Home Products You Do NOT Buy Twice

I hate sending things in for repair/replacement.  You do not get back what you sent.  You get someone else's unit with some other problem that maybe is still there because the technicians at the manufacturer's repair shop did not find the problem and just sent the unit on to the next sucker.  And the cost in lost time and shipping frequently costs more than the product.

Computer Things -- Hardware


Today anything less than 64 bit is obsolete.  Mostly they are dual-core (although my experience indicates that I do not get  the performance I think I paid for)

Celeron -- A really sick joke for the computer novice -- See comments under Hardware.

Hard Drives

Hard drives are getting bigger and faster all of the time.  They are also getting cheaper.  They are getting less expensive too.  But the quality has decreased seriously.  You used to buy a hard drive and it would last for years.  It would last so long that you would not back it up because you thought it would never die.  No More.  If it is on a hard drive, back it up.

Items on this list failed in such a short time that I have to complain about them.  Mostly I count on a hard drive to last two or more years.  I have two internal drives in my desktop and 4 external USB/Firewire drives.  The external drives are mounted vertically (not stacked) and there is a fan on them at all times.


Model:    500 GB USB 2.0

Why Not:  It lasted a week and it died.  Thankfully it died gracefully.  I had barely gotten my files copied and verified when it started powering itself up and down.  So, fifteen minutes at a sitting I copied the files to a different new hard drive.

Western Digital

Model:   500 GB USB 2.0 (Looks like a plastic book)
Why Not:   I bought this to replace the Cavalry.  It lasted a month and then just flat died.  At least I had backed it up as it did not die gracefully like the Cavalry.  It just decided to not power up at all any more.  I ignored bad reviews on the WD because I had had others that worked well in the past.  Bad mistake.

I now have two 500 GB USB 2.0 Iomega drives.  One replaces the drives above and the other serves as backup.  They have lasted 6 months with no indication of problems under the same conditions and usage as the WD and Cavalry.

Computer Things -- Software

Dragon -- Naturally Speaking -- See comments under Software.

Microsoft Streets and Trips -- See comments under Software

Ultimate Registry Cleaner -- See Comments under Software.

Internet Explorer

This has been expanded to mach its rivals.  They did not do a good job.  Under XP IE7 can make your life miserable.  Under Vista you are already miserable.  Under XP I still used IE6 and then only to FTP my files to my web site and install Microsoft updates.  Under Vista the FTP has been moved to Windows explorer so the only use I have for it is Microsoft updates. 
I suggest Firefox.  Safer, easier, faster.  I get spoiled by the Firefox plug-ins that remove the advertisements and  the automatically starting videos that I do not want to see.
I find it clumsy to use and it has reversed option lists from IE and Firefox so it is easy to do something you do not want if you move from one to the other.  Google Chrome has a vested interest that you see advertisements so I get surprised when I move from Firefox to Chrome and have to search for content among the ads.  I guess Chrome is OK if you have only used IE and not discovered Firefox.

Windows Vista

Do not let them kid you: Vista is NOT as bad as you have heard.  Vista is far worse than you have heard.

  1. Vista graphics may be pretty but you need one of those gaming video cards to get the performance out of your computer that you had with XP.
  2. RAM. Oh my.  WIth XP 500 MB was just great.  1 GB if you were an enthusiast.  Vista needs a minimum of 2 GB and performance does not come close to XP until you have 4 GB.  My HP 2.0gH laptop with Vista Ultimate came with 1 GB of RAM.  It took 30 minutes for it to power up.  HP should not be selling such laptops but...
  3. XP Programs do not work on Vista.  I think much of this is intentional as it did not have to be this bad.  Here are a couple of internal things that will bite you.

Household Things

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Written:  2009          Updated:  February 8, 2008          Back To Top