Another Computer Tech Rant: Proprietary Systems

Iruka Naminori
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Another Computer Tech Rant: Proprietary Systems

First of all I would just like to say, "They don't make power supplies like they used to."  It seems like every time I turn around it's the Christin' power supply that has failed. 

I'm trying to fix an HP system for a client.  I plugged it in and it didn't turn on.  First guess?  Why, it's the power supply, of course!  I whipped out my power supply tester and sure enough, the thing is basically dead.  I haven't looked up the system specs yet, but the power supply is only 150 Watts, which was, no doubt, insufficient.  People buy these proprietary cheapo systems and they just go belly up within a short period of time.  I can't imagine adding any peripherals to that limited a power supply.

Secondly, the power supplies are often proprietary: made to fit the chassis they came in.  A standard PSU often won't fit and that seems to be the case this time, too.  Even if I can cram a standard PSU into that space, there will be no room for the CD-ROM.  Cheap, cheap, cheap!  I'm going to see what exorbitant amount HP wants for a replacement PSU.  I'll also look to see if I can find a foreshortened PSU, but anytime you go non-standard, you're going to pay bigger bucks...and usually for crappier parts.

Now I have to tell my client that her system is probably not worth fixing.  Sigh.  First I'll do a little research and see if I can come up with a PSU that won't break the bank.

This is Iruka the Perpetually-Pissed-Off Computer Tech signing off. Eye-wink

 

IN 


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Proprietary systems do suck.

Proprietary systems do suck. I've been much more concerned about that issue in writing software. If I had my way I'd be using Linux, but work right now pretty much has me locked into using Windows development tools. Makes me want to strike out on my own and start my own business so I can use the tools I like.


Iruka Naminori
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Well, I found a MicroATX

Well, I found a MicroATX PSU for a reasonable price.  The problem is I tested the system with a standard ATX PSU and it wouldn't POST.  The PSU tests out okay on my PSU tester, but I don't trust it. The PSU in question has done some weird things in the past.

 I need to purchase a PSU for backup testing because the PSU tester isn't foolproof.  Example: it said my nephew's PSU was fine and it wasn't. Smiling

 

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This is one of the reasons

This is one of the reasons why I buy the parts and build the thing myself. Brand systems to me appears to be paying more money for less flexibility. I fairly recently had to get a new motherboard and power supply, and having an ATX case it was very easy just replacing stuff. Why do people buy brand computers anyway?


Iruka Naminori
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KSMB wrote: This is one of

KSMB wrote:
This is one of the reasons why I buy the parts and build the thing myself. Brand systems to me appears to be paying more money for less flexibility. I fairly recently had to get a new motherboard and power supply, and having an ATX case it was very easy just replacing stuff. Why do people buy brand computers anyway?

Actually brand-name systems are getting very cheap...but unfortunately they are "cheap" in every sense of the word. 

A Compaq I worked on recently had a proprietary PSU that didn't fit any standard configuration. It also blocked access to the motherboard, so I had to pull it out before I could do much of anything. I couldn't find a list of specifications so I had to actually look on the motherboard for the type of chipset, integrated video and audio, etc.  That's another problem with brand names: They integrate everything so if your motherboard fries, you're out of luck.

Another pet peeve: Brand names try to make everything so compact that working on the system is a pain in the ass.  I guess auto mechanics experience the same thing with Japanese cars...you have to pull the whole thing apart just to fix some tiny thing.

I bought my first system, but since then I've rebuilt everything.  The only original equipment? A pair of very old speakers.  I'd like to get a better sound system, but the lady downstairs would likely kill me. Smiling I'm thinking about saving up for some 5.1 headphones, but that would be far into the future.  I have to figure out a way to pay for car repairs, first...sigh. 

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KSMB wrote: This is one of

KSMB wrote:
This is one of the reasons why I buy the parts and build the thing myself. Brand systems to me appears to be paying more money for less flexibility. I fairly recently had to get a new motherboard and power supply, and having an ATX case it was very easy just replacing stuff. Why do people buy brand computers anyway?

I totally agree, especially for a personal computer. But sometimes you just need a computer to do one job (In my case develop a web app using ASP.NET) and you need a computer that day. So there's little choice but to go to Best Buy and by an HP.


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Not a problem for me. I

Not a problem for me. I barely know how to turn the damn thing on.


Iruka Naminori
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MattShizzle wrote: Not a

MattShizzle wrote:
Not a problem for me. I barely know how to turn the damn thing on.

Well, there's this little button on the front of the tower.  The tower is that big square thing that isn't your monitor, keyboard or mouse.  Sometimes there is more than one button on the front of the tower.  Push them until you find the one that turns on the system.

That will be $50, please. Wink

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Of course if I didn't

Of course if I didn't already know that, how would I be on here every day? Eye-wink


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Iruka Naminori

Iruka Naminori wrote:

Well, there's this little button on the front of the tower. The tower is that big square thing that isn't your monitor, keyboard or mouse. Sometimes there is more than one button on the front of the tower. Push them until you find the one that turns on the system.

That will be $50, please. Wink

Oh Iruka, my friend! An iMac doesn't have a tower!!!!!! (That's the only reason I have room for a printer on my desk.)

And the best part of a Mac, it just works! Plug stuff in and it just works.

Damn, I love my Mac.

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KSMB wrote: This is one of

KSMB wrote:
This is one of the reasons why I buy the parts and build the thing myself. Brand systems to me appears to be paying more money for less flexibility. I fairly recently had to get a new motherboard and power supply, and having an ATX case it was very easy just replacing stuff. Why do people buy brand computers anyway?

It's just like buying a car. Convenience. Technically anyone with half a brain could build a more effecient and trustworthy vehicle than GM, Ford, Toyota, or any of the other companies. But the knowledge you'd need to do so is daunting. So people buy a GM instead of stock parts.

Proud Canadian, Enlightened Atheist, Gaming God.


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Susan wrote: Iruka

Susan wrote:
Iruka Naminori wrote:

Well, there's this little button on the front of the tower. The tower is that big square thing that isn't your monitor, keyboard or mouse. Sometimes there is more than one button on the front of the tower. Push them until you find the one that turns on the system.

That will be $50, please. Wink

Oh Iruka, my friend! An iMac doesn't have a tower!!!!!! (That's the only reason I have room for a printer on my desk.)

And the best part of a Mac, it just works! Plug stuff in and it just works.

Damn, I love my Mac.

Uh oh. A smug Mac user. Eye-wink

Disclaimer to keep geek cred: I use a MacBook, but still think Linux is the best platform for software creation. Windows (mostly) sucks.


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MrRage wrote: Proprietary

MrRage wrote:
Proprietary systems do suck. I've been much more concerned about that issue in writing software. If I had my way I'd be using Linux, but work right now pretty much has me locked into using Windows development tools. Makes me want to strike out on my own and start my own business so I can use the tools I like.

Our better yet just start specializing in LAMP based development. I used to be a java dev and always found a way to sneak linux on the scene. At my current job we went completely open source, running Rails and PHP primarily. It may be difficult but you can still fight against the M$ tide. 


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MrRage wrote: Susan

MrRage wrote:
Susan wrote:
Iruka Naminori wrote:

Well, there's this little button on the front of the tower. The tower is that big square thing that isn't your monitor, keyboard or mouse. Sometimes there is more than one button on the front of the tower. Push them until you find the one that turns on the system.

That will be $50, please. Wink

Oh Iruka, my friend! An iMac doesn't have a tower!!!!!! (That's the only reason I have room for a printer on my desk.) And the best part of a Mac, it just works! Plug stuff in and it just works. Damn, I love my Mac.
Uh oh. A smug Mac user. Eye-wink Disclaimer to keep geek cred: I use a MacBook, but still think Linux is the best platform for software creation. Windows (mostly) sucks.

 I would have to respectfully disagree Smiling . I just switched to mac like 4 months ago and I'm totally in awe of it. If you love linux then what is not to love about 100% pure BSD Unix? Attach a state of the art gui and tools and you got yourself a great development machine. I can run just about everything I run on linux on my mac, plus I have the add plus of virtualization. I can run different OSes on my mac with little performance hit. It's not a knock against linux, just an endoresement for mac Eye-wink However I have been extremely impressed with Beyrl, to me its really way ahead of many GUI's out there. 


Iruka Naminori
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melchisedec wrote: I

melchisedec wrote:

I would have to respectfully disagree Smiling . I just switched to mac like 4 months ago and I'm totally in awe of it. If you love linux then what is not to love about 100% pure BSD Unix? Attach a state of the art gui and tools and you got yourself a great development machine. I can run just about everything I run on linux on my mac, plus I have the add plus of virtualization. I can run different OSes on my mac with little performance hit. It's not a knock against linux, just an endoresement for mac Eye-wink However I have been extremely impressed with Beyrl, to me its really way ahead of many GUI's out there.

How about gaming?  For me, that's one of the biggies.  I imagine Macs don't have much of a choice in video cards.  I also bet emulating Windows video games creates a big performance hit.  Try F.E.A.R. on a Mac and get back to me.

Other reasons I own a PC:

1. I like to tinker

2. I like to build my own

3. Access to more programs

4. I need to know how to fix Windows when it breaks 

I really can't afford to have both a PC and a Mac.  I recently upgraded and it about killed me financially because my car suddenly decided it needed $1500 worth of repairs.  I still haven't got the blasted car fixed.  I'm driving it with a messed up power-steering rack.  I just keep pouring fluid into it.

Too bad I don't know how to fix it myself, eh?  

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Iruka Naminori
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Susan wrote:   And the

Susan wrote:
  And the best part of a Mac, it just works! Plug stuff in and it just works.

 Where's the fun in that? Smiling

And how could I get money from you if it's so easy and doesn't break? Smiling

 Seriously, as a gamer, I will be a PC enthusiast for the forseeable future.

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Iruka Naminori
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I'm a PC gamer.

I'm a PC gamer.

Recently I had this same "you really should switch to a Mac" discussion on another board. One of the Mac fanboys got really obnoxious, even when many of us PC gamers explained that Windows emulation of games caused a severe performance hit (as evidenced in a recent article in PC Gamer).

Here is the post I wrote in that forum:

Iruka Naminori wrote:
Yes, Macs are probably really great, but there are some things they will not do. They don't do Windows " title="Eye-wink" />. At least not very well. I'll be the first to admit that Windows break " title="Eye-wink" />...easily. (Gee, what is it with me and the puns this evening?) The very fact that Windows breaks easily is the reason I'm a PC tech and not a Mac tech. it would be silly for me to own a Mac. If I'm going to fix PCs I need to have one of my own to fix.

Also, I'm a rabid gamer. If I'm going to spend a lot of money on a system (something which is a huge deal for me considering my low, low income), it's going to be something I can run the latest games on. I recently upgraded (first time in ages) and I very much doubt any Mac can run certain games at 1600 X 1200 with all the bells and whistles like my Core 2 Duo system can. This is without overclocking. The only game that doesn't run well at that resolution is F.E.A.R., but it does well at lower resolution with 2X FSAA and looks almost as good as it would at a higher resolution. I can play Doom 3, Far Cry and other graphics-intensive games at 1600 X 1200 and the system doesn't even blink.

I'm planning on overclocking this puppy at some point. Tinkering with Macs...is there such a thing? I love to get up to my elbows in a chassis. I love to tweak and overclock. I'm a hands-on kind of person when it comes to computers. That's why I don't have a laptop, either...besides the point I can't afford one if I'm going to keep my PC fairly up to date. I treat my PC sort of like a mechanic treats his tweaked-out jalopy. He can mess with the jalopy and get it purring like a kitten, but if you gave him one of the latest Japanese cars, even though it's smooth as a baby's butt and runs very well, he couldn't have much fun with it.

My PC is my TV (don't have real TV), my stereo, my word processor, my gaming station, my music composition station, my art workbench. I've been building on it since I got my first PC a decade ago. The only original piece of equipment is the old PRO-160 speakers. (I need to get better sound, but I won't be able to for the forseeable future.) Yes, it gives me headaches sometimes, but it's what fits my lifestyle. So stop telling me I need a Mac.

That was in response to someone who told me I was "stupid" for not switching to a Mac.  I also put him on my ignore list.  That forum has 100,000 users and civility is very much lacking...sigh. 

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melchisedec wrote: Our

melchisedec wrote:
Our better yet just start specializing in LAMP based development. I used to be a java dev and always found a way to sneak linux on the scene. At my current job we went completely open source, running Rails and PHP primarily. It may be difficult but you can still fight against the M$ tide.

I want to do that, although I hate PHP. Right now I'm doing an independent contract with a company, and I have to use ASP.NET. I'm trying to learn RoR, so I can make an app with it. I'm just now getting into software development as a job. I spent the last 6-7 years of my life getting math degrees.

melchisedec wrote:
I would have to respectfully disagree Smiling . I just switched to mac like 4 months ago and I'm totally in awe of it. If you love linux then what is not to love about 100% pure BSD Unix? Attach a state of the art gui and tools and you got yourself a great development machine. I can run just about everything I run on linux on my mac, plus I have the add plus of virtualization.

Don't get me wrong, I think Macs are nice. I'm just not too up on the Mac/Jobs worship gig. I'm typing this on my MacBook.

It's not pure BSD Unix, although it has a lot of BSD stuff with it. I find it easy enough to work with open source tool on a Mac, but it is a little bit against the grain. But it is nice to have things "just work" like Susan did. And in 10.5 I heard they're going to include RoR, which would be awesome.


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Iruka Naminori wrote: I'm a

Iruka Naminori wrote:
I'm a PC gamer.

Then stick with PCs. If anyone claims that you must get a Mac, that's bullshit. Stick with what works for you. This isn't a religion, you know. Smiling

I'm not much of a video gamer, so it's no big deal for me. Although I do love playing "real" games like Magic: The Gathering and Risk.


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Iruka Naminori

Iruka Naminori wrote:

Susan wrote:
And the best part of a Mac, it just works! Plug stuff in and it just works.

Where's the fun in that? Smiling

And how could I get money from you if it's so easy and doesn't break? Smiling

Seriously, as a gamer, I will be a PC enthusiast for the forseeable future.

That's probably the biggest difference. I confess that I've never played games on my Mac. When I switched from a PC to iMac, I found a Mac version of Minesweeper, but it turned out to be someone's college programming assignment and it didn't work very well. That was the last attempt.

As for the "it just works" - well, it's because I am technologically challenged. Seriously challenged. I was almost in tears just trying to set up my printer. It took the Apple people AND the Canon people on a conference call with me in the middle of the night to get it to work. It was just a matter of a couple of settings, but it was totally over my head.

I wonder if maybe part of the problem is my *ahem* age. For the most part, I'm still mystified by all this and scared to death I'm going to do something to foul it up. I'm the first one to call tech support at the Day Job when the network printer decides not to be attached to my PC.

 

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Susan wrote: When I

Susan wrote:
When I switched from a PC to iMac, I found a Mac version of Minesweeper, but it turned out to be someone's college programming assignment and it didn't work very well.

You know, the lack of a good Minesweeper on Mac bugs me too. But maybe it's a good thing, because I'd be even less productive than I already am.