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Naturally, Selection

As a child, I always liked to buy things from mail-order catalogs, both because I lived in an area that was far away from any shopping location and because I enjoyed getting mail. These days, the vast majority of my shopping is done over the internet. Like most people, I spend most of my time at work, have other commitments as well, and don’t always have time to get to a store.

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For this week’s entry, one of our options was to discuss our at-home network configuration. As our home network is rather interesting, I couldn’t resist picking this one.

Until recently, we were using Comcast for internet connectivity. However, as fiber-optic cables were recently put down in our neighborhood, we have switched to Verizon FiOS. We switched for a couple reasons: firstly, Comcast’s customer service was pretty terrible, and secondly, the FiOS download and upload speeds are many times faster than Comcast’s. Our Comcast connection averaged about 6 mbps download and 1.5mbps upload, while FiOS could reach speeds of 19mbps downloading and 5mbps uploading, respectively. I highly recommend it so far.

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In early 2008, Microsoft launched Vista, the much anticipated successor to XP, to a mixed and ultimately financially disappointing reaction. The system was hyped particularly on its updated graphical interface and improved security features, but (while the graphics are quite pretty,) attention soon turned to the many problems that plagued newly-upgraded users. This article, from the UK Guardian, captures some of the initial security and environmental concerns brought up around launch time.

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Computers at TigerDirect.com

While certainly, better computers have come down drastically in price as technology moves forward, any user should consider their purpose for the computer before purchasing. Even if you are just likely to do a little bit of web surfing, checking email, and little else, the increasing presence of embedded video and other website interactivity is likewise requiring increasingly powerful computers. It would be wise to consider this when choosing a PC.

With this in mind, I am looking today at the most expensive and the least expensive PCs on TigerDirect.com. The least pricy new desktop computer on the site is the Systemax VIA Desktop PC. The $250 price tag for an 80GB hard drive, 512MB of RAM, and DVD/CD-Rom drive is not bad, particularly considering that it specifies that there is room in the case for later expansion. However, as this particular machine does not come with an operating system installed, most users (other than those inclined to Ubuntu or another free OS) will need to also purchase a copy of Windows XP (I specify this, instead of Windows Vista, as a machine with only 512MB of RAM is unlikely to be able to run Vista properly), which would add an extra $139 to the purchase price. This computer does have excellent reviews, so it must be very good at what it does. With those specifications, it may have some trouble playing back flash video from sites such as YouTube— my husband has an older PC with a comparable processor and amount of RAM, and it gets the stutters sometimes.

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A Note on This Blog

Hello, and thank you for stopping by.

This blog was created as part of an information systems course offered by University of Richmond’s school of continuing studies. Please feel free to look around, but bear in mind that all posts will only be pertinent to class material, and as such, might bore you to tears.

You can’t say I didn’t warn you.

— The Management