I’m sitting here doodling on an electronic drawing tablet that my daughter gave me. That in itself is not particularly noteworthy, but the fact that the tablet is actually connected, configured and in use is a pretty significant win.
I’ve had this device for a couple of years, but didn’t really have a place at my desk for it. As a result, it sat abandoned in a file tray where it would remind me of its presence every time I walked into my office, but it wouldn’t get taken out of the tray and plugged in.
When I took apart my old desk and set up a larger one in another room due to renovations to my office, the tablet ended up atop a pile of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) manuscript printouts now in second draft. (A shout-out here to Jon Acuff — I’m doing his SeptemberJanuary challenge, and my two “do every day” projects are manuscript editing and the renovations.)
After working around the tablet for a while, I finally resolved to set up the tablet and actually start using it. This triggered a marathon bout of yak shaving:
- First I needed to find my USB hub, to make it more convenient to connect the tablet and other devices to my desktop computer, which has no front-panel ports. Found it conveniently located in a desk drawer, along with other peripherals. Plugged it into the back of the computer.
- Then I had to find the power adapter for the hub.
- But I wasn’t sure what voltage the hub needed, so I had to look that up on the Internet first.
- Somewhere along the way I played a few games of solitaire on the computer, checked my e-mail, and visited a forum or two.
- While I was looking through my collection of power adapters, I took the opportunity to tidy up the box of electronics parts where the adapters lived.
- Plugged in the power adapter.
- Retrieved the battery for the tablet stylus from my nightstand drawer.
- Dusted off the tablet. Still grimy from sitting in that tray. Went to get a damp washcloth and gave it a good cleaning.
- Finally plugged the tablet into the hub, and Windows spotted it. Charged up GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) but tablet didn’t do anything.
- Went back to the Internet to find drivers for the tablet, installed, rebooted. Tablet light started blinking in a promising fashion, but GIMP still wasn’t seeing it.
- Took a moment to find and read the user’s manual for the tablet. Ah, install driver and then plug in the device. Gotcha.
- Unplugged the tablet from the hub and then plugged it back in, and it finally deigned to let me draw things.
In retrospect, it looks like my procrastination may have been driven by anticipation of all the fuss and bother required to get the tablet working. Broken down into tasks, though, none of it was difficult or beyond my capabilities. It was just a long sequence of small tasks, and for some reason I moved at a glacial pace because I didn’t want to get started. In the end, though, I did choose to start and now it’s done. And now I can do things like this:
Glacier picture by Pixabay photographer myeviajes, image released under Creative Commons CC0.