Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Crappy Hardware Not Worth It

OK, so for work I have the latest and greatest laptop...

Well, it was 5 years ago.

My work insist on buying "corporate" grade laptops that cost thousands of dollars.  The CIO gets the newest once a year or two, and then those of use who are remote get the hand-me-downs.  I'm about on the third wrung down.

I noticed something.  My home laptop, which is the latest and greatest ASUS light weight gaming laptop of course :)  boots up including entering my login in under 10 seconds.  From there I'm ready to go.

On my current hand-me-down work computer it is taking me from initial startup to actually having Visual Studio and a few other things up about 5 minutes.

So, for an argument for me at least a "consumer" grade gaming computer that rocks for about 1000 bucks-

Say I lose 2.5 minutes of productivity a day with booting my work laptop up and opening up software which is being generous (Visual Studio 2015 sometimes takes 2 or 3 minutes to boot).  So I'm not going to tell you how much I make but let's use a 50 dollar an hour figure.   Let's also take a 48 week work year.

48 Weeks x 5 Days a Week x 2.5 minutes = 10 hours a year of wasted productivity time x $50 and hour = $500 bucks.

Now considering corporations can right off hardware purchases as a business expense that is the equivalent of about $600 of buying power.  So that gives my company about $1200 worth of purchasing power for getting me a new laptop every two years.  And I would be totally happy with a "consumer" gaming machine (which has plenty of power and reliability) over a "corporate grade" block that cost 2x more.

My last "consumer" grade machine which at the time I also used for work because I didn't want the hand-me-downs ran flawlessly for about 14 hours a day 6 days a week for over 3 years while my co-workers "corporate" laptops tended to have issues.

Note, I haven't brought this up at work yet or cried about it there, but I might.  

So there is some ammo you can use for someone to justify getting a new machine.

Thursday, April 07, 2016

Common Free Software Packages I Use

Not too long ago I had to install all my apps on a new windows laptop.  In doing so I made a list of windows applications that I commonly use that are free or essentially free.  I hope it is useful.

  • Winamp - the old stand by for playing MP3 files.  
  • irfanview - another old stand by for image viewing and quick manipulation
  • e-sword.net - I'm a Christian, this is a great Bible / Bible study free package.  MySword on Android is good as well.
  • Virtual Clone Drive - Why burn an ISO to a DVD to use it if you don't have to?
  • 7-Zip (or Winzip) - Extends your base OS zip and unzip functionality to support more file types (like RAR files)
  • Libre Office - Decent enough, why pay for office if you don't have to?
  • Paint.Net - It ain't Photoshop but it will do in a pinch and it is free.
  • Visual Studio Community Edition - Essentially a full version of Visual Studio for free.  
  • SQLite Manager Extension for Firefox - using SQLite more and more for more and more things.  This extension for Firefox is kinda like SQL Manager for Sqlite.  There might be better ones but this one works great for me.
  • Notepad++ - I usually just use notepad but sometimes I like editing by column and Notepad++ supports that, also has great syntax highlighting support.
  • CC Cleaner - Keeps your Windows registry clean
  • Macrium Reflect - Need to clone a drive hassle free?  This is your beast.
  • Blender - For a little 3D fun
  • K-Lite Mega Code Pack - To make sure I can play videos from my phone.
  • Freemind - Mind mapping software.
  • CDBurnerXP - Free CD and DVD burner (not sure about Blue Ray support)
  • VLC Media Player - Free DVD and other format watcher
Maybe one day I'll come back and link to all these programs but you people are smart and can copy/paste into a google search like the rest of us.  Maybe there is one or two on the list you haven't heard of or had forgotten about.  Know of any that you think should be included on this list?  Add them to the comments.