I was lucky to find a great Black Friday deal that didn't even involve going to the store. I met a guy who was planning to start a business but it didn't work out and he ended up stuck with a lot of inventory he needed to get rid of. So I ended up getting a nearly brand new Lenovo laptop (by which I mean new enough that it's still under a manufacturer's warranty) with the full premium edition of Office 2010 installed. It came with all the original receipts and paperwork, including a packing slip confirming that the thing was just shipped from the Lenovo warehouse in North Carolina in early November. It has the 64-bit version of Windows 8.1, 8 GB of memory, and a 1 terabyte hard drive. Total cost? Less than half of what I would have had to pay retail for the computer and that's before factoring in the MS Office installation.
My original plan was to simply replace my current computer, but after thinking it over, I've decided to keep both and turn the older one into a Linux machine-slash-sandbox. I'm also going to look for a good deal on a tower that I can then turn into a server running Linux. I'm thinking of installing Linux on the new laptop to have a dual boot option, but from what I'm reading that might be tricky with Windows 8 -- guess we'll see.
To facilitate all my planned tech projects, I've decided I need to change Internet providers. I've used Clearwire for a while now and they've had horrible customer service as long as I've been with them. I was willing to put up with that because I was getting lightning-fast speeds where I used to live and hardly ever had to contact support anyway. At the new apartment, the experience hasn't been nearly so positive. Speeds range from tolerable all the way down to barely usable, depending, as near as I can tell, on a wide variety of random factors, including the weather, the time of day, and the current phase of the planet Venus. What it all boils down to is that Clearwire is unacceptable at this point. There's no point in putting money into upgrading all my tech only to have to deal with horrible Internet connection speeds.
I've spent a ridiculous amount of time researching other options and, oddly enough, the most hassle-free option at this point seems to be Comcast. It's a little pricier than I would prefer, but Internet services are always going to be expensive for what you're getting in the United States, compared to what's available in Japan or South Korea or the European Union. We can thank our government's horrible telecommunications policies for that state of affairs, but I digress. Anyway, this means I'll also have cable TV again, as I've decided to go with a premium package that includes the NFL and MLB networks, along with National Geographic and a few others I want. The higher-level package is only $10 more per month and I see little point in getting cable TV without live sports, since there are so many options available online for anything else.
We'll see how it all comes together over the next few months, I suppose.
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- Another Life Update (Almost Caught Up Now)