Due to popular demand, I’ll show you my new machine. Be warned, it’s not terribly exciting.
|Left: The venerable ten year old Dell, now a wise and genteel Linux box. (Ubuntu. It’s still young at heart.)|
Right:The new unremarkable gray box.
The machine is this one. Intel Pentium Dual Core 2.4GHz – 4GB DDR2, 250GB SATA HDD.
The last few computer purchases have been Systemax, and I guess it’s only dawned on me now that they have a terrible survival rate. My wife’s Systemax Laptop bricked after 3 years. My previous PC was also a Systemax, and it bricked after 3 years as well. I helped my brother set up a Systemax three years ago, and that one is still in service. (Although it doesn’t see a great deal of use.) I have a favorable impression of the machines because they’re always so nice out of the box. (Not loaded with demos and crap.) If this one doesn’t go the distance it will be our last Systemax.
The purchase was made in a rush, because I needed a machine now(!!!!). I would have preferred to get a build-to-order machine. I liked this one because it had “lots” of memory. (As if there was such a thing.) It was also not too expensive. The lack of a decent graphics card was a plus, as it kept the price low and would let me shop for the right card when I had time to squander on such a task. And having XP pre-installed was a must.
I would have preferred to have a memory card reader. We have a lot of little cards around here and I tend to use them like floppies. I also would have liked a little more hard drive. I’ve still got the 500GB drive from the dead machine, but as others have advised me I’m treating it like a time bomb, unfit for crucial data. It’s just going to hold screenshots and games.
As I mentioned before, it came with a copy of Vista, so this is my first chance to see it. I have to say the negative things people have been saying about it seem pretty unfair. Everyone claims that Vista is much too big, but I think the size is just right.
As you can see, if Vista was smaller it wouldn’t be able to properly protect the desktop from spills or condensation. People have also said that Vista is too “heavy”, but I think it’s too light. Sometimes when I pick up my mug Vista clings to the bottom.
The Survival rate of all of my computer purchases since 2000 have been abysmal. Now that I’ve put some thought (and several hundred dollars) into it, I can see there are several contributing factors:
- I’m in an old house with twitchy power. The lights dim when the AC kicks on, which is most certainly bad for the PCs. We get about two power outages a year. They’re brief, but the sudden cutout is what harms computers.
- My surge protectors are about seven years old. Someone pointed out that they go bad over time. I did not know this. I thought they would stop working if they lost their protective virtue. The idea that a surge protector could go bad without letting me know fills me with dismay. Do you understand? I will never feel safe again.
- My office seems to contain an invisible dust-generating anomaly. You could dust this place every three days and have something to show for it on your dusting implement.
- This is the most poorly air-conditioned room downstairs, and the temp sometimes gets into the mid eighties during summer.
- A proper UPS is on order, which should guard against spikes and momentary brownouts. If the power dies, I’ll have a few minutes to shut down my machine. As a bonus, the thing should be able to power the cable modem and router for a nice long time, which means the laptops can continue to use the net even when the power goes.
- I’ll be blasting the dust out of the machines every couple of months, as people have suggested. I usually avoid doing this because I’m really allergic, and my machine is tucked away under the desk. Still, it’s worth a bit of hassle and a headache every few months to avoid the kind of loss and expense we just went through.
- I’ll be replacing all the power strips.
- Lucky rabbit’s foot.
There it is. One final word on this machine:
Thank you so much whoever put a reset button on this thing. I abhor this practice of leaving off the reset button and giving us a soft power switch. If I’m hitting the button, it’s because something has gone very wrong and I don’t feel like asking an unresponsive computer for permission to turn it off. I don’t need it often, but when I do need it, I really need it. I know what I’m doing, please stop trying to second-guess me.
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