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Thanksgiving Thoughts and Black Friday “Bargains”

Thanksgiving Thoughts

“There’s one thing I should be … giving up now, and that’s worryin’ about life.”

Those lyrics from Tim McGraw and Faith Hill’s first collaborative album resonated with me as I began writing this column.

This week is Thanksgiving. The one day of the year we intentionally set aside to be grateful for all the blessings in our lives. It’s a day when we should quit worryin’ about life and focus on the good.

Here are just a few things I’m thankful for:
• The opportunity to get up each morning, breathe in the fresh air, and work out at the gym
• A loving, supportive family who is always there for me
• Each of you, the readers of this column, I can serve by providing practical advice and useful tips to help you better understand and use technology
• My three dedicated staff members – Christian, Cai and Scott – who help make Calibre the company it is
• The privilege of working with the PCHS Marching Tigers. Music is a wonderful thing and working with a dedicated group of young people is so inspiring.

I could list dozens more. I bet you could too.

What’s on your list of thanks?

I encourage you to take just 5 minutes today and write out some things you’re grateful for. For that short period of time, I guarantee you’ll stop “worryin’ about life.”

Black Friday “Bargains”

If you’re looking for a cheap laptop this Black Friday, Best Buy’s selling one for only $99.99.

But before swiping your credit card to make that purchase, you might want to consider if you’re okay with throwing your hard-earned money away.

(How many hours do you have to work to make $100?)

This steal-of-a-deal laptop can barely be called a computer. It’s hardware components are almost the lowest you can get.

It’s 2 gigabytes of memory is painfully inadequate to run the Windows 10 operating system.

The 32 gigabytes of storage capacity leaves you unable to install future, required updates to the Windows 10 operating system. This means you’ll be bombarded with constant pop-up warnings to install updates that you can’t install because there’s no room on the PC to do so.

So after about six months of use, your $100 laptop is now a useless heap of plastic.

Why do computer manufacturers and big box retailers sell these “bargain” PCs?

To appeal to people who only look at price when buying them.

I’d encourage you to skip the Black Friday “deals” on computers because most of them will cost you more in the long-run for repairs and updates in order to make them last.

An investment in a good, quality computer may cost a little more up-front, but you’ll spend less overall and you’ll have a faster, easier-to-use, and more problem-free PC.

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Take Your Old, Slow Computer And … Speed It Up

The October 31st deadline was approaching.

Jan, a busy local business professional, knew she needed to do something quickly about her frustratingly slow, five-year-old Dell computer. She depends on her PC every day to serve her clients and employees.

Her time is pressed from early morning to late evening between a constantly ringing cell phone with calls from clients and employees needing her assistance, numerous visits to client homes and offices, and time-critical meetings to meet a variety of important deadlines.

Her painfully slow computer hampered her ability to efficiently conduct her business. She could turn it on, log in, and fix a cup of coffee before it was ready to be used.

Having read my warnings about the dreadful Windows 10 operating system, Jan called me seeking advice about buying a new Windows 7 desktop or if there was another way to speed up her sluggish PC.

Fast forward to last Thursday night at the Gibson County Chamber of Commerce Annual Banquet.

“My computer is so much faster!” Jan excitedly shared with me. “It’s so nice to be able to turn it on and it’s ready just like that.”

Ready in 30 seconds!

What did I do that now makes Jan’s computer ready to use in only 30 seconds?

I installed a new solid state hard drive and doubled the amount of memory.

An affordable combination that significantly improves performance and adds additional life to an otherwise old PC.

Until recently, most computers shipped with mechanical hard drives. These drives are fairly reliable, cheap, and provide plenty of room to store pictures, documents, and music.

But as prices have dropped, solid state hard drives are becoming more popular – both in new computers and as reasonably priced upgrades for older ones.

Why consider upgrading your hard drive?

If you have an older computer that works well but crawls at a snail’s pace, you should seriously consider upgrading to a solid state hard drive.

It’s cheaper than buying a new computer, allows you to keep your existing operating system (which is hopefully Windows 7), and gives you the speed boost you desire.

What makes them better?

Without getting too technical, solid state hard drives (SSDs) perform better than mechanical hard drives in four primary ways:

1. Your operating system and programs load quickly because of faster read/write speeds to and from the hard drive.
2. The likelihood of a failure of the hard drive is significantly reduced because there are no moving internal components.
3. They consume less energy and operate more quietly. If you’re using a solid state hard drive in a laptop, you’ll notice you can use it on battery power much longer.
4. Fragmentation of files is less, which means your computer can find necessary pieces of data faster – translating in to faster performance.

A painless upgrade

Upgrading your current computer to a solid state hard drive is fairly easy. Unless you’re having other software-related problems with your computer, your existing hard drive can be imaged over to the new solid state hard drive.

All your programs, files, settings, desktop background – everything – will be copied over exactly as is to the new hard drive. You won’t even notice anything’s changed – other than the speed of your computer.

If you’re tired of wasting time waiting to use your desktop or laptop – and it’s otherwise working well for your needs – consider upgrading to a solid state hard drive.

It’s almost like having a new computer – without the cost!