Thursday, February 5, 2015

Technical Difficulties

I had to buy a new computer. The old computer was working perfectly – up until it wasn't. I was minding my own business, going about my day when I got a message from Windows telling me that the hard drive was about to crash and that I might want to back up everything before it all went south. I thought it was nice of Windows to let me know.

Fortunately, I always back up whatever I don't want to lose, so that part was never a problem. Unfortunately, I had to buy a new computer.

You might think that living in Hong Kong makes it easier to get things like computers. Hong Kong is well known for electronics shopping – as well as every other type of shopping. The problem is that a lot of the electronics in Hong Kong are crap. Most of it is made in China, and the cheap crap they make for export is a much higher quality than the cheap crap they make for the locals. There are plenty of Japanese brands around, but most of that is also made in China. Had I bought a new computer when I was in Tokyo last year, I could have gotten something better than what I can get here. But I didn't need a new computer then.

As it turns out, I know someone who works in electronics. Kevin works at a big electronics company on the island. That's one of the reasons I know not to put too much faith in Chinese electronics. He put me in touch with someone who builds computers for a living.

Ordinarily, I'd want something put together in a factory and not by some guy who considers himself an expert. Most of the self-appointed computer experts I've met don't know nearly as much as they think they know. But this guy put his money where his mouth is. He said that if the computer crashes or craps out in the next year, he'll give me a full refund. If a program or application doesn't work the way it's supposed to, he'll replace it for free. If he doesn't stick to his word, Kevin knows where he lives.

My old computer was a laptop. When you're an expat living in a strange country, a laptop seems like the way to go. You never know when you're going to be on the move. But the old computer never went anywhere. It stayed on my desk the entire time I had it. So I figured I might as well get a desktop. At least if something falls apart, it's easier to fix. Replacing something on a laptop requires finding a part that fits that model computer. Replacing something on a desktop is a simple matter of opening it up and swapping parts.

So far the new computer is working perfectly. It's faster than the old computer, but that's always been true whenever I've changed computers. What's state of the art today will be obsolete tomorrow. The most obvious change is that I'm now looking at a large high definition monitor instead of a small laptop screen. It seems huge to me now, but in a year or two it will be small.

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