Getting it wrong and right

by Captain Walker

Categories: Technology, CW

Grinning like a Cheshire CatThis is about lots of things – spending money, getting things done, getting it right and when I’ve gotten them wrong. I’ll focus on some things that I’ve purchased over the years.

I’ll start with so-called ‘computers’. It’s a funny term because some people have images in their minds of desktop computers, others think of laptops, and yet others think of tablets or iPAD-looking devices. Few ever think of computers as ‘washing machines’ though most good washing machines are run by their on-board computers.

I’ve lost count of how many computers I’ve had over the years – I’m guessing about 7 in the last 15 years. Some were not for my own use but for others in the household. I think I’ve gotten it right with them because I’ve bought good-specification  computers that did the job well, were future-proof for about 2 – 4 years and which did not cost the earth. If you’re thinking “which brands?” – you might as well just bugger off now while the buggering off is good. I don’t deal with brands. My word is ‘specification’ – so lots of different brands but selected only for their specification at the time.

Over the years I’ve listened to other people groan about crashing computers and data loss etc  – well I,  unknown to them, would be thinking “Idiots!”.  Why? Because people (in general) don’t know what computers do, don’t care to find out and don’t learn more as they used them. So tough. Then some of these idiots have bought stuff from the trusted retail outlets in Rip-off-Britain (RoB) – so whaddayah expect!?

Well, my computers – except for minor glitches – have always performed well doing all the business of word-processing, image processing, browsing the internet, communicating via VOIP. Then people say, “You’re lucky that you have good computers…” – at which point I have to restrain myself from committing interpersonal violence. What’s ‘luck’ got to do with it?!! Chrysst!

I’ve also had 4 scanners – and the latest is the SnapScan iX500. This one is 4 times as expensive as the most expensive other, I’ve bought. But hell, this thing is worth 3 times the money!! And the time saving and worry-saving is just beautiful. Scanner technology has been growing up over the years – and it wasn’t possible to get something of this build and quality even 5 years ago. Not for equivalent money, anyway. What this new ‘kit’ means is that I can rapidly manage all the paper that I have to cope with. For example some conference brochure from July, I’d rather not keep that in physical form – bunged it into the iX500 and out comes in a 30 seconds (that’s 48 pages). Now it can bin the paper copy and save space. There’s a tendency to keep paper because it’s the ‘real thing’ but in reality except for very very important receipts and certificates etc, I don’t need to keep ‘the real thing’.

Now onto software. I’ve bought PDF converters in the past. Yes – I don’t like pirating software – for the simple reason that if I had invented the software and was selling it I wouldn’t want people to pirate that which I spend thousands of hours creating (for so-called ‘free’). Tough if you don’t know what a PDF converter is – Google is your friend. I had some cheap software which worked well. But about a year ago, I decided to get the ‘master’ i.e. Adobe XI Pro. It’s difficult to say how great this thing is in a few lines. It’s just great!!!

And recently its all coming together, good computer, good scanner and good PDF software.

So I’ve gotten it wrong before in buying cheaper type hardware and software. It’s a false economy really because you don’t actually get things done very smoothly. It’s sad that you have to spend a bit more to get good quality stuff. But when you get it – that Cheshire cat grin is all worth it. The trouble of course, is that often times you don’t ‘know’ a good thing until you really experience it. Now – calm down – I’m not saying that’s a mantra to apply in all aspects of life.

But the same principle has followed me in other aspects of life – on getting quality stuff – from washing machines and toasters to fine suits. I’ve never bought electronic digital photo frames – because I just know they’re overpriced and a rip-off thing to separate fools from money. It seems a sad reality though, that to get things that really work well you gotta be prepared to pay more. Now stay calm – I’m not saying that all things that cost more are bound to be of better quality or utility. Surely there are things of substandard quality that are overpriced. The trick is to know what you need (present and future), know the specification, think of cost-effectiveness instead of just ‘cost’.

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