Byte Me Article 253 – My Present Doesn’t Work

IT Gifts: Proceed with Caution…

Yesterday many pretty coloured boxes were unwrapped and a good percentage of them will have contained some IT gear.  For many this will bring entertainment and satisfaction however for others it will be the source of frustration and wasted time.  There are no guarantees that what someone has presumed would be a great present will work to its claims or even be compatible with your existing PC.

One of the more common Christmas IT gift problems is that of the latest computer game.  There are now some giant software companies simply turning out new editions of previous games or creating brand new titles.  To help satisfy the greatest push in the industry, nearly every new or upgraded game is loaded with better and more realistic graphics than previous versions.  This amount of often fast flowing graphical detail is what puts the greatest demand on computer specs.

To adequately play the latest games in most cases you need the latest gaming computers with fast processors, heaps of ram, large hard drives and most importantly, very powerful graphics cards.  In fact it is quite common to spend $300 to $600 simply on the graphics card in a gaming PC.  For the dedicated PC gamer this will be an ‘essential’ expense and will help add to the realism or ‘escapism’ that many PC games deliver.

You could easily find that the latest PC game that turned up in your Christmas stocking will not install, or will run very slowly (with graphical jerkiness) or will fill your hard drive up and render your PC next to inoperable.  Upgrading the ram, hard drive or graphics card in an existing PC is possible however it is rare that this is an effective solution and an entirely new PC is often needed.

Alternatively consider looking into the latest gaming consoles which are designed as an alternative to PC gaming.  A quick look at the latest Sony Playstation 4, Xbox One and Wii U shows pricing around the $500 mark which is no dearer that just the high end graphics card for a PC.  If you still want to play the latest games on a PC then consider the need to shell out around $2000 for a well-balanced intermediate gaming rig.

Another popular Xmas gift is an add-on device for your existing PC.  This could take the form of a printer, scanner, camera, keyboard / mouse combo or speakers / headphones.  The best advice here is what our industry refers to as RTFM (short for read the flippin manual) before plugging it in.

The correct installation of many of these devices can only occur by starting the software installation first and waiting until you are told via a screen prompt to plug the device in.  Jumping in quickly and reversing this procedure can lead to a world of hurt and frustration and in extreme case a corrupted software driver that requires a system restore or worse ,a full reformat and reinstall of your PC!

Lastly the other popular IT gift this Christmas is that of a mobile Internet enabled device.  This can be in the form of a tablet/iPad, portable gaming console, iPod, Kindle or even a smart watch.  Be wary of connecting any of these devices on their own Internet plans as the smarter, more cost effective solution is to hook them to a device that you already have on an Internet plan such as your existing smart phone.

So go ahead and eagerly rip the Christmassy wrapping paper to shreds to expose what Santa has bestowed upon you but err with caution from here on in.  Carefully remove your gift from the manufacturers packaging and RTFM as you may yet be thankful that it can be put back to a returnable state!  

Future Byte Me topics can be emailed to [email protected] and Bruce is contactable at Kerr Solutions, 205 Musgrave Street or on 49 222 400.

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