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You’ll usually find Ron fly fishing somewhere fun. But today, he’s talking computers.
You see, both Ron, and his mother, recently purchased their very first laptops. And with new computers come new ‘problems’ — as well as fun new things to try.
So sit back and enjoy as Ron shares with us his $.02 about the nuances of laptop computers. And you don’t want to miss the one-of-a-kind notebook computer stand that Ron made for his laptop. But wait, there’s more!… Yep, his mother made her own computer stand, too. They’re both really clever!
In Ron’s Own Words…
I felt the need to be able to take my work with me anywhere, and to be able to file stories while on the go — without all of the hassle of the old desktop I was using.
The truth also is… I was in dire need of a software/hardware update. The computer I was using was a 2000 model that I purchased new in 2001. The operating system was Windows 98, and that is no longer being serviced by the guy that opened his Windows to the world to get rich.
I must say, this new rig is pretty nice, and it is fast. Makes working much more enjoyable. Makes playing much more enjoyable, as well.
All In The Family
My mother also got a new notebook computer recently, because she also got a new writing gig recently. Her writing gig is much more valuable to her than money though. Her writing gig is to try to keep in touch with her children/grandchildren through the use of email. Our family is all geographically distanced from one another, so sometimes keeping in touch is less than convenient.
Mother is really a phone caller type and would love to get a call from each of her kids at least once per week. Once per day would probably suit her just fine. I don’t know about my sisters, but I know my mother’s son would really rather write a note or letter than talk on the phone.
Mother couldn’t get Mohamed to come to the mountain, or the phone often enough. She figured he was always on the computer, so she decided to take the virtual mountain to her first born E-Male via email. She bought a notebook computer and has become quite proficient at the fine art of e-guilt tactics.
Here’s what I mean…
Let’s say it’s Saturday. Let’s say my mother’s children have been busy, or lazy, or absent-minded and have not been in touch with their mother since the Sunday before. They will all wake to find a note from her, in their email in boxes, that is titled something like ‘Computer Problems’.
It is addressed to all three of her children in the ‘To’ box. No carbon copies in the ‘Add Cc’ box. No hidden messages in the ‘Add Bcc’ box. I think she does that to make sure they all 3 know, they are all 3 just as guilty and in as much trouble as the other two siblings. They are (we are) all three about to be up the creek and need to grab the paddle that she is extending before arriving without one. The title, remember, is ‘Computer Problems’.
The body of the email will be brief and might go something like this:
Don’t know if you have tried to email me. This thing doesn’t seem to be working. I haven’t gotten any email since Sunday. Things here are fine. Just having my coffee on the back porch, looking at the mountains, wondering why my email doesn’t seem to be working on this brand new computer. I guess I’m just not very good at this computer stuff.Love you lots, Mama.
Yeah, I know. She’s good. Real good.
It works. Her kids not only get in touch with her, but her kids each Bcc their letter to Mom to the other two siblings. It’s kind of like an additional guilt reminder that says ‘Hey, I wrote to her, you better get off of your keister and type something soon or we’re never going to hear the end of this.’
I digress. Back to the subject at hand… a computer wedge/stand/rack thing.
How To Make Your Own Notebook Computer Stand
I used to call them laptops, not anymore. I noticed, while shopping for this one, that most manufacturers are calling them notebooks. Maybe they think there is a difference. I don’t know why. Nor do I care what they call it, but it is not, in reality, a laptop.
Ever tried to use one of these in your lap? Might be nice in the winter, in the antarctic, when you need the extra 500 degrees Celsius these things generate to warm your southern hemisphere (anatomically speaking). But a table, or desk is much cooler. Literally.
Mother and I were both new to notebook computers (hers is a Dell Inspiron and mine is a Dell Vostro 1500 with serious memory and system upgrades). And we’re both trying to learn something about them. We were both also having trouble getting around on the flat keyboards as compared to the old elevated/angled keyboards we had been using for years.
You know, we both learned to type on typewriters. She learned on a manual while she was going to high school. I learned a generation later on an electric while going to high school.
Anyway, we were both left feeling a little flat. We needed a stand, or wedge or something to give us a lift.
We each pondered buying a commercially available device, but didn’t. Seemed expensive. She invented a little padded rod thing. How’d she do it? She went to the hardware store and got the parts, and her hubby helped with the drilling and assembly of her vision. Quite clever. Not surprising at all. She had a necessity. And she is a Mother, you know.
I, on the other hand, wasn’t so inventive. Oh, I thought about buying some lumber and making a wedge-shaped cutting board sort of affair. But that would mean I would have to go to the lumber yard. I’d have to fire up the saws and the drill and the router and the sanders. I’d have to find some stain and some varnish and actually apply the stuff. Then I’d have to clean up the garage after the project. Too much work.
No, I was just lucky, and lazy. I had a section of wire shelving left over from a closet transformation project. I put it on the table. I put the computer on top.
While I am still not efficient at typing on this new keyboard (as evidenced by the number of times I have to fix typos and extra spaces for some reason), it is more comfortable using the computer with the back of it elevated. These devices also keep the computer’s ventilation system clear of obstruction and the air flowing smoothly. Cool.
And in case you are wondering, yes I am sending this to her but it won’t really count as keeping in touch. It might buy me a day, since this is Saturday and as of yet I have nothing from her in my inbox. But you can bet I’ll be getting an email tomorrow if I don’t send her a real letter, first. Tomorrow morning in my in box I’ll probably find something titled ‘Connectivity Issues.’
P.S. Many things our family doesn’t have, but we are not lacking the ability to laugh at ourselves.
Thanks for the laughs, Ron. (…And the great computer stand idea!)
Other DIY Laptop Stands
I got my first computer in 1986 and immediately started writing, saving documents, and organizing my entire life on it. Thus began my love affair with gadgets and all things tech. I built my first website in 1998 in old-school HTML code — before websites were "a thing". Blogs weren't invented yet. It was the same year that Google was born. My husband and I created TheFunTimesGuide.com in 2004 — before YouTube, Twitter, Reddit, and Mashable were launched. That was the year Facebook started and 'blog' was the Word of the Year according Merriam-Webster. Ever since then, anytime a new electronic gadget hits the market… I have to have it. (My husband's impulsive nature to try out every new tech gadget invented is even worse than mine!) When I'm not trying out fun new tech gadgets, you'll find me at the corner of Good News & Fun Times as publisher of The Fun Times Guide (32 fun & helpful websites).