Buying a Computer
It's been awhile since I bought a new desktop computer. Liv has been around for a few years. To really begin the story of Liv, I should start with my laptop, Sarah Michelle. Most of the time Sarah Michelle runs fine - after all she's just a couple of years old. However, now and again my 754 open tabs in Firefox brings her to a screeching halt. In fact, in the last month, Sarah Michelle simply shut off on me in the the middle of my typing a sentence. She put her foot down. It wasn't a slow shut down, she simply reacted as if there were no longer power going to the computer.
I've started to realize that I need to have a second computer - a fast one - and one where I can sit down and focus on my writing. Liv is old enough that she's isn't quite what I needed any more. She's also takes up a little extra space compared to some newer computers (I'm always thinking small.) Newer computers also come with new fancy features like USB ports in the front.
I began the search for a new computer. I seriously considered this Shuttle PC, until I found a brand new, unopened Dell Vostro Slim on Craigslist. It was $330 and compared to Liv's Athlon 1Ghz chip, it really flies. Scarlett has lots of memory, 2GBs and a processor that is fast in comparison to what I'm used to. I'm not going to set it up with World of Warcraft, so I'm happy with something "much better than I had before" vs "state of the art". It was clear as soon as Scarlett was set up she was going to be of great value. She hides under my desk leaving me room to organize my thoughts in a zen of organization.
There was a problem though. With a new great computer, I realized I needed a monitor. My old 17" LCD monitor is at least 6-7 years old now. It still works okay, but there are occasional signs of it starting to slow down. I went back to my friend Craigslist. I found a new 20" Dell monitor that hadn't been opened for $175. I could have spent another $70 and bought a 22" monitor of similar quality, but again I was happy to have something better than before.
With this set-up, a $505 should keep me productive for the next 5 years. At that point, I may need to look for a quad-speed processor and a 24" monitor. By that time, the prices on those should be close to another $505. At $100 a year, I have to marvel how much cheaper and better computers have become. You have to love Moore's Law.
Selling a Computer
This is where I run into a bit of problem. I cleaned up Liv's hard drive, using some great free software (Darik's Boot and Nuke). (You always want to use software like that to avoid identity theft). I put an older operating system on it, and now Liv is running almost as good as new. I realize I could have done this before and avoided buying the new computer. However, as a part-time software engineer, I need a computer capable of larger tasks than e-mail.
So I have a computer that's suitable for basic tasks. I tried to sell it on Craigslist for a price that was similar to other computers I saw for sale. I've had no bites yet. I could (and will) lower the price in hopes it attracts attention at some point. I would prefer to donate it, but it seems that few organizations take old computers. If anyone has any other ideas how I can keep a fine computer active and out of a recycling bin as long as possible, I'd love to hear them.
Photo Credit: jima
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