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Microsoft Hardware

Hello, I'm a Mac. And I'm a $248 Win8 PC. 642

theodp writes "A little birdie told me which Windows 8 machines would sell out fast. 'Cheep' ones! While no official sales figures have emerged, anecdotal evidence suggests that cheap Windows 8 laptops were a big hit with Black Friday shoppers, leaving some Walmart and Best Buy bargain hunters disappointed at missing out on the sub-$250 deals. So, was the Doctor-Desktop-and-Mister-Metro dual nature of Windows 8 and lack of a touchscreen no big deal to these bargain basement 'Laptop Hunters', or did they not realize what they were buying? Or, as a GeekWire commenter suggests, perhaps they were really just looking to score an ultra-cheap Linux laptop!"
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Hello, I'm a Mac. And I'm a $248 Win8 PC.

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 27, 2012 @06:15AM (#42103633)

    They have no idea what they purchased, it was a cheap buy and they will be sorely disappointed when it runs like crap a year from now.

  • Maybe (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 27, 2012 @06:20AM (#42103657)

    People aren't buying "Windows 8" PCs, they are buying "cheap" PCs that, as an amazing coincidence, come preinstalled with the latest version of Windows (which is... Windows 8)

    What's the point of this article, and why the comparison with Apple?

  • Boot from usb. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ipquickly ( 1562169 ) on Tuesday November 27, 2012 @06:26AM (#42103683) Homepage

    They work fine, once you put an operating system on them.

  • Re:Maybe (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 27, 2012 @06:26AM (#42103687)

    What's the point of 99% of the complete shit that theodp submits?

  • by deniable ( 76198 ) on Tuesday November 27, 2012 @06:29AM (#42103699)
    At that price, toss it a year from now and buy another.
  • by serviscope_minor ( 664417 ) on Tuesday November 27, 2012 @06:30AM (#42103703) Journal

    it was a cheap buy and they will be sorely disappointed when it runs like crap a year from now.

    I know several people who bought very cheap netbooks and were very happy with them for a number of years. Heck, I still use my ageing eee 900 daily.

    Cheap doesn't mean bad or badly built. Not everyone needs a 64 processor monster to surf the web.

  • by serviscope_minor ( 664417 ) on Tuesday November 27, 2012 @06:35AM (#42103723) Journal

    A turd is a turd, I wouldnt touch it even for free. Think about TCO and ROI. I used my Mac for more than a year at my job until they actually bought one "for me".

    Well yeah, but the underlying hardware might be decent enough. If that's the case then you can put Linux have the best of both worlds: cheap hardware and an excellent OS.

  • by rikkards ( 98006 ) on Tuesday November 27, 2012 @06:43AM (#42103753) Journal

    There isn't (well not a normal desktop). There is a tutorial about Metro when you first log in.

    I was hugely skeptical about 8 and installed it on a spare machine the wife will be using. I have probably put about 5 hours in of just playing around and to be honest it is surprisingly easy to get used to and not bad to work with. The Windows key is definitely your friend. I was thinking you would need touch as well before but it works fine without. There is still a couple areas where I question but I wouldn't necessarily reimage a machine back to 7 if it had 8 at this point.

  • by ruir ( 2709173 ) on Tuesday November 27, 2012 @07:03AM (#42103831)
    If it worth the effort dealing with hardware, UEFI, lack of support for Linux, hacking and the overall inconsistency (yet), of the several Linux desktops /: I use and hack Linux servers/and in virtual infra-structures (aka cloud for PHBs), but cant bother to have Linux for my desktop. Time is money.
  • by serviscope_minor ( 664417 ) on Tuesday November 27, 2012 @07:35AM (#42103959) Journal

    , but cant bother to have Linux for my desktop. Time is money.

    When it comes to installing all the programs I need, keeping security up to date, making sure all the tools run well together, making sure my development environment has access to the libraries I need etc, I can't be bothered with anything but Linux for the desktop. Time is money.

    and the overall inconsistency (yet), of the several Linux desktops /

    Overall inconsistency? Surely you jest? My window manager config is not much changed from the late 90's. I've not had to adapt to new and more poorly functioning (I've tried, but always revert) desktop environment in a decade and a half.

    Linux is the only system that has provided any degree consistency over all these years. Heck, the Window decorations bear much more similarity to pre Window-95 than to 95 and after.

    Oh and because of the flexibility of X11, I can configure my window manager to beat poorly behaving applications into submission so thay they behave consistently with the rest of the system. This is some not generally possible on the less good operating systems: if an application programmer thinks they know better you have to put up with their poor decisions. (And now the Wayland folks are trying to bring that to Linux. But that's another rant.)

    I haven't even had to give up compositing support. FVWM works side by side with any of the xcompmgr derivatives. I played with drop shadows and transparency and animations a bit for fun, then disabled them because I found they intefere with work.

    So actually, if you look at it from another point of view, Linux, or specifically X11, offers a far more consistent user interface than the other operating systems.

    Time is money.

    Yes and no. I use Linux for two reasons. Firstly it's much more efficient. Secondly it's much, much more pleasant to use. I avoid jobs where I have to use Windows for the same reason I avoid jobs which involve being repeatedly jabbed with pointy sticks. Sure the jobs might pay well, but why do something I disklike?

    Time is more than money. You only get time once.

  • by mystikkman ( 1487801 ) on Tuesday November 27, 2012 @07:38AM (#42103967)

    Not true since Vista. Slashdot is full of folks who've last used Windows more than 10 years ago and thus complain of things like bluescreens, bloat etc. which makes them look like idiots.

    Get with the times and at least update your hate machine.

  • by slim ( 1652 ) <john@hartnup . n et> on Tuesday November 27, 2012 @07:40AM (#42103975) Homepage

    Every couple of years, my parents ask for help buying a laptop. I tell them to just go to a PC World-type shop and pick out one with a screen size they're comfortable with, that feels solid enough from a build quality perspective. They don't want to compile kernels or play Crysis; they want to run Word and a browser. So I know anything in the shop will do what they need for a couple of years at least.

  • by mystikkman ( 1487801 ) on Tuesday November 27, 2012 @07:44AM (#42103987)

    WTF? Slashdot is referencing a comment on Geekwire as a basis for people installing Linux? How low can it go? Idiot submitters like theodp and symbolset are turning Slashdot into a anti-Microsoft tabloid rather than any place for serious discussion. Not surprising that people with half a brain are ditching Slashdot in droves in disgust.

  • by PixetaledPikachu ( 1007305 ) on Tuesday November 27, 2012 @07:47AM (#42104003)
    More like symantec/McAfee/Avira take away. Windows on it's own is fine. But combined with antivirus software, it's crap.Worse, you can't leave windows box without antivirus, so you're screwed
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 27, 2012 @08:07AM (#42104081)

    It's alike an OSX 10.3 (or later) Mac - you don't have to shut it down. Just let it sleep. It'll run rock solid for months. A restart is an advanced trouble-shooting technique.

    That's nice but it sounds as if he wanted to shut it down. That doesn't seem like an extravagant desire, even if he doesn't "have to".

  • by mattr ( 78516 ) <.mattr. .at.> on Tuesday November 27, 2012 @08:19AM (#42104119) Homepage Journal

    SImple. They were buying what they thought was a great deal and the cheapest computer around, as this is the only computer christmas present they could buy while thinking it is a real computer.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 27, 2012 @08:26AM (#42104161)

    For you: no, you must shutdown your laptop. Everyone else can just put their laptop to sleep mode like they've been doing for over ten years.

  • by gelfling ( 6534 ) on Tuesday November 27, 2012 @08:27AM (#42104171) Homepage Journal

    95% or more really only want to connect to facebook, yelp, twitter, instagram, etc. email as a stand alone application is dead. Web browsing is dead. In so far as consumers actually need to find something, all they want is the first hit they see when they type "Gimme hurrp durrp whars Twilight playing?" in the Bing search field. And EVEN THAT is going away because MS will put what it thinks you should know or want or need on a crawl that you can stab at with your sticky fat finger.

    I am hoping Windows 9 does away with words entirely and uses icons like the cash registers at McDonalds. You want pizza, stab the pizza button. That's all people want anyway. Larnin's for them funny Asian people, bubba.

  • by symbolset ( 646467 ) * on Tuesday November 27, 2012 @08:34AM (#42104217) Journal

    Which kind of own data is Microsoft preventing you from using or locking you out from on Windows?

    As it is redundantly said on every post about Microsoft, "Office is the One True Document platform".

    If you put your word processing document in Word, your spreadsheet in Excel, your presentation in Powerpoint, then the information in that document is hostage to Microsoft proprietary formats, notoriously and deliberately incompatible with all others. It becomes a leash to lead you with, that you created of your own efforts. And the Office team revels in your self-destruction!

    There is no reliable way to get your data out of a Microsoft Office document, either individually or in bulk. So putting your data in is a one-way trip where you commit to your own loss. The literary equivalent is a deal with the devil.

  • by Doctor_Jest ( 688315 ) on Tuesday November 27, 2012 @08:44AM (#42104269)

    While Windows 7 was a vast improvement in many ways from the "open beta" that was Vista, Microsoft still has quite a few early design decisions that haunt them. I often wonder about how the Registry improves from release to release (it was a fairly crappy way of configuring the OS back in XP), but quite frankly the Registry itself is one of the things I loathe about Windows in the first place. But that's just me.

    But to say that MSFT can't write a good OS is just the height of arrogance, its elitist horseshit to make little nerds feel good about themselves

    What's funny is not that you bristle at the opinion, but that anyone's opinion that Microsoft can't do X or shouldn't do Y is somehow "elitist" horseshit. Sure the opinion was dripping with one poster's view of what makes a good OS, but the fact remains Microsoft has given us some massive turds in the history of Windows. The fact that they appear to have gotten it right with Windows 7 is not reinforced by the massive UI shift to leverage their Windows codebase into the smartphone market in Windows 8. And you agree with most of the rest of /. that the Metro UI is positively junk. It is showing the true nature of what a company searching for relevance in a changing technology climate can do, given enough money and micromanagement. (It could be any company, not just Microsoft...)

    What I cannot dismiss, and I do not believe is a fault of poor coding but more succinctly Microsoft's disdain for its customers, is the constant upheaval in Office file formats, phone home DRM, and an otherwise high regard for the *AA's built into the core OS in order to please them. I won't go into detail about that here, because it's been covered on /. umpteen times, but that nonsense alone has made me hate Microsoft at a basic level. Their culture, like Apple's, is one of contempt for the user's freedom to do what they wish with their purchased machine. The SecureBoot fiasco is just another in a long list of crimes. I say crimes, because frankly they were convicted of abusing monopoly power. That wasn't a witch hunt, like some contend. It was exposing the true nature of Microsoft, as reflected in their management. Rather like Jobs' personality and vision is reflected in Apple's walled garden and sealed computers (laptops in particular, but you can also point to the recent iMacs as another in a long line of removing freedom from the user...) I think we can both agree that Microsoft and Apple are one in the same when it comes to putting their goals of lock-in well above making good, solid OSes that get out of the way and let people be, well, people.

  • by symbolset ( 646467 ) * on Tuesday November 27, 2012 @08:50AM (#42104315) Journal

    But to say that MSFT can't write a good OS is just the height of arrogance, its elitist horseshit to make little nerds feel good about themselves by ignoring the fact that there are literally hundreds of millions of Windows installs out there and you know what? people are happy with them, it does what they want it to do.

    This is probably going to come off as rude, and for that I'm sorry. You say that Microsoft can write good software. Being a member of the community these last 30 years and skilled in the art, I would ask: "show me."

    I ain't seen it yet.

  • by Chrisq ( 894406 ) on Tuesday November 27, 2012 @08:52AM (#42104339)

    Not true since Vista. Slashdot is full of folks who've last used Windows more than 10 years ago and thus complain of things like bluescreens, bloat etc. which makes them look like idiots.

    Get with the times and at least update your hate machine.

    I've had the BSOD in Windows 7. Not often, but its still there

  • by hairyfeet ( 841228 ) <> on Tuesday November 27, 2012 @08:56AM (#42104363) Journal

    Heck that"s nothing, here at the shop I'm typing this on a circa 2004 Sempron 1.8Ghz I use as a nettop, it has a dual boot XP/7 and both run just fine, it has 2Gb of RAM which maxes out the board but other than that its pretty much stock. I'm thinking about trying to slap a mobile Athlon in here next week (just to see if I can, supposedly a lot of these socket 754s could take the mobile chips) but it does everything you'd expect a nettop to do, surfs, downloads, hell it'll even play SD flash videos smooth.

    So while i agree one can do just fine on an older machine i just have to ask...a P4? Really? You DO know those were power hogs, right? Maybe you should look into swapping that board for one of those cheap AMD E350 boards, it idles at around 6w, maxes out less than 20w and with a dual core APU you'd get better performance and not be wasting power and cooling on the piggie P4. I'm all for saving old gear from the scrapheap but there is a reason why i sell all the P4 and Pentium D systems that comes through my door while keeping the AMD, the difference in power and heat really isn't funny.

  • by gl4ss ( 559668 ) on Tuesday November 27, 2012 @09:15AM (#42104501) Homepage Journal

    "Best Buy offered a 15.6-inch Lenovo with 2GB of RAM and a 320GB hard drive for $187.99,"

    lemme tell you, those chromebooks have a lot of work ahead of them.. pc isn't dead at that pricing, far from it.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 27, 2012 @09:18AM (#42104515)

    I've had a couple as well in the 3.5 years I've been using Windows 7. They happened right after I updated to a new NVIDIA driver, and stopped happening after I rolled back to the previously installed version.

    I'm fairly convinced those BSOD's were NVIDIAs fault, not Microsofts.

  • by kannibal_klown ( 531544 ) on Tuesday November 27, 2012 @09:56AM (#42104857)

    It's nowhere near as bad as the many reviews make it out to be.

    Yes, it has its issues and I don't agree with everything they did. And it's obvious they're trying to bring Tablet and PC together.

    But I applaud trying something "different" Face it, the UI design for Windows hasn't changed much since the 3.1 days (or I perhaps the 95 days). Even OSX has had pretty much the same UI since it was released, and has a LOT in common with its old System X days.

    And Windows 8 is actually fairly nice, ONCE you get used to it. That's the problem: you're getting used to something that's different that what you've known for the last 20+ years. The various reviews use previous OS's as a template to say "THIS is good design, and here's why" when really they're just stating UX concepts that were founded AROUND the interfaces that were popular and long-living.

    The only real annoying things to me are:
    - Shutting Down / Rebooting is insanely stupid. Like 8 mouse clicks.

    - The 3rd party metro apps go over-board with the scrolling text. To the point that you can't tell what a lot of those 3rd party "tiles" actually are. Most of the ones that come with Windows 8 are fine though: the title of the app or an icon is on the tile so you know what's what.

    Will it last long? Probably not, enough people will not like getting used to it that I'm sure Microsoft will have to back-peddle in Windows 9 to a more classic UI.

  • by DoraLives ( 622001 ) on Tuesday November 27, 2012 @10:41AM (#42105281)
    I beg to differ.

    I've been doing home computer repair for the general public for literal decades. I used to do it as a side job or for charity, but it's been my sole income for many years now. Bottom line: I've got a fair amount of experience working with equipment that's on the failing end of its life cycle, all of which has been entrusted to the tender mercies of your typical non-savvy user.

    And I'm a pattern recognizer, too.

    And nowadays the pattern is one of complete random events, for all classes of home computers.

    I've got people with ten year old eMachines running XP who's hardware continues to run without the slightest issue, and I've got people with brand-new three-thousand dollar specialty machines who can't catch a break, with bad motherboards, PSU's dying and taking other components out with them when they go, hard drive failures of every stripe and color, and on and on and on.

    I've decided that there's really no sensible difference in equipment anymore, so far as reliability goes.

    It all comes out of the same factory in China somewhere, and none of us really know what the hell is going on over on that end of the production cycle.

    It has become a crapshoot, plain and simple.

    Used to be, more expensive, "quality" computers could be expected to last longer, but no more.

    They're all using the same components from the same vendors, and if that's not enough, the batch-to-batch variabilities and imponderables are now completely impossible to keep effective or meaningful track of anymore.

    And what once was a clear pattern of "quality" goods giving a nice return on investment, has now become random noise.

    Nowadays any of it can fail for any reason at any time. May as well get the cheap stuff and try to cut your losses up front.
  • by IndustrialComplex ( 975015 ) on Tuesday November 27, 2012 @10:42AM (#42105289)

    Caveat: I'm a 99% windows user with just about enough unix experience to traverse a directory structure.

    I'm not sure how you quantify faster, there are a lot of things which mean 'faster' to me:

    From the initiation of the OS boot process to when my scripts start loading VHDs it takes about 15 seconds. (I use that as a benchmark because that's approximately where the system becomes responsive to a user on a clean install) I've not yet timed Ubuntu for booting, so I can't compare that directly (I don't think loading from the USB is a fair comparison since my OS is loading from RAID0 SSDs)

    However, in terms of actual performance once the OS is up and running or installed on a machine... It doesn't seem nearly as fast. Certainly not the freaking Dash application search thing. The UI design on that is horrible. I find myself wondering if I actually clicked it, I assume yes because the rest of the screen dimmed, but I've been having nothing but trouble with it so I typically just launch everything from the terminal now.

    I'll be installing Ubuntu directly to the machine later today, so I'll get a good comparison on boot times and a clean install, but in terms of pure 'faster' performance from the user perspective, not based on what I've seen. Anecdotal evidence, but that's all that matters to me because I don't care if it works better in theory or in general, I only care if it works better for me.

    The thing is: I WANT to like linux. It's why I have a semi-annual install fest on my machines (which slowly migrate back to Windows over several months), but there is no way I can consider it 'faster' if the instant I run into an issue there isn't an intuitive way to correct the issue. That eats up my time, and that colors my perception of the speed of the system. Right now, Linux seems to be much like a F1 race car. Sure, when it goes, it goes fast, but in between those periods of speed are significant chunks of time where a team of experts is rebuilding, tuning, and prepping the system for it's next sprint.

    I know this is probably pretty obvious, but I run into an issue with a machine that is running an ATI R300x video card. Unity does not play well with it. So right now I'm trying to figure out what is wrong with it, and reading the tech threads mentions things like "This issue is known, and may be worked on" Of course, these threads are 2-3 years old, so I wonder if I'm just missing the obvious fix/patch/update/setting which resolves the issue. I haven't found it yet, I haven't looked hard though, but it's already taken up more time than I care to invest when I KNOW I could just install XP and have the system running well in 90 minutes. I'll probably toss some more time into it this weekend, but in the meantime that system will just be my hobby/learning system and that's a big issue for the perception of linux. Again, I bet it will be fast... after it's running (which may just involve me buying a whole new piece of hardware)

    Heck, I wanted to install a python environment/stack (enthought), and it took me a good bit of time to just get it to install (chmod to make it executable, proper syntax to run the .sh file) Then I had to double check the appropriate path since that isn't intuitive to me yet (do I put it in /bin? Or somewhere in home?) So I install it, and then I'm told to make sure my PATH is updated... do I do that in .profile, .bashrc, somewhere else? How do I make I make that stick? Once I do it, I'll know it but...

    Remember I'm a newbie to this, and thus all of this tweaking around the backend just to get things to the point where they would be faster costs me time, and every minute I spend looking up arcane error messages, or wondering how the hell do I do..., is a minute that I'm thinking "I could be done already if I had just stuck with Windows"

    So faster comes to mean a lot of different things, and the fact that a mail client or firefox loads up 0.3s faster than the windows equivalent doesn't mean much (to me).

  • by asylumx ( 881307 ) on Tuesday November 27, 2012 @11:37AM (#42105795)
    Do you think that the GP having to uninstall and install various distros and try them out is going to make him feel like linux, as a whole, is somehow FASTER?
  • by mcgrew ( 92797 ) * on Tuesday November 27, 2012 @11:39AM (#42105823) Homepage Journal

    I have a BSOD under W7 every other update on my main home machine, i.e. twice a month or so. Must be a driver of some sort, but still inexcusable. The machine runs perfectly fine with linux

    You probably have a piece of flaky hardware; Windows is NOT tolerant of flaky hardware. I've had two machines running dual-boot where Linux ran flawlessly but Windows bluescreened, one had a flaky power supply which eventually went out completely, the other was a bad mobo that I noticed some expoded capacitors on. It could be something as simple as a tiny bit of corrosion on a pin.

  • by nhat11 ( 1608159 ) on Tuesday November 27, 2012 @12:19PM (#42106179)

    See, this is exactly why linux/unix are annoying to setup. There's always some hack that needs to be done since I have a dozen different wireless adapters, video cards, etc, etc.

      In point one serviscope_minor says:

    "A new machine is easy to set up. The install takes however long these things do these days. Customizing is a question of copying my .bashrc, .bash_login, .fvwm2rc, .vimrc, .Xdefaults and .Xmodmap files, which takes around a minute."

    No it does not take a "minute." I have no idea where those files are, what they do, how to open it, etc in a linux environment.

    Personally I would learn to figure that out but the average user will not.

Q: How many IBM CPU's does it take to execute a job? A: Four; three to hold it down, and one to rip its head off.