Don Burnside

Recipes, technology, personal stuff and a crap load of archives.

Warning: Nerd Stuff!

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We can say I have had a month. A month, in this case, being the 30 days prior to this one, not a month like you see on your calendar. I know, it’s like the new math, but try to keep up.


I was tasked with replacing the ancient Windows Server 2003 (circa 2007) and Windows XP Filemaker Server (!) (circa 2006) earlier in the year. A single replacement sourced to replace 2 machines, easy peasy. Costs were told, ideas about buying new or refurbishes shot, budget was approved, and I went to work!

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A series of calls to my friendly, neighborhood Dell server specialist to build a reasonably priced machine that could serve as both Active Directory (re: nerd stuff) and Filemaker (re: nerd database stuff) server. Done, done and done as the kids say. Now, in my server closet, quietly hums a very nice server with 16 cores of processing power, 16GB of RAM with a pair of 500GB drives (RAID 1, re: more nerd stuff). Fast and quiet, I’m happy. Continue reading “Warning: Nerd Stuff!”

Get it right the first time, part 2

This was a post over at earlier this week about work not being right on the first visit. I wanted to make a few more remarks about this, but since they aren’t MINI related, here we are.

Have any of you _used_ Windows Vista? Specifically, Windows Vista on _any_ computer with only 2GB of RAM? I have and every time I do I keep asking myself the same question.

How could anyone think this was acceptable?

Windows Vista on underpowered machines is completely not useable. The system is unbelievably unstable and so slow it’s painful. For example, when trying to start Internet Explorer, it goes through a series of crashes until, about 5 minutes later, it settles down and then 3 minutes after that you see your home page.

When opening the Control Panel, it will also go through a series of crashes while drawing the icons. Trying to go into any of the CP applets is equally harrowing, with screens not drawing and the applet sometimes crashing.

Same goes when trying to close any program, especially Internet Explorer or any of the Control Panel applets. Most of the time they do crash and the only recovery is restarting the machine, which is another 10 minute ordeal.

Somewhere in the halls of Redmond (Or Austin – Dell is the biggest culprit here), there is a fellow in a room whose job it is to Q/A these kinds of things. I would imagine this fellow makes a good dollar or two in wages, benefits and other perks that come with working for such companies. My question for this guy is how do these machines pass Q/A? How can anyone look at this and say “yep, she’s good to go”?.


Knowing this, how can computer companies spec out a PC that would be better suited running Win2K and then install Vista? Seriously, a Celeron Processor? 1GB of RAM (shared with the video card too). I know it’s all about the all mighty dollar, but what about user experience?

It’s no wonder why Apple costs more, or why we pay more. That Q/A fellow in Cupertino actually _does_ his job, and cares about user experience. If you buy a bone stock Mac, it’s a configuration that is completely acceptable to use for **most** tasks that the average user will need to use it for.

The average bone stock PC, not so much. That machine, usually available from any big box retailer for around $300, will barely run Windows. Why even bother to sell such a machine? In selling a $300 computer, you create expectations by your users that the computer experience, while completely painful and almost impossible, is an inexpensive experience.

Time to retrain. Time to stop buying $300 PCs. Time for manufacturers to stop selling $300 PCs. Honestly.

If you, or any of your users, are in the market for a PC, I implore you to encourage them to skip the bargain basement machines. Tell them to save for a little bit longer to get a PC that they can use and use well. It should have _at least_ 4GB of RAM, _at least_ a 2Ghz Core2 processor (Intel or AMD) and it should cost _at least_ $600, more if they opt for better video with _at least_ 128MB of RAM.

Or, they should buy a Mac.

It’s time we, as the consumer, start demanding better out of companies that continually churn out crap that doesn’t work, doesn’t work as expected or is just garbage for the sake of a buck. Really, it’s time.