Friday, June 11, 2010

A little research goes a long way

Late last year I ordered some memory for the desktop only to discover I'd ordered the wrong type when it arrived. Because there was nothing actually wrong with the memory (PICNIC : Problem In Chair, Not In Computer), the online store wouldn't take it back, so it languished in my desk drawer until last week when I finally found a non-nutcase, non-scammer to buy it from me on Craigslist.

Yeah, I know I'm saving for the move, but thinking of it as an 'ultra delayed exchange', I spent the money I got from selling the desktop memory on some laptop memory for my netbook. The netbook only came with 1gig of RAM, which caused it to chug quite a bit, and considering this will be my only computer for a while, I figured it was worth the investment.

However, the reason I'm writing this post is because of a thought that occurred to me after I installed it.

You see, I've always built my own computers, so installing something as simple as memory didn't give me pause…but actually opening the computer case is obviously too scary for a lot of people, especially considering the guy at the computer store actually acted a little shocked that I was willing to install it myself instead of have someone at the store do it for me.

Installing the memory was as simple as unscrewing a single screw on the underside of the netbook, opening the panel, popping out the old memory chip and popping the new one into place. It took me the grand total of three minutes.

Installing memory is a service the computer store charges seventy five dollars for…almost twice what the memory itself cost.

Long story short, when it's time to upgrade your computer, do a little research online, open up a manual and give it a try yourself. Upgrading most components is literally as simple as putting a square peg in a square hole…and it can save you exactly one fuck-ton of money.

Also, if you have a computer guy friend, it's a million times more likely he'll be willing to come over and show you how to do it, rather than just do it for you…simply because it means you're willing to learn…and won't call him every time your computer makes a funny noise.

That's the things with us computer guys… we have friends and relatives who always seem to call for computer help when we're suddenly and inexplicably busy… and weirdly are also the friends and relatives who have break their computer multiple times in exactly the same way and refuse to even contemplate sitting down and watching what we do because 'they don't understand any of this computer shit'.

It's weird how we always seem to have time for the people who call and say they're performing an upgrade themselves and just need some help with it.

Replacing a motherboard might be beyond you, but replacing a DVD-ROM, some memory or installing a new hard drive is actually really simple…and not 'computer guy simple' but 'plug in two leads and screw it down' simple.

Give it a try. It'll save you money…and more importantly, you won't bother me so often. (insert passive-aggressive smiley face here)

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