Having to reformat and reinstall programs no less than 3 times in the last 2 weeks has turned me into a lean user. With this last install I'm not bothering with anything other than the basics until I find out if it is stable or not.
Have I mentioned how fed up I am with computer problems? I have wasted more time in the last three weeks, it's a good thing I don't have a job to worry about. I finally withdrew from my online courses because I have not been able to spend the time doing the research or the assignments, and to try to cram it all in during these last two weeks would maybe get me the 'pass' but I would not feel like I learned anything, and that is the point of the courses, afterall. I am doing this for my own personal growth, so have abandoned the classes and will pick them up next year when things are settled (hopefully that WILL happen!).
This is my last shot at trying to use this laptop though, if this one corrupts the drive then I'm done - I'll ship the machine out for repair (assuming Dell will agree it is a hardware issue) and that will be that.
However, there is an 'up' side. I've learned some new things about restoring backup data. And I've been playing with IE 8 and Google Chrome and have discovered some nice features that provide eye candy (i.e., themes for my email).
I had been mapping both gmail accounts to Outlook so I could just have one program open and see all my email. But I got tired of deleting multiple instances of the same email, or marking it as 'read'. And I really got tired trying to reinstall the setup with each new install on my laptop.
I am surprised at how little I like Outlook other than for its calendar feature. I could not find an easy way to add an email user to my contact list. And I could not find a way to force email to look to my contact list to generate a new message. I poked around with settings and options but couldn't find anything that seemed like it would work. Something seems disconnected there, maybe it was me.
I did like that I could create multiple calendars and use different colors - easy to see the vacancies for the rental properties at a glance. But that alone will not make me go back to Outlook. So for now, adios!
And so I discovered Google Chrome, and found out that I can have one gmail account open there and a different one in IE. So I can easily see my emails at the same time anyway. And gmail is really easy to manage, and I like that it keeps the conversations together so I'm not wading through lists of emails looking for something I sent to someone.
I played with the Google calendar yesterday, and found out that I can put some code into an html page and provide calendar access to a potential guest so they can see open time. Most guests know when they're coming so I just tell them if we can accommodate or not, but a few guests have not booked flights, they are waiting to find accommodations first. It's nice that I will be able to give them the link to the calendar and they can see for themselves when we would be able to host them at the apartments.
Speaking of reservations, they have been coming in fast and furious. I think Isla Mujeres is in for a good tourist season if our reservations and requests are any indication. That gives me hope, because the US economy is still not looking good from my point of view and I think there is more bad news to come. It's scary, but if the island can attract tourists who can afford a vacation, then there is hope for the locals here who have been living day-to-day. I'm really not sure how some of them have been managing but Mexicans are incredibly resourceful and resilient, they're hanging on somehow. Let's hope 2010 brings relief to Mexico, and the world.