Considering my near-Pokemon relationship with respiratory diseases (“gotta catch ’em all, gotta catch ’em all!”), it’s little surprise I wound up visiting my death-bed for most of last week. A little overtime put in cleaning out my garage, setting up, shooting, then breaking down the International Festival, led to a breakdown of another sort. The more cynically minded among you might point out that this coincided a bit neatly with the arrival of my new computer, but those cynics will be guided to a trashbag full of mucus-soaked Kleenex.

I am feeling much more connected these days, in the thrall of updating my Twitter and Tumblr feeds every few minutes. This is a nice piece of machinery – quad core processor, more RAM than I’ve ever had (and capable of expanding to even more), and I managed to dodge the hideous bullet of Windows Vista. Yes, it came with Windows 7.

And I am finding that nothing I have works with Windows 7.

In all my Web shenanigans, I’ve been using the same graphics program forever, and it ain’t Photoshop. I long ago found Micrografix’ Picture Publisher much more intuitive – hell it was like using one of my hands, it was that damned easy – and stuck with it. Well, Micrografix got bought by somebody years ago, and last iteration they put out was compliant with Windows 2000, I think. Ditto for my ancient but still lightning fast and reliable ULead SuperSaver, which cut down graphic file sizes with little loss of resolution.

I’ve also found out if I plopped down $150 more for Windows 7 Ultimate I could run a compatibility mode that would allow me to use this stuff. Instead, I’ve been exploring the wonderful world of open-source programs.

But really, I kinda expected that. I’d hoped it wasn’t going to be the case, but… (and I’m going to guess Office XP is just going to produce evil laughter from the OS)

What really has me steamed is hardware. The digital video converter I got to use twice? Useless. The programmable game controller that I gave myself as a Christmas present? Works fine, but the programming software is not compatible. Sorry, no updated drivers will be forthcoming.A work-around is devised, a well-reviewed replacement for the converter is only $25, but…

I am ending sentences with but… quite a bit now.

I do keep hearing rumblings that what promises to be my next big writing gig has finally passed the funding hurdles, and at least now I can write at length. Especially since I replaced my broken computer chair. Yeah, that’s another expense we can mark down in the book.

Theoretically I can absorb all these expenses soon, but…