The Experiment has failed

I sold my Alienware PC today. The new owner, one of my digital art professors, will make good use of it in her multimedia studio.

I would have got a lot less for my PC if I would have sold it on eBay. I got $1500 for the PC and I threw in the monitor as well. I won't need it anymore anyways (more on that later).

So even thought the original purpose of this site has been hazy at best lately, I still had a PC. Now not only do I not have a PC but this site no longer has to do with my life with my PC. Luckily for this site, it has branched out in other directions, and the site has not had much to do with my PC in the past few months.

The slogan is going to have to be modified. Maybe it should be something like "A Mac User back in the Mac world" or "A Mac user who tried to function in a Windows world but came back to the Mac because of frustration." That last one might be a little long.

I got my PC in January 2003, see Every story has a beginning, I started using Windows for web and media work for the first time. Not the first time I have used Windows by far, but it was the first time I had used one for an extended period of time for critical work. Well this journey has ended.

I had problems out of the box, the audio card would not work correctly and the two ethernet ports were conflicting (the one was not turned off in the BIOS like it should have been). Alienware tech support had me switch out every PCI card and put it into a different slot. This miraculously fixed the audio problem. Let me tell you, that was a pain in the ass. They don't make PC cases as nice as Apple cases, that was not fun. And it was not the last time that tech support had me do that.

The transition to doing work in Windows was not very difficult, and I just dealt with the annoyances because I wanted to give Windows a try for at least a year. You can check out the early Windows Commentary archives to see the worst annoyances I encountered.

In October 2003 my PC's HD died. For this I had to send my PC to Alienware. I got my PC back in December, and it still did not boot up. They scratched the case, how nice of them. After tearing the PC apart again and not only reseating the PCI cards, but reseating the HD and other drives, it finally was in working order again. The Promise RAID card never was the problem (I took the time to check box RAID cards and they both worked just fine).

I had a lot of hardware issues with my PC that I have never had to deal with in my long history of using many Macs. I didn't expect all the manual work I had to do on my PC. But I have been told that is the norm. Forget that.

I defended my PC and decided not to sell it in the past, I made excuses for the idiosyncrasies of Windows because I wanted to give it an entire year. Well I made it 5 months longer then that one year period I had set for myself. I stopped using my PC for critical work over 6 months ago though. I went back to doing critical work on my slower PowerBook, and getting the work done - minus the frustrations.

For those of you say you can work faster in Windows or faster on the Mac are full of dookie. I can work just as fast in WIndows as I can in Mac OS X. The only problem is the use of the Control key as the main modifier key on Windows, and the placement of that key on Windows. TradeKeys fixes this problem though. Once I had Control on my PC where Command on my Mac is everything was good again. Now that I have experienced Windows for over a year, I will not put up with people whining to me about how hard or how much easier it is to use then the Mac OS. I had no problems. The final straw was however Windows just being Windows. I just had it up to my eyeballs. I give up.

I gave Windows a try. I really wanted to see how it would go. This was an experiment. And experiment to see if I could work faster on a much faster machine that cost less then a Mac. The answer to that is a NO!

I just bought a Dual 2.5 Ghz G5 and payed less for it then I payed for my Alienware PC. If I would have bought a G4 in January 2003 I would have actually payed more then what I spent on my G5 or my Alienware. So Apple's pricing is getting much better IMO.

In response to Dave M's comments:

I have absolutely no idea why people have such a negative bias about Alienware. Their system is no different, or more expensive then a Dell, Gatway, whatever.

I priced a DIY, then I priced a Dell, Alienware, and a couple other vendors. I simply refuse to buy anything Dell. I have heard bad things. I am very happy with the Alienware tech support, which I have said in the past on this site. They back their hardware. Despite Indian tech support, I have no problem with them at all.

In the end Dell and Alienware were costing the exact same thing give or take $100. To prove my point I just priced out a Dell and an Alienware with the exact same specs. The Dell cost $2,346 and the Alienware cost $2,488.00. Aesthetically speaking the Alienware case is a lot nicer. And given that I refuse to buy anything Dell, I will take difference and give Alienware $142 (if I were in the market for my second PC).

And PLEASE! It is not the hardware I am judging. I am judging Windows, Microsoft Windows. I don't really care what name is on the hardware.

If you want to say I am "dissing" anything, I am dissing the fact that you cannot use an Operating System to get reliable critical work done when that Operating System has so many holes, and their are so many morons out their that think it fun to take advantage of those holes. It is not my fault that that portrait happens to be a painting of Microsoft Windows.

As for pricing, Apple's hardware will always be more expensive. It has improved. It will always be more expensive because it is not made by everyone and their mother. In some cases this means Apple hardware is of higher quality.

Sorry to hear about your G4 problems. Shareware programs on Mac OS seem to really mess things up. This is sometimes because the shareware community has to hack or reverse engineer things. OS X has made it a little nicer, but its still bad if you go hog wild with shareware on the Mac.

I will say this with an asterisk. Mac people should stick with Macs and Windows people should stick with Windows. The asterisk is for those people who are not afraid of trying things out on the other side of the fence. I am not sad that I bought a PC. I am very glad I did. I have gained so much knowledge from my Windows experience that will help me out in my current and future work.

Comments (7)

I hope your not dissing Windows over an Alienware PC! Sheesh. From what I have heard, they are 3 times the price of normal PC's for less than double the performatnce.

My wife and I just bought 2 Dell 3.2GHz P4's with 1GB ram each and 250GB HD's and the new PCI express slots. She went for an 18" LCD flat screen and I went with a 20" flat screen. The total for both systems were $3500.

There are a very select group of people who would benifit from an Alienware PC.

Your story sounds not all that much different from mine with a Mac G4 I purchased about 2 years ago. That machine lasted about 3 weeks before it started falling apart (software wise). I was lucky if I could keep the thing running for longer than an hour before having to reboot the thing.

Funny thing is that I did to it the same thing I do to my XP system here. Install tons of shareware to see what they are like. I probably have about 120 programs installed on the XP box with no problems at all. The Mac barely made it to about 20 before I got rid of it.

Apple's pricing is way out there from what I see. Show me a Mac that will sell for $1300 with the performance specs of the box I just bought. The monitor I choose put it over $2000. Not possible, I've tried.

Ah well, enjoy your new toy! :)

I have absolutely no idea why people have such a negative bias about Alienware. Their system is no different, or more expensive then a Dell, Gatway, whatever.

I priced a DIY, then I priced a Dell, Alienware, and a couple other vendors. I simply refuse to buy anything Dell. I have heard bad things. I am very happy with the Alienware tech support, which I have said in the past on this site. They back their hardware. Despite Indian tech support, I have no problem with them at all.

In the end Dell and Alienware were costing the exact same thing give or take $100. To prove my point I just priced out a Dell and an Alienware with the exact same specs. The Dell cost $2,346 and the Alienware cost $2,488.00. Aesthetically speaking the Alienware case is a lot nicer. And given that I refuse to buy anything Dell, I will take difference and give Alienware $142 (if I were in the market for my second PC).

And PLEASE! It is not the hardware I am judging. I am judging Windows, Microsoft Windows. I don't really care what name is on the hardware.

If you want to say I am "dissing" anything, I am dissing the fact that you cannot use an Operating System to get reliable critical work done when that Operating System has so many holes, and their are so many morons out their that think it fun to take advantage of those holes. It is not my fault that that portrait happens to be a painting of Microsoft Windows.

As for pricing, Apple's hardware will always be more expensive. It has improved. It will always be more expensive because it is not made by everyone and their mother. In some cases this means Apple hardware is of higher quality.

Sorry to hear about your G4 problems. Shareware programs on Mac OS seem to really mess things up. This is sometimes because the shareware community has to hack or reverse engineer things. OS X has made it a little nicer, but its still bad if you go hog wild with shareware on the Mac.

I will say this with an asterisk. Mac people should stick with Macs and Windows people should stick with Windows. The asterisk is for those people who are not afraid of trying things out on the other side of the fence. I am not sad that I bought a PC. I am very glad I did. I have gained so much knowledge from my Windows experience that will help me out in my current and future work.

If you want to say I am ĺ─˙dissingĺ─¨ anything, I am dissing the fact that you cannot use an Operating System to get reliable critical work done when that Operating System has so many holes, and their are so many morons out their that think it fun to take advantage of those holes. It is not my fault that that portrait happens to be a painting of Microsoft Windows.
Maybe dissing wasn't quite the right word. It was late...

See, this is something I just don't understand. Non Windows people keep saying how full of holes the OS is and how many viruses there are. I just don't get it. The little I do to protect myself is stuff that EVERY Internet user should do. Use a firewall (Netgear wireless router), run Anti-Virus software (I only do weekly scans), and don't be stupid.

In the almost 15 years I have own a PC and 25 years I have owned a computer in general, I have only seen "1" virus. That was on an Amiga 500 and was because I got a C compiler from a buddy that was going to college at the time. Back then college's were the biggest breeding grounds for viruses there was. It took about a week to clean all the floppies I had of the virus. I believe it was also one of the first viruses out there. If you are as old as I, you might have heard of it: "Something wonderful has happened to your computer! It has come alive and is now infected with a virus!" Or something like that. It's been a few years. :)

Actually, there was another time on the PC. We were still on dial-up at the time, and my fiance got a VBScript virus. We were not running firewall software at the time. We didn't even know about it at first. Just noticed a slowdown as it was picking random IP addresses to try to spread itself to other systems.

I'm not saying that the whole virus thing is false. While monitoring my firewall a few years back, I think I saw attempts at connecting to my system occur about once ever 10 seconds. At first, I thought these were hackers trying to get into my system, so I connected to theirs and snooped around for a bit. Turns out it wasn't hackers, just viruses on their computers trying to get into mine. One system I snooped into had a Quicken folder with all their current quicken data in it. I left a text file on the desktop of that system telling them that they should get a firewall or at least turn off file sharing. Sheesh!

There are probably millions of unprotected computers out there full of viruses. It amazes me that these people don't just throw out there computers due to the lack of speed they have, due to the viruses that are slowing them down...

There has been talk that ISP's should become the firewalls for users like those. I personally fully agree. If a computer user can't be bothered to run a firewall and anti-virus software, and are too stupid not to open attachments, then yes, the ISP's should either take them off the net until they clean up their act. Give them the necessary info on how to do this, and allow them back on when they have accomplished this, but otherwise...

Of course, this will probably never happen since there are ISP's out there that don't seem to mind that their users are spamming people like mad. Not e-mail spam so much as referral spamming and comment spamming. Did you see my post about my latest attacks? 3.5 GB of bandwidth in 9 days from referral spamming. Over 3000-4000 hits recorded. I'm taking action by using .htaccess to block the IP's of these people. I can't afford for this to keep up. I do have 50GB of bandwidth to play with, but that could fill up fast if these spammers keep going without being stopped.

Whew! Sorry for the lenght...

I am quite happy to say that I never once got a virus on my PC for the 1.5 yrs. I had it. I once got a piece of spyware that SB Search & Destroy could not even take care of. It was one of those super fun browser hijacking "search engines."

I guess it is not the viruses per say, it is the offensive stand you have to make against viruses and spyware on a Windows box. And you have gotta admit, there have been some pretty nasty Windows viruses in the last 1.5 yrs. that affected a lot of computers because people just do not believe in offensive prevention.

I ran Zone Alarm Pro for a while, and for the fun of it i told it to tell me when my box was getting knocked on for any kind of suspicious activity. I could not believe the amount of knocks that were from zombie computers. And yea, once ever 10 seconds unfortunately is not an exaggeration.

I did read about your referral spamming. that is insane, 3.5 GB in just over a week? Thats insane. Didn't Neil say he had some referral spamming problems as well?

Don't you wish your site was really that popular!

I can say that the IP banning I have been doing has really slowed it down. I did however, ban some people that are ligit.

I'm going to look into banning the referrals instead. Since there are about 10-20 different sites that are the most common of the bunch I have been getting. Hopefully that will really slow down the hits.

I'm still not all that sure why I'm getting hit so hard. Maybe bacause ExpressionEngine doesn't let bots post comments. I'm not really sure.

Neil was getting trackback spam I think. I haven't been seeing that yet. Hopefully the folks at pMachine will get their software fixed and an update out before I start getting it too. :)

AG:

Why not use Linux on a reasonably robust hardware platform? AFAIK, there aren't very many win32 apps that cannot be built on a Linux platform.

There is a very easy answer to that: Linux is not Windows. And I need Windows to troubleshoot things. Specifically web pages in Internet Exploder 6, and FileMaker applications.

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