Tip & How-To about Computers & Internet
What nobody tells you when you buy a new PC is that most basic computers will meet the average consumers needs right off the shelf.
Only power users, gamers and professional software creators need many of the advanced features of many mainstream, name brand computers.
For those who want to do more than basic Web Browsing, checking email or playing solitaire, that basic PC will quickly become quite expensive and complicated.
For instance, Microsoft Office will cost between $85 to $200.
Norton, Mcafee, or PC cillin antivirus cost $39.00 to $49.00.
Microsoft Publisher, $75 or more, Adobe products $49 and up, Quickbooks as high as $200.
Consider that these programs are basic when you decide to use your PC for Online Banking, photo editing, Killing viruses and doing essential word editing, greeting cards and many day to day tasks.
Each PC you buy from a consumer outlet source such as Sears, Bestbuy, Walmart, Kmart or Radio Shack, come pre-packaged with a copy of Windows in some form or another.
Remember, that copy of windows is not your property.
Microsoft decided long ago to make each copy of their operating system, the exclusive property of Microsoft.
This means that you the consumer are actually only considered a limited user.
This also means that you use Microsoft software at the sole discretion of Microsoft Inc.
UBUNTU vs Windows
When you have Ubuntu installed, you OWN everything in your PC as well as the operating system.
This also means that you have all of the same options as windows but instead of having a pc with limited functions and stripped down software, or trialware, demoware etc, you now have a full featured operating system with ALL of the features any consumer would ever need. This equates to complete consumer familiarity, free added programs such as open office, gnucash, image editors to name just a few.
None of these extra added programs cost you a penny, as a matter of fact they're absolutely free.
Another feature is the ability to add as many other programs as you may want or need with a simple mouse click right from the start menu with the add/remove button.
This includes productivity software, MP3 players and convertors, DVD Players, Picture editors which edit your photos right from your Digital Camera, Games, and many other things, all at your fingertips and filesharing applications just to name a few.
None of these applications will cost you a thing, they're all completely free.
Did I mention that you won't need to buy or add an antivirus?
You also won't need a spyware or adware blocker/remover simply because Ubuntu can't be infected with the common Viruses, Spyware or Adware common to Windows.
Gone are the days when you buy a Computer, only to discover that you need to BUY a few hundred to a few thousand dollars worth of software just to get your PC to do the things you want it to do.
In fact even the most expensive PC you buy from any popular store will only allow you to cruise the internet and play a few cheap games, as well as email and some basic wordpad functionality.
Many of the programs you have become used to using in the past will simply not function with Microsoft Vista including many previous versions of Microsofts own products.
This of course forces you to abandon your old familiar software which still functions quite nicely, in favor of newer more expensive Microsoft products.
By nature, windows is what we call a memory Hog, we technicians call this little annoyance, (BLOAT).
By definition, bloat is the addition of any background program which is essentially un-neccesary or un-needed, and is added to slow down your PC under the guise of an added feature which will supposedly enhance your Windows experience.
The opposite is actually true however, and the end result will be that you have to buy more ram just to keep up.
Microsoft isn't the only culprit here either.
Norton, Mcafee, Adobe and many other companies have followed this bloat concept.
The result to you the consumer, is a PC which can take up to 30 minutes to simply boot up.
Then after it does boot up, the response is sluggish when loading your favorite application.
Microsoft decided long ago that making your present PC obsolete as soon as possible is the best way to insure a good reputation with PC vendors world wide.
This practice drives up sales of newer PC's and forces older ones into retirement before their time.
At some point in the future, your old PC may need to be retired, that is a fact of life we all live with when we buy electronics of any type.
But no consumer likes being manipulated by the bigwigs into buying a new PC every year.
Past and Present
In the past, if you didn't like how your computer screen looked or how your audio sounded you could simply upgrade it with a better video card or sound card, or if your network card performed too slowly, you could buy a better one for a few dollars.
But with these newer integrated component PC's, you're stuck with any failed integrated component, and some of these features can cause your computer to simply stop responding or die altogether.
If you are one of the lucky few, some or all of these integrated components can be disabled in the bios settings (bios = basic input-output system).
If you have no idea what bios is, then you're not alone, most computer users have no idea either, and are forced to go to their local computer shop and spend up to $60 per hour to have these features disabled and have non integrated components installed.
If you are one of the unfortunate few who bought a mini or small PC, then an add in card may not be an option, simply because the Manufacturer decided not to add the necessary AGP or PCI slots.
When this happens, that dead PC remains completely dead.
This is what we the technicians mean when we refer to a Computer as a limited upgrade PC.
You can upgrade the CPU (Central Processing Unit) or maybe even the RAM (Memory) or even the hard drive, but that is usually All you can upgrade.
The other problems are, limited Memory slots, limited hard drive size, limited CPU size.
Several mini Computers also use a laptop/notebook CD/DVD Rom which can cost up to 10 times the price of a standard CD/DVD rom which forces you to buy a USB (Universal Serial Bus) external CD/DVD rom.
These are also expensive, usually twice the price of an internal standard drive.
The best option of course is to buy a custom made PC for a few dollars more.
This allows you the consumer to choose exactly what gets installed in your computer.
In most situations the price difference can be as low as $50 more between a custom Build and a prebuilt namebrand PC!
The tradeoff is quite remarkable however.
If your Custom Built PC fails, your replacement cost per item is actually lower by less than half the price of a name brand computers similar component.
With a custom built PC You can simply go to your local distributor and choose any other component you want to install right off the shelf!
Compare that to HP, Compaq, Gateway or E-Machines which are usually only compatible with their own original parts molded to fit their case, and you quickly discover that a bargain PC is really no bargain at all.
If you bought a Consumer Laptop designed and sold by one of the regular name brand manufacturers, you will discover sooner or later that repair, upgrading and replacement parts are a nightmare to your wallet.
You will also discover that many of these bargain Laptops and even the Hi end laptops are quite fragile, and those fragile parts, can be quite expensive to replace.
The savings are in the numbers.
While a standard consumer Laptop is a common shelf item, the real problem lies in the fact that variety promotes inflated pricing.
There are so many diverse combination's of laptops available today that listing them here would take all day.
Therein lies the problem.
While there are also several types of Business class laptops available, the variety is limited to what is actually proven to be the best combination of all available features.
Almost all business class Laptops are, by their very nature tougher than any Consumer Model available.
Intel has always had a superior edge over AMD in the Laptop market simply because they know how to think, smaller fabrication, cooler running, low power consumption and better integration.
These facts alone make Intel the only choice for business class PC's.
Unlike Desktop PC's, a laptop MUST be completely integrated to remain small light and consistent in quality. Some Laptops allow for upgradeable CPU,and Graphics card Replacement, while older models often have the CPU soldered to the board. All have the ability to upgrade Ram,and Mini PCI 80211 a/b/g, with the exception of older Laptops which may or may not have a Mini PCI slot. An option slot is included with most all laptops which is called a pcmcia device.
In a nutshell, save your money, download Ubuntu (FREE!), and install it in a Non Branded PC, never worry about drivers since they are already included with Ubuntu, Get all the free software you could ever want and never get a Windows Virus again!
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Posted by Bob Sloan on
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