Monday, September 10, 2007

a difficult adjustment

a lot of people have asked about the transition from montreal to the seattle area, and i always tell them that it's been slow and bumpy. it's a big change moving from the urban, french-styled, public transit world of montreal to the mountainous, heavily-forested, car-based culture of the seattle area. from n's first day at school (difficult) to keeping up with all of the required paperwork for our house to repainting and furnishing our home, it seems that every task is a challenge.

but the really difficult adjustment for me personally is switching to a windows xp laptop after over a decade as a mac user. i know that the two user interfaces probably have more in common than they ever have and that with all of the cross-platform applications available, it might be easier than in years past to make such a move. but i've found it's still not a simple task. my admiration for my friend and computer genius j, who made this switch several years ago, grows with each passing day. i already knew he was smarter than i am; i'm just being reminded how much smarter he is!

one task that's been particularly annoying has been transferring e-mail, calendar, and contact data. on the mac, i was using microsoft entourage. i've never been terribly partial to microsoft, but a church friend gave me a copy of office (which includes entourage) as a gift, and given the fact that palm desktop is an aging program with little support and that i'd probably be switching to windows for my new job, i figured it would make the transition easier. so even though it was a pain, i converted all of my data from palm desktop to entourage. after all, migrating from one microsoft program to another (outlook on the windows side) should be simple enough. at least, that's what i figured.

that has turned out to be a heinous miscalculation. entourage does export all of my data in one easy command -- but into a format that outlook can't import. i was incredulous. wouldn't microsoft want users to switch from the mac to windows? i'm guessing the answer must be 'yes,' but they sure aren't making it easy! for now, i'm considering alternative personal information managers.

i'm also looking for replacements for other frequently used programs -- a usenet news reader, an rss aggregator, a personal finance application, Bible software. if any of you windows users/advocates have suggestions, i'm all ears. please, please, PLEASE help!

i'm bound and determined to learn windows, but the experience isn't converting my heart or my mind. :-(


Bora said...

Ah, well what can be said, except that Darth Vader must be happy?

Just kidding. I've actually had to switch to window at work. It's not my preference, but it is nice to have everything I look at on the web, download, etc., "work" the way it was meant to.

At least at work, I'm part of the majority, the computer equivalent of a tall white man.

Oh, and I like the task bar.

Bora said...

oops, Windows.

I wish there was a way to edit comments after they're posted.

gr8god said...

nothing against tall white men, but the thought of you as the computer equivalent of one really is not all that comforting. (-:

it's coming together, slowly. it's just a LOT more work than it needs to be, imo.

marguerite said...

how are the girls' school lives going?

gr8god said...

it's slow-going.

i'll write more about it, but briefly, n had an awful first day at school -- too much went wrong to list in a comment. but it's improved a bit since then.

b hasn't started yet. but getting scheduled at bellevue community college is challenge. they don't allow the high schoolers to register until the end, so many classes are full. she's getting her first taste of a world where you really have to fend for yourself. it doesn't help that bcc is so far away, and is not easily accessible by public transit.

overall, i think they're doing well given the circumstances, but a big move is never easy. this one is no exception.