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Monday 30 October 2006
This morning on The Price is Right, the bidders on Contestants' Row were given the opportunity to bid on a "computer" with keyboard and mouse. The Price is Right has been on the air for a continuous 35 years, and I think it's really showing its age when it is a "computer" up for bid. If it were a dishwasher or chest of drawers, the manufacturer of the product would be displayed in big letters and would be announced at the top of Rich Fields' voice when the product is revealed. But when the product up for bid is a high-tech device such as a "computer," the make and model are information that is useless to the common TPiR viewer and is therefore conveniently ignored. To no one's surprise, a young man in a rock band from California won with a bid of $1650. Everyone else went over. Actual retail price? $1699.
The computer happened to be an Apple Mac Mini with JBL Creature II red speakers, a 20" flat-panel monitor, and wireless mouse and keyboard. I'd tell you what the available memory and hard drive size were, but it's hard to tell when the only information that you get is a picture of the case.
$1699? On apple.com, the build that gets me closest to the TPiR "computer" includes a 1.66 MHz processor, only 512MB of RAM, and an 80GB hard drive. From scratch, I can build a much faster PC for the same price. Dell can provide a better PC for even cheaper than I can from parts. Of course, my PC wouldn't come in a cute little white plastic shoe box and my mouse will have more buttons and will therefore be useful, but I think I'm willing to sacrifice aesthetics for actual functionability. Then again, I'm actually interested in doing good work with my computer, not just having a pretty, expensive paperweight on my desk.
Oh, yeah: Macs suck.