Category Archives: Computer

byebye, FontExplorer X

I installed FontExplorer X (herein referred to as “FEX” ’cause I don’t wanna type it out) almost two years ago.

I did like the program while I was using it. FEX just doesn’t fit into my current computer environment right now.

Pros: I guess programs opened up a microsecond faster than usual. I don’t have many fonts, just a few hundred, nowhere near the thousands that professional designers have.

It sure made looking for fonts in my system much easier. Even though it would slow down when I wanted to view font sizes in 300 pt (don’t ask). I could see the whole alphabet (upper case or lower case) in one go while scrolling through all of them. (Even though my typography teacher would be horrified to hear that sometimes that’s how I choose my typefaces.)

Cons: First and foremost, at the moment I hate having to open up an additional program to get access to typefaces. If I were working in a design environment, which I was last year, I absolutely would not mind. But now I open Adobe design programs only once in a while, and when I do I don’t like having to remember to open another program to use, say, PetitaMedium (something I use in my resume).

Secondly, I’m working on a Windows-based computer. There is currently no version of FEX outside of beta for Windows. That’s not too terrible, but for some reason something in FEX makes Windows snitty about opening system programs like Volume Control or Spider Solitaire or Calculator. In other words, very important programs! *snicker*

Last year I was okay with it and would just do all of that on my laptop, calculations, listen to music, or take a Spider Solitaire break. But right now I’m not settling in for long stretches to design things. I’m just opening a file here or there to edit while I’m on the computer. So I don’t turn my laptop on since I’m planning to not be here long or I plan to watch Youtube vidoes.

(Yes, my laptop, my retarded baby, is gradually becoming only a mobile entertainment center. Sad times, let me tell you. But wow, going from 384 MB RAM to 2 gigs … it’s a miracle!!)

A third reason that FEX is not so helpful is the fact that there are no tags in the program. I think I’ve become spoiled by Windows Media Player and online journals. I’m used to finding things through tags.

I know there are groups or sets or whatever in FEX, but I have to manually add fonts to each one. Every time I install a new font, I have to remember to categorize it, or else I’ll probably never remember to use it again. Since I haven’t gotten around to doing that yet (I did it on my laptop but I uninstalled FEX to make it run faster), I am forever scrolling through 400+ fonts trying to find all the serif typefaces and trying to figure out which one I’d like to use.

If I were working on a Mac, I would definitely pay for and install the newest version of FEX. (Mostly because I hate the Mac’s way of scrolling so slowly through the list of typefaces on Adobe programs.)

But since I am running Windows, I’ve decided that FEX has run its course on my computer and really must go. I’m saving the install file though just in case.

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more computer woes

As mentioned in a previous post, my laptop has problems coming back from standby.

I thought it was Firefox creating all the trouble but that proved false when I tried to wake up my laptop when no programs were open, yet it still ran very slowly. Now I figure it has to be the wireless netword card/PC card driver since there’s nothing else. If I want to put my laptop on standby, I’ll have to remove the card beforehand.

I would try fixing this little problem but I can’t remember how I fixed it before. I don’t even know how I got the computer to recognize the card or to access the internet after the reinstall. It was just a random crapshoot of installing different updated drivers and whatnot in different sequences from the Dell support site. Once I got it working I stopped touching it, and am now afraid that if I try to fix it I will just not have internet access period.

(I hate how old machines work only because each little clunky part is relying on the rest of the clunkyness and if you fix one little thing the whole thing goes kablooie!)

If you didn’t notice, I haven’t started on my photoblog yet. Partly because I am lazy. But mostly because my camera is back in Canon’s fix-it shop! (Yes, I sent it in once before.) I guess they fixed the faulty mode switch, but decided not to repair the image sensor. Or they did repair the image sensor, but they used a refurbished one so that my camera lost the horizontal lines (for the most part) but still had pink/purple tints to them. I don’t know.

So I called support and asked what was up with that, why it wasn’t fixed, but I don’t think I communicated well (what else is new). End result, I send it in because there is a recall out on it and they will fix it at absolutely no cost to me. (They even pay for shipping.)

Minor complaints: I saw the recall on the Canon support FAQ, but after reading it I didn’t think it included my camera. It’s probably my lack of communication/comprehension skills. But I mentioned the problem in the repair form. I don’t know why it wasn’t fixed adequately. I wouldn’t have minded (too much) paying to fix the problem the first time I sent it in. Having to send it in again and being without my camera for the first couple weeks of school is a real pain in the [insert body part].

All in all though, it’s cheaper than buying a new camera. And I like my camera. I would miss it if I had to recycle it.

(I was originally going to buy a new camera because I didn’t feel like dealing with repairs and sort of wanted a camera right at the moment, but Mum ranted about appliances not working as long as they used to and what’s wrong with electronics today? so I sent it in to prove to her that Canon doesn’t really suck that much. :3 Who’s right?)

less zippy laptop

Quicky post … right.

Finished upgrading Win XP and drivers and such on my laptop, then re-installed all the programs and copied back most of my files. Interesting note: most of the programs I installed, I downloaded free online. Only three were on CD (Paint Shop Pro 6, yes, Photoshop 7, and my Canon camera things).

For a day or two after the fresh install I had a really hard time connecting to the internet. I could access the computer network, but not the internet. X( I’ve had problems with my laptop network card (external, yes my laptop is that old) and XP SP2 before. I downloaded a new driver that time, but I don’t know how I fixed it this time. Apparently some weird mix of installing and uninstalling some drivers I downloaded from Dell made things click. *blink*

Now my speed never reads as fast as 54 mbps, it’s about half that speed or less, but then again I never really trusted the high number before. Just because the card can go that fast doesn’t mean it is.

The only other problem I have is, for some reason my laptop doesn’t like to come back from standby. Whenever I try to wake it up, everything runs slower than molasses if it were a hundred years old. At first I thought it was my wireless card driver or something, because that’s happened before, with that whole SP2 fiasco, but my laptop runs fine from startup.

Then I thought it was Photoshop, because it’s been running slow recently (can’t remember what settings I had it at before), but a third time proved that theory false. Now I’m wondering if it’s Firefox that’s the cause, but I’m too scared to try it out, and I can’t remember if I had Firefox open the very first time…

End result? I’ve got 4.92 gigs of free space on my harddrive, less than before, but I’ve also got most all my music on this laptop now. XD That folder went from about 3.5 gigs to a bit over 12 gigs. I also sacrificed my pet pictures—they’re currently only on my external harddrive (must remember to copy them to my desktop…*worry*)—I don’t normally do anything with them anyway. That saved me three gigs.

(Oh, of course, my startup time is about the same as it was before, perhaps a mite faster, but not really noticeable. Firefox (still on 2) also has gone back to opening fairly slowly, but what can ya do?)

All in all, I am one happy puppy. Or should I say kitty? We don’t have a dog at the moment. :(

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zippy laptop

Yay! I have a fresh install of XP on my laptop! XD It starts up so fast! But I still have to install all my programs again…

Firefox (2 still, don’t quite like 3) starts up really fast too! :D Still have to import my bookmarks, and work on my preferences (allow or deny cookies for sites as I go around).

I’ve gone from 5.5 gigs hard drive space free to 25 gigs free! Tomorrow I’ll have to move all my files back on here. Hoping I have enough space to upload most of my music. *crosses fingers*

I finished reorganizing my closet today too. (Well, finished installing new shelving and finalized where I put everything.) What a productive day! It just zipped by! Like my laptop! Ohoho!

use the right words…

Wow. Windows Explorer just disappeared again. All I had open was Windows Media Player, Volume Control, IE 7, and Firefox. I also had just closed FileZilla and Paint Shop Pro (6, if anyone’s counting; yes I do like my ancient programs).

It probably didn’t help that I had a … My Documents folder Window open (… I have no idea what they’re called, sadly) with a folder of almost 400 images in the Thumbnails view setting (woo, look at that CPU speed shoot through the roof!) that I was attempting to close.

(It was my Amy Lee 2 folder. Yes I have enough images in one folder to warrant the creation of a second folder. Why am I talking about this? I have no idea. One would think that I’d find it horribly embarrassing to post on the internet that I have almost 1500 images of Amy Lee on my computer. — And I’m just saving pictures to analyze her style, sheesh!)

I think I really do need help … for my laptop, I mean.

This did remind me of another complaint I have though: it takes forever to go from My Computer to either the Windows folder or Program Files folder. Also the My Music folder (moved it to C:\ when my laptop was running at a fraction of a snail’s speed after installing SP 2), but not as slowly, so it’s not that bad. Sometimes it also takes a few seconds to load the C:\ drive itself, and the little flashlight beams around searching for it. (Helloooo, Windows, where aaare you? Olly olly oxen freee!)