The Soapbox Archives:
My main computer, though, I figured should be current. I haven't heard anything really compelling about moving to Windows 8.x and I'm still at Windows 7 at work so that's fine. I've always been a fan of the Professional versions over the Home versions because I figure that businesses pay for Windows support and the Professional support will extend beyond that of the Home version. All of my home computers were on XP Professional. After 13 years or so, I think I've gotten my money's worth out of it.
But I'm not here to talk about Windows. I want to talk about the new hardware.
With Windows 7 and beyond, we're talking about 64-bit architecture. What does that mean for you? Well, Windows XP (most of it, anyways) was 32-bit architecture. That means you could use 3GB of RAM at the most (if you bought 4GB of RAM, you couldn't use the last GB of RAM). With 64-bit windows, you can go 8GB, 16GB, or even 32GB of RAM? What does that mean to you? Imagine the difference between working on a grade-school studen't desk versus a 3'x6' workspace. You can do a lot more stuff at the same time on the bigger work area. That's why more RAM is the most cost-effective way to improve your computer without buying a new computer.
My new computer will have a solid-state hard drive (SSD). It's all electronic with no moving hardware. Why do you care? Imagine booting your Windows computer in *15 seconds*. Yes, 15 seconds. I've already built a computer with one and I can confirm those times. Total time to reboot? 20 seconds. Awesome. I use a regular hard drive for the D: drive.
The biggest noisemakers on a computer are the fans. The bigger the fan, the slower it has to spin to move the same amount of air. The new cases support the latest 140mm fans (as opposed to the 120mm fans). That helps reduce the noise from the computer.
Better yet. The newest liquid cooled heatsinks use a 120mm fan to blow air over what looks like a car radiator and are easier to install than the old metal heatsinks. You don't need that tiny high-pitched fan to cool the heatsink anymore. This is so much quieter.
Grown-Ups should dress up for weddings, funerals, and Easter services.Sure, there are plenty of other events where a suit and tie would be appropriate, but these are the Big Three that most people encounter and would be a good start.
Attendance at these kinds of events is not about one's self; it's about respect for other people. I remember a couple of idiots who showed up at a wedding during the summer in beachwear: hawaiian shirt and shorts. (I don't remember if they were wearing flipflops or not.) That was pretty rude and and incredibly selfish. Everyone else was in a suit and tie, even if it was hot that day, because it was the bride and groom's day and we wanted to look our best for them.
Teenagers and newly adults should learn to dress up for these events; it might encourage the grownups to take them seriously as adults.
PS: Guys, learn to tie a full Windsor knot.
I just upgraded my main computer to 64-bit Windows 7 Professional. The new motherboard is the Asrock Z87 Extreme 4; it comes with two PCI slots which is great because I have a PCI Adaptec AHA-2910C SCSI card and a PCI parallel port card. (I also got an SSD drive and a liquid-cooled i5 but that's another story).
The parallel port is for my HP Laserjet 2100 printer. The bigger Laserjets last forever so it makes sense to have a parallel port to accomodate it (new motherboards most likely won't have parallel ports). The SCSI card is used to connect my Microtek S3 scanner that I bought back in 1993 at the Santa Clara (CA) Microcenter. It's a fine scanner that's lasted a lot longer than all of my computers so I didn't want to replace it. However, there's no 64-bit Windows 7 driver for the SCSI card so I can't use it with my new Windows 7 computer.
Microsoft and the peripheral vendors can make it a lot less painful to upgrade. They should not be contributing to the pile of old computer equipment pile at the local dump. If they're concerned about paying for someone to write a new driver, then perhaps there's a market for new drivers for old equipment. Paying $10-$20 for an updated driver is cheaper than buying a new scanner and/or a new SCSI card (ignoring that all new scanners use USB cables). This would improve customer satisfaction with that brand and keep their loyalty; you can't put a price on that.
Meanwhile, I'm going to keep at least one computer on Windows XP so I can continue to use my scanner with its SCSI card and not contribute more electronics to the trash.
Oh yeah, you don't have to wait for your town's yearly electronics pickup if you don't want pay Staples or other stores to recycle your old computer equipment. There are places in Lawrence and Brockton that will recycle most electronics for free if you drop them off. There's usually an added fee if you're dropping off old CRT TV's