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Old 02-17-2009, 04:40 AM   #1
iamback's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Amsterdam, NL
Posts: 4,894
Default New team member: Marie

"Poor old Grace", my current "main" computer, is seriously old now, and not upgradable any more - max 512MB RAM, for instance, all slots taken... I've stretched as far as it could go. Something like viewing video is not possible without jitters - if at all, let alone video editing. She needs to retire, but I have little money.

So, when a new acquaintance pointed me to a website that sells refurbished PCs they buy up from companies that replace their machine park every two or three years, I perked up. Found a nice machine for a really good price, in stock marker had 2 dots. the next day, I go out hiking with my friends, and when I get back home (flu and all), I find it's gone! So, I reckon things may move fast at that site, companies may buy in bulk as well. There was another machine, "workstation" class that had really nice specs for the price (a little over my limit though) - an that was gone (all of them) the day after. I kept looking every day, nothing new. What's left, doesn't have sufficient hardware specs - I'd need to upgrade too much immediately.

Then, last Saturday, I noted Aldi, a supermarket chain that cooperates with Medion who make hardware and sometimes have special offers in the store, had just a new multimedia PC. OK, so it's consumer class, but it's all brand new, 64bit, dual code processor (AMD), big HD, 4GB RAM, eSATA, 6 USB ports, a card reader, etc. Nice specs - all for EUR 499. Upgrading one of those old refurbished machines would easily have gotten me to that price level, and then it still would have old hardware in side and much less speed.

So, I jumped, and Marie has joined the team! The machine came with a quite usable keyboard and a (for me) unusable mouse: much too big for my little hands. It now shares my 22" monitor with Grace (switching is a bit fidly, but works.) It will take a lot of time to set it up the way I want it, of course. I started by removing some of the preinstalled software and cleaning up the Vista that came pre-installed, tweaking it to be a little less obnoxious. I already feared the "breadcrumbs" in Explorer windows instead of a real path, and not only do I really hate that, there are other things in the UI I also hate and seemingly can't be changed. So Vista (Home Premium) will have to go, I just keep it for now to use it to explore some other options. What I really want is make it dual-boot between XP and a 64-bit Linux distribution - but I need to try out some to see what I like best.

Of course, this morning, another one of my external HDs died - one of a pair I bought at the same time, the other failed just a few months ago, so I was sort of expecting it! Luckily with my new external backup drives, this time I have a backup on what's on that disk. It's well and truly dead: I cracked open the case (not meant to do that), took out the drive, and put it in an enclosure - when I powered it on, it didn't spin up. (The other one may still have a little life in it, but I haven't fiddled with it lately.) I have some nice little screws left.

So, from excitement to depression within 24 hours.

Now I need to look for another external (or cradle + disk) I can hook up to Marie (eSATA): the idea is to have everything in two places, but now I have only the backup.

Having a (closed) MacBook, two keyboards and three mice all on the same desk is a tad crowded (and confusing!) but of course that will resolve itself once Grace is truly retired...

Off to search for disk and cradles...

Marjolein Katsma
Look through my eyes on Cultural Surfaces (soon!), My ArtFlakes shop and Flickr.
Occasionally I am also connecting online dots... and sometimes you can follow me on Marjolein's Travel Blog
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