Notes From A Computer Show

I needed a DVD ROM and since there was a local computer show in the area, I decided to pick up some odds and ends and see what’s doing.

Concurrently I was helping my friend with a PC I built for her over five years ago. It’s been doing some odd things lately so I went up to take a look. After assuring me that she had not changed anything, I ran some diagnostics and discovered the ethernet card was dodgy. I opened up the box and found, not surprisingly, that a bunch of caps on the motherboard were swollen and leaking.

“Trash it – not worth fixing.”

I advised that since she had a business laptop, all she really needed was an external drive for personal programs, which she did. She also felt that she’d like her own PC in the house, so I advised here to get a Dell – this way she has a warranty etc. She looked around and thought a Vostro 200 would do the job, but Dell was only willing to sell it if she could show it was for a business. No problem – I’ll buy it for her etc.

Cut to the local computer show.

I like to get there early to avoid the crowds. Ha! What crowds? 50 or so people on a football sized sales floor does not make a crowd.

Compared to last year, the show was half of what it was. I counted six hardware vendors when there were probably triple that before. In addition to straight hardware, there were three laptop vendors. Round out that with a couple of software guys, a couple of used gear guys, two or three trinket guys and two guys selling cables, wires, plugs and there’s the show.

Has this business changed or what?

So I look around and what are the hardware guys selling? Dell boxes!

Dell made a strategic decision to sell through retail channels – little did I know that the hard scrabble hardware guys were as much a part of this channel as the majors, such as Walmart etc.

I look around and what do I see? Dell Vostro 200s all over the place at very nice prices – I bought one from someone I have done business with many times and paid $319 (he’s the only vendor I knew – the rest disappeared); I also got a decent deal on a 19″ LCD – $179 – to round out the package.

My friend is happy and I’m in a bit of a funk.

I still get a kick out of rolling my own; I still get a kick out of seeing something I put together boot up the first time. I just wish more of us were into this than the “old guard”.

Email Joe

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