A Laptop Makeover

to keyjazzle

Today I have coined a word. That word is keyjazzle. I Googled it – it doesn’t exist. But it should. Because how else can you describe the beautiful transformation that my laptop has recently gone through? I keyjazzled my keyboard, and I liked it.

I use two laptops, Matt and Tony Jr. Technically Matt doesn’t belong to me as he’s a work laptop, but I temporarily left work for a couple of months last summer and was told I could keep him. When I came back ownership of Matt reverted back to my employers, but I have lots of photos and personal junk on him. He’s still quite new and I take good care of him – he’s very organised and tidy and has lots of useful software installed.

debbiedoesdoodles | Two laptops

Tony Jr., on the other hand, has not been taken care of. He’s about three and a half years old but has been dropped many many times, had biscuits eaten over him (by me, I have no children to blame those crumbs on) and developed the odd virus or two (and been nursed back to health again). He’s messy outside and in – the desktop is cluttered, the files are disorganised, and there’s an urgent need for a systematic backup. In the past I’ve used Tony Jr. mostly for entertainment, and then I moved in with James and his massive TV and Tony was neglected. But since I started blogging he’s seeing more action than ever before.

And so, messy Tony Jr. was desperately in need of a clean-up.

laptop before makeover

First off, I set about creating a logical filing structure from scratch. This also allowed me to clear out old downloads and sort out my Desktop to include just shortcuts to those applications I use regularly. I also ensured my virus software was up to date and ran a full scan.

I backed up photographs and documents onto some (clearly labelled) rewritable DVDs – in future I’m intending to use a proper external hard-drive to backup, but that may have to be an item for the Christmas present list. I use Dropbox to back up ongoing projects (mostly blog related) as well as photos and documents that I access regularly. It’s free up to 2GB (and will be 2.5GB if you follow this link to sign up!) and is the perfect way to share files between multiple PCs or even your iPhone/Android/Blackberry/iPad/Kindle.

debbiedoesdoodles colourful patterned keyboard stickers

And next: the fun part. First I gave Tony a thorough cleaning using all purpose screen and keyboard wipes. I removed all the branding and technical stickers and gave him a gentle upside down shake to dislodge any large crumbs. Then I had to clean him again, DUH. Next I applied colourful keyboard stickers to most of the keys of the keyboard. I struggled to find any stickers that would accurately fit my keys, but decided that since the cost is quite low it was worth a go. They look great and are super sticky (so feel like they’ll stay in place obediently), as well as being quite nice to type on.

The major disadvantage of buying keyboard stickers that aren’t geographically specific is that the British irregularities don’t match – there is no £ sign, the @ and the ” are swapped, and some keys just don’t exist at all. Other stickers, such as the space bar or enter, aren’t quite the right shape or length. Some could be cut down, but after some consideration I just focussed on the central keys and arrow buttons.

laptop skin

Since I loved the colourful keys so much I couldn’t resist getting a laptop skin – I bought a colourful 17″ skin for less than £10 on eBay. As a final touch I downloaded one of the free Designer Desktops from Design Milk. My favourite was from October 2011, by designer H. Michael Karshis and includes a quotation “Everything is an experiment” from graphic designer Tibor Kalman. I love the graphics and the way turquoise and orange accents are used with grey.

And that’s it – Tony Jr. is now beautiful and organised outside and in. I love love love the new keys, they make me want to type playfully, writing happy words and creating fun and bright things.

laptop after makeover

I used to be a lexicographer, I know how this works. People think words are only officially words when they enter the dictionary, but that’s the wrong way around – words only enter the dictionary once they’re used as words by people. Dictionaries reflect language use, rather than determining it – in linguistic terms they’re descriptive, not prescriptive (elements of prescriptivism exist, but that’s a whole Masters thesis and more there). So if people started to use a new word a lot, for example, keyjazzle, one day it might just make it into a dictionary. And then everyone will want to do it. Which they should, because IT IS GREAT.

“Will you keyjazzle today?” “Oh, I just keyjazzled my keyboard!” “Hey Debbie, are you keyjazzling?”

See, all the uses.

>>> This is post 12 of the 31 I’ll be writing for Blogtoberfest 2012 <<<

  1. Tess said:

    On my gosh! I have learned so much from you!
    Keyjazzling! Who knew?
    Dropbox, never heard of it! I just signed up.
    Laptop skin – I lovelovelove!
    and free designer desktops – I never kneew I neede one – until now!
    I’m inspired……. : )
    Thanks so much

    • Hehe thanks Tess! Dropbox is the best, thanks for following the link to sign up. And I am writing this ON MY FANCY PANTS KEYBOARD right now!

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