Acronym Update 11/06/07

November 6, 2007

Dear Readers,

I recently got asked for my opinion on a potential computer purchase….

The specific system specs seemed adequate and the price seemed o.k., but you have to be more discerning than that. Being a discriminating buyer and knowing the facts about buying from a typical “big box” store are crucial.

1) Computers sold at stores such as Best Buy, Circuit City, Wal Mart, warehouse stores, Comp USA, etc. are often LOADED with trial-ware (trial software) that will slow down your new PC SIGNIFICANTLY. I’ve heard first hand accounts from customers who say “This new computer is pathetic. Why did I buy it? It’s slower than my old machine.” Many of the bargain computers you see in the Sunday fliers have been subsidized in part by trial-ware. These are often the programs that load in the Windows System Tray or pop up when you start the computer. Sometimes you don’t even know that they’re installed. It shouldn’t take too long to remove these programs, but if you’re not comfortable using the Windows Control Panel it could take an hour or two. This is a major drag on the excitement that a new computer should provide you with. It’s unacceptable.

2) Some big box stores will remove trial-ware for you, FOR FREE. If they won’t or refuse to uninstall these garbage applications without an extra charge — walk out the door! You paid for a computer, not these “nasty fried appetizers,” to use a restaurant analogy. Right off the bat, I can tell you that Wal Mart and warehouse stores aren’t going to accommodate you. I’ve heard through the grapevine that Best Buy and Comp USA will remove trial-ware for you. I don’t know if this is a universal policy, so you’ll have to ask at the particular store you go to. Demand nothing less.

3) I really believe that the Mac Mini @ $599 is the highest quality “bargain” desktop on the market. New Macs occasionally ship with trial software, but they do not slow down system performance and they do not load at startup. Typically, the only piece of trial-ware you’ll find on a new Mac is Microsoft Office (60 day trial). You guys should know by now what I would recommend. Click on the Applications folder and drag MS Office to the Trash. Click, drag, and drop. Bada bing! Good riddance Microsoft! By default, the Mac Mini ships as a computer only. You are able to use your existing USB keyboard and mouse, and your existing monitor. You can certainly pick out a new keyboard and mouse at the time of ordering. Here is a link:

4) If you have to go with Windows, don’t feel bad, you’ll just be calling me more….. [laughter erupts..] This summer, Dell introduced a new line of computers called Vostro. That and the re-emergence of Michael Dell were the best things that happened to the company in years. This offering includes desktops and laptops, priced reasonably and targeted at the small business market. You don’t have to own a business to buy one and unless you’re looking at a Dell that is a “premium” system – Vostro is the best way to go because you can opt out of trial-ware. Some of the Vostro systems also offer a choice of Windows XP or Vista, but at this point Vista passes the sniff test. Here are a few links:

Vostro Desktops:

Vostro Laptops:

I hope this helps you along the way.

Moving on to another subject, starting with the August ’07 print edition of The Acronym I launched a regular column entitled “Words of Hope.” Today I have a supplemental “Words of Hope” message to share. I am not going to include it in this e-mail or send it to everyone, because it is targeted people who are not yet married and those who’ve endured broken relationships. However, even if you don’t see my Words of Hope message in your inbox and know someone who struggles with issues such like — should I get married? how can I get over all of the mistakes in my past? how can I ever be good enough? — you may read it here

Feel free to email that link to your friends and loved ones in need of some good cheer.

Technically Speaking,