While I was in the Netherlands, the hard drive on my laptop failed. This was the latest disaster in what has been a summer of technical discontent. My phone line was down for a week while I changed companies, my answering machine broke down, and my keyboard got trashed. Answering machine and keyboard are small fry but a banjaxed hard disk is something else. Mind you, it was about time for an upgrade anyway.
Therefore today, I paid a visit to PC World and was delighted to see that they were having a clearance sale of shop-soiled stock. I don't mind the dust and scratches and have a bottle of methylated spirit to wipe off all the gunk from the tape they insist on strapping all over the hardware. I was able to pick up a desktop PC and a mini laptop for what I was expecting to pay for one computer - I also got one of those big screens thrown in. The idea is that I do not in the future go travelling around in planes, boats and trains with my main computer in a rucksack.
There was a glitch setting things up with the desktop box. I have a cupboard full of wires, plugs and so on, so I was able to supply all the missing cables but when Windows opened, I found that PC World had left the computer tied up with their own passoword protection. Reinstalling Windows Vista took a while but I have now got past the first stage in any "Install Fest" which is to get on the internet and download the latest version of Firefox.
I'm hoping that my backup drive is all OK and that the various USB sticks with backups of critical files are working. One thing I think I will persevere with is Google Mail. I have not used this much previously but during the past couple of days it has been essential. I'm getting more impressed with it, especially, as you would expect from Google, the search facility.
Time to install some more software...