To upgrade, or not upgrade–that is the question

I’m part of a Facebook group that posts a few random comedic sayings each day (I think they’re stolen from Reddit), and every so often one pops up that I find amusing and I post it on my timeline. Yesterday wasn’t an exception, and this was the one I posted:

In a few days people will go from complaining about the “upgrade to Windows 10 for free” messages to complaining about Windows 10 not being free anymore.

The first reply was a buddy mentioning there was a way to remove that warning, but the second reply was from my aunt asking if she should upgrade before it’s no longer free. As odd as it sounds, that’s not as easy a question to answer as you’d think.

Now obviously if you’re going to upgrade to Windows 10 you should to do it before July 29th, as after that point it’s no longer free to do so. Why would you pay for something that at one time was free and you could have easily had it for free? There’s been no indication Microsoft will be extending that deadline, and while there’s also been no indication what a Windows 10 upgrade will cost after the deadline most “experts” seem to think $99 is the price point.

My belief on this is if your computer came with Windows 8 or 8.1, you absolutely should upgrade. Your machine has all the hardware and memory needed to run Windows 10, and in my opinion it’s a superior operating system to either of those. The issue is with Windows 7 computers, especially older models.

The system requirements for Windows 10 are at least 20GB of hard drive space available to install, a 1GHz or faster processor, 2GB of RAM, and a DirectX 9-capable video card with WDDM driver. You’ll need a little less drive space and RAM for the 32-bit version. If your system doesn’t meet those specs, your decision has already been made for you. If your computer has an older model of video card, keyboards, mice, and/or speakers you’ll need to check to make sure these products will work in Windows 10. Odds are they will, but as soon as you don’t check to see if they will, they won’t. That’s how everyone’s luck works.

The following might be a deal breaker for some…Windows Media Center does not exist in Windows 10. There are lots of other alternatives for it, but if you’re someone that uses Windows Media Center a lot (or uses your computer to play DVDs), you need to think long and hard about updating because those two things will not be as easy as they are in Windows 7.

One other thing people talk about in Windows 10 is privacy issues. Luckily websites like CNET have put out some great articles you can read about what settings to use to protect yourself and your machine better. To be honest, you should be paying attention to privacy issues no matter what operating system you use, so having to do so in Windows 10 shouldn’t be that big of a problem.

For the record, I really like Windows 10. I had an issue at first because my video card wasn’t supported, and had to go back to Windows 7. Shortly after the video card issue was fixed and updating to Windows 10 then was a breeze. That shouldn’t be an issue know for anyone as now all the issues that popped up when Windows 10 was first released have been addressed. But had I checked into it that first time I would have seen the issue with my video card being talked about (and it was, I just didn’t look at all) I would have had no issues at all.

A gentle reminder…don’t take anyone’s word about upgrading any electronics device. Do some research, and be confident when you decide to upgrade or not. A little knowledge goes a long way.

Beasts, breasts, and boobs


After what has seemed like a millennium Blizzard Entertainment has finally released the long awaited sequel to Diablo II, called (not so shockingly) Diablo III. As my wife and I both enjoyed Diablo II and played together for countless hours we were looking forward to it being released so we could adventure together in a new game. We were so excited about it we toyed with the idea of even taking the day off from work to buy and play the game, but ultimately decided that we’d waited this long for the game to come out what was a few more hours. Turns out that was a wise decision as things didn’t work out quite like we were expecting.

After work we went to Target to buy a couple copies of the game because we get 5% off there when we use their debit card plus has another 5% off coupon. (Folks, if you shop at Target their debit/credit deal for using one of their cards can’t be beat and is genuinely as good as advertised). I knew when we got home and went to install the game it was going to be slow going because I was following along with Blizzard on twitter and they were having some issues with the mad rush of people trying to install/play the game so I knew it would be take a little more time than usual. Because there is an additional download required to play the game and everyone buying the game was trying to do that at the same time it gave a whole new definition to “slow”, with my usually pretty good download speed hitting a whopping 39 bytes a second.

Yes, not “MB” (megabyte) or “KB” (kilobyte), just “B”. To put that in perspective, picture your standard size inground swimming pool. “MB” would be like filling it with a fire hose, “KB” would be like using a garden hose. My download speed was like filling it with a tablespoon. Needless to say I gave up and went on to do some other stuff, again figuring what’s a few more hours. So just before I went to bed for the evening I decided to set up the download again so it could do it overnight. Getting up the next morning I saw that the download and installation was complete, so despite having to go to work I figured I’d click the “play” button just to get it started. I got a message I was not expecting…my video card was not good enough (meaning not powerful enough) to run the game, so it wouldn’t start.

After grumbling my way through the day I returned home after work and checked out the list Blizzard provided of video cards not supported and they was quite a lot of them. After posting about it on a forum I frequent it turns out many of those video cards were older ones, or were low end cards used in business machines (which was the type of computer I usually bought). My machine was also at it max ability to run things, so even if I wanted to upgrade my video card it would have meant upgrading a whole lot of things, so for me to play the best option was to buy a new computer. That wasn’t something I was looking to do right now, but luckily after a check of Trish’s laptop it would play the game (just barely) so that Saturday when she was out running errands with her dad I installed her copy on the laptop.

All I can say is “Holy cow!!!”

I played for a couple hours before she came home, and then she played for a couple more hours. The Sunday before Memorial Day Trish told me that we should go out and upgrade my desktop so we can play the game. So because I have a very cool wife this is my first blog post coming from my new computer as I take a break from killing beasts in Diablo III.

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Changing direction from video games, can someone explain to me what’s so controversial about a picture of two military Moms breastfeeding? For those that don’t know what I’m talking about, here’s the story about it from USA Today and Fox News. I simply don’t see what the issue is. I understand the military has rules about doing certain things in uniform, and that for the most part that’s what the issue really is here, but it seems to me the military may have missed an opportunity to show that while in the reserves/National Guard/etc normal life continues unless they’re called into service.

Something tells me if this had been an ad about hunting or fishing and male servicemen were in uniform there wouldn’t be so many issues with it. No matter how far we’ve come as a people in many cases we’re still in the stone age.

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And speaking of boobs, I’d like to call out a couple–because in most cases they come in pairs–in former senator and current perpetual dirt bag John Edwards and the sitting New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg. Edwards for just being in the news again, because when you cheat on your wife who has untreatable cancer you’re a worthless dirt bag no matter what your politics are, and Bloomberg for deciding for us all that we can’t order soft drinks more than 16oz in his city. He wants to ban the sale of large sized (meaning over 16oz) sugar based drinks by restaurants, movie theatres, street vendors, and in sports stadiums. To add even more stupidity to this, grocery stores and convenience stores are exempt from the law, so that means a restaurant can’t serve a 20oz bottle of soda but you could still buy a 64oz Big Gulp at the corner 7-11.

Ummm, what?

Now the fact people probably shouldn’t be drinking 64oz of soda not withstanding, who is any politician to say I can’t? People are quick to add that diet soda isn’t covered by this proposed law because there’s no sugar in them but let’s be honest here, the chemicals in diet soda are probably worse than the sugar in regular soda. So it won’t be long until someone that dislikes the idea of me drinking that much diet soda will inevitably add them to the ban at some point. Some will be quick to toss around the phrase “nanny state” in relation to this proposed ban, but since I know that term is only used by people that disagree with specific laws passed and never applied to regulated behavior those people agree with I chuckle when I see it.

I have no issue with a regulating body telling companies they need to indicate how many calories (and other health information) are in a drink/snack/whatever, but it’s my decision to determine if I want to consume it or not. Now pass me my Big Gulp of diet soda as I go back to killing bad guys in Diablo III.

The Great TV Debacle

As I mentioned in my last post, here is the story of what has become known as “The Great TV Debacle” in my household.

It all started when Massachusetts announced their almost annual tax free weekend. I decided that an upgrade of the television in our bedroom was in order. We had a very old 19″ TV in our room that was on its last legs, so I figured we would get a new TV to replace that one while we could shop and get the one we really want as opposed to having to settle with what was available because our TV died and needed to be replaced. The plan was to take the 32″ Panasonic LCD from the front room and move it to the bedroom and then buy a 42″ Panasonic plasma. I had already scoped out the TV at BJ’s Wholesale Club, and made sure that the entertainment center in my living room could hold the weight of the larger TV. It could, so we were ready to go.

So as we generally do on tax free weekends we went to stores Saturday after dinner, allowing for the maniacs to have plenty of time to get their shopping done so we could take our time browsing. Most importantly, there would be very little time needed for my least favorite activity, waiting in line. So we get to BJ’s and Trish and I take a look at the other televisions mostly just to make sure we were getting the deal we thought we were, and just as I’m getting ready to grab the 42″ and put it on our cart Trish notices a 50″ Panasonic. Because it wasn’t that much more money, and “bigger is better” in televisions, we bought it. And then our haste in not thinking it through began to cause little bumps in the road.

It was too big for Trish to help carry it up the stairs, so I had to call my brother to help. Luckily he was sober available to help me carry it, and he agreed to meet me at our house. Getting it to my house turned into a small chore because while the 42″ would easily fit into the back of our Jeep the 50″ didn’t exactly slide right in. After a few minutes and some mild curse words, Trish and I were able to just fit it into the back. We then arrive at my house and I call my brother, who shows up a few minutes later with my nephew in tow. It takes just seconds for us to get it into my living room where another problem rears its ugly head: my entertainment center won’t hold the bigger TV. So we drag the TV into my media room, where it will stay for a short while because we won’t be able to get to a store on Sunday to buy a new entertainment center.

Because Trish and I never do anything small, our master plan becomes one that requires a lot of work. We decide to take the fairly old entertainment center out of our bedroom and move it into our front storage room, take the newer (and much heavier) entertainment center from our living room into the bedroom and set up the 32″ TV in there, and then build the new entertainment center and set up the 50″ TV. Luckily my brother said he wanted the older 19″ to use in a spare bedroom, so I didn’t need to worry about finding a permanent place for that.

On Monday we head off to Best Buy looking for a small entertainment center for the TV, and right away we see one that was perfect for what we wanted and was a great price. The sales person runs off to grab one for us from the back room, but because it was too perfect of course it wasn’t going to work out–the one they had in the back was broken. So we take note of a couple of other ones that weren’t really what we wanted, and decided to wander the mall to see if maybe we could get something better. A stop at TJ Maxx didn’t result in finding anything that looked like it would fit, so we continued down to Big Lots, where I was sure we’d strike out but since it was right in front of us it made sense to look there.

Lo and behold, they had some really nice ones at really good prices. The best part was they had the instructions on how to build it inside the pieces so I could actually decide based on how easily I could put it together. A major plus right there. They also had a furniture delivery door behind the store so I wouldn’t need to cart it all the out to the Jeep. We did take a few minutes to think it over mostly because we weren’t exactly catching many breaks in all this. But in the end we bought it and brought it home…where the hard work began.

We first had to clear off the entertainment center in the bedroom for its move, and that was a much bigger chore than I thought it would be. Luckily it was pretty light so moving it didn’t take all that much work. The hard work came in the living room, where I had to unhook all the electronics involved out there and find spots to keep that stuff while we moved that entertainment center into the bedroom. This is where a little more planning would have worked on my end. While the 32″ TV rested on top of the entertainment center, there was a very old and incredibly heavy glass flat screen TV still in it. After some work it joined a large pile of broken electronic devices in our back hallway. From that point things actually went pretty smoothly, and by late afternoon I had everything put back together and working great. The best part of the story is while setting up our expensive TV and entertainment center we got to use Trish’s big tax free purchase to help…an $11 Mini Maglite.

But it’s a really, really nice Maglight.