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View Full Version : Some people secretly like unreliable products?


OregonAlex
12-09-2005, 07:24 PM
Hi all,

I have been playing around with the theory that there are people out there who although complain about unreliable computers secretly like the challenge.

I was thinking this is similiar to cars. Some people buy cars just to tinker with them knowing fully well that the car is unreliable by its design but are drawn to the challenge of trying to make the car into something better. These people don't get the same motiviation to buy somthing like a Toyota Camry and then to begin tinkering with it. The Toyota just works and there is no need to tinker with it and so it is just boring.

So taking this theory I started to apply it to what my brother was doing with his PC. He is the type that likes to mess with his car. Trying out new tires, new motor oils, air filters, etc. To me, it always sounded like some kind of obsession and I did not get it. If it ain't broken, why fix it is my matra.

Anyhow, every couple of months my brother would bitch and complain about how he spent the entire weekend rebuilding his computer, defragmenting his hard drive, or trying to clean up after some virus. Getting a program to work again after he installed another program seemed to make his other programs stop working.. Or getting his computer to run better because it seems to crash more or seem to slow down. You know.. the normal fun stuff that EVERYONE has to deal with on a normal basis and by the marketing out there of a perfect relationship with a PC feeling like its just you.

For years now I have been telling him to switch to a Mac because its not gonna get better, his efforts will be cyclical, he will just continue to be in misery. And after years of making up excuses (its too expensive, its doesn't run my software, and the normal issues people complain about) he finally went out and bought a Mac Mini after another virus took down his computer and he lost of all of his passwords in his web browser password manager and some Quicken files (taxes). However, he was reluctant to get rid of his PC. I kept telling him look.. Getting a Mac won't make you life any better if you continue to use the PC. The problem is the PC, and if you are unwilling to get rid of it, I don't see the point.

Well he has had the Mac for about 6 months now and has never had a problem with it. He tells me that he uses it for all his important personal files and for doing on-line banking and accessing web sites which require for him to remember his password. In other words, it is his mission critical computer.

The other day I hear from my mom that he spent the entire weekend messing with his PC again trying to fix it because XYZ happened and messed something up again. So I call him.. WTF are you screwing with it again?? Doesn't the Mac work fine??... why are you wasting your time, energy and money sinking it into that infinate time suck called the Windows PC?? Do you actually need it for anything. Doesn't the Mac do all that you need to do on a normal basis.??
He responds, "Yes but I like tinkering with it because there is always something challenging to fix with it."

Argh.. how frustrating.. You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink!!

PBinWA
12-09-2005, 07:29 PM
Just shut up with all your pro Mac stuff! Your messing with my livelihood. Complexity is good. I can fix it for $200 /hour! Well maybe fix it. It will sort of work for a while . . . anyways . . .just keep the money coming!

:whistle:

OregonAlex
12-09-2005, 07:41 PM
Just shut up with all your pro Mac stuff! Your messing with my livelihood. Complexity is good. I can fix it for $200 /hour! Well maybe fix it. It will sort of work for a while . . . anyways . . .just keep the money coming!

:whistle:
PBinWA.. I know you own a Mac. Shame on you for WANTING people to suffer and waste their time screwing with a computer. Instead of spending this time with their family.

I can't blame you however. I get paid by our customers for fixing problems which are released in our stock products. Basically the reason we exist is because our engineering team designs in a vacuum and our customers are willing to pay my group to fix it. How bad is that?

So I guess you are disagreeing with me that people SECRETLY like unreliable products. Some people OPENLY like unreliabe products.. ha ha.. I like it.


Its kind of like when the washing machine repair guy came over to fix my washer.. When I asked him what washer he recommends, he recommended that Maytag Neptune because that is what they sell at his repair shop. I then proceed to lookup the reliability rating for the Maytag Neptune in Consumers Reports.. Well surprise, surprise. Worst reliability out there.. So bad there is a class action lawsuit out there for it.

Doc
12-09-2005, 10:09 PM
It's the software my man. I would run all linux, but I already have hords of software that works on my MS pc. With the proper setup and firewall it is not a problem. I buy componets and build my own systems. That way you get the manuals and drivers for each piece of hardware you install. All together it costs 1/3 of what a mac costs (cpu alone no monitor). I also run linux, but it does not have a photoshop equiv. Apple makes computing a bit easier, but you pay the price for it. :)

OregonAlex
12-09-2005, 10:43 PM
It's the software my man. I would run all linux, but I already have hords of software that works on my MS pc.

excuse #2


With the proper setup and firewall it is not a problem. I buy componets and build my own systems. That way you get the manuals and drivers for each piece of hardware you install. All together it costs 1/3 of what a mac costs (cpu alone no monitor).

excuse #1



I also run linux, but it does not have a photoshop equiv. Apple makes computing a bit easier, but you pay the price for it. :)
excuse #2 and #1

Doc.. heard all the excuses before. They are all valid. I wont argue any of these points with you. The hardest part for most people is getting past the belief that the software they own has infinate life and does not depreciate like other captial equipment. This strong belief becomes the "chains that bind" them and wont ever let go. This is also the reason we will always have Microsoft in a monoply position and people will continue to work with what they have without "abandoing ship". PBinNW.. has nothing to worry about.. He will always have a job because of this fact. :D

Here is a quote to chew over which I thought was funny.

"Computer people are the most unique people in the planet.. they are the only ones who are willing to spend hours of frustration of their valuable time trying to figure out how to make a free phone call over the internet with their computer. Once they have accomplished their goal, they try to justify it to themselves and others from a practicality point of view just to prove that it was worth saving a quarter and not getting off their ass to pick up the phone"

I found this kind of funny.

ddrane2115
12-09-2005, 11:08 PM
My 7 year old home built still runs rings around the "big box" manufacturers.........and all without the bs of tech support at .............(insert company name)

Doc
12-09-2005, 11:13 PM
Hey OA, that is funny!

From my perspective I alway thought of apple as the computer for folks who were 'computer challenged'. I run what I like. I do not upgrade because MS comes out with a new version of office or access or the OS. I'm sure software does depreciate, but as long as it does what I need that's all I want. I don't have the problems your bro has. I enjoy MS, it has it's advantages. Linux is cool in it's own way, but I knew Unix before Linux was born.
By the way, I think the latest apple OS is based on linux / unix. Thats a major plus from my point of view, and if I had the extra bucks, or anyone wants to give me a system I'd try it. As it stands I just don't need it and sure won't pay out good money for it. :)

Doc
12-09-2005, 11:15 PM
Hey OA, that sounds like very cool stuff. Though, you did send a shiver up my spine reminding me of assembler. I used to have to do that (front end pgming for OS390 installs). Hardly even hear of assembler programmers nowdays.

I'm not surprised that many in your office use Macs, and, since you use Mac at work, a Mac at home just makes sense. Someday I might try one. I understand graphics work is best done on a Mac....and I like to dabble with graphics. I picked up a older IBM RISC AIX box on ebay for less than 100 bucks. If I could find a Mac that reasonable I'd be all over it. Don't think that will happen anytime soon though.

OregonAlex
12-09-2005, 11:27 PM
I would run all linux, but..... I buy componets and build my own systems.... All together it costs 1/3 of what a mac costs (

So Doc... tell me.. do you consider yourself someone that likes to "tinker" with their computer. Like buying a cheap used car? a chinese tractor? which is a real bargin?

Just curious.. I used to do that back 10 years ago and can see the appeal of getting your hands dirty with the HW and something "hardcore" like Linux.

Actually, I used to be the one who would build computers for my family, extended family and friends. I liked the feeling of putting something together myself and getting it working at dirt cheap prices without a middle man.

As far as Linux, I got in Linux back in 1990 when it was still version 0.98pl10000000 and wrote a lot of device drivers for it back then.

I then moved on to becoming a NetBSD developer when I got frustrated of all the disorganization and lack of quality control in the Linux kernel in the mid 90s.. About that time, I had the opportunity to work on a NeXTstation on a daily basis to develop software. I feel in love with the machine and its powerful but easy to use development environment. This is key. Powerful, yet organized and simplistic so you can focus on the work at hand instead of dealing with the complexity of keeping the computer operational and making it do what you want it to do without worrying about it crashing. I never really was a Mac fan back in the days of MacOS 7- MacOS 9. The only reason, I got onto a Mac was because the NeXTSTEP OS migrated its way over to Apple when Apple bought out NeXT Computer. (i.e. Mac OS X).

At $500 for a desktop Mac and $1000 for a laptop Mac it is hard see it for anything then what it is..to me. a Very inexpensive and powerful Unix workstation with HW that you know will be supported now and into the future that and has been through extensive integration testing. I would argue that today's Mac is very competitive priced to a PC. I don't think at these prices anyone could call the prices being much more then a PC.

This appeals to me. Broken, buggy and hard to use environments just piss me off and are not worth it because they waste my time. I don't like playing computer janitor, it just gets old. It used to be fun when I was younger and had the interest and wanted the experience. It no longer appeals to me or interests me.

I am happy to spend the money on a "premade" computer which just works the instance I turn it on and continues to work without having to annoy me because it require me to act as a computer janitor.

As far as ditching the PC software... that is a though one. Sometimes when you want to get new heights you have to climb down the moutain and start up another path. Even if that means lossing some money to gain some sanity in the future. There is a Cost to staying right where you are.. The cost continues infinately into the future. When you realize this, the decision because easier to ditch the incumbant and start over.

btw I have a whole loft full of PC motherboards, cases and other odds and ends not to mention boxes and boxes full of software that I have purchased which will never be run again. Sad... but I will never look back.
Maybe one day though box of Microsoft Windows 3.1, 3.11 WFW, 95, NT 3.1, 3.5, 4.0, Win 95, 98 and 20000 will be a collectors item one day. Along with Office 5.0, 95, 97. :toilet:

OregonAlex
12-10-2005, 12:04 AM
Hey OA, that is funny!
From my perspective I alway thought of apple as the computer for folks who were 'computer challenged'.

that is a common impression. I would say the majority of legacy userbase buy them because they are simplistic to use.


By the way, I think the latest apple OS is based on linux / unix.
Its actually what NeXTSTEP was. Which was a BSD single server running on top of the Mach micro kernel. Instead of X-Windows, they have their own Windowing system based on OOP technology developed with Objective-C.

You might be surprised how many Linux developers actually develop on a PowerBook. For a Unix workstation in the form of a laptop they are hard to beat.


Another funny note I mentioned once before.. The job I do is in the field of embedded software development. My co-workers and I, are in the business of developing device drivers and customization of our embedded OS for prototype computers (MIPS, ARM, XSCALE, PPC, SH4, and x86 architectures). I would say the job is very low level as we write all code and have to debug the prototype HW while doing it.
We are responsible for generating all the code from power on reset (which is written in assembler), and develop drivers for the custom HW on the board, and customize the OS to the point of getting the device ready to execute an application (i.e. OS fully up and running) Out of all the engineers in our group, 60% of them use Macs in their homes running OS X for their own personal use. While all of us have to use a PC for development purposes while on the job. :-( Something you might find interesting.

OregonAlex
12-10-2005, 12:06 AM
Hey OA, that sounds like very cool stuff. Though, you did send a shiver up my spine reminding me of assembler. I used to have to do that (front end pgming for OS390 installs). Hardly even hear of assembler programmers nowdays.

Doc,
There are very few places that I NEED to write assembler in my job. We don't do it for speed purposes. We HAVE TO write assembler because the computer out of power on reset does not have a stack yet. Because the DRAM controller has not been initialized yet we dont have DRAM . So you can't execute a higher level language yet which uses the stack for variables; like C. The code I write has to initialize the CPU to a known quiet state, then start initialize things necessary to get DRAM up, the caches, initialize the memory controller, copy ROM to RAM, and set the stack pointer into DRAM, Then and only then jump to the first line of C code (in DRAM). At that point, my job continues to bring up the rest of the device and peripherals (initialize the interrupt controller some more, bring up Ethernet driver, Serial ports, system interrupt timer, etc).. all the way until we are multi-tasking and fully running the kernel, and can present the customer with a a device with all the underlying support which is able to execute their application.. whatever that may be. So basically in "PC" terms.. We do what the BIOS does and what MS-Windows does before the customer is able to develop MS-Word.


I'm not surprised that many in your office use Macs, and, since you use Mac at work, a Mac at home just makes sense. Someday I might try one. I understand graphics work is best done on a Mac....and I like to dabble with graphics. I picked up a older IBM RISC AIX box on ebay for less than 100 bucks. If I could find a Mac that reasonable I'd be all over it. Don't think that will happen anytime soon though.
Doc, actually that is not what I said or meant to say. Everyone in our office uses a PC at work. The 60% of my fellow engineers who do what I do, use Mac at home for their personal use. I have 5 Macs in my house and a bunch of PCs and parts in my loft in my shop.. Which I don't use. some are completely together and functional minus DRAM and HDDs... some in pieces.

Up till now the prices of used Mac has stayed quite high because Macs have good resale relatively speaking (compared to the PC market). However, since the introduction of the Mac Mini ($500) the prices of older Macs has dropped as a result. Therefore, If you only have $100/200 for a Mac, I would recommend a PowerMac G4 with a 400Mhz+ CPU if you are seriously interested. check out craigslist.org if you don't want to deal with shipping via eBay and want to play with the computer locally before you buy. But if you are new to Macs and just want to buy something new.. then the Mac Mini is hard to beat @ $500.

Melensdad
12-10-2005, 12:10 AM
Personally I think people who THINK that Windows systems are less expensive never bother to check the total cost of ownership of a Windows system as compared to a Mac. I also think the whole software excuse is a crock of bull, except when some industry specific software is required for business purposes. I'm not saying a Mac is always a better choice, but what I do believe after using both, and currently owning both is that Mac is better more often than not.

OregonAlex
12-10-2005, 12:19 AM
I really was not out to make this into a Mac vs PC debate. honest..:wave:

my whole point of this, was to run a theory past you.

The theory was:
The some people actually perfer a unreliable computer (or car) then from one that just works because something that just works out of the box and does not allow for easy tinkering is not challenging and boring.

Doc
12-10-2005, 10:27 AM
I don't believe anyone picks something unreliable on purpose. ...even just for tinkering. In our exchange I think we hit on it somewhat. What do you use at work? Most of the time what you use at work is what you have at home. If you have complete control, no compatability issues and could realistically choose any OS for both work and home ...I do not believe anyone chooses something unrealiable knowingly.
It's like getting a car and tweaking it and trying to make it go that little bit faster, never being satisfied with it. Then each time it breaks you tinker some more. Usually it is having problems because you are pushing the limits and changing things. It was not unreliable to start with. It's one of those cases where you fixed it until it was broke. :eek: To me this seems like an analogy to what your brother has done with his computer.

I've repaired computers for my inner circle of friends and family. One thing I did find is that the low end computers and some of the medium priced ones use some off the wall cheapo hardware. It makes it near impossible to have a stable system. After working on to many of these, I quit. I told them I'd build them a computer, you just pay for the parts. I get top of the line componets, built the system and wala, they now had a stable system. It was amazing how all the problems they were having went away. Some of them were so frustrated they thought they were the problem and they were going to quit computers all together. Quality componets for any OS can make a very stable and easy to work with computer system.

OregonAlex
12-10-2005, 03:57 PM
yes.. it is amazing how many people I know go out and buy a new computer because they can not figure out how to fix theirs that is having problems.