I know that if you keep an open and inquisitive mind, you can learn something new everyday. And I’m all down for learning. But recently, my mind is aching from all the goddamned learning! It all started when I was recently gifted with a fancy camera. One small problem, though. In point-and-shoot/automatic mode, it doesn’t take photos that are even as good as the $150 jobby I’ve owned for years.
With a little research (and asking questions of my cousin, a professional photographer), it became apparent that my problem lay in the powerful flash on the gift. It creates horrible shadows when I shoot indoors. And so…before I knew it, I was learning about shutter speeds, apertures, focal lengths, depths of field, flash exposures, and similar technical stuff of which I was more or less aware before. I just didn’t much need to worry about it. My knowledge of photoshop took care of all of that – until I owned a camera with a harsh flash. Then I needed to study.
The frustrating part came while familiarizing myself with the operation of the camera itself. Kind of like learning a new computer program and remembering what I’ve learned so I can make adjustments on the fly. And of course, without someone there, I tend to go around in circles because either the manual or software isn’t 100% accurate in its depiction of the processes.
So that’s one project with which I’m making progress. The next is home shopping. People have convinced me I should really spend some of my hard-earned cash – and not leave it all to charity (which is currently where it’s going). And purchasing a modest home (one I can easily afford) in the country seems like a cool idea. That as you can imagine, entails its very own learning curve. If the property is on a river or lake, you want to make sure it’s not in a FEMA flood zone. So ya gotta find FEMA maps to make sure you and your new shit won’t float away.
Then there’s the process of home inspection, researching heating methods and tax histories, appraisals for the lender’s benefit (and yours), and myriad other issues an educated consumer should consider. Fortunately, when it comes to getting approved for a loan, I don’t have to worry. No loan required. I just fire off a check and the joint is mine: The rewards of a lifetime of material deprivation. And…I’ll have to have a car. So there’s research on which type of car gives you the most bang for your buck. It never ends!
Continuing…two days ago, the lower half of my iMac went dim. With a little (more) research, I realized the repair would cost much more than the unit is worth. Five years ago, I bought a 2007 model iMac on Craigslist for $400. And up until two days ago, it performed admirably for the duration. But it’s time. Putting money into an 11 year-old computer is foolish. Time for another 400-bucker off CL.
So…to Google…and more research. I’m pleased to inform y’all that for $300 – $400, you can get a lot of iMac even today. But there’s the Photoshop issue. Five years ago, I managed (with a little research yet again) to download the software free-of-charge. But I don’t know that I’ll be able to repeat that feat 5 years later. So I went to You Tube and managed to get CS 6 for my PC laptop without too much difficulty. Cool! I now have the software on a unit which I don’t generally use. Laptops don’t appeal to me. Nor do PC’s. I really don’t know them very well.
Then I hit the big snag. Not content to have CS 6 on my laptop, I decided to see if I could also download it on my current (about to be junked) iMac. I should see if I can get the new CS loaded on my current unit figuring if I could, then it would work on whatever new iMac I buy and I won’t need to look for one with the software already installed. Right?
So guess what happened, y’all! I got a fucking virus ON A MAC in the process! And here comes all the windows opening up to tell me I have a virus – and to call so-and-so and they’ll help me get rid of it! (I love that the guy who gives you the virus then wants to get paid to help you get rid of it!) Off to Google yet again to research how to remove malware from a Mac. Forget that Mac’s aren’t supposed to get viruses. I’m here to tell you differently.
This might have been the steepest of all the aforementioned learning curves. I performed all the manual stuff as directed by a few sites (deleting and trashing applications and all manner of library files) yet still, the problem persisted – though it did get better. Finally, I took the plunge and ran a malwarebyte program, many of which will actually give you a virus – not rid your unit of one. More research on the download itself (hoping to ensure it wouldn’t make matters worse) and I took the gamble. When it was over, Safari just would not quit! After struggling with more Google research but few results…I finally simply pulled the plug on the fucking thing rather than try to reboot the blasted contraption any other prescribed way! And guess what! Not only did the machine reboot perfectly…but all traces of the virus were gone. And it only took like half a day!
Bottom line to all this: I now more or less know how to use my new camera…understand technical photography stuff better than I did before…know what to look out for when purchasing a house/property…know how to get rid of a virus on a Mac…and currently boast a laptop with a fully functional download of Photoshop I didn’t have to pay for. The fact that I’ll probably never use it matters little. It’s the one clear victory in the entire saga.
But I still need to replace my iMac – though I have to admit I barely notice the dimness at this point. And otherwise, the computer works fine – especially now that I’ve deleted all the shitty files.