What’s in an Upgrade?

computer_upgrade

I get this question a lot: “my computer is slow; how can I make it go faster?” or “should I upgrade my computer?” and the answer I always give is “it depends.”

There’s a wide variety of advice on what computer you should buy, how much to spend, what brand to buy, etc. And for those with some knowledge about computer hardware, it becomes too tricky of a question to just spout out a standard response like “Dell, 4GB RAM, 250GB Hard Drive, Core i5 Intel CPU, etc.” What people choose to eventually buy is constrained by the obvious limits imposed by their budget, but the art of picking out the right computer has a lot more to do with two different aspects:

  1. What will the computer be used for?
  2. Given the budget, what is the best balance of parts to provide the best user experience?

Virtual Reality

Virtual Reality is here. Unfortunately, it arrived in that awkward, geeky teenager stage that’s initially going to have limited appeal (see Time magazine cover above). The hardware is first-gen, the games for VR are just starting to come out, and the cost to get started in VR is truly staggering for most people. (For Oculus Rift and Vale/HTC Vive: $600 or more, and that’s not including the beefy gaming computer behind it). But despite all the initial flaws and challenges, I am really excited about VR.

Hard Drive Lottery

show_me_the_evidence

You buy a hard drive and expect it to work through the duration of the product’s warranty period, or get a replacement if it fails within that warranty window. Simple enough, right? Well, if it replaced the data you stored on it, then it would be a simple parts swap. But it isn’t that easy, as the data you store on a hard drive is held captive on those spinning magnetic platters. So while a comprehensive backup plan can remedy part of this, most people don’t have one in place. When the hard drive dies, so does your data in many situations.

The Sales Pitch

salespitch

I would buy whatever Hodgman is selling.

It started with marketing email, but the calls were more irksome. I knew there were sponsors for the CIO Conference I attended in Chicago (they had booths set up at the event). But I didn’t expect the vendor presence to extend so far beyond the conference itself. I can’t really fault Argyle for having sponsors since it was a free conference, after all. But the recency of the experience of calls from sales reps got me thinking about something more general: the sales pitch.

Ideas and Investing

Morgan Housel (WSJ)

Morgan Housel (WSJ)

Ideas presented in thoughtful ways are sometimes hard to come by in mainstream media and entertainment. It’s remarkable when you stumble across something that stands out from the crowd for its treatment of ideas. I first heard Morgan Housel on the podcast Motley Fool Money, and it’s his approach to ideas and insightful commentary that sets him apart. I’ve taken what I consider to be his top recent posts and added my commentary on them below. Who knows, maybe you’ll find them useful and interesting as I did…