Linked by Howard Fosdick on Sat 24th Nov 2012 17:52 UTC
Editorial Do you depend on your computer for your living? If so, I'm sure you've thought long and hard about which hardware and software to use. I'd like to explain why I use generic "white boxes" running open source software. These give me a platform I rely on for 100% availability. They also provide a low-cost solution with excellent security and privacy.
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Time vs money
by WorknMan on Sat 24th Nov 2012 21:38 UTC
WorknMan
Member since:
2005-11-13

When it comes to new machines, I buy from these guys:

http://www.pugetsystems.com

They're a 'boutique' shop, and their prices reflect this fact, but when you buy a machine from them, you can give them specific instructions, such as telling them exactly the way you want the hard drive partitioned. Then, they put the machine through a variety of stress tests, send you photos of the machine as they're building it, update the bios and all the drivers, etc. Basically, when you get the PC, it has zero crapware and is ready to use out of the box. The build quality is top-notch, and the PCs are whisper quiet.

IF I ever have a problem with any of my machines, there's a local guy in town who will come and get it, take it to his shop, fix it, and then return it a day or two later.

Of course, I could always build/maintain them myself and save quite a bit of $$, but for me, it's worth paying somebody else so that I don't have to deal with hardware bullshit. (I rarely, if ever, have any major software issues.)

As for the OSS side, you highlighted a lot of the problems yourself. When software you need is only available on Windows (or Mac), well... what choice do you really have? And while you state that it is easier to move a setup from one PC to another, you fail to mention that Linux is more of a pain in the ass in about three dozen other different ways. And what benefit would I have for switching, besides a bunch of stated problems that I've never had?

As you guys get older, you will come to understand that time is the most valuable commodity that you have, and to spend money in order to save time is often times worth it. For example, if I've got two pieces of software that accomplish the same task - one of them costs $400 and the other one is free, if the free solution takes 3x longer to get the same task accomplished, and it is something I have to do often, then I will take the $400 solution every time, all other things being equal, of course.

I guess the takeaway here is that the solutions are not automatically better just because they're cheaper. Some of them are, of course, but you get what I'm saying.

Edited 2012-11-24 21:42 UTC

Reply Score: 5

RE: Time vs money
by Alfman on Sat 24th Nov 2012 22:48 in reply to "Time vs money"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

WorknMan,

Depends on your own income and efficiency, does it not?

I can see how someone who's well off would just prefer to pay others. But if it took you a week or two to earn $400 of disposable income, then in theory you might be better off spending a day to do it yourself.

Maybe you'd still prefer to spend more time at work than less time on tasks you don't like. But if your goal was to maximise family time, then you really ought to be factoring in how much time you'll need to use just to earn the money that will pay someone else to do it.

Reply Parent Score: 7

RE[2]: Time vs money
by WorknMan on Sat 24th Nov 2012 23:21 in reply to "RE: Time vs money"
WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13

Depends on your own income and efficiency, does it not?

I can see how someone who's well off would just prefer to pay others. But if it took you a week or two to earn $400 of disposable income, then in theory you might be better off spending a day to do it yourself.


Yeah, it certainly does depend. For example, I'm not going to pay $400 to save two hours of time. On the other hand, I would probably do it if it saves me two hours every week.

Obviously, one has to consider the cost vs efficiency ratio. And yes, sometimes I do pay somebody else to do a task which is more than I would make in the same amount of time, mainly when it's something I REALLY don't want to deal with. For example, I paid 2 guys $100 to set up a power rack that I bought, and it only took them an hour, since they put these things together for a living. I do not make $100 an hour ;) But it would've taken me at least an entire day to do the same thing, and would've been a complete pain in the ass. I pay somebody else to change the oil in my car for the same reason. It just all depends on the situation.

My point is that it is my belief that too many people are of the opinion that saving money on software is always a good thing, no matter how shitty or disfunctional said software is. Granted, sometimes the free or cheap option is better (or at least good enough such that more expensive options don't provide you with any real benefits), and that's great. But when it isn't, you should really stop and think about how much your time is worth. We can always get more money, but we don't have the option of getting more time.

Edited 2012-11-24 23:31 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE[2]: Time vs money
by Neolander on Sun 25th Nov 2012 08:49 in reply to "RE: Time vs money"
Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

WorknMan,

Depends on your own income and efficiency, does it not?

I can see how someone who's well off would just prefer to pay others. But if it took you a week or two to earn $400 of disposable income, then in theory you might be better off spending a day to do it yourself.

Maybe you'd still prefer to spend more time at work than less time on tasks you don't like. But if your goal was to maximise family time, then you really ought to be factoring in how much time you'll need to use just to earn the money that will pay someone else to do it.

I guess it depends where you will use the $400 product.

Most of the time, when I need some piece of hardware, software of service that costs more than €100, it's for work. I consider that employers should be paying for work tools, and generally I have no issue convincing mine that considering how much I cost him per month, if something that is worth a fraction of that cost can truly make me more productive (which I have to demonstrate), he can pay for that.

Even if you're self-employed, the reasoning still holds: if fixing your stuff costs you more money, in the form of work time, than having someone else fix it for you, then you should probably choose the latter option.


(As an aside, this is also a reason why I am strongly anti-BYOD. In my view, this is just a way for your employer or IT department to have you pay for computer maintenance costs that they benefit from.)

Edited 2012-11-25 08:49 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE: Time vs money
by Soulbender on Sun 25th Nov 2012 02:18 in reply to "Time vs money"
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

And while you state that it is easier to move a setup from one PC to another, you fail to mention that Linux is more of a pain in the ass in about three dozen other different ways


Windows also has problems in a myriad different ways, it's just that you're used to deal with them.


I guess the takeaway here is that the solutions are not automatically better just because they're cheaper. Some of them are, of course, but you get what I'm saying.


It's interesting how many people, especially in the corporate space, that thinks the exact opposite: if it's expensive it must be good.

Reply Parent Score: 9

RE[2]: Time vs money
by AWdrius on Sun 25th Nov 2012 11:36 in reply to "RE: Time vs money"
AWdrius Member since:
2006-07-18

It's interesting how many people, especially in the corporate space, that thinks the exact opposite: if it's expensive it must be good.


Very true. I remember one of my managers requiring to use Oracle DBMS just because client company have heard of "how reliable it is". And we only had like 7 tables...

Edited 2012-11-25 11:40 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 6