Thursday, January 17, 2013

Computer Upgrade

My major hobby project the last few days has been upgrading my computer. My poor AMD processor laptop is simply not up to the task anymore. Since I work at home (or live at work, depending on how you look at living in a rectory...), I suppose one could say this has also been a professional project, as a lot of what I do professionally involves computers (e-mails, church website, informational videos, etc.)

I have been pondering what kind of computer to get for a while. I have not been particularly impressed with the big name computer makers for quite some time. In fact, I was reading an article in the Omaha newspaper (Yes, I am one of those people who still reads regular newspapers) that was talking about how Dell's stock has basically tanked. I have heretofore used Dell Computers, but I didn't have a particularly good experience when my former employer in Lincoln bought a new office computer from Dell that had nothing but problems. I can see why Dell has gone from PC gold standard to having stock issues and rumors of buy outs.

Before anyone says it, I refuse to use a Mac. I had a bad experience with one years ago and swore I'd never own another one. While I am sure they are fine computers nowadays, Mac/Apple product users themselves tend to be a very elitist/look-down-your-nose bunch, which never sits well with me. I just don't do snottiness. Frankly, that has always turned me off more than the products themselves.

I had toyed with getting some sort of Linux Operating System computer, having experimented with the various Linux OS systems such as Ubuntu and Fedora. The Linux systems are really under rated in some respects, but what irritates me about the freeware Linux crowd is that the various operating systems finally get up and running and mainly debugged. They finally get to the place of making a really good OS alternative to Mac or Windows, and then the  the herd seems to move on to the next version of the particular Linux Operating System with things unfinished on the current one. Frankly, not being a major programming geek, I had trouble getting many programs I need or use to work with Linux. I finally gave up on that idea.

I waiting around for a while until the new Windows 8 came out. I was hearing good things initially. I tried fooling around with Windows 8 while it was in beta and you could test it for free. While I am sure it is functional as an OS for tablets and touch screen environments, it seems basically worthless for traditional desktop environments with actual computer keyboards and mice.

Windows seems to go through a cycle of good, bad, good, bad operating systems. Windows 98 was solid for the time; Windows 2000 was terrible. Windows XP was really good; Windows Vista was an abomination unto the Lord. Windows 7 was good; Windows 8...well, to quote the best review headline I read on it after it came out officially was, "Windows 8: It's almost not terrible."

So, that left me back at square one. I knew what I wanted, but couldn't afford it or else the people at places like Dell or AVADirect were not particularly willing to build it for me. "No, I don't want an AMD processor...Yes, I do want the Windows Operating System disk. I had finally about given up, and ran into (via Facebook), an old friend of mine from way back in middle school days. He was building computers even way back when in the pre-Windows 95 days. He offered to build me one for a reasonable price.

This is why I prefer PCs...you can support small business enterprise. Mac is just a corporate world unto itself. The big PC companies just want your money and do not really care about customer service. Dealing with small builders who won't rip you off is the way to go.

And the sound card on this new computer makes my Ella Fitzgerald/Louis Armstrong album sound stellar. I was hearing some audio background and clarity that I had never heard before.

So, I suppose this is a shameless plug. If you are thinking about a new computer, contact Aaron Webb.

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