Buyers, Beware? — The year is 2214. Your computer’s dusty hard drive has resurfaced at an antique store. Write a note to the curious buyer explaining what he or she will find there.

Yesterday, I transferred ownership of the my Dell XPS laptop to the (hopefully) loving arms of my granddaughter. Kaity’s computer up and died. It was the computer I gave her when she started high school 3 years ago. It was a cheap computer. I’m surprised it lasted this long.

dell xps 15r

The XPS she inherited is not a cheap computer. Top of the line, state of the art when I bought it. With a fast 750 (7200) GB hard drive, 8 gigs of RAM, and an Intel Core i7 processor. It is still superior to most of the crap they are selling these days. Fatal flaw? Graphics-cum-audio card. When I bought it, it was the only choice. They didn’t offer another video card and no other card fits in its slot, so upgrading was not an option. How Apple of them!

It wasn’t a big issue in the beginning, but as photography has gained prominence in my world, the inadequacies of the graphics card have become serious. Blue screens follow every use of Photoshop. Recovering from these crashes is harder each time. The card shares space with sound, so I can’t listen to an audiobook while photo editing. It kind of took the fun out of it.

With no way to fix it, I reluctantly replaced it.

Yesterday, Kaity dropped by to collect the computer and snag a few bucks to put gas in her car. I hoped to reload it before passing it on (I have the original windows installation disk) but life got in the way. The operating system is cranky. With a reload, it could easily run for years … as long as Kaity understands its limitations, doesn’t mistreat it, allow it to overheat, or drop it.

What’s on that hard drive?


39,000 (give or take a few hundred) photographs. No worries, mate. I transferred all of them to external drives. They are as safe as modern technology can make them. There are also 3000 documents including my novel, illustrations, covers, and the stuff I put to together to promote it … before I got cancer and somehow the book wasn’t all that important.

Applications. Card games. Scrabble. Photoshop. Lightroom. Chrome. Specialized software for Canon. Software for Panasonic and Olympus cameras.

Since Photoshop CS5, I haven’t needed the special Olympus software anyhow. Maybe I deleted it. Not sure. Buried in there are also versions of Photoshop Elements and Corel PaintShop Pro which were my fallback positions until I got my own Adobe licenses.


Open Office is on that drive. I stopped liking what Microsoft did to MS Office. I found Open Office and have been using it for the past decade. Price? Free, but they appreciate contributions from developers and civilians. It will open and edit documents created by pretty much any office application, except Framemaker (Adobe) and no one uses Frame except weirdos like me.

Tens of thousands of system files. Windows is bloated. Somewhere in every Windows computer are every other version of Windows. Microsoft does not clean up their code. Ever.

The computer Kaity inherited is a time capsule. You can see the changes computers have gone through in their passage from office machines to the one thing we can’t live without.

200 years from now? The hard drive (or whatever they will call it) will be made of different stuff. It will easily contain a universe of data with no moving parts. It won’t ever wear out but it will become obsolete every couple of years anyway because the profit motive won’t disappear either.

theater district boston night

A personal computer (maybe called something else but performing the same functions) will be part of everyone’s life. As will a communication device and a personal vehicle. There’ll be many kinds of media players. If not TVs, then something which performs entertainment functions. Everything we have now will be there in the future.

We will need food, shelter, transportation, entertainment, ways to organize and distribute information. We will read and write. We will have old and new ways to create art. People will live in old houses they restored and modern houses with all the bells and whistles — just like they do now and always have. We will build places to live, furniture, and toys for children.

These things define us as people.

Unless we make our planet unlivable, we will change the form of what we use, but the functions will continue. Technology changes. People don’t.


  1. angloswiss November 3, 2014 / 11:01 am

    That was an interesting read, although I will have to re-read it as my brain no longer functions as quick as it should. As you know I have transferred to Apple and am loving it. Almost everything understood, just a few ticks in the right boxes to make. I always have my photos (also about 10,000) on the hard disk, on an external disc and in Flickr. Once my external disc went kaput and I had nothing as a reserve. It was then that I did not have the originals on my computer. I spent a week uploading from flickr onto my computer and learnt my lesson. I now have photos everywhere. I have Adobe photoshop 3, but never bothered to buy a newer version. Actually I am quite happy with Ribbit and I love the photo programme on my apple. As I said, I might be back. Sometimes my words run away with me, but I think my learning curve on Apple is now almost finished.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Marilyn Armstrong November 3, 2014 / 11:35 am

      And I’m really happy with my Alien. There was no learning curve, but I still had to install the software and then get the computer set up the way I like it … and figure out how to make the text big enough for my aging eyes to see! I had to turn the resolution on the monitor down a bit because I really couldn’t read it, not even with my special computer glasses. How humiliating. A computer that runs this well, no matter who made it, is a very nice thing to have. VERY nice. I’m kind of loving it, actually 🙂 Now, let’s conquer the world!


  2. ashokbhatia November 3, 2014 / 11:13 am

    Interesting. Possibly, we shall have robots by then to take care of all the drudgery. WE, homo sapiens, shall be busy ensuring we do not get dominated by the robots!


    • Marilyn Armstrong November 3, 2014 / 11:31 am

      😀 That might be nice. Or not. I don’t even like having a person in my house helping me. I’m betting there will always be a lot of people who would rather do whatever it is themselves. People will be people.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Swoosieque November 3, 2014 / 11:22 am

    Great point – technology changes – people don’t.


    • Marilyn Armstrong November 3, 2014 / 11:30 am

      I know people who live in 200 year old houses and in Israel, I knew people who lived in 1000 year old houses. They had solar collectors on the roof and a computer in the hall, but their furniture was antique. People have been reading since they wrote on cave walls. Formats change, but we don’t change nearly as much! Maybe that’s a good thing?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Swoosieque November 3, 2014 / 11:39 am

        I lived in a 200 yr. old stone house in Canada – loved it. Good point about cave-writings, mankind will always have a need to communicate.


        • Marilyn Armstrong November 3, 2014 / 11:59 am

          And whether it’s on the wall, scrolls, books, banners, paper, electronically, whatever … we’ll find a way to do it. I think that’s probably our one truly distinct difference from the rest of the pack. Language and our need to communicate with it.

          Liked by 1 person

  4. bobmielke November 3, 2014 / 11:56 am

    May I respectfully disagree with your closing statement. Indeed people do change, or at least their core values and beliefs in what is morally acceptable. The supreme court is busy these days striking down all my generation’s conviction. Right to die, right to marry the same sex, right to smoke recreational drugs are but a few of the changes in our society.We’re working on giving illegal aliens the right to vote, have a driver’s license and free medical coverage. That’s different. I’m glad I’m over the hill, that I have fewer years remaining on earth than I put in already. It’s not an earth I wish to live in, raise children in, or defend.


    • Marilyn Armstrong November 3, 2014 / 6:06 pm

      My core values are not and never were the same as yours. I have always been a liberal. Always believed that we should not legislate morality. I’m AGAINST school prayer and I’ve always said so. I’m NOT a CHRISTIAN and I deeply resent having those “values” imposed on me.

      I. Am. Not. Christian.

      I strongly believe in a woman’s right to choose. I believe in Gay Rights. I smoked pot when I was young and don’t think there’s anything wrong with it. I think EVERYONE should be entitled to medical care. NO ONE should die because they can’t go to a doctor or a hospital regardless of their immigration status. I’ve been very forthright in expressing these opinions. Because I believe in YOUR rights, I would never try to stop you from practicing and/or promoting your beliefs, even though I don’t like them.

      I am your generation. So is Garry and we do NOT agree with you and never have.


      • bobmielke November 3, 2014 / 6:21 pm

        As I said, I used to be in the majority but now I’m being outvoted. The times have changed and so have people.


        • Marilyn Armstrong November 3, 2014 / 6:31 pm

          I didn’t change. I’ve always been this way and so have a lot of other people.


          • bobmielke November 3, 2014 / 6:36 pm

            My remarks were not directed at you but a broader segment of the population. There are fewer conservatives remaining. Liberalism is the prevailing force in the United States now. Until now we were blessed but I can see that ending as we slant toward the ways of Sodom and Gomorrah.


  5. Ben November 3, 2014 / 3:19 pm

    It’s true what they say; “one person’s junk, is another person’s treasure.” Personally, I’ve tripped upon a few treasures among the junk of others. Hopefully Kaity will breath new life into your old computer and it will continue to be useful for a few more years.

    The Junk Man


    • Marilyn Armstrong November 3, 2014 / 4:01 pm

      I hope so too. With a bit of luck and a bit of extra TLC, I think it’ll live on for a while 🙂


  6. DailyMusings November 3, 2014 / 5:38 pm

    Enjoy your new computer. Your first photo is truly amazing- I just love it. I also like your header photo- perfect for election day!


    • Marilyn Armstrong November 3, 2014 / 5:52 pm

      I am enjoying it, now that I have it set up. It just takes time to get all the settings the way I want them.


  7. evelyneholingue November 3, 2014 / 9:07 pm

    What a fun post, Marilyn!
    “Technology changes. People don’t.”
    I agree that our human needs will be the same. Only different ways to get them.
    The photos are really beautiful as always. I love the house!


    • Marilyn Armstrong November 3, 2014 / 9:13 pm

      It’s an adorable little house with great light. Cozy — most unusual for Peacham, Vermont 🙂 I’d live in it in a heartbeat.


  8. DyingNote November 3, 2014 / 10:53 pm

    I had been toying with the idea of trading in my iMac for no obvious reason other than a ‘need’ for change…and also a minor dip in speed. I reluctantly killed the thought (thankfully) and bumped up the RAM The four and a half year old is chugging along nicely.


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