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Tech: New computer blues

Charmion 28 Nov 09 - 12:58 PM
Old Vermin 28 Nov 09 - 01:15 PM
Susan of DT 28 Nov 09 - 01:29 PM
JohnInKansas 28 Nov 09 - 01:36 PM
Reinhard 28 Nov 09 - 02:21 PM
Acme 28 Nov 09 - 02:21 PM
Will Fly 28 Nov 09 - 02:24 PM
Amos 28 Nov 09 - 02:53 PM
EBarnacle 28 Nov 09 - 05:11 PM
JohnInKansas 29 Nov 09 - 02:52 AM
Charmion 30 Nov 09 - 01:13 PM
Acme 30 Nov 09 - 02:27 PM
JohnInKansas 30 Nov 09 - 07:05 PM
Acme 01 Dec 09 - 01:25 AM
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Subject: Tech: New computer blues
From: Charmion
Date: 28 Nov 09 - 12:58 PM

Our Dell Dimension 8200 desktop computer died at the tender age of seven years, of a terminal lack of RAM -- apparently it took some rarefied form of the stuff that hasn't been available for years. It seems like just yesterday we finished paying for the darned thing, but the dates on the software don't lie and I guess a computer becomes a boat anchor at record speed these days.

We couldn't face paying the huge price of a new one, especially since they come with so many extra things we don't need, so this time I took my heart and wallet in my hand and bought a "refurbished" Dell Optiplex GX280 for Cdn$249 and put another Cdn$125 into extra RAM and an extended warranty thingy. So the new box has 400 Gb of RAM and a 400 Gb hard drive, and I don't think even we can stack up enough iTunes music to choke this one.

It's now lunch time on Saturday, and I have been working on the transition from the old box to the new one since Thursday evening. The file-and-settings transfer function in Windows XP seemed like a really good idea until it crapped out twice, killing half of our music library. But I think I have the thing whipped into shape now.

Not for the first time, I'm flat-out amazed at how calmly I tackle computer problems that sent me into a panic ten years ago. The software is far more complicated than it used to be, and I've got half a dozen peripherals that used to be strictly for people who really know what they're doing, and here I am installing and uninstalling the stuff, reconciling all their wee conflicts and sorting out their wiring.

Go me!


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Subject: RE: Tech: New computer blues
From: Old Vermin
Date: 28 Nov 09 - 01:15 PM

A Linux such as Ubuntu?


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Subject: RE: Tech: New computer blues
From: Susan of DT
Date: 28 Nov 09 - 01:29 PM

I will be getting a new computer soon and Dick just got one. We put a copy of all of our "My Documents" onto a large external drive that can be moved to the new machine and presumably then "just" have to reinstall old or new programs.


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Subject: RE: Tech: New computer blues
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 28 Nov 09 - 01:36 PM

The "state of the art" of computer building is summarized at A Slide Show from a seller of "extended warranties," based on recent experience with warranty claims. While the article applies strictly only to "notebook computers" it ain't a very pretty picture.

In their survey of nine "top sellers," overall 31% of notebooks failed to last three years before suffering catastrophic failure. Even the best performer suffered nearly 15% "total catastrophic failures" within three years.

As a side note, at least a couple of people have reported recently that Apple has refused to honor warranties on grounds that the users smoked while using them, making the machines "toxic" to their workers. (Apple doesn't mention this in their warranties as a way of weaseling out of support, and refuses thus far to confirm the user reports.)

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: New computer blues
From: Reinhard
Date: 28 Nov 09 - 02:21 PM

Frankly, the creators of this slide show are inept; they should take Statistis 101 before being allowed to work. First they scare us with 31% of notebook failures in three years but then they say that the *worst* manufacturer is HP with 26% failures which is a trifle less than an alleged median of 31% failures.


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Subject: RE: Tech: New computer blues
From: Acme
Date: 28 Nov 09 - 02:21 PM

I suspect that you have 4Gb of RAM, not 400.

If you have XP Home it would be a good idea to upgrade to XP Pro. It's much more robust. It's a disk you run, and should be able to find online for a reasonable price.

You can always buy RAM online. Did you research at Dell and find only their prices for the system you owned? Places like Fry's, NewEgg, the old CompUSA, even, had it much less expensive.

Good luck. I agree, the external drive is a good idea. Or easier, after you get through to your files, get a disk enclosure and put the old hard drive into the box and plug it in to be an external drive. You will need to give yourself permission to access your old files, but that's not difficult.

SRS


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Subject: RE: Tech: New computer blues
From: Will Fly
Date: 28 Nov 09 - 02:24 PM

You should have got one of these...


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Subject: RE: Tech: New computer blues
From: Amos
Date: 28 Nov 09 - 02:53 PM

I stand with those who send their applause and admiration, Charmion. But I also mutter, under my breath, that your life would be much less painful if you had switched to OSX.


A


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Subject: RE: Tech: New computer blues
From: EBarnacle
Date: 28 Nov 09 - 05:11 PM

As one who is learning to rehab laptops in my spare time, about 50% of the dead can be brought back to life economically. The remainder become parts or get recycled to scrap.


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Subject: RE: Tech: New computer blues
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 29 Nov 09 - 02:52 AM

Frankly, the creators of this slide show are inept ...

Franky (IMNSHO) anyone who thinks a "slide show" (a.k.a. Power Point presentation) is the right way to present information is an idiot.

But of course the producers of that slide show weren't intending to present any information. It's just a sales pitch for the extended warranties that they sell. They are, therefor, just clever advertisers; and it's only the idiot editors who passed the site on to me who should know better. (But editors get paid for being idiots?)

The noted discrepancy is due to their separation of "failures of all kinds" (many easily repairable) and "catastrophic failures" (not worth repairing); but they cleverly make it impossible to tell which each chart/statistic is reporting. Once fixing the gullible mind to the notion of catastrophic failures, they quote the bigger number for all failures and assume (correctly?) that casual readers will believe they're still reporting just the catastrophic "total failures."

But of course we all noticed what they were doing ... ...

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: New computer blues
From: Charmion
Date: 30 Nov 09 - 01:13 PM

Yes, SRS, you're right of course -- it's 4 gigs of RAM, not 400. Stutter finger on my part.

I just received a PM asking for the power supply of our dead Dell. Anyone else out there who could use a piece of the carcass?


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Subject: RE: Tech: New computer blues
From: Acme
Date: 30 Nov 09 - 02:27 PM

Dell power supplies are made to fit Dells best, so it's easiest to replace like with like. But if you can get one nearly the same size and make it fit in the hole, you'll find the non-Dell ones are a lot quieter. My daughter did that last year on her computer up at college. She ordered one from NewEgg, after researching the Dell part. "It didn't quite fit so I cut the case," she told me. Good girl! Forcing it isn't the answer, but modifying the case is sometimes the best remedy.

SRS


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Subject: RE: Tech: New computer blues
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 30 Nov 09 - 07:05 PM

But at least on campus she would want to call it "customizing" rather than mundanely saying she "just whacked a hole in it." (?)

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: New computer blues
From: Acme
Date: 01 Dec 09 - 01:25 AM

It's a very brave young woman who is willing to cut the external case on her computer to make a part fit. Whacking had nothing to do with it. I'm sure she found some sharp implement, perhaps a kitchen knife, to do the job. ;-D

SRS


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