Upgrading vs. buying new: Bring a new lease of life to your PC experience

I remember buying my first portable pc by TwinHead. It was a 386 pc with about 16MB of RAM, and 80 MB hard disk. Yes, MB, not GB.

Nowadays, I’m using two PCs (both of which are or were secondhand at one time) at home: one with 2 hard disks topping out at 160GB, 768MB of RAM; and the other about half the size. I also have numerous portable disks (three, I think!), a DVD burner, and lots of memory cards,… I’m sure I don’t have enough computer memory now, and I know I haven’t solved my computer back up problems even now!

the \'second\' at home PC...

But for many people replacing their desktops isn’t much of an option these days: Vista sucks, existing XP installations are fine with current generation hardware, and perhaps financially ‘constraints’ limit replacement of your desktop for a while!

I was very lucky to replace my old 17″ CRT monitor (it’s still fine, if anyone in Taiwan wants one!) with a great quality monitor. In fact, I was so impressed at the quality vs. the price I actually bought two when I discovered our local PC store was running a special offer on ViewSonic monitors.

Monitor 19\" LCD

After getting it home, I realized something that I had been missing for a long time: excitement. I was thrilled to have extra desktop space on BOTH computers, it simply made using even the older one that much more fun. It doesn’t matter that the underlying PCs are over 5 years old, the simple upgrading of the monitors made them fun again!

I’m in the market for a replacement PC at some point for sure. But if I can keep these going for another year or two, where’s the harm? I only use them for surfing, music, email, blogging and other less intensive tasks.

If your budget is ‘constrained’, there are simpler and less expensive ways to upgrade older equipment like this. Buying certain add-ons can really impact how you FEEL about your PC. For me, that included buying a new monitor (at NT$6500 – about US$220 approx.). Other upgrades could include a new graphics card, a new set of speakers, even just a better quality keyboard or mouse. To bring back excitement without breaking your budget, buy something that you could use to extend your PC usage: a Skype phone, a new game, … Whatever.

You’ll certainly find that you can enjoy your existing PC much longer this way, save a little in the short term, and still upgrade to that brand new PC (with Vista, if you must!) … Oh, and there’s another huge advantage: not upgrading avoids a lot of upgrading hassles.

Ad: if you’re looking for new larger monitors, try these…

And don’t forget to check out my own download … [download#1]

Linkfest Haven, the Blogger's Oasis

WordPress 2.3.3 Security Upgrade: A simple upgrade technique

Today’s announcement of an insecurity in WordPress 2.3.2 may have spooked a few people:

WordPress 2.3.3 is an urgent security release. A flaw was found in our XML-RPC implementation such that a specially crafted request would allow any valid user to edit posts of any other user on that blog. … If you are interested only in the security fix, download the fixed version of xmlrpc.php and copy it over your existing xmlrpc.php.

I have already applied the patch the blog, to ease my mind. To apply the patch, I’d recommend the following five steps:

  • Step 1: Download the patch directly from WordPress.org.
  • Step 2: FTP to your account and login.
  • Step 3: Find the xmlrpc.php file in the /yourblog.com folder and rename it as xmlrpc.old.
  • Step 4: Upload the new file to the same folder.
  • Step 5: Once everything’s working, move the file to the root of your FTP User account out of harm’s way.
  • (If things go wrong: rename the new file you just uploaded as xmlrpc.new. Then rename the xmlrpc.old as xmlrpc.php until you can fix the problem. Of course, this is a good technique but the patch is a SECURITY patch, so you really OUGHT to upgrade the xmlrpc.php to the latest one.

If you’re ever upgrading plugins or even themes, renaming a current file or directory as *.old is a good way to give you a Plan B, just in case things go wrong when you install the new theme or plugin or file. You can simply revert to the old versions, provided you haven’t updated the database. CAUTION in upgrading is ALWAYS advised.

And, just in case you think hacking can’t happen to you, read several postings on MattCutts blog about his true but less severe hacking. There’s also a post on John Cow’s blog that got me thinking about this issue.

If you know any other great posts about blog security, do add them in the comments!