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do you think that big-name computer companies no longer court techy people?

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  • do you think that big-name computer companies no longer court techy people?

    I can recall a time when all the big-name computer companies wanted to be looked upon favorably by those in the tech field. Trade shows, product swag, and (most of all) policies favorable to system builders, sysadmins, network techs, etc... these were once standard in the industry (unless i'm remembering the past through rose-colored glasses).

    However, starting with the pushback against those who objected to bundled copies of Windows (which went hand in hand with the outright abandonment of NIX-friendly hardware) it seems like the big-name computer suppliers stopped courting the high-tech crowd.

    Now, we see that even the "business" division of many such vendors is either suffering, useless, or shunted off to second-rate vendors and third parties. Many of the biggest names in computer sales no longer will give you an option for WinXP if you're a win32 environment, despite how much you may hate Vista. Gateway (i just discovered when rebuilding an E4000 machine that was donated to the school by the DOD) has officially cut lose their entire professional-grade division and sold it to Micron computing.

    (And, in an act worthy of a fucktard hall reference, they seem to have DELETED all the drivers from their web site for the pro line of products. Or they're at least impossible to search for anymore. And of course Micron doesn't have the same search and browse features that you'd find on Gateway's site... which is to be expected, hell, gateway BUILT these damn machines, of course they'd be the better resource. But, no, one has to just fuck around and try to email some company who isn't worth a rag of snot if you want a video card from 2006 to work)

    So my question is this... have vendors come to the determination that it's more profitable now to focus on the ignorant masses as opposed to the clued-in tech heads? There was a time when the hacker community (or at least the "technologically hip" community) represented the main market force in this field. But now, with every grandparent, every toddler, and everyone in-between clambering to have their own case-modded laptop with custom ringtones blah blah blah it seems like we're a small market segment. In reality, i think it's a simple two-party split...

    Group A - These folks are tech savvy. They want the most from vendors (flexible hardware, drivers for all O/S-es, etc) and demand proper support and warranty repair. They will go through the trouble to RMA a broken hard drive and understand that a pair of 512 chips is not the same a single 1GB chip, even if it's the same amount of memory. Look at what Jackalope (and others) have gone through in the Macbook Hard Drive Replacement thread. That's the sort of thing we live for... we want to get the most out of our computers, from the day we buy them to the day we finally (often years later) have to discard them or cannibalize them for parts.

    Group B - These are the technology twits who, i feel, make up an increasing percentage of users today. They will order anything they see on the store shelf at Best Buy because it has a bright screen or comes with a free mouse. They will pay the extra ass-rape fee for the extended warranty but then lose the paperwork as soon as they get home. They will take broken machines back to the store or send them back to Dell, Gateway, or HP and never make a fuss when repairs are said to be "not covered by the scope of [their] particular warranty." And, in six months to a year, they'll dash out and get an even newer and faster computer because of some minor flaw that they can't repair or simply because the machine doesn't run as fast as they wish it would with iTunes, Bonzi Buddy, and their Fantasy Football Flash game loaded all at the same time while their zombied machine sends out tons of spam in the background.

    For the above reasons alone, it seems to be pretty simple that the dolts in Group B spend more money and demand far less from vendors than we do. What will this mean for the future? Will we have anyone out there to whom we can turn for proper hardware? Will it be just a search on pricewatch.com every time we need a new system and diligent management of the driver disks and purchase paperwork so we can do all maintenance ourselves and handle warranty repair of parts directly with the manufacturers? (I more or less do that now for all my own gear... but it's going to become a huge headache if i have to do that with fleet hardware, too.)

    Just a little mid-day rant, respond if you like or simply keep on keepin' on. I'm just feeling a bit let down by tech vendors and generally cranky that i'm stuck inside on such a beautiful day. If i hadn't strolled in around 11:00 i'd totally jet outta here by 4:00. Hell, i may do that anyway.

    OK, we now return you to your regularly-scheduled forum.
    Last edited by Deviant Ollam; May 6, 2008, 12:53.
    "I'll admit I had an OiNK account and frequented it quite often… What made OiNK a great place was that it was like the world's greatest record store… iTunes kind of feels like Sam Goody to me. I don't feel cool when I go there. I'm tired of seeing John Mayer's face pop up. I feel like I'm being hustled when I visit there, and I don't think their product is that great. DRM, low bit rate, etc... OiNK it existed because it filled a void of what people want."
    - Trent Reznor

  • #2
    Re: do you think that big-name computer companies no longer court techy people?

    From my experience, mostly Apple hardware, so take it with a grain of salt, vendors are going more for disposable computers. They don't want you to keep that machine from 2000 running. They want you to trash it and buy a new one. Take DJ for an example, the whole iBook line is a pain in the ass to work on, even for someone who does it all the time. eMacs are the same, though they've been EOL so that's going to help in a few years. The old powerbooks were pretty easy to work on, the new ones aren't too bad. Look at the new flat panel iMac, when it first came out, they made it so any dork could work on it. Every part was end user replaceable. You could call up Apple, the tech would walk you through some trouble shooting, and send you the part if you wanted. Then they found out that 90% of the users didn't want that, and the other 10% would get the wrong parts. Now the new ones are a pain to work on. You actually have to use a plastic shim to "jimmy" the latches through the vent on the top to open it up. Who's dumb ass idea was that! I'm all about getting rid of obsolete hardware, but Apple takes it to an extreme. After 5 years, a device is no longer supported, and they no longer make parts. You might be able to get some if they still have them in a warehouse. After 7 years, they won't even offer parts. They used to make good hardware. Now, it's the same as everybody else.

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    • #3
      Re: do you think that big-name computer companies no longer court techy people?

      Heh, yeah, I'm pretty partial to how I have to break all the "good hardware safety idea rules" to get to my HD. Not to mention, as brought up before, a good REAL manual is hard to find.
      ======================================
      DJ Jackalope
      dopest dj in the galaxy. *mwah!*

      send in the drop bears!
      ======================================

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      • #4
        Re: do you think that big-name computer companies no longer court techy people?

        I think you've pretty much said it all right there... the overwhelming majority of users are dumb, and are willing to drop money to buy new rather than fix the old, so policies are changing. Before the computer boom, before everyone and their grandmother owned a computer companies HAD to be friendly, serviceable, and helpful to stay in business. Now, not so much.

        I'm just hoping that companies like Dell continue to offer clean, no OS computers, or Linux preinstalls. Maybe as Linux continues to evolve and push the consumer market we'll see a bigger adoption of OSS drivers by manufacturers.

        As for the repairs and warranties, well, I just pray my shite don't break.

        In the end it doesn't really matter. We will continue to sap our rigs for every bit they're worth.

        I think a friend of mine said it best, "We do what we must, because we can..."

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        • #5
          Re: do you think that big-name computer companies no longer court techy people?

          Originally posted by barry99705 View Post
          I'm all about getting rid of obsolete hardware, but Apple takes it to an extreme. After 5 years, a device is no longer supported, and they no longer make parts. You might be able to get some if they still have them in a warehouse. After 7 years, they won't even offer parts. They used to make good hardware. Now, it's the same as everybody else.
          On the other side of the spectrum you have Sony that 6 months after a product is released they no longer haver parts for it. At least it was that way with consumer goods, I'm not sure about PC parts as I would never own anything by Sony.
          A third party security audit is the IT equivalent of a colonoscopy. It's long, intrusive, very uncomfortable, and when it's done, you'll have seen things you really didn't want to see, and you'll never forget that you've had one.

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          • #6
            Re: do you think that big-name computer companies no longer court techy people?

            Originally posted by streaker69 View Post
            On the other side of the spectrum you have Sony that 6 months after a product is released they no longer haver parts for it. At least it was that way with consumer goods, I'm not sure about PC parts as I would never own anything by Sony.
            Yea, they're even more proprietary than Apple.

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            • #7
              Re: do you think that big-name computer companies no longer court techy people?

              Originally posted by Deviant Ollam View Post

              So my question is this... have vendors come to the determination that it's more profitable now to focus on the ignorant masses as opposed to the clued-in tech heads? There was a time when the hacker community (or at least the "technologically hip" community) represented the main market force in this field. But now, with every grandparent, every toddler, and everyone in-between clambering to have their own case-modded laptop with custom ringtones blah blah blah it seems like we're a small market segment. In reality, i think it's a simple two-party split...
              Companies have reduced computers to appliances. We are all becoming Maytag repair men. I personally would have preferred Isaac Asimov's view of the future where the tech people were considered the priests of society. Though for most people technology is still a lot like magic.

              So do I think that companies mainly market to the technically challenged, yes but that's where the money is. It's just numbers really, there's more of them than there are of us.

              xor
              Just because you can doesn't mean you should. This applies to making babies, hacking, and youtube videos.

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              • #8
                Re: do you think that big-name computer companies no longer court techy people?

                Of course they market to the less technical. Much like a car vendor, or anyone else. Technically savvy people can repair their own machines, and therefore make them last longer which decreases the yearly revenue for a company.

                Because more people use the products and tech flows into the mainstream, a company can do carpetbombing marketing tactics and get some buyers. They no longer need to work with niche marketing to eek out a profit. There are still some boutique manufacturers that court the enthusiast, but on a large scale I think it ends up just not being profitable. While I would love to say all companies have a drive beyond profit, that is really what keeps a company around. You can't run on community respect alone forever.
                ----------------------------------------
                Fraternal Order of Locksport

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                • #9
                  Re: do you think that big-name computer companies no longer court techy people?

                  If you are referring to the business computing space, which drives most computer manufactures these days (Dell is 70% Corp sales), then yes, they have given up on "tech savvy" / "weekend warrior" courtship. Why bother catering to these people when you can setup Corp SLA's and 3 year IT "Refresh" cycles. Small businesses that rely on "old" systems, of course, take a hit. They have lower margins and cannot always "refresh" their IT systems every 3 years. So the poor sole (D.O. in this case) that has to come in and support their systems is effectively Fubar'ed. I do feel your pain on this in recent years, and have left the SMB support market for that very reason. I wasn't getting paid enough to support hardware with no vendor support and lack of willingness from business to upgrade (You know for 10 hours of my time spent trying to fit square pegs in circle holes on an old system that's more stubborn then a mule, they could have just upgrade the box and transfered the data).
                  "Never Underestimate the Power of Stupid People in Large Groups"

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