This pandemic year of 2021 has been notable for many things but two immediately come to mind:
- Higher prices – on just about everything.
- Shortages – well maybe not toilet paper so much, but definitely electronics components and computer parts.
Murphy’s Law being what it is, I was forced into some unwanted computer replacements in 2021. I had planned to build a new Windows desktop system -someday. However, my hand was forced when my nine-year-old Acer system could not get Windows 10 security updates any longer.
Building a new system isn’t that difficult – if you can get the parts. And for more than a year now, it has been impossible to get a decent graphics card at a sensible price. Memory and processors were also rather pricey and scarce.
At the end of the day, the best solution was to go with another prebuilt computer. I was able to get a reasonable deal on a Dell XPS desktop. It isn’t a bleeding edge screaming game machine, but it is plenty powerful enough for our uses. It has one of the last (and the best) Intel old-school Skylake CPUs, and an older design but still useful Nvidia graphics card. It runs cool and quiet, either on office tasks / web surfing or my small collection of train simulator games.
I thought all would be well but a week or so ago my inkjet printer started giving me grief. This particular printer – an HP Envy photo model – was a fine performer until it wasn’t. One day it started up with a Blue Screen of Death and an error code. Research online gave only one solution – restart the printer from scratch. After about 20 failed attempts to reset the inkjet, I concluded it was a hardware failure of some type – toast.
All I wanted to do was replace it with a similar model – HP is best for me, since it always works with both Windows and Linux. But Staples, Best Buy, Canada Computers, Newegg – all were out of stock. I even looked at competitor brands like Brother – nada. Finally I located one at Amazon. No deals, even on Boxing Day.
Well, the new one arrived today and I have got it installed and working with Windows 11. It won’t be a problem with Linux, hopefully.
They say things should be better for the supply of electronics and computer hardware in mid-2022, but sometimes you just can’t wait that long. I hope I’ll be OK for a while, but you never can tell.