No analogy is perfect but I've found parallels regarding Macs as Socialist and PC's as Capitalist. As in Central Planner vs Market System. Though there have been changes in the last few years whereby Macs now utilize some third party hardware, it wasn't always that way. When something went wrong, you took your Mac to an Apple Dealer and replaced an Apple part with another Apple part. It was simple--and expensive.
PC's, on the other hand, have parts made by heaven only knows who which can be replaced by parts made by yet another company. It can be a little confusing with all the choices, but the availability of so much and the competive pricing lead to more innovation and cheaper prices for all kinds of hardware from mouses to video cards to storage devices and monitors. Even to various types of merchants and PC support people and technicians. The choices available for PC hardware purchase, support, repair, and replacement are almost mind boggling.
The market has worked to bring us affordable computing which is good for everyone, but as in everything capitalistic and market driven, sometimes you have to trade convenience for price.
Take my video card. Please.
Six months ago I went through about 3 weeks of hell with my PC. Strange noises. Harddrive failure. CDR failure. Machine turned off for days at a time while I tried to figure out what was wrong and what to do. I wanted to be a computer geek and handle it myself. After replacing harddrive and CDR (with a DVDR) and all that entailed. I still had problems. I finally figured out it was the fan. I just didn't know WHICH fan.
But I got a replacement fan from DELL to replace the fan I thought was the problem. But I couldn't figure out how to install it (long story) so I broke down and took the PC in to the Computer Geeks at Best Buy.
It turned out to be the fan on my video card. It had stopped working and scorched the sound card into uselessness (and taken out my harddrive and cdr but thankfully didn't affect my processor or ram). I didn't even know my video card HAD a fan. Such a geek was I. So I bought a new video card and all was well.
Until a few days ago.
The same bad sound. A whining and buzzing. Very loud.
And here is where the inconvenience lies.
I found my receipt and called the video card supplier. They were willing to give me an RMA to return the video card and they would replace it. Great. BUT the process would take TWO WEEKS. I cannot no way no how live without my PC for TWO WEEKS. I said thanks, but no thanks.
So I went pleading to Joe. Please let's just get a new video card. He says no because he doesn't have the money (no shit sherlock, we had to borrow money from his ex-wife to get groceries a week ago. No turkey for Thanksgiving either. Embarrassing, but what can you do.)
But he agreed to take the PC to the Geeks to see what they had to say.
Yes, it's the video card fan. Have to replace the video card. Nothing they can do about the warranty because it was beyond 30 days. I have to deal with the supplier directly for that.
So he suggested we buy a new video card. Get the replacement from the supplier. Replace the card then return the card from Best Buy to Best Buy for a refund by the end of the month.
Okay. So that's what we're doing. I have my PC back and working (quietly) and I'll give the supplier another call, send them the old card and wait for the new. Switch out the cards, then return the one that's in there now. But what a hassle!
I am grateful there is a solution that won't cost very much.
But a one-stop deal where the manufacturer/repair/retail are all the same would have been much more convenient.
You just can't have everything. And in the end I do prefer the wealth of choices and good pricing.
And maybe someday I'll be able to replace the sound card!
Meanwhile, listen to your PC. Get used to the sounds it makes. Listen for the overtones and the harmonies created by, say, your refrigerator sounds with the pc sounds. Then you will know when something is about to go wrong if they change. That's how I suspected something was going wrong this time before the buzzing even started. The overtones had changed.
Don't worry too much. Have fun. And if something goes wrong, there's always a solution.
Sunday palate cleanser: The Proms, 2004
37 minutes ago