At the time, it seemed like a good idea. Yeah, I was wrong about that.
I needed a new desktop for the shared workspace in my living room. That probably sounds strange — What’s a desktop doing in your living room? Especially when our t.v. isn’t a smart t.v. that connects to anything. The desktop in the living room is strictly for running the small business my wife and I have had for over 20 years. It’s where she does all her work. It’s a great room. It’s comfortable. It has good light.
Most people… live… in their living room. Not us. We work there. And in the dining room. We work a lot — most of our activity each day is work-related. It’s not for everyone, but we’ve kept our business running for over 20 years, when the national average is that people fold after something like 5 years.
Well, anyway, the desktop I got us back in March, 2011 was in need of updating. It was noisy. The hard drive had gotten increasingly loud over the past couple of years. That’s never a good sign. And it was slow. Windows XP (yes, XP) was still running the old beast, and it seemed like all apps we had were optimized mainly for Windows 10.
I know we were behind the times, but I’m a big believer that if something works, you leave it in place for as long as it works. I don’t have a lot of time and energy for chasing after the latest and greatest — plus, it gets expensive. I’d rather put my coin into my business, than send ever-larger checks off to Microsoft & company every couple of years or so.
Anyway, I was looking around for a good deal on a new-to-us desktop. And I found a pretty great deal on a workstation. It was a $3,000 machine, and I got it for $304. Sweet. The thing was, it was huge. And frankly, I wanted it for myself and my own home office upstairs. My wife doesn’t do heavy computing of any sort. She’s mostly on Facebook and email and she does some basic flyer design with Open Office. Seriously, her needs are very basic. She didn’t need the power of a $3K workstation for what she was doing. I needed it for myself.
So, I went shopping again. And while I was searching the web, I found what looked like good deals at a big box electronics store. I’ve shopped there a bunch of times. The nearest location is easy to get to, and the people are decent. I found what looked like a great deal on a brand-name desktop that was light and had the right amount of power (and a huge hard drive) for my wife. It had Windows 10 Home Edition on it, which worried me a little bit. Then again, my wife doesn’t do any serious computing, so how bad could it be?
I figured, I hadn’t bought a brand new computer in a while, so why not give this a whirl? I hadn’t bought a brand new desktop or laptop for over 10 years, and the online deal looked pretty good. It was more than I would have paid for a professionally refurbished one (it was $100 more than I’d paid for the machine I was replacing, which had lasted 7 years).
So, I clicked “Buy” and waited for the email that my new computer was ready to pick up. And I picked it up. Brought it home. Unboxed it. Hooked it up to the monitor and printer. Installed all the drivers for the printer. Plugged in the ethernet cable. Whee….
Well, kind of.
Turns out, Windows 10 Home Edition has a whole bunch of extra
crap stuff loaded in, and after a couple of weeks, we started getting prompts to buy this or that or the other thing. I had to remove a bunch of games and add-ons that we never needed to begin with. Uninstall. Clean things up. Configure. Adjust.
Pain in the ass.
And looking back on my decision to buy new, yeah… that just didn’t make any sense. ‘Cause you know what? The thing is loud. Not as loud as the XP dinosaur we replaced. And it’s not terribly fast. It’s faster than the XP box, but compared to my refurbished laptop, which is probably 5 years old, ’round about now, it’s sluggish.
I’ll have to go in and see what I can do about that. Do some more configuration. Disable some of the “features”. But I swear, if I’d just done what I’ve done for the past 10+ years, I wouldn’t have to be writing this post. My wife and I could both be just humming along, doing our work, without all the marketing fluff and bells and whistles that appeal to teenagers, but no small business owner should have to suffer through.