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Saturday, July 7, 2007

Microsoft Screws Me Again or It Sucks to be Poor!

Not to state the obvious, but it really sucks to be poor. As I state in my bio, I've had good times and bad: right now is bad. Enough said.

I have a six year old P4 133mHz PC with 128MB of RAM. It was state-of-the-art when I got it and was OK for checking email and basic stuff up till about 6 months ago. But with everything going flash and my reaching out to new horizons, like this blog, it's a brick. My monitor (6 years old at the time) burst into flames about 6 months ago so I have a brick hooked up to a new 19" LCD widescreen I got on sale at Christmas. It looks great turned off.

I have a lot of friends in the computer business, so even though money is tight, I figure I can afford to upgrade. One of my friends had bought a lot of white box X2 3ghz PC's with DVD writer, 15-in-1 memory reader, 2GB RAM and a 340GB HD. He could sell me one for $340 cash. I don't know what surprised me more: the great price or the fact I didn't have $340 in cash I could spare. I asked if he would take a credit card. He looked at me like I was crazy.

But lets say I could justify taking $340 out of the savings account I have for my property tax money. The saga only begins because the PC has..........VISTA Home Premium!

I checked out the software I'm using and most of it will work on Vista. The glaring exception is Microsoft Office XP Pro (the original version). The salesman at Best Buy was positive it would not work with Vista. He said I would either have to get Office Vista or Office 2003.

Office Vista is a waste of money. All the "cool" stuff you can do with it can only be read by someone else with Office Vista. I don't know anyone with Office Vista, especially people I'm sending my resume to. So I would have to save everything as .doc or .xls files so they could read it....why bother buying Office Vista in the first place?

Office 2003 must be a bargain by now, I assume, and rush (with my PC it took about 5 minutes) over to eBay to buy a $20 copy of Office 2003 Pro. Surprise! Bids were low for auctions a week out but for those about to close, a full version Office 2003 Pro was selling for $220 and up! Lets say I got lucky and picked one up for $220. That brings my new PC price up to $560.

My current printer is an (I'm blowing the dust off the model #) HP 3100 all-in-one mono laserjet. It was only by the grace of God that HP finally made XP drivers for it. Vista would just laugh at me. So now I need a new printer.

I don't print much more than resumes lately but I would like to be able to print photos in color. Color inkjet printers are cheap, but they go through ink like water. Three 8.5"x11" printed photos would drain them and I can't afford to keep replacing the ink. So I went back to eBay, Dealnews, and a few other of my favorite shopping/pricing sites. Imagine my joy when I saw refurbed HP 2600Ns for $100! Then I read the fine print: no toner included. Hmmm. HPs use four different color toner cartridges which I believe run around $129 each. So much for that deal. Refurbed Konica/Minolta color lasers with toner were around the $200 range but I read the reviews on a few different sites and everyone had horrible things to say about the refurbed models. So much for color laser.

So lets say I bite the bullet and buy either a $200 inkjet or mono laser printer. Now I'm up to $760. That's WAY out of my budget. I could, of course, buy the $340 PC, blow away the image and load my registered copy of MS XP Pro, Service Pack 2 onto it and not have to buy Office or a new printer. And everyone I know has horror stories about Vista: Dell has apparently gone to a policy of, after your third Vista issue, sending you a copy of XP Pro SP2 to load onto your new PC. But then I have to worry about finding XP drivers for everything in this PC and when I do eventually have to upgrade to Vista down the road (after Vista SP2 comes out and they cut off XP support), I'll have to PAY for an upgrade version.

All because Microsoft just HAD to introduce a new operating system because XP Media Edition wasn't "flashy" enough (and they needed to make more money, poor Microsoft) .

My only other option is to buy a refurbed HP Pavilion 4200+ X2 2.2 gHz, 2GB RAM, with XP Media Edition for $485. I could swing that on a credit card but $485 for a refurb that's less powerful than the $340 whitebox (also available with 4GB RAM for $395)? It would always eat at me.

It really sucks to be poor. It really sucks to be at the mercy of Microsoft. Lately, it really sucks to be me. Tags:, , , , , , , , , , , , ,
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Mrs. Unloadingzone

Mrs. Unloadingzone
"The Girl of my Dreams"