[olug] Computer

Dave Burchell burchell at inetnebr.com
Wed Aug 15 03:39:21 UTC 2001

On Tue, Aug 14, 2001 at 07:32:35PM -0500, Phil Brutsche wrote:
> A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far way, someone said...
> > I would encourage you to build your own.
> Definitely.  Unless you're a wimp *and* want the "technical support" that
> a company like Dell or Gateway offers.

I agree that building your own machine is a great idea.  The last new,
assembled computer I bought for myself was a Commodore Amiga 500 in
1989.  (Fitting in a way, since Commodore was one of the first
microcomputer vendors to offer a complete computer for sale, as opposed
to a kit.)

However, I seem to recall that the original poster is shopping for a
relative.  Take it from me, if you build a computer for a friend or
relative, or even recommend one, they will consider you their primary
microcomputer support contact for the rest of the computer's life.  If
you tell your cousin to buy a Gateway, and perhaps recommend some
specs, you can always tell them to call Gateway when the CD-ROM drive
fails or they need someone to help them through reinstalling Windows.
Build them a PC, and they'll expect you to fix it.

This isn't always bad.  If you know they will call you anyway and you
don't mind helping out, go for it.  Personally, I tell friends and
relations to either buy something with a three-year warranty from
Gateway or Dell or buy something used or so cheap that they won't mind
trashing it in a year.  (BTW, I've steered three people to cheap
e-Machines, and all three have worked out great.)

Another drawback to build-it-yourself is the Windows license (if your
friend or relation wants to run Windows).  I don't think I could
stomach writing a check to Microsoft for the nearly $200 Win98 license,
even if it weren't my money.  You can't (legally) "upgrade" a computer
you built from scratch.  I know, I know, the solution is to run Linux,
BSD, Solaris-X86, or some other non-clown-like OS.  I do; I just don't
have the energy to convert every friend and relative.  Someday.  (You
listening Ballmer?  SOMEDAY!  <shakes fist in air defiantly>)

But to reiterate, if you want to run Linux on your own computer, build
it yourself.  A Windows box for others?  Proceed with caution (or not
at all).

Oh, and whatever you do, DON'T LET THEM USE MS-OFFICE!  Install
StarOffice for them.  It does everything Joe User wants to do and runs
great on my 48MB 100 Mhz P5.  Plus it costs about $479 less than Office
XP (if you can find Office for $479).

Dave Burchell                                          40.49'N, 96.41'W
Free your mind and your software will follow.              402-467-1619
http://incolor.inetnebr.com/burchell/                  burchell at acm.org     

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