ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday September 9, 2007
Vol. 42 - No 15

For the technophobic

Techno Page Helpline (TPH) is our help desk that is dedicated to solving your technical and not so technical; silicon-based and carbon-based problems and ethical dilemmas. If you can withstand 'high-voltage sarcasm', 'low-frequency cynicism' and new-age computer wisdom; outsource your questions and comments to us at (Sorry we are currently unable to accept any death-threats). When you write in, don't forget to add 'TPH' in the subject line!

Dear TPH,
Recently I bought a computer and printer to use at home. When I told one of my neighbours how much it cost, he said I had paid too much. I only use the computer to check email and print documents, but they have included a "graphics card" and some other components that I don't need. Will I be able to return them and get my money back?

Dear HTF,
What worries me is not merely the fact that there is no correct answer to your question, but what led you to ask that question in the first place. Yours is not a single problem but a syndrome so let me tackle each one separately. Let's get the trivial things out of the way first.

Start off by getting rid of your neighbour. It doesn't really matter whether you burn his house down, threaten to kidnap his children and hand them over to a "paramilitary group" or walk over to his house and preach to him on why he should learn to love his neighbour (i.e. you) – under the pretence of trying to 'convert him unethically'. I mean, there you were one day ignorantly typing away on your brand new computer and instead of sharing in your bliss, your neighbour has to come and spoil all the fun!

Second, you have to understand that we human beings always want a better deal. Sad enough that we look for better deals on commodities – like computers and winter jackets and not on things that count such at friends and government bureaucrats. Then you get extreme cases where some people aren't satisfied with what the fates have dealt them with – thus giving rise to plastic surgery. Since I mentioned it, your question would have remarkable parallels to Michael Jackson wanting to get a fake tan!

Now to the core of the matter – what do you do with all the extra bits that your neighbour says you don't need? Well, I don't know much about the exact configuration of your PC, HTF, so I can't be absolutely sure about what I am going to say, but it is unlikely that any of those 'extra' bits would be redundant.

Sure enough, they may be more powerful than you really want them to be, but you shouldn't expect to be able to remove any of those components and still have a functional computer. Most of the components inside your machine would have even depreciated in value and therefore it won't make any sense to trade them off.

What is a good deal and what isn't is often subjective HTF, and there's no point wrecking your nice and fast computer to recover a few rupees – probably the only financial asset you could own that actually depreciates even faster than computers! You and your neighbour are only a few of those who actually think that their computer is "too fast", so just enjoy that state of mind while it lasts (in all probability – not for long) and give the machine a pat on the screen when it shuts down at the end of a busy day.

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