Changing Computer Retail

  • Comments posted to this topic are about the item Changing Computer Retail

  • I was in my fourth developer position, all IBM mainframe use, when the Apple 2+ was released.  My wife and I purchased one and took a class in Apple Basic at a local community college.  I don't recall that I ever actually wrote anything in Basic.  The 2+ was simply a toy that we played with at home.  The 2+ purchase was the last time I used a name-brand computer retail store. Then Best Buy came along and at that point we bought our first PC.  Never used another Apple product until I 'inherited' an iPhone 4 from my wife's business.  I'm still using that relic and must say I hate cell phones.

    My wife began the computer-based part of her career at a company using entirely Apple hardware and software, but soon switched to PC versions and pursued a degree in graphics on that platform.

    I just looked back at old records, and see that when we bought our first Msft-based PC we paid just over $6800 for the home setup and took a three-year loan.  That turned out to be a very good investment in that it lead to changing my career to Microsoft and lead to the founding of my wife's PC-based graphic design studio which she eventually sold and retired.

    Neither of us have ever regretted moving away from Apple products.  Windows and products running on that platform lead to success for both of us. Between Best Buy stores and online sources, I haven't really considered other retail outlets in decades.

     

     

    • This reply was modified 3 years, 11 months ago by  skeleton567.
    • This reply was modified 3 years, 11 months ago by  skeleton567.

    Rick
    Disaster Recovery = Backup ( Backup ( Your Backup ) )

  • I got a bit nostalgic when you recounted your shopping experience in your youth. I recall those days too (although I was quite a bit older 🙂 ) when I would go into an IBM store, act dumb when the salesman would give me the sales pitch on a $5k setup then watch him squirm when I would ask rather pointed questions that were totally outside of his element!

    Computer shopping has certainly gone through several changes. From Computer Shopper to online, from massive desktops to ultra-thin laptops, and from hundreds of brands to a relative few (remember the Gateway cows?). I used to do quite a business selling custom made computers then refurbishing the old ones I got in return and selling those as well. But the speed of technological changes got progressively faster to the point that it became unsustainable to stay in the hardware business.

    As a result, I don't build even my own machines anymore. I think the last one that I custom built for my son was about 10 years ago. My most recent purchase was a laptop that I had custom built. I probably could have had just as good of a deal with a comparably configured HP or Dell, but I wanted to support a small business and their efforts to stand out away from the big guys.

  • Several years ago, with the help of a good friend, we went to a local shop where I purchased the parts for making a home made PC. I got everything, from the case on up. I even put the CPU on the heat sink. It was a satisfying experience with the help of my friend, to put together my own machine, configuring everything that would go into it.

    But today I wouldn't do it. The shop where we went to purchase the parts, is no longer there. It's a donut shop now.  But primarily I wouldn't do it because my friend, who guided me through the process, has passed away. The skill of knowing what you need and what will fit with what, isn't something I possess. Indeed, I've not known a lot of people who do know how to do that. So, either I get a machine at Best Buy or Costco.

    Rod

  • I miss the days of being able to walk in and browse at Egghead and CompUSA and see the different options for hardware and software side by side. Today, finding components at a local retailer is virtually impossible, although it may depend on where one is geographically. I bought one unit years ago from GateWay, once I found out the limitations it had regarding upgrades, I started buying and building my desktops from the ground up. Still prefer to do it that way today whenever possible. I just wish I could do the same when getting a laptop. I'm pretty sure I could knock a few dollars off the price if I could build my own.

    Luther

     

  • I think the main issue with the lack of live retail shopping is the lack of much detail on the configuration of much of the hardware.  When looking at hardware online, the specs almost never detail internal info such as used and available drive bays and card slots.  Ports are normally pretty well documented.

    Especially desktop and server units need to be entirely documented.  Half a dozen pictures of the outside case don't help much.  Even laptops should specifically show expansion capability such as an available SSD/hard drive bay.

    Rick
    Disaster Recovery = Backup ( Backup ( Your Backup ) )

  • skeleton567 wrote:

    I think the main issue with the lack of live retail shopping is the lack of much detail on the configuration of much of the hardware.  When looking at hardware online, the specs almost never detail internal info such as used and available drive bays and card slots.  Ports are normally pretty well documented.

    Especially desktop and server units need to be entirely documented.  Half a dozen pictures of the outside case don't help much.  Even laptops should specifically show expansion capability such as an available SSD/hard drive bay.

    Oh, I know what you mean!! About a year ago I was trying to find out what was on my wife's desktop PC. It's 3 to 4 years old, so not too old. I was considering the possibility of replacing the sound card, but I wasn't sure what connections were available on the motherboard. I spent hours trying to find motherboard for her machine! Man, that was hard. I finally did find it and got her a new sound card, but it does seem as though PCs are presumed to be black boxes to the consumer, at least as viewed by the manufacturer.

    BTW, I could have opened it up to take a look, but I'm not good enough, when looking at motherboards, to differentiate between an AGP slot or a PCI slot. That's why I needed to get to the owner's manual for the motherboard.

    Kindest Regards, Rod Connect with me on LinkedIn.

  • After my first PC purchased in the early 90's (386DX-25 with 4MB of memory and a 105MB hard drive), I built all my personal desktops.  I don't think I saved anything building them myself because any potential savings was spent on higher quality components and some case mods (back when that was "cool").  Depending on the machine, the components may have come from the Computer Shopper, Fry's, Comp USA, online, or the random local shop.  Spending hours assembling all the parts, wire wrapping, and using zip ties to hide cables was half the fun of getting a new machine.  For better or worse I doubt I'll ever do that again.  I've moved to laptops for my primary machine with a good sized NAS appliance in the basement for redundant storage.  Just don't see the need for a big machine taking up all that space under my desk anymore.

    For my parents or non-computer friends (depending on the era), I always recommended a Gateway, or Dell.  I'd help them spec it out on the website, but having them go for one of those relieved me of tech support duties for the hardware at least.

     

  • TL wrote:

    After my first PC purchased in the early 90's (386DX-25 with 4MB of memory and a 105MB hard drive), I built all my personal desktops.  I don't think I saved anything building them myself because any potential savings was spent on higher quality components and some case mods (back when that was "cool").  Depending on the machine, the components may have come from the Computer Shopper, Fry's, Comp USA, online, or the random local shop.  Spending hours assembling all the parts, wire wrapping, and using zip ties to hide cables was half the fun of getting a new machine.  For better or worse I doubt I'll ever do that again.  I've moved to laptops for my primary machine with a good sized NAS appliance in the basement for redundant storage.  Just don't see the need for a big machine taking up all that space under my desk anymore.

    For my parents or non-computer friends (depending on the era), I always recommended a Gateway, or Dell.  I'd help them spec it out on the website, but having them go for one of those relieved me of tech support duties for the hardware at least.

     

    Old Hand, I used to often build my own when it was a challenge, as you mention, instead of a nuisance.  But when I focused on databases, I got away from spending time on hardware.  I also use the large NAS storage, but don't have it in the basement.  I have considered putting it across the street in my son's house though.  I could do backups easily enough as we do have access to his wireless too.  Off-premises storage would add some safety.  I do have three desktops in my home office, but really should get rid of them as two of them are obsolete.

    All my active work is done on my 17" laptop that actually is almost never moved from front and center.  We don't worry about space because we have a large modular furniture system around three sides of the office, with 5 screens on the work surface, and can roll from one machine to another easily.   Our only space constraint is that there are two lateral files under the work surfaces which to sort of get in the way.  We have eliminated lots of files by electronic document storage but still can't get away from some.  This is the main reason for needing off-site storage, but I will never commit my data to online storage.

    We used Gateways, HPs and Dells for many years, but our newer machines are Asus and Samsung.  I love the honkin' Asus ROG laptop for my database work and my wife uses her Dell for her graphics software.   My Asus ROG will update 1.3 million rows in a SQL Server database in about 13 seconds, which I don't think is too bad, but I have some batch DB processes that will run for  a couple hours what with SSIS packages and SQL stored procedures.

    Rick
    Disaster Recovery = Backup ( Backup ( Your Backup ) )

  • skeleton567 wrote:

    ...When looking at hardware online, the specs almost never detail internal info such as used and available drive bays and card slots...

    That's actually one of the things I love about Micro Center, as Steve has mentioned.  Their website is great for listing all the specs of parts, and even has an online custom PC builder tool, so you can see what parts are compatible and what your system price will be:

    https://www.microcenter.com/site/content/custom-pc-builder.aspx

    I've built my own computers since the late 90's, after dealing with too many purchased computers that had cramped cases that you couldn't upgrade parts in, missing documentation or software, and plus all the extra "bonus" software that they will install on computers which is just crapware as far as I'm concerned.  Since most of my home computers run Linux, I save money on the Microsoft tax too.

  • Ah, nostalgia. I miss BYTE magazine.

  • Ralph Hightower wrote:

    Ah, nostalgia. I miss BYTE magazine.

    And "Computer Shopper".

    --Jeff Moden


    RBAR is pronounced "ree-bar" and is a "Modenism" for Row-By-Agonizing-Row.
    First step towards the paradigm shift of writing Set Based code:
    ________Stop thinking about what you want to do to a ROW... think, instead, of what you want to do to a COLUMN.

    Change is inevitable... Change for the better is not.


    Helpful Links:
    How to post code problems
    How to Post Performance Problems
    Create a Tally Function (fnTally)

  • I used to get both Byte and Computer Shopper too.  And the Computer World news.  And yes, Mad Magazine too.  Had many of them saved, but several relocations fixed that.

    Those were great times.  Life has dealt hits blows, but we are still blessed every day.

    Rick
    Disaster Recovery = Backup ( Backup ( Your Backup ) )

  • Latkinson, I still have a Gateway 9-bay tower 386 in my basement.  Always thought it would make a great server case,  could have my own 'cloud' with today's drive sizes.

    Rick
    Disaster Recovery = Backup ( Backup ( Your Backup ) )

  • I miss Byte, but more I miss Jerry Pournelle - https://www.jerrypournelle.com/chaosmanor/

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