Caught in computer limbo with two primary systems that are both working, but poorly and increasingly unreliably. If they would just get on with it and break, then I could justify just replacing them. As it is, my distaste for our consumer driven, throw-away attitude, honed by the fact that I have the skill set to almost be able to fix it, means that I’m in a little bit of an extremely frustrating quandary.

After doing some more research on what might be available and be able to do what I need (run a two monitor setup, have a metric shit-ton of storage, and be able to have both RAM and disk space expansion options) I decided in fit of madness that I needed to see what might be available in an actual store. I needed to lay hands upon hardware and look to see how many expansion bays there were and how many DVI ports were there.

File May 02, 21 55 54 small

As someone said, “There is an evil there that does not sleep.”¬†Nonetheless, steeled with the knowledge that I would not be buying anything, this was just a (potential) information gathering session, I entered those dark doors.

As expected, as soon as wandered into the computer section a “salesperson” attached himself like a leech. What was I looking for? A business system, lots of slots to expand, lots of RAM, big hard disk, dual monitor capability an absolute must. Unless of course he could point out a cheap PCI or PCI Express 1.0 video card with Windows 10 drivers and dual DVI ports? (I would bet $100 that he didn’t understand a single one of those fancy computers words, except for maybe “Windows 10.”)

How about this mini-tower with a Gaming Video Card 1000ZX, it will play any game out there with… I don’t play games. A business system. Dual monitors.

OK, then this Gateway (I swear to god, it’s an actual Gateway – didn’t they go out of business about 25 years ago because they were cheap junk?) with a Gaming Video Card 1500ZX, it will… Listen to me. I’m going to speak slowly and carefully. I. Do. Not. Play. Games.

Got it, sorry, so our top of the line is this Acer something or the other with a Gaming Video Card 2000ZX… Acer? Really? That’s your “top of the line?” I tuned him out and started turning the tower case around so I could look at the video card output. One port. And he started freaking out because I had touched and moved the computer.

Oh, we can fix that! Our tech department will pull that out for you and replace it with a Sooper Dooper Gaming Video Card 5000ZX for only another $300 and it’s got two DVI ports and…

About this time I pointed out that there were two other customers sending up flares to get his attention because they wanted to actually buy something. He yelled at them that he was with a customer. I reminded him that I was not a “customer,” I was a “shopper” and I wouldn’t be spending a cent today.

It worked like a charm. You would have thought that I had summoned telekinetic superpowers to throw him away from me he retreated so fast. I proceeded to look at a couple of systems that might not have totally sucked, but didn’t have the dual monitor thing, so that would be another upgrade I would have to do immediately.

It really is starting to look like building my own systems will be the fastest and easiest way to solve this.

Then, after finding the information I needed on computers, I went looking for anything else that I might need as long as I was already there.

My favorite earphones for when I’m running or exercising? I haven’t been able to find them in a couple years and the ones I have are on their last legs. I didn’t find anything at all that I liked, but I did find this:

File May 02, 21 56 40 smallSeriously??!! A “sport” AM/FM cassette player? I would have bet another $100 that these hadn’t been manufactured anywhere on this planet in well over a decade, but here it is. In the original packaging nonetheless. I’m thinking that I should have called the Smithsonian, they might be looking for one of these for their collection.

And $59.99? It’s obviously stocked incorrectly, like 99% of the inventory, but the actual price should be more like $5.99. (A quick Google search shows it’s $24.99 at Fry’s, but also available at Target for $19.99.)

I was afraid to go over to the next aisle. I figured that would be where the BetaMax video recorders and the vacuum tube testing machine were.

Having exited the building with no dime spent, a bit of knowledge gained, and my soul intact, I was amused to find that even the rich folk come here for their self-abuse.

File May 02, 21 57 22 small

It’s no Maserati, but a Bentley was the last thing I expected to find next to Hissy.

Anyone want to bet that the custom, hand-stitched, leather upholstery on just one of those seats cost more than my entire car?

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