I am appalled by the marketing tactics used by most of the ‘brand name’ manufacturers. It matters not that brand, if you recognize the name on the front of the box, you are in for an adventure.

Sure the price sounds good, and the young kid in your favorite mega-mart extolled the virtues, ‘This is top of the line’, ‘This is the ideal home computer’, ‘Everything you need is already installed’, ‘just plug it in and away you go’. He continues to tell you that it has the very latest technology, it is the best seller in the store. The price tag is within reason, cheap even. So you take the large cardboard box home, knowing that this is going to be the best Christmas ever!

As I write this story of woe, I am fixing a Christmas present. This wonderful creation was actually a Christmas present from last year. It happens to be an HP. But it could be any of the ‘boxes’ sold by the large retailers.

It is running Windows Vista, which likely is the most unsuccessful operating system since Windows ME, or even Dos 4 (you need to be old for that one)!

The owner of the computer asked me if I could ‘fix it’. The exact nature of the problem became evident about 2 minutes after I switched it on. A veritable cornucopia of virii and mal-ware had found a home in this computer.

How could this be? When it was purchased the salesman explained that absolutely everything you could possibly need was included.

Many people know little about computers, they get the critter home, unpack it, set it up, and switch it on. A barrage of questions are asked, “Do you want to protect your computer from a virus attack?” Well unless you are insane, you will answer YES. What many people do not realize is that this protection is only good for 30 or 60 days. After that time you have to fess up your credit card to continue. Also, by 60 days you are numb to the pop up windows that offer age removing cream, penile enlargement, or any of the other plethora of fun adverts that clutter your computer experience. By the time that your anti virus (generally Norton) starts to whine, you are ignoring the warnings. Hey, the man in the store said that everything was included, remember?

Actually, lets say that this is your first computer, you need to get online right? Everyone is online. All you have to do is call up your favorite Phone provider, or Cable company, and they will happily increase their monthly bill, and send you a box of stuff by UPS. They almost always include some kind of Start UP CD. Of course it would be pointless, and a money loser to include just the two or three settings required to connect your computer to the internet. No, they send a CD with all sorts of nonsence that you do not need, oh, and you can bet your bottom dollar that there will be one of those ‘free anti virus’ deals. More likely than not it will be Norton once again.

People do not like adverts, if you are watching a program on TV you wait for the ad’s to come on before going to the bathroom, or grabbing a snack. How would you feel if one of these ad’s wanted money from you? Well folks that is the state of play today in the bargain computer world.

I am still in the process of getting rid of the absolute rubbish that HP would have us buy into.

I still have to remove a really stupid toolbar, and three Inch x Inch icons that do nothing but take up real estate on the desktop.

If you are going to be opening a computer gift for a loved one in the morning, spend a few more dollars, and hire an adult to fix it! You will save lots of money over time.

Simon Barrett

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