All Day Installs and Upgrades

The chair, desk and apple macbook are all new for Christmas.

My eldest Daughter got a MacBook from Santa this year.  A little 13″ solid plastic uni-body MacBook with a clear protective cover.  Yes, she’s only 9 years old.  Yes, she really does need it for school.  She attends a magnet school and is currently making straight A’s in one of the toughest/best public schools in the state. Santa did right by her this year.

In comparison, I was 12 years old when I purchased my very first computer, a Commodore Vic 20, back in 1981.  I got it from K-Mart for $125.  Money I had earned working paper routes with the Atom Tabloid and Star Ledger — my mother lied for me so I could get the Atom Tabloid job a year early.  In NJ the child labor laws mandated a kid be 12 before they could earn an official taxable wage.  Meh!

So, I got a computer at 12 years old and taught myself to program.  By 13 I was an old hack.  By 14 I was soldering external sensors to my Vic 20’s RS232 serial port.  I think having that computer experience got me where I am today — from the Vic 20 to Facebook.  I had to poke fun at Facebook, I just had to.  😉

I didn’t grow up with a computer, like both of my kids did.  I didn’t figure out how a mouse worked at the age of two just from sitting on my father’s lap and watching him work like my kids both did.  It’s intuitive to them.  It’s second nature.  Plus they’ve been hogging my wife’s PC and my Mac far too much for far too long.  I think Santa did my wife and me right.

So, it’s now the day after Christmas 2009 and I’m looking through my employee benefits sites at work trying to find the “$10 Office 2008 for Mac” deal that a co-worker told me about this past summer.  All of my daughter’s school work is done in Word, Excel or Power Point.  She knows Power Point so well, she’s been tutoring her fourth grade teacher on how to use it.  I got her hooked on the Mac with iLife.  I knew I wasn’t going to win any awards forcing her to learn iWork.  So I just got her the Microsoft Programs for the Mac.  She even agreed to split the $10 licensing fee I had to pay.  What a good kid.

But it took me ALL DAY!  The house was a mess.  Leslie and I are both sleep deprived.  I’m fighting a cold.  Holidays are getting rougher in our old age.  The kids were acting bratty.  There were 100+ interruptions — to a computer geek interruptions are like ice picks in the eyes; nothing is more annoying than an interruption when you are trying to get something complex done right.  Ugh!

Finally though, I finished installing all of the work on her computer.  I’m pretty proud of myself too.  Aside from the programs for school she also has the iLife suite, Voice Candy, and two Luxor games to play with.  It’s under complete Parental Control.  I’m using the Mac Parental Controls in conjunction with Open DNS which will also filters out nasty domains (phishing and maleware as well as sites that are not child friendly).  With a little Remote Desktop magic I can also view her screen in a window on my iMac’s 2nd monitor to make sure she’s doing her homework when she should be doing her homework.  Time limits keep her from spending more than 4 hours a day on the machine and will force her to logout at bed time, and she can’t login again till morning.  So there will be no late night net parties in her room any time soon.

My next plan is to show her the address book on the machine.  I’ll have her convert our old paper address book to the Mac format, then I’ll be able to port it into my machine with ease.  It’s a win-win.  She’ll love typing in all the information and using the Address Book program.  She’ll love having all that contact information at her fingertips.  And I’ll get to benefit from her labors.

Tomorrow we have to work on integrating Google email with Snow Leopard’s Mail and resolving the Parental Permission issues around that.  Tomorrow should be both fun and interesting.

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