Monday, 5 May 2014


My computer (the very thing that I'm sitting in front of, and typing this drivel) has seen better days.
It is now about 5 years old, and whilst not exactly had a hard life, it is basically dying on its arse.
The disk is nowhere near full, I try and keep the crud and rubbish that accumulates down to a minimum, yet it still takes 20 odd minutes to start up properly, and even then has a habit of flashing up a 'Not Responding' message or just spending ages thinking about starting a simple task.
Considering most technologies are supposedly redundant the day they leave the factory, 5 years is a pretty good life by modern standards.  But it is now too damn slow, too annoying, and I'm to lazy to do things like upgrade the hard disk or add peripheral memory (it was cheap when I bought it, and is effectively disposable/replaceable anyway, why would I invest my valuable lazing-about time in making it work any better, when I may as well just buy a new box.
(This is my way with most things of comparatively low value.  Although, I am informed that this principle is NOT ALLOWED to be applied to marriage)

So, off I go with the help of Google to find a replacement.
First consideration: Laptop or Desktop - well, according to Mrs D I'm having a laptop, so decision made (I would argue, but I value my kidneys (and other things) in the place they're supposed to be.
I did ask "why?"
"So you don't spend all your time sitting in that crap-hole upstairs, and we can get rid of that stupid oversized desk and get a bit of space in that room" was the succinct reply *

* OK, I admit it - the desk in this room is about the size of a Science Laboratory work bench (minus the gas outlet for a bunsen burner, and what am I going to do with the mass of accumulated dross in the drawers?

Thing is, I've never got on with laptops - I find them uncomfortable to use, the keyboard is cramped, I can't get on with the mouse pad thing, and the sound is always lacking any depth, definition and is horribly tinny.
So a compromise has been reached.  Yes it will be a laptop that replaces this large, ailing box, but I will supplement the purchase with a docking station, hence retaining the larger screen a decent set of speakers and a proper mouse.

So I'm searching for "laptop" - not an obviously problematic search string, but it did give me information regarding some potentially interesting pubs and clubs involving dancing.
Once I managed to tear myself away from this revelation, I was consumed by the options available and the number of companies that would help my part with my cash.
To be honest, they are all much of a muchness.  As long as I can connect to the internet, send e-mails, maintain my CD databsase, and continue to compose meandering missives such as this, I'll be happy (maybe with the addition of the odd picture of a nudie lady and the opening times for a newly discovered 'Gentlemans Entertainment' members club in the local area).

Great, I now have a variety of options, different manufacturers, various specifications, even different colours - but they are all just pictures.
Being the old school, curmudgeonly dullard that I am, I want to experience the physicality and tactility of the product.  I would like to go in a shop and fiddle with the thing, before I invest.  Check out the actual size, the weight, the available add-ons and peripherals.  (Vaguely) knowledgeable staff to assist in the purchase would be helpful too (although this is not always a guarantee in many shops).
So off I trundled to PC World, and then trundled back feeling somewhat underwhelmed by the whole experience.
With many retailers falling away from the High Street, it seems the only other obvious physical shopping option I may have is John Lewis (which can sometimes feel overpriced and minimally stocked), Argos (where you are not allowed to see the product until you have actually bought it or a Tecomorrisonsasdasainsbury Enormo-Market.  Everything you want under one roof.  But how can you take confidence from a store with a product range that includes dog food, toys, birthday cards and Home Insurance.  Call me a moaning old git, but that range just seems too diverse to me.  Where's the specialism, the knowledge, the trust?
"Pile it high, and sell it cheap" - that is the business strategy at play here - why would a consumer be interested in anything else but price?
I'm not a complete naysayer - on-line shopping is a fine method.  But it should not be, as it is fast becoming, the only method.  Certainly not for big ticket items.

However, I think I'm left with little choice here - more research, perhaps a reliance on know retailers and manufacturers (always the best advice, rather than passing your Credit Card Details to Ripemovski Retail in Uzbekastan), and an on-line purchase it will have to be.

The obvious track to go with this mild rant about shopping experiences would by "Why Can't I Touch It" by Buzzcocks (note: no definitive article).  But instead, a song about the glories (or otherwise) of shopping for everything under one roof.
Ground floor Shoppers Paradise
Haberdashery, needles, spoons and knives
Knuckle-dusters, glass jaws and wooden hearts

Spend your money girls on sprays and lipsticks
Tested on bunnies, girls, strays and misfits
Ozone friendly rape alarms
For those blinding dates
Another summer of hate

It's the top shop for the tired and rundown
Going up for the final comedown
First and second floors, third and fourth world wars
We've got a free pair of flares
With every hip replacement
Just take the stairs to the bargain basement
Babies bottles full of the milk of human kindness

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls
The big shop is open it's a wonderful world

Top floor Shoppers Paradise
We've got a drunk Father Christmas and the Antichrist
There's nothing of value, so there's no VAT
We're going S-H-O-P-P-I-N-G
We take Visa, Access, American Excess
Patched-up, hand-me-down, second to next best
Clothes for all ages, mothers and babies

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls
The big shop is open it's a wonderful world

Going down for all the things you missed
All the love. peace and happiness that don't exist
We've got enpsychopaedias we've got pic 'n' fix
A government freezer full of benefits
A childrens assortment, we're bigger than Hamleys
We've got Cabbage Patch orphans from Sylvanian Famlies
Carpets, Iinoleum, holy petroleum,
Chemi-kaze killers, little Hitlers and Napoleans
Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls
The big shop is open and the world
Is wonderful

Written by: Carter/Morrisson
From: Carter The Unstoppable Sex Machine - 30 Something (1991)

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