Thursday, April 02, 2015

Darling, Can I buy a new Computer?


Of course you can buy anything that you want Darling,  Agata tells me.  BUT

She walks me around to the kitchen to show me our diminishing supply of Coca-Cola and Diet Indian-tonic.

Yes, Marcus admits it is true. 

I officially stopped drinking all  Carbonated drinks some months ago  (except water) yet here are some in the kitchen.  Why?

It is because, I had bought them previously and for reasons that I am about detail we are not allowed to simply throw them away


Frugality & Waste Not Want Not
Whilst growing up Marcus's parents were keen to impress on me some of the Asian perspectives they had witnessed first hand whilst not living in Europe.

Debt was to be avoided
Waste should be avoided.

As children, Marcus (and siblings) received Pocket Money which was used to buy my first bicycle. It helped teach us the value of money. I went to University on a minimum (zero grant), Parents then giving me the opportunity to self fund my University time by working.  Unlike some modern parents they did not help with University accommodation, or a House, or a Car loan.   They thought that the children should provide these for themselves.

And so years later on:  I bought the Coke, and I'll keep drinking it until I finish the Coke.  Waste not. In our household we have promised for health and cost reasons to transition to plain water eventually, and the intermediate step is Fizzy i.e. Carbonated Water.  Even so,  the remnants of Marcus's Cola collection. It still tastes so good!




Buy it New Criteria
So what are the criteria for /New Stuff/ in the Marcus and Agata household, today in 2015?

+ More Useful than the old thing.

+ The Old thing is broken or on it's last legs

+ Trivial Cost Rule: If the overall cost per year; or cost is below Marcus's numeric rating then we can just buy it anyway.

- Not already redundant, veto:  If you already have several redundant things, then under no circumstances buy another one.  (Marcus's Sports jacket collection for example!)

= It is a bargain, joker: This can only be used a limited number of times until your partner vetoes it for an indeterminate time.  Look darling, the Hard Disk was very cheap.   Agata has got wise to that one already.


The Pass it on, Get Out Clause
Now, if you are somehow able to dispose of the old thing, then of course a new purchase could follow.  Some of the classic options are:

- Charity
Our home town of Lausanne has Charity deposits for needy peoples clothing.  You feel good that somebody less fortunate will get the thing, but equally you feel an idiot for buying it and not using it to the full in the first place. Charity however should not open the door to stupidity and extravagance.


+ Relations
Many items can be handed down to relations.  There are some caveats though.   Older relations don't typically understand technology.  And young relations who are too arty may also be technologically disabled.

Additionally, young relations once primed with second hand technology might start to expect the latest iPad and iPhone not the last gen one that you are giving them free.


+ Resale on eBay or Anibis
We try to sell many items on Anibis, the Swiss local sales website. Unfortunately the Swiss are so rich that they normally just buy new, and people who actually look at Anibis are often mean, unreliable, or, prone not to arrive to pickup as advertised.  Overall a rough lot.  We've even had people turning up without the right cash, or who try an additional price drop negotiation as they are paying for stuff.   It's a soul destroying business, that normally leads Marcus and Agata looking at each other quipping /Why the hell are we bothering/



The Dump Exceptions
In certain cases however we do feel that we can dump our current thing regardless.


+ Unhealthy: It is killing you
Marcus used to smoke.  When he stopped the Cigarette cache was destroyed & not given away.


+ Un-Safe: It might kill you
Example:  My Ultra cool Bicycle Handlebars developed a dangerous looking crack.  I have had to replace them immediately.  I didn't want to wait for a snapping and have a nasty accident and I can't sell them on since this would pass on the risk to the buyer.


+ Sell-By-Date
Food that is past the date is always dumped.  And we resolve next time to eat it in time, or better still, stop buying it.  We are not fans of opinions of some of my relations who profess: Oh it's tinned | Oh it's sealed etc, therefore I am sure it is fine.


So, back to Computers


Well our daily use (non Vintage)  Computer collection continues to age gracefully. No substantial upgrades have been made to the Infrastructure for several years now.

But everything still works.

And I predict multiple USB 3.1 A/C, 4K, 10Gbe, Xeon chipset, High Density SSD,  developments during 2015.  

So it is perhaps time to wait just a little bit longer!




Bob Sinclair: World Hold On