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Why Is It So Frustrating to Shop?

Microsoft sent me another fan letter, informing me of the imminent end of security updates for my Windows 7 laptop, purchased in 2011. Rather than get angry at being forced into buying a Windows 10 computer -- which I really don't want -- let me try to be a good sport: 8 years is a good long life for a $250 computer. 'It doesn't owe me any money,' as the saying goes.

I was shocked at how bad the laptop choices were at places you'd think would be good: Amazon, Walmart, Best Buy, New Egg, and Target. 

Maybe it was the websites that were poor. They can't seem to categorize sensibly. For instance, if you ask for "Windows laptops", it gives you Chromebooks. If you ask for 11.6" displays, it gives you 14" and 15" displays. If you ask for the Windows 10 operating system, it makes you dig through the entire write-up before you learn that the computer uses Windows 10 "in S mode."

S mode is Microsoft's devious plan to force you to use their new browser ("Edge") and download everything from the Microsoft Store. (I read somewhere that it blocked Mozilla's Firefox browser, which is what I have always used.) Didn't the world learn anything from Apple playing the same trick by forcing you to the iTunes store? Good grief, what kind of consumer do they think they are dealing with, here!

1) How much of the frustration in shopping anywhere comes from messy categories? It is easy enough to run into this problem even at the grocery store!

If you are "car-shopping," and you ask for an "SUV," it gives you 50 models of crossover utility vehicles to look at, which are really just "cars" aimed at mommies looking for malls. Besides that, all of the CUVs look alike. 

2) Conflating "positive thinking" with being a half-truth-telling salesman. Stop wasting the customer's time: WHAT IS THE CATCH with the product?

3) The deliberate misleading of the customer away from 'maximum bang for the buck,' or 'how does it work,' or 'where do I get spare parts,' or 'what extra adapter or "gotcha" do I also need to get?' And leading them in the direction of style, color, sex appeal, emotionalism, and status-seeking.

So I went crazy for a couple hours. Unbelievably I found a computer that I can live with: the Lenovo 100E at BHphotovideo. But it hasn't quite come out yet!


Bob said…
Ed said…
You have apparently settled on the Lenovo 100e Windows which is 'coming soon'. Spend just those few $s more and get the Lenovo 100e Chromebook now!

Shed to Microsoft yoke and put on the one from Alphabet Inc.

Bob, eBay's website does categorize and search cleanly and logically. I have never bought anything from eBay. Maybe it should be one of the first places I go to. It doesn't try to coerce you into using PayPal, anymore, does it?

Ed, well, the Lenovo 100e Chromebook is a good option. But I can't download Kindle books directly to a Chromebook, can I?

I have transitioned all my .WMA music to .MP3 format, so that would be OK with a Chromebook.

I have no experience with a word processor and a photo editing program on Chromebook. But as long as the Chromebook uses Android apps which I am already used to...
XXXXX said…

What would happen if one continued to use a PC after the point of updates?

Ed said…
"But I can't download Kindle books directly to a Chromebook, can I?"

Because Chromebooks have no hard drive you need a Google Drive to handle your downloads. For all practical purposes it is transparent. i. e. You go to Gutenberg and find the book you want, select Kindle then click in the icon for "Send to Google Drive". It will appear in your Chromebook files which you can then copy to Kindle.

"I have no experience with a word processor and a photo editing program on Chromebook."

I use Google Docs for my word processing on Chromebook, which works off line as well as online. The photo editing I use is GIMP on my Toshiba/Ubuntu which only some Chromebooks can run. [If you’re lucky enough to have a Chromebook with support for Linux apps (which is a short list right now but might change by the end of 2018), then you have a whole different world available to you. If you’re looking for the closest thing you’ll find to a full Photoshop replacement without paying a dime for it, Gimp is where it’s at.] However, if you can not run GIMP then the best photo editor for your Chromebook is a web tool: Pixlr Editor.
Ed said…
During the process of looking up the answer that I posted above I found that the Chromebook that I have had been upgraded to support Linux apps. I now have GIMP on my Acer 14. It is a different version than the one I am using on the Toshiba but looks like it will do what I want in the way of photo editing.
Ed, the real reason I am not too interested in Chromebooks is that it makes no sense to do everything on the web, when you are a mobile person who struggles with poor internet connections, and you don't have an unlimited data plan.

Maybe it made more sense when Chromebooks first came out. But these days you can buy a gigabyte of flash memory for 50 cents.
George, I suppose that one is at risk to viruses if you continue with Windows 7 after the 'end of support' date. Of course, you could go back to spending $50 per year on some AntiVirus product. But I always hated paying that "tax" every year.
2 CooPs said…
Why not just keep your current laptop and install Ubuntu linux for free? I did it a few years ago and have joyfully freed myself forever from the agonizing burden of Windoze.
2CooPs, perhaps it would be a good idea to learn more about Ubuntu Linux. My excuse for avoiding Ubuntu Linux was that I didn't want to get sucked into a Do-It-Yourself project on a laptop, which is just an electrical appliance to me. Nor did I want to find out that certain standard programs such as word processing, maps, photo editing, and music playing were not available on Ubuntu Linux.

Like I say, maybe all of that is an exaggerated fear, but...
TomInBellaVista said…
I'm another to encourage you to consider chromebooks. Last year I scored a Lenovo c330 at best buy for $100 off on a black friday deal. I love the touch screen and the Android apps that I use on my phone and tablet also work on the CB. I think I've seen the C330 with 64K memory for around $210. I've only ran into one limitation and that's processing audio files. I could do that with Linux which with each new iteration of chrome OS is made more tempting, but haven't attempted. We all have our individual needs but with that exception I haven't found any other limits. I do limited word processing, photo stuff for me is limited to cropping and sharing with family. Of course I'm in a house and have unlimited internet for all practical purposes. FWIW.

I have a 2010 Macbook Pro which still works like a trooper. When it finally dies I am pretty sure that the chromebook will be my only computer, plus a tablet and phone.