10:09:23 pm on
Sunday 23 Jun 2024

Computer Rule
Matt Seinberg

I got my first computer around December 1999. This was before I had my broadband Internet connection hooked up. It was a Compaq, which had a 12-gigabyte hard drive, 64 megabits of RAM, Windows 98 and a Pentium 3 processor clocked at 500 gigahertz. I look back now and laugh. I thought that was a fast machine and would serve me for many years to come.

After two years and many innovations in computer technology later, I realized how slow and clunky my Compaq was becoming. I kept it as clean as I could, with daily showers and vacuuming. I also reinstalled the operating system a couple of times, which always brought it back to factory fresh condition.

Microsoft had come out with Windows ME in 2000, and I thought about upgrading, but after hearing from a friend that it wasn't worth it, I passed on it. Why spend $100 on something that may not work or improve a machine that wasn't worth improving?

What I did do was install another hard drive for additional storage. I think that Western Digital 80 gig hard drive cost about $100. Now you can get a one Terabyte hard drive for that some amount of money. I also installed additional memory, bringing it up to 384 megabits of RAM. Although there was some improvement in the bells, whistles and speed, I knew this machine wasn't going to last much longer.

Fast-forward two years. The Compaq was working fine on a Saturday night, but when I went to turn it on Monday morning, I got the dreaded blue screen of death. No amount of tinkering or putting discs in would work. In a way, I was quite happy. I really did want a more powerful computer that would better serve my growing needs.

After debating with my wife for a week, I called Dell an ordered a new machine that I hoped would make my digital life easier. I only ordered the tower, as I was going to use the 17-inch CRT monitor that came with the Compaq. The Dell came with an 80 gig hard drive, Pentium 4 chip clocked at 2.8 gigahertz and 1 gig of memory. I thought it would be blazing fast.

I had the new computer a week later and got it set up. Then inspiration hit me like a hammer on the head. Why not install Windows XP on the Compaq and see what would happen? This way, the kids would have a computer to use and play on without having to touch mine.

I tried it. It worked, yeah for me! It was slow, but brought back to life. Now the problem was a monitor; I didn't have an extra one. I ordered a 17-inch flat screen from Dell and hooked the CRT back to the Compaq. Everyone was happy again.

As time went by, the Compaq started showing its age, growing hair from the speakers and getting arthritis in the wires. It was really slowing down. Finally, it died a quiet and dignified death. I had already taken the extra 80-gigabyte hard drive out of it and installed in the Dell. I took the original 12 gig hard drive out and buried it in the back yard in a nice little ceremony.

We were once again down to a single computer family and it wasn't working. After looking and pricing computers, I decided to get a 17-inch laptop. The only thing that was stopping me was the all of them were coming with Windows Vista, which had not gotten great reviews.

I asked Dell when Windows 7 was coming out. I was told it would be the following June. In May of 2009, I ordered a Dell Studio 17 laptop. I got it the following week and couldn't wait to start it up; finally, to work wirelessly. Was I happy when it connected and I could surf the internet in my bedroom, or anywhere around the house. The kids were happy, too.

Imagine my surprise when I found out that Windows 7 was going to come out in October 2009. I was not happy, with the Dell salespeople at all. They lied to me and I had to suffer with Vista. Phooey.

I plan to upgrade to Windows 7, when the first service pack is available. By then, I hope, Microsoft has exterminated most of bugs.

Upgrading any computer system is hard, if not a total pain in the ass. I'm learning this first hand, as we are doing that at work. We went from an ancient DOS based sales system to a Windows based system. This program was never sold to any other company to do we do. Still, the bugs in this new system need extermination, quickly, before the sales force revolts.

The new system was down twice this week. The first time was due to a software issue, the second due to hardware. It turns out that the company servers weren't powerful enough to handle the new program. Didn't anyone from the vendor or the IT department think about stuff like this?

The moral of this story is simple: if it isn't t broke, don't replace it. If you do replace an unbroken programme, please test it first and make sure it works before you make it your primary system. You'll be sorry if you don't. It's sort of like marrying the first person you meet without knowing anything about them. The divorce can be messy, sort of like the Blue Screen of Death.

Matt Seinberg lives on Long Island, a few minutes east of New York City. He looks at everything around him and notices much. Somewhat less cynical than dyed in the wool New Yorkers, Seinberg believes those who don't see what he does like reading about what he sees and what it means to him. Seinberg columns revel in the silly little things of life and laughter as well as much well-directed anger at inept, foolish public officials. Mostly, Seinberg writes for those who laugh easily at their own foibles as well as those of others.

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