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Perception and Reality

“You’ve really fucked up”, My friend was not happy at the computer he had purchased on my recommendation, “The screen is too small”. I went round to visit him and see what he meant.

“Look it’s only twelve inches across”, he said, “It’s supposed to be seventeen”. “It’s seventeen diagonally from corner to corner”, I said, “in fact it will be an inch or so less because thats the size of the tube. You can always see a little less”. “No-one measures screens diagonally”, said my friend, “it’s a twelve inch screen”. “Everyone measures them diagonally”, I corrected him, “but you go ahead and measure it how you like – you will just be doing it differently to everyone else in the world so remember to point that out if the subject comes up”. I have discovered this person needs to be given a way to be wrong and right at the same time or they get quite unbearable.

“I’ve seen a screen this size before. That was OK”, he said starting on a slightly different tack, “because the letters were bigger. The letters on this screen are tiny“. I pointed out that you could change the size of the fonts and screen resolution. “I know that”, said my friend, “I’ve done loads of computer courses. I know all about them”. I showed him how to change these things anyway, despite his protest that he knew how. He clearly didn’t or he would never have made the complaints he made.

I had asked my friend, before advising him, what he wanted to do with the machine. “Email, letters, browse the web, bit of photography, play music”, said he. My advce was to buy a low end machine from dell. Not the cheapest way to get the spec he would get but far from the most expensive and one of the most reliable. I think someone came round and told him he could have got a much better machine from the newspaper for the same money.

What my friend forgot to take into account is that he doesn’t need a better machine. He will only use 10% of the computing power of this one in all probability. And should something screw up it’s easier to get service from Dell than from a two-bit shop in the newspaper.

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