15 February 2011 (Tuesday) - New Laptop

My new laptop has arrived. One of the perks of working for the NHS is that after twenty five years service at any one hospital or establishment you are entitled to three hundred pounds worth of stuff from Argos. But (as always) there are catches. It’s not vouchers that you might use as presents for others. And you can’t add money to buy something more expensive. You tell your boss precisely what you want (you quote the Argos catalogue number) and after a week or so you get a voucher for the specific item you’ve asked for.
Three hundred pounds is an odd amount really. It’s over the top for a lot of things I considered asking for (like sat navs and fishing gear), and not really enough for other things (like computers and tellys). And perhaps I’m being ungrateful, but three hundred quid for twenty five years loyal service isn’t really that much – it works out to twenty five pence for every week I’ve worked. ‘er indoors TM got a really good gold watch after ten years at her work. And she received the watch at a presentation when her efforts over the years were appreciated.
And to add insult to injury, work have written to the tax man so’s he can tax me on this three hundred quid bung.

I’ve been entitled to get this bung for two years now, and it’s taken me this long to decide on what I wanted. I eventually opted for a laptop with a plan to plug the thing into my sexy new telescope to do some astro-photography.
The voucher arrived with no ceremony by recorded delivery whilst we were out on Saturday, and so yesterday I went to the post office collection point to get it. Then I had to go to Argos to arrange the delivery of the thing. I must admit I wasn’t impressed. Argos could deliver it any day I liked – but it would be delivered between 8am and 6pm. They couldn’t (wouldn’t) be more specific than that, and they wouldn’t phone me half an hour before delivery so’s I could go home to meet them on the doorstep. I do think that having to give up a day to wait for a parcel is unreasonable – there are a lot of delivery companies who can do better. When I got my new phone a few months ago I was given a two-hour period when they would arrive. But “Daddies Little Angel TMwas home to accept delivery, so all was well.

I’ve got the thing up and running, and like all new computers it needs quite a bit of tweaking. I shall do that another time. The laptop is nothing special when compared to some laptops. The more I.T. proficient among my loyal readers may well be somewhat scathing about the device, and probably rightly so. But it was something for nothing, and all the time it’s able to do what I want from it, I shall be content with it.  It comes with a month’s free anti-virus, but after a month I will need to get the latest free AVG.
The main problem I foresee is that it’s running Windows 7, so a lot of my current software won’t run on it. I shall see if I can’t take up the NHS on their cheap Microsoft Office deal, and then start downloading all the astronomical programs for “Project Astro-Photography”…

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