I should be glad to have Office 2007 on the thing instead of 2003, but I’ve yet to adapt to that stupid ribbon interface.
Next week I’ll introduce Bland Devil to Corel WordPerfect X4. Yes, I’m still using WordPerfect after almost a quarter century, and I love it! The granular control over a document in WordPerfect with its “reveal codes” feature still beats Word hands down for me. And I still use Corel Presentations Graphics X4 for vector graphics work. But I will happily admit that Excel and PowerPoint are better than whatever Corel bundles with WordPerfect.
Le Roi est mort, vive le Roi!