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Old 10-16-2007, 08:43 AM   #1
ktinkel
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I'm a cheapskate. I want a computer to last me four years or more, if possible. That means paying more for it initially, but it costs less overall than replacing the computer every other year.
Interesting. In a different thread, Ann commented that she usually gets three years from a computer. At first I was going to disagree, as I have gotten longer than that from a few, but in fact, in the 23 years since 1984, I have bought 8 desktop Macs. So it appears that I got less than 3 years on average.

But I never got rid of any of them, and there were always two or three in use at a time. The Mac II had steady use as a design workstation for close to 5 years (kept swapping out parts for faster and bigger ones), though at the end it was mainly a production machine.

My last G4 lasted 4 years; the older one 3. I endured the SE, on the other hand, for just about 2; it was a mistake. So was the Quadra 700, though I kept it going longer (the bookkeeper kept it in use). The 7500 was a good workhorse — I used it for 5 years, until I got the first G4.

But unlike you, there was no rhyme nor reason to what I bought or why. It was just pure dumb luck, good and bad.

I also had three laptops during that span: two Macs and 1 PC, a very elegant machine (bought about the time of Apple’s luggable Mac so-called laptop — maybe for Arnold Schwarzenegger’s lap!) But none of those were ever used for real work, mostly for road trips or presentation machines, so they don’t count.

   
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Old 10-16-2007, 09:06 AM   #2
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Get rid of a comptuer??? Get rid? What is this "Get rid"? ;-)

I used to have a computer whose network name was Frankie (short for Frankencomputer, because it'd been cobbled together from parts of various other dearly departed PCs).

Some of my computers have been of the dumb luck/good/bad variety too, but the ones that have given the best and longest service have been the ones where I spent that extra bit to get something a bit better than store-bought.

But ...

You? Had a PC? I'll understand if you'd rather not talk about it ...

   
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Old 10-16-2007, 12:39 PM   #3
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You? Had a PC? I'll understand if you'd rather not talk about it ...
I almost had all PCs. In 1984 I was doing a lot of pseudo-medical drawing. I was sick to death with repeatedly drawing kidneys and other organs, just to show different surgical approaches, ailments, etc. So I drew one in my Apple ][ using Steve Gibson’s digitizing pen, printed out as large as possible on a wide bitmap printer, drew the additions on an overlay or on the computer, and made a stat to bring them down to size. Not too bad, usually, but a lot of work.

I wanted something more sophisticated (funny word, viewed from two decades later) and was waffling between a graphics program from Island Graphics that only ran on a PC and a used Apple Lisa with a graphics suite when I saw a thread on CIS about a peculiar-looking computer from Apple with graphics capabiities. Looked into it, and bought (foolishly, as it turned out) a 128K Mac almost as soon as it shipped.

The laptop was bought at a time that Apple didn’t really make one and I needed to be able to go online, write, and show things to clients, so I bought a really charming, slender, and light-weight laptop. I gave it away a few years later when I got my first Mac laptop.

   
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Old 10-16-2007, 10:15 AM   #4
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Interesting. In a different thread, Ann commented that she usually gets three years from a computer. At first I was going to disagree, as I have gotten longer than that from a few, but in fact, in the 23 years since 1984, I have bought 8 desktop Macs. So it appears that I got less than 3 years on average.
Poor old Grace has been going strong over 6 years now - after replacing a HD in the first week, obviously a Monday-morning model. The only thing that broke after that was the CPU cooler, which I replaced. Other than that, I've changed some components (video card, networks cards, card for faster USB ports) but those were upgrades, not replacing anything that broke.

But I started with A-brand components, and individual cooling for each of the HDs. And I rarely turn off the machine, which may make a difference.

Once I get a new machine, I'll probably just put Linux on Grace, and I expect to get a few years more service out of her.

Old Albert, my main machine before Grace, lasted more than 5 years fully occupied, and only broke several years after that when the main HD gave up.

   
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Old 10-16-2007, 02:41 PM   #5
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The length of time that my computers last depends on what I'm doing with them: mainly, how many different programs are installed (and reinstalled). My graphics PCs last two years before they slow down so much that I can't use them in front of client, no matter how much I spend, so I now go for high-range Dells; my six basic Dell office PCs have lasted happily for nearly seven years.

My old Mac Quadra 650, purchased at jaw-dropping expense in November 1993, is still doing all my high-end audio mastering but never anything else; my main graphics Mac G4 400 is still chugging away after seven years and numerous reinstalls. None of my 5 Macs slow down with age - just like me, ha-ha, yeah right!

Long gone are my sweet little IBM PS/2E, and Tulip ID-45s, but (amazingly) my old home-built dodgy Pentium II is still hanging in there - just!

In my experience - and I'm basically a PC man - my Macs last longer than my PCs: I'm seriously considering buying an iMac in the next few months, and running Windows on it!

   
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Old 10-16-2007, 06:26 PM   #6
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>> PCs last two years before they slow down so much that I can't use them in front of client

Sounds like it's Windows that's getting clogged, not the hardware?

My friend Brian has an answer for that. Reformat, reinstall everything that you really need. It's his answer to so many performance questions that we call the process "Brianizing".

   
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Old 10-17-2007, 06:14 AM   #7
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Sounds like it's Windows that's getting clogged, not the hardware?

My friend Brian has an answer for that. Reformat, reinstall everything that you really need. It's his answer to so many performance questions that we call the process "Brianizing".
I think most flavors of computer can benefit from that sort of serious housecleaning. It goes beyond fragmentation — all the clutter also carries digital dust or something that clogs things up.

A casually good housecleaning job will turn up apps downloaded to try out (and even some purchases) that were either not compelling at the time or are not now. It must amount to millions of bits, and it isn’t always clear how to completely remove them.

When I get my new iMac set up, I think I will “Brianize” my G4! Probably do it a world of good.

   
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Old 10-17-2007, 06:00 AM   #8
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It really depends on what the computer is to begin with. But a good computer with the right software and increased RAM should last a very long time, even one used for the internet or other complex functions. Older computers can be powerful and most useful with the right set-up. But some older computers aren't good for much, and using them just makes computing an unpleasant experience.

However, the thing I wonder about is the battery. They are supposed to last seven years?? I read the manual on one computer, and it gave instructions for battery replacement that looked so simple. Then once when I had the case off to put in a card, I started looking for the battery -- not simple on that machine.

I'm still using a CRT monitor. I just like it -- and now I have a View Sonic that is very nice. (Kathleen -- sharpness of fonts on an LCD, can that be influenced by a person's glasses?? I'm beginning to wonder. I'm learning about monitors in general by having new glasses).

Also, an old laser printer can function very well, but the toner cartridges are very reduced in price. I just saw one on Graig's List that will be a great deal for someone.

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Old 10-25-2007, 11:10 PM   #9
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I'm still using a CRT monitor.
Me too, but I expect that to change in the new couple of weeks. I'm planning to get one of those huge LCDs.

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an old laser printer can function very well
We revived my old HP LaserJet 4m recently. Even after spending many years in the basement, it still works fine -- we were even able to use up the old toner cartridge.

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Old 10-26-2007, 07:46 AM   #10
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Me too, but I expect that to change in the new couple of weeks. I'm planning to get one of those huge LCDs.
Let us know, if you don't mind, how you like the change. I have a 17" LCD and I don't like it at all. KT said I must have the font display wrong. I keep meaning to study it more, but I'm learning fonts display very differently from computer to computer.

I just tried 120dpi, instread of 96, and clear type instead of standard. Wow -- what a difference!!! But that's on my CRT. This View Sonic I have now (got from a friend) is so nice, that I just can't see giving it up.

We just had a thread on using two monitors. I had never thought of it. But then I realized, that would probably help me just now with some very difficult text-critical philology work I'm doing -- I could put different manuscripts on different screens. (I understand I could take the video card out of an old computer, and take its monitor, and put the card in the main computer I'm using, and get a dual set up that way. Or I could just buy a dual monitor card.) But those real wide LCDs look like they were designed for manuscript collation -- so I don't know.

I think the two monitors would be nice for changing layout on publications as well.

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We revived my old HP LaserJet 4m recently.
Well, check out how much you can buy toner cartridges for it now (like even on ebay) -- very likely one-fourth the original cost. If the print is nice, that is the least expensive way to go. If the print is lower resolution, then use it for rough drafts and you are still saving money.

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