Software should be better
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03/25/07 07:49:54 (
= A ramble about making purchases =
As a software architect, I make big decisions for a living. I spend hours
and sometimes days drawing out all of the pieces of the puzzle, to decide if
a proposed solution will work. I try to poke holes in it, find what's wrong
with it, draft a replacement if it's unsatisfactory. Defend my own
decisions, pick the correct technologies for the job and rationalize their employment based on criteria like robustness, support, sophistication. That
being said, making major personal purchases is all too often very difficult
and I never really am happy with the decisions I make.
I find it particularly difficult to make selections that involve my working
environment such as purchasing a new laptop for my main at-home use. The
fact that I live in a sailboat has kind of set in recently, and I've figured
out that due to the space constraints a desktop solution would not work for
me. So it took me over a week to make a decision about which computer to
purchase. And even then, the final two came down to not really the machines
I wanted, but two of the several machines I found acceptable that were
available in the United States.
My first draft pick was the
[http://samsung.com/uk/products/mobilecomputing/xseries/np_x60tv02suk.asp Samsung X60]. Unfortunately, this is from a line of Samsung devices created
for the UK. Of which, the availablity in the united states (even when
making an over-seas order from an online store) is pretty close to zero.
The only one retailer I found selling the device in the US wanted more than
twice the normal retail price for it.
After making several attempts at finding a way to get this machine, I felt
somewhat thwarted and constructed a list of machines I felt were acceptable
and had all of the features I really felt I needed out of a notebook.
Simple things, such as a dual core processor, lots of ram, a high resolution
15.4" wide screen, a fairly thin profile and a hot-swap bay where I could
remove the optical drive and dawn an extra battery. Finding machines like
this took quite a bit of time, since the bay actually seems to have become
a very unpopular feature. So I finally narrowed it down to two contenders
after a few days of looking.
Today, I ordered a
[http://www.notebookreview.com/default.asp?newsID=2767 Lenovo Thinkpad T60].
I am neither happy with the decision nor do I know if it will be, because
after noticing their sale (particularly in upgrade components) I managed to
fiddle with the system configuration form until I had selected a machine
that they claim will take until ''April 14th'' to build. That being said,
I'm still not convinced that I made the right decision by not buying the
[http://asia.cnet.com/reviews/notebooks/0,39050488,39268623p,00.htm Asus V1J].
After all, I've had good luck with Asus in the past. I'm currently drafting
this post on an Asus and although it's on it's last legs and hardly
functional, it put in a fantastic 4.5 years of service and something like
20,000 hours of actual (ab)use. It's been thrown across the room a number
of times (not by myself, and don't want to talk about it) dropped, received
lots of spills, and whatever else you can imagine. But the whole purpose
for buying my machine is as a birthday present for myself (from my
girlfriend and I). And while the V1J looks incredibly sweet, and has every
feature I could want other than a fast hard drive -- and a bunch I don't
even know what to do with -- I thought the more wise decision would probably
be the Lenovo/IBM Thinkpad. I've yet to figure out what in the hell made
me think that, and as a result I won't be getting my machine for over three
weeks dispite the fact that I paid for rush shipping. That alone gives me
half a mind to call and cancel.
Either way, I've already spent the money and I still haven't made up my mind
which brings me back to what I was originally writing about. What makes
purchases so difficult? It seems that, atleast speaking for myself, I have
no problems making a decision that I will have to live with for months or
years to come and standing by it. I take my time in making the decision,
but once I make it I stick to it valiantly. When it comes to spending
money however, particularly when there isn't a hard-line (low) budget
involved, I find its very difficult to really figure out what to purchase.
I eventually just come to a ''"cross your fingers and pray"'' point where
I make a selection out of the remaining contenders just for the sake of
making a decision.
Disposable technology since 1993!